Robert Wm. Gomez's

Transylvania on Apple ][ (8/10)

A Menacing Werewolf in Transylvania

Transylvania is a hybrid text/graphical adventure originally for the Apple ][. This was a big hit back in the day and was ported to just about every other 8-bit machine. I loved these types of adventure games but was really, really bad at them. In hindsight, most of them were brutally unfair and prone to the bad game design cliches of the era such as instant death and guess-the-verb puzzles. Still, I remember seeing screenshots of that menacing werewolf in issues of Softalk or A+ magazine and wanting to try this game.

The Black Cat (7/10)

I think this might be the fourth Italian horror movie I've seen that's based on Poe's story, The Black Cat. None of them actually follow the original story except for the inclusion of the titular cat and a scene where someone is bricked up behind a basement wall. This is Lucio Fulci's take and, as such, includes a little bit of corny gore (the burning scene is probably the best) and a lot extreme close-up eye shots. Outside of the beautiful photography and R-rated elements, this seems like a made for T.V. movie.

Crippled Avengers (7/10)

I assumed that they would have hired actual disabled people to star in this and expected it to be a little more tasteless than it was. Alas, the lead "cripples" are all played by actual abled kung-fu masters. They do show a child having his arms off, so there's that. It also features a man being turned into an idiot through head compression. Apparently rudimentary medical science isn't really that big in Hong Kong. The main focus here is acrobatic fighting with hoops, chains and poles. The disabilities don't really play into the fighting styles beyond the initial training montages.

The Dark Backward (7/10)

It's a quirky comedy. A quirkedy! Just about everything about this movie is deliberately strange. The plot is basically a joke setup expanded to feature length... a guy walks into a bar with three arms... hilarity ensues. There was enough going on here to keep me entertained even though I felt it needed something more. Or maybe something less? When every character in the movie is an extreme caricature, there's nobody to latch on to by staying grounded in some vestige of reality.

The Tricky Master (5/10)

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a sequel to Tricky Brains, but it's just as bad as that film. This is filled with Hong Kong pop culture references and lame jokes and nothing really works. All of the conflict is resolved with weird Asian poker games that make no sense to me.

God of Cookery (6/10)

Stephen Chow is an arrogant T.V. chef who is dethroned and must cook his way back to the top. Much of the humor is cultural and flew over my head, but there's enough of Chow's usual fantasy slapstick to keep me interested. However, it's not even close to the quality of his work in the 2000s. The highlight of the movie is Nancy Sit's cameo as a mean, dancing food critic.

Red Steel 2 on Nintendo Wii (8/10)

Red Steel 2 Box ArtWe are already two generations beyond the Wii and I am still getting caught up on all the games I've been wanting to play for years.

Red Steel 2 was the first big title to take advantage of the Wii Motion Plus controller. For some reason, the prospect of a motion controlled sword fighting game was always a big thing. I think Red Steel 2 comes close to fulfilling that nerd dream. It still is a bit of a waggle freak-out during hectic fights, but, when it's focused, the motion controls work very well. This is a massive improvement on the previous game in the series.

Love on Delivery (7/10)

Man, Stephen Chow has been making the same movie over and over for more than two decades. Don't get me wrong, I usually like the end result, but maybe try something a little different? The basics, Stephen Chow goes from loser to kung-fu master with tons of slapstick and dated movie references along the way. I do enjoy how he can take a throw-away joke from earlier and then bring it back in to focus later on in a way that makes the original effort seem like it was somehow important to the story (Garfield mask?!).

What We Do in the Shadows (7/10)

A decent entry in the never-ending series of mock documentary films. This one follows the mundane lives of three New Zealand vampires. It has its moments and is a zillion times better than the various attempts to make a monsters in the real world story like True Blood.

Four Riders (8/10)

Not all Shaw Brothers martial arts movies take place in ancient China. Four Riders is set in Seoul during the weeks following the Korean War when bell-bottoms and disco hair were apparently all the rage. Not much in this movie makes any sense, but if you can take a deep breath and ignore the gaping plot holes, it's a fun ride with a wild climax. Features: a dart throwing hentchwoman, apocalyptic biblical references, gym-kata and a shorty-robe wearing crime boss.