Robert Wm. Gomez's

Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs by John Bloom & Jim Atkinson (8/10)

Outside of Helter Skelter, I have not read much true crime literature. I picked this one mainly because is was co-written by John Bloom (and it's super cheap on Kindle). It details the story of a brutal axe murder that took place is suburban Dallas in the early eighties. The book is written in a narrative style that makes it feel more like a novel than a journalistic undertaking. That said, this was meticulously researched and based on interviews with most of the primary players (except, of course, the deceased Betty Gore).

The Blackcoat's Daughter (7/10)

A small, slow moving horror movie about boarding school girls and the devil. There's lots of hard to hear dialogue and very little visible "horror" stuff going on, but it builds to a mildly bloody ending.

Bicycle Thieves (7/10)

Apparently this is a very important movie and a touchstone of Italian cinema. All I know it's severely lacking in the Italian knife-wielding maniac department. Still, as far as artsy dramas go, this wasn't half bad. Basically, a guy gets his bike stolen and spends the rest of the movie trying to find it. There's probably some brainy sub-text about life and finding meaning in a cold, uncaring world but I was too stupid to pick up on that.

Black Magic 2 (9/10)

This is a sequel in name only to the excellent Black Magic. It's still about an evil voodoo magician, but in this case he is purely evil and not just doing the bidding of others. So evil in fact that he pounds nails into corpses' heads, drinks breast milk, impregnates women with meat blobs, and raises the bodies of dead go-go dancers. This movie is just non-stop crazy and thoroughly entertaining.

House of Bamboo (7/10)

This is crime thriller from 1955 that is unique in that it was shot on location in post-war Japan and it is filmed in glorious, super-widescreen Cinemascope. Every frame is full of color and wonderfully composed. Every frame is also filled with ugly American style treatment of the locals. Lots of gangsters raising their voices and demanding, "Hey pal, ya speak English!" This is also the movie where Robert Stack does his, "Who the boss? The head man? ..." bit that was parodied in Airplane. Overall this was mediocre yet entertaining plot that's bolstered by stunning visuals.

Turbo Kid (7/10)

In recent years there have been several attempts at making fake 80s shows, games or movies. The best of this would be something like Stranger Things and the worst is Kung FuryTurbo Kid is somewhere in the middle. It isn't fully fueled on nostalgia and has likable characters. But there is a tinge of that weird interpretation of 80s culture that millennials often produce. The ever present neon landscape title grid is there.

Watch Dogs on PC (6/10)

Fake Chicago

Ubisoft only knows how to make these open world games with paper-thin story lines and lots of side challenges that don't amount to much. I had already played the sequel (which I got for free) before I had played Watch Dogs (which I also got for free). Apparently, if you wait long enough, all Ubisoft games will eventually be free. I knew what to expect going into this: lots of "hacking" which consists of vaguely Pipe Dreams style puzzles or, more often, just holding down the "Q" key. My main reason for not passing on this was the prospect of exploring a virtual Chicago. Turns out in Montreal they think Chicago is surrounded by rolling hills and filled with exploding steam pipes.

Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey (7/10)

This the second book in The Expanse series. It felt like a bit of a retread but with less interesting characters. The T.V. show is better.

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary on Ms-DOS (7/10)

Star Track Computer Game

I remember watching my housemate play this game quite a bit back when we were in college. I don't think he had the CD-ROM version—which included voice acting from the original cast. Luckily this GOG.com version has all the recorded elements (and none of the weird DOS set up problems). Yup, there's nothing like hearing an aged, breathy-voiced DeForest Kelley read mediocre video game dialogue!

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (3/10)

I was hoping for another Luc Besson film at least on par with The Fifth Element, but this was terrible. It has some of the worst casting I have ever seen. The lead has an annoying surfer dude voice and his co-star is only capable of vacant stares. Terrible dialogue, wooden acting and standard clown-vomit video game style action sequences. Pretty colors though.