Sam Raimi directed this serviceable bit of 90s noir in which a trio of Minnesota lads discover a gym bag full of cash and make a plan to wait for the heat to die down before splitting it up. Of course they are idiots and do everything they possibly can to screw things up. These sorts of stories are so frustrating to me. This is basically every Walking Dead plot line (and why I stopped watching that show).
All these Ubisoft open-world games (Assassins Creed, Watch Dogs, etc.) follow the same basic formula. Main story which you can take your time completing, lots of side activities and missions, and collectible stuff that gets you nothing in the end. Each is enjoyable up to a point, but then they wear out their welcome and become tedium. But despite the flaws, I genuinely enjoy the Far Cry games. I am a sucker for the FPS/stealth mix in which you can approach any conflict from a large number of paths. Each outpost I conquer without tripping the alarms feels like a real achievement.
Published in 1964, this book presents itself as a scientific analysis of swinger culture. The opening chapters are filled with various statistics about the numbers of couples who participate in swap clubs, their social class, education levels, etc. Of course none of this data is cited so who knows if any of it is legitimate. Surely the, ahem, Breedloves are thoroughly committed to scientific rigor?
The only thing this game has going for it is its art direction. There's some wonderful hand-drawn characters and evocative music. However, like a Doublefine game, this one is all style and no substance. The highlight is supposed to be the various boss battles in which you spend a ton of time chopping at these giant character's heels. Every swing of your axe removes about 1% of the enemy's health. It's just an exercise in tedium. The controls are sluggish and un-responsive . It's like fighting in a bowl of molasses.
The chapters on Free Masonry and The Golden Dawn were pretty informative. I think my big takeaway about these sects was not so much that they are dark subcultures that secretly control the world, but rather, that well-to-do people will come up some really goofy extracurricular activities just to feel out of the ordinary (the 19th century equivalent of a polar plunge or costumed 4K fun-run). Oh, and Aleister Crowley was a big, pervy jerk.
A murder mystery on a sparsely populated planet where each person lives isolated from everyone else and all the work is done by robots. Since the robots must follow the first law and nobody can stand proximity to other humans, who committed the murder? Turns out, the answer isn't all that interesting and neither was this book.
Another cult movie which I've known about forever, but never bothered to watch. I didn't expect this to be as cheap as it was. Fortunately the story is just crazy enough to keep it very entertaining and the terrible monster effects add a lot of charm. This would make a good double feature with The Oily Maniac. There's an overly long expositional flashback in the middle of the movie and some cringey male nudity that leads up to the finale.
The premise here is that the outsiders and the misfits, by rejecting puritanism and pushing the limits of what is acceptable, are the real driving force behind the expansion of our freedoms. I agree with the argument up to a point. Ya know, a lot of renegades are just annoying self-important jerks whose art is dumb. Us normies will inherit the Earth. Anyhow, the history ranges from drunk patriots to drag queens. Thrown in for good measure are some provocative defenses of minstrel shows and money-grubbing cultish black ministers. Oh, and lists of things.
I think it's telling that throughout this book the author in constantly having to backtrack and clarify what he means by empathy. Compassion and caring are desirable close cousins to empathy, but the big E itself is overrated. He eventually makes his point that calm, reasoned thinking is a better approach to decision-making than feeling someone's pain. It's a hard pill to swallow, and I don't think I'm completely sold on the idea. But, for the most part, his case is solid, especially when talking about broader policy choices.
Lo Lieh plays the sword wielding bounty hunter in this Shaw Bros. film from 1969. The story is simple and the sets are limited to a few locations. I think the entire first quarter of this movie takes place in a field of reeds. But the whole thing is masterfully shot and felt a lot like Dirty Ho in terms of style. The story is very similar to Killer Constable in which a blind woman plays a key role in between the main characters. Overall, had a nice spaghetti western feel to it.