Robert Wm. Gomez's

Berberian Sound Studio (6/10)

The only reason to watch this movie is to get a feel for how the sound design was created in Italian giallo movies. Unfortunately, this drifts too far into art film territory. More to confusing than entertaining. Half the dialogue is in Italian and is deliberately not subtitled in order to hammer us over the head with the disorientation that the main character is feeling. It just never went anywhere.

Destiny 2 on PC (6/10)

Destiny 2

I've been playing this off and on for the past few months. This is supposedly designed as a multiplayer experience and have been playing it as such. The campaign is not at all interesting narratively. It has something to do with a bad guy with a space hare lip controlling an orb thing that grants powers to the good guys. I lost interest in the first cut-scene.

Tomb Raider [2018] (6/10)

Definitely better than the first Tomb Raider films. This reboot seems to be using the game's reboot as inspiration. The plot is pretty bland, but enjoyed the performance of the lead actor and it avoided the horrible CGI action until the last third of the movie.

From Up On Poppy Hill (7/10)

A cartoon drama from Studio Ghibli about a teenage girl who misses her dead father and raises signal flags for him every morning. She gets involved with a boy who wants to save the school's club building from demolition. No moving castles here, just melodrama and possibly incest. As always, it's a stunningly beautiful animated movie, so I can't really hate on it.

Caged Heat (7/10)

This should be a standard Roger Corman women in prison movie, but it was directed by Jonathan Demme and supposedly stands out from other movies in the genre. I wouldn't go that far. It's about as sleazy as these films come and hits all the required check boxes. But there are quite a few long, almost arty, boring stretches at the beginning. The last act is entertaining but what would make a film like this stand out for me would be some better developed characters and maybe a few plot twists. Oh, and Pam Grier.

Death Wish 3 (8/10)

What seriousness there was in the first Death Wish is gone. The violence is not terribly gorey but it's ridiculous and just a joy to watch. The gangsters look straight from the cast of Breakin' or a maybe low-rent Mad Max. Nothing makes any sense and the plot is just a means to get from one shoot-out to the next.

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (8/10)

Another rambling philosophical tome from Taleb. It expands on the idea that good policy emerges from the participants having skin in the game. I'm not sure it works as a coherent whole, but there are enough nuggets of brilliance scattered between the insults, diatribes and math to make it worthwhile.

Black Magic (9/10)

Black Magic is a strange mix of horror and bumbling romantic comedy. Nothing in this movie makes any sense and I loved just about every minute of it. The plot is focused on various characters hiring a voodoo shamen to cast love spells. It's filled with all sorts of skulls and weird voodoo action like centipede eating, dog wresting, forced lactation and hair stealing. The climax is super cheesy lightning bolt voodoo duel atop a crumbling, unfinished building.

The Kid with the Golden Arm (6/10)

There are a few gorey moments, but for the most part this was a rather ho-hum Shaw Bros. kung-fu outing. Silly plot involves protecting a treasure caravan, five uniquely adorned outlaws, and a drunken maste. Doesn't really make sense and the fights are not terribly inspiring.