Robert Wm. Gomez's

The Woman in Black (7/10)

Wait, there's a new(ish) haunted house in the olden days movie from Hammer films? And it stars Harry Potter? Count me in! The story never gets too far beyond guy in haunted house who sees ghosts, but it's effective and almost creepy at times. Of only they could have cast Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (7/10)

This was a lot like John Wick in that it depicts a fantastical version of crime movie. But Brawl is a bit more of a slow burn and actually has action you can follow. It doesn't go pure fantasy until the last third, and by then I was already sold on the lead character. The violence is over-the-top and it all feels like a sleazy 70s grindhouse film by the climax.

The Last Movie Star (8/10)

I was planning on watching this eventually but then Burt Reynolds had to go off die. I bumped it to the front of my queue. It's a bit Lifetime Movie-ish, so it's effective in pulling the heart strings in all the right cheesy parts. I have zero nostalgia for Burt Reynolds, except maybe Cannonball Run and Win, Lose or Draw, but I finished the movie caring a bit more for him and all the bad movie choices he made during his career.

Fearless Fuzz (6/10)

This has all the markings of a standard Itallian poliziotteschi, but the first third of the movie plays as a screwball comedy. The premise is pretty much the same as The Rockford Files: a charming, but poor private eye who can solve crimes that the police can't. The only difference is that the lead actor weird looking and not very charming. Oh, and the plot gets icky when it becomes about child prostitution. Not the ideal backdrop for comedy.

Unavowed on PC (8/10)

Unavowed

At this point I think we can all basically agree that every game that Wadjet Eye releases is going to be worth buying right away. This is Dave Gilbert's first game as lead designer since Blackwell Epiphany. There is overlap with the Blackwell universe, but it is definitely a departure from those games.

Possibly taking a lead from Telltale, there seems to be a more deliberate attempt to make your choices affect the story. This manifests itself first in that you choose one of three origin stories for your player character. Then, throughout the game, each chapter ends with you deciding the fate of an adversary. The consequences of your decisions don't really ripple throughout the game. They mostly affect the end-game sequence. Still, it's a worthy attempt at adding a little variety to the experience.

Annihilation (7/10)

My expectations were high for Annihilation. I thought the director's previous movie Ex Machinia was one best science fiction films I has seen in a long time. A lot of the right elements are there: solid characters, mysterious alien happenings, unique visuals and a squad of armed scientists sent to take on the unknown. However, the artsy, slow pacing hindered the movie. It's really easy to get distracted and miss what is going on.

Murder on the Orient Express (7/10)

This is the 1974 version, not the Kenneth Branagh handlebar mustache version. Unfortunately, I watched this knowing the ending (spoiled by a "host a murder" game I played when I was a teenager). I don't think that really matters much because, as with most of these types of murder mysteries, all necessary clues are not really revealed to the audience. The point is to get to know the suspects' quirks and then wait to have Poirot tell the story of what really happened. Nonetheless, it was an entertaining, star-studded affair and I enjoyed Albert Finney's Poirot.

Planescape: Torment [Enhanced Edition] on PC (6/10)

Hot Isometric Action

I think with this I have finally played through all of the original Infinity Engine RPG games. Icewind Dale I & II are still my favorites of the bunch. Those were about building up characters and skillfully fighting though areas. Torment is all about story, story, story. Normally that's a good thing, but when that story is told via an endless scroll of text and dialogue trees is gets really tedious.

Deadlier Than the Male [1956] (8/10)

No this isn't about bikini-clad assassins, this female predator is a bit more subdued. This is a French black and white film about a famous chef who is given news of his ex-wife's passing from a young woman claiming to be her daughter. Of course she's not on the up-and-up, but the old man doesn't see it. But her mysterious back-story can wait. The first third of the movie is filled with exciting restaurant action. I'm not kidding. Watching the staff take care of a packed room of odd-ball guests was fascinating to watch.

Pursued (5/10)

This is a relatively action-free western that features Robert Mitchum as a turn of the century cowboy with a predilection for pomade... and his sister. The plot is simple, but is still hindered by the inappropriate flashback framing structure.