Robert Wm. Gomez's

The Lone Wolf #1: Night Raider by Mike Barry (6/10)

This is essentially a Death Wish style vigilante story about a cop who really, really doesn't like the drug trade. There is absolutely zero character development and the plot goes nowhere but there are a few exciting moments when the anti-hero is taking out the scum.

A Doppia Faccia (5/10)

Mediocre giallo featuring Klaus Kinski in search of his estranged wife's killer. Noteworthy moments: super fake model train vs. car collision and naked hippy motorcycle party.

Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins by Sparks (9/10)

Format: 
CD

After Interior Design, Sparks wisely took a six year break to go back to their rooms and think about what they had done. Gratuitous Sax was a refreshing return to the lyrical wit of their earlier records with a new found commitment to pure euro-style dance music. These tracks really feel like they're numbers from a forgotten Broadway musical. Not show tunes, but stories that are sung from a character's perspective.

Hercules Unchained (7/10)

Aside from the incredible Hercules starring Lou Ferrigno, I have not seen many of these Italian swords and sandals epics. This one, however, was on my checklist of Mario Bava projects that I need to watch as I have been making my way through Tim Lucas's book, All the Colors of the Dark. Although only credited as the cinematographer, I think Bava actually directed much of this (haven't gotten that far in the book yet). Even if he didn't, his style is all over the place.

Ultraviolet (3/10)

This not so much a movie as it is a seemingly endless collection of stylized hero shots. The dialogue is terrible, the story is terrible, the acting is bad (Milla Jovovich is only capable of a single facial expression) and the CGI effects are on par with those of an episode of Xena or Power Rangers.

Interior Design by Sparks (4/10)

Format: 
CD

My least favorite Sparks album (Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat is a close second). Pre-2000s Sparks have tended to follow the audio trends of the day. A Sparks record from 1988 sounds like just about every pop record from 1988, and let's face it, pop music in the late 80's was pretty awful. Interior Design is at times indistinguishable from a Paula Abdul record. There's lots of digital synth sounds, trash can electric drums, and basslines that use that electric bass guitar patch straight off the Seinfeld soundtrack.

Music That You Can Dance To by Sparks (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Technically this CD is titled The Best of Sparks: Music That You Can Dance To. I imagine that horribly misleading title is due to some rights issue with the label or distributor. In any event, Music That You Can Dance To was the sparks returning to the more dance oriented sound they had back when they collaborated with Giorgio Moroder in the late seventies. The music is very much a product of its time with the digital technology that was available to them. The songs have a Theme from Miami Vice feel.

Wreck-It Ralph (7/10)

Another "secret life of _____" CGI animated feature. In this case it's the secret life of video game characters. I went into this expecting it to be a wall-to-wall nostolgia blast, but that part of the movie ends after the first fifteen minutes. From then on the film focuses on the characters from various fictional games. It's entertaining, but it's your average by-the-book storyline and characters types.

Dead Island on PC (6/10)

Dead Island

This game had one of the best trailers ever. None of the narrative spark that permeates the trailer is in the actual game. The closest thing you get is a few paragraphs of backstory on the character selection screen. This is unfortunate because Dead Island is a big open world game that gives you no incentive to explore it's lush and detailed map. Rather than tell a story or develop characters, the quests are of the fetch and return an item variety. Even the opening cutscene is an insult. It consists of the worst "beeyotch"-laden rap song a 12-year-old wannabe gangsta could come up with.