Robert Wm. Gomez's

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (6/10)

This would have been much better if it were just a cartoon instead of this live-action/CGI mess. There are tons of original visual ideas but the execution just looks stupid. Why in Buddha's name would you CGI a monkey face when a rubber mask would look a zillion times more realistic? Still, there are some fun moments between the incoherent plot points. Nothing will match the opening twenty minutes of the first Journey to the West.

Una Farfalla Con Le Ali Insanguinate by Gianni Ferrio (6/10)

Format: 
CD

I bought this knowing neither the composer nor the movie. It was cheap and had an interesting cover... never a good metric for making a music purchase. For the most part this is an okay soundtrack, but is lacking the off-kilter dissonance of other Italian soundtracks of the time. I thinks it's a little too piano-heavy for my tastes and main title sounds a bit too much like the theme song from The Young and the Restless.

The Heroic Ones (5/10)

This Shaw Brothers kung-fu swordsman epic is a bit of an overly long mess. The "heroic" characters are kinda jerks who deserve what's coming to them. The film is most noteworthy for its bloody drawing and quartering scene. Expands finger painting to a whole new level:

The Heroic Ones - Quartering Scene

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost (6/10)

I listened to the audiobook version which features many of the original cast members reprising their roles. The book itself is somewhat of a disappointment and cheapens the mystery of the series by dwelling way too much on U.F.O.s and L. Ron Hubbard. If you are looking for answers, this ain't the place.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (9/10)

As much as I like horror, I am woefully unfamiliar with many of the classics of the genre. Amazon was offering this one for free so I finally made time to see it not really knowing what to expect. It's definitely not the gore-fest that the title would imply, but the off-camera suggestion of violence is pretty disturbing; especially in the matter-of-fact  in which the killer commits his acts. The movie suffers from some amateurish performances and limited character development, but otherwise holds up incredibly well and provides some genuinely creepy moments.

Ex Machina (9/10)

Fresh off of just seeing the new Blade Runner here's another film dealing with the artificial intelligence. Only, this one is actually smart, suspenseful and creative beyond CGI eye candy. Every little plot point was thought through and the ending sticks with you long after the movie is over.

Blade Runner 2049 (7/10)

I've tried to like the original Blade Runner. I've watched it several times, in several different “official” final, FINAL and this time we mean it cuts. It just ends up boring me. Deckard is a dull character. The plot is dull and meandering. But the visuals are cool and Rutger Hauer fights in a pair of boxer-briefs. I get why folks go nuts for it (the film, not the briefs), but it's just doesn't do it for me. This sequel is just as visually stunning and has a slightly more interesting lead character and plot. But, in the end, it's once again overly long and a little dull.

Minecraft: Story Mode on PC (6/10)

Minecrafty

I thought it was Game of Thrones, but this is definitely the weakest Telltale release. I don't mind that this is geared for children, but the thing that makes Telltale games work is difficult choices. I felt all the decisions in this game were pretty obvious and didn't have broad ramifications. Also, when you have Patton Oswald and Pee Wee Herman as your lead voice actors, you'd think there'd be a bit more room for comic hijinx. Alas, this is not the case.

Women Aren't Funny (7/10)

Bonnie McFarlane's documentary sets itself up as an investigative report into the supposed bias against women in comedy. It doesn't really probe that topic too deeply. Instead it becomes more of a reality show about Bonnie and her husband, fellow comedian Rich Voss. This is all for the better, because the interaction between the two is far more interesting (and funny) than delving into sexism and other heady topics.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on Nintendo DS (8/10)

Spirit Tracks Box ArtIt took me nearly half a decade to finish this one. Not that it's terribly difficult, I just put it down at some point and forgot to finish it. I suppose that's not really a ringing endorsement. Oh well.

This installment in the series feels much like its predecessor, The Phantom Hourglass. The hook here is that over world travel takes place on trains rather than boats. Also, this time around Zelda is with you as a spirit who can possess the bodies of various armored "phantoms". This leads to some decent puzzles in which you need to control both characters in order to achieve your goals.