This was a surprisingly good martial arts film that's heavy on dark tone and light on the karate. Films like this are why I endure so much Shaw Bros. garbage. I know all the tropes, yet this movie was fresh and surprising. There's a very solid spaghetti western vibe throughout. A highly recommended entry point if you are interested in martial arts movies.
This movie is exactly what late 80s art movies are supposed to be. It's the very definition of style over substance. The whole affair is filmed like an elaborate stage play. Every set has a color theme to which characters' clothing is matched as they move from room to room. Being a late 80s art film, it is an unwritten rule that it is to push the boundaries of taste, and thus is filled with all sorts of unnecessary nudity and uncomfortable themes. For all its weirdness, I found the actual story to be a bit predictable.
So, we know there's been an worldwide pandemic and it involves a nasty rash and some inky vomit. Now that that is out of the way, let's watch a paranoid family take in some house guests. This seems like a horror movie, but aside from a couple of dream sequences, it's really just a mild thriller. By the end I was disappointed that the outside world's goings-on were never really explained, but by then I was somewhat invested in the characters, although their actions in the climax didn't quite make sense to me.
Set in early 20th Century, so much of this movie's tension could be solved with a gun. Instead it's a series of one-versus-many street brawls. The most likable character in the whole thing is the aging crime boss who our woman-slapping protagonist is seeking to replace. The fights are brutal and bloody, so it's got that going for it.
Vanquish is a third-person action game that has little to offer in terms of plot or characters. Its story feels like every other Japanese console game. Devil May Cry 4 comes to mind, and if you liked that game, you have a problem. The dialogue is all painfully cliché and tries very hard to be hip with nerdy allusions to action movie lines and bad-ass hero shots. Pretty cringe inducing.
But all this is moot. This game is really about its fast-paced game-play and mechanics. While certainly not revolutionary, the ability to skid around the map at hyper-speed is fun and challenging. Add on top of that a little bullet-time and you have an enjoyable but mindless way to pass a few hours.
The Shaolin formula is a non-monk enters the temple seeking to learn the tools of revenge. He undergoes ridiculous challenges and emerges seeing the error of his ways... but still gets revenge. The formula is in full effect here except, instead of a lone student, there are about a dozen of them. As such, the movie lacks any focus and by the time the end arrived, with its epic 15 minute battle, I didn't care about anything that was happening. Shaolin challenges offered: pointy rocks, jumping with leg weights, deadly mechanical gauntlet and rice stirring.
Somewhat self-aware low-budget slasher film about killer robots in a shopping mall. With the exception of one noteworthy moment, doesn't quite deliver on the thrills or the gore. I was more interested in the 80s mall backdrop and feeling nostalgic for some of those old storefronts.
With the completion of VI, I'm getting close to having played all the games in the Ultima series. I own boxed copies of the Apple ][ versions of III–V, but when it came to VI, Origin switched to MS-DOS. In 1990 I was starting college, I didn't own a computer, let alone a PC, and, as the years passed, history became legend, legend became myth, and for two-and-a-half thousand years, the Ultima series passed out of all knowledge... or something like that.
In the late 90s I upgraded from an Apple IIgs to a Windows 95 PC and was reintroduced to the series via a soundcard bundled version of Ultima VIII: Pagan. That game was mediocre at best and it didn't finish it until years later—after I having played through a CD-ROM Classics version of Ultima VII. VII was a pain to get running on a Windows machine, but it was worth it. It truly is the precursor to modern, open-world RPGs like Skyrim in both its scope and richness of detail.
The False Prophet almost achieves the level of refinement that Ultima VII boasts. It's not quite there yet, retaining a bit of the Apple ][ era feel. Maybe that's why I think I liked this a bit more than VII. It doesn't try to hide the fact that it's a game. The interface takes up half the screen, there are a dozen or so unique commands (like a LucasArts point and click adventure), and there still are actual RPG elements like leveling-up and turn-based combat.
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.
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.