Robert Wm. Gomez's

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.

Ecologia Del Delitto / Gli Orrori Del Castello Di Norimberga / Cani Arrabbiati by Stelvio Cipriani (7/10)

Format: 
CD

This is a double CD set of Mario Bava soundtracks. Cipriani's work is a little corny at times. To my ears, it's often indistinguishable from Scooby Doo background music. However, about two-thirds of this set is pretty good. I especially like the bongos on Bay of Blood and the kinetic harpsichord in Rabid DogsBaron Blood is a bit too muzak for my tastes.

Les Cauchemars Naissent La Nuit - Nightmares Come At Night by Bruno Nicolai (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Bruno Nicolai is often cited as Ennio Morricone's conductor for many of his soundtracks. I get the feeling that the two, as they both cranked out giallo scores, literally borrowed from each other during the early seventies. Les Cauchemars has the free-form experimentalism of your standard Italian thriller soundtrack. Many of the songs alternate between being based around a disjointed, percussive honky-tonk piano sound and ambient violin notes. Although there's no catchy title song, the CD good for what it is... a party ender.

Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt on PC (10/10)

Witcher 3

Witcher 3 is a massive open world RPG that's full of detail in terms of visuals and story. It's was no surprise that it would take weeks for me to finish. As of right now GOG is telling me that I spent 100 hours to complete the main story line and I still have two expansions to complete. There's just so much to explore and do.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan (7/10)

An entertaining read that pretty much says everything funny that can be said about food. I've read a couple of these books by comedians lately and the problem is that the inner voice in my head that is reading these books just doesn't have the comedic timing of a Jim Gaffigan.

Star Trek Beyond (5/10)

The destruction of this venerable brand continues in this latest reboot sequel. This is not the contemplative sci-fi of the original series. It's balls-out action all da way. As such, it's enjoyable trash but the chemistry of the original crew is gone and the plot is your basic "stop the doomsday device" trope. The use of a Beastie Boys song in the climax is the worst of the worst. Simon Pegg should be ashamed.

I Malamondo / La Tarantola Dal Ventre Nero by Ennio Morricone (7/10)

Format: 
CD

I originally bought this dual soundtrack CD because I wanted the music from La Tarantola Dal Ventre Nero. That soundtrack is great and I eventually got a better. more complete version of it. The highlights from that score are included here. The other score included, I Malamondo, has a decidedly lighter tone to it. At times it sounds like a sixties sitcom theme song or circus music. Not my favorite of the Maestro's work.

Macchie Solari by Ennio Morricone (8/10)

Format: 
CD

The title track of this giallo soundtrack is a fantastic piece of somber Morricone pop. The rest of the CD is typical creepy atmospherics with the occasional bass groove and breathless victim noises.

Return of the Evil Dead (6/10)

The follow-up to Tombs of the Blind Dead is only slightly less bad than the original in that there is more gore, a little more tension, and there's this guy:

Murdo

Nothing better than a b-movie creep-a-zoid. Still, the blind dead are even less of a threat than slow-moving Romero zombies. Just run away ya idiots.