Welcome to Pages of Fun!

This is the personal Web site of Robert Wm. Gomez. I am an artist, musician and nerd living in Chicago, Illinois who has been maintaining this site (in one form or another) since 1996. Enjoy your visit!

Paths of Glory (7/10)

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Stanley Kubrick made a World War I movie? Well, I learn something every day. In reality, most of this is a sort of courtroom drama about three soldiers who are scapegoated and tried as cowards in order to teach all the other soldiers a lesson. The premise is stupid, but this is supposed to be the French army so maybe this is possible. The big theme here seems to be how, in war, everyone at all levels exploits their positions of power. The movie is thought provoking for sure but not as memorable as the director’s other work.

Speaking of Murder (6/10)

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Speaking of Murder is the first film in a three disc collection of French noir movies I recently purchased from Kino Lorber. It tells the story of a paroled ex-con whose brother leads an active band of bank robbers. He is trying to make good with his girl but is targeted by the cops for his brother’s robberies. The movie drags in the middle when it slips into family drama and we never really get a feeling for the characters. The gangster brother runs a legit business but still robs banks? He’s filthy villain but is concerned that his little brother is in love with a beautician? Doesn’t really make sense, but the movie starts to get entertaining again in the last act as the “big score” robbery goes awry.

Targets (7/10)

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Boris Karloff’s final film role has him basically playing himself, an aging horror movie star whose films are now seen as camp that can’t match the horrors of the day’s headlines. Elsewhere, an unhinged war veteran has decided to go on a shooting spree reminiscent of the Austin tower shooter. The killings are pretty uncomfortable to watch, but this is contrasted with a lot of goofy banter between Karloff and his pals. Only during the final confrontation does it all seem to make tonal sense. There’s a lot of Roger Corman filler and the shooter’s motivation is never really established (like Merv Griffin, he just loves to kill) but it’s a movie worth watching.

SiN Gold on PC (3/10)

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This game absolutely sucks. The graphics are just what you’d expect from a `1998 Quake engine game. The problem isn’t the visuals, it’s the sluggish, stilted game play. The weapons are painfully underpowered. You will spend several clips at point blank range to kill the most basic of grunt enemies.

This was a failed attempt at building an FPS around story and characters, The story feels like a Mountain Dew commercial and the characters excrete 90s extreme ‘tude. Somewhere in the process they forgot that video games are supposed to be fun. It includes such genius design quirks as being killed by closing locker doors and rats. The last third of the game starts with one of the worst water levels ever designed. I eventually just turned on an invincibility cheat and finished the game. Even that was tedious.

Nonagon Bicycle - Woodcut

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This image started out as a possible Nonagon album cover design. It only got as far as a quick sketch on a wood block before the idea was vetoed and we moved on to something else. I found the block while cleaning out my studio and decide this was worth finishing.

The completed image was printing in a small run of 12 prints and I’ve put them up for sale hoping to cash in on Nonagon-mania.

Time-Lapse of the Printing Process

Broforce on PC (8/10)

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I didn’t immediately warm up to this platform shooter. For one thing, it’s very twitchy, chaotic, and brutally unfair at times. Broforce feels like it’s another, more-stylized version of Super Meat Boy. One wrong step and you are dead! You’re expected to try, try, try again. I was prepared to just rage quit this game but then a routine game patch intervened. The game just stopped working for me and I set it aside. (Citrix Workspace and the Unity Engine don’t play nice together)

Fast forward a year or two or ten and a new update to the game was released that fixed my problems and added half-a-dozen or so new bros. I thought it was time to revisit Broforce. In the interim, I had discovered that I like unrelenting bullet-hell shmups. I’m now team spaz-gaming! My attitude had been adjusted and I think I am a Broforce convert.

So, the game isn’t quite as perfection-based as I thought it was. There is a huge random element in terms of which of the twenty or so characters you are forced to play. Once you start to understand the abilities of each of the bros you begin to learn how to use their skills to combat the seemingly overwhelming odds against you. Certain characters are useless on some levels and you just have to die and try again. But when a particular character clicks, it’s invigorating!

The one thing that I loved about this game, even when I hated it, was the Randy “Machoman” Savage-inspired narration. There’s something about the screams of, “YOU CAN DO IT!!!” that tickles me every time. Also, the game has multiple endings based on how you approach the final task that are a direct descendant of Jordan Mechner’s Karateka. Well done and hilarious.

Dressed to Kill (7/10)

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I don’t think I get Brian Depalma yet. The whole time I was watching this I was thinking about how even mid-tier giallo directors’ films are more interesting. The acting and dialogue is embarrassingly bad despite the stellar cast. The solution to the mystery was obvious very early on. I suppose there is a bit of style and envelope pushing in terms of subject matter. I read the subtext as a good girl wanting to be bad and a bad girl wanting to be good and a bad guy wanting to be a bad girl or something. I could be convinced otherwise, but for now this film was meh to me.

Breakout (8/10)

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Good gravy, the 70s were a great time for movies! It seems like they would greenlight a picture based on a single stunt or scene no matter how insane. In this movie there are two! Charles Bronson is excellent as an edge-of-the-law pilot tasked with breaking Robert Duvall(!) out of a Mexican prison. Also in the mix is a skinny, 70s Randy Quaid and screen legend John Huston. So much star power in what is essentially a Canon-level B-movie. Duvall is underused but Bronson shines with his largely comedic take on his role. This is not a great movie by any stretch, but the final act makes up for all the laggy middle bits. There’s some great aerial stunts and a balls-to-the-metal ending for the main villain.

The World’s End (7/10)

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The third Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright collaboration feels much like the last two. Lots of jokes that come from strategic editing and lots of pub culture. There is a science fiction twist that eventually drives the plot in the second half of the film, but, to be honest, I don’t think it really needed that. The story of old friends dealing with aging is far more interesting than the Body Snatchers homage.