Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Media of the Month: August 2015

Haven't done one of these in quite a while. A quick end-of-the-month wrap up of what I've been spending my free time on. Quick impressions, nothing much. A recommend/neutral/avoid judgement based on the experience. Anyway. Let's begin. Some movies, a couple games, and a book!

A surprisingly somber movie. Went in expecting a dumb action hoorah film. Instead, got what I'd call one of the best tank movies ever, up there with The Beast of War. Also, it was loosely based on real events (a lone tanker soldier held off an entire German company and survived.) Shia LaBeouf did an excellent job, as did Brad Pitt. Everyone else did a solid job. The whole anti-SS attitude was on-point with historical attitudes towards the SS. Some of the plot was kind of...meh, but overall it was really powerful. "Wait until you see it. What a man can do to another man."

Solomon Kane
One of the worst book-to-film adaptations of a Robert E. Howard character I've ever seen. Red Sonja or Conan the Barbarian (the Schwarzenegger one) are leagues above this. Solomon Kane is a fascinating character, and this movie tossed that all away. The whole point of Solomon Kane is that HE CAN NEVER GO HOME, and this movie ends with him coming home. Ugh. This could have been great. It wasn't. The action was bad, the cinematography was bad, the adaptation of the character and setting was bad. So disappointing. I love Solomon Kane. One of my favorite pulp fantasy characters. So disappointing. 

Jurassic World
Another one I'm probably going to do a full review of eventually. Really enjoyed seeing this in theaters. It's dumb and loud, and not nearly as good as Jurassic Park. But it's still good. The flaw in Lost World and 3 is that they tried to have BOTH action and the real somber tone of the first movie. You can't do that. World mostly abandons the somber tone in favor of full on action. Which is a dang smart move. There were a couple scenes where I was literally on the edge of my seat chanting. Not something I do often. Some definite weak elements (the whole brothers plot is just the Tim/Lex dynamic from Jurassic Park, for example). 

Mad Max: Fury Road

One of the best chase movies ever. I'd put it up there with The Road Warrior and Death Race 2000 for my favorite carmageddon films. The characters are great, the action and stunts excellent, everything is superlative, yo. It's great. I want to watch this again. And again. And again. Also the Doof Wagon is the best. 

Pivotal Moments
Okay, some heavy bias here. My good friend wrote this, and I helped proof it. It's a collection of interconnected short stories about an extended nuclear family. It's kind of a mix of family drama and scifi/fantasy elements. I almost want to classify it as magical realism. Anyway, family drama, weird powers, a theme of homecoming. It's only like 8 bucks, so if any of that sounds good to you at all, check it out. About the worst thing I can say about it is that her view of the world is much rosier than mine. Which says more about me than about her writing. 

Fallout: New Vegas
Playing this on PC for the first time, with mods. I'm going to do a full write-up at some point, but there have been some highs and some lows. A couple of really excellent mods ("The Inheritance" and the "New Vegas Bounties" series stand out, as does Fellout), as well as quite a few that rely WAY too heavily on uber-difficult combat to make up for their utter lack of plotline or moral nuance (*cough* "Fortune Canyon," "Badlands" *cough*). Seriously, though. Fallout is pretty morally grey. Having my two options be "free the slaves" or "slit the slaves' throats" isn't particularly nuanced. "The Inheritance" and "New Vegas Bounties" handle that greyness quite well. I'm not sure if it's the mods, or just bad luck, but this playthrough has been a lot glitchier than my 360 playthrough years ago. Not that I mind, since they're not exactly frequent crashes, but it's still annoying, a little bit at least. Overall, I'm having a great time. I rank New Vegas above Fallout 3, which I know is blasphemy to some. But this feels like a great warmup for Fallout 4.

The Witcher
Gah. I don't have the fortitude to finish this. I'm in the final act, but the combat has gotten so grindy and repetitive that I can't stomach it anymore. It's like Diablo, but with all the fun sucked out of it. The story is great, but just… Yeah. A full writeup of this is coming when I actually get around to finishing it. I really want to get to Assassins of Kings and The Wild Hunt

Metroid Prime Trilogy
Been playing this off and on when I feel like turning the old Nintendo Wii on for a bit. Forgot how amazing the atmosphere is. It's incredibly  well-done. A lot of horror games could learn from this game. The sense of isolation, the combat, everything in this trilogy is amazing.

Fallout Shelter
This game has the distinction of being one of two free-to-play games I've ever spent money on. Yeah. That's how good it is. The vault-management is well-done, the humor is great, overall a ton of fun.