spreading the talent

Pick Of The Week

Review: Once Upon A Time Season 6

once_upon_a_time_season_6Fairy tales have certainly influenced my writing of children’s books, and even come to life to some extent in my novels (particularly BONES AT BREAKFAST).  It is no secret that I enjoy them, but am very picky about what I choose to watch.  Once Upon a Time has always grabbed my attention because of its inclusion of not just Disney versions of the tales, but also classic literature.

While Season 5 was a big dud in my mind, it had its high points.  Season 6 goes back to what made Season 1 so good, and included more classics.  It escaped the fairy tale world and made its way into some great fiction literature.

The Good: The additions of Aladdin, Mr. Hyde, Count of Monte Cristo, and a few others worked quite well, while characters like Cinderella finally got a proper back story.  The Evil queen vs Regina started out a little rough, but by the end I liked what they did with it.  The whole season provided a great canvas to end the current run of characters and it properly sets up season 7 as a reboot with Henry being an adult.

The Bad: There were still flaws with some of the narratives.  I feel that the Wicked Witch was wasted here, and Rumpelstiltskin was slightly under used, even though they both played a key role.  Emma and Hook were great together, but to me it seemed very redundant with Emma’s role this season.  Her performance didn’t move me at all, nor her story.  Even though they used other classic tales, I feel like it still lacked for the most part in diversity (as far as types of stories).

Overall: It wasn’t the best season, but way better than the worst.  The fact that they are rebooting next season is a welcome addition, but I’m still cautious with my hopes.  It could go two ways… 1) it could end up being a fantastic reboot, pretty much ignoring or only referencing the original characters.  Using them as cameos as fine, but I no longer want to see those people as a focus (except Henry’s story).  Although I wouldn’t mind Regina and Rumple still having significant roles.  They have a blank slate where they can go more horror with Dracula, more Frankenstein, etc etc that would really make it feel new.  Or 2) They could just rehash the same formula and have nothing new to bring to the table.  I’m hoping for the former, but in the meantime I’ll rate Season 6 with 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.

What were your thoughts?  And Where would you like the series to go from here?  Comment below.


Review DC TV shows 2016-2017 seasons

It’s time to review DC Comics’ Television properties, and how they fared this season.  I’ll keep it fairly simple this time around, but will take an overall look at the following: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow season 2, The Flash season 3, Arrow season 5, Supergirl season 2, Powerless season 1, and Gotham season 3.  I’ll also mention the crossover episode “Invasion” as a separate entity.

First up is Legends of Tomorrow Season 2:

dctvWhile the first season was subpar, the concept improved for the second season.  The good: The characters were all done well.  They were really the focus of what made this year work.  Finally seeing a version of the Legion of Doom was a much better antagonist than Vandal Savage the year before.  The cliff hanger at the end of the finale was also really great segue into making me want to come back for at least the premier of ssn 3.  The Bad: The writers of this show have no idea what they are doing with time travel.  They talk about time aberrations and how they are supposed to stop them from happening, but the characters have no problem sleeping with other people from different timelines or killing them.  Then they worry about one mistake that Stein made by talking to his younger self which created a daughter he never had.  I call B.S. that this would be their worst problem.  Overall: This show is just painful to watch.  I keep watching because the comic book nerd in me desires to see these great characters.  There are moments that make me smile, but overall it’s not something a regular audience of non-comic book fans would want to see.  If they could understand a little more about the potential of traveling through time, then it’d have potential, but otherwise it’s just sloppy writing.  I give season 2 a sCrypt rating of 2.5/5.

Supergirl Season 2:

Where to begin… hmmm… The transition of this show to the CW really hurt it, but I can’t just blame the station move.  The Good: Martian Manhunter, Superman, Mon-El, The Guardian and Teri Hatcher were the best things about the season.  Their stories were good, and though I had reservations about the Guardian, he turned out to be quite enjoyable.  The Bad:  Oh where to begin.  Fire all the writers.  It’s the only thing that will save this show because it’s downright hard to watch.  First off is the Alex and Maggie relationship.  I get it.  They are an item.  I have no problem with a lesbian couple in the show, but this was so forced and hard to watch it made me cringe.  They spent more time focusing on this unnatural progression into a gay relationship that it often overshadowed the main narrative.  I knew we’d have Maggie in some sort of relationship with a woman too, but it could have been anyone else.  They changed Alex (who showed that she had an attraction to men in the first season) to being an item with Maggie.  The two characters on their own could be great, but the way this was forced was so bad the writers seemed like amateurs.  And before anyone claims that I’m bashing the LGBTQRSTUV community, that is not the case at all.  I’ve got friends and family who fall into that category.  I would have the exact same issues if they did this with straight characters because it was so badly done and took center stage over the rest of the plot.  Then they cut Cat Grant out of the picture… then they had Supergirl beat Superman in a really lame fighting scene that went on way too long for its lack of showmanship, then they changed Cat from one political standing to another without explanation and tried to force a message, then they had Lynda Carter as an alien president without much explanation as to why they would not feel threatened by a president who had the biggest lie of any president (and that’s saying a lot nowadays), then there’s that weird ending which I can only assume means we are getting Doomsday on a TV budget when they couldn’t even do it right in the movies.  WTF writers?  Did anyone watch this heaping bag of horse manure before they decided to air it on television?  Ugh I’m done my rant.  Overall: When a hero like Supergirl with some major characters is worse than watching a show with bad time travel in its writing, there is something amiss.  I can barely give this second season a 1 out of 5 sCrypt Ratings.

Arrow Season 5:

Thank goodness this got better.  While last season was subpar, this season was my favorite by far.  The Good: Everything in the latter half of the season was great.  I was upset at first that they were going to do ANOTHER Black Canary instead of reforming Laurel of Earth 2, but when it turned out her name was Dinah Drake, I accepted it.  Hopefully we see her and Oliver as an item and keep that Arrow / Black Canary love story.  Deathstroke’s return and the whole final episode was very emotional.  Season 6 could quite literally be a reboot to the whole series with just Oliver and his son, but I’m assuming one or two people will escape the island.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Diggle, Dinah, Speedy, and Slade to have survived.  The Bad: In the beginning of the season it was very rushed.  They jam packed all these new recruits onto the team, and it took away from story.  Wild Dog was annoying at first, but I grew to really like the character.  Other than the expansion of “Team Arrow”, I didn’t find much wrong here.  Overall: There’s a lot they can do for the next season now that the flashbacks are all caught up.  I have no idea where they will go with it, but if they continue this approach it’d be more than welcome.  I give season 5 of arrow a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Invasion Crossover episode:

I didn’t think they’d be able to pull off crossing over Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, but they managed… sort of.  Obviously their budget had limitations, but the story worked and each character was utilized well.  If I had one complaint it would be that it really wasn’t a 4 part episode, because it began as a stinger at the end of the Supergirl episode, which was rehashed in Flash.  Despite this false advertisement in my mind, it was enjoyable.  I give it a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash Season 3:

This season had its ups and downs.  The Good: Jay Garrick and Wally West were very welcome in this season.  The Flashpoint approach was done well, and Killer Frost’s story really hit the mark; even if I wanted to see her become a full fledged villain at the end.  Who knows where that’ll go.  They hit an emotional level with the viewers too that won’t be forgotten.  The Bad: Savitar, while not all that horrible of a villain just looked really stupid.  I hated the costume, and wasn’t really sold on the true reveal of his identity.  The story felt drawn out with some great filler episodes to break it up, but that detracted from the continual plot.  There was a point during the Grodd storyline (which I loved, so it’s not all bad), that I almost forgot about Savitar’s threat.  Overall: They managed to clear up some of the cluster-F that was last season, and created a pretty decent flow.  The twists and shocking reveals really held it high on the standards chart.  If there is any season finale that sets up the premier of next season it would be this one.  I hope we see more of Jay Garrick and even Wally suiting up as the Flash would be great.  As long as there isn’t another speedster as the main villain I think Flash can do a whole lot more.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Powerless-S01E04-1080p-HDTVPowerless Season 1:

I’ll get straight to it.  The Good: If you enjoy the Office, and it’s type of humor, then this show is for you.  It’s funny and creative.  I loved the characters, and the fact that they are a little over the top.  It sounds like a dumb idea, but the show really worked for me.  It was a break from all the other comic book shows on television right now.  The Bad: Aside from very horrible budget effects and cosplay looking costumes, the only other bad thing I can say is that it was cancelled.  Overall: If I had to say that there was one show that paid homage to the comics, while feeling refreshing it was this one.  I only got to see the first 9 episodes, as the final 3 were pulled when the show was cancelled.  If more people gave it a chance, I think it’d have been a hit.  I give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have gotten a whole other point if not for the costumes and effects.

gotham-season-3Gotham Season 3:

The latter half of the season renewed my faith in the show, but it’s still got a lot of work to do.  The Good: The way the villains were handled, and Bruce’s evolution were great.  I feel like the creators are starting to get that Batman feel without the Bat.  I can’t emphasize more that The Riddler and Jerome/The Joker were the best thing all season.  The Bad: Penguin being gay isn’t the issue, but the way they made him during that story arc was flat out pathetic.  He didn’t even seem like the Penguin during that batch of episodes.  It makes sense to make him gay if they were going to because he’s one character that never really had a love interest in the comics.  I just wish they could have made him as good a character as he was before this season, and after Ivy saved him.  Gordon still seems flat to me as well.  Every scene with him and Lee made me cringe.  There are also inconsistencies in the writing.  Why did Freeze’s gun not kill his last victim, when it did so to everyone else?  There was also an opportunity to use the same casting for Ra’s Al Ghul as with Arrow to connect the shows in some way, but they failed to do that.  Overall: It’s starting to really feel like it fits in with the rest of the shows, even to the point where I wouldn’t mind having a crossover if it made sense to do so.  There’s a lot of things set up that make it convoluted, but can be handled well.  At this point I’m not sure how they can keep with the current path without a Batman in there, and though we saw Bruce suit up as some vigilante he’s still way too young and immature with his thinking to become the full fledged Bat.  Time will tell.  I give the season 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think of these shows?  What were the high and low moments for you and where do you see them going?  Comment below, and let’s discuss.  P.S. I realize I didn’t put Izombie in here.  The reason is because I just can’t watch it.  It’s appalling.  Maybe you disagree.


Review: Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD ssn 4

Agents_of_S_H_I_E_L_D__season_4_posterMy season end reviews kick off with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season 4.  I did a review mid season, so I won’t get into too much detail other than a few minor spoilery things, and general thoughts.

Overall, this season was superb.  The writing strayed from campiness and into darker territory.  While this can be a curse for a lot of shows or movies, the darkness worked here because of Ghost Rider’s inclusion and the Dark Hold.  Both were handled very well.

The second half of the season gave us an alternate “What If” world created by AIDA.  Her role as Madame Hydra was surprising, but also a welcome addition to the plot.  Usually I’m not for the combination of characters, but in this case it was handled well.  The emotional buildup especially with Mack and the loss of The Patriot, gave the show a more realistic feel.

It’ll be interesting to see where it all leads next season.  There’s Mack and Yo-Yo who will obviously be in a strained relationship, but they aren’t the only ones.  Fitz and Simmons have an interesting new dynamic with Fitz’s dark side having affected everyone, and Coulson and May also have some places to go.

We are left wondering a few things: 1) Where are they at the end?  Is this a SWORD installation in space?  2) With the Inhumans on the run again, will this be how they introduce the new Inhumans show?  I’d like to see Daisy make an appearance somehow.  3) Where did Ghost Rider go exactly?  and finally 4) Who will be the big bad of season 5?

Time will tell.  From what was once a cringeable series, it has now become something I look forward to.  It’s not quite up there with Netflix shows, but that’s to be expected.  Season 4 gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts and speculation.


Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2

GotG_Vol2_posterThis is one of those movies where the trailer doesn’t do it justice.  I went into this thinking there was going to be a corny forced humor that wouldn’t sit well with an overall semi-serious Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I was proven wrong.  Is that to say there weren’t some moments like that?  No, of course there were, but those moments were done tactfully and worked for the moment.

There will be spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

A flashback to 1980 has us seeing a young Kurt Russell and how his character of Ego met StarLord’s mom.  I can’t help but notice something here, and let me know if you think the same.  In the 80s there was a movie called “Starman.”  It was about an alien man who fell in love with a woman and drove cross country with her.  At the end of that movie the Starman left and she was assumingly pregnant because of the sexual scenes in it.  The movie to me was a good movie, but left too many open ends never to be addressed.  The character in Starman was played by Jeff Bridges.  Kurt Russell’s younger CGI self looked almost identical to Bridges in that film.  I know they are two different universes, but could James Gunn have used this as inspiration to give answers to a film that never gave them?  Who knows, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax were pretty much spot on with how they were at the end of the last movie.  Star-Lord realizing he is part Celestial was worrisome, but what was a risky maneuver of changing his comic book history, really played out well.  Toddler Groot was a waste to me.  I know it was done for the cute factor, and it made sense as he’s more grown than the end of the last movie.  I don’t think any other way would have been good for him to be presented, but at the same time he just felt like he was there.  There really wasn’t much for him to do.  My main example is the battle in the beginning with the alien squid like creature.  All Groot did was dance, like Star Lord did in the opening sequence of the first one, which to me was the worst part of the first movie.

Skipping back to Ego, who was my second biggest concern going into this, we get an actual comic book representation of the character plus more.  Ego always fascinated me, and to see that they actually showed his full on form and gave him a good origin, made the film.  He was easily my favorite part of the whole movie.  Everything about Ego made sense and didn’t feel stale.

The true father figure in Yondu was heartwarming, and I think it was wise to have Yondu sent off that way.  Michael Rooker is always enjoyable to watch, but his character’s death brings together what was a falling apart team, and then some.  Oh, and he had his longer head fin, which was my gripe about his appearance not having it before.

The Gamora vs Nebula story felt strange in a way.  I’m still not sure I believe that Nebula would have spared her sister, but the explanation worked.  I just think that she’d have been better beside Thanos during Infinity War than against him.

Taserface was exactly what Rocket pointed him out to be.  He was nothing more than that, but served his purpose for humor and the slight bump in the road that he provided.

Finally we get the other characters.  A Cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was only in the scrolling credits, which makes me wonder if he originally had a role in this and in Thor Ragnarok.  It was strange placement.  Cosmo the Space Dog also only shows up in the scrolling credits.  Howard the Duck is present again in another great few seconds of appearance.  I love that they do things like this for the fans.  The quick spots by David Hasselhoff and Pac-man were silly, but for my generation were great additions.

The post credits scenes were quite a mix.  1) Yondu’s dart impaling Drax by accident was funny, but not really necessary.  2) The reveal of Adam Warlock’s cocoon is huge.  Although it was in the last movie as a post credit thing, this time we actually get a good look and confirmation of who is inside.  I’m assuming he will start off as a villain for Volume 3.  3) Teenage Groot, while unnecessary, showed purpose.  While only a funny throw away, it pretty much confirms that from here on out we will see adult Groot.  Teenage Groot was great, but I really think this was done to transition the character. 4) The Ravagers original team headed by Sylvester Stallone was awesome.  This sets up a potential union between them and the Guardians for either Infinity War or Guardians 3.  If you didn’t know who they were, then the characters (played by well known actors) were: Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie 27, Aleta, Kruggar, and Mainframe.

5) Stan Lee being revealed as one of the Watchers makes a lot of sense, but I feel ripped off.  He should have been in Watcher form here like the others.  So it begs to question… was he just an informant to the Watchers, or is he an actual Watcher.  It’s something that will probably never be addressed again, but time will tell.  At least they are tying this in.  This also makes for an interesting thought.  Watchers can see many realities.  This basically says that anything Stan Lee has cameoed in could in some way be tied into the Marvel universe.  This includes other studios, versions of characters, etc.

So what did you think?  The soundtrack to me wasn’t as good as the first, but is bound to be open to many more things from here on out.  Overall it was a very funny, action packed, and visually stunning film that is worthy of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

 


Review: Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix

Iron_Fist_NetflixUnlike most of my reviews, I’m going to keep this one straight to the point and less in depth.  The reason is because of the amounts of positive vs negative the show had.  My negatives are NOT what other people complained about.  I guess I’m a purist and less concerned about appeasing to the masses, because the negatives that I’ve read is more along those lines.  That being said, there is a lot of positive too, that isn’t given enough credit.

Let’s set the record straight.  This is not the best Marvel Netflix show.  It is in my opinion tied with Jessica Jones for last place, but certainly not bad.  The controversial casting is absolute crap.  Danny Rand as a white guy has always been.  The actor did a great job with what he was given, and I’m hoping his mannerisms are corrected as this is sort of an origin to the Iron Fist character.  My complaints?  Use a razor.  I’m tired of the scruffy look.  Danny should in my mind be clean and youthful looking.  He was with monks after all.  We already have Daredevil, Jessica, and Luke being total badasses.  He should be just as kick ass, but not so tough looking.

The Hand played a decent role in the show, with the highlight easily being Madame Gao, and Davos.  The latter of these two also had a good set up for becoming the next villain (Steel Serpent).  Claire is obviously the glue to bring the Defenders together, so her role although it felt sort of forced, worked for what it was.  Colleen and the Meachums were also very good in every scene.

Action wise this played out just like a classic kung fu movie, with heavy story and not a lot of fighting until the end.  The problem here is that the fighting seemed subpar.  For someone who is supposedly the best fighter in the world, he sure gets beat up a lot.

The first five episodes really had me hooked.  Then episode six came and it slowly went down hill.  The final episode was great, but then they threw on that extra two minute ending and I wanted to forget everything else.  That ending was not good.  They threw it there to get people to come back and see what happens next, but it felt disrespectful to everything else it had done over 13 episodes.

In my opinion Iron Fist doesn’t really work on its own.  I think it has to be Powerman and Iron fist or a heroes for Hire.  That would be worth the time.  I wanted to really love this show, and though I liked it, I can’t claim I’d ever rewatch it.  Other reviews say Danny should have been an Asian guy.  Stop changing races and looks of characters!!!  We get that enough.  If any thing I’d think that’d be offensive to Asians to be typecast in that role.  Danny being trained by Asian monks is what makes the idea work.  They just need to figure out how to do all of that.

One final thought… they could have done a little better of explaining how he got his powers.  I know, and comic readers know, but any new comer will be left slightly confused by the lack of information.

Iron Fist gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  It is enjoyable at its good moments, and disappointing at its bad ones.  These fall 50/50 throughout the whole thing, so I’ve voted right down the middle.

What did you think?  Comment below.


Review: Stranger Things Season 1

stranger-thingsOkay, I know I’m behind on this one, but best things come to those who wait, right?  I’ll keep this review fairly brief.

Season 1 of Stranger things was a hesitation on my part.  I didn’t want to watch because everyone said such great things about it, that I didn’t want to be let down.  This is part of the reason why I never watched Lost, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, or Walking Dead (past season 1).  I just think things get taken out of context and hyped too much.

For Stranger Things though, I can say the reviews were mostly right.  I am stuck wondering if this is a generational thing though.  The show was nostalgic for me, and reminded me of how life was when I grew up in the 80s.  Okay, maybe not the upside down, or monster aspect, but the way childhood and family life was handled.  There were less worries about people being bad, and more about the fantastical.

Some of the show’s narrative was predictable at parts, but mostly it was given a good level of suspense and story telling to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.  Credit must really be given to the cast.  Each of these actors and actresses were outstanding and convincing in their performances.

I don’t want to review much about it because it takes away from it if you haven’t seen it.  All I can say is that it is easily binge worthy, and I can’t wait to see what season 2 has in store.  I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins only because some originality was lost due to nostalgic things, but this is not at all a flaw with the series.  In fact, I think it is part of what makes it what it is.  What did you think about Stranger Things Season 1?

 


A Whole new experience

IMG_7659[1]Whether you are into video games or not, this is something you must try.  Before I get into how amazing Zero Latency’s VR Arena is, I want to take a moment to mention where I played it.

Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos of PA was probably my second favorite vacation of all time (Second only to Disney).  The décor, food, water park, arcade, shops, and comfort of the rooms are only part of the experience.  We stayed from Friday through Sunday, and it served as a perfect little get away.

Now onto the gaming experience.  I was privileged to try the Arena and given a selection of which scenario I’d like to try.  As of right now there are only a handful, but this is just the beginning of an era in VR technology.  I’ve tried the headsets you can buy in the store, but they don’t even compare.  The arena is in a full sized warehouse.  It is an empty dark room with some circles on the floor and walls.  You wear a vest, headset and VR helmet, which puts you into the game using a series of motion capture sensors.

I had the honor of meeting Andre, who works with the company responsible for the games.  We spoke a bit about the two available games (they run about 20 minutes each), and what is on the horizon for the company.  Hint: They are opening more locations around the country and the world.

You must be 13 to play these games and that is for a safety aspect.  The one game I didn’t try was called “Engineerium.”  It is a cartoony world where you solve puzzles to progress. There is no shooting or action, but the bit that I saw was out of this world… literally.  It works in an M.C. Esher manner where you can walk on walls and upside down.  In real life you are standing and walking in a room, but your mind sees and tells your body something else.

Since I just did the Escape the Room experience a few weeks ago, I wanted to get into the genre where I first began writing books.  Since FLESH AND LEFTOVERS was my debut novel years ago, I felt it’d be good to revisit zombies.  So, I played “Survival.”

I was warned before hand that this can be an overwhelming and downright intense experience.  I’ve tried military simulators in the past, so I wasn’t worried.  I now retract that line of thought.  This is something way beyond that.  Picture yourself inside a video game, able to walk around in a place that responds to your body movements.

The survivalist in me didn’t need the four weapons supplied.  (You are given a shotgun, sniper rifle, assault rifle, and heavy assault rifle.)  You only actually carry one weapon in your hand, but a button on the side allows you to switch back and forth.  I’m a person who likes to make every shot count, and conserve my ammunition.  I stayed mostly with the light assault rifle for short controlled bursts.  It paid off.

IMG_7661[1]Myself, and 4 others were put into the scenario together.  I was the only person who hadn’t played it before, but was able to figure out a plan immediately.  In this game you must defend your position from a horde of zombies.  Not only is it important to make your shots count (headshots are the best), but to utilize the explosive barrels, and keep your defense barriers erected to prevent an onrush.

Andre played with us, and he took a sniper position on an elevated platform.  (In reality he was really on the level we were, but to us and him in game, he was up high.)  We worked well together for the first ten minutes.  Our base was heavily fortified.  But then it became frantic.  More zombies came, and this is when the stress began to kick in.  Andre called down to tell us that he was coming down to help out.  The zombies started finding a way up to him, and it was becoming harder to maintain our borders.

Then someone shouted, “We’ve got a breach!”  and as I turned around I saw a zombie within a few feet of me.  I ran.  Yes, literally ran away as I fired into its face.  My flaw was not thinking about what was behind me, and the surround sound told me I needed to turn fast.  A massive beast of an undead man towered over me by a few inches and I managed to dodge in the nick of time.

At this point in the game, I actually felt anxiety.  I kept telling myself this wasn’t real, but when I say I could feel fear build within me, I’m not lying.  I breathed slowly and tried to act calm to concentrate on the task, and not the flurry of emotion.  One of my squad mates was then “eaten.”  When you die, you stay in place in a neutral state until you are respawned ten seconds later.  I did not die, but when your team mate does, it becomes even harder.

Movement is the key.  This is not a shoot em up game.  This is survival… and shooting is only part of that.  Communication and agility help as key factors.  Once the helicopter arrived to lift our platform, we ran to the extraction zone.  This was very difficult because you need to remain relatively confined at this point.  The good news is that you are all back to back, so you can cover each other and all sides.

Once our platform was lifted, I switched to my sniper rifle and began picking off the horde from a distance.  This was more calming and was a good wind down to the whole thing.  There are people who have run out on the scenario and have asked to be removed from the game for its intensity.  It is only a game, but your mind does a great job of taking you into that virtual world.

If horror isn’t a thing for you, then you need to try the Engineerium.  It won’t scare you, or get your anxiety up, but will force your perception of reality into another world.

They also rank you in the game.  I scored the highest kills in my squad, and among the thousands of people who have played, I placed #115 in rank.  Apparently I’m a way better survivalist (though not the best) than a gamer, because if this were on a TV, I wouldn’t have the benefit of being able to see all my surroundings.

I can see this as a more improved training device, not just for fun, but for running special training for police and military at some point.  (Of course nothing will prepare you for the real thing, but this is an amazing step toward that)

I’ve attached a pic of my score, and if you head over to my Instagram page @rickpipito, you’ll see a little video clip of me being calibrated into the game.  I’ve also embedded a trailer of the game I played (below).  Picture what you see there, but up close and personal, and all around you.  The visuals and audio provided really take you to another place.  Also, head over to http://www.zerolatencyvr.com to learn more about it and all their games/locations.

Have you ever tried Virtual reality like this?  let me know what you think.  Comment with your thoughts on where gaming is going or anything else you want to say.

 

 

 

 


Review: Logan

loganDafne Keen.  Remember that name, because she’s a talented young actress in a movie filled with every aspect of the emotional spectrum.  I’m going to review Logan in my typical breakdown, so if you don’t want spoilers, then skip down to the final paragraph for my rating.  Otherwise, stick around for my character break down and feel free to share your thoughts on the film.

James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman gave us what we wanted.  He may not have always had the best material with which to work, but the man cared about what he did.  His portrayal of the character in this movie is the best out of them all.  The dynamic of his healing factor being practically gone made him very vulnerable.  Combine that with his care free attitude, and you’ve got a grumpy old man who is being poisoned by his own adamantium.  I must say that I’m happy he perished in the end.  I don’t want to see anyone take up the mantle of wolverine for a very long time after this (UNLESS it’s X-23).  We will get to that in a moment.

Professor Charles Xavier – As with Hugh, Patrick Stewart always shined in his role as the psychic mutant, but in this movie we are given another shift in the standard.  He’s got borderline alzheimers, and needs caring for.  I love that they addressed this disease in a mutant.  Imagine if in real life, one had his abilities and had no idea what they were doing with them.  There was a brief mention that he was the one responsible for the X-Men dying.  I’d have loved to have gotten a little more explanation on that, but I think it would have been unnecessary in the long run.  I was surprised he died the way that he did, which is a good thing.  It happened at a moment that was him confessing his own guilt.  What a perfect way to go (not in the manner that he died, but the fact that he’d gotten it all off his chest.

Zander Rice – Although a small role, it suited its purpose.  This was more about the characters, than the actual story, so he didn’t need to be doing more than he was.  We got his back story, and a nice tie in to the original weapon X program that his father ran.  In a way they respected all of the previous movies to an extent, despite the timeline being reset.  It shows that some of those original events may have happened the same or slightly different.

Donald Pierce and the Reavers – I was really hoping for Omega Red, a return of Lady Deathstrike, or Sabertooth as the villain.  When I heard the reavers were the antagonists, I shook my head and thought it was going to be a failure.  I am SO glad I was wrong.  They managed to make decent villains that matched the tone of this film in a way that was akin to Mad Max.  It worked really well.

Caliban – I loved Stephen Merchant in this role.  I don’t know why they recast him since Apocalypse, but he looked very similar, and for anyone not paying attention I’m sure they didn’t notice.  He played the part better than his predecessor, but I wish we’d have gotten a mention of his younger years in that way.  We were also presented with Zander Rice saying to gather the body, when Caliban sacrificed himself.  It set up 2 possible scenarios.  1) Caliban could be cloned and come back as a more deformed version (like in the comics) or 2) in the original Days of Future past storyline (in the comics) they used mutant hound trackers to locate the mutants.  This would make sense, as the anti-mutant sentiment was strong in this film.

Laura/X-23 – Remember that name I mentioned, Dafne Keen?  Well she played this part so well, that I think we can have a very VERY good version of wolverine from here on out.  In the comics, she’s the current Wolverine after the death of her father.  They’ve set it up, so I think she’d be perfect in all future incarnations.  I’d love to see her as part of the X-Force movie.  She did an outstanding job with her rage, caring, and rebellious nature, but when she was crying, “Daddy,” at the end I lost it.  I never cry in movies, and I could feel the tears trickling.  Excellent job, little lady.

Rictor and the New Mutants – Who were the new mutants?  Who knows, but the presence of Rictor could mean an X-Factor reference or set up.  While I’ve no real care for these characters in the comics, it’s nice to have this sort of nod in the movies, and despite James Mangold constantly saying this is a stand alone movie, the references to the greater universe seem to be abundant.  The use of the children here wasn’t overwhelming, but a decent nod to what’s possibly to come.  Could they be X-Factor like I said, or maybe recruits for Cable, or even a set up to what eventually could be an X-Men 2099?  Like I said, these don’t need to be all made into movies, but it’s fun for continuity and discussion sake.

X-24 – Here’s what I feel was a low point at first, but then my mind changed.  Hugh Jackman is basically younger here and more primal.  He’s even got a haircut and style to match what Sabretooth had in the first Wolverine movie.  Why then wasn’t Sabretooth used?  We never got a final showdown between the two.  It would have worked just as well as X-24.  Hell he could even have gotten his wish and become X-24 with Adamantium skeleton.  (Remember that is what he wanted originally).  So I complain about this, but then think to my childhood and how there was once a character named “Albert.”  Albert was a robot created by the Reavers that looked like Wolverine.  His storyline also involved a little girl that Logan had to take care of.  Okay, it got way more complicated than that, but I feel like this is not a coincidence.  I believe they used this angle to replace the elements they couldn’t use from the original Old Man Logan storyline.

Enough rambling from me.  Here are my final thoughts for potential on what this movie COULD mean for the X universe.  Here’s my speculation:  GAMBIT is in the works.  Where he falls into this all remains to be seen, but he could be a good element to X-Force since Archangel was killed off in Apocalypse.  Now that Wolverine is dead, perhaps the film could see this lineup: Cable, Deadpool, Domino, X-23, and Gambit… NEW MUTANTS is in the works as well.  Maybe this will center around the new team of kids, but who would lead them?  Again, there’s no telling, but if James McAvoy’s run ends then we could see Cyclops, Jean, and Storm leading the new team.  I realize there is a time problem here, but when hasn’t there been in these movies, and with Cable involved this is all possible.

In conclusion: Logan was a film made for comic book fans, and movie goers.  It reminded me of an old western with comic elements.  It was a roller coaster of emotion that didn’t disappoint.  There will be bigger nerds than me complaining about certain little things, but who cares?  This was the best interpretation of Wolverine yet.  Stewart and Jackman played the roles better than they ever have, and Keen showed talent rare for even veteran actors.  She’s a natural.  I’ll give the movie 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  How would you rate it?  Comment below.


Review: Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

resident-evil-7-biohazard-cpy-cracked-1I won’t go too in depth here because I feel that this game surprised me so much, that I don’t want to spoil it for others.  I’ve been a huge fan of the Resident Evil game series since its beginning.  After 6 I was left satisfied at a storyline that sort of closed out.  7 brings a fresh take on the franchise that is so much better than zombies.

This game scared the hell out of me at times, gave me anxiety, and had me so involved in the mystery of the story that I couldn’t put it down.  If I claim that this is the best of the franchise, I don’t think I’m exaggerating.  It IS the best one.  The switch to a first person perspective, and the tweaking of inventory items is a loveable change.

With barely any ties to the other games at all this really does feel like a new adventure, and I can’t wait to see where they go with it.  There is DLC coming out in the Spring, and I’ll be sure to check that out because I was left with a question or two.

My main question is a big spoiler, so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know…. Maybe someone can give me a theory on it… Was that really Chris at the end?  I don’t think so, because 1) he looked different, 2) he referred to himself as his last name, and 3) He was enemies with Wesker, so why name a gun after him?  (If you missed the name of the weapon he throws you it is called “albert”.)

End spoilers…  Anyway, overall the game gets 5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins in my book.  It is the first game in a while that has really impressed me, and the introduction of all new characters was a relief.


Review: Rogue One A Star Wars Story

star-wars-rogue-one-poster-691x1024There’s been no doubt that this movie would be a success, so in order to avoid seeing spoilers I rushed out with my son this morning and saw Rogue One.  We found this one to be a good stand alone movie that fills in some back story, and introduces new characters that fit in well to the canon.  But does Rogue One live up to the hype?  If you don’t want spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating, otherwise here is the breakdown of what I thought per character:

Jyn Erso: Felicity Jones’ character didn’t need to have more than ten minutes of back story to understand why she is who she is.  They did a great job of explaining a lot in a little bit of time, and it feels as if she’s been key to the main episodes all along.  (In truth she has).  The fact that she dies in the end (along with every other member of this main cast) quells any fan boy theories about her being Rey’s mom.  This was the biggest shocker (the death of everyone), that didn’t really shock me after I thought about it.  It explains why we never see or hear of these characters again.  It also was a great thing, as we know they won’t try to pump out useless sequels to something that’s supposed to be a spinoff one shot.

Cassian Andor: Diego Luna had me thinking he was going to be a real prick from the moment he was on screen, but his rough exterior and approach was a façade.  Jyn and he made the perfect team.  His motives are clear, and despite anything he’d done wrong in the past, he has a reason to back Jyn up on her mission in order to right those wrongs.  I loved this angle.

Krennic: Was a completely unlikeable villain.  This is good for story telling.  He reminded me of a teenager not getting his way and throwing temper tantrums.  Adolescent demeanor aside he provided a big threat to Erso and Andor’s plans, but got his karma paid back in the end.

Chirrut Îmwe: He was perhaps my favorite new character.  A blind monk who lives by the Force, and provided a bit of comic relief.  I like how there was a brief mention that he was a guardian of the Force Temple. (That’s the place we see Luke at at the end of episode 7.)  So we get a bit of what those people were like.

Baze Malbus: was an equally badass partner to Chirrut.  Although he didn’t believe so much in the Force, he stood by his friend’s side til the end.  His heavy weapon pack was one of the coolest Star Wars weapons to date.

Galen Erso: Mads Mikkelsen is one of my favorite actors of today, so you can already see where I’m going with his assessment.  It’s odd to see him in the role of a good guy lately, but he plays the part of father well, and this now makes A New Hope that much better.  One of my all time complaints with episode 4 was that the Death Star was too easily destroyed for such a massive and seemingly impervious machine.  Galen building the exhaust port as a way to access the main core is a genius way of making that which happens next make more sense.

K-2SO: As always with these films, the droids are a highlight, and he’s no exception.  Finally we get to see a droid in action and with no filter on his mouth he seems more relatable than any of the previous droids we’ve met.

Bodhi Rook: seemed unstable to me, even before that creepy squid leech thing latched onto his mind.  Despite that concern, he proved to be a reliable character that fleshed out well.  I only wish we’d have gotten to understand a little more about his motives.  He betrayed the empire.  We get Galen’s reason, but why did Bodhi?

Saw Gerrera: was in the Clone Wars, so this is the first character we actually get to see from that era who was key to the plot.  Unfortunately for us we don’t know (without watching the cartoon) how he got so damaged physically.  He needed oxygen not so differently than Vader does.  He’s a heaping mess of bio and mechanical parts.  His demise so soon was unexpected as I thought Forest Whittaker would have been in it longer, but I think how he was utilized was done so with a smart approach.

Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, C-3PO, and R2-D2 – all had good placement in their cameos/small roles.  It connected this movie to the others in a way to show continuity, without using them as the driving force (pun intended) behind the new characters.  We also get a few other nods and cameos in the background or in quick passing that made me smile.

Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia – And here’s what left a bad taste in my mouth.  The special effects here were off with Tarkin in a way that made him uncomfortable to watch.  I think it’s awesome that they brought back the character, as he is crucial to the next chapter in the main story.  He had to be there, but the digital recreation of the face didn’t work when he was speaking.  It was almost as if his face was moving too much, yet not at all in some spots.  I understand this is nitpicky, but then we get the cameo from Princess Leia at the end, and she looked flawless.  I mean it was like she was pulled right from episode 4.  Aside from the looks the presence of these two was perfect.  This shows how Tarkin gained control of the Death Star, as well as how Leia got the plans.  Even my son’s eyes went wide with Leia’s cameo at the end.

Storm Troopers: My son always loves the storm troopers, as do I.  I found that the addition of the Sand troopers was a bit much.  They didn’t really need them as there were standard troopers everywhere.  It’s not like they were trying to blend in.  This was a pure merchandising move, but one I won’t argue with.  The same can be said for the newly added ships.  Not necessary, but a welcome addition.

Darth Vader:  I have to say that by the end of the movie I was a little upset at his lack of use, but then the second I thought that he came on screen and went on a rampage.  This was the best Vader scene we get to see in full attire.  It shows him at the peak of his rage, and connects him more to his former Annakin self than the other movies do.  I love how we also get to see how he takes a bath.  A Sith Lord must keep clean after all.  My complaint may be picky, but I’ve two here.  1) The lightsaber looked out of proportion.  It looked entirely too short in the final shot of him, and I feel it didn’t match up with what we’ve seen of the weapon in all its other appearances.  It was more a short sword than anything else here.  2) James Earl Jones was a welcome return to the voice, but something about his portrayal didn’t feel energetic or convincing enough.  It could be that he’s quite a bit older now, but I feel he lacked some emotion that could have made Vader much more menacing than he already was.

Time period wise I was a little off in my assumptions of when this took place.  I thought this happened a few years before episode IV, but I was mistaken as it leads directly into A New Hope.  Either way it was a great interpretation with lots of surprises that caught me off guard.  With the exception of some special effects irregularities, this stands well with the franchise, but does not exceed the greatness of a couple of the other entries in the series.  All in all I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.

What do you think?  Did you like Rogue One?  Comment below.