Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cleared: The Mechanic

So I snagged The Mechanic from Redbox and watched it tonight. Not the best or smartest action flick I've ever seen, but far from the worst or dumbest. As (somewhat formulaic) action thrillers go, it was pretty good. Good, solid action/assassination sequences, two very formidable on-screen presences in Ben Foster (playing his usual crazy, dangerous character) and Jason Statham (playing his usual chillingly stable dangerous character) and a serviceable story including a couple of plot twists towards the end. Nothing to write home about (It's not Taken, for example), but nothing to complain about, either. If you're in the mood for an action flick and haven't seen this one, go for it. You'll probably enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cleared: Sucker Punch

Ehhhh. The fantasy worlds were some cool stuff; there's no arguing with the awesome visuals. Other than that, though, not much to recommend this one. The special effects were awesome, but the stuff done with them was less so; the fights and action sequences were not, for the most part, as kinetic as I'd have liked. The all-female group of protagonists was a little too stripperiffic in their wardrobe choice, and the story, while relatively straightforward, wasn't all that compelling. I have seen recursive storytelling pulled off much, MUCH better in The Matrix and Inception. If you're looking for a satisfying, new-ish action movie, my advice would be to skip over this one and go for something like Battle: Los Angeles.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Off the List: Atom Zombie Smasher

I got Atom Zombie Smasher as part of the same bundle deal that netted me A.R.E.S. and Capsized. It's an indie strategy game that's a sort of modified tower defense kind of thing. Like a lot of tower defense games and tower defense derivatives, the antagonist is a horde of zombies. This game is nice illustration of what's good with indie games: it has solid gameplay and a quirky sense of humor, but the game is tiny and it doesn't lean on other things like graphics or marketing hype to draw people in. It's not a huge, awe-inspiring thing, but there's a decent amount of depth and complexity. In fact, like Hinterland, which I reviewed a while back, it's almost a skirmish game. You can play through a campaign in just a few hours. This is why I try everything I get in bundle packs. Sometimes there's something that wasn't immediately apparent in there that turns out to be really good.

More Additions (I think this is it for a while)

Sucker Punch
The Mechanic

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Midnight Chronicles
The Gamers
The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

Cleared: King's Bounty: The Legend

King's Bounty: The Legend is a fantastic not-so little fantasy turn-based strategy game in the same vein as the Disciples or Heroes of Might & Magic series. Unlike those series, however, your army is going to be in a constant state of flux as you refill your ranks from whatever sorts of troops are available locally. (The next time I play through, I'm going to see if I can confront the end boss with Royal Snakes, Orc Shamans, Red Dragons, Cyclopses, and Dryads) It's ridiculously fun, fairly deep, and full of all sorts of agreeable complexity, just like a turn-based game should be. If you're a fan of the other games I mentioned above and you've not tried this, you owe it to yourself to fix that! I would recommend this game to any fan, even casual ones, of the genre. I will be digging into the sequel, King's Bounty: Armored Princess, pretty much immediately.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cleared: Battle: Los Angeles

The best way I can describe Battle: Los Angeles is take the alien invasion drama of ID4 and cross it with the gritty, realistic combat of Black Hawk Down. The movie was very cool and very intense. Some very kinetic, weighty combat sequences and a cool alien adversary that outclassed the humans, but not so much they couldn't be shot and blown up. I really loved it, but it might not be for everybody. This one's probably going in my collection eventually, though.


Battle: Los Angeles
Black Death

PC Games:
Crusader: No Remorse
 Hellgate: London

Off the List: Super 8

Last night I had the opportunity to hang out with a friend and former coworker that I haven't seen for a while, so we decided to go catch a movie. (He and I have a long-running tradition of catching "guy movies" together so we don't have to put up with an unhappy SO that doesn't like them.) The movie we wound up picking was Super 8.

The movie is excellent, a real four-star film if ever there was one. Highly reminiscent of early Spielberg, it assumes that the audience is both smart and paying attention and instead of caving your skull in with exposition, trusts that you'll figure out quite a bit from clues in the environment. It's hard to discuss the movie too much without spoiling it, but I will say this: despite some very well-executed creepy stuff going on, the real fun of the film is from the interaction of the kids with each other and their parents and the parents interactions with each other. It's a testament to the quality of the writing, acting, and direction that a story as multithreaded and complex as the one in this movie can be executed so well in such a short time. Oh, and the most spectacular train crash scene I've ever seen in anything. (The Fugitive has finally been dethroned for "best train crash ever.")

New entry type: Off the List

I'm going to add an additional type of entry: off the list items. These are things that I wind up consuming somewhat spontaneously, but still feel like commenting on. The first one of these follows. I'll still count them as cleared and add them to the tally, however.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cleared: Kick-Ass

At the recommendation of a couple of sources that I trust, I gave Kick-Ass a try. I can see why some people really love it, but to me it was merely okay. The movie was a mix of outlandish and brutally gritty, and while some of the action scenes were pretty good, it just didn't grab me as much as some other superhero movies have. It was, however, more enjoyable than Watchmen, which I'd put in the same category. If you think you'll like it from the trailers, odds are you will. If you don't, it's probably not for you. Me? I don't think I ever need to watch this again. The content was a bit gratuitous for my taste.