Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Sometimes you’re aware of a game, but don’t actually get around to playing it until much later. Such was the case for me with Minit, a game distributed by Devolver Digital, until I read the premise, which reminded me of the lesser-known Half-Minute Hero, which I loved back when I played it. While not the same experience as Half-Minute Hero, and likely under the developer’s radar, Minit still captured the core essence of that game and took it in its own uniquely enjoyable, creative and hilarious direction.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Mortal Kombat (2021)

Video games movies haven’t had the best track record for the longest time, but the efforts of films like Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu have helped change that perception. In the past, however, there was the occasional film that broke the stigma, at least among fans, including the PG-13 Mortal Kombat film from 1995. While I haven’t seen that film as of this writing, and have only played Mortal Kombat (2011) and Mortal Kombat X, I like the series enough that I looked forward to Mortal Kombat (2021) and watched it opening day through HBO Max. It doesn’t achieve a flawless victory, but it does show that film adaptations of video games can still be good in the right hands.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Tomb Raider (Film)

While Tomb Raider has existed since 1996, I didn’t really play any of the games until the 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider (2013), and its sequels, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Though they had flaws, I evidently enjoyed them enough to keep up with the series and felt interested in watching the 2018 film, Tomb Raider (2018). As with the games, I didn’t watch the other two Tomb Raider films with Angelina Jolie, so I didn’t have any expectations when I finally watched this film through Vudu. As both a video game adaptation and an action-adventure film, it’s not the worst but definitely needed some improvement.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Fuse (PS3)

After playing through the Resistance trilogy, I decided to revisit one of Insomniac's follow-up games, Fuse, originally released in 2013. When I first played it after finding a used copy, I thought it was okay for what it was, though I wanted to see if my opinions changed at all. Following a second playthrough, I thought it had some interesting ideas, though I realized this time how generally forgettable the game is.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Stubs - Tomorrow is Forever


Tomorrow is Forever (1946) Starring: Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent, Lucille Watson, Richard Long, Natalie Wood. Directed by Irving Pichel. Screenplay by Lenore Coffee. Based on the novel Tomorrow Is Forever by Gwen Bristow (New York, 1943). Produced by David Lewis. Black and White. USA. Run Time: 104 minutes. Drama, Romance, War

Every Saturday night, we sit down to watch a movie that I recorded on the DVR but have not yet watched. Some of these go back several years and I’ve been trying to delete the ones that seem to be on the bubble or those the DVR has labeled as “Last Chance”. Recently, we watch one of the older films on the list, Tomorrow is Forever.

The film is based on the novel, Tomorrow is Forever, written by Gwen Bristow and first published in the May 1944 issue of Ladies Home Journal. Produced by International Pictures and first released through RKO Pictures, the film was made towards the end of World War II and premiered in London on January 18, 1946, a little over four months after its end.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Hitman: Absolution (PS3)

As much as I’ve come to like the Hitman games, my journey didn’t start with any of the more celebrated entries like Silent Assassin, Blood Money or Hitman (2016), but rather the black sheep of the franchise, Hitman: Absolution. Not only was this the first Hitman game I played, it also has the honor as the series’ first installment released exclusively for seventh-gen consoles and the first entry published by Square Enix after they acquired Eidos Interactive. Making my way through the older Hitman titles naturally brought me back to where I had started, which evoked a sense of nostalgia during my most recent playthrough, which, through total happenstance, occurred exactly five years to the day from my first playthrough. That said, revisiting it in the context of everything else got me to reevaluate my opinion and how it stands as a game in a vacuum versus how it stands as a Hitman game.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hitman: Blood Money (Xbox)

Among the original Hitman games, Hitman: Blood Money is usually considered the best one by both critics and players due to how much it advanced the series’ gameplay. Blood Money’s gameplay remained so iconic, in fact, that the World of Assassination Trilogy took what that game did and refined it even further until Hitman 3 arguably topped it. Although the game was available on the Xbox 360 at launch, I ended up playing it directly after Contracts through the lesser-known Xbox version, which still gave me a good idea of why Blood Money had developed such a reputation. In fact, considering the lengthy development period, which included releasing Contracts to buy more time, I actually agree with it, even if it feels just a little clunky.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Hitman: Contracts (Xbox)

After the release of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, IO Interactive started work on what would become Hitman: Blood Money. During development, however, they realized they wouldn’t be able to get that game out in time to please their investors. With less than a year left to deliver a game, and with the knowledge that only about 10% of Silent Assassin players had actually played the PC-exclusive Codename 47, a small skeleton crew began work on a “Hitman 2.5” that would both buy IOI two more years to develop Blood Money and allow console players an opportunity to experience some of the Codename 47 levels alongside some original content. The result was Hitman: Contracts, which launched in 2004 to general acclaim, though criticized for its similarities to Silent Assassin. Considering the troubled development, which included a nine-month crunch period and all-nighters in freezing cold, Contracts actually turned out pretty well, though its status as essentially a filler arc is nevertheless evident in the final design.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (Xbox)

Following Codename 47, IO Interactive started development on Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, released in 2002. As the first game in the series with a console release, however, this would also serve as a jumping-on point for a majority of players at the time, since the game ended up as the highest-selling title in the series to this day. Playing through this game on the original Xbox was interesting, since it still provided a memorable experience even without the polish of the World of Assassination games. That said, however, it shows its age, since some of the then-new mechanics feel unrefined by modern standards.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Hitman: Codename 47

After the World of Assassination Trilogy, I had more of an interest in playing the older Hitman titles to see how well they held up and make more sense of references to those titles. I started with the original 2000 PC game, Hitman: Codename 47, which I picked up during a Steam sale where it from $8 to only $1.50. Unfortunately, when I actually played it, I realized just how poorly this game has aged, even with one major bright spot.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Stubs - Mank

Mank (2020) Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, Tom Pelphrey, Charles Dance. Directed by David Fincher Screenplay by Jack Fincher. Produced by Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski. USA Black and White Run time: 131 minutes. Biography, Historical.

Hollywood films about Hollywood always run the risk of being too inside baseball for the average viewer. It gets more so when the subject matter is 80 years old, as it is with Mank, a biographical film about Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldham) a screenwriter on Citizen Kane (1941), or as the film purports, the writer on the film. Based on a claim, and some would say discredited one, by Pauline Kael in her 1971 New Yorker article Raising Kane that Welles did not deserve screenwriting credit, the screenplay was written by Jack Fincher, a little-known screenwriter, whose son turned out to be film director David Fincher.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Stubs - Rationing

Rationing (1944) Starring: Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main, Donald Meek. Directed by Willis Goldbeck. Screenplay by William R. Lipman, Grant Garrett, Harry Ruskin. Produced by Orville O. Dull. Run Time: 94 minutes. USA. Black and White. Comedy.

Marjorie Main is probably best known for her appearances as Ma Kettle in eight films opposite Percy Kilbride and one opposite Parker Fennelly between 1947 and 1957. Prior to that, she had a fairly successful career at MGM, including such films as Stella Dallas (1937), Dead End (1937), The Women (1939), and Another Thin Man (1939). Additionally, she starred in 6 films opposite Wallace Beery, including Wyoming (1940), Barnacle Bill (1941), Jackass Mail (1942), Bad Bascomb (1946), and Rationing (1944).

To give a little background, during World War II, Americans on the home front were called upon to make sacrifices so that there were materials and food available to the troops. People could buy goods but they had to, in some cases, have coupons. On August 28, 1941, before the U.S. entered the war, President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8875 created the Office of Price Administration (OPA). The OPA’s main responsibility was to place a ceiling on prices of most goods, and to limit consumption by rationing. Americans received their first ration cards in May 1942. The first card, War Ration Card Number One, became known as the “Sugar Book,” for one of the commodities Americans could purchase with their ration card.

The OPA rationed automobiles, tires, gasoline, fuel oil, coal, firewood, nylon, silk, and shoes. Americans used their ration cards and stamps to take their meager share of household staples including meat, dairy, coffee, dried fruits, jams, jellies, lard, shortening, and oils.

At the same time, black markets sprung up around the country, offering limited goods at a premium, and some people took to hoarding ration stamps and precious supplies.

With that, some of what goes on during the movie might make more sense.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Resistance 3

Note: This review contains spoilers for Resistance 2 and Resistance 3.

Three years after Resistance 2, Insomniac finished off the Resistance trilogy with Resistance 3 in 2011, with no plans for any future installments. When I decided to play through the main series, I noticed that while Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2 both have digital options available, Resistance 3 does not for whatever reason, leading me to have to actively seek out a physical copy as I had done for Fall of Man. Fortunately, I was able to find a new copy of the game at a local game reseller for a reasonable price, allowing me to experience the Resistance trilogy to the end. Overall I found it to be an improvement over its predecessors in several areas, perhaps even the strongest entry, and a fitting conclusion to the series.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Resistance 2

Following the success of the PS3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man, Insomniac developed a follow-up released in 2008 titled Resistance 2. Within the Resistance trilogy, this was one I actually got when it came out, for reasons I will disclose later, though at the time I was a little too young to actually play it. At the time the version I got was the Collector’s Edition, which includes extra digital content alongside an art book, a behind-the-scenes bonus disc and a Chimera action figure, though I would eventually end up with a Standard Edition copy of the game as well. Having finally gotten the chance to play it, I found the experience overall mixed, with many of its shortcomings stemming from some odd gameplay decisions.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Resistance: Fall of Man

With the launch of the PlayStation 3 on the horizon, Insomniac Games, Sucker Punch and Naughty Dog, three high-profile developers for the PS2, collectively and independently decided to use the new system as an opportunity to diversify their portfolios away from mascot platformers and introduce an original IP that aimed for a realistic art style to take advantage of the system’s capabilities. In Insomniac’s case, their follow-up to the Ratchet & Clank series was Resistance: Fall of Man, a launch title for the PS3 and their first FPS since their first ever game Disruptor on the PS1. With this year being the 15th anniversary of the PS3 as well as Resistance: Fall of Man, in addition to general pandemic boredom, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to play it for the first time to see how well it held up, after managing to find a physical copy at a local retro game store. While time hasn’t been too kind to it in places, the game did manage to surprise me with its interesting ideas.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Zack Snyder's Justice League

If there’s one thing Warner Bros.’ Justice League is known for, it’s its troubled production. During its original post-production period in 2017, director Zack Snyder stepped down due to the untimely death of his daughter, Autumn. At that point, Joss Whedon took over and went through two months of reshoots, resulting in a bifurcated mess of a movie. Though we thought nothing more of the film after its original release, diehard Zack Snyder fans started the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement, which eventually actually worked when the studio formally announced a release of the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League for the HBO Max streaming service. Shortly after the HBO Max release, we sat down to watch it and generally agreed with the sentiment that it surpassed the original theatrical cut of the film, but found that its runtime of just over four hours held it back in places.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Stubs - Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir Directed by Adam Wingard. Screenplay by Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein. Based on Godzilla and Mechagodzilla by Toho, and King Kong by Edgar Wallace, Merian C. Cooper. Produced by Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Brian Rogers, Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod. Run time: 113 minutes. USA Color Monster. Kaiju.

The rematch we’ve been waiting for nearly sixty years, since King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), is finally upon us. Coming at the precise moment theaters around the nation were finally opening up, if Godzilla vs. Kong is a success it would be attributable to pent up frustration built up after a year of lockdown rather than the quality of the film itself. I will admit that I did not see this film in a theater, as no film is worth the risk of catching a deadly virus, however, if you do after reading this review, try to see it on the biggest screen you can.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) (American Cut)

A bit of an oddball in the Godzilla and King Kong franchises, the 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla was the third outing for both series and the first crossover between the two, with two different cuts of the film produced for Japanese and American audiences. While this would be a weird one-off crossover between two legendary monsters, it wouldn’t be until Legendary Pictures' MonsterVerse that the two titans would have their rematch in the 2021 film Godzilla vs. Kong. In preparation for this, I decided to see how their first battle played out for comparison, opting for a Blu-ray release of the American cut from 1963. While this cut is interesting to see, it proved to be enjoyable in more of a “so bad it’s good” sort of way.