King of Thorns

King of Thorn: The Movie [Blu-ray] [2010] - Best Buy

A bizarre plague has swelled to pandemic level heights in such a short time. The plague is nicknamed Medusa because once contracted, the victim inevitably turns gray and crumbles like stone. As part of a highly experimental test, 160 people diagnosed with the disease are cryogenically frozen at random under the watch of a hyper-intelligent AI named Alice to study and hopefully find a cure. Kasumi, heartbroken to be separated from her twin sister, both infected, awakens with the others into utter insanity. The labyrinth of labs have been taken over by cruel, sharp thorned vines and hideous beasts have overtaken the facility. After most of the sleepers are slaughtered, only a handful of survivors are left to try escaping the murderous catacombs of vines that have a sinister will of their own and discover the truth.

So a funny little anecdote, I literally judged a book by its cover here. The cover made me honestly want to watch it and honestly I was glad I took the chance. The movie is far from perfect and if you are paying attention, the twists aren’t too much of a shock but there is a lot to love about this movie. First, the animation is beautiful and extremely well balanced between darkness, cramped spaces, and bright dreamy colors. I love how the movie juggles psychological drama, dark sci-fi, fairy tale fantasy, and horror all in one package with plenty of action to keep the pace going. The movie runs smooth mostly but one of my biggest problems is the story can get confusing if you aren’t paying attention. Certain aspects of the story at the end seemed a bit over-the-top and goofy and I feel like I may have missed something somewhere to put it all together. In the end, I really enjoyed this movie and would recommend checking it out. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Godzilla: Cataclysm

Godzilla: Cataclysm: Bunn, Cullen, Wachter, Dave: 9781631402425:  Amazon.com: Books

Where does the line between god and monster lie? For those that still survive in ruin, the line has blurred. The kaiju, the monsters of the world have turned their fury towards humanity, especially that of the legendary Godzilla. There is no reason, only death and despair in the titan’s wakes. Have the massive beasts finally decided to retake the world for themselves or has mankind pushed the boundaries of science and greed too far? When a small family comes upon something that can potentially begin regrowing life, their village is in desperate peril as Godzilla reemerged, angry, and with a vengeance.

So to begin, this review goes out to a longtime friend of the blog, Autobot who requested I cover this comic. Cataclysm is a really cool book I think Godzilla fans will really enjoy. I love the gritty, war-torn look of this little village inside of one of Godzilla’s footprints. The monsters look great and there is a good variety between well-knowns like Mothra and Destroyah but also a few lesser-known ones that look pretty kick-ass. It’s a really quick read that feels pretty self-contained which is nice. In the end, I had a lot of fun with this book and it’s well worth a read for Godzilla fans new and old. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

The Game

THE GAME - Official Trailer (1997) Michael Douglas - YouTube

Nicholas Van Orten is a rich, cold-hearted high investment banker. He lives a solitary life devoid of any real joy or friendship. His estranged brother Conrad, almost Nick’s exact opposite, comes to him on a special birth- when Nick turns the age their father did when he killed himself. His gift is a certificate to participate in a mysterious Game from an even more mysterious recreational company. Thinking nothing of it, he signs up, going through a long and annoying series of tests. Overnight Nick finds his world crumble before him as lies pile on top of lies and no one seems to be out of bounds to the Game, leading to the banker to the reaches of his very psyche…

Man, David Fincher is a powerhouse. The entire movie feels tight and claustrophobic and is both shot and filmed beautifully. Michael Douglas does damn good in the role of Van Orten and goes through a huge character arc by the end. To the screenwriters’s credit, I really was guessing what the hell was going on all the way to the very end and was fine with the WTF ending. My only real issue is the pacing of the movie drags at places and it’s a serious slow burn that while I think is worth it, may turn some off. In the end, I recommend this as a good psychological thriller worth checking out. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) trailer

When the hell will Hollywood learn to leave well enough alone? As a general horror movie, it looks ok but I got way too many Halloween (2018) vibes from the trailer, actually when the plot seemed revealed it seemed like a copy/paste job if you ask me. I wasn’t expecting much but I really wish we’d leave that poor family alone. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost Of Tsushima is a Beautiful Game but Can be Boring – The Claw

Jin Sakai was a loyal samurai to his family’s traditionalist ways, putting honor and the safety of his people first. Then came the Mongols, spreading death and mayhem across the peaceful and beautiful island of Tsushima. Jin comes face to face with the Kahn leading them, a cunning and brutal warrior that kidnaps Jinn’s uncle and leaves him for dead. Nursed by a thief named Yuna, Jinn has to face impossible odds with few allies, becoming a folk hero to the people and demon to the Mongols and criminals of the land. But at what cost?

Short version: Ghost is one of the best games I’ve ever played. No that’s not an understatement and I even gave myself a month to let it simmer after finishing the main story before making the statement. Gameplay is incredibly simple and complex at the same time and full of variety when it comes to approaching scenarios. Graphics and music are incredible and may I say this game goes all out immersing you in the game; the wind guides you to your objectives; I played the game in full Japanese with English sub but I also recommend going full Japanese black and white for the classic Jediaki style. Story and characters are at the forefront and while the story is fantastic, the characters keep you invested, and by the end, there are a lot of gray areas to be explored and even the side missions have interesting characters and stories all their own. I’m even impressed to say I only had one minor glitch my entire run with a huge main story and days worth of cool sides to do. In the end, Ghost is a phenomenal game made with love and I can’t recommend it enough. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Batman: Earth One (V1)

AARDVARK COMICS #1 (OF 1) (AARDVARK VANAHEIM 2017)

With The Batman finally hitting theaters soon, I thought I’d visit a series that seems to have been a big inspiration for the movie. While I was against this rendition at first, even damn near hating it at first, I cooled off and gave it a fresh chance. Was I wrong or simply proved right?

A new figure has emerged in the dismal city of Gotham, overrun with mob violence and crime on every street. This figure we know as the Batman, Bruce Wayne but far from the legendary detective and badass. Batman is a brawler in a costume with a lot of anger and not much else. His longtime guardian, butler, and trainer Alfred warn him he’s on the path to suicide as a nonlethal soldier in an impractical costume that relies on brute force instead of guns or weapons. Looking for revenge for his parents’s murders, the rising bat follows a train of clues, running parallel to broken detective Jim Gordan and superstar Harvey Bullock that bring him to the corrupt and sadistic mayor of Gotham: Oswald Cobblepot.

So I was pretty wrong in this case. After years and years of perfect Batman, this was a pretty refreshing if not really flawed look at Batman. I mean REALLY flawed. Alfred was a huge standout in this book; I love how he harbors resentment for Bruce and he’s bitter being strung along by duty and his own morality but he’s tired and he’s watching someone he ultimately cares about toss his life away fighting a war he isn’t even trying to win. I do love Penquin in this book and Colin Farrel is a spot on in The Batman so far as the Earth One version. I will saythe story itself is pretty standard and runs awfully close to Batman: Year One and Batman Begins so there is nothing really special there. While I love the reversing arcs of Gordan and Bullock, Gordan does come off as a sap in this book who just gave up which bugs me but at the end he sees the light a bit. The book ends with a nice cliff hanger that teases Riddler as the next big foe. In the end, it’s definitely a good Bat story that delivers on the characters and meh on the story but well worth looking into. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV Mini Series 2021) - IMDb

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, both best friends of the now former Captain America are having a rough time adjusting to the world since Thanos and the blip. Sam refused the mantle of Captain America, leading the government to choose military darling John Walker as his successor; Bucky is trying to heal after decades of trauma as the Winter Soldier trying to make amends. Things go South when a radical terrorist cell called the Flag Smashers rises, armed and formed by rogue super soldiers. Its up to Sam and Bucky to uncover the mystery of these new super soldiers as well as uncover sins of the past if they plan on making a better future.

This one is tricky. The first few episodes didn’t grab me at first and it wasn’t until the later half I really got invested in. The action scenes are well done and overall the actors did a great job. US Agent was always one of my favorite Caps so I was happy to see him debuted in the MCU; I also loved Isiah Bradley from the comics as well and I loved his story arc in this as well. Baron Zemo’s return maybe my favorite in the show, he’s way more clever and has way more character than he did in Civil War. Sam’s Cap outfit at the end is spot on and looks really badass. There are some problems though. I felt like the pace of the show was somehow slow, despite the fact there wasn’t much down time. I also respect the themes the show was addressing but I feel a few times it got heavy handed and preachy. In the earlier episodes, some of the banter felt forced and while I loved Sam and Bucky til this point, I found them pretty unlikable for the first few episodes. In the end, the show was fine- maybe would have been better as a movie instead- but still worth watching. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

A Head Full of Ghosts

Head Full of Ghosts, A: Tremblay, Paul: 9780062363244: Amazon.com: Books

How many of us have found ourselves losing ourselves in a over the top paranormal reality show? I think most of us have at one time or another, whether we genuinely believe or as a guilty pleasure. Well for Merry Barret, that was her childhood. When her older, sweetheart sister Marjorie starts acting out in some outlandish and disturbing way, the family finds itself pariahs of the neighborhood and focus of a hot new show based on her “possession”. The Barrets were average though financially struggling middle- class family and while the show seems to help that problem, the family begins disintegrating under the pressures of religion, mental illness, and repressed trauma as Merry Barret recounts the story of what really happened on the infamous shows years after, leaving us to wonder if what was really real?

This is the first book I’ve read by Tremblay and what I’ve seen to be his most popular. I don’t say this much but this book actually made me feel something really deep and I got to give Paul Tremblay credit for that. Merry Barret is a really sympathetic main character you really do feel for as the story goes on; her family I related to but I hated them because of Merry and her plight. I like the approach the story takes, leaving quite a bit of ambiguity at play. While not an outrageous ghost story, this is a very tense and tragic story of how mental illness and greed can destroy a family. I won’t recommend if you want something flashy and gory but I highly recommend it as a quick psychological horror drama. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Wandavision

WandaVision Release Date Bumped Up on Disney Plus - Variety

The picturesque town of Westview just got a new whacky couple comes to town, Wanda and Vision. As we join the newlywed Avengers in their shenanigans, all may not be as it seems. A suspicious neighbor, an impossible pregnancy, and reality-bending to Wanda’s shattering psyche as we discover how far Wanda will go to hide the pain of her losses and the true depth of her mysterious powers as she becomes the fabled Scarlet Witch.

Fun Fact, Wanda was my first big Marvel crush as a kid and seeing her in full costume at the end was a huge treat. Wandavision is a great character study of Wanda Maximoff and a look at a shattered woman coping with a life of loss and tragedy. Olsen, Bettany, and Hahn steal the show as Wanda, Vision, and Agatha. I loved Agatha as a villain and I can’t wait to see more of her in the MCU. I loved the visuals and how well the sitcom spoofs were done. Going in I didn’t know what to expect but I can say Wandavision is a unique way to begin the 4th phase of the MCU and I can’t wait to catch up with the Scarlet Witch in Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness trailer 1

Staying all the way to the end of Spider-man: No Way Home was well worth the wait for the first look at the Master of the Mystic Art’s return. As to be expected it looks beautiful and I’m happy to see Wanda and Mordo’s return; Scarlet Witch’s new outfit looks badass and I’m glad they finally gave her a real costume. I’ve seriously been waiting for this movie and I’m ultra pumped for it. May the gaming gods bring you glory.