Bill Paxton: It’s Hard To Forget The Guy You Saw In Everything


 

So, we’ve lost Bill Paxton too. Foo. Rather than run clips or comments of and about the well-known sci-fi/fantasy flicks he was a part of, I’ll just leave two viewing suggestions you may not have seen or maybe have seen but not in a while. Up top is One False Move, director Carl Franklin’s great, kind of 90’s noir about a trio of criminals who commit a series of murders in Los Angeles and escape to the tiny town of Star City, Arkansas. Paxton played the bored and too eager for action sheriff Dale “Hurricane” Dixon who gets more than he bargains for after LAPD detectives roll into town. The film also features Billy Bob Thornton (who co-wrote the story with Tom Epperson) in a key role as one of the killers. I won’t spoil more other than to say it’s a brilliant thriller with a few curve balls up its sleeve.


 

The second film is in my opinion, Sam Raimi’s most perfect movie, 1998’s A Simple Plan. Author Scott Smith adapted his great 1993 novel into the screenplay and we get Paxton and Thornton working together again as Hank and Jacob Mitchell, two brothers who along with a friend of Jacob’s (Brent Briscoe), discover a crashed plane with a dead pilot and over 4 million dollars in cash inside. Yes, the take the money. Hank being the smartest of the bunch keeps it safe, but things go deep south as greed, anger and a bit of murder follow the man and their ill-gotten sack of loot. Both films would make a nice double feature, but feel free to add the excellent, disturbing Paxton-directed thriller Frailty to that short stack (or tall stack if it’s a marathon):


 

Yeah, I said two films, I know. But I think Bill would have probably appreciated the gesture, this going off script stuff. So long, pal – you made the movies you were in a lot better for a good while and will continue to do so each time fans go back and discover or rediscover everything you were part of.

-GW

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Switch-ing: With Reservations (And Some Ironing), Yes.

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Not surprisingly, actually getting out and about to lay eyes on and try out something for oneself is a hell of a lot better than sitting on one’s rump in front of a computing device babbling nonsense about what one thinks they know about something they haven’t touched yet. Be it food, books, movies, or in this case, Nintendo’s upcoming Switch game system, you really aren’t doing anything other than heavy guessing and heavier petting of your own negativity until you try the darn thing out.

Spending about three hours with the system and way too many games for one event revealed at its recent NYC showcase reveals it’s a solid bit of kit with a few big to little issues around things like software/peripheral pricing and a to be announced (imperfect) online service that sounds as if will need some major tweaking if it’s going to compete with the (less imperfect) services Sony and Microsoft offer for their game hardware.

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Let’s get the first point out of the way: that live press conference from Japan was somewhat awful if judged by western perspectives. The droning English narration, the greatness of Goichi Suda trying to work the room off-script and failing spectacularly as he revealed work not yet started on the return of Travis Touchdown, the too-sedate responses to every announcement – none of these made for good optics.

Couple that with too many YouTubers and a few games journalists putting out quickie bash pieces so quickly that by the time a bunch of post-conference trailers that weren’t shown dropped online, many complaints about the small software lineup were rendered invalid and worse, the short attention span theater antics didn’t take into consideration that early announcements change into more concrete plans that make better sense as launch windows open.

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But let’s talk games from this point onward until I get to the problem stuff I see that needs ironing out. Continue reading

Oh, Deer! In the Headlights, Sideways, Somewhat Allegorically

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Current mood:


 

Oh, Deer! is apt enough and more than fast enough for these testy times that I can recommend it even though I’ve yet to actually play it. Scoreless swerving past or through lines of poor digital deer is an odd metaphor for the daily careening many of us do while glued to a news source, real or “alternative facts” based, eyes wider than usual. While this may not seem all that deep, developer Necrosoft Games is proudly stating this is indeed a beta that will end up as a more fully polished product. Initially released as a 49-cent PlayStation Mobile game (I missed it on the Vita? Noooooo!), it got bumped up to subscription-only freebie beta build for Humble Monthly subscribers where it caught fire and careened into a game a lot of folks want to see get completed.

So, yeah. Get this if you’re cracking up or something. Amusingly priced at an apocalyptic $6.66, that entry fee also gets you whatever ends up being the final version of the game whenever the fine folks at Necrosoft get to completing it. Hey, the world may end before that happens or it may not. No matter what, you’ll be able to swerve past or slam sideways into all the deer you choose without guilt or incurring and insurance fee increases.

-GW

Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW

If You Want That NES Classic, Just Remember This One Handy Trick…


 

While these two absolutely hilarious spec ads by director Ryan Prows aren’t official Nintendo issue, I’d be more than happy to see them pop up on TV during Adult Swim or some other not-quite for the kiddies channel that the 18-35+ crowd checks out from time to time. Yeah, yeah, they’re kind of “fan-made” in their own way. But there’s a great enough difference in the means to an end between a spec ad and a game project that it’s easy to make the distinction between an IP being reworked into a free game and an example of a director putting out work that can get him more work and not necessarily at Nintendo.


 

So yeah, I heard through the grapevine that some retailers are restocking those NES Classic Minis one more time before Christmas. Feel free to take emergency measures as seen in these vids as a means to your own end of obtaining one, I say. Who knows? With luck (and a few onions or fresh mint depending on your own naughty or nice quotient), you just may walk away with your prize after all.

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations In Action: Or, SOLD!


 

So, yeah. This thing’s getting bought before that NES Classic Mini for sure. Over three times as many games AND SD card support for the same low $59.99 price point? Yeah, that’s a sale and SHOULD be to any gamer no matter how loyal they are to the house that Mario built. Check out the new and complete list of games below:

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Yep, SOLD. Or sold out well before the holidays, I bet.

I’d write more, but I’m still wiped out from jury duty an even though I had today off, I woke up with a nasty scratchy throat and a cough that’s not gotten much better despite most of the day spent resting and treating. Damn courthouses are just as bad as conventions for catching buds, I say. Yuck. Okay, off to bed for me, as I need to drag myself back down to the halls of justice for what I hope is the final day of service. Good night, now!

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations Update: Getting Closer As Stiff Competition (And Then Some)


 

I’ve said this before, but after seeing this (too) brief teaser for the upcoming Retro-Bit Generations game console, I’ll say it again. While Nintendo clearly has brand recognition, a years longer and extremely loyal fan base, and an instant smash hit with its upcoming NES Classic Mini, the Retro-Bit may be a better fit for gamers looking to play more classic games, period.

Pre-orders are open and for that same MSRP, you get a more flexible system and over 60 more games including arcade, 8 and 16-bit classics. If the build quality and controllers on this are tight, I’ll be grabbing one of these first and going for that Mini once the frenzy over nostalgia beating sheer value dies down. These days, it just makes sense to go with value first. Well, at least in my book.

-GW

Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour Launch Trailer (NSFW)

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Oh, boy. Invading space aliens with planetary conquest on the brain beware! Duke Nukem 3D is back and yes, it’s freakin’ 1996 all over again. Personally, I love the big, macho lug because he’s a COMPLETELY fictional videogame character who’s larger than life, impossible to confuse with any REAL-LIFE person what with his over the top vices, uber manly urges and penchant for snazzy one-liners mixed with threats to wreck and harm with extreme prejudice. I know no one like that in real life and neither do you, right? Oh, okay, okay… THIS GUY counts.

 

 

Um, Anyway… thanks to Gearbox Software, the man himself is BACK in action in a kinda throwback re-look at his biggest adventure with a few additions for a measly $19.99 on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One. GROOVY. Get it, I say. Review incoming shortly, as I see the King has followed me home.

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-GW

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Blu-Ray Review: The House of Seven Corpses

the_house_of_seven_corpses_mp“Trust me… dying’s easy! Living is hard”

And so is watching some movies, pal.

Upon finding yourself on the set of a horror film or hell, ANY film where someone starts reading from a musty old book written in an indecipherable language, Rule Number One is this: LEAVE. You want examples? Sure. Equinox, The Evil Dead, In The Mouth of Madness, The Beyond, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, The Ninth Gate, and so forth and so on.  ALL of these flicks were initially rom-coms until someone on set decided to crack open a nasty, smelly old book they found, bought, pilfered or borrowed and all hell lit-er-al-ly broke loose.

Okay, not really. But you know you’re in for a deadly day for night shoot when there’s an old tome read and not much common sense exhibited by the cast once stuff starts going south. Sadly, 1974’s The House of Seven Corpses isn’t as good or fun enough a flick to watch as the above mentioned ones, wasting its tome (ha!) with too much “exposition” from annoying characters, John Carradine phoning in a performance from a better, scarier but campier film, and some slightly to moderately creepy undead that whittle down the cast and crew of a romantic comedy cheapie horror flick one by one.

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It’s probably not a big co-inkydink that the film was produced by a company called Television Corporation of America, as save for a few moments, this looks and feels like a TV movie of the era. No, that’s not a complement.

Continue reading

DVD Review: Psychomania

psychomania-1973This one’s for Mr. Bruno, who asked how this 1973 British “horror” flick was. Here’s your answer in the form of an opinion, sir. While it’s got a cult following, is fun as hell to watch, has some striking imagery, Psychomania (aka The Death Wheelers) is very much a “meh” genre flick overall that hasn’t aged well and isn’t even remotely scary. It has some fine ideas and even a solid John Cameron score holding things together. But a lack of “edginess” or even a true sense of danger doom it as a “serious” scare flick.

That said, it’s got that cult following that adores it for a few key reasons such as a brilliant opening sequence, those GREAT skull painted motorcycle helmets worn by The Living Dead cycle gang, a killer shot of a formerly deceased biker bursting from the grave on the bike he was buried on, and a bunch of hilarious demises as most of the gang kills themselves in order to return as immortal bikers… from helllllll!

(Thanks, BFI!)

The plot goes like so: Death-obsessed cycle gang leader Tom Latham (Nicky Henson) discovers he can die via suicide and come back as an un-killable death-obsessed cycle gang leader with the aid of his frog-cult worshiping mum (Beryl Reid). Once risen, he lets his gang, The Living Dead in on his secret and they follow suit, save for his girlfriend Abby (Mary Larkin) who doesn’t want to join the ranks of the undead. There’s a bunch of bloodless murders and pre-Mad Max road crimes and chases, a lot of talking and a very weird finale that may baffle you if you weren’t paying attention to the kooky story and just wanted a more brainless flick to chill out to.

Continue reading