By: Justin Hopkins
Despite the slight break. Was actually looking forward to getting back to it and play Pokemon Black 2 after how much fun I had with Pokemon Black and was looking forward to returning to Unova. Having a quick peak at the pokedex and changed up my rules just a little bit. Be a little more relaxed in building my team. Not try to be stringent on what gen they come from. With that said, time for Mui to shake off the two years of rust and restart her journey in Aspertria.
Journey began like all journeys do, Mom getting a call from Juniper about sending Bianca to deliver the pokedex and starter. After being called selfish cause I said I didn’t want one, off to get my Starter, but ran into the villainous Paulie. Who tags along and we find her on the landing and I pick… Oshawott. Really wanted Snivy, but forced myself to pick someone new and liked Oshawott better then Tepig. We named it Samus, slogging through the tutorials and off we went. Fighting off Team Plasma and made quick work of Cheren. Finally get on my way. Being very careful on who I add to the team, I don’t catch anything till Growlithe popped up in Virbank, named it Jill and after getting her caught up with Samus. We took down Roxie for the second badge. After the painfully slow movie making experience. Took a bit of delight in ramopaging through Team Plasma to get out and finally back to Castelia. Where I immediately got lost before Iris lead me to the Sewer and forced my to partner with Paulie. Getting away without adding anymore to the team and knocked out Burgh with no issues, but Elessa proved to be a brick wall. Couldn’t deal with the Emolga’s Vault Switches. During grinding we added Daisy the Roselia and with some team work. Walked down the runaway victorious. Clay stood no chance and I spent a lot of time in the Poke World Tournament, trying to forget that Paulie’s Motivation is over a stolen Purrlion, before moving on. Thanks to Alessa the Zebstrika we picked up on the way to the tower, Skyla was no problem, but I immediately turned around. Missing an important teammate, Gothita. Psychics are one of my favorite typing and Gothitelle is worth the added grind work. We caught one outside of Nimbassa and Senua joined the team. Helping Bianca with her Research and learned about the mysterious third dragon and told to go ask that of Drayden as well as if he heard anything about the other two… As soon as I can beat him. My team not equipped to deal with Dragons. After some grinding cheesed it by with poisons, but going to need to address it at some point. Not now because, after learning about Kyurem. Zinzolin froze the town. Getting away with the DNA Splicer ad we chase his ship down to Route 21 and back to the Big Chasm once I figured out the pipe puzzle. Ghetsis proving to be a handful, before finally being beaten and off to the league. Where I was still not prepared for Iris in the slightest. Had a Vanillish that I was going to train up, but ran into Druddigon and loved that Play-Doh looking dragon so much, he took the Ice Cream Cones spot and the name, Sheik. The team was set and on a run through that was purely to get some money and Experience. We hit a hot streak that took us all the way to Iris. Chipping it down to Haxorous vs Samus and Senua and Samus delivering the final blow to put us back into the Hall Of Fame. Post game, was spent catching the legendries, spending way to much time in the World Tournament and restring to her office on the Avenue.
Review and Discussion
While this wasn’t as strong as Pokemon Black, there was a lot of thing to love about this entry. The designs of the gyms were spectacular. The runway for Elessa made me laugh seeing the picture pop on the big screen after winning and walking down with everyone at the end. The rock concert with Roxie and the Koffing mural. Burgh’s Spider-Webbing was gorgeous. Even thing the elevator dragon worked better here for Drayden. Really got me to look forward to each time I went to a new gym, albeit, missed the cannons.
They incorporated Bianca and Cheren back into the story in a thought out way, that suitted their characters in the perfect way. Cheren’s competitive nature would lead him to being a Gym Leader, while Bianca being more of an explorer. Yearning to not only discover her place among the world and life with Pokemon made a good assistant for Juniper and liked the fact I was dealing with her most of the time.
The cherry on the sundae has to be the Poke World Tournament. Such a fun mini game. Could spent all day facing all the gym leaders from the various games. Seeing how the brackets would turn out and hope you got the coverage. Misty’s Starmie really becoming the vain of my existence but just wanted to play again to try and get another win.
On the negative side, Team Plasma suffered without N. He was an intriguing villain that incorporated the elite four and its social standing. Ghetsis was just to paint by the numbers to care about and even as I am typing this, I can’t get over how mind numbingly dumb ” Paulie’s” motivation is here. I gave Platinum shade over the friend being a nuissance, but here was so much worse. His motivation is his sister’s Purrloin being stolen five years earlier when he was to small to do anything and he is trying to find it. None of this works First off it is a Purrloin. They are everywhere, I get the idea of pokemon being special individual but it is literally the Pokemon Bianca teaches you how to catch Pokemon with. At least make it a Meowth or something different to make it special. The Shadow Triad who has it isn’t even the only one Team Plasma has and not Memorable enough to remember. Not to mention he doesn’t even take in the fact that it had plenty of time to evolve after five years and all. Just a bad and his screams Feel my rage made me hate teaming with him.
At the end of it all though. Still had a great time playing Black 2. Unova has been a genuine treat. Difficulty scale felt smooth. Able to keep your party balanced and wild pokemon string enough to grind efficiently off of. The designs were nice and can’t say enough good things about it. Grade – A+
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I put this off now for a bit. Season Finale being six days ago. How did say goodbye to Supernatural? A show that has been around since 2005. Robert Downey was three years from downing the Iron Man Suit and Stephen Amell was seven from kickstarting the arrowverse. Lasted nearly a generation, while most struggle to get past 5 seasons. Had some fantastic peaks and bounced quickly back from its lows. Before I have to say good bye. I suppose I should start with a thank you.
Thank You, for some of the most compelling story telling brought to TV. From long form, arcs that ran for multiple seasons, such Yellow Eyes to Lilith and rise of Lucifer. Memorial monsters of the week. Powerful emotional episodes, like Heart and Abandon All Hope. Knowing how to hit you deep in the feels and shed tears in all the most wonderful of ways. Episodes that made you fall out of your seat laughing with the likes of Tall tales, All Dogs Go To Heaven and so many more. Knowing when to break the building tension with just the right amount of humor. Not afraid to break the pace, with various others other then Sam and Dean leading the way or breaking the norm even more with the likes of Scoobynatural and bitten. Every episode became must watch and easily rewatchable\ and the music, always picking the best song for the situation. Too many of which ended up on my playlist.
Thank You for the amount of detail that went into bringing the monsters to life. Making the Djinn feel like dominate forces whenever they were around. Giving the vampires the classics 80’s touch to them, especially when we first meet them. Wendigo was so good and he was way back in the second episode that longed to see again. Fact the zombies were killed by being staked into their burial spot was such a deep cut into their lore and loved them for changing them up for the show. Weaving in stories where they weren’t just monsters. Had loved ones and families and it was the hunters who were in fact wrong. Unique ways they utilized beings like Eve and Leviathans. Almost we got more from Eve, but enjoyed her while she was around. A lot of love and creativity went in and it showed.
Thank you to everyone who put on performances of a lifetime. Jared Padalecki an Jensen Ackles gave us two incredible characters in the form of Sam and Dean, who could easily go down as the best siblings to ever be portrayed. Characters that were so strong willed that they would turn enemies into friends as they stood their ground against the greatest of threats. Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard took side characters in Castiel and Crowley and made them welcomed mainstays. Mark Pellegrino gave us a Lucifer that I would compare to any other. The same could easily be said about Julian Richings Death, my personal favorite. Stole every scene he was in and broke my heart when he died. Fredic Lehine set a high bar as his performance as Azazel and each passing big bad nudged it higher and higher. Then you throw in the likes of Richard Speight Jr., Kim Rhodes, Alexander Calvert, Steven Williams, Felicia Day, Richard Minor and I could go on and on and still probably miss someone. Thank You To Everyone involved and will be remembered so fondly.
And now comes the time to say goodbye. Will truly miss getting new chapters to this phenomenal show, but will treasure what they have given and wish everyone involved in this they very best in whatever they do next.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
We are back again after a little break, sorry I will get better with sticking to a schedule, but here we are with another B Movie Sunday, with a movie from the U.K in the form of Book Of Monsters. I don’t normally get to watch foreign films, something that will be changing going into the next year, so was rather excited to sit back and watch this film. Lets dive in and see discuss how this one is shall we.
We start off with a little girl, Sophie, reading a demonic looking book of monsters under her blanket, when her Mom catches her. Laughing it off, being that it was a regular story for the two of them. Reading about Grota, before lights out, but before she leaves. Hears something from under her bed. Pulling a knife as she goes to inspect. but disappears under the bed. When Sophie goes to check on her, Mother comes up for a moment screaming, before a massive monster comes out from under the bed. Starting toward Sophie, but she wakes up. Older now, and about to turn 18 years old. We meet her friends Mona and Beth, who are going to throw her a massive happy eighteenth birthday party and while they are inviting everyone, have to invite her bullies, Brice and Arya, because they hangout with Jess, Sophie’s crush who Mona is trying to set up. They head back to her house where her Dad set up more of a childish party in sweet display. Gifting her the same book that she hadn’t seen since that night, before he left and they set up for the party, which started late and got out of hand. Leaving Sophie scrambling to keep things clean, while a mysterious redhead is going about sniffing people, before settling on one and took him back to Sophie’s room and getting her hands on the book and began to carve a pentagram into his chest and sacrifice him. All the while, Sophie is being just tormented by Arya’s prank of hiring a male stripper and unveiling her past in a mental hospital for all to here when they are interrupted by an attacking monster. Making quick work of the partygoers. Forcing the survivors into different groups and that is where I will leave it now.
I liked the concept they brought with the monsters. A monster each for the points of the pentagram and a stronger monster being a puppet master. Really loved the Plague Mask Killer. A simplistic look in comparison, but let him really move and looked menacing with is sickles. An interesting take on the Jinn and would have liked to see more from it, but fun while it was there. You can see where they get some of their inspirations from and played most of them nicely and made for a pretty fun story.
While it seemed to have a lot budget they did put a lot of attention in practical gore. People getting ripped to bits and slipping on body parts as they tried to run; all good stuff. The cheesy effect of the neon blood pouring down the wind shield of the car was spectacular. Taking you right back to cheesy horror of old and added a fun feel around it. Like I said, thought the Plague Doctor was the best, but the Shapeshifter looked good as well when it might not should have. Kept it lit up just right to maintain it’s presence.
The chemistry between Lyndsey Craine, Michaela Longden, and Lizzie Aaryn-Stanton was strong. Actually feeling like their characters would have been friends and when they were fighting the monsters, they were not swinging weapons around like seasoned pros. They showed fear and hesitation. Acting like normal people would in this situation. It was a nice change of pace having Lyndsey’s Sophie being a lesbian who has to save the damsel.
Negative wise, the bullies couldn’t have been worse. Would say they were paint by the numbers but Brice at one point simple just through his drink in Sophie’s face. I can’t get over that. Wasn’t even a set up. Just threw the drink. Lazy and didn’t really need two of them. Arya was good on her on.
Then there was Gary, who I did like, but they had him in this tense moment. Going to kill the Shapeshifter and save Jess and he stops to pee. I don’t have words. He could have heard a sound or saw something out of the corner of his eye. Nope.. he had to pee… yeah.
With all said and done though, had a fun time watching this movie. Fun characters and interesting monsters and some good gore. If you are a fan of cheesy horror, would suggest checking out Book of Monsters, with some friends and good food and drinks.
As always, hope you enjoyed and…
Thanks For Reading
By: Justin Hopkins
Off the excitement I had leaving the first story in Calexa Rose Dunhill’s story. Was eager to jump to the next story, Inheritance. Which going off the title sounded pretty ominous. Didn’t read the description, because I preferred to go in blind, but started to worry about the safety of the returning characters. Lets jump in and see if my fears are warranted shall we.
We start off two months down the road. Winter growing closer and Calexa is talking to the stone angel, before heading off to Lucinda’s for dinner. Lucinda is beginning to get more worried about her. Not wanting her to suffer winter in the Cemetery and trying to convince her to go to the cops for help. Calexa is not quite ready and doesn’t want to move into the spare room because of fear of being found, but agrees to stay in the attic bedroom for the night. Where she has a dream about being haunted by the ghosts on Dunhill. Troubled by the fact that she can’t help them if she can’t help herself. Awaken by a sound. Getting downstairs to find Lucinda being attacked by a masked assailant. Stabbing her before she could stop it. Knocking the knife away from the attack which scares them off. Holding Lucinda close as she fades away. Seeing her spirit rising from the body, but to her dismay, flies into her instead of flying off. After a flurry of memories wash over her. She begins to clean the house of any of her prints before calling the police before fleeing back to the cemetery. Watching the scene from her tree. Swearing to find out who did this is where I will leave it for now.
This was more of a whodunit story as opposed to the first one .It was a gamble to kill of Lucinda this early on, but they used it to maximum effect. Really throwing Calexa’s make shift world upside down. She still has the same issues of not wanting to be exposed yet, but now she doesn’t know who it was or if she is in danger. She doesn’t have the skills to solve it on her own. Leaving you wonder who it could be and keeping her on her back foot and reacting to most of the things around her. The wildcard of Mason and if he wasn’t going to take it upon himself to call the cops. Then they throw in the element that Lucinda left everything to her, but if she came forward, she would risk exposure and it all worked so well.
This was as much of a stepping stone to the next story as it was a sequel to Pretenders. Setting up Kelner as someone who is going to get behind her in more of an assertive way while at the very end, they end with Mason being left alone with a man wanting to know all about the ghost of Dunhill Cemetery. Ending with a massive cliffhanger and what could possibly happen next.
Graphic Audio continues to knock it out of the park with their audio books. Sound Affects and background noises, all down to the smallest details are top notch. Emilyn McFarland has really got Calexa down pat. Chris Stinson was a nice addition as Mason and look forward to seeing how he plays out in the next book. Same with Andy Brownstein’s Kelner.
There was a negative to this though and that was having the gang involved. They didn’t add anything to the story. Were suppose to try and lead you to think they were involved with her death, but never at any time did I suspect them and to lead her to where she needed to be for the discovery. Which could have been done another way. Small gripe but still a negative for me.
This was a fun story that has definitely built my excitement for the next installment in the series. Would strongly suggest giving this audio book ago and can’t wait for the finale. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I was kind of flip flopping on which classic to review for the month, especially since I haven’t remembered to review one the last few months. Had a few in mind, but yesterday someone mentioned this gem and this just felt right. Following the spooky season, a comedic mystery of Clue seemed to be fitting. So, lets dive into the whodunit world and see how well it really is shall we.
The Movie kicks off with Wadsworth The Butler showing up. Throwing food to two ferocious guard dogs before going inside. Making sure the maid and cook were ready for their guests. As Colonel Mustard showed up. Making a point that that wasn’t his name, but Wadsworth stresses the importance of using Aliases. Mrs. White showed up next, dressed in mourning attire. Tense moment of recognition between Yvette and Miss. White, but they don’t say why. Followed by the arrival of Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Miss Scarlett and Professor Plum, who arrived together when Scarlett’s car broke down and he picked her up. Upon their arrival dinner is served, with one guest, Mr. Body still missing. Which confuses them since they were under the impression that he was the host, not a guest, but Wadsworth is not answering any questions. Mrs. Peacock starts nervously talking, to find out Mr. Breen knows her from working in Washington. Through talking, find out Plum has a background in Psychology, Scarlet knows Mustard and everyone works or lives in Washington. Colonel Mustard grows tired of this and demands to know what is going on. When Mr. Body arrives. Already agitated, they go to the Study for the truth, before it comes out, Mr. Body tries to leave to find that they have been locked in till it is all resolved. Which is that they are all being blackmailed. From adulatory, to running an escort service, picking up those escorts, murder and homosexuality and the blackmailer is non other than Mr. Body. The cops are on their way and Wadsworth has all the evidence to have him arrested, but Mr. Body was ready for it. Suspecting Wadsworth was up to something and brought them each a box containing a weapon. Giving them the option, to kill Wadsworth while the lights are out, and they can all leave and no one will ever know that this happened. A gunshot went off and when the lights came back on. Mr. Body was on the ground. Leaving them to figure out who the killer was before the cops arrive.
This was a fun, clever way to bring the board game to life. The characters all having their own unique personalities and quirks. All trying to figure out who the killer is. Each of them having their own reason to commit murder while at the same time, not seeming to be capable of killing at the same time. Changing Mrs. White from the maid to a younger character was a wise move. The mansion was gorgeous. Focusing on the locations from the game, including the two secret passages Mixing in comedy that never derailed the build up in tension which worked its way up slowly throughout. The mansion was gorgeous. Focusing on the locations from the game, including the two secret passages
The actors were spot on with choices for the characters. Tim Curry is amazing as he normally is. Same with Christopher Lloyd Although, I think Martin Mull and Madeline Khan may have outshined him. Martin’s portrayal as the bumbling alpha male was some of the funniest moments and the reactions Madeline played the black widow, Mrs. White was really good. Throw in the fantastic chemistry they shared with Eileen Brennan, Michael McKean and Lesley Ann Warren and you have the making of something special.
The multiple endings is also probably their biggest weaknesses. I get the reason behind them. Every game of clue being different and someone new, but, none of them seemed to feel right after everything that transpired. I liked the idea of them all killing someone else, but Mr. Green being FBI was almost going a little to far. When all that really needed to happen was the cops breaking in, demanding who done it and everyone pointing fingers again. The other endings suffered similar with Wadsworth being FBI. They were just fine, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Mrs. Peacock being the killer cause that twist seemed to be most subdued.
All said in done, Clue is an absolute blast. Some great actors doing their all to bring the board game to life. Having the right amount of comedy and tension. If you haven’t checked it out, do strongly suggest giving it a go and if you have, well it is always the right time to watch it again. Final Grade – A
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
This is probably a long overdo review and not talking about the fact it came out in 2016, but the fact I first mentioned it back in December during another blog, but after having a great time during the Cemetery Girl Audiobook Review. Decided to return to this one. A story with a bit of a strange premise. Taking place between Alien and Aliens and not one return, but two. Let’s dive in and see how it did shall we.
The story starts off on the ship called the Marion. A mining vessel above planet LV-178. When a distress signal comes from two returning ships, the Delilah and Samson. The Samson manages dock, but they witness aliens killing everyone on board on the video feed. Leaving them to seal the dock door to keep them locked inside. While the Delilah crashes into the ship. Causing significant damage and sends the Marion into a slow descent toward the planet. Leaving them with no other option but to send a distress call in the hopes of being picked up before the ninety day count down to being burned up in the planet’s atmosphere. After a while though, they realize that there long range antenna was damaged and they don’t know how far out the signal has gotten, but a ship has in fact picked it up and was on it’s approach. The Narcissus, The escape shuttle with Ellen Ripley still in stasis from her escape of the Nostromo… 37 years ago. After shock of not only hearing that, but that the nightmare she barely survived once, is currently here and worse this go around. Her and Hoop go to the Narcissus to find out how she got here and Hoop checking on its conditions. To see if it can be used to escape on. She finds that Ash, the Android who tried to have her and her crew killed in its attempt to bring the alien back to Weyland-Yutani, had downloaded his programming onto the Narcissus computer and had been controlling where the ship went. Hoop shut him down, before returning to the Marion. Gathering everyone together for the news that while it was not the best, but the Narcissus was their only way to escape, but they would need the Fuel Cells from off the planet and the Samson was the only way down. Would deal with Ash once they were a safe way away. Just barely managing to deal with 3 of the 4 aliens aboard the Samson, the final one getting loose, but they leave it for the time. They head to the planet, but Ash has gotten into the Marion’s systems. Laying out plans to continue his agendas of bringing an alien back to the company and that is where I will leave things for now.
This was a really fun, intense story. Showing a crew of people trying to put their collective skills and handful of weapons together and try and survive against multiple xenomorphs and a destructive AI tilting the board against them. Having multiple aliens and spending time on the alien world, with signs of what the planet was like before the Xenomorphs wiped them out and covered by the storms with Seddon after being impregnated with a chestburster and what was going to happen to them towards the end, because we already knew where they had to end.
Obviously a big worry was the inclusion of Ripley being a part of this. Since we know that she is going to survive and go back into stasis alone, but they worked around that really good cast of characters. All of them were charismatic and no one was trying to work against the other. Just trying to survive. From Lechance and Sneddon and Kasyanov and Chris Hooper. Hooper even did survive at the end. Being forced to escape in an escape pod after not being able to make it back to the Narcissus and would love to see them bring him back at some point cause he was a good addition to the story. Then you get Ash in the form of this AI puppet master was just the perfect touch and may have had the most gruesome kill on Kasyanov.
The big production they had was awesome. The background sounds were all just fantastic of sirens and elevator falling. The screams and screeches coming from the Xenos when they attacked and scurrying through vent ducts. Topped off by some excellent performances from the Voice Actors. Laurel Lefkow played Ripley so well. Not only did she sound exactly like Sigourney Weaving, but got into the character so well. Andrea Deck as Kasynaov and Mac McDonald’s Lechance and Corey Johnson’s Hoop… everyone involved did amazing selling the horror and desperation of the characters and brought this story to life in wonderful fashion.
My only real gripe with the story is Ripley having her memory wiped. I get why they felt like they had to do this, but they didn’t really have to do so. When she finally did wake up, would have just chalked up the events to one of many nightmares since there was no evidence on the ship of the stop on the Marion.
As you could tell, I had a blast with Out Of The Shadows. Start of a trilogy that at some point will be checking out the other two, but do strongly suggest checking this title out.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Back when I was over the road. Use to listen to a fair amount of Graphic Audio CDs. Listening to a lot of Marvel and Silver in particular. Cemetery Girl was one that was high up on my list to get, but stopped listening before I ever got it. As I have been playing more games such as Minecraft that doesn’t require that much sound however. Allowed me to get back to the audiobooks and I finally picked up Cemetery Girl and after giving it a listen. Decided to talk about it here. So lets dive in shall we and break down book one.
The story starts with a girl being rolled down a hill and left for dead in Dunhill Cemetery. Suffering from amnesia and takes shelter in a crypt. Doesn’t remember who she is and only a few flashes of being attacked. Afraid that if she goes to the police for help though, that the person who tried to kill her will try again so she stays at the cemetery until she can remember. While she was attempting to steal a few things for warmth was startled by a soul of a recently departed man ascend from his grave and disappear. Adding to the mystery of who she is. As days begin to go by, she makes it by blending in with people attending funerals. Stealing little things from their cars and the groundskeeper’s house. When she saves his life one even though. Dawns on her that she needs a name and gets one off a faded grave, Calexa Rose Dunhill. One night a group of teens break into the cemetery, trying and failing to raise a demon. A group she sees again when one of their friends die and they break in again, with their friend’s sister and murder her, in a sacrifice to bring him back. Burying in his burial plot when it doesn’t work. While she is watching from a distance, the girl’s spirit comes out and instead of disappearing like the other. Beelines it into Calexa. Giving her all of her memories and voice inside, longing for justice, but doing so would put her at risk of being exposed and her killer taking another shot at her.
This was a much shorter story than I am use to with this medium, clocking in at only a little over an hour and a half, but they make every bit to tell a wonderful tale and introduction into the world. Charlaine Harris did a wonderful job at writing the story. Calexa is a likeable character who really sucks you into her plight. She wears her emotions on her sleeve. Crafty and capable enough to survive in the cemetery, despite probably only being a kid, by the way the groundkeeper is reluctant to notify authorities and have her sent to a foster home, but at the same time, she is incredibly human. She is not some master thief or capable of going toe to toe with anybody. When she finds herself in a dangerous situation, you feel like she is in danger and helps you cling on to every minute of the story. Wondering how she is going to help Marla and not get caught at the same time. Lucinda and The Groundskeeper were wonderful additions and genuinely excited to see how the relationship with Calexa evolve from here.
Much like everything Graphic Audio puts together, the sound effects and background music is spectacular. Sounds of people walking and hearing a difference when people are far away or talking while they walk away. Get multiple, extremely talented voice actors voicing different characters. From Emlyn McFarland’s portrayal of Calexa. Andy Brownstein as the Groundskeeper and Shari Eliker and Lucinda and just everyone involved. May sound like a small thing, but it really makes a difference to immersing you into the story and Cemetery Girl is no different.
I do strongly suggest giving Cemetery Girl: The Pretenders. It is a perfect way to get introduced into audio books and a great short story for people who are well versed in them… and it is always a Graphic Novel for those who really don’t want to listen to an audio book. Whichever avenue you choose to enjoy what is a really good story.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Going off the release of Shrieker Island. Now seemed like a good as time as any to do pull out a ranking list. I know, I know, it is cliché, but it is that special time of year and any reason to marathon my way through the seven, is a good enough reason for me. So, lets dive in all the good and bad of a franchise that have had so tremendous highs and some rock bottom lows.
Tremors 5 – BLOODLINES
Where do I even begin with this movie. Pretty hyped for it. Was eleven years since we got the The Legends Begins and the thought of Burt returning to fight Graboids was a delightful thought and was woefully disappointed. Jaime Kennedy wasn’t bad, but having him be Burt’s Son was not the best use of his time we will say, like I said. He didn’t do bad. A better script would have helped way more than a surprise Dad reveal. The changes they made to the Graboid and the Ass Blaster look terrible. Especially the Ass Blaster. Having the Graboids leaping out of the ground was another bad move. Just nothing about this movie was appealing.
Tremors 6 – Cold Day In Hell
This was a lot better on second viewing then it was my first go around. Still not that good, but better and at least watchable. Taking it up to the artic was an interesting touch. The poison was a bit if a stretch. A lot of characters have been caught up by their tongues and soaked in their blood and guts. Burt being the only one poisoned is a big stretch, but did allow a much needed change of pace from the simple kill them at all cost to catch one alive. Still say the son angle was unnecessary but Jaime did better with it here. Wish they would have one more with Val and Rhonda’s Daughter. Bring someone like that in and she just seemed to have such a bit part. She does some things, but mostly just there to name drop Val and having to see the terrible looking Ass Blasters did no favors, but still a fun watch.
Tremors 4 – The Legend Begins
I probably have the least amount to say about this film. It’s just okay. Taking the film to the old west was a fun move. Limited the guns and then some, by add Michael Gross as Hirm Gummer, his ancestor who was not big on guns in the first place. It was fine. Nothing much to say.
Tremors 7 – Shrieker Island
The newest to the franchise, which may very well mark the end and was such a vast turn around from 5 and 6. Have already raved enough in my review so I will keep it short. For everything I thought Jon Heder was going to be, he proved to be the exact opposite and was a great addition to the story. Fun characters and the Shriekers looked great. It had some fun kills and if it was good bye to Burt, it was a good way to say good bye.
Tremors 3 – Back To Perfection
From here out it gets real tough. On any given day, including as I am typing this. Still questioning my own ranking of the top three. Personally, three is my favorite of the bunch, but even I am not going to say it should be top of the list. The Ass Blasters look amazing and is an exciting final stage for the Graboid to take. The idea of them taking the eggs far out to lay and spread the Graboids to various spots around the world. Heading back to Perfection, along with returns from Charlotte Stewart, Ariana Richards, Tony Genaro and of course, Michael Gross. Desert Jack and Susan Chang were good, but it was also the third love story that played out the same exact way and kind of hurt it a bit, but Back To Perfection is still a great, fun monster movie.
Thirty years and the first still stands up so well today. It is just a classic movie. Everyone brought their A game and made Perfection seem like a real place. With their own eccentricities and personalities all coming together to Everyone in the town all working in unison to try and overcome the underground menace that Walter Chang christens, Graboids. The monsters are great. The Underground worms with snake like tongues are amazing. The learning curve making them an ever growing threat. If someone was to tell me that this should be number 1. Wouldn’t argue. It is a classic for a reason. Just couldn’t put it there myself.
Tremors 2 – Aftershocks
I love everything about this movie. They build on the ground work they made in the first and ran with it here. Return of Earl and how creative the remote control cars were. Add a life cycle to the graboids with the introduction of the Shriekers. We get to see the start of who Burt Gummer was really going to become. The chemistry between Michael Gross and Fred Ward was tremendous. Grady’s humor has never been duplicated. Chris Gartin didn’t try to redo what Kevin Bacon did, but made it his own and the movie was better for it. Put it all together and Tremors 2 Aftershocks takes the crown for the best Tremors film in the franchise.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It seems only fitting that we get the seventh entry into the Tremor Movie Franchise, being that we had the Thirtieth Anniversary of the first Tremors back in January of this year. Wish I could say I went in with any kind of hope. I love the Tremors series and hold the first three close to my heart and didn’t think 4 was all that bad either, but five really drove things to the ground. Six was a little better but as more and more came out about the seventh. My hope was dwindling. Still, wasn’t going to turn it away. Any series is one away from getting new life. Lets dive in and see if Shrieker Island was the shot it needed to be.
The movie kicks off with a kid racing his way through the jungle. Leading something back to a group of waiting Hunters, Lead by a Biotech Executive named Billy on his Island and assistant Anna and a group of rich guys on a trophy hunt. Going after a Graboid. One of four that Billy had brought to the island in an egg. That he had genetically enhanced to be peak killers to heighten the thrill of the hunt. They managed to take it down with poison darts. Planning on finishing it off despite concerns from Anna. Meanwhile on another island, we go to Jas and a group of scientists electronically tagging elephants. Lead by Jimmy, who is hungover from a night of light drinking. When Jas, already on edge from an Earthquake, sees Bill’s boat, she gets curious about what is going on over there and with Jimmy and Ishimon, goes to investigate. Finding the half buried Graboid with three holes inside it. Surrounded by suspicious noises, they try to escape but not before Ishimon is killed. Jas and Jimmy manage to make it back to the boat. She is going to confront Billy, but sends him to go and get Burt Gummer who is in isolation Papua New Guinea. While she learns that Billy is not going to call off the hunt, but has jammed the communications grid and she can’t call out for help. Luckily, Jimmy had a bit of success convincing a reluctant Burt to come and help. Which almost comes undone when he comes face to face with Jas, who turns out to be the Mother of Burt’s Son. They manage to get him to stay, but he has to go it with no weapons and an already tense stand-off with Billy. Finally getting over to the island, where they learn that the shriekers are even more dangerous due to the genetic changes have allowed them to weaponize their screeches and on top of that, the remaining graboids have made it off the island and that is where I will leave it for now
Shrieker Island was a vast improvement on the last two.. three even. Taking it back to more darker, horror centric roots. Playing up the suspense of never knowing when a Graboid or Shrieker would show up. Especially, the Shriekers. Treating them like expert pact hunters and expertly picking people off at opportune moments. You had some jokes here or there, but seemed more based around Jimmy being nervous and trying to keep face then trying to force a joke for the sake of having a joke. Stripping him of his weapons. Forcing him to go back to basics was a nice touch as well. Even adding the line about finger print scanners on all Bill’s guns to explain why he couldn’t raid his supply for guns. Could tell a lot went into putting together a good story and for the most part, works really well.
I have not not been the biggest fan of how the Graboids have looked since five. Kind of deal where too much detail has hurt them. As opposed to the simple designers from the earlier ones, but the Queen actually looks decent and they nailed it with the look of the Shriekers. Making them slimmer and more compact. Able to camouflage and hide themselves to the forest. While still keeping the icon look at the same time.
I can go on and on about how great Michael Gross has been as Burt Gummer. Has stepped into a role and got more out of it than nearly anyone else. So, lets talk about some others instead, like Jon Heder. One of the biggest concerns about this movie. Getting flashbacks of Jaime Kennedy being signed, but was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He came across as earnest. Peaceful guy who wanted the best for everyone and loved his repeated leadership tips. Acting as a guide for him to continue to try his best when he is scared. Jackie Cruz was delightful as the hard edged Freddy. She was really the standout in quite a few scenes she was in. If the series goes on, which we’ll get into a bit, would love to see her and Jon Heder take up the reigns. Richard Brake is excellent as the creepy villain as he is.
Negative wise, is that as good as some of the things were. It could have been better with a bit more time and focus. Burt bringing up that the Queen is targeting it’s victims and at the end, is only interested in Burt. Which is an interest prospect, but didn’t do enough to build on that dynamic then a line or two. Things were just put on pause while Burt and Jimmy went to seal with the Shriekers when they could have had a team up scene between Freddie and Anna. Which could have been amazing. Could have done more if they would have shot for the two hour marker, without losing momentum.
And now we got to talk about the end. So, if you haven’t seen it, skip this paragraph. I didn’t really believe it at first. Expecting to see Burt come up out of the rubble or post credit scene explaining how he faked it to finally buy his privacy. Couldn’t believe that they actually killed Burt. Such an iconic character who has kept the torch going on the series for so long. Reason why I love these movies so much in the first place. No matter how bad the script was, always brought a hundred percent and going to miss him.
I would suggest checking out Tremors Shrieker Island. Especially if you have been a fan of the series. Really shakes off the stench of the last two and gives potentially a fitting end to the series in general. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It is that special time of year. The best time in fact. Scary movies abound and might as well throw in a few Horror Themed Games while I am at it. With the sequel due out next year and desperately needing a break from Pokemon. No better time to go back and check out Vampire The Masquerade The Bloodline. I didn’t play it when it came out. Never heard of it in fact, till I saw the sequel, but they had me the moment it said, Vampire RPG. So, I picked it up on Steam and played through and now am here to talk a bit about my playthrough and how nine yards. Lets dive in shall we.
When you select new game, you are given two questions. One, can skip to your create a character option or go to a short questionnaire, in which your answers will dictate your clan. Which is what I did and the powers to be placed my in the Brujah Clan. Dished out various points. Leaning heavy into the Melee and intimidation and away we went. Getting a cut scene where it shows you becoming a vampire and are attacked and the two of you are taken to a committee. Seems that turning someone without permission is against their laws and they kill the guy who turned me. Before my verdict is said, a man interrupts. Getting everyone worked up and Lacroix decides to take you in and sends you on a mission to Santa Monica, but not before getting to know a Vampire named Jack through the voluntary tutorial. As well as the Sabbat. A clan of more viscous vampires. Once you get set loose on Santa Monica, tasked with helping your contact who got beaten down, get a bomb to use on a Sabbat warehouse, but once you get the bomb. You have to find a Vampire who is in hiding from another vampire named Therese and she isn’t going to call off the vendetta till you help with a ghost issue and all made worse due to her issues with her split personality Jenette bubbling to a boiling point and you get caught in between. Once one of them wins out, you get to find the Vampire who can help, blow up the warehouse and off to downtown you go. To report in with Lacroix, only to be attacked by Sabbat and saved by Nines. The same man who intervened during the opening scene and the leader of The Anarch Clan. Wanting you to meet him at the Last Round for the real story. Before though, we got to report in with Lacroix, who will give you a job of checking out a ship called the Elizabeth Dane. Which has a sarcophagus which may house an Antediluvian. An Elder Vampire who will kick of Gehenna, The end of time. After checking it out, he wants you to steal it from the museum. Only it is stolen before you can get to it and now you have to track down the Nosferatu to find out who else knew and get it back. Along the way, you meet various other groups and colorful characters and try to decide which group you want to side with at the end or if you want to make a run at the end, solo.
This game has got so much going for it. The Main Story arch was enticing. Wondering just how far down the well you have to go. Wondering what group you want to side with and is this all real. Is Gehenna really upon you or is it all just a superstition. My first playthrough I sided with the Anarchs, but there are so many different avenues you can go that I hyped to play again and see all the various endings for myself and the main story is only part of why I want to play again. The side quests and various clans all play heavily on replay value.
Clan wise, you got the Brujah, who are the Anarch rebels. Gangrel are your brooding loners who get a bonus for frenzy. Nosferatu is your hardcore mode. They are mutated to the point where you can’t be seen and stealth is a must. Torredors are all about sticking close to human as you can an being more class while Ventures are your high society type who will vomit if you drink from Prostitutes or homeless. Tremer are magic and Malkavians are your wild ride. They are schizophrenic and minds are broken. Can see bits of the future and have the craziest dialogue options because of it. If you want a crazy ride, Malkavians are defiantly the way to go, but regardless of which. They will change up how you want to go at things. Making each run something a little different.
The side quests are abundant and highly enjoyable throughout. Mostly due to the charismatic characters and just how much detail and time they put into them and kind of entwinning them together. In Santa Monica, you meet a group of Thin Bloods, who want to know who they are and see his Lily again, but can’t find her. So you set off to find her and takes you to a Bail Bondsman, who needs help finding his Bounty Hunter. After finding him, you are asked to check to see if Muddy skipped town and he has and that ties in with a serial killer story down the line. You can become a silent partner in the club Confessions, by helping Venus and get an 250 every once in a while. Fight off zombies, a Plaguebearer, and deal with a Werewolf, and the best man, Jack. So much you can do besides the main story and your choices, humanity and deciphering the insanity that is the Malkavian.
Now this game does have some flaws and I made it a lot harder on myself then it probably should have been by making a full blown melee character. Waves of enemies towards the end starts to become a bit daunting and Ming Xiao fight towards the end was nightmare fuel because of how difficult she was for me. I didn’t have a lot of ammo due to the fact that wasn’t the style I was going for, my fault, but the fact you have the option to build up melee characters and drop a boss fight like that on you is almost a bit uncalled for. All for difficulty but Ming Xiao is on another level. So make sure to drop a few points into ranged and have some ammo.
It is a bit rough around the edges fighting wise. Playing very much like a game from 2004. I read a lot in the comment section of game breaking bugs in this game if you don’t download the unofficial patch to fix some of it. I never had anything like that. Had one bug that was more entertaining then frustrating. I died in the maze at the FU Building, but during the Final Death animation I was teleported to where they were keeping the vampire prisoner and succeeded the quest, but when I still had to go through the level anyway. Bringing up the patch, because I do suggest picking this game up.
This game has some deep extricate stories, even some of the side quests and everything is really up to how you want to play. Mix all of that with Vampires and various monsters running around. Makes just the perfect game to play, especially during this, the best time of the year. Looking forward so much to the sequel. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed, and….
Thank You For Reading.