Mini Movie Reviews 12/15/19

Morning!

This time of year is always bonkers for me. The weather, too, especially as it swings from cold to warm and back again. Then there’s squeezing in the holidays while trying to juggle all the year-end accounting projects before the close in January. Since the company is now public again, the amount of requirements for auditors and reporting goes way up!

I hope you guys are having a better time of it! 😛

Mini Movie Reviews

Knives OutKnives Out – This film was a lot more fun than I expected. It’s a classic Agatha Christie setup, but then it takes a left turn in an unexpected direction. Secrets, machinations, lies, a ton of details pulling every which way. Even when you think you know what happened, it turns out it wasn’t that way at all. Great performances, good twists and turns. There was something odd on the way close-ups were filmed, which made the actors and actresses look off, but this could have been intentional.

Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!) 

 

Jumanji: The Next LevelJumanji: The Next Level – Hubby had been chomping at the bit to see this one. 😛 They did a great job showing some of the reasons Spencer chose to try to fix the game and going back inside. Some new people and characters get introduced as Jumanji gets thrown into a bigger crisis than before. The actors doing the avatars get to reinvent themselves as the people behind them have changed. They did such a great job! Awkwafina did a great Granpa Eddie. ROFL. Some new skills and new weaknesses. The prehistoric ostriches were super cool and scary. Lol.  One extra bit ties the end of the film back to giving homage to the original Jumanji as well as a possible leading to another film! Favorite quote: “You are the worst Bravestone ever!” 😛 

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Have a great week!

Virtual Tourist – Yakuza 0 12/1/19

Mini Movie Reviews

Frozen 2

Frozen 2 – there was a lot to love about this sequel. I adored that we got to see how the family was before the scare, which made the parents separate the two girls. They also worked in the lesson from the first film into the second one, which made for a nice progression. The animation was great, and we have new songs to sing. Lol. I enjoyed it a lot! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

Ford vs. Ferrari Ford vs. Ferrari – Matt Damon and Christian Bale are fab in this film. The rapport between the two men and the difficulties they face came across as natural and with depth. From the quick research I did, this is mostly accurate, with the usual license taken by Hollywood to ramp up the excitement and drama. The one bit I do wish they’d pointed out better is how Ken Miles would have won the European trifecta of racing if he’d not been shafted at Le Mans. He would have been the first man to ever win all three. So sad. Good story, great cinematography, excellent acting, cool racing stunts. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 - New town

The game switches characters and cities. 1980’s fictional Okinawa!

Yakuza 0 - Crab Sign

See that giant crab sign? They have those for real! The details are amazing.

Yakuza 0 - first view of The Grand

Side street view of the cabaret club called The Grand. This is where we will meet Majima. 

Yakuza 0 - The Grand front entrance

The front entrance to The Grand. Super glitzy!

Yakuza 0 - Inside The Grand

They have a full-on band! Though it is the ’80s, this does take you back to the big clubs from the ’40s.

Yakuza 0 - clientele at The Grand

A shot of the clientele at The Grand.

Yakuza 0 - it's Christmas!

Spotted some nice decorations for Christmas! That’s Majima. Did I not take a pic of him? Eek!

Yakuza 0 - Don Quixote

Your super general type store – Don Quixote! They have all sorts of stuff for sale. 😛

Yakuza 0 - Shrine

This is shrine tucked away in some narrow streets close to Club Sunshine. The same weird priest with the clown face is here. A place to trade your CP points for goodies and advantages.

Yakuza 0 - ritzie club interior

This town is chuck full of ritzy clubs. Everyone has money to burn! 😛

I keep trying to get myself back on to a regular schedule with posts, but life is all over the place. I hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving!

 

Virtual Tourist – Seasons After Fall 11/3/19

Morning all!

Fall is definitely in the air. Temperatures have been chilly all week. It might actually be here to stay!

Due to unforeseen issues at the publisher, Alien Redemption will probably not be available in 2019 but be pushed to early 2020. 🙁  Editing is progressing. I don’t think they’ve assigned a cover artist yet.

Movie Reviews

Terminator: Dark Fate Terminator: Dark Fate – A lot of James Cameron’s films of late have been not so great, so I went to see this with low expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised – the movie was good!

It picks up after events in Terminator 2 Judgement Day and then leaps forward twenty years or so. Skynet is no more. Now they have to worry about Legion. (Time does not like being messed with.) 

Great action, special effects, and acting. There are lots of small surprises. I was impressed with the physical details concerning Grace being a cyborg. You can see the scars around her eyes, her arms, chest, and stomach where they did work on her. There are also divets, small screws, and more. And there is a price to be paid for the enhancements. 

The new terminator type sent after Dani was super tough and absorbed information at an alarming rate. I love that they made him a small man, someone who you’d never expect to be able to do what he does. Both a liquid and solid terminator, he makes for a super challenging and scary combo. There were some attacks he could have done that he didn’t, but then a future flashback shows his compatriots doing precisely what I thought he should have done. LOL. Guess it would have made his mission too easy then. 

Overall, I enjoyed the film a lot. Seeing Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwatzeneger together again was a treat. Bitter old Sarah Conner was a hoot. The film definitely deserves to do better at the box office than it has so far. Rating: 3.5 out of 4. (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

Virtual Tourist

Seasons After Fall

Seasons After Fall - Little Seed

Our true form. This is the Sanctuary.

Seasons After Fall

We are back inside the fox and heading off to the second guardian.

Seasons After Fall

You’ll learn that in any of the areas with water, winter is your friend. It is the only way to get across and leap out.

Seasons After Fall

Walking through a hollow log.

The route here is obstructed. There are little creatures you can get to spawn who, depending on the seasons, can be activated to blow them up. 🙂

Seasons After Fall

Another obstruction. Though later, you learn to play with the steam and ice.

Seasons After Fall

There’s a giant feather on the outcropping. Something that will be useful after we meet the second guardian.

Seasons After Fall

The second guardian! Now things are about to get super interesting!

Seasons After Fall

Now we can summon summer by barking twice near the energy ball. The new season affects the little guys, and thus we can make them leave their nest which you can see in the branch to the left.

Seasons After Fall

The tree now has a carving for the second guardian as we make our way back to the Sanctuary.

Stay warm out there!

 

Virtual Tourist – ABZU 10/27/19

Morning!

October has turned out to be a very chaotic and tiring month. Loads of crazy stuff at work. The weather also just turned, so we’ve had lower temperatures and rain this week. But is the heat really done with us yet? We shall see!

Mini Movie Reviews

Gemini Man – Hubby and I had thought this would be Will Smith and his son, but it was all Will Smith. The film was great fun. Impressive stunts and fight scenes with some surprising moves. Gorgeous locals and cinematography. They even play with camera perspectives – enough to make it interesting, but not so much it disturbs the viewer. Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Pay Full Price to See Again!)

 

The Current War: Director’s Cut – I’d never heard of the film until about a week ago. Per IMDB it was initially released in 2017. The title is horrible (If you don’t know what it is, you’d think it was an actual war movie.) The film is about Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse and the fight/race to light up the US with either DC or Alternating Current. A lot of history gets sanitized for the history books. Here’s a chance to get a taste of what they don’t tell you. Great acting, fascinating history, and you get a feel for how truly revolutionary the concepts being thrown about are to the people of that ear. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price.)

 

Virtual Tourist

ABZU

ABZU is a visually stunning puzzle game. The music and art are great, but I will say it was really short (only a little over 3 hrs of gameplay), and the character movement underwater is so awkward that it proved frustrating and horribly distracting from the beauty around you. Just about the time I finally felt I got the hang of it, the game was over. o.O

 

ABZU - current

A fast-moving current underwater. 

ABZU - Awakening

The awakening.

ABZU - Awakening 2

That’s us. You become aware floating facedown in the water.

ABZU - first garden

The first area – there are several species of fish to meet. 🙂

ABZU - underwater plants

Each area is different, and through your explorations and solving of puzzles, the area themselves can change. You start getting the feeling something terrible happened here, and you’re trying to fix it.

ABZU - meditation stone

You will find a statue like this in each new area. You can sit on it and meditate. In meditation, the camera will attach to a nearby fish and follow it around, showing you the name on the bottom right. 

ABZU - Energy Temple

As you complete the puzzles, you will enter this energy temple area and give energy to it. 

ABZU - Temple center

The central area of the energy temple.

ABZU - the first area acknowledged

Once you give the energy for the area you completed, the energy temple will go through a growth sequence.

ABZU - Changed Garden #1

This occurs after the change at the temple, transforming the garden and releasing new creatures into the sea. 

 

Have a great week!

Mini Movie Reviews 9/29/19

Greetings!

Looks like fall is on its way. But before it gets here, it’s been hotter than a griddle around here. Texas is at a boil. 😛

Mini Movie Reviews

Ad Astra

Ad Astra – a cerebral yet also super action-packed film. It is an external and internal journey for astronaut Roy McBride. Ad Astra is Latin for “to the stars” – around which every facet of Roy’s life has revolved. The cinematography is outstanding. The special effects are fantastic. This film has a ton of layers, from the personal to the weird directions society has decided to follow. Several twists and surprising bits. Rating: 3.75 out of 4. (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

 

Abominable Abominable – This film was super adorable! A gorgeous movie, full of amazing panoramic shots. Like “Ad Astra” this one is also an emotional journey as well as a physical one for Yi. They too do a couple of unexpected twists, just to keep things interesting. 😛 The Whoop snake is a hoot. (So is Dave. Lol.) Tons of adorable and cute moments. Some tear generating ones as well. You must sit through the credits as they are full of snapshots of things that happen after the adventure is over. The last one definitely tried to open the waterworks. 😛 Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)

 

We frequent AMC Theaters (if you see a lot of movies, their Stubs Program is for you!) IMAX used to be their top screen experience, but it looks like Dolby has now taken that over. What confused us when we first saw Dolby as one of their new movie experience was that back in the day Dolby referred to an enhanced sound system. But now it’s returned as both super-enhanced sound (with some shaking the very air around you) and superior colors and visuals. It just seemed off they’d pick a name from something old for something new. Weird!

 

Have an awesome week!

Virtual Tourist – Yakuza 0 6/16/19

First off, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

Happy Father's Day

Mini Movie Review

Men In Black International Men In Black: International – They are back! With more attitude, bigger weapons, and the usual chaos! 😛  The original theme music is back, so the film had a nostalgic vibe to it. There’s even a painting in High T’s office of J and K saving the world. 😛  There’s a recurring theme in the film they pound into you hard – the universe always puts you where you need to be when you need to be there. They stretch this out a bit much! And while some explanations on why things have happened are shown, there are others you have to infer from what’s been presented. (For example: Why H changed so much in 3 years. And no, it’s not the girlfriend. Though if you don’t put it together yourself, it’s gone :P) Cool effects, fast pace, overall a good ride! Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)

Yakuza 0

This is another Japanese console game that has been converted for PC. For the most part, they’ve done a good change over, though I have run into one issue on a keybinding that drove me nuts as it trapped me on a fighting style tutorial. Ugh.

It’s 1988 in Kamurocho, a fictional small town/district in Japan. You’re Kazuma Kiryu, one of two orphan boys who joined the local yakuza when they became of age. Kiryu is a straight shooter, who’s gets set up for murder so the shame can be used against his boss in a tangled political power play. 

In the middle of the serious storyline, there are substories to get involved in and mini-games (karaoke, pocket racers, baseball batting, etc.). Some of those are far from serious. Watching Kyriu pose with his pocket racer and doing his “I win!” bit are hilarious. Geek fun abounds!

Yakuza 0 - Kamurocho District

One of the streets in Kamurocho at night. Loads of clubs and adult entertainment. Following my friend Majima to do some drinking.

Yakuza 0 - club street

The opposite side of the same street. Video stores, pachinko, and more.

Yakuza 0 - Majima and Kyriu

Majima and Kiryu. Both orphans raised at the Sunflower Orphanage. It’s financed by their boss, Kazama, which is why they both decided to join the yakuza. (He did try to dissuade them, but these two are stubborn.) (I love Kyriu’s sideburns!!!!!!!!)

Yakuza 0 - upper floor in Dojima HQ

Look at the gorgeous woodwork! Upper floor on the Dojima HQ. (Dojima is the main Yakuza family in the zone.)

Yakuza 0 - Kuze

Kuze – one of the three top lieutenants in the Dojima family. He’s willing to do anything to get a shot at being captain. A position currently held by Kazama, Kyriu’s boss, who is currently in jail. (That ceiling is rad!)

Yakuza 0 - Kuze's tattoo

Kuze’s Yakuza tattoo – the King of Hell (Underworld). Heh heh.

Yakuza 0 - Kyriu's Yakuza tattoo

Kyriu’s yakuza tattoo – work in progress. He’s currently pretty low in the ranks.

Yakuza 0 - Tachibana Realty head

I really liked this image — the view from a top floor of one of the buildings in Kamurocho. Tachibana of Tachibana Realty is the man reflected in the window. A non-yakuza group who is also vying for control of the “Empty Lot.”

Of course, I forgot to take a shot of the login screen. Fighting skill tree pic is also probably in order. DOH!

Have a great week!

 

Mini Movie Reviews – 6/9/19

Life has been super crazy. I doubt it is going to slow down any time soon. Wheee!

Mini Movie Reviews

Godzilla: King of All Monsters

Godzilla: King of All Monster – Hubby and I had been looking forward to this one. We were not disappointed. If anything, I was thrilled! Now that Toho (the company who makes the Godzilla movies in Japan) is on board, we got a few extra excellent bits. First off, the full-fledged traditional Godzilla call (I believe we had it before, but it’s even better now because…) as well as both of the most popular Godzilla themes.  They also bring Mothra’s music in as well. Pictures of the original twins and loads of other nostalgic bits (like the oxygen bomb – which was the weapon used on the original black and white Godzilla film.) 

We get several familiar monsters back and a few new ones. The makeover on Rhodan was awesome! King Ghidorah also rocks! He’s got some nifty new powers, too! Godzilla still has a move or two up his sleeve as well. Make sure to sit ALL the way through the credits. There is more to come! Booyah! All the monster action you could want. Super acting by everyone involved, too! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

The Secret Like of Pets 2 The Secret Life of Pets 2: All our favorite pets are back, and we also meet several new ones. They took an unusual direction on this one, starting you off with a quick catch up to set up the new situations, then going off in three different seemingly unrelated storylines that will eventually come back to merge for the final piece of the tale. 

Gidget still kicks buns, so all is right with the world! Lol. I do love her. There are so many cute moments in this film. Baby Ian coming into Max’s life and how he ensnares the dog’s heart was so adorable! Loved how everything going great is the reason unexpected problems pop up for Max. Loads of fun stuff to be had here.  I liked this one better than the original. 🙂 Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admissions.)

Obligatory Marketing Stuff!

Sales channels are finally showing the 2nd editions! Yay! Here’s the list so far (though due to Smashwords, the ebook versions will be showing up in even more outlets! Double yay!)

I still need to update all my website pages for these though. 🙁 Too much to do and so little time!

Inner Demons

Barnes and Novel Trade Paperback

Nook

Amazon Trade Paperback

Kindle

Smashwords

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Barnes and Novel Trade Paperback

Nook

Amazon Trade Paperback

Kindle

Smashwords

 

 

Mini Movie Reviews 5/26/19

Morning, all!

Pressed for time, so no Virtual Tourist this week. Instead, we have two Mini Movie Reviews and some news!

Aladdin

Aladdin 

This is a live-action remake of the animated 1992 Disney film with Robin Williams (uncredited at the time). They kept the flavor and fun found in the original animated version. Almost all the original songs were included (they left out Jafar’s twisted rendition of Prince Ali. One of my favorites! Wah!), and some had minor lyric changes. (At the time the original was released, there was a lot of push back, so I guess they decided to be politically correct?) There is one new song for Jasmine. There are minor changes in plot, but they wove them in nicely, mainly having to do with Jasmine. 

All the characters are represented, and they did a great job with the non-human ones.  Abu, Rajah, Iago (Since parrots can speak, he still does!), and carpet (carpet was awesome!). The special effects were great! Costumes were made to resemble those in the animated film. Will Smith did great as the genie. There were also bits of homage to the original thrown in as well.

Overall, they did an excellent job. Should be fun for the entire family. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (I think I messed up my rating scale a few months ago. Ugh.) Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

 

John Wick 3

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

While Chapter 2 was a disappointment, Chapter 3 makes up for a lot of it. This chapter starts minutes after the end of Chapter 2. The High Table is taking steps to erase John from the world as well as anyone who showed him any mercy or favors. The fact it was one of their own who warped their rules to get his seat, is never admitted to and they want to crush it all away.

The action hardly ever slows — lots of inventive fighting scenes and weird locations. The fight in the stables got extra kudos as Keanu showed horse knowledge – watch John closely in that section, he always lets the horses know he is there. This is a basic bit of horse knowledge that will keep you from startling them and getting kicked! 🙂 They even added a couple of western movie horse trick moments we’ve not seen in years! Nice. 

I was super thrilled to see Mark Dacascos – he does an excellent job as Zero. Half fanboy, half ninja assassin. He was a riot! (The song playing at the sushi place is “Ninja Re Bang Bang” a super adorable song. Hubby knew what it was on the first few notes! lol) Some higher graphic violence in a couple of places. Halle Berry as Sofia was fun as well. Her dogs are awesome! Also quite nasty! Guys, you will cringe at what they do. Lol.

Betrayals, alliances, rule-breaking, this film will fill up your action quotient quickly! Left open for Chapter 4! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

News! 

Re-edits on “Inner Demons” and “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” are complete! New covers by Charles Bernard are being converted to cover flats, and I will be sharing those with you soon – can’t wait! They are awesome! 

 

Virtual Tourist – Subnautica 5/12/19

Mini Movie Review

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pokemon Detective Pikachu – This movie was so cute! It was awesome seeing all the pokemon with actual fur, feathers, etc. The story is more complex than expected. There are lots of red herrings to keep the audience guessing. All the weird stuff, like Pikachu being understood by Tim, all have explanations. This was a fun little film. I just wish they’d given Jigglypuff more camera time! Lol.  Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Subnautica

subnautica - giant sea creaytures

This freaked me out. You could hear moaning through the water, but seeing it was such a surprise!

subnautica - giant creature closeup

There are six or more of them, all different ages. You can tell by looking at the top carapace. This specimen is an older one. He has all sorts of plant life, coral and even some minerals on his shell.

subnautica - the underbelly of the giant beast

A picture of the beast’s underbelly. They are truly fascinating.

subnautica - sunset on an alien world

Sunset on the alien world. There is a lot of beauty here.

subnautica - glowing life form

Glowing life form. Quite beautiful. The fauna and flora changes depending on what zone you find yourself in.

subnautica - glowing plant life

Drooping Stinger – gorgeous but don’t get too close. They pack a bit of a punch. So be careful. (I also got carried away and let my oxygen get too low. Time to panic! lol.)

subnautica - burning Aurora and the moon.

The still burning Aurora and the reddish moon. 

subnautica - dry land

There is more than just water everywhere! Here’s some dry land. Rescue is imminent. A passing spaceship picked up Aurora’s distress signal.

subnatica - signs of aliens

We are not alone! A building of alien origin. Might there be alien lifeforms here as well? 

I did want to wish all the Mom’s out there a fabulous and well deserved “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Happy Mother's Day!

 

Virtual Tourist – Tales of Bersaria 4/28/19

Mini Movie Review

Avengers: End Game – First off, be aware this movie is 3 hours long! It won’t feel like it, but your bladder will know. So FYI! lol. There was a lot to like about the film. Tons of emotional fodder and we get to see characters that have been gone for a while. Tons of humorous and serious moments. Some fun mixed character interactions. It’s only in the last half hour or so that the plot becomes forced as there are certain things they want to happen, regardless of the fact there are better alternatives. They also don’t take certain facts into account during least one of the time travel moments.

(SPOILERS!!!!!) – Quill getting bushwhacked on the dead planet. They totally ignore the group of bad guys who show up on the planet when he’s there. An unconscious Quill would mean a Dead Quill (by alien rats or by bad guys!). Plus the two picking up this rock would have been ambushed just like Quill. (These guys were acting separately from Thanos’ other peeps.) Doctor Strange/Iron Man – Strange wields power, and like the Ancient One, uses the Eye of Agamotto. So would he not be better able to survive or shield himself when using the five Infinity Stones? Yet that avenue is never pursued in any way. Cap’s decision at the end – while for me it was a squee moment, on further thought there’s no way he could pull it off. Would someone of his moral fiber be able to not fight crime or injustice when he could make a difference? All for selfish gain? I think not. (Plus this also gives the finger to Bucky! He gets left behind!) Also, while the moment with Falcon was very moving, but if you’re not acquainted with the comics, it seems strange, especially since he’s not done any leadership before this or has been shown to have powers of his own.

I was disturbed by the fact they held a funeral/vigil for Tony, but they did nothing for Natasha! Why did they not do both together? They knew all the same people. Why would they shut her out like that? She doesn’t get her own movie and now no sendoff either? Come on!

I was able to ignore some of this stuff way better than hubby. Just be warned! Super build up and awesomeness for convenient letdowns. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. (Hubby’s Rating: Better for Matinee. (Yeah, he was not happy! lol)

Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria - Inn

Some really nice details! I believe this is an Inn at Loegres.

Tales of Berseria - winter in town

A super cold winter. Not that Velvet feels it.

Tales of Berseria - crystal caves

Crystal caves. What are those exorcists up to?

Tales of Berseria - jungle type caves

Moss filled caves, almost jungle like. The goal is near.

Tales of Berseria - coast

Gorgeous coastal view! Look at that sky!

Tales of Berseria - locks

One of the many ways the Abbey is restricting the populace. Giant lock system restricting trading by ship.

Tales of Berseria - Airfried's Ship

The pirate ship Captained by Airfried. He’s currently missing, captured by the Abbey. Velvet and her companions have joined them as they have similar paths and goals.

Tales of Berseria - ships coming to port

Heading to port. Really love this ship!

Tales of Berseria - calm seas

View from port out to the open sea. Calming, isn’t it? 🙂

Tales of Berseria - church

I will say the Abbey does have some impressive churches.

Hope you have a great weekend! Till next time. 🙂