Ghost in the Shell, the controversy that wasn’t.

  It took me a couple weeks but I was finally able to check this film out despite the angst and vitriol spewed at it in the wake of Scarlett Johansen being cast as the Major. I liked the original anime released back in 1995 directed by Mamoru Oshii based on the manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, neither of which had a problem with the casting by the way. If you’re unfamiliar this story follows the exploits of a leader of an elite team called section 9 who is basically a brain housed inside of a fully synthetic android body. I believe the brain, or “ghost” of the woman who is in the body is definitely Japanese, but the body can be modeled after what ever race you want. Also interesting to add that many anime characters often have European features but the Japanese still consider them as Japanese or Nihonjin in their eyes. Most of the uproar occurred here in the U.S. where it’s at approximately 31 million in revenue yet 96 million worldwide and doing well in Japan. Go figure. That’s not to say I think whitewashing doesn’t happen because I know it does. I just don’t think that was the case with this film.     Getting back to the plot the Major in the anime and loosely in this film is always questioning her existence and searching for a past she only vaguely gets bits and pieces of through flashbacks they call glitches. The film is visually stunning with plenty of CGI but not so much that it gets overwhelming. Where it...

Kong Skull Island, old trope with a slightly new twist.

                                              I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to go given how many times the source material has been used over the years. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised with both the execution and the prospect of expansion they teased with the end credit scene. I won’t spoil it for you but if have yet to see the film stay for the credits. They went away from the old storylines where they take Kong from his home and bring him back to NYC to climb the empire state building and swat planes. I like this latest rendition better than the Peter Jackson version because it strayed from the usual plot line and it placed an importance on Kong not present in other iterations. Kong in this film is more than a huge mindless overgrown ape, and its refreshing. Not to mention that they waste no time in introducing him to the viewers unlike the latest Godzilla film, but it that films case I agreed with it to a degree because that’s what they did in a lot of the Godzilla films. John Goodman plays a survivor of some old attack on a ship from years past who has put together a team of researchers that are looking for a mystical island that for some reason (insert Bermuda triangle cliche) they cannot easily find and travel to where the thing that attacked the ship now resides. With the help of a politician he finds passage and...

Logan….Wolverine done right…finally!

                                  20th Century Fox who owns the rights to X-men, and Wolverine have always had the bad habit of putting kid gloves on their films from the Marvel universe. I’m thinking the surprise success of Deadpool gave them the confidence to give Logan an R rating. Comic fans from the 80’s or prior who may have kids…this is not a kid friendly movie! There is extreme violence, vulgar language, and is themed for adults despite it’s comic book origins. That being said I think it had to be that way in order to be faithful to the character and it hit the perfect tone for an old disgruntled mutant on his last leg as far as how they would act and see the world if it ever happened in reality.             In this latest effort we see Logan who is not a spring chicken anymore, seems to have fallen on hard times scrapping for money as an uber driver with a limousine. He is taking care of Charles Xavier who is suffering from ALS and mutants have been gone from the world as far as Logan knows. He later finds out there are in fact other mutants and one in particular is a clone which shares some of his genetic material. Enter Laura or X-23.  The X program is still going and this little girl is a fugitive from the company currently running it. She turns to Logan for help.             Donald Pierce...

Diving into For Honor, the new strategic fighter from Ubisoft

              Well this game has been a breath of fresh air for some and a massive annoyance for those not able to pick up and understand the mechanics. It’s been out for a couple weeks now so I decided to give my thoughts and opinion of Ubisoft’s latest game For Honor. For those of you wondering why a science fiction author would blog about a video game featuring medieval warriors fighting each other there are a couple reasons. One, we have in this game three factions of warriors who did in fact exist in overlapping time frames but one faction in particular is using wooden armor which technically should be out of use by the 11th century so it qualifies, but it is a game after all. I am only citing it because it’s an interesting observation, and two, I happen to play games as well as write and would like to have more than just movie reviews on my web site. Diversity of content is a good thing. First lets talk about the premise of the campaign. There’s a natural disaster that influences a massive depletion of resources forcing infighting among three factions of warriors. The knights, vikings, and samurai. There’s a character named Apollyon who takes an army to defeat the Vikings destroying enough of their resources to force them to fight each other over the scraps until they turn their eyes to the samurai as a possible source to pillage. You don’t get to play all the heroes for each faction during the campaign but it’s broken up into three...

John Wick Chapter 2 another awesome ride!

                          Keanu is back for the second installment of John Wick and does not disappoint. I have seen some other reviews of this film which opine that it’s better than the first. I don’t agree. It’s John Wick doing John Wick stuff in his usual no holds barred visceral way, and quite enjoyable if you liked the first one but not better. In this movie the main character is drawn back into the world of ultra chic secret guild of assassins we were introduced to in the first film, and we get to meet the one responsible for Wick being able to retire. After the events of the first film Wick dipped his pinky back in and his former benefactor decides to call in a blood marker for having done him a favor before.                         John Wick tries to respectfully decline stating he aint about that life anymore, and chaos ensues similarly to what happened in the first film. Not trying to give too much away in case anyone reading this has not had a chance to see the film. It is late in the month though and I highly recommend going to see this film if you have not already. Wick has another dog in this one and I was hoping they would not mess with it this time. The action was great and properly paced as they move from one set piece to the next. If you’re a fan of the first film or...

Assassin’s Creed, great action, character development…not so much.

                                                          When it was announced that there would be an upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie coming out I was really excited to see what they would do with it. After all I had played a few of the games and was familiar with some of the lore. I also know that a lot of viewers who never played any of the games would not be so familiar and therefore 20th Century Fox would have to make an effort to bring folks up to speed which unfortunately was not done. Movie goers in this case are treated as if they are already in the know which hurts this film. For those of you who aren’t familiar the basic premise is that there is an ancient brotherhood of assassins who have been at war with the Templars over various relics that if found could lead to taking away free will from society. The Templars try to get these relics and through assassination the brotherhood tries to safeguard them. Sounds simple right?             Here’s where things may get a little confusing if you haven’t went through the adventures with Ezio or Captain Kenway from the game series. Time periods are kind of fluid in the game as well as the movie in that the protagonists for both are descendants of people from the past who were a part of the brotherhood of assassins with a strict code they believed in...