Monday, September 30, 2013

 

 

dream-house-movie-poster

Saturday night Chris and I went to have dinner at my parent's house. My father had been taking almost nonstop about themovie Dream House, which neither Chris nor I had seen. I didn't remember much about it, except that it starred Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, both of whom I enjoy watching immensely. Naomi Watts also stars, and just like Rachel, she's pretty much fabulous in any movie she makes.

My apologies in advance, because this post will be excruciatingly short. There is no way to go in depth about what makes this movie great, without completely giving away the ending - or information pertinent to figuring out the ending. Trust me - you'll want to be surprised!

The movie begins with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz playing a happily married couple, with two have two lovely daughters. As they settle into their new home, strange things begin to happen. The children begin to see a man outside the house, who only stands under the tree at the edge of the property and stares at them. At first, their parents think that the girls are imagining things, but then they begin to see footprints in the snow. Over the course of the movie, an unforgettable mystery unfolds, leaving the family at once devastated and whole.

I can't say enough about this movie. The acting is top-notch, including the two little girls who are sisters in real life. There was never a point in the movie where anyone was out of character. Additionally, there were so many layers to explore within the storyline that I constantly kept changing my predictions for how the movie would progress. From the mysterious neighbor (Watts) and her dysfunctional ex-husband all the way to Craig's own children, there are so many characters to explore.  Dream House begins slowly, and it gradually speeds up as Craig gets closer to solving the mystery surrounding his family's home. By the end of the movie, I was so tense and heart-broken, I could hardly watch. The rolling credits found me on the floor with Lily (my parent's Boston Terrier) crying my eyes out. GREAT MOVIE. At all costs - you NEED to see it!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fun for Everyone!

Resident_evil_rev._2012_CapcomI know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but so be it! Two weekends ago, my husband Chris and I were at our local Best Buy. He was searching for a pair of headphones and a keyboard for his computer. I was along for the ride (and secretly scouting the price of Xbox games). I was eyeing Resident Evil Revelations, deciding whether or not to purchase it at the buyer-friendly price of $59.99, when my husband handed a game to me. It was a Blizzard offering - Diablo III - that I had glimpsed on Chris' computer. I hadn't ever played a Diablo game, but had spent many an hour yoked to World of Warcraft, and I knew the quality of the game in my hand.

Flipping it over, I read the back of the game. You know what word got me? Witch doctor. Hell yes, witch doctor! The words "masses of loot" didn't exactly damageDiablo_III_cover my thoughts on the game either. (The other classes mentioned on the back of the case were barbarian, monk, demon hunter, and wizard, if you're wondering.) Five minutes later, and I was in the checkout line holding the video game, game guide, and Resident Evil Revelations. Chris was smiling as though it were Christmas morning - I was just happy to have a colorful game that saw me tearing through demons with my husband at my side.

Now fast forward two weeks. Chris and I are sitting in the basement on a Friday night in front of the TV set, our surround sound at near-full blast, pumpkin spice coffee at our side. The opening cinematic was the typical lush style long associated with Blizzard games, and immediately drew me into the storyline, after which we were tasked with choosing our classes. As mentioned above, I chose the witch doctor. I have to admit it was tough, I was drawn to the wizard, but also to the monk. In World of Warcraft, which I played for just over five years, I had always played a healer and paired with some muscle, or I was a DPS class. I let Chris choose first, because he had played the PC version of the game. His choice was easy - barbarian. A simple hack-and-slash character, but bound to be fun, who he named TkOut (technical knock-out). I finished flipping through the game guide and chose a witch doctor, whom I named Erzulee. For quick class comparison - take a look at the chart below.

Diablo-3-classes

After choosing our classes, we are shown another cinematic - this time the history of New Tristram. New Tristram is the cursed town from which most of the Act 1 action originates. When the cinematic ends, you and any companions playing with you begin on Overlook road with one ability. You take the road into New Tristram and from there you're off!

grotesquesIt's pretty difficult not to get sucked into the easy gameplay, which lends itself more to Xbox gaming than to PC if you're wondering. There is no need to conserve on ammo, which allows you to freely destroy any monsters you come across, as well as most of the free-standing structures. This feature comes in handy especially when you're in graveyards and tombs. Don't worry - the first several quests have you romping and stomping your way through graveyards, cathedrals, and tombs a plenty. You face all manner of uglies - worms, crawling zombies, and these fat monsters that run around with their arms in the air. To the left, you'll find a monster called, aptly enough, a grotestque. When they are put down, their body explodes and you're stuck fighting various trios of ugly over-sized grave worms.

The actual narrative that drives the story is very interesting, and interspersed well between fighting. When you encounter various NPCs, you can choose the parts of the story you want to hear. This is an added bonus, because if you're a hack-slash-ignore-the-story type, you can blow past that. Also, you can replay the game without the story scenes that can make other games tedious. However, if you're like Chris and I, and you prefer a bit of story to go with your zombie meat, there's more than enough. The music is great too - it's never too loud or invasive, and it doesn't have annoying recurring themes that pop up and make the game predictable.

There is no reason you can give me that is good enough for not playing this game. It's fun, colorful, and well-made. Every quest is new and exciting, you accrue gold and gear quickly, and the dialog is fast-paced. The monsters are appropriately scaled so that they don't whale on you or drop dead too easily. Loot is duplicated for each player, and it's easy to swap gear with others. In short - it's an awesome game! If you don't have this game - go buy it NOW!

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Make way for the Temptress!

It's been quite some time since I've read any poetry, or written any.  To be honest, aside from the tongue-in-cheek holiday poetry books at Barnes & Noble, I didn't even know that there was horror poetry available.  Thankfully, my ignorance was corrected earlier this year when I met Ladyaslan.   I met the remarkably intuitive poet in quite an unremarkable way.  We followed the same page on Facebook, and gradually began messaging.  I told her I ran a blog, she told me she wrote, and the rest is history.

The cover art of Victorian Days and Punk Rock Nights alludes to the mysteries in the pages that follow.  While reading herladyaslan1 poetry, I couldn't help but marvel at her boundless versatility.  Some of the poems are from the point of view of the hapless victims, sucked into the arms of the shadows of the night.  Other poems are voiced by the huntress, stalking the unaware who have only minutes of innocence left to them.  Still others are dark musings under moonlit skies.  You'll meet vampires and revenants, and if you're keen enough, you might pick out a succubus or two.  There are poems of regret and loss, poems of love and warning.  Ladyaslan moves deftly from emotion to emotion, all the while making it look easier than breathing.

By far, my favorite entry was entitled Gothix, which is a an opium and absinthe-soaked nightmare.  All of my favorite elements were in attendance: great atmosphere, graveyard charm, and fantastical monsters.  I have to confess that after I finished it, I had to read it again!  The second time was even better, because I picked up on nuances that I had missed the first time.

When you pick up your copy of Victorian Days and Punk Rock Nights, make sure you set aside a long block for reading.  Once you start, you're not going to want to stop.  Before you begin, make sure your tea is ready, your chores are done, and your phone is turned off.  You'll want to give her your full attention.  Extra points if you're reading this in a dimly lit room on a dark and stormy night, wrapped in your favorite lace shawl (gentlemen - feel free to substitute your favorite robe for shawl!)

If you're wondering where you can purchase your own copy, have no fear!  Victorian Days and Punk Rock Nights is available in every format you could want - electronic, paperback, and hardcover.  You can purchase it on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and directly from her publisher, Xlibris.  In short, there's no reason you don't own this book right now.