Saturday, 16 December 2017

Suicide Squad

Too many characters, not enough development.

When the government decides to leverage "gifted" criminals into working as a team against an equally overpowered foe, one has to ask what could go wrong?. "Plenty," is the correct answer. The plot features a fair bit of action with good effects that go eclectic at times but not much else as it is mired in clumsy story telling.

Part of the problem is having too many characters who don't actually need to be there (similar to my Thor: Ragnarok review). Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and Katana could easily be dropped. Acting wise everyone (except the overly "dancey" main bad guy) is ok, with Margot Robbie (Harley) being fantastic. I had reservations with Will Smith being Deadshot but he pulls it off well enough when he isn't wearing a pimp hat.

Could have halfed the team and made a better story.

I also liked Jared Leto's Joker, but again his use in most of the non-flashback segments feels forced. I should mention the antagonists of the film make little sense too, but with everything else going sideways they just get a shrug. I give this 2.5 floating rings of trash out of 5, and can't really recommend it to anyone.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Extremely bad luck for a murderer to have (possibly) the world's greatest detective on the train.

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) finds himself on a train where one of the passengers is murdered. Despite the dark tone the bright scenery is fantastic and the train set is awesome. The acting is good all around and the music, when it is used, is really great. There are a few funny bits and small action pieces to break up all the dialogue which I was happy with.

Too bad the pianist who plays "suspenseful music" didn't make this pic.

It's hard to say more without giving anything away so I'll wrap it up by giving it 3.5 huge mustaches out of 5 as someone who went in blind (never read books or remember previous movies), and recommend it to murder mystery fans -especially- those who don't know the answer to this one before hand.

As an interesting exercise, I wonder what Batman would have done?

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Battle Brothers: Retirement

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Retired as a rich man, Sahkarov purchases a keep and pretty much buys his own little fiefdom near the sea where his allies of House Ruhmolt are glad to have him. Scribes visit regularly to notate the impressive adventures he and the Spears have had as the remaining members all went their own ways.

Ragner and Rollo took to pirating on the seas, Sir Erland left on a quest to hunt down a "dragon", while Sunbro became a champion of the noble house tournaments. Sir Winfred Steinhart, Wilrech and Ulfert joined another mercenary band to try destroy a goblin city but never returned.

Too bad I never ran into a Lindwurm.

The last surviving member, Raven Skinny Bastard would visit Sahkarov often - still with a mind to build up a company strong enough to reach the Black Obelisk. Whether the ex-juggler would actually achieve such a goal would have to be a tale for another time.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Battle Brothers: Path of Peace

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having lost face, Sir Winfred Steinhart asks to join the Spears - which Sahkarov agrees to despite Sunbro's protests. Sahkarov also convinces Ulfert the pimp, who was part of the entertainment caravan, to abandon his sinful ways of and join them instead (because murder is better than lust apparently).

The Spears defend the mountain town of Finsterkoppen against leftover orc marauders, joined by the local militia and the brothers Ragner and Rollo Eagle Eye. They are successful, though all but one militia man dies and Ragner loses an ear.

With the blood still fresh on the ground, Sir Winfred and Sunbro are dueling again - this time for real. Sahkarov manages to use his priestly ways to talk them both down, earning another recruit - Wilrech the apprentice. The company then completes more hunts, reclamation quests, and a lot of envoy escort missions becoming the premier troop the nobles want to hire for such treks.

The company goes on to survive undead ambushes, more orc marauders, and a skirmish against House Grimmund soldiers when the Spears rescue a Lord of Folsach from a prison wagon. Sahkarov earns a broken knee during the jail break and finally, having been with the company for over a year now, the monk decides to retire.

Wise enough to know when to fold.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Battle Brothers: Warriors to the End

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

While at the tavern, a contingent of House Grimmund soldiers arrive to announce that the war is over! The main horde is retreating into the wild lands, and any clans that remain can be wiped out without the need for mercenaries. Gander is still relieved, and when Sunbro jokingly asks for a raise for all the troops Gander happily agrees.

Despite the news, the Spears are given clean up duty - destroying an orc base in the rainy mountains where Hanke and Adam Chaplin are slain and one of the magic shields is cleaved in two! Gander returns the company to hunting thieves, dire wolves and easier escort missions for a bit - even enjoying a stint with a caravan of women offering the oldest profession. For 300g it's a bargain!

Escorting the caravan up the mountain the team fights off goblin raiders as well as large bands of brigands led by Ingolf the Red. Sir Lancel manages to slay Ingolf, but he and Gander fall in battle, leaving the monk Sahkarov now in charge. Upon arrival at their destination a rotund Grimmund knight named Sir Winfred Steinhart makes fun of the company, leading to a jousting contest between him and Sunbro Forever.

Sunbro easily puts him in his place.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Battle Brothers: Heavy Casualties

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having saved Lazenfeste, Gander purchases 9 war dogs and recruits the bowyer / archer pair of Eberhard and Hartmut "One Shot" before leading the company to the twin ports of Meerburg and Holnisland where they are joined by Sir Lancel Hildebrand, Sir Albrecht Kettilmund and Sir Donatus Donbert, all of whom have lost their companies in this war.

Sir Donatus has restarted building his though, introducing his small militia of Bernhard the traveler, Torkel the fisherman, Thorben an ex caravan guard and Hanke his sergeant. The Spears then conduct a rapid strike operation on a nearby "Long Spears" goblin camp, eradicating it at the cost of Corynx getting fatally skewered, Eberhard being out archered, and Hartmut getting eaten by the mount of a goblin wolf rider.

Upon their return the find the twin ports under attack by hordes of orcs and jump right into the fray. Sigmar and Bernhard are butchered by orc berserkers. Bertram, Thorben, Torkel, Sir Donatus, Sir Albrecht and Sid are also all killed in action. With the remaining orcs scattered, the survivors hit the tavern to drown their losses in ale.

But not before leaving a warning for all the other orcs.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Battle Brothers: The Green Sea

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Unwilling to lose any more cities, Gander marches the Spears back to the Western front - hiring the sell swords Oghren and Adam Chaplin on the way. Even with House Ruhmolt soldiers, the clash against goblin forces costs Emile and Stargazer their lives. Hakon also has his shield destroyed in the melee and his throat cut from ear to ear. Sid is traumatized by the experience.

Despite their victories, word arrives that Reinbruch - a village just across the mountains - has also fallen, and now the horde marches upon House Folsach's stronghold of Lazenfeste. The Spears are contracted to destroy the orcs forward war camp, gaining volunteers Sigmar the vagabond and Bertram the miller to fill out the long axe row at the back. Ironically, the Spears of the Church no longer use Spears.

Maybe this caught the orc warlords by surprise?

The war camp is easily destroyed, but since it was just one of many Lazenfeste falls under siege and the Spears rush to aid it with a company of House Folsach soldiers. They are terribly outnumbered, but find victory on the field, losing Harlech, Oghren and one of Sid's eyes to orc warriors as well as all but one of the House Folsach soldiers.