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Dec. 28th, 2018

More Chinese Web Novels

Previous review. This stuff really eats up your time once you start reading them. I'm only covering completed stories and not the dozens or so stories that are still languishing in WIP.

The List )

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Sep. 25th, 2017

GW2 Path of Fire Initial Review

So I've completed the personal story and all 4 of the free mounts mastery tracks. Also did a bit of dabbling with weaver and did the starting personal story on 2 more characters to check out a few things. Also, staked reddit for news and stuff. So I'm ready to do my initial review.

I think in a lot of respects, PoF is the culmination of a lot of learning and feedback taken from the players in response to HoT. It attempts to capitalize on the things people liked, correct what they didn't like, and sometimes go overboard in the attempt.

Read more... )

There's probably more stuff that I can't remember right now. Ask me and I shall trying to give my thoughts on it.

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Nov. 5th, 2016

Star Trek Beyond review

No I didn't watch this in the theater. And for once I didn't bootleg it either. =P I watched it for $3.99 on Google Movies. After, of course, having already thoroughly spoiled myself on the plot already, so I already knew going in that it was supposed to be more like a normal TOS episode than the previous two.

And, y'know, I actually kinda liked it, as a Star Trek AU. And considering how much fanfic I read, I don't have anything against AUs in an of itself.

Read more... )

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May. 29th, 2016

Finally Saw CA:CW Yesterday...

Yes it's good. It didn't disappoint even though I had fully spoiled myself on the plot before walking into the theater. (Aside: And a nice theater it was too; a new AMC at the New Park Mall which had large leather couches for seats, with an electronic foot rest. Nice.)

Read more... )

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May. 24th, 2015

Avengers 2 review

Finally saw the movie today. I actually went in with...fairly low expectations, so at least I was pleasantly surprised. If you treated it as a sequel to Avengers 1 and ignored all character development in IM 3 and Cap 2, it's a decent sequel.

I would have liked to see the process of the team actually building up into the dynamics we're dropped into, but I guess team building would've required a separate plot all on its own and there was no way to squeeze it in without ruining the pace. Still, even a throwaway line about how long they've been working together as a team again would've helped the audience get a general idea of the background events since Cap 2.

Also couldn't help but feel that Joss was trying to jerk around the fandom just for the purpose of jerking around the fandom rather than for the sake of a good story. The characterization of Clint and the giving him a family I feel was also his FU to the odd masses of Clint/Coulson shippers -- not that I minded this particular development for Clint, personally, since I wasn't one of those shippers. The real litmus test will come in the following Avengers films, to see if they'll kill that family off like they did in the Ultimates for the cheap shock value.

The Nat/Bruce thing was a total waste of character development that could've been better spent elsewhere. They did such a good job staying away from making the strong female lead a romance focused role with Avengers 1, Cap 2, and the Peggy Carter series. Pity they blew it here. Also, the whole sterility = monster thing was just as horrible as everyone said it was. If that wasn't the message intended by the film, then your scriptwriters totally blew it.

What I did like...

Action scenes were pretty good. Didn't drag on for too long aside from the Hulkbuster one (that one was obviously pandering to the fanboys).

Clint and Steve's interaction with the twins were good buildup.

Steve had some really sassy lines and some really inspirational lines. As he's still my favorite, I liked. that. Also loved his scenes with Thor, the two make a really good pair on the battlefield. He also budged the hammer just a tiny bit... (my headcanon is that when the Bucky arc is finally over he might be able to lift it.)

I also actually liked it that he didn't throw a fit at Tony over the Ultron thing, that he was only a little passive aggressive about it but still trusted Tony to be on the team afterwards. Most fangirls who project too much of themselves into fics tend to forget that as far as shown onscreen, Steve is more about doing what needs to be done than indulgent in melodrama. And that he's not an actually a closeminded asshole just because they want to make Tony a woobie. /rant

Ultron and Vision weren't as bad as I feared they would turn out to be, which is good. Still a lot of hand-wavey about how it all happened but I'm going to just chalk all of it up to space magic.

Some further thoughts and concerns...

It's already somewhat evident that with the expanded cast, it's hard to squeeze in enough characterization for everyone. Even if they're permanently dropping Hulk from future Avengers movies, they are still accumulating major characters like whoa, which will make things even tougher in the next film. It's not that I want them to start axing more characters in the films until then...but I do wonder how they're going to handle it.

There's not a lot of decent post-AoU fanfics, at least on AO3, period. Usually there's a glut right after the movie comes out. Even the Steve/Tony ships aren't drawing from it. Not sure what that means in terms of the fandom reaction to the movie...

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Jan. 9th, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

So, I, uh, watched this on fast forward. Basically, skipped scenes that didn't have elves in it. I didn't have a lot of expectations going into the film since I've read all the spoilers and know what I was getting into. And yeah, no pleasant surprises. Ugh.

Let's get the really obvious complaints out of the way.

1. Pacing was horrible. As bad as the last one.

Smaug. Dying barely past the opening credits. W. T. F.

No further major battle scenes about 2/3rds of the way through in favor of Thorin's little corner of the field. I thought this thing was supposed to be about armies?

2. Characterization was spotty.

Galadriel. WTF was she supposed to be? Weakling who couldn't bear up under the Nine? Powerful enough to zap off Sauron? Was she going dark or something with all that black-lighting? Cuz that's what the colors give off.

Tauriel. Ugh. Don't shoehorn in a female OC if you don't want her to be scrutinized. She was a horrible disappointment as a female character. She brought *nothing* to the table except a horrible romance that did not belong to this story. Also, threatened regicide (and kinslaying!). WTF. Did everyone forget this is supposed to be a Tolkien elf? Only thing she got right was not to get fridged.

Legolas. Poor boy. Three extra movies and they still couldn't give him a memorable characterization that could stand out beyond the other major characters. *sigh*

Honestly, outside of some moments of coolness, there's not much that this movie has going for it.

Anyways, the few things I liked:

Elrond & Saruman swashbuckling duo. Surprisingly hypnotic dance combo. *cough*

Thranduil. Awww, he's a good daddy; like, total and complete pushover when it comes to his son. Also, a pretty reasonable guy, and a decent king.

Did those eagles airdrop in bear cavalry? Oh, I think that was supposed to be Beorn.

And some of the fight scenes are nice. Too many of those builds up a tolerance unfortunately.

*sigh* I had such high hopes. Back before Hobbit 2 anyway. *shrug*

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Jun. 9th, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Saw this the past weekend. It was ok, I guess.

Is it just me or did Fassbender...gain weight? I initially thought they got a new actor for Magneto, before the end credits rolled.

Alas, not so much interactions/chemistry between (young) Charles and Eric this time, which is kinda a let down from my expectations after XMFC. I guess fanfic has spoiled me too much. There was slightly more feeling between old Charles & Erik, but they didn't get enough screen time together. (Which is a shame. C'mon... it's Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen).

Some WTF moments and thoughts...

* How long did it take Trask to build them demo robots? Long enough for Eric to find out where they're manufactured and follow the train to DC; for Charles to fly back from Paris, then fly to DC; for Kitty to...not die of blood loss in the future? He built a dozen giant flying robots in like...2 days? With 70s tech? Man, Tony Stark must be crying a few universes over.

* They...did they kill off Emma, Sean, & Alex off screen? WTF? I mean, the boys you might be able to explain away as getting drafted for Vietnam. But Emma?

* Ok so Mystique picked up past!Wolvie at the end in Strycker's guise. But...doesn't that mean in the new timeline, Wolvie is never experimented on by Weapon X and never gets metal claws?

* Post-credits tag shows Apocalypse, so I guess they are doing another sequel? Is this going to still be with young Eric/Charles in the 80s/90s? Or in the new "future". It seems weird to me since this movie feels really a lot like closure for the storyline begun in XMFC. They could've put a "The End" at the end and it would've felt complete. *shrug*

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Apr. 26th, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

First, let's get my squeeing out of the way. I absolutely LOVED this movie. Love <3<3<3!!! I went into the theater with high expectations. I was not disappointed. It ticked ALL of my likes. Cap, you are my favorite superhero evar!! <3<3<3

*cough* *ahem*

Attempted coherency... )

There's other stuff I loved, but the above covers most of the big things.

Incidentally, this reviewer's posts? I agree with all of it. ^_^

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Jan. 1st, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

So I saw The Hobbit (Part 2) lately, and found I do have some stuff to say about it.

spoilers ahoy )

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Dec. 21st, 2013

Some recs...

The novel Blindsight by Peter Watts. The author is a marine biologist and the book has a lot of bio jargon and stuff in it (that went straight over my head), even though it's technically a sci fi. Not a happy ending book, but interesting to read.

Web serial novel Worm was pretty heavily recommended on a forum that I frequented. It's a LONG, character driven, gritty version of the urban superhero genre. Also a somewhat downer ending in some ways as well, though not the same way as Blindsight. I haven't actually had a chance to read through it myself, so all I know of the plot/characters comes from the mess of fanfics it's inspired.

With This Ring - Self insert fanfic crossing over with the Young Justice cartoon. I thought it's pretty good, actually. It's a WIP, but the author has been pretty good about updating daily so far. (The forum can often get horribly laggy during afternoon/evening hours though.)

(more as they come to me...)

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Dec. 15th, 2013

Movie Review - Thor 2

Saw Thor 2 today. I liked it, better than Thor 1 actually. Maybe it's because I didn't have high expectations going in this time, or maybe because there's less emphasis on Loki (I still don't get the fandom's obsession with him... OK I get the why, I just don't feel it myself).

Read more... )

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Oct. 14th, 2013

Humanity is not Ready for it

I hate this trope. I really really do. I hate it more when it shows up in science fiction.

[rant] )

One final thought. Do you know what I want to see in a modern sci-fi story? The covert SpecOps team rescuing the brilliant scientist from a luddite (super-)villan who wants to destroy the scientist's knowledge/research, so that said scientist can publish their findings to the world and improve life for everyone. Bonus points if the Snarky!Commando refutes the villain's claims that humanity "is not ready" for the horrors that said discoveries will bring, by pointing out humanity already has existing technologies that is more readily weaponized, and yet seems to be doing just fine. Is there any of that around?

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Dec. 21st, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure

My mom's company sponsored a free lunch and showing of The Hobbit today and I was able to see it. (My company also sponsored a showing last Friday at the opening day, but it was at 8 AM and I just couldn't make myself get up that early.) So here are my thoughts about this part one of the prequel trilogy to LOTR.

Overall, I would say it's a good popcorn movie, I guess. Some good eyecandy spread through it, and not just of people, though there are some bits of good characterization... But. Well. It tries way too hard to live up to LOTR and doesn't make it by far. In fact, I would say that the worst flaws of this movie is that it's been bogged down with the success of the previous films.

Read more... )

Tl;dr. - Middle Earth is still an awesome place to see on the big screen. But a good portion of the movie should still belong in the extended edition. Gandalf is still awesome, but I'm not feeling the love for the Fellowship Company here, if I even remember half their names.

Jul. 23rd, 2012

GW2 Beta 3

So the third and last beta weekend has closed out. Only a little more than a month to go until the head start of release.

This weekend I put most of my time on playing an asura thief and sylvari ranger. Stopped at level 15 on the thief, having completed both Rata Sum and Metrica Province. Ranger ended up at level 23 by the end of the weekend, having completed The Grove, Caledon Forest, and about 70% of Brisbane Wilds. Also created a norn guardian and human elementalist just to view the racial armor, but didn't actually play either of those.

Anyway, on with the review... )

Pics and videos will be out as I sort through them. If anyone knows of a simple and free software that can clip unwanted bits out of the start/end of avi files, or merge together multiple vids into one, let me know.

Jun. 11th, 2012

GW2 Beta 2 Day 2-3

Didn't get a chance to post yesterday. I did a little bit more of ranger, and then the rest of it was all guardian. So at the end my characters were: Engineer/11 (didn't touch this character at all except to raid the coffers), elementalist/9 (actually to 8 and then the last level was due to crafting), ranger/14 (that appears to be the threshold for the lowest level green drops which I wanted to test out), guardian/30 (reached 30 at 5 minutes to the end of beta and got my elite skill--whoo!)

Read more... )

Ugh...need sleep. More in coming days.

Jun. 9th, 2012

GW2 Beta 2 Day 1

This'll be short cuz I'm falling asleep at my desk here. Messed around with the various options, skills, traits panels. Took another look at pet stats. Played some ranger, some ele.

Read more... )

Images will need to be cleaned up since I took some UI stuff for reference. Will probably not be putting them up til Monday.

May. 29th, 2012

Movie Review - Avengers

So I finally got to see the Avengers this holiday weekend. I have to say that Marvel Studios has hit another one out of the park. Even five weeks after the domestic debut, the theater was still packed. I had to sit somewhere the front and crane my neck up to watch the film up close cuz there were no seats left in the entire rear section. According to google news, the film is doing really well at the box office and in critical reviews as well.

Here there may be spoilers )

Apr. 30th, 2012

Misc Notes from GW2 Beta

It was getting too long as an addendum on the previous impressions post, so I'm moving it to it's own entry. (This list will grow as more things occur to me.)

snip for length )

Apr. 29th, 2012

GW2 Beta - third day impressions

cut for length )

GW2 Beta - second day impressions

cut for length )

Apr. 28th, 2012

GW2 Tutorial improvments

cut for length )

GW2 Beta - first day impressions

cut for length )

Feb. 20th, 2012

Star Trek Online review

So I've passed the halfway mark, level-wise, on STO, and I figure I'd write down some of my thoughts on the game so far. This makes the... 3rd? online MMO I've played (4th if you count Gaia Online's zOMG, I guess), so some comparisons with Perfect World International and Guild Wars are probably inevitable.

Also, I feel we need to note that Cryptic Studios, which makes STO, was bought by Perfect World Entertainment, which changed the business model of the game from subscription to free-to-play early this year.

And also note - while the game has PvP (mostly Fed. vs Klingons), I don't play PvP, so this review is focused exclusively on the PvE stuff. It helps that the game is designed primarily for PvE with PvP being the "afterthought"... (kinda the opposite of GW:Prophecies).

Read more... )

In Summary:
Great big authenticity stamp with regards to the franchise. Wonderful storytelling and promising RP potential. Some unique mechanics and stuff. Not much of a multiplayer game, but that's not a big issue for people like me who prefer to play in single-player mode. Still a little rough around the edges, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt due to its relatively "young" age.

Sep. 17th, 2011

Movie Reviews: X-Men First Class and Super 8

First of all, I saw both of these as an in-flight movie and not on the big screen, so I guess any CGI or SFX that was made to have them look cool in the theater was probably lost in translation. I'll mainly be commenting on the other aspects of the movies than how they look...

X-Men was great, just like everyone said it was. The pacing was fast paced, the plot carried you along with every tide, the fact that you knew who was going to end up on which side didn't detract from the suspense of how things are going to get there.

The plot was... ok, it was pretty standard comic book. Let's not talk too much of plausibility of the bad guys' plan. There are also some other visible plot holes, but they don't detract too much from the movie. The more important plotline of Xavier finding young mutants in need and becoming a mentor to them was nicely done.

The characterization They did an awesome job with the two stars – Xavier and Magneto (nobody cares about the villain). I especially like that they managed to give Xavier some depth instead of cardboard xerox of MLK Jr., let him have some flaws that make so much sense on him, and yet still make him the goody two-shoes guy. Magneto was more uneven if looked at overall, but he certainly had quite a few moments that really made the guy shine.

Most of all, there was chemistry between the two of them that just sizzled, arguably even better than frickin' Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen playing off each other in the previous movies. I can certain see where all the slash fics are coming from, because there are so many emotionally heavy scenes between the two of them that just make you go "Oh my god they are so totally doing it behind everyone's back."

The rest of the cast is good too (except the dragonfly-girl which made me go "bwah?"). Mystique is great. Banshee is great. Havok is great (though I wonder how they're going to tie him into continuity with Cyclops). The villains were...not that great, but nobody really cared about them.

Three thumbs up for X-Men First Class.

Next, we have Super 8, which unfortunately did not live up to the hype. I was expecting horror. I was expecting sci-fi. I was expecting more than just 3 frickin' scenes with the alien that the plot is supposed to be centered on.

Instead, we got barely pubescent teen drama, with all the you like her, I like her, she likes you, our parents don't want us to talk to each other... GAH. If I wanted a relationship chick flick I wouldn't be going to something billed as sci-fi/horror!! Who the hell wants to see barely-teen soap operatics in their sci fi?!

Aside from the kids who are pretty much living out of Lady Luck's pocket, everyone else... sucked. The deputy guy who was Romeo's (can't remember the kid's name) dad--nothing made me care about this guy thoughout his angst and dysfunctional relationship with his son and the later turnaround; whatever. I barely got what the hell was going on with the other guy that was Juliet's dad (I can't remember her actual name either). The other kids in support roles were annoying and utterly transparent in their roles for the movie. The alien, as mentioned before, was largely absent. The military – bleh, so annoyingly one dimensional it makes me long to rewatch Stargate instead. And everyone else was pretty much cardboard/fodder.

FYI: Horror is not randomly killing people out of the blue. That's just playing people for the shock value. It is not horror if we don't evey care about 100% of the people killed.

Worst of all, the climax was an utter anti-climax, and then it just skips to the end credits. W. T. F. Who wrote this crap?

Two thumbs down for Super 8.

Aug. 27th, 2011

Review rec

In Which I Watch Sailor Moon is an insightful and funny review-slash-parody of the Sailor Moon anime. The link here is to the index page so you don't have to slog through all 7 threads of digressions and discussion. The author also does some really nice comic art to go with his parody/review.

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