Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Lucy

Movie– Lucy

TL;DR–  Good, but not for everyone-88%

 

Basics– Lucy is the story of a young women who is unwittingly drafted into a drug smuggling operation.  Drugs are hidden inside of her, but during an attempted rape, she is kicked so hard the drug bags rupture flooding her system with a mind expanding drug.  Now, the drug gives her the unprecedented ability to use more of her mind’s capacity than any human before.  What happens next is crazy!  There is a cartel after her as she travels the world to deliver all the knowledge she has gained to the one man who can use it.  Get ready for heavy philosophy in between car chases, gun battles, and torture.

 

Story– This one requires a bit of imagination.  Lucy is a fun ride, but has a few moments where you as the audience have to decide to not think.  For the high points, the movie is great, but for some minor sticking points, the story doesn’t make sense.  Not the 10% figure on brain use, that is better explained in the movie than the trailer, but some elements like the drug cartel actions and people attacking a lady who can change gravity make no sense.  It’s fun, it will make you think, but if you think a bit too hard some things will stop working on the level of movie disbelief.  If you can get past that, you will have an awesome time and begin to really think about some of the messages in the movie. 4/5

 

Acting– For the most, part the acting is done well too.  Scarlett Johansson does a great job playing several different roles as she basically loses her humanity to become something else.  Some things are a bit off like why would drug smugglers act the way they do, but it’s only some minor problems.  Scarlett is the focus.  And, the movie stays with her, and that’s how it should be. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– This movie uses lots of quick scenes to flash ideas into the audience’s minds.  It works well.  The special effects are done pretty well.  A few things like Lucy at the end seemed a bit simple for modern CGI, but that’s more me being nitpicky than it looking like something from the SCYFY channel’s midnight movie release.  Also, get ready for lots of deific imagery.  I don’t hate it, but it’s here! 4.75/5

 

Summary– I really “liked” this one.  It’s billed as one kind of movie (ass kicking not Black Widow with more brains then NASA), but it’s really quite another movie (what is man’s role in the universe).  The movie is not bad, but my enjoyment of this movie didn’t come from the destruction.  Yes, people get shot up.  Yes, car chases.  But, the movie is really about how important knowledge is.  I’ve heard others say it’s the most pro-science thing since Cosmos ended, and I kind of felt that way.  This is good, classic sci-fi.  It’s got guns et al for the low-brow fun, but it’s also got some really heavy things to think about after.  This is a great movie to take any geek to and have fun conversations after discussing what it all meant, but it’s a bad movie to go see because you just want an explosion-a-thon. 88%

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Blurbs from the Booth-The End of the Sundering

I just finished reading the Sundering series for the Forgotten Realms.  I’ve reviewed them all Here:

Book 1- https://throatpunchgames.com/2013/11/14/book-bout-the-companions-the-sundering-book-1/

Book 2- https://throatpunchgames.com/2013/11/14/book-bout-the-godborn-the-sundering-book-2/

Book 3- https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/01/22/book-bout-book-review-of-the-sundering-book-iii-the-adversary/

Book 4- https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/03/16/book-bout-book-review-of-the-sundering-book-iv-the-reaver/

Book 5- https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/04/18/book-bout-book-review-of-the-sentinel-the-sundering-book-v/

Book 6- https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/07/27/book-bout-book-review-of-the-herald/

 

Now that it’s done, what do I think?  Let’s answer a few yes/new questions to keep thing simple (somewhat…):

Will I read more Forgotten Realms Books: yes*

Am I happy with what the Sundering did to the Realms: no**

Do I think the Sundering is a good way to bring new people into FR: yes***

Did you think the Sundering novels had a formula: yes

If you thought the Sundering novels had a formula, did you like it: no****

Are you still a Forgotten Realms fan: yes

Will you run Forgotten Realms games in the future: yes

Was the number of novels appropriate for the setting: no****

Are you glad you read these novels: yes

 

 

How about you?  Have you read the Sundering?  What did you think?  Fill out my survey above and tell me what you thought!

 

*-I was invested in the Realms before.  It was the first real fantasy setting I was part of, so its got a place in my heart.  Some of the books really made me happy to be reading them.  Others….I more suffered through.  I still don’t really like Drizzit, but for some of the new characters, I would like to learn more about them.

 

**-The Sundering, to a large extent, treated the fourth edition Forgotten Realms as a mistake.  I LOVED the fourth edition Forgotten Realms!  But, then again, I loved fourth edition.  For the most part, anything that was novel (pun intended) about the Realms was washed away by the Sundering.  I can deal with that, but since I spent a lot of time and energy to learn and loved that material, it felt like a small slap in the face.

 

***-This really varied book by book.  Some books did an excellent job introducing established people and the Forgotten Realms as a whole.  Some books made even me, who has read 20 to 30 of these novels, not know who the author was talking about.

 

****-The formula to me was: 1)introduce some established people/make some people, 2) introduce the setting 3)introduce a problem for the people in the setting 4)change the setting back to 3.5 Forgotten Realms to fix the problem .  I didn’t think FR was broken, so I don’t like some solutions.  Seeing everything you’ve learned about and cared about changed to move things back to where they were was somewhat saddening.  I have the same problem with comics.  Comics are a sine wave.  If you pick any point on a sine wave, and draw a parallel line to the horizon, you will eventually hit a point exactly as far from zero on the wave again.  To you the wave never changed if you have those two points as your reference.  Comics are the same way: Spider-Man is married-single-then married, Wolverine is alive-dead-alive,  People are on a team-kicked off-back on.  Nothing changes.  You don’t want to rock the formula that works for the comics.  Fourth edition changed things.  Now, it’s back to where it was again.  I don’t want things to change if the change doesn’t matter.  Why bother making things different if they can’t stay different?  No one grows or evolves if everything goes right back to where it started.

 

*****-What I would have loved to see at the end of the sundering was a setting guide.  I’ve heard this complaint repeated several times.  I want to know how things are in the world.  I have a few points of light at best as to what is going on, but for the most of the realms, I don’t have a clue.  I want to jump back into the realms with both feet!  Let’s start gaming!

Book Bout- Book Review of The Herald

 

Book– The Herald: The Sundering, Book VI

Author– Ed Greenwood

Buy It Herehttp://www.amazon.com/Herald-Sundering-Book-VI-ebook/dp/B00H6J6KQQ/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406468742&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+harald+Ed+Greenwood

TL;DR– I need more background-66%

 

Basics– Magic is wild in Faerun.  Elminster is working frantically with the bard of Shadowdale and his too many great grand niece to fix the remainder of the magic weave.  However, new threats to Candlekeep and Myth Drannor call him to save the world once again.  Can he stop evil liches, an army, and the combined force of the Princes of Shade all at once?  Will he save magic once again or is the goddess of magic lost forever?

 

Story-This story was kind of hard to get into.  A major problem of this story is the lack of background and some daus ex machina.  Stories are continued from previous novels without really giving a introduction of what happened before.  The Sundering was ment to be a great introduction to the realms, but this didn’t really introduce me to what happened before or during.  The ending of the book kind of came out of nowhere and was completely fuled by daus ex machina.  I’m fine with some of that, but I never really felt all that interested in what was going on.  So, I wasn’t really interested in the ending. I’m happy to have learned more about the realms, but I’m equally happy to be done with the book.  I listened to the audiobook, but I never really felt pulled into the book.  I was mostly moving through to finish the book. 2.5/5

 

Setting– Ed Greenwood invented the Forgotten Realms, so he’s great at sending you to a place that he’s invented.  I would like a bit more introduction of what some things are though (that will be a common complaint through this review).  Aside from any minor problems I had with the setting, I did feel like I was in the realms when I read this book. 4.5/5

 

Characters-I know who NONE of these characters are.  I’ve read several Forgotten Realms books, so this isn’t my first rodeo.  Most of the other Forgotten Realms/Sundering books have done a fare to good job introducing who any of these characters are and why they matter.  This book brought in random people who, if you’ve followed all of Ed Greenwood’s books before, are important, but I had no idea who they were even at the end of the book.  I learned a bit about some of the characters, but not enough to judge if some of the main characters were written against type.  Elminster is Elminster, so that’s done well, but the rest I was kind of lost on. 3/5

 

Summary-The main problem I had with this book is background.  Ed Greenwood made my favorite fantasy setting, and he carved out a section of it for himself to write in.  However, I didn’t feel like he tried to include me in his world.  I didn’t know who anybody was for the longest time, so I didn’t feel engaged.  I finished this one mostly because I wanted to know about the Realms and the Sundering.  I’m glad I read this, but I’m kind of equally glad it’s done.  66%

 

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Numeria, Land of the Fallen Stars

Product-Pathfinder Campaign Setting- Numeria, Land of the Fallen Stars

Producer– Paizo

Price– ~$20 here http://paizo.com/products/btpy978l?Pathfinder-Campaign-Setting-Numeria-Land-of-Fallen-Stars

System– Pathfinder

TL;DR-Swords and Circuits! 95%

 

Basics– Time for some Sword and Circuits!  Numeria, Land of the Fallen Stars tells the story of Numeria in Pathfinder’s default setting.  Numeria is a land defined by barbarians and a star ship that crashed into Golarion millennia ago.  The book is roughly divided into a section describing the basic geography and story of each place.  Then the next section discusses the different groups in the region.  The final section of the book is the monsters that live in the region.

 

Mechanics or Crunch-This book isn’t crunch heavy, but it doesn’t have to be, as the book is part of a twin set discussing Numeria.  Therefore, I can forgive the book being somewhat crunch-lite.  This book focuses on the story of the region more than the execution of the region.  Even with that said, this book goes into good mechanical depth by discussing diseases, different damage types like radiation, and an item from the wastes called Numerian Fluids.  These fluids are the cast-offs of starships and robots, and have side effects ranging from instant death to gaining a level.  The book also adds a small bestiary as well as random encounter tables for each area in the region.  However, I didn’t see how often I should roll a random encounter.  I like what I see here, but I also know that most of the mechanics will come in the companion book that will come out later. 4.5/5

 

Story or Fluff-This book is FULL of stories to start a Numeria campaign.  This regions presents some novel stories (pun intended) for the Golarion setting.  I love the Sword and Circuits idea, and this book will provide you with all the standard fantasy fare of rampaging barbarians to the standard sci-fi tropes of a HoloDeck on the fritz.  Beyond this are crazy sadist cultists, paladins hiding crazy technology, and an underground railroad for robots. This book and the setting have all the stories I wanted from fantasy/sci-fi as well as enough new to make me ready to start playing! 5/5

 

Execution-This book is pretty well done.  The story and mechanics make this one a page-turner even though it’s over 60 pages of fantasy encyclopedia.  The layout, text, and pictures are great and draw the reader through the story.  I do think Paizo is running into a bit of a problem with the number of rules books they are putting out.  If you are reading this and want to run this as a physical product, you’re going to need LOTS of other books to run a game in this part of the world.  Paizo has an impressive pace for books, but this is leading to more books which will need OTHER rulebooks to use them at all.  It is a small problem, but an increasingly prevalent one. 4.75/5

 

Summary-I loved reading this product.  I was looking forward to running the Iron Gods adventure path before, but this book psyched me up even more.  I love the fusion of sci-fi and fantasy.  Some have complained that the two won’t work well together, but based on what I’ve read, these two will fit together just fine.  There are some problems though–the major one is the number of books that Paizo products are beginning to require you to have in order to play the new book.  This goes so far as this book will require a SECOND campaign book to incorporate all the technology needed for this part of the world.  But, based on this book, I’m buying that book as soon as it comes out!-95%

 

 

 

Daily Punch 7-24-14 Elemental Focus feat for DnD Next

I want to be a wizard that focuses on fire wizard…let’s make it happen!

 

 

Damage Focus

You’ve studied the elements and found yourself drawn into one in particular

Benefit:  gain the following

  • Gain a +1 to wisdom, intelligence, or charisma to a maximum of 20
  • Pick an element damage type (acid, force, sonic, cold, fire, necrotic, radiant).  When you cast a spell that does that damage type, add double the spell’s level to damage or double the duration of the spell.  Cantrips add +1 to damage.

 

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 7-23-14 Improved Parry feat for DnD Next

Martial characters don’t get a ton of love, how about we give them some

 

Improved Parry

You know how to move a blade out of the way and how to strike lightning fast after the dodge

Benefits: Gain the following

  • You gain a +1 to dexterity or strength to a maximum of 20.
  • When you perform a parry on a melee attack, the disadvantage dice both receive a -1 to their rolls.
  • If your parry results in the attack missing, you may make a basic melee attack as a free action.

 

Thoughts?