The Secret of Monkey Island: 2009 Special Edition
Greetings, to coincide with Telltale’s ‘Tales of Monkey Island’, the much loved original from 1990 was remastered in 2009 for a new generation of gamers. It is a point-and-click adventure game which contains plenty of rather bizarre puzzles with whimsical solutions that the player has to figure out. Many of the main cast from previous instalments returned to provide their vocal talents to this remake including Dominic Armato who voiced the swashbuckling protagonist, Guybrush Threepwood. The music was composed by the original conductor as well, Michael Land, who most notably worked for LucasArts in titles such as Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis, Grim Fandango and Sam and Max: Hit the Road.
The plot begins when a young adventurer named Guybrush Threepwood arrives on Melee Island in his quest to become a well renowned pirate. He seeks out the most experienced and reputable pirate captains on the island who instruct him that Threepwood needs to conquer three trails if he is to become a legendary pirate. Guybrush sets out to complete the various challenges that were set for him, including defeating the mysterious sword master in arm to arm combat, locating lost treasure and stealing a valuable idol from the governor’s mansion. During his travels Guybrush learns of a fearsome ghost pirate, LeChuck, who was enamoured with the local governor of the island, one Elaine Marley, before his death.
Threepwood encounters the governor while attempting to steal from the mansion and is quickly smitten with Elaine. When Guybrush completes all of his quests, LeChuck and his crew of undead pirates invade Melee Island and take off with Elaine to Monkey Island. Guybrush attempts to recruit a team to set sail towards Monkey Island, fight LeChuck and his spectral legion and rescue Marley. The call to arms isn’t well received as the hardiest of pirates are too frightened of the notorious ghost captain to lend a hand. Despite the setback, Threepwood manages to recruit three people to sail with him on the dangerous voyage. Carla the expert sword master, a brutish man named Meathook and a prisoner called Otis who was broken out of jail by the hero all agree to come to Elaine’s aid.
I really enjoyed this special edition. Its humour felt unique and it was interesting to play through the videogame, albeit remastered, that introduced these iconic characters to the world. The remake made some obvious changes from the original, including improving the graphics and having more detailed artwork but it also added voiceovers that the 1990 version didn’t have. To my knowledge voice actors weren’t used until the third title in the series, 1997’s ‘The Curse of Monkey Island” and 2000’s ‘Escape from Monkey Island.” I look forward to experiencing the other games in this series as I move on to playing Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge: Special Edition in the near future.
Quote of the Day
The supernatural, the power of darkness — it's all true. The undead surround me. Have you ever talked to a corpse? It's boring! I'm lonely! Take your life, David. Kill yourself... before you kill others. Please don't cry. Beware the moon, David.
An American Werewolf in London
Streets of Laredo
Greetings, Streets of Laredo is a 1993 novel by Larry McMurtry and is the final instalment in the famous Lonesome Dove series. The other books have all been reviewed on my blog some years ago and consist of Dead Man’s Walk, Comanche Moon and the original Lonesome Dove from which the series derives its name. It was also adapted into a miniseries staring James Garner as the protagonist Woodrow Call as well as having Sissy Spacek, George Carlin, Ned Beatty and Randy Quaid among its cast members. Fictionalized versions of historical figures appear in the Streets of Laredo book such as cattle rancher Charles Goodnight, criminal gunfighter John Wesley Hardin or saloon-keeper Judge Roy Bean but they have little real effect on the overarching plot.
The novel is set during the 1890s, a number of years after Lonesome Dove concluded, and an aged Woodrow is now something of a hangover from a different era as the expansion of the railroad tamed what was once the Wild West. The plot begins with Ned Brookshire, an accountant from New York, who has been sent to meet the ex-Texas Ranger Captain Call in the Lone Star State because the veteran is still renowned for his man hunting abilities. Brookshire had been sent by his boss, one Colonel Terry, to hire Woodrow to catch a particularly prolific train robber. Terry is an entrepreneur in the railroad business and the train robber in question is a young Mexican named Joey Garza. Garza has cost Colonel Terry a lot of trade by holding up his trains and so the train tycoon sought to hire the best gunslinger in all of Texas to put an end to his troubles. Joey is equipped with an early design of a sniper rifle which he uses effectively during his crime spree. The advanced weapon poses a significant threat to Woodrow who would be hunting Joey down in vast, open plains.
Call agrees to the deal and is initially annoyed to find out that the untrained Brookshire would be accompanying him in the manhunt to keep track of all the invoicing it would entail for the train company. Woodrow asks for his long trusted friend from the old days of the Hat Creek Outfit, Pea Eye, to accompany him on the manhunt as they had done many times before with other outlaws. To his surprise Pea Eye turns him down. Pea Eye explains that he is no longer a young man and that he now has a family to look after as well as a farm to run. Call is annoyed at the unexpected answer but relents that Pea Eye’s wife, a school teacher named Lorena, has won her husband over to staying with his family and that Woodrow could not rely on his old friend for assistance anymore. The old ranger sets out with the inexperienced Ned to capture Joey Garza in what would prove to be his last manhunt.
Overall, I liked this novel despite my prior concerns that another primary character called Gus McCrea was absent from this instalment. The partnership between him and Woodrow was the highlight of the series for me and I wasn’t sure if a book about only one of the characters would hold enough appeal. Several characters from the previous books are in Streets of Laredo such as the Native American tracker called Famous Shoes and the pyromaniac villain Mox Mox which helped keep a sense of continuity. This novel did seem to be a bit circular in regards to some of McMurtry’s other plots with the fate of Woodrow Call and August McCrea being very reflective of each other. The storytelling technique for this novel also incorporated several points of view within it as it dedicated chapters to different characters such as Pea Eye’s wife Lorena, the young outlaw Joey Garza or his long suffering mother Maria and their experiences. Now that I have this extensive and enjoyable Western series behind me I do hope to read some of McMurtry’s other works, especially the stories of his that are not of the Western genre for a change.
Quote of the Day
People always mean well! They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, oh, so very delicately! Of course, I've suggested it myself. But I hate to even think about it. She needs me. It-it's not as if she were a... a maniac — a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?
Greetings, I Tonya is a 2017 biographical film with dark humour directed by Craig Gillespie. It follows the story of American figure skater Tonya Harding and her role in the attack of competitor Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. The movie stars Margot Robbie who was involved in the Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad and Mary Queen of Scots among other filmic projects. It also boasts of Sebastian Stan as a cast member who is perhaps best known as Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Other performers include Allison Janney, Caitlin Carver and Paul Walter Hauser. I, Tonya has an interesting soundtrack which contains ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Devil Woman’ by Cliff Richard, ‘Gloria’ by Laura Branigan and ‘The Passenger’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees among others.
The plot begins in Portland, Oregon during the 1970s when a four year old Tonya is trying to impress the ice skating coach Diane Rawlinson enough to get her to train the young Harding. This is all at the behest of her abusive mother LaVona Golden, a straight talking woman, who attempts to negotiate with the coach but Diane rebukes LaVona’s request to train her daughter. This is because Tonya is too young for Rawlinson to properly teach her the art of ice skating. Golden then orders the child to show off her skills in the ice rink which Diane is immediately impressed by. She agrees to coach Harding and her strict training regime pays off as her pupil becomes one of the most prominent skaters in the United States after a few years pass. Ill feelings begin to arise between Tonya and the judges of the sport during that time as her lower class background, homemade outfits and use of modern music for her routines clashes with the traditional notions of elegance associated with ice skating.
Tonya begins dating Jeff Giloolly, eventually marrying him, while still trying to pursue the recognition she believes she deserves due to her unwavering professionalism and commitment to her career. Harding’s relationship with Gilooly also brought the manic Shawn Eckardt, a friend of Jeff’s, into her world. Shawn would play an important role in the attack on Harding’s rival Nancy Kerrigan and ultimately contribute to the downfall of Tonya. While Harding’s marriage to Jeff initially starts out well the relationship ultimately becomes physically abusive but due to the unreliable narrator trope employed by the film it is unclear as to which one was inflicting harm on the other or if both were guilty of it.
I really enjoyed this film even though I wasn’t particularly aware of the circumstances around the assault. I, Tonya puts Harding in a more sympathetic light and didn’t overly vilify her for her suspected role in taking out Nancy for her own career advancement. The plot definitely promoted the idea that she would always struggle against the classism in the sport because she was born into a poor family, a factor which endears Tonya to the audience and makes it easier for them to side with her. The comedic humour worked very well and I thought the characters were very likable in spite of their criminal misdeeds and seedy nature. I particularly thought the interview style format, which shaped the narrative of the story, was a really interesting way to structure the film. In concluding remarks, I, Tonya is a great watch in my opinion and I would encourage you to give it a shot if you have yet to see it.
Quote of the Day
Goddamn foreign TV. I told ya, we should've got a Zenith!
Greetings and welcome to the first blog update of 2019! Godless is a Western miniseries that was released by Netflix in 2017 and was created, written and directed by Scott Frank. There are only seven episodes in the series and they all differ in their run times. The cast is sizeable and consists of Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, Scoot McNairy as well as Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The music was conducted by Carlos Rafael Rivera who has few soundtracks in his discography. The only particular movie of note that he was involved in was the 2014 neo-noir crime film, A Walk Among the Tombstones, which starred Liam Neeson and was also directed by Scott Frank.
The plot begins at the sight of a massacre in Creede, Colorado. Marshal John Cook discovers the chaotic scene in which a train has been deliberately toppled and all the passengers on board were slaughtered. It was the work of the nefarious Frank Griffin and his band of murderous, thieving thugs. The mayhem had arisen from a conflict between the protagonist Roy Goode, a one time member of the syndicate, and Frank’s crew who had severely fallen out with Goode prior to the show’s opening. Both Roy and Frank were seriously injured in the shootout at Creede. Griffin had sustained such a critical wound that his arm had to be amputated while Goode, hit by a bullet, managed to escape the vengeful clan on horseback. Roy, barely conscious as a result of his injury, rode his horse to a lone ranch in the outskirts of La Belle during nightfall. Alice Fletcher, the ranch owner, confronted the hurt outlaw and shot him for being an uncooperative trespasser. She then took Roy into her barn after knocking him off his horse.
Alice manages to nurse Goode back to health with the help of her Native American mother in-law, Iyovi, and her son, Truckee. It soon became apparent that their unwelcome visitor is going to be a source of trouble and that his presence would bring a maelstrom of death to the small mining town of La Belle. Marshall Cook arrives into the same town after his inspection of the massacre. La Belle was now mostly inhabited by women due to a recent mining accident that wiped out the vast majority of the local men. He came to alert the sheriff, one Bill McNue, about the horrors that had been inflicted upon Creede. Bill agrees to help the sheriff in his pursuit of Frank Griffin and assist in the capture of Roy Goode. While he did want to help, McNue is troubled by his faltering eyesight which began to deteriorate after his wife’s death and he fears that he may not be able to protect the citizens of La Belle from Frank’s gang.
Overall, Godless was an enjoyable watch and it should appeal to fans of the Western genre. It covers a lot of ground in its seven episode run and contains some interesting storylines. Jeff Daniels’ portrayal of the charismatic and complex villain of Frank Griffin deserves a special mention. Daniels, perhaps best known for his comedic role as Harry Dunne in the Dumb and Dumber series, is allowed to take on the more serious part of the twisted outlaw who displays both kindness in accordance with his strong Christian upbringing as well as sociopathic cruelty. As such, the audience is never really sure which path Frank is going to take and this is one of the reasons I really liked the character. The conclusion may have felt anti-climactic to some of its viewers but I believed it tied up the plot nicely and provided an action packed spectacle for the finale. If you haven’t seen Godless yet I would encourage you to give it a go.
Quote of the Day
Charles Foster Kane
Happy New Year: 2018 Review!
Greetings, New Year’s Eve is finally upon us and that means there is only one blog update left for the year as 2018 comes to its conclusion. It has been a year of ups and downs but marked an important milestone for the blogging community as I celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Falcon’s blog back in July. As it is the 31st December, I have some titles to pick as my entertainment choice of the year. As per usual, there are four categories that I need to crown the winner for. The categories in question are television, film, games and books that I had reviewed in 2018 but doesn’t necessarily have to have been produced or released in this year. Be sure to let me know what the highlights of entertainment was for you this year in the comments below.
Television Show of the Year: Mad Men
Mad Men is a critically acclaimed Television show that ran from 2007 to its finale in 2015 and unquestionably, in my opinion, deserves the praise it receives. Its quality never dropped off or dipped during its whole seven series, a problem that has befallen many other beloved shows with shorter runtimes. All 94 episodes were a delight to watch and I was constantly gripped by the dramatic journeys of Don Draper and Peggy Olsen as they lived their day to day lives in the backdrop of the advertising world of the 1960s. The show also notably launched the careers of Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss as they now take on interesting roles in their post-Mad Men career. The amazing, contemporary soundtrack also has to be mentioned and gives Mad Men a certain stylistic charm.
Book of the Year: The Shining
One of Stephen King’s most famous novels, the Shining is a must read for any fans of this acclaimed horror writer. Set in the creepy and unique location of the Overlook Hotel, the book has no shortage of unsettling moments or sinister spectres to give the reader goose bumps. Jack Torrance’s descent into madness is well written and fleshes out the character nicely, giving him a more layered personality than Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance could encapsulate in Kubrick’s masterpiece. It is also interesting to note the small differences between the original book and the film adaptation while reading it. The Shining is one of my favourite novels of all time and I look forward to diving deeper into King’s lengthy bibliography.
Game of the Year: Batman: The Telltale Series
It was difficult to choose between this and the cult favourite fantasy, Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, but I believe Batman just slightly nudged in ahead of it to get Game of the Year. Batman followed the same classic episodic approach and the decision based mechanisms that made the now sadly defunct Telltale Games a tour de force in the gaming industry. What set this the game apart from the long list of other Dark Knight video games was the importance placed on the caped crusader’s real identity, Bruce Wayne, which made him as important to the plot as his famous alter ego. I do hope to play the second series that was produced by Telltale shortly before their closure.
Film of the Year: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid came against some tough competition from the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and the Graduate, both noteworthy works in their own right, but the 1969 film is easily one of the best in cinematic history. The charismatic performances of Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross as Butch, Sundance and Etta are as iconic as they are entertaining to watch. Alongside a great soundtrack by Burt Bacharach, the movie is a must watch for Western fans and cinemagoers in general. I also aim to watch another film starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman called the Sting next year.
The next blog update will be posted at some stage in January 2019 in which I will be covering Netflix’s western miniseries, Godless, that was released a year ago. It is rather hard to believe but in a year of this exact date we will be celebrating the end of the twenty-tens and welcoming in the twenty-twenties. As such, I’ll not only have to celebrate 2019 in a blog update but the entire decade as well and all that happened within it. Have a happy New Year and I wish you all the best for an awesome 2019!
Quote of the Day
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
Merry Christmas 2018!
Greetings, this new blog update is simply here to wish this small blogging community a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Be sure to have plenty of fun tomorrow and overindulge in the festive food and drinks. There is one more blog update scheduled for 2018 which will be published on Monday 31st December. As per recent tradition, the next blog update will crown the category winners of the various television shows, films, games and books that I have reviewed throughout the year.
While not everyone participated in the Write Wise’s Christmas Challenge this year, I certainly enjoyed reading the many interesting entries that been produced in 2018 and I had fun writing my own stories for the site. It was nice to see the Terry Holloway series brought back for the holiday season and I am definitely eager to see any future instalments that could be headed our way. I also had a good time writing my experimental piece, the Bizarre World of Victor Victorious, and I hope you liked reading it as well. I have plenty of thoughts in mind for my next works in 2019. A fair number of them are the introductory plots to original projects. These are likely to expand into a new series or two eventually. Have a Merry Christmas!
Quote of the Day
Ah, Melchett! Greetings! I trust Christmas brings you its traditional mix of good food and violent stomach cramp.
Lord Edmund Blackadder
Blackadder’s Christmas Carol