Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar thoughts

Well it was a good ceremony; James Franco and Ann Hatheway had good chemistry and were naturally funny, especially the bit with Franco in the dress, even if Franco was a bit...wooden. Kirk Douglas' stroke was sadly rather evident, I couldn't understand half of what he said.

As for the awards themselves, not a lot of surprises; Including upsets I only missed 3. Congrats on hitting me from left field with In A Better World for foreign. Did anyone else notice that Dogtooth got the least number of scenes and STILL managed to give us the family barking and the cat scene?

Hailee looked adorable in her dress, really sad she didn't win. I'm actually really disappointed True Grit didn't grab any, same with The Kids Are All Right and Winter's Bone. Guess The King's Speech really was unstoppable.

Also, I promised myself I wouldn't whine too much about this, but it really disappoints me that Toy Story 3 a good film, but an utterly pedestrian Pixar film, won best animated over something as unique and visionary as The Illusionist.

On the technical award side, not a whole lot of surprises except for soundtrack hitting me COMPLETELY by surprise. It didn't matter, because the 3 best soundtracks (True Grit, Black Swan and The Illusionist whatever people are telling me about Tron Legacy) aren't nominated. Congratulations Rick Baker on his 7th win for makeup, well deserved.

Oh well. Portman, Firth, Bale all deserved their wins (enjoy shaving that beard for Batman). Good year all around. Oh and thanks red carpet show for reminding me that, if I ever end up there, I'm wearing a t-shirt and jeans (officially, in protest for Kubrick having never won. He is my idol after all).

Enjoyable evening. Hope I was insightful.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


The Oscars are tomorrow, and I'll have some thoughts on the ceremony and the Winners on Monday, but I figure it's time for one last thought. And while I could do one whining about it, I figured I could look try looking up.

See, usually the Oscar winners are more obscure films that, while very good, are never really seen by the general public until after they win. The biggest example of this in recent memory is The Hurt Locker which, while excellent, didn't really get seen by anyone until after it had won.

But lately something weird has been happening to some of the nominees, especially the really good ones. This began last year, when several movies you'd expect to be scraping by the skin of their teeth at the box office ended up making a lot of money. District 9 and Up in the Air, 2 great movies both made over 6 times their budget back at the box office, despite both being R-Rated and outside the cultural. Even A Serious Man, an extremely dark and depressing film made nearly 5 times it's budget.

I dismissed it at the time. After all, sure District 9 was intelligent and well made, but it also included alien robot suits and gun fights. Up in the Air included George Clooney, and he's always a crowd pleaser. And A Serious Man, well 30 million wouldn't be a big hit anywhere else.

But it's happening again this year, and in bigger numbers. Black Swan, True Grit and The Social Network are all HUGE hits, each grossing around 200 million. The King's Speech is even bigger, breaking 230 million on an 8 million pounds budget. That's roughly 12 million dollars, which means it took nearly 20 times it's budget. Hell, even 127 Hours doubled it's investment. This is all without DVD sales and rentals, pure box office take. And none of them are in 3D, which means they remain just as pirateable as they always did. Hell, Black Swan, True Grit, The Social Network and The King's Speech all outgrossed Yogi Bear, which goes a long way towards giving me hope for humanity.

Those numbers are outside the usual cinephile and foreign market that movies like this usually rely on, though not quite to action movie levels. But even with action movies we have reason to rejoice; Inception is a huge hit, taking in 800 million, despite being intelligent.

I don't know what this means in the larger cultural meaning, but it's nice to see great movies become big hits, instead of what it usually is, IE me grumbling about Alice in Wonderland being an impossibly huge hit while Tim Burton's best movie, Ed Wood, remains forgotten. Maybe this is a sign of the moviegoing public growing more intelligent in it's entertainment. Maybe it's just a reaction to the quality of those films

Either way, I'm looking up.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: The Illusionist

 Every so often I regret that due to my complete lack of funds and awkward geographic placement mean that I miss a lot of movies. I still have not seen The Town, The Fighter, Another Year or Barney's Version despite desire to see all of them, and I had to wait for Winter's Bone to hit DVD to see it. Add in the fact that a lot of foreign films don't actually see anything resembling wide release until after the Oscar nom's are announced and allowing myself to revise my top 10 of the year after the year is out would drive me crazy, so I don't allow myself to. My top 10 of the year are established as that was how I felt January 1st and that is how they will remain.

But every so often I run across a movie that makes me want to have an exception to my rule, or at least to make a temporary one. But I won't so I'll just say this: The Illusionist is good enough that it would have been in my top 10. Hell with that, in my top 5. It's not QUITE good enough to take a run at Black Swan or True Grit but it's good enough to beat out Inception and maybe even The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Yeah. It's THAT good.

Before I begin with the review proper, I imagine at least a few of you will be aware that The Illusionist is adapted from an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, best known (in my mind anyway) for the fantastic French mindscrew Play Time, that it was intended as a love letter to his estranged daughter and that his only living relative is unhappy with it. Well put that out of your mind, say I. I haven't read his letter to Ebert about why he was unhappy with it, but it doesn't matter in my mind. If a movie is good, it doesn't matter who made it or why and this movie is most certainly good.

The Illusionist is devoted to an aging and down on his luck illusionist, traveling to Scotland looking for work, but who constantly gets upstaged by bands, movies and even a jukebox. While working a bar in a small village, a maid named Alice shows him kindness so he 'conjures' (IE, buys) her a pair of shoes to replace her broken ones. She becomes convinced that he has real magical abilities and follows him back to the city as he searches for work, living in a hotel full of aging performers.

I need to make one thing clear up front: There is a total of 0 consequential lines of dialogue in this entire film. I am not exaggerating. Oh characters talk, sure. But most it is single lines of inconsequential dialogue, like hello or no, and what isn't doesn't mean anything. This means that everything, from soundtrack, to character action, to background, to character design must pull double duty to make up for the missing dialogue.

And all of it rises to the occasion admirably. The soundtrack is beautifully written and incredibly used. The character design emphasizes each character's personality and can change subtly but noticeably. All of the character actions come across as natural and can tell us volumes about what each person is thinking. A single shot near the end (you'll know it when you see it), with the accompanying music, background and character placement was enough to move me near to tears.

But the background, like the rest of the animation, deserves special mention. If I knew anything about animation I could be gushing about the style they used. But I don't, so I can't. What I can say is that it looks GORGEOUS. Easily the best looking animated film this side of a Studio Ghibli film.

And despite having no dialogue of consequence, it still has one of the best screenplays of the year. Everything is clearly meticulously planned out to work with the overall feel and point of the film, even the characters walking through the background. I also love how it subverts expectations; With this outline, you'd expect the Illusionist to be poor at his job, with only Alice fooled. But instead, his illusionist skills are presented as excellent, even as his in-film audience remain uncaring. He is still excellent, but the world is moving on without him. And I would be remiss to not say that while it's a mostly lighthearted film and there is no real adult content to speak of, the film does deal with some dark subject matter and does not compromise with it's ending.

It's actually kind of a shame to me that Toy Story 3 (a good film in it's own right) is going to nab Best Animated Film at the Oscars Sunday. The Illusionist is a unique, beautiful, subtle, and deeply moving film and ultimately the superior work. I know it's not in wide release now, but if you can find a theater near you playing it, I'd really recommend you see it. If not, wait till it's on DVD and grab it as soon as you can. It's going to be a topic of discussion once enough people see it, and trust me, you want to be in on this as soon as possible. See you next time.

Elessar is a 21 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he'd love an animation expert to explain the mechanics of how they did that shot with the shadows at the end.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What the FUCK?

I don't like making political posts on this blog. This is, at it's heart, a movie blog and as such I've been trying to wean myself off news posts and political related stuff.

However, every so often something so fucking crazy happens that I have to comment on it to raise awareness of it. It has happened again:

Georgia Law Could Make Abortion and Miscarriage Punishable by Death

Yes that's Mother Jones which is a political site but who gives a shit? That title is not hyperbole. By the law's own wording, any 'prenatal murder' with 'human involvement' could carry the death penalty.

What the fuck is this shit? No really, what the fuck? I am literally beyond words. Read the article, it says it better than I can. Seriously, who thought that this was a good idea (besides, y'know. Being against a Supreme Court Decision).

Welllllll shit

People who know me will know that I am a huge fan of Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei series. Nocturne still proudly holds onto the number 4 spot in my top 10 games of all time, and the series' other titles like Digital Devil Saga and Persona 4 have cemented my admiration. Hell I even like the non SMT related, Demon's Souls, even if I can only play it for a few hours without wanting to kill something.

As such I was eagerly anticipating their upcoming game Catherine. First erotic game to take the subject seriously, good developer, took sexuality seriously in Persona 4, etc, etc. It's already out in Japan and I, and others, were eagerly awaiting to see if they'd release it in America. Well...

Atlus has no plans to release Catherine in US

Well shit. Is there some petition I can sign to get them to change their minds?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Second Age Reviews: Goldfinger

Goldfinger as a movie, is something of a paradox. It is the highest regarded of the Bond movies, and not without reason. It's easily the best of the series, setting the writing and directing bar as high as it could be, with the best Bond of the lot at the helm. It set down most of the standards and styles that most of the other Bond film adhered to. But it's also the film that created the problems that would eventually drag the series down and necessitate the reboot of the series. Of course, one must eventually learn to separate out the baggage and expectations of the series and view Goldfinger as a stand alone product.

The setup is fairly simple, as it always is. One of the advantages of the Bond films is that you never have to setup his motivations. It amounts to 'Go deal with this Bond.' 'Right away M.' (This is why they always start with an action scene that doesn't add anything to the plot). In this case, the titular Goldfinger, an incredibly wealthy jeweler, is making a fortune in smuggling gold and Bond is dispatched to find out how he's doing it. Along the way he'll discover a complicated plan to make Goldfinger even wealthier, involving Fort Knox, a female run flight circus and every mafia outfit in the continental US.

Despite being technically an action movie, the movie is relatively quiet. Except some action near the middle and some more near the end, almost everything is dialogue based. So I guess that means, while the action is well made (for the time, which we must remember, included some of the Star Trek fights), most of the movie is more reliant on the script.

It's fortunate then that the script is excellent, easily the best of the series until Casino Royale came along. Bond is less the gadget based superhero that the later films would make him, and more a smooth talker, at one point talking the villain into sparing him (although, in true Bond villain fashion, the villain remains completely unwilling to shoot him when he could strap him into a slow ticking death trap).

The action sequences are enjoyable, if more than a little dated. But I suppose when you sit down to watch a 40 year old movie, things like poor stunts, shitty fight choreography and terrible green screen are par for the course. The highlight is an action sequence involving Bond's gadget car, which seems to be in there mostly to show it off, but you won't hear me complaining.

The cinematography is generally nice, if occasionally a little bland in a few sequences near the middle. All the actors are doing their jobs nicely, with a great lead by Sean Connery who remains, to this day, the best Bond of all time. The music is well written and well used, if all variations on the same basic music. And while the idea of a movie (or villain) like this having a sung theme song might seem a little dated, it's actually a fun little tune. And besides, without it we wouldn't have the Scorpio theme song from You Only Move Twice.

One of the things I like about it, is the character of Goldfinger. Far from the nonsensical plotting of Dr. No, or the idiotic plans that would come later, Goldfinger's motivations are clear, his plan possible (if not entirely plausible) and himself well acted and believable while staying...well villainous.

Even accounting for it's age, it's not a movie without it's problems. The sexism in the movie in general and from Bond in particular, is so bad it's nearly palpable (my viewing companion likes to comment that in most of his films, and in this one in particular, Bond is essentially a date rapist). Like it's predecessor, Dr. No it hits a stumbling block in the 3rd act when the villains plans are foiled with very little effort or input from Bond. The villainous henchmen, Oddjob's, superhuman strength and durability are never actually explained. And no movie coming out in today's world could have a character named Pussy Galore and expect to be taken seriously.

One could make the argument that the Bond films were doomed from the start. The things that set them apart from other action movies (the absurd gadgets, the silly female names, the weird villain plots, etc.) would eventually grow tired and dated, making the movies impossible to take seriously. But when you strip all that stuff out, all you have is a nuts and bolts spy thriller with a charismatic leading man, which would have to rely on it's writing and direction to hold it up (which they did to great success with Casino Royale and less success with Quantum of Solace).

The Bond films would eventually begin to sputter when Connery left the franchise for good, finally descending into unintentional comedy and self-parody around the late 70's. Whether this was always going to happen, or the result of laziness on the part of the directors and writers, is up to the academics to debate. But, when viewed on it's own merits, Goldfinger is a cracking good time at the movies, one which everyone who has any sort of affection for 007 should see. So you do that, and I'll see you next time.

Next on Second Age Reviews: Destroy All Monsters

Elessar is a 21 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he still hasn't forgiven Bond for that crack about the Beatles.

Official Oscar pics

I figured I should do this formally, just to have it up here, for all of you who want to bet or whatever. The format is, who I think will win (with 2 picked for best picture cuz of the 10 nominees category), followed by the upset and finally who I would pick, limited naturally, to who's nominated. Note that new information might contradict my earlier opinions, but this is official We good? Alright off we go.

(And I'm STILL skipping the short films)

Best Picture:
Frontrunners: The King's Speech or The Social Network
Upset: True Grit
My pick: Black Swan

Best Director:
Frontrunner: David Fincher for The Social Network
Upset: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
My pick: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

Best Actor:
Frontrunner: Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Upset: James Franco for 127 Hours
My pick: James Franco for 127 Hours

Best Actress:
Frontrunner: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Upset: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
My pick: Natalie Portman for Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor:
Frontrunner: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Upset: Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
My pick: John Hawkes for Winter's Bone

Best Supporting Actress:
Frontrunner: Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
Upset: Melissa Leo for The Fighter
My pick: Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit

Best Original Screenplay:
Frontrunner: The Kids Are All Right
Upset: The King's Speech
My pick: The Kids Are All Right

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Frontrunner: The Social Network
Upset: Winter's Bone
My pick: True Grit

Best Animated Film:
Frontrunner: Toy Story 3
Upset: The Illusionist
My pick: The Illusionist

Best Foreign Film:
Frontrunner: Biutiful
Upset: Dogtooth
My pick: Dogtooth

Best Documentary:
Frontrunner: Inside Job
Upset: Exit Through the Gift Shop
My pick: Inside Job

Best Original Score:
Frontrunner: Inception
Upset: 127 Hours
My pick: Inception

Best Original Song:
Frontrunner: We Belong Together from Toy Story 3
Upset: If I Rise from 127 Hours
My pick: None (I can't remember any of those songs)

Best Art Direction:
Frontrunner: Inception
Upset: Alice in Wonderland
My pick: Inception

Best Cinematography:
Frontrunner: Inception
Upset: True Grit
My pick: I cannot choose between Black Swan and True Grit

Best Makeup:
Frontrunner: The Wolfman
Upset: Barney's Version
My pick: The Wolfman

Best Costume Design:
Frontrunner: Alice in Wonderland
Upset: True Grit
My pick: True Grit

Best Film Editing:
Frontrunner: The Social Network
Upset: 127 Hours
My pick: 127 Hours (just barely edging out Black Swan for the 'radio sequence'. If you've seen it, you know what I mean).

Best Visual Effects:
Frontrunner: Inception
Upset: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
My pick: Inception

Trailer Fever

A little while ago, one of my best friends and I created what we call ODST syndrome, after the live action trailer for Halo: ODST. The syndrome is where a trailer for a video game is much darker, more artistic and more interesting than the game it is previewing. It's happened a couple times over the years, notably with the Gears of War 2 trailer (you all know the one I mean and yes I know Gears of War 2 came first, ODST Syndrome is pithier) and while I don't know if we've found another instance, I would like to draw all of your attention to this:

Holy shit.


I mean, I can easily see this being Left 4 Dead, Island edition, in which case, meh. But if it is what it looks like, IE Heavy Rain, Zombie Edition? Count me in.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Secret

I have Goldfinger tomorrow and while I was going to put this at the beginning of the review (full disclosure: I've seen most of the movies that I see for The Second Age Reviews before, and therefore I usually have some idea of what I want to say beforehand. I don't write the review beforehand and I never even have an idea if I haven't seen the movie) but it kept ballooning so I figured it deserved it's own post.

I have something of a homework assignment for you. Find a critic you know, or a cinephile. It can't be a full blown film snob, they're too biased for this to work. Easy way to tell, if you've ever heard them say a movie like Blade Runner or District 9 is good despite being sci-fi, they're too biased. It can't be a geek either, they're also too biased. Again, easy way to tell; If you've ever heard them talking about well written, well directed, well acted comic book films like X2 or The Dark Knight and heard them complain that the characters' costumes don't look like the comics, they're also too biased.

No find someone in the middle, and ask them about the Bond films. There will be an uncomfortable silence. He or she will clearly be thinking for a few seconds trying to figure out what to say. This is because of the Secret of the Bond films, the one that I know and that I'm sharing with you: Most of them, while a lot of fun, are not objectively good movies. There are exceptions (Goldfinger for one, Casino Royale for another) but for the most part, they just do not pass muster.

Each movie has it's own individual problems (Dr. No sort of craps out in the 3rd act, Moonraker is too silly for words The Spy Who Loved Me reads like a checklist of every cliche they could find) but for the most part, the scripts are mediocre, the stories are predictable, ALL of the characters are thinly sketched and cliched (including Bond) and the directing tends to paint-by-numbers. The acting goes up and down, depending mostly on who's playing Bond.

As I said, there are exceptions and most of them are a lot of fun, but most of them are just...not objectively very good. Sorry to break the secret. Oh well, Goldfinger is good. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First X-men Trailer

X-Men First Class trailer

For context: X2 was the best comic book movie until The Dark Knight came along, in my humble opinion. I like the X-Men comics more in theory than in practice, simply because Chris Claremont's Dark Phoenix Saga continues to make everything needlessly convoluted (although Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men was one of the best things Marvel ever published).

That said X3 and Wolverine can fuck. Right. Off. But I recently saw Kick-Ass (quick review: Dead good. It's been forever since I saw an American movie that was that twisted and still good) and since the new X-man and Kick-Ass share a director, I've been looking forward to seeing what he'll do with it.

I don't know how connected to continuity it is (though given we see scenes from X-Men and X2, the reports of a reboot were exaggerated). Cuban Missile Crisis is a nifty backdrop, as is the Civil Rights stuff of the 60's. X-Men is at it's best when it's being a metaphor for some sort of oppressed minority (go back and watch Iceman telling his parents that he's a mutant and try not to see a Gay Coming Out scene. And bear in mind that the director, as well as Magneto and Nightcrawler, are openly gay). So hopes are high that this'll be good, at least with me

In other news, Green Lantern is feeling mighty lonely (1 DC movie vs. 3 Marvel this year. Oh well, DC, you've got Batman and Superman next year).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Second Age Reviews: Five Fingers of Death

The problem with reviewing martial arts films (not 'films with martial arts in them' but 'martial arts films', the distinction is important) is that most of them do not stand up as films, even the good ones. They tend to be formulaic, poorly written with broad and unfocused characters, even before we hit the nearly physical language and culture barrier that leads many of them to be poorly translated and even more poorly dubbed. There are exceptions of course; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes to mind, as does Unleashed, but for the most part 'Good' is a more relative term here than in any other genre this side of monster movies.

This is not to say that you should exit the browser and ignore the rest of my review. I'm merely qualifying my opinion. Good and Bad becomes relative terms the second we find out it's a martial arts film.

Right now is, usually, the part where I recap the plot but it all seems rather pointless. One of the first casualties of a martial arts film is the story and that's for a reason; all the plot setup is included in the genre. 'They have insulted our school, we must respond in kind,' is a well worn cliché in this genre. Though I suppose it's worse when they try to deviate from it; Elephant retrieval anyone?

Okay so the plot is a lost cause, which is fine because they frankly don't spend a lot of time on it. It's all hinging on this big tournament, in which everyone wants to compete (but only has like 5 contestants). The bad guys want to win, because if they do they'll get some vaguely defined power and the good guys want to win because if the bad guys win, a bunch of people will suffer for some reason.

It's all for naught as the dialogue is terrible, clearly reflecting the aforementioned language and cultural barriers. And on that note, any chance at real human interaction is pulled down by an obvious (and extremely flat) dub. This isn't helped by many of the characters looking and sounding similar; At one point a female character removed her defining characteristic and I spent 10 minutes convinced she was another character until the character I thought she was just showed up out of the blue.

So the plot and characters are a lost cause, but thankfully action is here to the rescue. Once we get past all the melodrama and training montages and actual get down to the frequent combat scenes, the movie comes alive. Much of it consists of well choreographed cliché fights, but they're all well made and exciting so that's not a problem. There are also a couple of not unclever spins on the formula, like a sword-on-fist fight and a fight in the dark by instruction.

Of course, when you think about it too hard, this is an extremely silly movie. Some of this can be chalked up to a poor dub, as the flat delivery combined with the terrible lip synch means that a lot of it feels really incongruous. But more of it is simply the content. More than one plot point can be hinged on 'And suddenly, NINJA' (Put DOWN the E-mail client fellow history buffs, I know that ninja are not from China, it's just what they look and act like). And no one can explain to me how we're supposed to take the sequence of the main female and male character running at each other in slow motion seriously. But it never gets in the way of the movie being enjoyable, and with the right people around it can actually make it more enjoyable.

I guess when you get down to it, Five Fingers of Death is a alright example of it's genre. Not a particularly good one mind; the characters are still too thinly sketched and the plot far too vague and predictable for that. But it's exciting and enjoyable and well made in all the ways it needs to be. It's not a thought provoking piece of cinema, but if you enjoy martial arts films in general or ironically, it's an enjoyable representative of it's genre, despite it's flaws. I guess that means this review is a little shorter than usual. See you next time.

Next on Second Age Reviews: Goldfinger

Elessar is 21 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he's not even going to go into the noises that happen when people's arms and such collide.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Amateur Hour

One of the primary problems with being an amateur film reviewer for a mostly unknown blog, is that I have to pay my own way into the movies I want to review. This means that I generally have to want to see them on some level, if only ironically. This means that, without the Avon and it's accompanying Second Age Reviews, January and February would probably be the death of my blog.

I mean let's examine some of the movies that have come out or are coming out, in the form of a conversation between myself and...I dunno, someone else.

SE: Well, you could go see Green Hornet...

Me: Green Hornet? But I hate Seth Rogen. And anyway, how good could it be if it's producers shunted it into a January release.

SE: Well, how about The Rite?

Me: Hannibal Lecter reenacts The Exorcist? Pass

SE:'re running out of options. Oh, what about The Eagle?

Me: The Eagle? What's that about?

SE: Romans, behind enemy lines in Pict territory.

Me:...Didn't that come out last year?

SE: No, that was Centurion.

Me: Ohhhh, I remember Centurion. It was directed by Neil Marshall. He did Dog Soldiers. And The Descent. And Doomsday. I like all those movies. In fact, I liked Centurion. Maybe The Eagle will be good.

SE: Well it is rated PG-13...

Me: A movie about Romans and Picts killing each other is rated PG-13. Who's in it?

SE: Channing Tatum.

Me: What's he been in?

SE: Well...Step Up...and Dear John...and GI Joe...

Me: Well fuck that shit.

SE: Hmm...well you could go see Season of the Witch.

Me: Fuck you.

See, that's how my options boil down. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Go see Sanctum? Big Momma's House 3? Justin fucking Bieber's movie?

Basically, I'm stuck until March, when we get Sucker Punch (which I am increasingly nervous about, but at least I want to see) and Battle: Los Angeles (and is that title supposed to remind me of a Rage Against the Machine album?)

I'm not sure what this was supposed to accomplish, other than hopefully amusing you with the above conversation and explain why reviews are going to be scarce until March. But cheer up reader/s (I'm never sure how many I have). May has Thor and Pirates. June has Green Lantern and X-Men. July has Harry Potter, Captain America AND Cowboys and Aliens (Plus Transformers 3 if I'm feeling masochistic). So expect a deluge of reviews then.

Sorry about the interim months. I'll try to keep you interested with...I dunno, things like this...