Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Game Review

Non Spoiler Talk, Video Games
After spending so much time on Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, I was excited to hear that a sequel was in development. As we got closer and closer to the release of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, there were multiple stories about the loot box system that was integrated within the game. Long story short Shadow of War's loot box system would allow you to purchase orcs for your army and skip the main selling point of the game, the upgraded nemesis system. This option and the problems I had about the loot box system in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 lead me to stay away from Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. It wasn't until the announcement of the removal of this system and the free play weekend that I even considered playing it.…
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Incredibles 2 Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk
Sometimes there are good movies that make a lot of money that ends up getting a sequel pushed out quickly that fails. And then some movies take a long time to get a sequel and it can be argued that the sequel is better than the original. Incredibles 2 is one of those films that is arguably better than the first. If we look at the critics' score over at Rotten Tomatoes, The Incredibles has a score of 97% and Incredibles 2 has a 94%. This makes the argument because they are so close to each other based on critic reviews, and either one could be the better of the two. Incredibles 2 released 14 years after the first, and the creators of the film were aware how much the general public…
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The Covenant Throwback Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk, Throwback Review
When I was in college, I would watch just about any movie that had a hard rock soundtrack. With White Zombie and Rob Zombie, 2006's The Covenant had one of those soundtracks. Much like SwimFan, The Covenant hit me at one of those times in my life that I look back on fondly. When I saw that it was on Netflix, I had to take the time to watch it. The story revolves around a group of friends who descend from four families that fled from Salem to Ipswitch during the Salem Witch Trials. Calling themselves the "Sons of Ipswitch," they each possess a power to do some fantastical things. After getting to know everyone within the town things start to happen. And that's where the film hits a multitude of film…
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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Game Review

Non Spoiler Talk, Video Games
I first read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien about 20 years ago, and ever since I've enjoyed the stories in the world it created. Middle-Earth has known a lot of stories, be it the novels that were written by Tolkien or the six films that were directed by Peter Jackson, but it has also been the setting for numerous video games over the years. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of those games. Originally released on September 30th, 2014, it was made for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It tells the story of a Ranger from Gondor who seeks revenge for the end of his family after being banished from death. Developed by Monolith Productions, who were known for games like F.E.A.R. and Condemned: Criminal Origins, and published by Warner Brothers Interactive…
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The Incredibles Throwback Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk, Throwback Review
I have noticed over the years that when I go back to watch a movie that I used to enjoy, I don't always see it in the same way or, often, I'll connect with different characters. Take Swimfan for example. I can remember watching it almost ten years ago and being entertained by it, but watching it recently I started to see the downsides to it more than I used to. This is something I noticed again during this week's family movie night when we watched Pixar's 2004 classic, The Incredibles.   The first time I remember watching The Incredibles, I connected with the children more than anyone else in the film. When it was released, I was barely 20 myself and connected with the interactions the kids had with their parents and understood…
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Early Man Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk
Typically, I am not a fan of stop-motion animation.  Though A Nightmare Before Christmas is definitely an exception to this, as I really enjoyed that film. Even without my generally enjoying this type of movie, when Early Man was brought to my attention by my daughter, and I noticed that it had such voice talent as Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, and Timothy Spall, I thought it would make for a fun family movie night. Made by Aardman Animation, the same studio that gave us Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit, Flushed Away, and Shaun the Sheep, Early Man is a stop-motion animation film that tells us a story of Dug, a caveman who, along with his tribe, was run out of his home and his quest to return to it. Production & Cast Early…
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In Time Throwback Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk, Throwback Review
Dystopia is a term we hear now and then but don't always realize what it truly means. Most of the time when we think of dystopian futures, we have thoughts of tyrannical governments, like in V for Vendetta, or worldwide calamities, like Waterworld shows. But there are some dystopian futures that we don't often think of, most notably one made by technology.  The most notable film with a dystopian technological future is The Matrix, but one that doesn't usually get looked at is the film In Time. In Time's dystopia comes from the population being genetically engineered to use time as a form of currency. Using time for currency allows the rich to live forever while the poor fight over mere minutes or days. It's an exciting concept that takes the term "time is money"…
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Adrift Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk
If there is one thing I am afraid of, it's drowning. But the strangest thing is, despite that, I do love the water. The fear itself has resonated with me my whole life to the point that I, a middle-aged man, do not know how to swim. Though when it comes to being in a boat, or playing in a pool or open body of water, I'm able to have fun. So, when I see sailboats or speedboats, I look at them in both awe and fear, wondering how much fun they would. But at the same time, I'm left wondering what could happen. Adrift tells the true story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft and Richard Sharp who, in 1983, sailed through Hurricane Raymond on their way to San Diego. During the…
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Coco Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk
I can remember when I was younger thinking that The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, was just a day that was essentially a Halloween celebration. Over the years, this perception has started to change but it wasn't until I got to watch Coco recently that I truly began to understand what Día de Muertos really is. Día de Muertos is a celebration of family. A day to remember the family that has passed and to tell their stories. Pictures of ancestors are arranged on an altar with their favorite earthly foods and possessions positioned with them to give the spirits, at least according to the film, an anchor to the living world to see their family. Family Coco's main story, while revolving around Día de Muertos, is all about…
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Solo: A Star Wars Story Movie Review

Movie Review, Non Spoiler Talk
When the Han Solo origin film was first announced, I was not that excited. Within the Star Wars Saga, Han has always felt like a complete character that didn't need an additional backstory other than what we were already given. From the previous films, we understand his motivation and why he is where he is in his life. And it's that reasoning that I felt going back and looking at his younger years wasn't necessary. Within the old Star Wars extended universe, we had a handful of novels that gave us Han's backstory. And much of what we are given within Solo is right from those novels. Though there were some details that were changed, like locations and names of some people, the ideas behind why and how Han got…
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