Monday, July 19, 2021

New Project?

 Right before bed last night, I had an idea. It may be a dumb one. We'll see. 

I've spent the past year or so tinkering with my Treasures, Serpents and Ruins house rules to get them to where I pretty much like them (a few tweaks still needed, as we play with them). And after a lot of effort to combine traditional Western and my preferred Eastern fantasy tropes into one simple set of classes/races, I was struck with the idea that I should make a second edition of Flying Swordsmen that is completely compatible with Chanbara. That way I'll have samurai/ninja action as well as Hong Kong style kung fu/wuxia action in one integrated rule set. 

Of course, would it be worth my time to make a completely new game, or just the player facing rules as a supplement to Chanbara? The latter is much easier and more likely to be completed. I added a lot of monsters and spells from FS already into Chanbara, so just adding some rules for martial arts classes Chanbara style might be enough.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Movie Review: Black Widow

 Last Saturday, the family and I braved covid19 (South Korea's only at around 11% fully vaccinated, we should be getting our first shots next month) to go see Black Widow on the big screen. We took in a matinee, and about a third of the seats were blocked off for social distancing, and there were maybe only 50 or 60 guests total in the theater which seats around 200. So it was a good gamble on our part. 

Mandatory swear word notice*: There's a lot more swearing in this movie than the typical Marvel movie so far. Especially from Yelena. My 6-year-old was giggling every time she said shit, and she said it a lot! No F-bombs that I remember, though.

So, about the movie. Well, I'll try to keep this spoiler free, since it hasn't been out for a week yet. 

The movie was pretty good. I was entertained. So was my wife and older son. The 6-year old was bored by a lot of the talking parts, but was focused on screen during all the action sequences. That said, it wasn't the strongest effort Marvel Studios has put out. And that's sad, since Scarlet Johanssen deserved a strong solo movie as her Marvel swan song, IMO. I mean, it's Marvel Studios, so everything is technically well done. Solid story. Good casting. Excellent CGI and action choreography. Good acting. I felt for these characters. 

But despite that, something was lacking. I think it all stems from the fact that most movies in the MCU, and now the TV shows, all seem to be building towards something. This movie seemed like it was just looking back. Now, it IS building toward things. The post credits scene definitely shows what they are building towards. But it wasn't obvious until the post-credits scene. 

Another thing may have been that this was both a spy thriller type superhero movie, and also a family building type movie. That meant the tension in the spy segments wasn't as tight as it could have been. The family building theme got more attention. The family dynamic between Natasha, Yelena, Melina and Alexei was a lot of fun. But because of that, we didn't get really well done spy drama like in Captain America: Winter Soldier. 

It's definitely worth a watch, especially if you've enjoyed previous MCU films. But is it a must see to follow the MCU metaplot? Probably not. It is interesting that this is the first film to come out since Marvel Studios started making Disney+ shows. When the credits started to roll, I asked my 13-year old if he thought the post credit would plug Eternals or Shang Chi? Neither one seems very thematically appropriate. And ... sorry, small spoiler here ... it didn't plug either. It was a plug for an upcoming Disney+ show.

*Having a blog with the word "curse" in the title gets a lot of Google searches for "curse words in movie X" directed here.