CJ's writing a book, and it's up on Inkshares!


So, my book is up on Inkshares! This is for assistance in crowdfunding the book.  Feel free to pre-order the book and it will not be charged UNTIL I PUBLISH IT! If I get into the top 5 in Fantasy, not only will my book be published, but it will be put into bookstores and everything under the Sword & Laser imprint.  Help me live out my dream!

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (#GuardiansOfTheGalaxy)

(Please note: I will try to remain as spoiler free as possible during this, but please note there may be minor spoilers during the review.)

This summer has been full of blockbusters; Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla, and more.  The latest one to throw it’s giant, hyper-sharpened knife into the arena is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and we got to see a preview of the movie this last weekend.

Let us first take a look at the cast:

Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec, The Lego Movie) takes up the Quad-Blaster and awesome helmet of the snarky, somewhat womanizing, dance master Peter Jason Quill, otherwise known as Star-Lord (“Who?”).  He pulls off the character with a wit, grace, and intensity that is hard to really realize could be done by any one human being.  Star-Lord is not a fully likeable character, much akin to one Tony Stark from Iron Man, and much like Mr. Stark, he has a heart of a hero, which can really only shine when tested by the heat of battle.  

Gamora, played by the amazingly talented Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar) really pulled off the bad-ass anti-heroine in spades.  She has the build of a trained assassin, and they do not have her ever in the position of a damsel in any way shape or form, which would have made many a fan angry if they had.  The only complaint I had of any of the characters did, however come from her - she is a little more “feminine” than the comic version, but when you have someone as gorgeous and talented as Zoe Saldana, you kind of need her to be.

Drax the Destroyer, played by WWE superstar Dave Bautista, was the biggest surprise of the entire film.  I was honestly not expecting him to be as emotional, relatable, and funny as he was.  Some of the best one-liners of the movie came from him, and I honestly am not sure he meant to be that kind of character. Obviously he is a huge human being and very intimidating and just pure Drax, but he has a comedic timing that I never expected.

Now, the biggest star of this movie in my opinion, Rocket, voiced  by Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook). This squirrelly little guy brings all the funny, while also edging the movie closer and closer to that R rating. The level of emotion brought out in this CG powerhouse is really intense though; this guy is not a one trick pony.  He’s a great character, and Cooper really makes everything believeable. I do love the elephant in the room that never addresses the Rocket / Groot thing.  Just like in the comics.

Speaking of, Vin Diesel (XXX, The Fast and the Furious) plays the giant sentient tree Groot, and they impart his eyes and some of his facial features into him, and even though he only says “I am GROOT!” he always seems to bring an intensity that you never thought it could.  He really personifies Groot, it is plainly obvious through the motion captured features that he genuinely was enjoying every second he was “on screen”.

Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies, The Hobbit) plays the big bad Ronan the Accuser, and he really pulls off the level of power that someone of this caliber really requires, even if Ronan himself tends to look a little like Marilyn Manson every once in a while.  

Let us not forget Josh Brolin’s Thanos, Karen Gillan’s Nebula, and Michael Rooker’s Yondu, all of which really are on the point, and pretty much anyone else who has a speaking part is really amazing.  Marvel went above and beyond on the casting, writing, and direction of this film.

The pacing of the film was fantastic, never too fast nor too slow. The trademark cinematic genius that has become synonymous with Marvel-Disney films is true as well, but sometimes it felt like there was too much going on at once.

The writing style is so uniquely GotG that if you think too hard about how this will mesh with the rest of the MCU it is almost off putting, aside of course from the talking Raccoon. An excellently crafted script that fills witty banter with seamless exposition, propelling the action at a breakneck speed. But while the action scenes constantly ramp up the ante in both technical badassery and epic scale, the pacing is skilfully kept in check by those personal moments which not only show the humanity in this alien group, but also let the characters (and audience) catch their breath. The plot will take you to places that you did not think you would be able to go.  It is deeply touching, horrifyingly disturbing, funny, suspenseful, and so much more without ever being afraid to be completely in your face.  You will be lifted to the highest highs and dropped to the lowest lows.  There are literally parts of the film where you will be in tears one second and genuinely laughing the next.  They truly pull no punches at all in this film, but in the best way possible.

All in all, this movie is officially my favorite Marvel movie of all time, and is up there on my favorite MOVIES of all time.  This movie brings the fun, sex appeal, action, intensity, and emotion in more ways than you could actually think of. This is by far one of the greatest cinema experiences I have ever had in my entire life. I will be definitely be seeing this again, maybe twice, before owning it on Blu-Ray and watching it many many many more times to come.

Easily 10/10 TITOs. More than 12% of a movie!

Game Review: Shadowrun: Dragonfall

By: CJ Boat

Last year on the “Best of 2013” episode of The Geek I/O Podcast,  I put one of my best games of 2013 as Shadowrun: Returns, and again I addressed it on Episode 45 that this is one of my favorite games out there now.


And then I heard of the expansion pack, and my heart skipped a beat.


Then it launched.


Then I was happy!


The setting in this scenario is in Berlin, Germany (of course in the Shadowrun world).  I am a little lost on the whole scenario, not sure exactly if it settles into the current state of Germany, just “Shadowrun’d”, or if it’s completely different.  Also, the language is lost to me, as my amount of German extends to food, guten tag, and schadenfreude, but of course the main bits of dialogue is in English, just the titles of things, and sometimes I’m lost on the title of companies and gangs.

I’m not going to get too far into the plot here, but it is another fast (for a SRPG) paced, exciting, intriguing, and sometimes even fun.  If you have played the newest Deus Ex games, it kind of feels like that (which of course Deus Ex lends itself to Shadowrun) in its execution, and that’s a good feeling.  Of course you’re looking at post-apocalyptic future with high fantasy pieces likes elves, magic, and the like.

Now for the gameplay!  It’s pretty much the same thing as before, the Shadowrun pen-and-paper game put into a three-quarter view SRPG.  In the base game I played a Street Samurai (fighter who can use guns - no magic) and this time around, I chose a Shaman (spirit magic) and it’s a complete and total game-changer.  The game really punishes players who misstep (though I played on the hardest difficulty - strategy is key) and rewards those who think several steps ahead of their opponents, it’s a big thing for those who think like me, and has a great risk-reward AI.


I have not done anything with it yet, but there are lots of new skins for User-Generated Campaigns (UGC) and I’ve heard lots of great things about some of the campaigns that users have created, and will do some follow-ups when I get the chance to play them - more of this game the better!


Because I like to score things:

     + Graphics: 8/10

     + Music: 7/10

     + Gameplay: 9/10

     + Writing: 6/10

     + Average: 8/10 - the music really does this game an injustice.


Game Review: Tales of Xillia (PS3)

by: CJ Boat


System: PS3
Release Date: August 6, 2013

I am a huge fan of JRPGs, and don't make any attempt to hide it.  They are my favorite type of game altogether, but of course I am not a complete apologist, if a game is bad, it's bad.  

That being said...

This game is really good.  Put out by Bandai-Namco here in the US, it is a continuation of the "Tales of..." series, which, like many other JRPG sequels, has hardly anything to do with any of the other games of their series' name (Tales of Symphonia, Tales of Graces, etc.) except for maybe a couple of things.  What this game adopts from the others is mainly the item names: gels are healing items, money is Gal, etc. also the battle system is an evolved version of the other games, which is a good thing.


The graphics in this are the odd 3D-but-painted graphic style, and goes very well with the area that this takes place in.  The world is your pretty standard high-fantasy crossed with steampunk accents. Where the magic is in the main front, there are guns, ammunition, and some other gear-grinding items.  The art flows very well, and does not really splinter into pixels that are unrecognizable, like some other games even in the current (previous now, I guess) generation.  

The music is a kind of middle point, it's very Japanese which may sometimes detract from the storyline; every once in a while you'll get a odd note or even entire song, and maybe off-setting. Though, for the most part, the music you hear the most (Battle & World map) are good though, and fit in.  The boss fight music could use some tuning, however.

The battle system, like I said, is an adaptation of other Tales / Star Ocean series games, where it is a random encounter system, where you control one character (or two if you have them turned on semi-manual) in a almost action-RPG where you issue a command to either attack, use an "arte" (Special attack) or blast a fireball at the monster's monstery face, and your guy (or lady, or guys, or ladies, or whatever your flavor is) kills a guy in the face. You can move in 3D, and sometimes you have to to avoid an attack, so that adds a little to the keg.  


Final point I want to touch on is the writing and voice acting.  They went above and beyond on the VA, where they translated not only the main characters but quite a few NPCs that may give you quests, or even just talk to you.  As per the writing, the context works, and does not seem too far into the "Japanese" style writing (not that I have an issue with that, I LOVE that, but can see where people can't).  It is also easy to keep up with, and is not too confusing, even though I have not finished the game yet.


Graphics: 8/10
Music: 5/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Average: 7/10 - the music really does this game an injustice.

Thoughts on #BreakingBad from a person who watched the entire series in 2 & 1/2 weeks.




For almost 4 years, I have heard nothing but "You HAVE to watch Breaking Bad" and everything like that.  "It's one of the best shows EVER!" "Forget Game of Thrones, this can do it WITHOUT boobs!" Honestly, the hype engine kind of turned me off, but that's kind of my thing. If you over-hype something, it's a huge turnoff, mainly because of expectations.  Expectations have been infamous in ruining good things for me.

That was when the show was on, and now it's not, and ALL available to stream.  I had time, so why the heck not? I decided to dig in, no matter what.  Can I say? I am SO glad that I was able to binge-watch this, because honestly I think I would have cut it at the end of season 2, just like I did with Walking Dead (which is another show I will probably watch as a whole once it is complete) mainly because there was nothing going at the end of season 2.  This was kind of helped because everyone was all about season 3+, and they were right, but MAN was that a slow cook.

They did a few WAY stereotypical things during season 1 and 2, the introduction of Jesse, Saul, and the like were really all "TV" which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on if you like that.  Season 1 was REALLY a drag, and did not do a good job at keeping me hooked at all, season 2 jumped up, especially with Jesse's development as a drug dealer.  This was particularly drawn out with the ATM Machine episode, and kind of showed you the kind of person (or coward) that Jesse really is. 

That kind of leads me to the characters. Let me say this, from season 1, I FUCKING HATE WALT. I do believe that is kind of the point, but from the start, I was pretty much in the party of "Just go die, Walt." I cannot stand people based solely on pride and ego.  There are no "good guys" in the first tier of characters: Walt is a dick, Jesse's a bitch, and then you get the tier 1.5 people, Hank is not a bad guy, Skylar can die too, yada yada, you get my drift.  Then you get to the villains, and from the beginning you realize how weak willed Walt really is with Crazy 8, and this NEVER ends, he falls right into Gus' hands, and not to mention Lydia and the Neo-Nazis.  Also, KEEP YOUR GOD DAMNED PANTS ON, CRANSTON! NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT!

I cannot get over JUST how bad Walt is, not in a "OMG he's such a bad guy" kind of way, even though that exists ("I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!") but just how bad of a character he really is, and I KNOW he is supposed to be written like that, you are supposed to feel for the others (Jesse, Skylar, Hank, Flynn, etc.), and in that fashion, Vince Gilligan is a GENIUS.  If you can write a character SO off that it's interesting to watch him fall apart, then that's something special.

Another thing a lot of people kept saying was "poor Jesse".  That being said, I did not feel a THING for his whining little self until season 5, and even in that until the end.  The hug between Walt and Jesse INSTANTLY turned me to #TeamJesse, and from that point EVERYTHING that happened to that kid made me feel a little hollower inside.  Honestly I would have been destroyed if he died in the finale.  He is the one I am most interested in, even if it was just a "he got to Brock, and adopted him" or something like that, just to get that poor kid a little point of light in the darkness. 

Now, onto the villains: Crazy 8, Tucco, the Cousins, Gus, Hank, Lydia/Nazis (no I don't consider Mike a villain). These characters for the most part were the most interesting point in this, mainly because they did a GREAT job at pushing a plot that could slow to a snail’s pace sometimes.  Crazy 8 got to set the stage, and really just show FOREVER what Walt was like. Tucco was the first person to push Walt almost to breaking, and was fantastic.  He was such an evil bastard he beat his own cousin to death with his HANDS.  He was the villain to show the kind of person Jesse really is: a follower, and when put in charge, can't finish the job, and weak, so weak.  The Cousins served ONLY as a bridge to Gus, but really just showed you the point where the show would go, that there were no punches to be pulled, "no half measures". They were a sub-subplot at best, but got to show you the true dark side of this show, for all of the characters.  Now onto Gus... the mastermind, the thinker, the boss.  Gus was an amazing bad guy, hiding in plain sight, a hidden sociopath, and a fantastic manipulative character.  I love bad guys who can think on their own, and really can pull the story, when you are SO driven to hate them that you want them to be on screen so you can hate them more.  As a subpoint - Mike is my FAVORITE character on the series, no ifs ands or buts.  I would talk about Lydia and the Nazis, but fuck them. FUCK THEM! Though, Todd was another one of those villains, what can I say? I have a soft spot in my villain-hating-but-loving heart for a GOOD sociopath. They got what the deserved.

That being said, I was ENTHRALLED with this show, and even though I have my nitpicks, I will watch this show again in a minute, and intend to.  This is probably one of the best shows I have ever watched, and I am SO glad I was able to binge, or I would have given up on this fantastic show. Well done Vince Gilligan, you magnificent bastard.