Spooktacular: Demon City Shinjuku

Anime from 1988. I'm shamefully watching a dub, as the better version I have has no subtitles! This movie was so popular it got a Big Eyes Small Mouth RPG adaptation, tho it's 2 decades out of print. There's several remake/inspired-by games. I barely remember actually watching this, must've been 25 years ago, but I've used the game several times.

Hairy man with a stick, and sorcerer Levi Rah have a swordfight on a rooftop, and when the sorcerer wins, he plunges an elite shopping district of Tokyo into darkness and ruin. That monster!

10 YEARS LATER, President Can-do-no-wrong has stopped all war and flies around in a Space Shuttle. This is the future world if we only got rid of shopping!

Scruffy hero Kyoya (son of hairy man) & sexy woman co-worker who talks like a Southern hillbilly work at a noodle shop, and he trains kids in kendo, but SECRETLY he's a master magic ninja "Nenpo". Ghost Yoda shows up to recruit him, but says he's not ready, and all he has is a wooden bokken. Can-do-no-wrong is tangled up in evil vines for some reason, guarded by Real Yoda. Daughter of Can-do-no-wrong follows scruffy hero down a dark street to recruit him.

Long segments of Kyoya & President's daughter running around Shinjuku, fighting gangs, getting conned. Everyone who talks is sucked into a black void, or a sewer, or attacked by a giant bug.

Young punk Chibi guides them around. Cool trenchcoat guy Doctor Mephisto with faux-Transylvanian/Russian accent shows up to help, which is so not suspicious. A sizzling hot chick refugee from Wicked City shows up, with explosive results. So far all the weirdo monsters have been good, but there's half an hour of nothing happening between them. There's zero character development of anyone, just weird people in a dark city.

Multiple times, Levi Rah can pull Kyoya into ghost worlds to be hit by monsters, or just sit in a nice park (actually an abattoir populated by demon children, the worst kind of children!). But he never seems to seal the deal.

A final showdown, a sacrificial virgin, Levi Rah rules all, and has an actual magic sword instead of a stick and Nenpo. "I despise you!" [exploded] Levi Rah finally gets to monologue at an audience, and it's pretty good. Kyoya finds the magic stick of his father, which failed to killed Levi Rah the first time, but somehow it works now? This final fight makes no sense. Anyway everyone walks away happy, with a hint of a sequel that never came.

The visuals of this film are astounding; this is why we have anime, to make demonic hellworlds real. Not enough is done with the fact this is Shinjuku, there should be more shops, style-gangs or demons, government intervention instead of it being like Escape from New York. The music's pretty mediocre, jazzy trumpet city pop mostly, with some synth stingers. This cries out for a full-on vaporwave soundtrack in a remake. The actual plot is the most linear D&D adventure possible.


Mac Protip: Open URL in Browser

Not all browsers have an "Open in" service. I tend to use Chromium for media so it's a different crashy app than my main Safari. I've been manually copying URLs, pasting into it.

Open Automator, create a new Quick Action, pick Run Shell Script, paste in:

read -r url
open -a Chromium "$url"

Save it as "Open URL in Chromium". Quit Automator.

You can now right-click on any URL, Services menu, and send it there.

Old Man in the Woods Way of Argument Parsing

So, my premise is that only developers use command lines anymore. And after years of corporate enslavement, it's nice to run off to the woods, make a log cabin and all your tools yourself.

Therefore the best way to parse arguments in Scheme is:

(define debug #f)
(define outfile #f)
(define infiles '())

(define (main argv)
  (set! debug (if (member "--debug" argv) #t #f))  ;; boolean
  (set! outfile (if (member "--out" argv) (cadr (member "--out" argv)) #f))  ;; key-value
  (set! infiles (if (member "--" argv) (cdr (member "--" argv)) #f))  ;; all after --
  (unless outfile (error 'main "No outfile given")) ;; maybe show a whole usage & exit

This has some disadvantages. It's only discoverable by reading docs or even code, and you have to write the docs yourself. If you want short args, you have to duplicate lines and maybe set the arg twice.

But it's trivial to set up, you can't really get it wrong, and the amount of effort is appropriate to a developer interface.

(You might complain I'm using globals, you can just change those to let)

For the young over-engineering crowd, there are a variety of arg parsing libraries. And I'm too lazy to demonstrate each of them. But in the set of generates usage, is easy to use, and you'll be able to remember how it works in a year, they all get maybe 1, and need to be 3.

Spooktacular: Rob Zombie's The Munsters (2022)

A prequel origin story we never asked for. Setting seems to be a random mix of 19th to mid-20th C Transylvania by way of overacting and bad jokes. Every shot is lit with colored gels or neon, it's like Atomic Blonde got drunk and threw up on the screen.

Opens with a series of vignettes. Mediocre, campy graverobbers (Richard Brake—Night King, Jorge Garcia—fatass Hurley, shocked he's still alive) collecting parts. Grampa/The Count (Daniel Roebuck) comes up from his coffin, with Igor (Sylvester McCoy! Not my favorite Doctor!) all excited about matchmaking Lily with Count Orlock. Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie) has an excruciating date with Orlock (also Richard Brake), full Nosferatu makeup. The terrible bar is kind of nifty, a goth Star Wars cantina vibe. Werewolf (Tomas Boykin, eventually named Lester) is The Count's disowned son, which at least explains where Eddie will get his lineage; the Countess is not seen or mentioned, but I expect she was a bitch! Breaking news tells us idiot & genius brothers have both died… WHICH BRAIN will the graverobbers collect? Yeah.

"I want a man that makes my blood run cold. That every time he enters my crypt, it's like a stake thru my dead, black, heart." —Lily

Up until Herman's (Jeff Daniel Phillips) unwrapping, I'm pretty dubious of this whole joke. But then he comes out… tells some jokes, clowns around, and… OK, this guy can play Herman. He is really dumb, but having him become a vaudeville/rocker works for dumb.

Zombie-a-Go-Go nightclub is pretty lit. I wish we had that for real.

Long sequence of them dating, over the Count's objection, then typical sitcom hijinks. The visuals are great, the plot is recycled '50s rom-com, and I really really hate rom-com. Half an hour or more with the only amusing bit being them collecting little baby Spot.

Through shenanigans, they move to Hollywood… 1313 Mockingbird Lane… on Halloween. There's a long block party sequence which is actually fun again. The movie nearly redeems itself!

And in the morning, under blazing sunlight, the Munsters react to their new normal life among square honkie pastel-clothed Los Angelinos with the same shock I would. IT IS A HORROR MOVIE AFTER ALL!

The end credits are pretty great, tho, recreating the series intro, then a little rock song by Count Orlock about them.

It has all the flaws of a Rob Zombie film, without any gore or fucking, and only a few funky scenes to make up for it.


Spooktacular: Halloween I-II

  • Halloween (1978): I always forget this opens with little Mikey murdering his sister's tits (all we can see thru the mask), it's not a flashback later. Carpenter has a heavy hand with his soundtrack, which is awesome but often overpowers the dialogue in scenes. Adult Michael Myers (Tony Moran) escaping from an institution in the rain is perfectly goth; could he try any harder? How does he know how to drive, or find his old house, or cut phone lines after half a lifetime institutionalized? We don't know, but he's doing good!

Teenage high-school friends & baby-sitters club Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis, b.1958), Lynda (P.J.Soles, b.1950), Annie (Nancy Kyes, b.1949) (ages 20, 28, 29; but JLC looks mid-20s) fart around and see spooky Mikey driving around, then hiding behind bushes, but do nothing about it. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) warns everyone, stridently and repeatedly, that Mikey is evil. EVIL! Honestly I'm more worried about the good doctor's mental state.

Long segment of doing nothing, there's a good 30 minutes of this film could be cut at the start, it's so very slow. Here's a minute watching Forbidden Planet, admittedly one of my favorite films. Until finally… A KILL! 53 minutes in. Next one's another 12 minutes, after the sacrifices nominate themselves by fucking. Laurie finally starts investigating. "Your fucking on the phone sounds a lot like someone dying!" (she doesn't quite say).

Mikey's staging of his kills like a funhouse is great. Kill spread out on a bed with the stolen tombstone above, jack'o'lantern beside. Hanging one corpse. Stuff another in a spring-open cupboard, oddly illuminated for a dark house. When chasing, he lets his victims see, slowly walks over, waits for them to run around, freak out, and hide… then moves in. Just perfectly theatrical. As noted in Scream, "movies don't make people serial killers, movies make serial killers better!". Neighbors in this very white suburb of course don't help anyone screaming outside on Halloween, like Kitty Genovese.

Laurie's not helpless, of course, she's got that killer instinct of her own. And Loomis is looming around somewhere with a gun, as doctors often do. The Sheriff (father of one of the slain girls) is utterly, totally useless. It's common in horror RPGs to have the police be unavailable or incompetent, and here's the trope creator at its peak.

★★★★☆ for the first 15 & last 45 minutes, ★☆☆☆☆ for the middle 30.

Note: This film was made for $325,000, earned $47M.

  • Halloween II (1981): Immediately starts with the last few minutes of the previous film. Z-grade films often use stock footage or rip off their previous installments, but we don't usually see that in independent but well-funded films like Carpenter's. This has a budget of $2.5M, earned $25M. Almost the exact same soundtrack, and same heavy-handedness.

Not quite Steadicam®, but hand-held filming for killer's POV, might be the first time we'd ever seen that. Pretty soon it switches back to conventional camera behind the action.

Michael is a little different, here played by Dick Warlock (what a great name!)

Even if Mikey gets a couple more kills in, Loomis can't find him. But he can just about shoot another kid in a white mask, who then gets killed by exploding cars. Pointless death! Nobody is punished for this near-shooting/vehicular homicide.

None of the new characters have much development, even as much as the first movie. Sheriff & then useless #2 cop don't believe Mikey got away. Ambulance guys and their nurse girlfriends are creeps. Very slow lack of plot movement, couple cops and Loomis wander around looking at things.

Most of the kills in this are very inartistic, just walk up behind, hit or stab, done. No posing. There's a hot tub scene where Mikey shows a little creativity, and the second kill is more creative/gross. The old doctor & virgin nurse have somewhat more medical deaths, possibly even predicting Dexter! Jimmy the ambulance guy, wannabe boyfriend to Laurie, has the dumbest, most accidental death in any film.

Laurie's cunning, self-defense instincts have been missing for the first hour, but finally she gets up and wanders around hiding; pretty good for a girl who was stabbed & broke an ankle just hours ago.

The institution finally comes to collect the madman "Doctor" Loomis and implement Reagan's policy of "care in the community" (let crazy people roam & be homeless). Now we find out why Mikey's after Laurie!

Of course nothing stops the Mikester. He's become completely unstoppable and inhuman at this point, an avatar of death. Even the worst possible injuries only inconvenience him.

While there's a little additional plot & lore here, it doesn't really feel like a plot resolution. Maybe he's dead, maybe not. Laurie's got the thousand-mile stare of Linda Hamilton in Terminator. She's ready to murder some of her own.

This is basically 92 minutes of film hiding the 30 minutes that should've been in the first. I'd love to see a "Halloween Good Parts Edition" without all the flab.

★★★☆☆ MEH.

Spooktacular: Coraline

Never saw or read this, despite a lot of Neil Gaiman in my bookshelf.

The stop-motion throughout is amazing. And preposterously expensive and time-consuming, to produce a thing that 80% of the time would be possible live-action, 10% would require some SFX, 10% would need CGI or painted cartoons. It does stand out, but Coraline is the only one who gets real facial expressions, apparently by swapping prostheses and editing out lines. I prefer a more Ray Harryhausen solution of stop-motion and green-screens.

A family with two workaholic drones and a pre-teen emo girl has moved into a weird old house, which never goes badly. How the house is divided up isn't all that clear; the family gets 2 main floors, the basement for 4 old biddies, the attic for the Amazing Bobinski & his mouse carnival. Little girl should not spurn the beets of Amazing Bobinski. He's amazing. Must be the beets. But his beats are weak.

Never put a banana slug up your nose. It may crawl up there and eat your brain and walk around as you, and that's how we get Republicans. Wybie survives by not having much there to start with.

Of course if you find a secret small door in your house, you should go explore it! (the ones in my house lead to a heating duct and a nasty unusable space behind the heater, not to fantastical other worlds, alas.)

The Other Mother goes from extremely friendly and Best Mom Ever, to somewhat more controlling.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." —Leo Tolstoy

In this case, the family is unhappy because Coraline won't let Mother sew buttons in her eyes. Other than that, everything seems better there, and they see fine. I don't see why Coraline's so worked up.

The Cat in the other world is good, Keith David's a hell of a voice for it, but really it shoulda been Danny John-Jules. "Today I've made a whole lotta things MINE!"

So then a quest to collect the four mcguffins, which look a lot like random household objects, a boss fight, a ritual to banish the evil, but all done the way a kid would. The boss fight is very directly inspired/ripped off from a scene in Krull.

As is often the case with Gaiman's work, it's cute & "spook-adjacent", fairy tales and D&D, rather than horror, and this one is more for kids than usual.


Quitting Elder Scrolls Online

I've been playing Elder Scrolls Online since 2014, beta. I have a monkey and a map made of paper (if you know what that means).

Today I hit the end of my sub period, and nothing's got better from the last 2 updates, or next.

ESO has become another bad card game on top of ruining my alts with "Account Wide Achievements". Can't clear some "easy" dungeons because they keep screwing my build over. New content is just broken.

So I'm on hiatus, maybe for a year or two, probably forever. Dunno what I'm doing for entertainment. Minetest, mobile games, there's a couple MMOs with Mac support and some potential but no decision making at all for a while.

I'm writing up a longer postmortem, where I'll talk about exactly what was good, bad, and ugly, and share many screenshots from years of it.

Halloween Movie Spooktacular: Beetlejuice

Every day is Halloween ? to me, but for the next month+week, I'm in full spooky times. I've pulled up my entire horror/weirdo movie list, and I'm going thru them. Some are new to me, some very old.

  • Beetlejuice: ? Beetlejuice ? BEETLEJUICE. Geena Davis is so goddamned cute it hurts, but her rustic gingham dress and the boy's (Adam Baldwin, before becoming fat and evil) khaki & plaid make them look much more old-timey than the '80s. And drowning in 3m of water is ridiculous. I'm not a particular fan of Jamaican music, must say, and their fixation on it is… squares who don't smoke weed but wear Bob Marley shirts are weirdos.

I don't understand the purpose of Jane, the annoying neighbor/realtor, she doesn't own or sell the house, she doesn't impart any useful information, just hands over a key. Lydia could've found the key on a spidery lintel and this subplot cut.

Delia's (Catherine O'Hara) "hat" of two gloves twisted together is maybe the worst thing in this; her art's bad but her fashion is nightmarish. Charles (Jeffrey Jones) is close to a non-entity, he wants peace and quiet, and likes the rustic normcore of the dead couple, but when the plot needs him to scheme he turns feral again. Urgo or Otho or whatever (Glenn Shadix, Associate Bob from Demolition Man) is bizarre, pretentious, but maybe the only one of the invaders with his own plot & agenda, this feels like one weird scenario in a longer story for him.

Lydia, of course, this is the film that made me love Winona Ryder. Creepy little goth girls are my favorite. Overly indulged and rich, rather than the punk version I'm more familiar with. She has no fear of the weird, only annoyance at how tedious and self-indulgent her family are, and here's a normcore dead couple to imprint on instead. Pretty soon she'll be wearing black gingham.

Finally on to the freakshow! The underworld desert is very undeveloped in this, just sand, angular shapes, and stop-motion sandworms. I've seen a few episodes of the cartoon, which covers this more, but need to find & watch the rest.

The dead bureaucracy waiting room, all the dead workers, there's just fantastic character designs and makeup, and some great practical gags like the separated woman.

Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) is a little more lazy evil than the monster he pretends to be. He'll do evil deeds if he can get something out of it, but he's probably been doing this a long, long time, millennia, and can't really put in the effort anymore. "I've seen the Exorcist 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it!"

Juno (Sylvia Sidney) does a good Linda Hunt imitation, her advice isn't very useful as you'd expect from a career bureaucrat. "Never trust the living!"

The trivial access of the living to the Handbook for the Recently Deceased is a bit of a problem; so many ghosts leaving their books around would be pretty obvious.

Nintendo Direct Switch

Presented by Yoshiaki Koizumi, not Yoshi.

Yesterday, Mr Mori the Animal Crossing youstuber predicted there'd be some AC news.

As usual, I bold anything interesting.

  • Fire Emblem N-Gage: Bringing back mobile gameplay from a long-obsolete phone/console. Seriously, 100% gachapon nonsense instead of a tac RPG, everyone involved in this should curl up and die of shame.
  • It Takes Two: Do you like jumpy puzzles and waiting on a switch for someone else to complete their jumpy puzzle? This is a game designed to cause two people to murder each other.
  • Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse: "The Forbidden Story Begins" NO! It is forbidden! Taking selfies to capture ghosts, remake of a 2001 game. This would be interesting if it was remade as an AR game set in YOUR HOUSE, but instead it's the most toothless Resident Evil-without-guns possible.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles DLC again: Pay even more up front, to get the chance to pay more every 3 months, for the game that should've shipped at half the price. Very much built on the mobile MMO model, not quite gachapon but there's no sense of a story or world, just battle to grind up numbers, pay more to grind bigger numbers. Shambling corpse of remake/sequels after remake/sequels from the original Xenosaga games which had art and philosophy.
  • Spoogeboob Squizzpants: I'm sure it's fine for 6-year-olds.
  • Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star: This is the opposite problem. FotNS ran in manga until '88, in English until '95, the appallingly ugly anime until '88 and almost immediately fansubbed & brought over. So the audience is basically, what, pudgy 40-60-year-old men with a (non-Lite) Switch? I mean, maybe.
  • Oddballers: Dodgeball was a horrible, traumatic experience for almost everyone except gangs of hooligans held back 2-3 years and ready to take out some violence on younger kids. Let's turn that into a super fun little game, says Ubisoft! Yeah, no.
  • Tunic: Small fox, isometric action adventure game. Hey, you made a game for me!
  • Front Mission: BattleTech ripoff.
  • Story of Seasons: Harvest Moon devs were fucked out of their title by American studio fuckwits, so renamed it. I love the idea of HM/SoS, but in practice the time-driven rush thru the day, and then thru the seasons, drives me insane with time pressure and I just quit the second I fall behind. I can barely handle Animal Crossing's 1 day per day, and have to time travel if I mess that up. If you're not neurotic it may work for you.
  • "Splatfest": Not actually a porn convention, but Splatoon event. Do not care.
  • Octopath Traveller II: Sequels. Why does it always have to be sequels? Same weird mechanic as the first. I might like these if they were organized traditionally, but I get annoyed at "optimal path" games.
  • Fae Farm: Animal Crossing but faeries.
  • Theatrerhythm: Beat match game with new soundtracks, mostly locked behind overpriced DLC. Did you know you can listen to music and play drums or air guitar to it yourself for free! Nobody can stop you! YET. Coming soon: Air Guitar DRM.
  • Mario+Rabbids Sparks of Hope: Mario in open world: YAY! Fucking rabbids: OH NO NOT AGAIN. Also has DLC/season pass nonsense. Can you just make a game?
  • Rune Factory 3 Special: Farming, fishing, fu… marriage in Rune Factory world. Obviously, Animal Crossing needs in-character marriage with small furry animals to keep up with this kind of amazing innovation.
  • More NES, SNES, N64, Genesis games, latter two only if you pay the super online fee. Goldeneye is fun, right?
  • Various Daylife: Previously reviewed on iOS. Not great, but less gachapon than most daily grinder games. Available now for $28.99! Wait for it to be marked down 90%.
  • Factorio: Grindy factory building/tower defense. Long available on other platforms.
  • Ib: RPG Maker CYOA with artpunk/just plain incompetent graphics for everything not from the RPG Maker tile set.
  • Mario Strikers Battle League
  • Atelier Ryza 3: "The Final Summer Begins": Well, yes, global warming means the world will at some point quit having other seasons, just endless dying in heat. BUT ANYWAY, the game looks really nice, running around a pre-apocalyptic island collecting magicky bits? No mention of DLC, might actually be a real game.
  • Sports.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto-San!!! Theme parks, eh. Pikmin Bloom is a smartphone Pokemon Go ripoff, great. I live in the middle of nowhere and don't go out, doesn't help much. Pikmin 4 on Switch in 2023, no gameplay video. Can't say if it's any good until we do see some video.
  • Just Dance: Just sit on my ass on couch.
  • Harvestella: JESUS GREEN THUMB FUCKING CHRIST why is every damned game a life simulation/farming/Animal Crossing ripoff? FATE OF THE WORLD FIGHTING DOOM / gotta get my carrots planted you know.
  • Bayonetta 3: Bay is wearing clothes. Has now done a complete heel/face turn, is a heroine and not a creepy assassin boob witch. Zero out of 5, do not want.
  • Raincode: Gloomy corporate dystopia. Adorable chibi child detective with sexy gothic lolita ghost sidekick. "Master detective", and even more goofy carnival-ride "solve the case" realm. WHAT. It's like they saw Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and thought "how can we make this even less plausible"?
  • Resident Evil Village Cloud: RE7 DLC but streamed from Stadia because the Switch can't run a high-res game, even if it's a really shitty, undeveloped game.
  • Sifu: Kung fu fighting game? Oh, this is the one where every time you lose, you get older and a compensation skill. Lose a few times because you practice that way, and game over of old age.
  • Crisis Core FF7 Reunion: Remake of a FF7 side story game on the PSP in 2007. Pretty lame, you basically got missions and ran down corridors, did a top view shoot-em-up, got a few bits of dialogue as Zack (remember Tifa's real boyfriend?) Not a bad little game, but it's been a long time.
  • Radiant Silvergun: Galaxian ripoff yet again.
  • Endless Dungeon: SF roguelike shmup ripoff of Diablo.
  • Tales of Symphonia Remaster: Absolutely unnecessary, and minimal effort, remake of a good PS1 RPG but cliché quest. Characters still look like LEGO minifigs with slightly better hair. Sets are not even that good, maybe Playmobil quality with badly-placed decals.
  • buncha remakes. Don't touch.
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe: Orko arrives on a spaceship and follows a local cute flesh-eating blob. "Everyone can play as Kirby!" I mean, it's a Kirby game. So fun but silly.
  • Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom: Sure, probably. Maybe you'll go kill the evil Queen and her whole country will shut down in mourning so you can break all their pots and steal their "rupees" (taken from the kingdom they conquered & robbed). All we see in this video is some hang-gliding and such, could just be an extra map for Breath of the Wild.

What I'm Watching: Free Guy

Deadpool is a nebbish bank teller NPC "Guy" in Knock-off Grand Theft Auto Online, who becomes self-aware. Knock-off WildStyle (Jodie Comer, the knock-off of Liz Banks) is looking for the SECRET DATA that will FREE THE SYSTEM. There's a lot of idiot players running around shooting things, which is OK, but there are very few good action pieces for the protagonists. There is a meh kiss, otherwise entirely rated T for Teens, simulated violence and limited profanity, but no nudity. Almost everything this film needs to be interesting, is what it doesn't do.

There's a few unrealistic/terrible for plot things, to say the least.

  1. In MMOs, levelling fast by ignoring quests is not plausible. If there were high rewards for being "good guys", other power-gamers would do it to cheat up to max level, then go bad again.
  2. You can generally nuke or spawn any NPC or knock specific players offline from an MMO's management console. This "ghosting" accounts thing makes no sense.
  3. You don't keep servers physically in your corporate/dev headquarters, they're at some ISP on a main Internet trunk, spread around the world, managed by professional sysadmins and not a petulant man-baby with an axe.
  4. Even if you stole the code of some indie game, you wouldn't keep the original terrain running, wasting CPU/RAM.
  5. We've had "life simulators" where you just watch characters, all the way back to Little Computer People; they don't sell well, they're ignored after a few hours. Games need either a task, or sandbox you can screw around in.
  6. Hot girl realizes that she loves the personality of the ugly bobble-head-lookin' dude (Creepy Steve from Stranger Things) she worked with, even without Deadpool's face & body. Realistically, she'd obsess over her hot CGI guy and congeal into her chair over the next few years.

Everything in this has been done better in TRON (literally the core plot), Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor (especially the hot girl & simulated guy), The Matrix 1-4, and The LEGO Movie (literally the Special and WildStyle). It is better than the abomination of Spielberg's Ready Player One movie, but the book was of course far better.

★★★☆☆ generic movie fails to execute a much better idea.