Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dredd

Now this is how you adapt an ultra-violent comic book franchise. No Sly Stallone (sorry Sly!). No Rob Schneider. No taking off the helmet. No, you just have another day on the job for one of the baddest judges around.

Dredd. Judge Dredd.

The film is set in a dystopian future where a lot of the world is a wasteland, and the parts that aren't are covered in sprawling megacities. Of course, when you have that many people living right on top of one another, there's going to be crime and simple cops won't cut it.

You need judges. One man wrecking crews that are judge, jury and executioner when it comes to fighting crime. They're clad in combat gear and visually striking helmets and are armed with Lawgivers, which are basically super pistols that can shoot several types of rounds and are the judges best friend when it comes to taking out perps.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lizard Sex

I've had it in my possession for awhile, but I've finally gotten to reading V: The Second Generation, which is, of course, the sequel to the original V miniseries from the 1980s. I loved V growing up. I got excited every time it was shown on tv and would watch it and the follow-up mini-series V: The Final Battle with my attention undivided.

I even watched the short-lived regular series and managed to get hold of some of the sequel novels as well.

So you could say I was a fan, though I wasn't crazy about the series from a few years ago,  however hot Morena Baccarin may be. It just didn't have the same magic for me.

You could imagine my glee when I found out there was a sequel in book form.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mosherpit vs. Cooking

It's a little known fact about me, but I love to cook. And not just cold cereal.

Real things. Like, things that are hot. Possibly even in an oven.

And on a grill. That's just the manly thing to do. And fun. It keeps you warm in the winter too.

I'm not quite sure when this little bug bit me, but I think it was down in college when I was living off campus. Usually I'd be making ramen or some easy, microwaveable dish. But sometimes I wanted something a little bit more substantial and that I could share with my roommates. Something like chili. Or sweet and sour chicken. Or bourbon chicken. Any kind of chicken, really.

And cakes.I loved making cakes.

Usually I would get fancy when the mood struck me, which wasn't often back then. Now that I'm married, however, and have a wife who gets food magazines, I'm struck by the bug a lot more often. Those pictures are very handy. They get stuck in your brain and you just can't help but think about how it would look on your plate.

That happened to me this weekend when I finally gave in and rustled up a braised, slow cooked pork shoulder that was big enough for eight people. It was pretty good too. And oh-so-easy to make. Toss a rub on it. Refrigerate. Put into the oven for six hours. Eat. That's my kind of meal. Okay, there are some incidentals like making the glaze and browning it, but really, it's a super simple dish. I think the hardest part was finding a plate it would fit on when it was done. A pizza dish will work wonders for that.

This is the recipe, for those who are interested. Look at it and tell me you wouldn't eat the hell out of that. You can't, because then you'd be a liar. Or a vegan or something. Try it. You'll like it. I promise. Though add a little bourbon when making the glaze. It does it wonders.

I honestly think my wife leaves those magazines around on purpose, because then she can just sit back and relax white I do all the heavy lifting for a change. That wouldn't be a surprise. She's much smarter than me.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Feel Old

I had some free time after my chiropractor's appointment tonight so I decided to watch an episode of the Graham Norton Show that I had taped from around Christmastime. It had Matt Smith, Amy MacDonald, Billy Connolly, and the main reason for recording it, Jennifer Saunders.

She was one of the first crushes I had on an actress. I discovered her thanks to my love of early Comedy Central, where they played MST3K frequently and Monty Python. One day I saw previews for a show called Absolutely Fabulous, which I could see was about two drunken women and the shit they got into. I figured I would give it a try.

I loved it.

I watched every episode I could. It was funny and witty and British, which was important for a freshman in high school who had recently discovered Blackadder and The Young Ones. But the main reason I watched was because I thought Jennifer Saunders was really hot. In the show she was a bit chunky and had a kid, but that didn't matter. To me, she was a goddess and I would just stare at the screen, absorbing all I could of her.

She haunted my dreams and I'll still watch shows with her in them and feel that old feeling come back.

Now, though, she's a grandmother. And I'm okay with that. It just seems so weird. I mean, I know she wasn't exactly young then, but when your crush has a kid who has another kid, it just makes you realize how fast time flies by.

You know what though?

She still looks absolutely fabulous.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Marysa Responds

And here's Marysa's take on the whole "What is geek?" question that she posed. Great answer, if I do say so myself, and I often do.

What is a Geek?

My friend Marysa over at Limerence + Liquor recently posed a question--what is a geek? I can't really say I've ever given it a lot of thought. Usually it was just something I was called when I was younger, most often in a derogatory manner. It wasn't something I called myself, but what others did because of my interest in comics, reading, D&D and the like. I would usually say I was a "buff" or "aficionado," if I was feeling fancy. Somewhere in the 2000s, The word was taken back by the community at large, not unlike Randall and "porch monkey" in Clerks 2, but the better comparison would be to the word "queer" in the gay community. Now, people call themselves geek and nerd with pride, which is all well and good. But what is geek?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cold Days

Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14)Cold Days by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jim Butcher really needs to write about two books a year. It feels like I just got Cold Days and I'm done with it and waiting for my next fix of Dresden and company. Each book is more addictive than the last and each one only sates my appetite so much before I want to consume another one. If I got the book for Christmas, as I had thought I would, I probably would have taken a day off to read it. That's how much I love this series.

It's like eating one potato chip or only having one bourbon. One is never enough. Particularly on the last one. I know I'd be twitching if I could only have just one. Two would be fine, but one just seems unthinkable.

When we last left off, Harry Dresden, wizard for hire, was back from the dead and in the service of Queen Mab. After a brief recovery period, she's ready to use him in the best way she knows how--to kill someone. Along the way, we get reintroduced to Harry's companions as they see him back from the dead, all the while dealing with a new threat to the city that makes murdering an immortal look simple.

Butcher has a way with characters. Easily his strong point and probably why I keep coming back to the series. I care about the characters. Saving the day is almost an afterthought. I could read a book of Harry just playing D&D with Billy or talking to Bob or hanging out with Molly.

Hell, I want to do that too. And so I do, by reading about them. Because who didn't want to be a pretty cool and funny wizard that was more stubborn than strong but seemed to keep on trucking against the toughest opponents and seem to come out on top, though a little battered and bruised?

Really? Just me? I somehow doubt that.

It's a shame that we didn't a larger book in this installment, as it feels like there are some loose ends that need to be cleared up, but those could probably take a book in themselves, so I'll just have to wait.

Check it out. Check all of them out. And if you build a time machine, get me the full series from the future and bring it to me so I can take a week off and finish it up right now.


View all my reviews

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Cabin In the Woods

LOOK. I AM FILM CRIT HULK. Ok, I'm not really. I just forgot to turn the caps lock off and I think his articles are fantastic, albeit difficult to read in the web browser. I usually copy and paste it into Word and convert it when I remember or my brain starts kicking me.

Anyway.

I had heard good things about The Cabin In the Woods. Greatest Horror Movie In Years™ type things. So of course, I missed it in the theaters and had to wait until Christmas when I got it for a present to actually see it. Even then I waited about two weeks because I am a giant slacker. I don't know if I'd say it was the "greatest in years" but it was certainly an awesome film.

I think part of its appeal is the way it turns most of the horror movie conventions on their heads. That always has a broad level of appeal to people. Look at Scream, which did something similar. People love the shit out of that movie, myself included. Not just because it satirizes the very type of movie it is, but because it frames a good story in that satire. Cabin does much of the same thing, but instead of merely calling out to other slasher films and tropes, it actually gives an explanation behind them that revealing would spoil the surprise.

Five young men and women go to a cabin in the woods, but the terror they find isn't quite what you would expect, even though all the hallmarks of the genre are there. And that's where it shines. Of course it's from writer Joss Whedon, who likes poking genres with a stick and seeing what makes them tick and taking you along for the fun ride. The cast includes Thor, who sadly does not get smitten with a hammer and a bunch of people I don't really recognize, save for the guy who played Andrew on Buffy. At least on the side of the hapless campers. In the concurrent story, there are a bunch of familiar faces to choose from, like Amy Acker and Bradley Whitford.

I'd like to go into more depth with it, but I think even revealing a little bit might go to far in spoiling some of the fun for you, so I'll refrain. Just know that it's funny, bloody, witty and one hell of a ride. I do have some issues with the ending, but it's nothing major. They could have alleviated that by simply shifting some of the material to the end and it would have been fine. As it stands, it feels a little sudden. A minor quibble in an otherwise fantastic film.

Check it out.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Prometheus

I have a love/hate relationship with the Alien franchise. The first three movies I absolutely adore. It’s the more recent crap that I hate. The games are pretty fantastic too, with the Aliens arcade game being one of my absolute favorites. It’s just a shame that the AVP movies, which should have been a slam-dunk, were so terribly mishandled and felt more like knock-offs than anything that was a worthwhile addition to series canon. You can imagine my delight when Ridley Scott was proposing to do a prequel to Alien. The originator of the series back for another go-round? Yes, please. Of course, you can imagine my disappointment when the reviews started pouring in and sadly, I didn’t get to see it in the theater as expected, instead I opted for the dvd release.

Sometimes, I think the internet just complains to hear themselves complain. Was it a perfect movie? No. Was it a fine addition to the series? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Hell yes.

The film takes place years before the original, dealing with a ship called the Prometheus that is seeking the Engineers, who apparently are responsible for all life on earth and are the space jockeys from Alien. They find the planet indicated by ancient cave paintings and before long, there are some monsters running around and the scientists begin to realize that sometimes it’s best to let some knowledge stay unknown. It’s got a pretty sweet cast, featuring Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender and they do quite well with the material, making us feel like we’re exploring the alien world with them. Fassbender in particular is quite fantastic. Indeed, I could watch a movie of just him going about the ship while everyone else is in hypersleep, as he does in the opening of this one. He’s just that good. Plus, it sort of gives me that Wall-E vibe, and that is always a good thing.

After hearing from most reviewers how the movie wasn’t really a prequel, I wonder after viewing how they came up with that assumption. Prometheus clearly sets up events from Alien, though perhaps not as directly as they might like. It was enough for me and you can make some leaps to connect the two films without assuming anything wild, leaving more open to imagination. Indeed, The Thing prequel lead more directly into the original and was pretty roundly criticized for it. This one leaves a little more leeway without going post to post, especially since they’re on a different planet. I didn’t mind it at all, really.

The inability of the people to turn left annoyed me (you’ll see) but for the most part they acted rather humanly, especially when Charlize refuses to let an infected person on board the ship, doing what Ripley tried to do but was overridden.

I think it’s a worthy addition despite its flaws (moving at almost too brisk a pace and leaving a few plot holes), though maybe I have just been beaten into the ground by AVP. God, those films were terrible.

Check it out.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy New Year, 2013 Edition!

It's a little late, but happy New Year to ya'll!

 I haven't been up to a whole hell of a lot lately, mostly just writing the next book and it's outline at the same time. It's a little odd in terms of the way to go about it but I started winging it at first and found I needed a bit of structure so I stopped to outline it. I am at around 20k words for it, which is decent for something that's only just begun. It's a literary romance, or at least as close as I can get to it, which is a change of pace for me. Not quite sure how it'll all unfold but I'll keep you updated and hopefully be a better poster this year, as I  really sucked at blogging in 2012.

I'll be posting more of my other projects as well, so keep an eye out for some 3D MTG cards and the like popping up soon.

Resident Evil: Retribution


I love the Resident Evil games. Even the maligned ones like 5. As long as I get to bust some zombies, I’m pretty happy. It’s a shame that I don’t really enjoy the movies as much. That’s no fault of Mila’s, though, as I think she’s wonderful. It’s just that there’s too much involving the global conspiracy and not enough on personal stakes, at least since the first two movies. I thought they were pretty fun and well done. The next two were a bit dull and suffered greatly from no Sienna Guillory or even fun zombie action. Fortunately, that has changed for the new installment.

At least some of it, anyway.

It’s still more about the global conspiracy, but now Jill is back in her very sexy RE5 outfit and she’s brought along Leon and Barry Burton for the ride, both of whom I’ve been dying to see in the movies since the second one. Pretty sure a newspaper in that one said Leon was dead too. I guess he got better.

We’re back to the secret base location of the first, though this one is in Russia underneath a ton of ice. A pleasant enough change. Mila is being held captive after getting caught in the aftermath of the last movie and Leon and Barry and Ada Wong are the ones doing the breaking out. It’s like a festival of fan favorite characters. Zombies are shot. Lickers show up. Plagas show up. Even the executioner makes an appearance. It is a shame that we’ve only had the tyrant in one movie, as he would make a great villain to fight against. Still, the enemies are plentiful for our heroes to fight. The plagas zombies almost remind me of the zombies from Shock Wave in their relentless nature and military garb, though these use guns and really give our heroes a pounding.

Anyhow, it’s a fun bit of action that doesn’t take itself seriously and kept me amused. Mila puts on a leather outfit early on and Sienna Guillory is beautiful as always and Michele Rodrigquez pops up to play a few different characters and I wish the series would use her more as I’ve always had a soft spot for her growling mercenary act. If the movies continue in this vein, I’ll be back on board.

Now I must go play Resident Evil 6 to get more of my video game RE fix.

Check it out.