Friday, March 22, 2013

Pre-Order Hot Toys Iron Patriot Sixth Scale Figure! (Diecast Series!)

The mighty artisans at Hot Toys have just revealed the Iron Man 3 figure that everybody has been waiting for - the 1/6th scale, star-spangled Iron Patriot, now lovingly rendered for extra realism in heavy, shiny diecast metal! Complete with light up eyes, chest, and palms, take a look at the following patriotic image and just try to tell me that it doesn't make you want to eat a cheeseburger astride a crying bald eagle on the 4th of July...

And the best part is that our pals at Sideshow Collectibles already have him up for pre-order so you can secure yours before they triple on ebay. So if you're already convinced, order him right here:
Hot Toys Die Cast Marvel Series Iron Patriot Limited Edition Sixth Scale Figure - MMS Diecast Series (Hot Toys) Or if you'd like to see more images... join me after the jump!

Thank Gif It's Friday!

Did you know that Google image search now has an advanced option where you can select "animated"? Now our Friday Gif leeching potential is UNLIMITED!  Happy Friday, Gifsters! Does that news make you feel like this?...


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Threesome: My Three Favorite Pages from the "Star Trek Book of Opposites" Board Book

Yesterday was the due date for the Raymond Family's newest entry into the world. My wife, Ann, and I don't know what we're having yet except that it's a baby and is going to be surrounded by a ton of books and a lot of geeky things along the way. As you see in the background, we have a lot of books for Baby Raymond, most of which we've acquired from library book sales at a fraction of the cost of their list price. $5 bag sales are the way to go, I'm telling you.

Anyway, one that Ann found during one of our book hunts was Star Trek Book of Opposites, a short board book with screencaps of different original series episodes to show opposites. It's a pretty typical board book concept, but the whole thing is pretty hilarious, so I figured I'd share three of my favorite pages from the book. Beyond the jump, boldly go (or meekly stay) where no man has gone before (or where many people have tread already) (see, opposites!).

Review: Simcity!

Growing up, one of my heroes was Mayor McCheese because I was really inspired that a man could govern an entire land despite having a giant and delicious cheeseburger for a head. So when the new Simcity launched I was eager to try my own hand at becoming Mayor, inspiring my own community through excellent service provision and thoughtful city planning. But then, of course, disaster struck. Amid overwhelming criticism for its always-online DRM and scaled back city size, the Simcity launch was an large-scale catastrophe. As the beleaguered servers promptly shat themselves many players were unable to play for over a week!

That’s where my story should have ended, but I oddly began to discover that disaster bred desire. It was kind of fun to read about the Simcity fallout, and every major game site that realised this fact seemed to be cranking out as many articles about EA's very public failure as possible. Before long I was watching people complaining about it on youtube, and this led to me watching videos of people - believe it or not - actually playing the game! And the more I watched, the more I wanted to play it. So now, two weeks post release, I took the plunge. It may have been bad publicity, but it worked. As a Wilde man once said, it’s better to be talked about than not to be talked about at all.

Find out what I thought about Simcity... after the jump!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Being Human UK Series Analysis and Review

Being Human, the UK series about a Ghost, a Vampire and a Werewolf house sharing in Bristol has come to an end. I have to say, there is a big part of me that is devastated by this. I loved this show, and despite what you might think given the cheesy premise, it was full of heart and character.

Not to be confused with the US remake of the same name (what I would actually refer to as a hack job – I read the wiki and sneered at what they had done to it, and I had the misfortune of catching fifteen minutes of an episode once... shudder) the UK Being Human was unique for its time. It offered something new to the world of fantasy and the lovers of shows with a supernatural theme. It was by no means perfect, and often required the viewer to suspend disbelief as the supernatural plots became more extreme or far fetched, but the heart of the show, the characters and their struggle with humanity remained engaging throughout and the ability to introduce new and interesting characters was a gift.

Over five seasons we saw the characters grow and change, we fell in love with them, we felt their plight. Maybe some became disengaged, for my part; this was one of the shows I enjoyed until the end, though season five was a little weaker than the others.

Follow me under the jump where I talk at length about all five seasons of the show, the things that I loved and loathed and the final send off.

Star Wars Episode VII Speculation: “You and Leia Turn Out Fine. It's Your Kids, Han, Something Has Got to be Done About Your Kids!”

Although Disney has remained tight-lipped about it, over the past weeks Lucas himself has confirmed that Star Wars Episode VII would see the return of an older original cast, and I imagine that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are doing a lot of sit-ups right about now. This appears to confirm that Episode VII will be set some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and seeing as how Disney isn’t likely to centre a sci-fi fantasy trilogy around a trio of actors in their fifties and seventies, the focus will indubitably shift to the next generation of Star Wars characters. Is it time to talk about the kids?

WTF is this noise?
Most speculators jump instantly to expanded universe sources (mostly novels) assuming that these new films will at least pay tribute to the characters, if not the stories themselves. So you may be reading many assumptions about Jacen, Jaina and Anakin Solo, and Ben Skywalker. Well I’m here to tell you that those people who think that are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

I’ll tell you why they’re wrong, and what sort of thing we should expect... after the jump!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 3/13/2013

DC Comics releases the World's Most Heartbreaking Comic this week!  What better time than the final week of Winter to mourn a fallen hero?  None!

Batman And Robin #18 - "..."

When Grant Morrison spoke in interviews about the events of Batman, Inc #8 and the aftermath of same, he told us that we'd "cry and cry and cry..."  It didn't take long for his prediction to come true, as this 100% dialogue-free issue of Batman and Robin made me weep like an adolescent girl whose kitten just got run over in the street.

In a "Requiem" issue simply titled "Undone", we join Bruce, Alfred and even Damian's faithful dog, Titus in saying good-bye.  I defy anyone who has ever felt real loss in their lives (and who among us has not?) not to empathize with this silent tribute to the Boy Wonder...I've personally never been so moved by a single 20-page comic book in my life.  This is a beautiful comic book. 

Thanks to writer Peter J. Tomasi and particularly penciller Patrick Gleason, inker Mick Gray and colourist John KaliszBatman and Robin #18 is pure art.  The last page in particular would hang on my wall, if only it didn't make me want to cry every time I looked at it...Amazing!

More Batman, some Before Watchmen and more after the JUMP!

Hyperreality - The Reality TV Gameshow RPG

Over the weekend at LunaCon I had the opportunity to play Tim Rodriguez's / Brooklyn Indie Games upcoming game, Hyperreality. It's a tabletop role playing game where players are guests on an amped-up reality show. Ours was a Lunar Rodeo on the Moon, where I was a trucker named Curtis who had severe road rage, and tried to feed his horse gasoline to give him a little extra kick. And thinking about it that isn't that much stranger than 40 women living in a mansion fighting over a Bachelor, Honey Boo Boo, or Celebrity Diving.

And that's what makes this game so great. You can be as crazy or weird as you want to, and it still fits perfectly within the realms of Reality TV. In Hyperreality, you have challenges that are titled by the host/DM, then defined by the players. Two players will go head to head and dice rolls will determine their success. Then, depending on the color of the die, their outcome will be decided by either themselves or the viewers.

There are also confessionals. In true Reality TV fashion, the game is interrupted by a player pouring out their soul to the camera (and we actually had a camera at the table) in an attempt to earn additional dice. If you incorporate one of your player tropes/characteristics that you made at the beginning of the game, then you get one die. But if you use one of your secret tropes created by the other players, you'll get two dice. The secret tropes are where everything gets crazier. My truck driver "cried a lot" but also was "secretly Helena Bonham Carter". I revealed that one while wrestling a pig. My makeup started to fall off and I confessed that I was researching the role of a truck driver for an upcoming film. Big ratings from the audience on that one.

Hyperreality is now on Kickstarter and has a very low entry point at just $10. I can say first hand that it was a blast, especially if you enjoy Fiasco or other storytelling RPGs. Brooklyn Indie Games previously released Ghost Pirates via Kickstarter to much success, and has some other great games in the pipeline. If you're at Pax this weekend you can check out Hyperreality, or head over to Kickstarter for more info.

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 38: First Daughter (with guest host Lizzy Unpronounceable!)

The Book Was Better is the podcast where we savagely tear into the (generally) hastily written novelizations of both loved and loathed films!

This week my co-host is adorable BWB theme songstress Lizzy Unpronounceable as we tackle the wretchedly wonderful WTF weirdness of the Katie Holmes “poor little President’s daughter” classic, First Daughter! We learn about complex American politics. Can a poor little President’s daughter feel like a Princess? And what’s with the steamy sexual tension that’s developing with Dad? Trust me - your ears cry out for this one. Heed their call!

You can download it right now from the official site, or why not subscribe to us on iTunes like your daddy taught you.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: God of War: Ascension!

It’s a shame that God of War Ascension arrives so late in the life of this current generation of consoles to have the shock and awe of its predecessor. I remember when footage of God War III was first shown and people marvelled at the graphics, especially amazed by the seamless transition between cutscene and gameplay. Ascension has all this and more, but there seems to be a general feeling of ambivalence for this Kratos prequel, easily dismissed as “more of the same”. And that’s true, to an extent, (excluding the addition of multiplayer) but if your enthusiasm for blood, boobs, disemboweling and giant mythological beasts hasn’t waned, then Ascension is a grisly romp that still packs some punch for the diehard fan.

To find out what I thought - especially in regards to multiplayer - join me... after the jump!

The Fault in Our Stars: Book Review

To be honest, I am totally at a loss to describe this book with any coherence at all. I recently discovered John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars through a friend. She had gone holidaying in the State’s at the beginning of 2013 and all over the internet there was talk of these two brothers and their show An Evening of Awesome. She went, I read about it, Neil Gaiman appeared out of nowhere to do a surprise reading; it was very interesting and exciting to watch. What was this in aid of? The one year anniversary of this little book that John Green had written, about a girl dying of lung cancer and a snapshot of her perspective of life, love and death. It was moving people to throw a party to celebrate it. I wanted to know why.

Join me for some reflection under the cut, I’ll warn before there are any spoilers for people who haven’t read the book yet, but in case you want to be careful, read the book. Please read the book. It’s fantastic.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Black Wings of Cthulhu, edited by S. T. Joshi

As a fan of all things Lovecrafty, a new anthology of Mythos short fiction curated by ST Joshi, the leading Lovecraftian scholar was very exciting.

As someone who doesn't really love short fiction, and has found a lot of the mythos short story collections wanting, I was a little ambivalent about trying yet another one.

El Professor Movie Reviews: Robowar

Director: Bruno Mattei
Starring: Reb Brown, Catherine Hickland, Massimo Vanni, Romano Puppo
* * * 1/2
Italy's loveable hack, Bruno Mattei created a bad movie masterpiece in 1987 when he directed 'Strike Commando'. This was a hilariously warped Rambo ripoff staring Reb Brown whom 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' fans will know as Big McLarge Huge in the classic episode 'Space Mutiny'. The following year, Bruno and Reb returned to the Phillipine jungle to film 'Robowar' which managed to simultaneusly trample on the good names of both 'Predator' and 'Robocop' (O.K. mostly Predator).

Full review after the jump.

Review: Hot Toys Iron Monger

Friend of Fruitless Pursuits Luke 'Capey' Caporn recently got himself the Hot Toys Iron Monger figure from the original Iron Man film, and was kind enough to send us through a review and some photos. Let's all head under the cut for a look at Obadiah's monster!