Saturday, August 17, 2013

Big Brother Power Rankings: Past the Halfway Point

Ah, Big Brother. It is strange this season how the House has effectively coalesced into one unit set on ousting one person every week. While it doesn't make for interesting gameplay, it does make for effective, impressive gameplay. So here's the quick-and-dirty:

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - Review

It’s difficult to find words to describe Neil Gaiman’s recent novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, an adult fairytale with semi-autobiographical origins.

It is touching, beautiful, magical and terrifying.

A little boy lives with his mum, dad and little sister in a big old house on a lane. His very own room at the top of the stairs has a little yellow basin that’s just his size. He plays in his garden and reads endlessly in the big tree. At the end of the lane live the Hempstock’s; three generations of women with the youngest, a seemingly 11 year old girl, called Lettie who becomes the little boy’s very best and most trusted friend.

When the family fall on hard times they let the little boy’s room out to lodgers to make some extra money. An Opal Miner comes to stay, steals the family car and commits suicide in it at the end of the lane. His act unleashes something dark and unknown to anyone but the Hempstock women who become the little boy’s only source of protection and comfort.

Now grown up and escaping a funeral, the little boy returns to the Hempstock farm at the end of the lane to remember Lettie Hempstock and the ocean she kept in her backyard.

Ultimately, this story is about truth.

Follow me under the jump for both a non-spoiler and spoiler review of one of my favourite Neil Gaiman books of all time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: No Return by Zachary Jernigan

I've more than occasionally struggled with the type of book Night Shade puts out (or, I guess I should say, put out), in that they tend to be very well-written, but with higher concepts than I prefer combined with descriptive, often flowery writing that appeals to a number of fantasy readers, but isn't always what I'm looking for.

On one hand, Zachary Jernigan's debut was getting a lot of good press and some solid reviews from bloggers I like and trust. On the other, it was another Night Shade title that came out right before things combusted. The book finally ended up in my library system, so I gave it a shot, and it was well worth the wait.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thursday Threesome: Three Monopoly Rules You Break Every Time You Play

Monopoly has a bit of a bad name around the gamer circuit, partially because of its extended game length, somewhat because of its old school methods of game play, and also because it's an easy target. Billions (just a guess) have sold and every house has multiple copies (just another guess). With being the most popular game in the world comes a lot of extra baggage. 

Some of this extra baggage is because people are playing the game wrong. What?! Yes, it's true… you are probably playing wrong. 

RULE #1: Free Parking

Review: Star Wars 6 inch Black Series Wave 1: Darth Maul, Sandtrooper, R2D2, Luke Skywalker.

In these lean years before the Star Wars Episode VII relaunch, Hasbro has mostly eschewed adult collectors by switching their focus to limited articulation action figures that look like soap bottles, and Angry Birds mash-ups. But there is one beacon of hope in these dark times. The stylish and sophisticated Black Series is a new six inch line aiming to appeal to collectors with screen accurate sculpting and increased articulation. The catch being that we’re not going to see too many of them too soon. It’s now August and the first wave - consisting of four figures - has only just been released.

Following their initial announcement, collectors (myself included) seemed torn. They looked pretty good but do any of us really want to start collecting a whole new larger scale, especially when, after years of collecting, space is at a premium for most of us now? Or is this a good time to finally abandon the hobby?

Well, thanks to our good pals at Big Bad Toy Store I have wave one in hand, featuring: Darth Maul, R2D2, Luke Skywalker and a sandtrooper. I hope to answer all the questions as to whether these are worth your while, plus about a billion photos... after the jump!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Elysium Review

Neill Blomkamp's District 9 was an unexpected hit. Made for for a mere 30 million dollars (and let's face it, that's nothing for a major film) it garnered rave reviews and grossed over 200 million dollars.

Now armed with a beefier $115 million budget and big stars like Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, can Blomkamp produce the same magic with his follow up, Elysium?

DC Comics New 52 - Stryder's Weekly Top 5

Hey boys and girls!  Got my schedule back on track this week.  Without any ado whatsoever, here's my top 5 New 52 books released on August 7, 2013!

Green Arrow #23 - "Here you go.  You can proceed with your 'rescue' now."

I don't know what's happening to me...I've never liked Green Arrow!  I always thought the premise was silly and the character redundant in a world where Batman and Superman were fighting crime WITHOUT having to use a bow and arrow.  So how is it that Green Arrow is consistently my favourite book of its release week (and maybe even month)?

I blame Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino.  They are KILLING it on this book!

Last issue Oliver had rescued the enigmatic Shado from the clutches of Count Vertigo!  However, the duo still need to escape his country!  Perhaps easier said than done.  On the way, we learn Shado's origin in some really amazingly drawn flashback pages.  Such nice work...

Damn, I also started watching the TV show "Arrow" when I heard that Barry "the Flash" Allen will be in season 2 and 7 episodes in I'm enjoying THAT too.  I don't know what's happening to me...

The rest of my pics are a mystery...but you don't need the World's Greatest Detective...just check after the JUMP!

Professor Brian Cox: An Evening of Scientific Phenomena

You may have seen Professor Brian Cox on your television in many new BBC documentaries about life and space and awesomeness. You may know him from the days of the building of the Large Hadron Collider, when the media started reporting that it was going to create a massive black hole and we were “all going to die”. Perhaps you’ve seen him commenting on the new Doctor Who (or in Doctor Who itself!) or on QI restraining himself from answering ALL OF THE QUESTIONS.

Regardless of how you know him (and if you don’t you really need to get on this train) you’ll know he loves science and talking so the BBC have sent him on an impressively sold out tour of Australia giving lectures about the wonders of the universe, science and everything.

I was lucky enough to get to go to the opening show of the tour in Perth so if you didn’t get to go, don’t worry; I’ve got your back. Follow me below the cut for a review of Brian Cox and his Evening of Scientific Phenomena.

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 55: Terminator (with guest host Lizzy Unpronounceable!)

The Book Was Better is the podcast where we brazenly read, review and make fun of the (usually) terrible, hastily written, book-of-the-film!

Come with us if you want to live! This week we journey from the future to change the past to stop you from reading the bizarre tie-in novelization of James Cameron’s seminal robot skellington movie: Terminator! I’m joined by adorable leader of the resistance Lizzy Unpronounceable as we tackle sickening scenes of violence, sickening scenes of x-rated sex, and sickening scenes of greasy American food. Be warned! This is our most explicit episode yet!

You can download it right now from the official site, subscribe to us on iTunes, like our Facebook page, and join the sexy discussion in our official Facebook group!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Hot Toys The Dark Knight Rises Catwoman 1/6th Scale Collectible Figure!

I am an unapologetic Hot Toys enthusiast and each time I wind up with a new one you will hear me loudly and awkwardly shouting its praises from the most easily accessible rooftop. I love the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, the accurate likenesses, and most of all I really love photographing them and sharing them with you.  So what happens when the newest figure, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman from last year's The Dark Knight Rises, fails to give me that buzz?

It's far from a total disaster but find out why this one isn't quite a favourite... after the jump!

Two Comics For Your Kids (or the Kid You Still Are on the Inside)

Recently, I was given two graphic novels to read, and it turns out that, even though I had no knowledge of what they were or, initially, who the authors were, I loved them both. I think people who read this might love them as well, and I know I'm personally somewhat sad that my kid won't be able to enjoy either of these for at least 7 years if not more, but as for the rest of us, come along behind the jump for some quick looks at Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell and the first volume of Chris Giarrusso's G-Man, called Learning to Fly

FPcast Returns! Listen to a Brand New Episode of the New Fruitless Pursuits Podcast!

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes FPcast - the official Fruitless Pursuits podcast - returns after an audacious two year hiatus! Join this week's hosts Jacinta and I as we talk bullshit about the week of pop culture that was, answering such pertinent questions as : 

Who is the new Doctor Who? Too much Loki? Is Catching Fire simply a repeat of The Hunger Games? Is Animal Crossing New Leaf a dystopian wasteland? What's most likely to break on your Hot Toys Catwoman? Did William Shakespeare write Star Wars? And are board game companies really obliged to include Cthulhu in everything they do? All this and a sexy robot in our fresh-sounding new show!

DOWNLOAD HERE! (Click to stream or right click to save.
Or why not subscribe to us on iTunes , like us on Facebook, and discuss all things pop culture in our new Facebook Group!