Friday, August 23, 2013

Big Brother Power Rankings: The Jury Return

Well, the week of Aaryn as HOH has ended, and we had another endurance competition to go along with the return of an evicted houseguest! All things considered, there wasn't a ton of drama this week for the exception of the game of one houseguest falling apart, so we should get right into it.

WARNING: Beyond the jump includes spoilers on the new head of household and the returned houseguest. This will be televised on the Sunday show, so if you're waiting...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Recreated Entirely in LEGO Because... Well Why Not?

The worst thing about having to working full time is that it renders me unable to spend the entire day recreating The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer completely out of Lego. Often have I dreamed of quitting my job and becoming a Lego Hobo. But luckily I don't have to. The far more industrious Brotherhood Workshop have cleverly managed their schedules to do just that! They've made their own blocky shot-for-shot rendition of Peter Jackson's next part of the audaciously massive Hobbit trilogy, and I am fortunate enough to share it with you through the power of... embedding...

And it's far more impressive than you may think...

If you had a billion Lego bricks and a year of spare time, what would you recreate in Lego? I'd probably recreate Elizabeth Berkeley's Showgirls

Thursday Threesome - ROBOTS!

If you're a frequent visitor to Fruitless Pursuits, I expect that like me, you've at one time or another wished that you had a Robot Best Friend.  Of course you have!

Today's Thursday Threesome will reveal to the world the Top 3 Robots I wish I could have as my friend!  (Oh I excluded Transformers from the list, or else that's all that would BE on the list)

Join me after the JUMP!

Review: Kickass 2! (Take 2!)

Capey posted his own review below, but here's my alternative take on Kick Ass 2...

Kickass 2 is a film that wants to have its cake and eat it too. And this is problematised by the fact that, although director Jeff Wadlow has a slew of wonderful ingredients to choose from, he doesn't really know how to combine them to make said cake in the first place. What I'm trying to get at with this belabored cake analogy is that Kick Ass 2 is tonally all over the place, a film that wants to be silly but also wants to be serious, alternating between angst-ridden characters very grimly informing each other that this is "real life" and "isn't a comic book", followed by scenes of stylized, ridiculous, comic book action, largely devoid of real world consequence. Characters inconsistently shift from lowbrow, two-dimensional slapstick comedy violence to nasty acts of real world violence without any real thought beyond what would look "cool" at this particular moment. It's kind of a mess.

A surprisingly entertaining mess. I'll clarify all these thoughts and more... after the jump!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 Review

Kick-Ass was an unexpected hit. Based on the comic by Mark Miller and John Romita Jr the film opened in 2010 to critical and financial success. What could have just been a loud, crude and violent mess turned out to be a clever dark comedy with amazing action scenes. The scene with Big Daddy clearing the warehouse is still one of my all time favourite action sequences in film.

Now we have a sequel that can't fly under the radar like it's predecessor. There were no expectations for the original and it turned out fantastically, can Kick-Ass 2 match the original?

Review: Pacific Rim: Man, Machines and Monsters from Titan Books!

I may have struggled with the human characters (and their terrible fake Australian accents) but I cannot fault the brilliantly audacious and over-the-top production design of Pacific Rim. We can debate character development and dialogue until our faces explode, but the simple fact is, if you don’t enjoy monsters fighting robots then you are dead inside. Nothing is quite so outlandish and epic as Del Toro’s loving tribute to the kaiju battles of old and, in terms of sheer wonder and excitement, Pacific Rim had me hooked.

Since seeing the film I have been very eager to get a closer, more detailed look at the cast of robots and kaiju that quickly flashed across the screen. And I always enjoy movie art books, so I was excited to learn that our good friends at Titan Books were the ones producing Pacific Rim: Man, Machines and Monsters by David S. Cohen.

They were kind enough to send me a copy and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Gipsy Danger, Striker Eureka and all the squishy monsters... after the jump!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DC Comics New 52 - Stryder's Weekly Top 5

Did you guys hear Grant Morrison's theory on Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke?  He was on Kevin Smith's Fatman on Batman podcast.  Really fascinating...check out the relevant bits HERE!  He broke my brain!!

Speaking of Batman...It's another Top 5 comics!  I bought these ones on August 8, 2014:

Batman #23 - "You should never have come back, Bruce."

"Zero Year" continues this month with Bruce Wayne getting beaten and shot and blown up and left for dead by the Red Hood Gang!  This certainly becomes a cross-roads moment for the young vigilante...his "mission" may be over before it's ever begun!  Unless he can come up with an can he make them FEAR him??  Hmmmm...

The back-up story continues to relate to the main plot by showing an even younger and still-in-training Bruce pit-fighting, of all things!  These continuing explorations of Bruce's "training program" are a's neat to see the necessary steps to becoming the Bat (not that I have any plans, mind you...)

So overall very cool issue with an interesting and visually stunning re-imagining of a pivotal moment in the Batman mythos (no I'm not going to tell you which one)!  I'm impressed!  So far, "Zero Year" is shaping up to be my favourite arc in this book since the New 52 began!

I've a lot more to say, as always, after the JUMP!

Book Review: The Returned by Jason Mott

There's often a danger in science fiction where there will be a significantly solid concept that just flops in execution. This happens more in film and television than books (see how questionable Under the Dome has been on television, or the countless sci-fi flops on the big screen), but there are still plenty of books I've read, or tried to read, that seem to have a great idea that simply doesn't work over a novel length. Sometimes it's the prose, sometimes it's just that the idea is fully formed solely as an idea.

The Returned, in a sense, is the opposite of Tom Perotta's The Leftovers. Instead of a situation where there's a rapture and people randomly disappear, we encounter a world in which the dead, many of which have been gone for a long time, are coming back. Children, adults, all in different places, often nowhere near where they died.

A great concept, but the good news is that the execution is just as good.

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 56: High School Musical 3 (with Jessica McLeod!)

What’s up my Hoops Doggies? This week we finally finish what we started as we put a cap on the epic High School Musical trilogy by reading the flimsy novelization of High School Musical 3! And there is no other possible way to do this than to bring back on-hiatus co-host, our beloved Jessica McLeod! Will there finally be a victor in the bloody war between basketball and theatre? Is it conceivable that a teenager can be good at more than one thing? And will Troy and Gabriella do the forbidden horizontal dance? We have all your vapid, teenage closure right here!

You can download it right now from the official site!

Or why not subscribe to us on iTunes, like us on Facebook, and join the conversation in our Facebook group!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kickstart the Week: Negro League T-Shirts

American baseball's treatment of African-American players is a significant scar on the legacy of the American pastime. One of the results of Major League Baseball's refusal to integrate until the arrival of Jackie Robinson in 1947 was that the best black players in the world were forced to play in the Negro Leagues, a collection of traveling teams that had some of baseball's greatest players in history in a segregated league. It means that, as great as players like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio were, they never had the opportunity to play pro ball against people like Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson in their primes. More recent players like Curt Schilling will not even entertain the thought of players like Babe Ruth being the best ever because of the lack of integration during the time they played.

In 2007, I was able to visit the Negro League Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri. There is a great legacy of people celebrating the memory of these Negro League teams and players, and some even wanted to see the Washington expansion team named the Greys in honor of arguably the best known Negro League team. Charlie Hustle is a vintage shirt company that is looking to launch a line of shirts celebrating the Negro Leagues, and not only do they look great, but they celebrate a piece of history that should be known by more people and acknowledged as one of the great failures of American sport in not allowing the best of the best to play. Take a look at the Kickstarter here, and maybe you'll see something you like as well.

FPcast! The Fruitless Pursuits Podcast for August 19th!

This week's podcast is a heaving pop culture threesome as Jacinta, Courtney and I report and speculate on such frivolities as: Capaldi costuming, the leaked Guardians of the Galaxy footage, why you’re dumb if you don’t like Ben Kingsley Mandarin, all the feels of videogame Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, dream action figures, and MORE. Why read about all these crazy things when you can just listen to us unprofessionally rant and giggle directly into YOUR VERY OWN EARS!

DOWNLOAD HERE! (Click to stream or right-click to save)

Or why not subscribe to us on iTunes, like us on Facebook, or breath some life into our flailing, mostly unattended Facebook group!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: Shakespeare v. Lovecraft by D. R. O'Brien

Thanks to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there has been no dearth of mashup novelizations as of late. While transferring characters from one universe to another has gone on for ages, as has retellings of classic tales, it's only when Quirk started its little cottage industry did things really start to ramp up.

As for me, some of them I really love, and some I don't. Two of my favorite things in the world are William Shakespeare and HP Lovecraft, so when I saw that there was a mashup novella that applied the Cthulhu Mythos with the works/characters of Shakespeare, I had to ultimately dive in and give it a shot. The end result? Well...