Jul 30, 2014

[Games] Bang! The Bullet!

Bang! is just one of those games that shows how wonderfully diverse the world really is. In this case, the popularity of spaghetti westerns in the world of cinema seemed to support the creation of a Western-themed game by a bunch of Italians. And thus we have this rather clever card game with a strong Western theme and a lot of card text still in Italian.

I had seen Bang! a lot at various tabletop events but had never actually gotten around to playing a game right off the bat. But it was just one of those games that people often talked about and thus it seemed appropriate to eventually get one for our own game collection. And this special set is probably one of the best ways to get into the game in a great way.

Jul 29, 2014

[Books] Doctor Who: Illegal Alien (Monster Collection Edition)

The number of Doctor Who novels out there in print is pretty staggering to think about. And a lot of times, a series with that many books is a little intimidating to get into. A lot of the long-running book franchises derived from TV shows like Star Trek and Star Wars are a little tricky for newer readers to get into since there's always the relative fear of not being able to catch up. Case in point, I've only purchased a few of the older Doctor Who stories (and mostly on sale) but beyond that I haven't made a serious commitment to buying the books more.

Things sort of shifted with the recent Monster Collection of Doctor Who novels, which are essentially re-releases of older stories with nice new covers. And Illegal Alien is an adventure with the Seventh Doctor and Ace as they once again encounter the Cybermen.

The foreword of this edition of the book includes the story of how this novel came to be. It seems that it was originally meant as a script for the TV show, but one thing led to another and the episode was never produced despite initially getting the green light to some extent. But the story managed to find new life as a book, and so here we are.

Jul 28, 2014

[Movies] That Awkward Moment (2014)

This movie initially made a lot of buzz on the internet because of a particularly unusual nearly-naked scene involving Zac Efron trying to use the bathroom with a hard-on. I have to admit that the sheer ridiculousness of the sequence rather amused me as well, but I didn't give the movie too much thought after that. And for one reason or another, it didn't seem to make much of a buzz after it was released in theaters.

So we finally watched That Awkward Moment on a bit of a random whim (and also to give me something to review today). I wasn't expecting anything award-winning, but I was at least expecting a decent enough comedy to help make things feel a little lighter after a busy day.

But the movie was just...weird. And the less than ideal dialog, pacing and character interactions within the first 15-30 minutes were already telling me that this wasn't going to be a movie that I was going to enjoy all that much. And that was more than just a little disappointing.

Jul 27, 2014

[Books] It's All Geek To Me

Riptide Publishing appears to be one of the more prevalent LGBT-focused publishing houses that also generously utilizes NetGalley as a way to get their books out in the hands of more reviewers. More of then than not when I try searching for LGBT titles to review on the site, I find myself selecting books that turn out to be from Riptide, even without knowing about the connection beforehand.

But to be fair, they're only consistent in how they're not quite the greatest books in the world. I suppose you could say that it seems that Riptide's goal appears to be providing the kind of trashy novels that we've long seen targeted for women and sold on drug store shelves everywhere. I've experienced this relative level of quality in the Riptide books that I've read thus far and so when I "picked up" It's All Geek To Me, I generally knew what I was getting into.

Still, I kinda hoped that things would be better than the ones before. Plus the book was trying to capture the geek market, so maybe there was a true geek somehow involved in the writing, right? Or so I hoped.

And while the results weren't enough to salvage my opinion of Riptide's romance offerings, it was decently entertaining for a time.

Jul 25, 2014

[Movies] X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Whenever there's talk of a superhero movie, fans of the original comic books will always wonder what major storyline might get adapted. This relies on the somewhat faulty assumption that Hollywood is interested in remaining faithful to the comics or that they are perfectly okay with just adapting an existing story as is. Time and time again we've seen Hollywood go in completely different directions regardless of what the comic book fans think. Sometimes the results are great. Many times they're very, very strange.

X-Men: The Last Stand was a weird shift in the X-Men movie franchise and one that took things in that aforementioned strange direction. And while you could argue that there was at least an attempt to draw inspiration from different comic book stories. But at the same time, this was a demonstration how mixing and matching story elements and plot twists at whim can result in a major mess of a movie.

It seems a modest miracle that the franchise survived the release of this movie. And what is even more impressive is that the current movies seem to have found a way to move forward despite this movie more or less existing in their overall continuity.

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