Friday, April 23, 2010

Movie - Kickass

Kick Ass is Kickass.

Basic Premise: Average high school student decides to become a super hero and ends up in circumstances beyond his control. A disgraced cop and his brainwashed daughter are exuding revenge against a local mafia. They see the would be super hero in action, like the idea and become super heroes themselves.

Good: The fight sequences, the acting, the cinematography, the plot, the writing and the dialog. In short, just about everything in the movie.

Bad: Nothing.

Of Note:

*Is Nicholas Cage in EVERYTHING?

*This is based on a small miniseries comic. I think that helped it because it kept the story scale limited, while still leaving loads of room for a sequel.

*This is NOT a movie for small children. AT ALL.

*However they will probably see it anyway and like it.

*You will never listen to the Banana Splits song quite the same way ever again...

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Dragon of Feldra - LARP

I played in this LARP with Jennifer at Gen Con in 2009. They're running it again this year and I've volunteered to help them 'promote' it. This thing was awesome in a hat box. Here are six things I liked about it:

1) The out come is HIGHLY flexible. You as a player, can make a huge difference. It was obvious looking at the design that there were probably 10-12 different story lines, each of which could end a different way, and each of which was somewhat independent of each other whilst still affecting the other story lines.

2) All of the parts matter. There are no small parts in this thing. It allows everyone to do some really cool stuff. I didn't see anyone looking at their character sheet and going, "Well that sucks!"

3) The world makes sense. And yet at the same time it is extremely unique. It is obvious that the GM's have put quite a lot of thought into it.

4) The people running it are cool. They'll take the unexpected but in many cases they've also already PREPPED for the unexpected. This is their baby and it clearly matters to them, which only highlights how awesome it is that they're so flexible about what the outcome can be.

5) The system rocks. Its very simple. Its an excellent blend of crunch and yet it allows for creative flexibility in interpretation of how to do things.

6) Most important of all, the system and setting are very 'newbie' friendly. I've been doing LARPS for years and yet I had a blast with it, while my wife, who had never played a LARP before was also mastering things in a few minutes.

If you have the chance, I highly recommend playing this or the sequel, the King of Feldra at Gencon 2010.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bohemian Girl and Other Stories

By Stacy Danielle Stephens. (Full disclosure. I received a free electronic copy of this book from a friend.)

Right. First of all, this book is about the experiences of various Transsexuals dealing with their experiences in reality and life. The book is excellently written, and I'm a bit surprised at the fact that there appears to be a deliberate attempt at not mentioning what the book is about anywhere I've seen. Given that the theme of the book involves living with and coming to terms with the truth of who they are; it seems a bit of a mixed message to spring a 'surprise' in how it is marketed. Its not like there is some big reveal at the end. The reader learns about it in the first three pages. It seems a bit of a Kangaroo Jack to imply otherwise. I make this comparison not because the book is bad, which it isn't, but because Kangaroo Jack was marketed as a movie about a talking Kangaroo...which it wasn't. At all. Bohemian Girl doesn't go quite into that territory, but it certainly is approaching Hudson Hawk levels (which was marketed as an action drama and was in fact, a quirky surreal fourth wall breaking romantic comedy.)

This book is strong enough to stand alone as what it is. It doesn't need a Shyamalanian twist to get people to read it. I highly recommend it.

The characters are interesting. Personally, I still liked the title story the most. It obvious that the writer has put a lot of their personal life into the book, or researched the lives of others rather thoroughly. Common themes of Nebraska and the Catholic Church seemed especially prominent. The details draw the reader in.

I have often pondered what things I was doing now that might be disapproved of by future generations. For example, while there were blatant racists in the 1940's...there was still a baseline of acceptable behavior by less racist people that would be considered shocking today. I do not want to be judged by history. For a while, I thought that this might be the way we treat animals (and it still might be) and in discussing with others they've said that it might be plastic (or how we treat the planet in a broader sense of the word (and it still might be) but after reading this, I have come to realize that it will DEFINITELY be the case with the way society treats Transsexuals, and if one desires to avoid being judged harshly in the light of future generations, one would be wise to avoid stereotypes and preconceptions as much as possible.

This book does an excellent job of doing that. The characters are real people, with real hopes and dreams. More importantly, while the greater facts of their lives are taken into account, they are still all quite different as individuals and are extremely in depth. This is literature in the finest sense of the world; both for the quality of writing it uses and for the themes that it explores.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lazy Review

The following things suck:

Space Chimps (as if that wouldn't be obvious.)
Meet Dave

The following things are flawed but watchable

The following things rock:
The Wire Season 3.

That is all.