Archive for » June, 2011 «

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

Conventions are fun, even more fun fun since we’ve started making ‘appearances’ in our Bloody Good Horror Podcast capacity. The biggest fun though is getting to see friends I’ve made from the internets and the blogging/podcasting worlds though. Sure, we converse regularly in a digital fashion; it’s seldom we get to interface directly!

Days of the Dead is a new convention for the midwest and it looks to have a good lineup of guests! Digging through the site, this convention is offering a full slate of panels which I’m pretty excited about. As much as I love Horrorhound Weekend, they’ve never offered panels other than a couple of loosely organized talks before a screening. As a horror/movie/writer geek, getting to dive into a more formal discussion of the different aspects of horror is pretty entertaining. From looking at the schedule, who wouldn’t want to sit in on a Scream Queen panel?

Beyond the typical convention doings, I’ll be attending this show with two of my oldest friends, Chris and Kevin. Chris and I have known each other since somewhere in halcyon days of middle school. Kevin came along during high school via Chris, and we all hit it off pretty swell. Our weekends were frequently spent talking over various aspects of geekery from comics, movies, books and more. As we got older, those weekends started to revolve around bar hopping too. In those days, we used to spend Sunday’s recovering from the weekend’s adventures eating greasy Chinese movies and watching stacks of bad horror on VHS. They were fun days. Probably in large part responsible for this here blog! So it will be fun to get my geek on with two of my fondest fellow nerds.

Unfortunately none of the other BGH goons will be in attendance with me, so this is more of a non-working convention trip for me, which is cool! Mind you, I’ll still be harassing celebs for bumpers and passing out business cards for anybody unfortunate enough to make eye contact with me, but I’ll be there mostly for fun this time around! I’ll only be there for Saturday this year, but you happen to see me trundle by during the day, but sure to give me a shout!

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Sunday, June 26th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

I like TV, I like movies. It’s no mystery, I like books, comics, video games and more! Regardless of medium, I’m generally taking in some form of mindless entertainment or another at any given time!

Sometimes, I get ahead of myself. I take part in a few things with full intentions of writing up a long and rambling blog post to go along with it, but I get ahead of myself. Sometimes, despite good intentions…there just isn’t time or motivation for said blog posts to happen. That’s not to say I don’t want to talk about it at least a little bit!

“Pop Culture Wanderer” seemed like a pretty catchy title for this type of post. I’ll call it #1 because if I’m feeling froggy, maybe I’ll keep doing them!


Last Man Standing

My enjoyment of a good Mafia movie started about the time Elliot Ness took out the trash in “The Untouchables”. I’ve enjoyed Bruce Willis movies for long time too! As for “Last Man Standing”, I’ve heard about it for years, but never got around to watching it. Thanks to Netflix Instant Watch, I was able to take care of that.

As Mafia movies go, it’s not bad. It’s a little slow from time to time, but it has a great cast. The gun play is well thought out and it has some good brutality to go with it. Story wise, the movie isn’t exactly deep but then again…the old school Gangs were kind of direct and to the point anyways!


Due Date

I enjoyed “The Hangover” quite a bit, so I had pretty high expectations for “Due Date”. The movie seemed like a similar story, the same type of comedy and hell…it even looked to be using the same types of filters on the cameras!

Robert Downey Jr. is the comeback kid and it’s pretty well deserved. He’s been batting 1000 since his ‘dark period’! He has good comic timing and they seemed to cater well to his personal traits with his character’s quirks and anger issues. Zack Galifinakis I enjoy and his annoying hipster/actor character is good, though again…playing to his strong suits here.

Story wise, “Due Date” had a lot of good laughs but as a whole, it wasn’t quite as solid as “The Hangover” before it. “The Hangover” had a good road trip quality to it where as this one feels like a decent remake of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. Enjoyable, yes. Groundbreaking, not really.


Bo Burnham Words, Words, Words

To say I’ve followed Bo Burnham since he started would be an overstatement, but I do remember his early youtube videos from a few years back. I remember getting a good laugh out of them too!

Stumbling across his Comedy Central special “Words, Words, Words”, my first reaction was to be impressed. Here’s a kid that started posting random videos of goofy songs, and now here is with his own cable special and a world tour! As a wanna-be writer trying to make his way, by way of the internet? Gotta give the guy props for that! The fact that I got a really good laugh out of his act was a nice bonus. Turns out, he’s not just a one trick pony!


Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time

I remember Nick from the excellent “Grandma’s Boy”, but I hadn’t really kept up with his stand-up career or his skit show, “Pretend Time”. I also took in Swardson’s Comedy Central special which was okay, but I really enjoyed “Pretend Time”. He has some good comedians working with him on these skits, so the quality is decent. The humor is juvenile at times, but sometimes that’s the kind of laugh you need.

For standouts, look for Office Mike Gaga, Lady Gaga’s brother. Good stuff.


Cedar Rapids

I’ve got mad props for Ed Helms. He’s great on “The Office”, he was good in “The Hangover”. I’ve got even more respect for him after hearing him on The Nerdist Podcast and his love and dedication to Bluegrass Music! “Cedar Rapids” pairs Helms with John C. Reilly who I happen to think is one of the funniest guys working these days!

What I found after watching this one was that the trailers for “Cedar Rapids” are totally misleading. The commercials would leave us to believe that this was a zany mad cap comedy with Reilly acting nutty and all. What I actually found was more of touching dramedy that was fairly dark in tone! Helm’s character “Tim Lippe” was a guy with a fair number of problems deep down inside and we get to watch as he works past those issues without realizing it. This movie covers some touchy areas…smoking crack, philandering, mommy issues and other things.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean I think it was a bad movie. In fact, I think it was actually a pretty good flick! It was just marketed poorly, which I think lead to bad word of mouth after people came out of the theater having not seen the movie they thought they would. It’s not a sad movie or heavy handed and it is pretty funny! Just have realistic expectations!


Sunday, June 26th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

I haven’t kept up with DC’s world wide events, especially “Brightest Day”, so I’m a bit behind the curve. I am a Swamp Thing fan though and since this in fact, a Swamp Thing book, It’s pretty easy to jump into this new title.

“Search for Swamp Thing” kicks off with no sign of The Swamp Thing whatsoever! At least not directly. Instead, we start our journey John Constantine doing as John Constantine does; smoking and finding himself at the end some supernatural weirdness.

I’ve always been a fan of Swamp Thing’s horror roots. Superhero’s haven’t always been my strong suit, so the weird metaphysical stuff that Moore introduced back in the day was a nice change up. Here, we’re in the hands of Jonathon Vankin who’s tasked with mixing up the supernatural with the superhero. He has obvious instructions that he has to tie in the likes of the DC Universe’s finest and it works pretty well. Seeing the likes of John Constantine trading barbs with Batman is not one I would have imagined myself, but it’s fun.

While I’m not familiar with the back story leading us to this current passage of Swamp Thing’s history, the writing makes sure it’s not a big issue. We know that old mossy himself is coming back from his land of earth elemental’s, and we know that he doesn’t seem quite right. His main target appears to be Mr. Constantine for the moment, along with a string of evil corporations as well.

In essence, we get a taste of the old tried and true Swamp Thing; he’s pissed off at anybody that disrespects the environment. This leads to toxic waste dumping suits getting strung up and the like. We get a good bit of John Constantine other-worldly mystery too, with his customary swagger. The two characters have a long history together and from what we’ve seen so far…they seem to be back in action in a good way!

This first of three hit the comic shops on June 22nd, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled the next time you’re out! Especially if you’ve been keeping up with the Brightest Day story line! For those of you like me that haven’t kept up? This is still a decent read for the uneducated.

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Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

Jason Statham? Check. Clive Owen? Yup. Robert Deniro? Hell ya!

To quote my good friend Punkin Donuts, “I’m manlier for it. I think I just grew a third nut.”

I’ve never heard of “Killer Elite” before the trailer was released but I don’t care, it still looks awesome! *Insert Tim the Toolman grunt here* Generally any moving involving Jason Statham running around beating the crap out of people is pretty good. Clive Owen’s no slouch either, though he doesn’t have quite the bad ass pedigree. DeNiro…well, I don’t really need to say anything about DeNiro’s manliness, it speaks for itself.

There’s not much in the way of details for the movie, but it’s going to have guns and lot’s of blood. It looks like everybody’s playing on the darker side of the law here, so the movie should have a nice grimy feel that add’s too it.

For an unheard of flick, this one looks pretty fun!

Category: Movies  | 2 Comments
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

This past Sunday saw the premier of TNT’s alien invasion epic Falling Skies. As the shameless sci-fi nerd that I am, I made sure to give it a watch. Granted, I missed the airing on Sunday night, but since the show is a TNT original, it’s guaranteed that the network will replay the ever loving hell out of it! The premier was a two hour event, showing the first two episodes of the series. What I found was a fairly enjoyable end of the world science fiction romp that makes for some good summer entertainment.

The Good.

I found a number of things to suck me into this show, the front runner being the over-arching alien invasion plot. We’ve forgone the whole setup which can be boring as origin stories are wont to be. We start off a few years into the invasion as humanity lives in hiding and is starting to for a resistance to their alien overlords. Sure, they use a rather generic info dump to us to this point, but it ferry’s past the overdone territory that movies of this kind generally takes. We’re forced to take the characters at face value which is okay; none of them are overly complicated.

The aliens are handled fairly well in this setup as well. They’re not the standard bipedal extension of ourselves (which the writers make a point to touch on in the second episode). It’s nice to see an alien creature that looks…alien to our fleshy selves. They’ve run a bit shallow on giving us a reason to fear these beasties other than their superior hardware; we’re told a couple of times that they are hard to kill unless you get in close, but we really don’t see any reason as to why they’re so hard to kill. This is a passable problem though, as the characters seem to be learning about these creatures at the same rate we are.

As for end of the world scenarios, the current trend is to show us one or two people facing off against unspeakable odds. In “Falling Skies”, we’ve had it drilled into our heads that this stars Noah Wyle, yet he’s not the sole focus. What we find is a fairly large resistance army forcing some civilians to step up and become freedom fighters. The group dynamic is a nice change from the norm and from a writing perspective; it should lend itself to some nice side stories involving secondary characters while Noah Wyle runs around spouting historical anecdotes. Also, it looks good. For a TV show, they have a nice bit of urban decay going on!

The Not So Good

Genre TV lends itself to over acting, some moments in the first two episodes of “Falling Skies” gets a bit hard to swallow. In the second episode we’re shown an outlaw band, your standard post-apoc misfit gang mind you, led by an ex-con. The setup is sound; the ex-con is not so sound. The man has his moments mind you, but his performance is so hammy that it’s a bit distracting from the drama in any given scene. The man wants to be Iggy Pop so bad, he can taste it! His little band of merry bikers replete in black leathers and rock star bling are a bit groan worthy too. That said, they still make good use of him for some self-referential jokes.

Noah Wyle as an actor is fine. In fact, I rather enjoyed him in the first “Librarian” movie. His character here in “Falling Skies” is a former historian, specifically US History and apparently, military history. In these two opening episodes, when Wyle is running around being dad and solider, he is fine. The writers however seem to be working overtime on making the character drop various tid bits of history. I would hope that these historian tidbits will become more important later on in the show but as they are right now; it’s forced, it’s disjointed and a bit annoying. The character brings up moments of US history at odd times, generally in times of one on one reflection with another character. As of right now; they don’t add much weight to the situation. Maybe they will add more later.

In the End…

Ultimately, “Falling Skies” falls firmly in the “not bad” category for sci-fi TV. I found it compelling enough to give the show a few more episodes. The post alien invasion world is well setup and already established, so we can get straight to the meat and potatoes. Noah Wyle makes for a decent lead, though they need to tighten up his character a bit. The rest of the cast is adequate with a couple of standouts, mostly Moon Bloodgood and Will Patton. Though the show has done nothing to reinvent the genre yet, it doesn’t feel like a ‘planet of the week’ type of show like other sci-fi series. The overarching story line is enough to keep me engrossed for a bit with a little bit of leeway for some one off adventures.

I’d say I’m looking forward to see what they’ve got planned for episode three, but I wouldn’t call myself a fervent fan as of yet.

So now, the million dollar question! Did you tune in for the series premiere? If so, be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

I could try to hide the fact that I’m a total Chris Hardwick fanboy but it would be a bit pointless. I tend to come home and tell the Mrs. everything that happened on the most recent Nerdist Podcast, actually watch Chelsea Lately when he’s on the round table and tune into Web Soup religiously. What can I say, he’s a funny guy, is a geek like me, is my age and has some pretty good tech insight.

As much as I do follow Hardwick online, I found out today that I have to trade in my Nerd card! It appears they announced a month ago that The Nerdist would be coming to TV on BBC America!

The press release states:

Hardwick’s production entity, Nerdist Industries, and Comcast Entertainment Studios will produce the Ministry of Laughs host pieces and the pilot for the panel talk show hosted by Hardwick and based on his Nerdist podcast. The show will cover all things relative to geek culture from LA to London and feature celebrity guests with their own nerd obsessions. Hardwick will executive produce alongside K.P. Anderson and Jay James for Comcast Entertainment Studios.

So essentially…They’re bringing the podcast to television!

Those of you who don’t listen to the podcast, the show is a simple interview format. Chris Hardwick and his co-hosts Matt Mira and Jonah Ray sit have a chat with various actors, writers, comedians and more. As his title says, he does tend to steer towards guests with nerdier interests such as his recent episodes with Simon Pegg or Robert Kirman and makes for good entertainment for pop-culture junkies such as myself.

The press release also hints that they may be doing some coverage of other geek things such as tech trends and gadgets. Hardwick is a frequent contributor to places such as Wired and G4, so I’m looking forward to that as well.

Right now, the show is only going to be a pilot but hopefully we can push those rating ups for more episodes! If you fancy yourself a geek/nerd/technology enthusiast, be sure to check out the podcast and get a feel of what’s in store!

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Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell


Sean Bean is “Sean Bean” in “Yay! Sean Bean is Wearing Armor and Swinging a Sword Again!”

One could argue that Sean Bean has gotten himself stereo typed here as of late. He’s been a Gondorian knight in “Lord of the Rings”, he’s Ned Freaking Stark in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and now, he’s the knight Ulrich in Christopher Smith’s 2010 feature “Black Death”. It’s pretty standard that if you need an older rugged looking dude to swing a sword about, Sean Bean’s your guy. As stereo types go; who really cares? Sean Bean is really freaking good at the whole knight in shining armor schtick and I for one, am happy to see him reprise the roll again and again!

more…

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Monday, June 20th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell


Found courtesy of Nerdist.com

The summer TV doldrums are upon us; Game of Thrones is coming to a close, Doctor Who is in its mid-season hiatus. Thankfully, Torchwood: Miracle Day is coming on July 8th to fill the void! While it’s no Doctor Who, this spin off has kept me downright entertained with it’s campiness. From the looks of this trailer, it looks like we’ll have the customary cheesiness in spades!

Being a Torchwood fan has been a worrisome experience at times. The show has moved networks between every season so far, with season 4 being no exception as it moves to the United States and the Starz network. The first seasons had it’s problems, the second grew greatly. Then we were faced with a five episode mini-series for season 3 which, while it was fantastic, left me worrying that it was the end for sure. Thankfully, Miracle Day appears to be the quickly growing standard of 10 episodes.

Plot wise, if you watched the Children of Earth mini, the move to the states isn’t all that worrisome. In fact, I can dig it. We only have two members of the original cast left, John Barrowman and Eve Myles which is a bit jarring, but it fits in story wise and they’re the two most important anyways. The trailer above leads one to believe that they’ve severed some of the extra baggage story lines such as Gwen’s husband and such which gives this season a reboot feel, but I think it could fit into the ongoing plot arc pretty well. The new additions are mostly unknown to me, so I’ll wait and see what they have to offer. Bill Pullman however, I like quite a bit and I like the born again evangelist vibe he gives in the trailer. Lauren Ambrose has always been enjoyable in “Six Feet Under” and “Psycho Beach Party”, so I was actually pretty excited to hear she would be involved. Seeing her bitchy turn in the trailer seems like a new role for her (from what we normally see), so I’m looking forward to that as well.

Ultimately, the final word is that I’m pretty stoked to see Cap’n Jack back in action. Here’s hoping that the relocation and the backing of the Starz network will keep things going strong for some time to come! The dark turn that Children of Earth brought would be nice to keep around too. Seeing it on a premium cable tier lends credence to my hopes for that too!

Check back after July 8th, I’m sure I’ll be rambling on about it, most likely, over excitedly!

Sunday, June 19th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

Being a dad’s pretty easy when you got a daughter like this. She’s pretty cool, just like her dad!

For my Father’s Day, I rolled out of bed at crack of 10:30am! Hard to beat, huh? After that, I got some coffee and was a pretty happy pappy. Even more so when I received my totally awesome Father’s Day Gift; The Back to the Future Trilogy on Bluray!

Our Father’s Day celebration included taking the newly local in-laws out for lunch. Mother in Law had mentioned how much they like Chinese food, so we took them to our favorite little buffet over in Carmel, IN. While the lunch was good, the company was better and look at that…we make a pretty good looking little family unit!

Finally, Father in Law got a beefed up Father’s Day gift this year. As of the beginning of June, he retired from the Methodist Church after many great years of service! With them moving to be near us here in Noblesville last weekend, we figured he would have some free time on his hands to read and our family’s favorite gadget seemed to be the perfect combination retirement/father’s day gift!

Happy Father’s Day to all you other dad’s out there, I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I enjoyed mine! In the meantime, The Daughter and I are off to watch Back to the Future II!

Category: Movies  | One Comment
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

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I’ve been playing Trion Worlds Rift here lately with the Mrs. The game, a direct World of Warcraft clone for sure, offers a new shiny coat of paint, an interesting multiple class system and so far…50 levels worth of content.

Bought as a past time for the evenings, the Mrs. and I have been visiting the worlds of Rift for an hour or two a night and finally, I’ve reached the level cap! This is a big moment for myself. I’m an MMO veteran of many wars; I’ve played Everquest. I’ve played Dark Age of Camelot. There were a few short stints in some super hero themed betas and some Korean games and a long term addiction to World of Warcraft! Rift however, if the first of these online roll playing games that I’ve reached the end game on. Normally, I get bored about half way through.

Rift has level grind much like any other games of this type. Trion manages to make it a smoother experience however. Quests keep you moving quickly across the map and the level progression is fast. With the introduction of random rifts and planar invasions, there’s always something fun to keep yourself occupied.

This gaming experience is also a great social fix for the wife and I. Since we’ve signed up for the game, we’ve reconnected with our old friends Chris and Julie who used to live here in Indy many years ago, then moved to Florida. Thanks to this, we’ve reconnected and been able to hang out and talk with the Dann’s every evening, all while making some new friends too!

So, level 50 has been reached. Now it’s time to run some epic dungeons and rifts and do some raids. I look forward to a bit of PVP as well! Tenderoni, my warrior based Beast Master is been fun. I’m also looking forward to leveling up some alt characters to go with him!

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