Monday, April 28, 2008

Now playing...

Mario Kart Wii!

We may be late to LOST, but we're up to speed (so to speak) on the Wii, specifically Mario Kart Wii, the latest in Nintendo's popular go-cart series. The game adds the following elements to the already fun formula:
*New characters: Baby Peach, Funky Kong, Rosalina, Dry Bowser, and Baby Daisy
*Pictures of Mii people on various backgrounds
*An enclosed steering wheel
*Motorcycles to race
*New items (including POW blocks, which shake the ground)
*16 new tracks (plus 16 remade tracks from previous installments)
*Up to twelve racers
*Online capabilities
*And much more

Ryan, who bought the game with some Christmas (!) money he had left over, tries out the steering wheel, which he says works great (a viewpoint I agree with).

Mario in action.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Now watching...

Season One of Lost!

Okay, I'm waaaaayyyyy behind the bandwagon on this one, but that's nothing new. When I watch television, which isn't all that often (relative to someone who's really into sci-fi and such), it's usually something on DVD, like Star Trek, a movie, or something I'm supposed to review. With the exception of the occasional news program, documentary, or sports telecast (go Mavs!), I rarely watch standard prime time programming--I'm usually busy or hanging out with my kids, and I don't like to sit through commercials (TIVO--what's that?) or have my evening dictated to me through programming. One exception is Heroes, which I try not to miss. The other, as soon as I can catch up, will be Lost, the first season of which I scored at a garage sale the other day for a mere $2 (factory sealed, no less).

Growing up, I was a big fan of Land of the Lost and Gilligan's Island, shows where people were stranded in a strange, sometimes hostile place. Obviously, Lost amps up the action, drama, and realism to the nth degree (and does so without a hint of camp), but the basic, story-rich theme remains intact. I'd always heard that Lost was a great show, and, based on watching most of season one, I'm inclined to agree. Great characters (Jack, Sawyer, and Locke give the show old-school swagger) with intriguing, personality-defining backgrounds told through ingenious flashbacks. Killer interpersonal conflict, with people to root for and against, or to simply feel sorry for. Mysteries galore, from the foreign-language comic books to the polar bear to the apparent healing properties of the island to the young black boy who is "different." Nail-biting cliffhangers that keep you coming back for "just one more episode." I could go on, but I'd better get back (I tend to get lost in my work at times).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Now playing...

TRON 2.0 KILLER APP for the Game Boy Advance!

I was browsing the aisles of my local Best Buy the other day and found this game for a mere $4.98. As a fan of the original Tron quarter-muncher, and of Disney's Tron feature film, I figured it was worth the price of a gallon-and-a-half of gas to pick it up. I have yet to actually play the main game in the cartridge (meaning I should probably change the name of this post), but I have played the two bonus games included: Tron (the aforementioned coin-op classic) and Discs of Tron (another arcade game from back in the day). Both versions are a little flat in terms of visuals (as expected, considering the limitations of the handheld GBA), but both will please retro enthusiasts looking for a quick infusion of nostalgia while waiting in line at the bank or sitting through a boring meeting.

On a related note, TRON 2.0 KILLER APP for the Xbox does NOT contain the two bonus mentioned above, despite the considerable power of the Xbox system. It's too bad, really, as I'd love to have an arcade-perfect version of the original Tron.

Friday, April 18, 2008

R.I.P. Hazel Court

I was sad to hear of the passing of the lovely and talented Hazel Court, who appeared in some of my favorite films, including Curse of Frankenstein, The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Premature Burial. You can read her obituary here, or check out a tribute to her here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1642, where I review the following:

Archie #581

Cemetery Blues #1

Simpsons Comics #137

Batman Strikes #41

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dallas Comicon

The kids and I went to Dallas Comicon over the weekend and had a great time. After the convention, which was in Richardson (North of Dallas), we stopped off at Titan Comics (as if there weren't enough comics at the convention), a couple of Half-Price Books stores (where I picked up a couple of Robert E. Howard short story collections), and, most importantly, Keller's, an old-school drive-in joint that serves the juicest burgers and the coldest beer (I actually had soda since I was driving).
Ryan got to meet Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Cindy Morgan, who played Lora/Yori in Tron and Lacey Underall in Caddyshack, signs autographs for her fans.

After she got her fill of the dealer's room, Katie took part in some console gaming hosted by Texas Gamers (

Sunday, April 6, 2008

R.I.P. Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston, star of such epic films as The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, and The Greatest Show on Earth, has died. He was 84.
I few years ago, while working at Waldenbooks, we hosted an autographing for Charlton Heston. My job was to hand him each book as customers came through the line. Despite a nice crowd, we had plenty of time to talk about his film career, including his roles in The Omega Man, A Touch of Evil, Soylent Green, The Naked Jungle, and, of course, Planet of the Apes.

We even talked a little theology, since the book he was signing was Charlton Heston Presents the Bible. One interesting comment he made is pointing out that Noah's Ark is the only post-creation Bible story that physically involves the rest of the world--not just the Middle East. (He dodged my question regarding whether he thought Noah's Ark was a true story or merely allegorical in nature). My only regret regarding the autographing is that I didn't take any photos.

Charlton Heston, one of the nicest, most interesting celebrities that I have ever met, will truly be missed--by genre buffs and by film fans in general.