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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birdman Review

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 2:00 PM

After a seriously false start yesterday, I ended up in the theatre. I had missed my first two choices in movies so I went with a random choice that the couple behind me in line were going to see. Having never even heard of the movie, it's fair to say that I had zero expectations. For those that know me, I did confirm that this wasn't a horror movie because with a title like that, one never knows.

According to IMDB, the movie is about:
" A washed up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of a Broadway play."
The movie starts Michael Keaton, who I honestly haven't seen in anything in ages. I know that he's done quite a bit, but I just haven't seen it. No fault to the poor actor that I can't manage to get out more.  When I first realized who the actor was and that the premise involved him playing an iconic superhero who then goes on to lesser things after retiring the role, I wondered how much of the film was autobiographical. I mean, c'mon...Birdman...Batman...it's not much of a stretch.

In fact, the role seemed a little too real, so this morning, I hit up Wikipedia to double check that the man had a career after Batman.  Turns out, he hasn't done any Broadway work, his career may have peaked, but he hasn't been out of work and this whole connection is just him poking fun at his past role. Whew! My research also showed me that this movie has been nominated for about eleventy billion awards. In fact, Mr. Keaton actually won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. This is where I get confused.

When I saw this movie yesterday, the theatre was actually full of old people. No, seriously, I was probably one of five people under the age of near 70. Watching it, I don't recall more than a single chuckle throughout.  So, how this movie ended up the Comedy section baffles me. It's just not a comedy and it most certainly isn't a musical. Comedies should make people laugh and musicals ...well, they should be musical.

This movie is drama all the way. It's a serious story of how we let go of one thing because it's come to define us, just to discover that the struggle to find a new identity is a real one. The cast for this movie does a brilliant job with their roles, but by the end of the movie, I was wondering what time it was. The movie just seemed to drag and for once, I didn't stick around for the credits. Those who know me, especially my long suffering children, know that I always stick around for the credits. They fascinate me. I also feel that if these people took their time to put together what I just enjoyed, they deserve for me to see their name.

Walking out into the snow, slush, and cold, I could only think, "Well, I would have paid $5 for this, but I wouldn't pay $8.50." The story was good, but not great. The actors were very good in their roles, but could have been amazing if given the opportunity. Overall, this is a movie that I don't regret seeing, but it's not making my "Omg, I have to have this on the shelf list."

Munchkin 1

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 11:00 AM

Based on the immensely popular card game, Munchkin comes to comics! Munchkin takes place in a very flexible mashup of genres. Originally a satire of fantasy roleplaying, it has since then taken on non-fantasy and non-gaming elements. Characters in Munchkin change constantly but never permanently. What do Munchkins do? They play for the win. They are rules lawyers. They backstab. They gloat. They whine when someone else backstabs or gloats. Munchkins are emotional. Munchkins may be clever, but they are never wise. Munchkins have short attention spans. Munchkins may be brave in the face of awful odds, but they are even braver when beating up crippled goblins for their lunch money. If a Munchkin seems to show mercy, it's because he was bored or distracted. After all, even stomping an ant helps you level up.

In the vast genres of geek fandom, there lies the ever evolving realm of gaming.  One game in particular has definitely grown over the years, adding to its list of cross genre flavors.  Odds are, you've probably at least heard of the immensely popular game Munchkin.  Now we see its jump over into the world of comics (which interestingly enough it sort of did with one of the expansions).

Admittedly, it wasn't until just recently that I finally managed to sit down to a game of Munchkin.  For those who have not had the pleasure, it's basically "kill  the monsters, steal the treasure, stab your buddy".  The perfect party game, especially when you have a lot of people.  The comic does a hilarious job of taking aspects and even examples of gameplay and putting it into comic form.

With each mini story featured in the book, we had a different artist take on the visual task of bringing Munchkin to life.  While they are all unique, each one still did an excellent job of keeping the same artistic feel that the card game has.  I really enjoyed seeing some of the situations that could happen in the game get illustrated.

Obviously enough, if you've played the game, you're going to enjoy this book all the more.  Had I not started playing though, I think the fun story and art would still have kept my interest.  If anything, it would have possibly inspired me to try the game.  That being said, you should definitely give both the game and this comic a try.

For more on Munchkin or other Boom titles, check out Boom! Studios.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

Kickstarter/Indiegogo Spotlight: Ungrounded

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 8:00 AM

Yes, this book has a team of heroes with superpowers but, not like most.  For example, there's a government agent werewolf bitten by an interdimensional zombie vampire.  And did I forget to mention the flying polar bear?  If that at least piques your interest, head on over to the Kickstarter for Ungrounded to check out more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Emily and the Strangers Volume 2: Breaking the Record

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 11:00 AM

Emily—and her new band, the Strangers—won the battle of the bands and received a record contract with Awesomely Awesome Records, but can the girl who just figured out how to get along with her friends manage dealing with a major corporation? And what’s the deal with the legions of stray cats around town?

Even having never read any of the title before, I was quite anxious to read it for two reasons.  One, it just looked and sounded like a fun title.  And two, Geek-o-Rama's very own Katrina was super excited for me to read it.  So, with her stamp of approval, how could Emily and the Strangers Volume 2: Breaking the Record not have me super anxious?

One great thing about this book is that if you're like me going into this volume not having read the first, they kindly give you a summary of events leading up to it.  Emily and awesome band the Strangers are just coming off success after winning a battle of the bands.  The next natural step of course is to sign a label right?  Not if she has anything to say about it, as the seedy Awesomely Awesome Records looks to be up to no good.  This turns out to be very true, and they get the assistance of some interesting new friends to help out.

This was not only a rocking book for the story, but for the art as well (I couldn't help myself, puns are fun).  It's almost cartoony, but not quite, still having an edgy feel to the artwork.  Having never seen them before, I particularly enjoyed all the different character designs.  All around this title has some really nice work with lines and colors throughout each issue.

It has been a long time since I read any kind of story like this and it was a most welcome departure from the norm.  As much as I enjoyed this as a new reader to Emily, I would have to think current fans will enjoy it.  No matter if you're new or old though, you'll have a great time with these rockers and their unusual adventure.

For more on Emily and the Strangers or other Dark Horse titles, check out Dark Horse Comics.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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