Monthly Archives: August 2012

ParaNorman

ParaNorman ~ I wasn’t sure what to think of ParaNorman when I first saw previews for it. It kinda struck a comedic animated cross between The Sixth Sense and Hocus Pocus. It certainly had to be more than just a clever title, right? After seeing it, I’m still not sure. Maybe it’s a bullying parable gone wildly astray after too many trips through the Hollywood idea machine. Maybe not.

In a town founded on the legend of a particularly nasty witch trial, Norman is a horror obsessed little boy with a non understanding family, few to no friends, and the ability to see dead people. Yep, just like little Haley Joel Osmont, he sees ghosts, but most of them are harmless. Except for the ghost of the witch who cursed the town. And in the words of Remo Williams, the adventure begins.

The character designs are grotesque but interesting, and refreshingly don’t stink of Tim Burton’s mind. This is a world where everything is crooked, askew, making it a treat to view. I only wish there were more to the story. There is one neat twist but much of the rest is fairly predictable.

This might be a bit intense for the kids, unless they like horror and monsters. Good watch if you wait for cable or DVD, and if you go to the theatre, save your money and see it in 2D.

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Potato Chip Peanut Fudge

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 8-29-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (No Questions) Evans and Glenn (Birthday Boy) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here! Allison (Toes in the Sand) Eckel returns next week.

Discussion featured in this week’s Special Shaky Cam Episode includes: The controversial Justice League #12, Green Lantern Annual #1, Aquaman #12, Flash Annual #1, monkey action, AvX VS #5 (of 6), Captain Marvel #3, Avenging Spider-Man #11, Gambit #2, Infernal Man-Thing #3 (of 3), Powers #11, Winter Soldier #9, Uncanny X-Force #30, X-Treme X-Men #2, Godzilla #4, and Ed’s indies and trades.

Be sure to check out the crazy new mutant friendly All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Special thanks to Dina for holding the camera phone throughout all of today’s looong vidcast!

French Fry Diary 410: Village Whiskey, Revel Casino, Atlantic City

The Secret History of Star Raiders

Back in the stone age days of the Atari 2600, when it was the videogame system, there was one game that stood out away from the rest, and not for any good reasons. That was Star Raiders.

Everyone had Star Raiders, but I don’t think anyone liked it, or even played it. Ninety-nine percent of all Atari games used either a joystick or a paddle controller, but not Star Raiders. It had a big number pad controller with a phone cord like cord. As an oddity it stood out, and as I said, I didn’t know anyone who played it, maybe because it was a bit difficult to play or to understand how to play. My Atari is long ago stored away, and I’m not digging it up any time soon to check it out – so forget that noise.

But the facts are of course that Star Raiders predates the Atari 2600, and goes back to the Atari 400 and 800, and the Atari 8-bit family of games. Yeah, this is one of the ancestors. Star Raiders may have been crippled by the limiting graphics of the 2600, or at least that’s what my computer geek friends tell me. I have also been told that it was the precursor to later games that I have enjoyed like Starmaster and the Star Trek arcade game, and even Wing Commander. The original SR even borrowed itself from Trek, Star Wars, and even Battlestar Galactica in its own designs. Man, I wish I remembered this game better, or at least played it.

Now imagine my surprise when I saw Star Raiders listed as a free download at the PlayStation Store. I downloaded it but only remembering it vaguely from childhood I didn’t play right away. After learning more about it, I was eager to play and jumped right to it.

Wow, the visuals are something else, but man, the controller directions are among the most complicated I have seen so far for the PS3. Steering was insane, but the format was eerily similar to favorite games like those mentioned above, Starmaster and Star Trek. It was very cool. I will have to learn more. I’m sure it will be worth it. And I actually feel a little bad I didn’t put more time in with the 2600 version.

This Week’s All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (X-Men) Evans, Allison (Two Marvel Girl) Eckel and Glenn (Bazongas) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week’s Special Dinner and Bazongas Episode includes: Green Lantern New Guardians #12, Batman Inc. #3, All-Star Western #12, Firestorm #12, The Flash #12, Voodoo #12, Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #1, Amazing Spider-Man #692, Invincible Iron Man #523, Punisher comics, Cap and Namor vs. Nazis, Archie marries Wolverine, Brilliant #4, Star Trek #12, Bionic Man #12, Archie #636, America’s Got Powers #3, Ed’s trades, and Doctor Who accessories.


This week our special kids segment returns, featuring Thomas giving us the ten year old’s perspective. The discussion included: Adventure Time #7, Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #5, Super Dinosaur #13, the Batman Brave and the Bold trade, the TARDIS lunchbox, and other fun stuff.


Be sure to check out the brand spankin’ new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Remember, kids, you can’t copyright evil.

French Fry Diary 409: Arby’s Frozen Fries

Hoax Hunters

Folks who know me personally know I’m addicted to Coast to Coast AM late nights. They cover lots of different topics on the show, now hosted by George Noory, but the nights that I love are the ones about UFOs, cryptozoology, and conspiracy theories. Yeah, I’m a nut for that stuff. Add in that I grew up in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey, where nobody jokes about the Jersey Devil when they’re outside at night – you know I’m a sucker for the new Hoax Hunters comic from Image.

Writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley have created quite a phenomenon with Hoax Hunters. It’s everything I could want, it’s Coast to Coast AM mixed with “X-Files” in comic book form. Described as “Cryptids. Aliens. Monsters. All the world’s bizarre secrets–what if they were real? Their existence would be debunked by a reality TV show! HOAX HUNTERS is that show, publicly disproving all variety of lore. But their real goal is the opposite: as the world’s dark corners surface, the HOAX HUNTERS cover them up. They demonstrate that the truth isn’t out there.” Again, what more could I want? The creators have even promised a Jersey Devil appearance in the future.

There are two issues of new material out now, plus a ‘zero issue’ that collects the stories that first appeared as back-up in Hack/Slash #1-10. Get out to your local comics shop now and check them out! This comic rocks!

Hoax Hunters has a website and blog that you visit here. And don’t forget to check out this episode of the Biff Bam Popcast featuring Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley!

French Fry Diary 408: Ruffles Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins Flavored

RIP William Windom

This has been a bad weekend for show business. We lost director Tony Scott to an apparent suicide, singer/songwriter Scott McKenzie of “San Francisco” fame, and just today, Phyllis Diller. But for right now, I’m going to talk about Emmy Award winning actor William Windom.

Windom was perhaps one of the best character actors in television, film and stage. He was memorable in “The Farmer’s Daughter,” “Star Trek,” “Night Gallery,” a recurring role on “Murder, She Wrote,” and multiple episodes of “Twilight Zone.” You might also remember him from the films To Kill a Mockingbird, Escape from the Planet of the Apes and The Detective among others.

But the reason I remember William Windom is a short-lived NBC TV series called “My World and Welcome to It.” My big sister Bobbie, for whom I am eternally grateful for teaching me to read at a very young age, insisted I watch the show when I was just a wee one. At the time, I might have thought she put me in front of the TV because it had cartoons in it, but in reality, she was exposing me to a great writer – James Thurber.

The show revolved around a writer and cartoonist based on Thurber and played by Windom, who won an Emmy for his work there. Most of the content of this unique half-hour sitcom was either based on Thurber’s stories, essays and cartoons, or on his own life. The one animated sequence that stands out in my mind is “The Unicorn in the Garden.” Years later I would find the tale in a book and discover one of my favorite authors.

Thank you, Bobbie, for introducing me to James Thurber, and thank you, William Windom, for bringing him to life. Windom passed away on Thursday from congestive heart failure. He was 88, and he will be missed.