Saturday, July 28, 2012

Denver's Kilgore Used Books and Comics






While the first day in Denver was dedicated mostly to family history searching in Denver I was able to squeeze one typically nerdy thing into my day. Kilgore books and comics is aptly named after the character from many Kurt Vonnegut novels, Kilgore Trout was a failed science fiction writer, and seems easy to believe one of his books would turn up in a place like this. Kilgore books and comics is small musty and filled with books of all genres including a large science-fiction section. In addition to this there was a shelf filled with independent comics and a large bookshelf filled with used and new trade paperbacks and graphic novels. Although prices were not as good as I expected, I was able to pick up a few things and they had a great selection of comics worth reading.
Here's what I picked up.
"Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow"
"The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions"
"Hellboy: Seed of Destruction"
-Peter

Location:Denver, Co

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blogging from Colorado and the North-Midwest

I'm on vacation with my family for the next week and a half. We are in Denver right now and we'll be heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park and the South Dakota Badlands over the next eight days. I'll keep an eye out for nerdy things, but this may turn into my temporary travel blog until I get home.


-Peter

Location:Denver, CO

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dazzler and Alternate X-Men Team up to Take Down the Multiverse in "X-Treme X-Men" #1

I haven't written about monthly books in a while, but since this series is just starting up I would give it a go. "X-Treme X-Men" was a series that ran from 01-04 that served as one of the main X-Men books. Outside of the name, the two series do not seem to have a connection. "X-Treme X-Men", written by Greg Pak, is a book based in the Multiverse. Alternate versions of Wolverine, Emma Frost, and Nightcrawler, along with the floating head of alternate Xavier open a dimensional rift while saving their own earth. Through this rift they encounter some of the earth 616 X-Men including Dazzler! That's right, the light making musician mutant got a lead role in this book. Dazzler and the crew of alternate guys get sucked into the rift and end up getting a new mission to save the multiverse.


I think "X-Treme X-Men" has some potential coming from the first issue. While I am not a big fan of over working multiverse stuff into the main titles, i think creating a side story exploring the concept is pretty nifty, even if they at already doing it in a couple other books. As far as characters are concerned, the alternates are pretty similar to their main world selves. Wolverine is less brash, and Nightcrawler is a tween, but Xavier and Frost are pretty much carbon copies. #1 is not great, but I think the series could pick up in a couple issues since #1 is filled mostly with fights and loose premise building. If you like your X-Men with some added dimension hopping, that's the whole premise, pick up the first issue and see what you think.

-Peter

Location:Denver, Co

Monday, July 23, 2012

Logan Hardware: Records and Arcade Games Galore!

This is one of those things I have been forgetting to write for a while, but I now have time due to the completion of my day camp.

Last March while I was visiting Austin, TX with Erin, we visited the arcade mecca of Pinballz Arcade. I love arcade games. While I have almost always had some kind of video game system, I got my first gameboy at age six, something about the classic arcade and pinball hall was always very enticing and fun.  After my visit to Pinballz, I spent some time searching for similar arcades in Chicagoland so I could check them out with my dad, Jeff.  Jeff was the one to show me the greatness of pinball and everything else from the arcade era. I found Logan Hardware and Jeff and I had the pleasure of checking it out a few weeks ago.

Combining a record shop with an arcade, Logan Hardware seemed almost too good to be true. The front of the Logan Hardware is a pretty simple record shop. The selection wasn't spectacular, but most music lovers should have no trouble finding something worth getting; I ended up getting "Wincing the Night Away" LP by the shins. After I made the purchase, the clerk held it behind the counter so that I could explore the back room unhindered; this is the reason I came. In the back is collection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines, all set to free play. This arcade, referred to as the museum, is funded solely by the shops patrons, and it is marvelous. Pinball machines, Asteroids, Donkey Kong, and about 30 other games fill the museum and turn this small record shop into a nerd destination.

The whole experience was a little overwhelming the first time around. With normal arcades, I am forced to budget my quarters wisely as I stress about not sucking at games, but the museum had a very relaxed feel about it. If you are looking for a cool way to spend an afternoon in Logan Square, check out Logan Hardware for some new music and some classic games. Here is there website: Link.

Here is a list of all their games:
Pinball
     Time Warp
     Multi-Ball Firepower
     Last Action Hero
     Pin Bot
     Doctor Who
     Johnny Mnemonic

Arcade
     Crazy Climber
     Polaris
     Gyruss
     Track and Field
     Lunar Rescue
     Elevator Action
     Tempest
     Nibbles
     Robocop
     Black Widow
     Millipede
     Vindicators Part 2
     120*
     Asteroids
     Empire Strikes Back
     Gravitar
     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
     Zaxxon
     Frogger
     Donkey Kong
     Moon Patrol
     Punch Out
     Mario Bros.
     Stargate
     Joust
     Bubbles
     Donkey Kong 3
     Robotron
     Smash TV
     Ms. Pac-Man
     Wizard of Wor
     Berzerk
     Tron
     Missile Command

-Peter




Location:Oak Park, IL

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Nerd in the World Milestone

Big news, everyone! Nerd in the World has hit a viewing milestone today, July will be the first month that this little ranting platform has reached over a thousand hits. Since I started posting regularly back in May, view counts have been increasing, and I hope there is nowhere to go but up. I would like to thank all readers regular or first timers, and I would like to encourage people to follow the blog to get updates. Thanks again!


-Peter

Location:Oak Park, IL

All This "The Dark Knight Rises" Stuff

Before you continue reading, be warned that I will be discussing plot points of TDKR that could take away from a first time viewing of the film. In other words, SPOILER ALERT.



First, please take a look at a post I wrote this past winter regarding my thoughts on the then upcoming TDKR: link. After seeing TDKR, I can say that in January I made some good calls, and some pretty dumb ones to go along with them. I enjoyed TDKR, but instead of going into full review mode I believe my psuedo-talents would be put to better use comparing TDKR to both the DC universe and my pre-film expectations. Enjoy the itemized list!

1. Anne Hathaway:
Now, have I mentioned that I am dumb? One of my biggest concerns in January was the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Somebody should have smacked me. Hathaway was spot on as the master thief with a record, and her performance was one of the films best. She was cunning, kick-ass, clever, and walked the line of hero and villain very well; everything Selina Kyle is supposed to be.

2. The Plot:
Well, I think I called this one back in January, but despite what I predicted, I still really enjoyed TDKR. Nolan took noticeable plots from the two bigger Bane arcs "Knightfall" and "Legacy" and added plenty of his own creative spin to make a great Batman film. Nolan used the seemingly random appearance of Bane the back breaking of Batman from "Knightfall" and the team up of Bane and the League of Shadows from "Legacy". The plot of TDKR tied together two films that felt very separate at times and tied up all loose ends I can think of.

3. Bane:
In January I was unsure how I felt about having a realistically sized Bane. Comics Bane is a massive and brilliant Latino man who wears a luchador mask and is addicted to the super-steroid called Venom; TDKR's Bane is still massive, but his steroid addiction has been swapped for pain medication constantly delivered through a respirator. While the switch bothered me in January, the change in Bane's backstory made him fit in with the Al Ghuls very well. Despite changes, Bane's archetype remained intact as the tortured-genius-super-prison-escapee (go hyphens!). Despite not being able to understand every word he spoke, Tom Hardy gave a very solid performance of a character that could be easy to mess up.

4. Those Crazy Al Ghuls:
If you have read some recent Batman comics (Batman and Son would work) or played Arkham City, you should know that the Al Ghuls have a bit of an obsession with both Batman and destroying Gotham. The Al Ghuls were a good choice for TDKR as they are two of the Batman villains who can pull of such a big scale attack.
Now, I can't be the only one who thought that the girl playing Talia as a child looked a lot like Tom Hardy, so I was still surprised when the realization cam out. Yet, for most of the movie I was just waiting for Marion Cotillard to pop out of her shell and start being crazy. Another good use of the Al Ghuls in TDKR was the reappearance of Ra's Al Ghul. Since comics Ra's is the master of the Lazarus Pit, and can be reborn from it, I was hoping we hadn't seen the total demise of the immortal Ra's in "Batman Begins". Although we only see some kind of astral projection of Ra's, I understand why Nolan would want to avoid introducing something as bizarre as the Lazarus Pit in his fairly down to earth Batman films.

5. Blake:
John Blake was the most interesting take on the Robin character I have seen. Yeah, he wasn't a kid, and he has no acrobatic skill, but almost everything else fits into the standard Robin persona; Blake is an orphan, he cares about justice, he is a good detective, and he has the unfortunate first name of Robin (I face-palmed pretty hard). Like Tim Drake, the third Robin, Blake effectively deduced that Bruce Wayne was Batman, and although he never wears a costume Blake is very sidekick-ey at times. It is strongly implied at the end that Blake plans to take up the cowl, and I was very pleased with that particular wrap up.

6. The tid-bits:
TDKR had plenty of details, and these were some of my favorites.
 1. The football team is called the Gotham Rogues, an allusion to the rogues' gallery.
 2. The Gotham Rogues logo is reminiscent of Jonah Hex.
 3. Cillian Murphy made it into all three movies!
 4. A cop made a giant aligator joke before going into the sewer, a reference to Killer Croc.
 5. The shot of Bane breaking Batman's back is almost identical to the image from "Knightfall".
 6. Holly Robinson, Selina Kyle's friend, shows up despite being called "Jen" in the credits.
 7. I really liked the flashbacks to other films

7. The Ending and The Future:
Even though Christopher Nolan has no plans to continue Batman, the question still remains, how will DC and WB make more money off this great trilogy? The companies are already working on "Man of Steel", and it seems likely that they will try to put together some form of Justice League film to replicate the success of the "The Avengers". Since Batman is one of the main DC characters, not including him in the JL film would be a strange move for the companies. This leaves them with two real options, reboot a Batman film to feed into a JL film, or transition from the Nolan trilogy into a JL film. Since any possible JL film is at least two or three years away, I am just speculating on speculation, but I am curious to see if DC can start putting out some good movies that aren't just Batman.

-Peter

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marvel's crappiest coloring book

I went to a dollar store today, I found this gem. It is so bad that it does not include Nova, despite being on the cover, and it includes a picture of Black Cat, her suit is already black. Despite the suckiness, this coloring's gonna get intense!


-Peter

Location:Oak Park, IL

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"AVX Vs." #4 Has Some Crazy Good Art

I picked up "AVX Vs." #4 today, and I was quite impressed with what I found. "AVX Vs." is the limited series covering major fights in the Avengers v. X-Men event. The series markets itself as the book with all the punching with out being too watered down by story, and it is pretty fun to look at. #4 came out today and features a fight between Psylocke and Daredevil, and a fight between Thor and Emma Frost. I am not doing a full review, but just look at some the art in this book, it blew me away in print and on my IPad (zooming is handy). Check it out.
Art Credits:
Psylocke v. Daredevil: Brandon Peterson
Thor v. Emma Frost: Kaare Andrews




















-Peter

Location:Oak Park, IL

Sunday, July 8, 2012

D-Box Motion FX Theater Seating: Amazing Spider-Man: Review

The most surprising thing about "The Amazing Spider-Man" was how much my mom liked it. I saw it on Wednesday with my family and my mom, Anne, was certain she would not enjoy the film. However, by about 20 minutes in, she was tapping my leg regularly and telling me how good it was. When we first saw the film, we went to the standard picture showing, my dad and I hate having to wear 3D glasses, this left Anne wondering what the experience would be like with 3D, since there are some pretty fun action sequences. Together, we decided to take the experience a step further for our second viewing and Anne, my little sister, and myself reserved D-Box seats at the gaudy but nice Muvico theater.

D-Box is a motion effects seating company that has products for theater and video game seating. The seats move with the action of a film and seek to give you a fun and deeper experience for the exciting parts of a film. For instance, if the Lizard jumps and tackles Spider-Man to the left of the screen, the seat thrusts to the left; if Spider-Man is electrocuted by a taser-bullet, the seat jiggles as if your mucsles were spasming. The seats have three different intensity settings for how much the seats move, naturally, mine was all the way up. Tickets for the special seating, at least at Muvico, were about twice as much as a normal seat, so I was quite glad that Anne was treating. Here's a a link to the official site that has a map of D-Box locations.

Now, for the review-y part. While D-Box is a pretty ridiculous concept, I had a lot of fun using it. I found myself giggling every time the seat jerked around, which was probably distracting to the other patrons, but I loved it. Despite the enjoyable action sequences, I don't think I can recommend seeing "The Amazing Spider-Man" in D-Box seating. Since some of the best parts of the film were the scenes with Peter and his family or Peter with Gwen, I often forgot I was in special seating until the web swinging began again. I would advise using D-Box for the most action filled movie you can find, to get your full money's worth. I enjoyed the experience, but I will probably wait to go back until something like "Expendables 2" comes out.

-Peter

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 20 Is Coming Too Slowly

So, "Dark Knight Rises" comes out in less than two weeks, and I am pumped. I just saw "The Amazing Spider-Man" again today, this time in 3D with D-Box (a review on the system is coming) and  I am ready to complete this summer's super-hero trifecta.

-Peter

Why Most of My Reviews are Positive

I had a quick realization just now, I am a pretty positive critic. However, I had a thought after that, I mostly see, read, and do things I know I will enjoy. Before I do anything, I try to do a little reseach to figure out what I like, and most of the time I am right. Since I am no professional, I get to write about whatever I fancy and 99% of the time it will be something I like. Just a thought for all of my 7.5 fans out there.

-Peter

Safety Not Guaranteed: Review

I had not heard of "Safety Not Guaranteed" until my dad mentioned it at dinner tonight; it sounded pretty good, so we set out to see the film that was described to me as the scifi-romantic-comedy of the summer. With such a lead in I was pretty sure I would like it, and I was happy to find that I did. "Safety Not Guaranteed"  was written by Derek Connolly and directed by Colin Tevorrow. The film takes place in Washington (state) where a magazine writer (Jake Johnson) and two interns (Aubrey Plaza and Karan Soni) attempt to track down a man who posted a classified ad looking for a time travel companion. The journalists find the eccentric and misunderstood Kenneth (played by filmmaker Mark Duplass) who is trying to right a wrong from 2001 and is nearing completion of his time machine. Plaza's character, Darius, poses as the time travelling companion in order to get information for the story, while learning more about Kenneth. As their friendship develops, the writer, Jeff tries to relive his high school years while trying to forcibly bring the other intern, Arnau, out of his nerdy shell with some debauchery. 


While it is a stretch to call this film scifi, the dynamics of people, love, and lost time make this film enjoyable and touching. Acting props go out all around as the film, while having a very independent feel, had some great humor and chemistry between the characters. Plaza is up to her normal mono-toned ct to mask her characters true feelings, but instead of being overly cynical, like her Parks and Rec character, she shows some real development along with her great one liners directed mostly at her journalist boss. Duplass' character, Kenneth, reminds me of a likable Dwight Schrute type who doesn't live in the normal reality, because the one he is making is better, and his insufferable antics are justified by his sincerity and kindness as a person. Along with these two, Johnson plays the 30 something journalist wishing he was still in high school and Soni is the over eager intern who will do anything to get a good recommendation for grad school.


Despite my minimal efforts (I'm lazy) I cannot find much I would have changed about the film, so I am not going to say anything on that subject.

The story is sweet, well paced and reminds me suspiciously of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". As relationships develop, we go deeper into the science fiction is a reality theme that spins the plot into something almost magical. I was not surprised to find out tonight that "Safety Not Guaranteed" placed well at the Sundance Film Festival as it is one of the more original films I have seen lately witha great cast to back it up. "Safety Not Guaranteed" has been out in different areas for a while, but seems to be going for a gradual limited release, if it is in a theater near you, I would certainly suggest checking it out over some of the bigger films currently out.

-Peter

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man: Review

Happy belated 4th of July, everybody! I celebrated by checking out a movie I have been quite eager to see "The Amazing Spider-Man". TASM was directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. While many critics have viewed TASM as an unnecessary reboot since the last Raimi directed film came out in 2007, I have to disagree with these claims. While 5 years isn't a long time to wait for a reboot, the Raimi series was played out, Sony needed to keep the Spidey movies coming otherwise the rights will return to Marvel (Disney) and as "Spider-Man 3" showed us, even mediocre Spider-Man movies can make plenty of money. All business reasons aside, I found TASM to be a wonderful take on the classic character and a well altered re-telling of his origin. The common consensus seems to be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but the way I see it, if you can make it better, why not do it?

While TASM isn't perfect, I enjoyed it considerably more than Raimi's films. Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker is much more  approachable than Tobey Maguire's, and I have to say that applies to every other character who appeared in both. Emma Stone was much funnier and more sincere than Kirsten Dunst, and I loved Sally Field as Aunt May. While Raimi's film was fun but ultimately hokey, TASM takes a more serious tone for Spider-Man and plays more into the tragedy of Peter Parker. Tasm's  Spidey seems more in tune with the comics, as he blames himself for the tragedies that befall his friends and loved ones, yet when he is in the suit he cracks jokes. This split is what makes the Spider-Man character, and TASM nails it.

The film also builds up a great relationship between Peter and love interest Gwen Stacy. While the previous films used Mary Jane Watson, TASM went with Peter's first love played by Emma Stone. The chemistry between the two is palpable and the young love story merges well with the main plot. The only concern I have concerning their relationship is Gwen Stacy's imminent demise and it would be a major bummer to see Emma Stone die.


Of my few complaints, I thought that Garfield was melodramatic at times, but I still preferred it to Maguire's ugly crying from the Raimi films. Some side characters could have been explored more, Aunt May and Captain Stacy, but there was a lot to cover in the two hour film.

Ultimately, I feel that TASM sets itself up to be a quality beginning for future films. Between setting up Oscorp as an important entity and the post credit scene, a sequel seems imminent. TASM combines elements of the previous Spider-Man films along with a more consequential tone that is common among the more recent hero flicks. Above all, I consider it to be a great summer movie, certainly worth the admission.

-Peter

Location:Oak Park, IL