It’s here! It’s Here!

It’s here! It’s Here! Well, it was actually here *Saturday*, but seeing as I was too busy to get the mail until late in the day on *Sunday*…and then again too busy to do anything meaningful about it until today (man, how time flies), it is still “freshly here” for me.

I generally read mine in my “other office”. I consider it the best seat in the house. And when I’m seated there, well, that’s one of the prime times that I’m not staring at a computer screen AND have some time, energy, etc. to read stuff. At least until my two-year-old comes knocking at the door wondering if he can see, but I digress.

crus_vol15_bigFor those of you who are out of the know, I am speaking of the fabulous table-top gaming magazine known as “The Crusader”. Now monthly and up to 36-pages per issue, The Crusader is published by Troll Lord Games and focuses on their flagship product(s): Castles & Crusades with its illustrious SIEGE Engine. It supplements and reinforces one of the greatest strengths of C&C and the SE, their ability to accepting tweaking. They stand up to all sorts of rules hacks without breaking.

The early issues added several different options on how to make multi-classing work. They’ve gone on to include all sorts of flavorful weapons and armor. The musings of the late Gary Gygax on the origins of the game were included serially. And the magazine has gotten even better under veteran James Ward’s watch.

All and all I’m very pleased. I encourage you to have a seat and give it a read.


Movie Review – The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight takes Batman to the limit as he battles the mania of The Joker.

This outstanding rendition jets through with a 9.

After The Dark Knight had already grossed almost $500 million in ticket sales, I finally got my sorry butt into a seat at the theater. It wasn’t a lack of interest as Batman Begins was outstanding. It has been too much time out of the country and out of town of late. Enough of boring old me and back to the real thriller…

The movie was outstanding. Heath Ledger really was the star of the show. He threw himself into being The Joker making it a stupendously powerful character. The Joker’s mania cascaded brilliantly as well as his cold insanity. Ledger is my odds-on favorite for an Oscar for best supporting actor (I am not sure if one can get an Oscar posthumously).

Christian Bale continued to be a solid Batman although I don’t have much to say on his character this time. Michael Caine and Maggie Gyllenhaal were both up to par in their supporting roles as was Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. Aaron Eckhart played the role of Harvey Dent with skill. The new District Attorney Dent came across strongly as the clean-cut, idealistic politician seeking to provide for the public good instead of for himself. Sadly, a rare politician these days. I enjoyed how he played his role with earnest and energy. Certainly, it was a fine cast and excellent acting.

The plot kept me interested and had many fine turns. It seemed to have reached a possible conclusion several times when it suddenly jumped the tracks and moved in a new direction. Well done! Heath Ledger was especially important to the magical plot shifts and surprises. What an outstanding actor! It was good fun to see Batman travel to Hong Kong briefly as I was just wandering around the streets at the base of the buildings in the movie in Hong Kong last September. Good times. The movie kept me interested and emotionally engaged. It thrilled and provided much to think about.

It would be delightful if the next installment is as good.

Movie Review – No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men is a modern western set in Texas by the Coen brothers.

This movie is strong and has character earning a 9.

Josh Brolin is Llewelyn Moss, a hunter that stumbles on to several dead bodies, drugs and a satchel of cash. He figures to retire but hit man Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh is looking for him leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Tommy Lee Jones is the sturdy, stoic sherriff and Woody Harrelson has a bit part as another hit man. Garret Dillahunt (the 4400) is the deputy. The acting was very solid in this masterpiece. Each of these men were strong individuals making their way through the world with their own spin on life. It was hard to know whom to support. They were all made of stone and standing tall.

The plot kept me interested and was plausible. Javier Bardem was completely insane in a very controlled and honest portrayal. It was fun watching him use his little toy throughout the movie. He was a delight to watch. I got a kick out of Woody Harrelson’s character. He was evil but very reasonable.

What can I say? The movie was great. The actors were great, and I walked away very satisfied. I can see why this was nominated for 8 Oscars.

It was a little bloody for those that are a bit squeamish…

Movie Review – Juno

Juno Movie PosterJuno is a delightful story about a girl who is going to give up her baby for adoption when it is born.

This humorous, drama gets a nod with a 9.

Juno (Ellen Page – Kitty Pryde in X-Men 3) is 16 year old junior and decides to have sex with her best friend ending up pregnant. She decides to give the baby up for adoption to an high octane yuppie couple (Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman). This is her story.

Right from the quirky opening credits I knew that I would like it (fine, I had heard good things from a friend). While teen-age pregnancy is nothing to laugh about, this movie made me laugh often as Juno is a sarcastic and clever girl. This is a very upbeat and smart story with the proper amount of sober moments thrown in for balance. It was a great plot and compared very favorably to One Missed Call, which had immediately preceded it.

Ellen Page is a delightful actress. She played the role with spunk and enthusiasm. I look forward to her future work. As much as I hate to say it, Jason Bateman did a good job. Jennifer Garner was wooden and stereotypical for her role. Her face looks like she was starving herself. Maybe that’s how suburban Stepford wives look. She needs a role where she can kick people in the face. Overall, the acting was great. Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute from The Office, also House of 1,000 Corpses, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, he’s funny) had a very funny cameo as the drug store clerk at the beginning.

This movie was great, and I would not be surprised to see Ellen Page nominated for an Oscar or a Golden Globe.

See it and support great cinema.

Harry Potter’s Final Installment and a bit of Bryce…

I’ve been tied up a bit with family stuff…and using whatever free time remained to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have to say, I really liked it. That isn’t really a surprise as I’ve really liked all of them. Perhaps, after digesting a bit, I’ll write a more thorough review. I’m actually surprised not to have seen one from Elric, whom I know to have finished it several days ago….Any thoughts, E?

For now, here’s the latest installment of my tinkering with Bryce-nothing really Seaside Mountain Bryce Rendergroundbreaking as I’m just getting into it again. I’m really just playing with knobs at this point, but will be structuring a learning plan shortly (with help from Doc Pazzazzu)  so that I can make it do, what *I* want it to do.

I’ve got a bunch of half-finished posts that should appear soon (next day or so), but since I need to get to bed,  that’s it for now.

~Adaen of Bridgewater