Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 GM's Jam at Gen Con

16 days to Gen Con! I'm honored to be on the panel for the 2013 GM's Jam, hosted by Zachary Houghton of RPG Blog 2. This free event takes place on Saturday, August 17th from 11am to 12:30pm, in ICC 242. It's a fun opportunity for game masters of any system to talk shop -- discuss problems that happen in games, get advice on planning, and trade your best tips and tricks. I hope to see you there.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Obligatory Pacific Rim review

Perhaps not so much a review as a recommendation:

If you enjoy

a) giant monsters,
b) giant robots, and/or
c) military sci-fi,

then you need to go see this movie, especially on the big screen.

I particularly liked the opening exposition, and the scenes leading up to the title. The first kaiju attack on the Golden Gate Bridge was a favorite and very well done, having the heft and "reality" of suitmation effects.

This gives me great hope for next year's Godzilla, also produced by Legendary Pictures. Now could someone greenlight del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness already?

Friday, July 05, 2013

Upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases

Several long-awaited disc releases are near, and may be of interest to readers of this blog -- gamers, classic horror fans, and pulp fiction aficionados.

Next week sees the release of the next in Synapse Films' Hammer series, Hands of the Ripper. Restored for HD and presented uncut, the DVD/Blu-ray combo includes a featurette about the film, two "motion still galleries", the US television cut introduction, and an isolated music & sound effects track.

One week later, July 16th, finds two noteworthy discs, Black Sabbath and Solomon Kane. Kino brings us Mario Bava's original anthology of three horror tales -- one of which stars Boris Karloff -- on Blu-ray for the first time in the US. I'm a bit disappointed that the US release of the film isn't included.

The other important disc that week, Solomon Kane, is finally appearing on DVD and Blu-ray in the US after seeing discs and a theatrical release in Europe, although it has been on streaming services here. I've heard mixed reactions to this film. I know that I shouldn't expect Howard's version of Kane, so I am just expecting a good period adventure film.

On September 3rd, we find the US version of Dracula, Prince of Darkness. After an initial test of the Region 1 waters, Millennium Films and Hammer start to bring us US versions of restoration project discs already being released in the UK. This looks like a direct port of the Region B disc, and more information including extras and the final cover art may be found in the recent press release. I think the UK cover art is much better. The other important bit, buried in the middle of the press release, is "Millennium is also planning to release several other Hammer Films on Blu-ray later this year including Quartermass and the Pit, The Plague of the Zombies, and The Devil Rides Out."

Finally, a bit further out on October 21st, is The Vincent Price Collection on Blu-ray from Shout Factory. Titles include The Fall of House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, Witchfinder General, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes. All of these titles have been released previously by MGM on DVD under the Midnite Movies banner, and it is unclear right now what sort of remastering and clean-up the titles have been given in HD for Blu-ray. Presumably we will see more details as the date draws near. Despite owning the Midnite Movies releases of each film, I'm bound to pick this up because... it's Vincent Price. On Blu-ray. I'm glad to support the project if we get high quality transfers.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Still here

Between the end of one semester, the beginning of another and a vacation in-between (and overlapping), some time has gone by since my last post. I should get back to a more regular schedule soon.

Tomorrow, a look at some important upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases, and I hope to have two RPG product reviews next week.