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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale and Wrap-Up

Posted March 19th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review — The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale

As a nerd with Internet access, it's hard not to get caught up in the drumbeats of war over our favorite shows, movies, or games—Mass Effect fans are doing so as we speak over the ending to Mass Effect 3. Fans of The Walking Dead began beating that drum shortly after a decently satisfactory first season, when news hit that showrunner Frank Darabont was unceremoniously dropped from the show. Perhaps because it was announced in tandem with budget cuts, fans were equal parts furious at the change and terrified that the second season would suffer for it. And suffer it did. The interminable campout at Herschel Greene's farm is as cruelly stagnant as one can imagine a show about zombies could be, with any budget. It only picked up in the second half of the season, capping off with last night's finale.

But the first half of the season? When nothing substantial happened for full episodes at a time? That's when Frank Darabont's influence was still guiding the show. Glen Mazzara's takeover didn't fully take effect until the mid-season return this spring. And aside from a major hiccup in Episode 11, it has largely exceeded expectations under his watch. So maybe there's a reason to look forward to a third season that can not only outdo the second, but also make up for it. There is certainly reason to think so after the major dust-up of Episode 13, "Over the Dying Fire."

After a recap, it's time to evaluate the season as a whole and whether it's worth it to keep trudging through zombieland with these people. As always, spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, zombies, kirkman, tv

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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REVIEW — Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith

Posted March 14th 2012 by Frankie Aguilar.

Book Review - Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith

For anyone unfamiliar with Kevin Smith, hearing him speak or reading anything written by him for the first time can be a jarring experience. Mr. Smith is a curt and unfiltered gentleman, prone to penis metaphors and graphic, if not romantic, depictions of his wife's nether regions. At the end of the day, above all else, the dude is honest. There may not be a more transparent "celebrity" in the realm of public awareness. And that transparency, along with foul-mouthed philosophy, is on display in his latest book, the quasi-advice tome: Tough Sh*t. Equal parts salient memoir, stream of consciousness and nerd success blueprint, the book is quintessential Kevin Smith. Filled to the bindings with anecdotal evidence of his rise from New Jersey–bred obscurity through the ranks of the indie movie zeitgeist, Smith is here to let you know that it wasn't easy: it was tough shit.

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Tags: books, kevin smith, movies, Comics, hit somebody

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E12

Posted March 12th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review - The Walking Dead S2E12

"Better Angels" opens with the funeral of a fallen comrade and an entreaty to the titular better angels of human nature. In his eulogy, Rick proposes to honor Dale's memory by recommitting to Dale's rational, humanist ideals, and to the group from breaking. Thankfully, this is dramatic irony, and the group only serves to split even further throughout the episode. It would be very funny of the show to actually follow through with the promise to work together better, and then have the season finale just be one long hour of the group enjoying the fruits of their labors. And then I would stop watching the show altogether.  Nevertheless, a good portion of the early scenes involve Rick and company doing their very best to make the camp safe, as sure a sign as any television viewer might need to figure out that all hell is about to break loose.

As always, spoilers ahead. Behind, too, if you weren't aware that Dale is dead now.

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Tags: the walking dead, Comics, tv, zombies

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E11

Posted March 5th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review — The Walking Dead S2E11

The Walking Dead sucks again, officially. For perhaps the first time since the show premiered, churchgoing fans of The Walking Dead can honestly say that the hour spent singing Sunday morning hymns compared favorably in excitement to the hour spent watching Rick and his family decide whether or not to execute a man they spent the previous two episodes saving from death. Episode 11 - "Judge, Jury, Executioner" is a terrible, frustrating entry in the series that kills the momentum generated from the previous three-episode winning streak, setting back the season and even the series as a whole considerably. Spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, tv, zombies

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E10

Posted February 27th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review - The Walking Dead S2E10

THREE FOR THREE. It's hard to imagine after the conga-line of missteps in the first half of season two, but The Walking Dead has been hitting the right targets consistently since it returned this year. In fact, it's getting better by the episode. Last night's episode, "18 Miles Out," was so solid that while live-tweeting the episode on the NerdMentality account, I struggled to think of anything to say other than "Holy shit!" and "Oh ya ya ya ya ya ya ya." We can only wait and see if the showrunners can maintain this momentum, but "18 Miles Out" is the best the series has had to offer since the premiere. Spoilers ahead.

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Tags: zombies, tv, walking dead

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E9

Posted February 20th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

The Walking Dead S2E9

Maybe it's just because I am closely scrutinizing the show for the purposes of these recap/reviews, but it's hard not to see the boardroom efficiency of the way Episode 9 - "Triggerfinger" deals with the three plot seeds that were planted in Episode 8. There is the hot, medium, and cold porridge. Rick's standoff carries the episode with plenty of gore and suspense, Lori's accident is dealt with quickly enough that it almost feels like a gyp, and Beth's "sickness" is ignored almost completely, to be saved for later. Like a modern medical marvel, the episode was engineered to be both fast-acting and long-lasting.

But don't let my cynicism get you down: this was probably as good as the show will get without major retooling (or de-tooling, i.e. kill Andrea). Judging using the most basic math available, on the merits of how well it followed up on previous plotlines, it was exactly 2/3 good. As always, spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, zombies

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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Mass Effect 3 Demo/Multiplayer Impressions (Spoiler free!)

Posted February 14th 2012 by Anthony DiPalma.

The long wait for Bioware's third installment of the Mass Effect trilogy is about to come to an end. Early this morning, the demo for Mass Effect 3 was finally released. The demo contains two single player missions and, for the first time in the series, online multiplayer. Since Bioware announced the inclusion of multiplayer integration in the Mass Effect story, fans have been weary, and rightfully so. Mass Effect is often described as an experience centered around the player, their choices, and the consequences of their actions. Those who purchased Battlefield 3 and redeemed an online pass were able to play today, but others will have to wait until February 17th to play online. Does the demo offer players enough content to be satisfied, and more importantly, is the new multiplayer component any good?

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Tags: Demo, Mass Effect 3

Posted in: Reviews, Gaming

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E8

Posted February 13th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

The Walking Dead

Like a Heavyweight boxing match, the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead started out explosively strong, quickly degenerated into a lot of shuffling around with occasional jabs, finally erupting in the mid-season finale with a stinging gut punch.

The season is back on, starting with Episode 8, "Nebraska." The return of the season is a return to the slow shuffle that makes me feel dead inside. There are a few decent jabs, though, and one extended tense scene that—along with the sneak peek at Episode 9—gives me hope that this show can start landing more solid punches. As always, spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, television

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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BOOK REVIEW - Diablo III: Book of Cain

Posted January 23rd 2012 by Frankie Aguilar.

Now, before any of you start Googling my address in order to come steal my advanced copy of Diablo III, understand that this is indeed a book review. Yes, another book review on a gaming site. But this is no ordinary codex, as a matter of fact this is one of the most badass pieces of gaming literature I've ever had the pleasure of getting my hands on. The Book of Cain is an encyclopedic analysis of the world of Sanctuary in which the Diablo series takes place. It chronicles heavenly and hellish forces' eternal battle for humanity, the origins of man, and so much more. Although this book was technically written by veteran novelist Flint Dille, you can be certain this book will echo subconsciously with the grizzled dictations of Deckard Cain himself.

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Tags: diablo, Diablo III, blizzard, insight editions, PC

Posted in: Reviews, News, Gaming, Entertainment

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REVIEW — Hidden in Plain Sight

Posted January 16th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Long before I technically completed my tenure of childhood, I began to regret that I would not get to play enough Duck, Duck, Goose before I was too old to do so.  Grown-ups never trotted out the old game too often, and most of it is spent waiting for your turn—when it doesn't come, the feeling of lack carries over until the next chance to play.  Around eight or nine, I realized that it was possible I had already played my last round, and that next chance would never arrive. It remains one of the principal regrets of my life.

Duck, Duck, Goose isn't unique in this case; the myriad of childhood activities that I could see marked for death upon advancing teenagehood caused me more stress than I like to imagine children face regarding the evanescence of time.  Years before the imagined expiration date I had assigned them, activities like watching cartoons, playing with G.I. Joes, and climbing trees became what I can only term Childhood Guilty Pleasures. Like Nineteen Eighty-Four's  Winston Smith and his doomed covert meetings with Julia, I could not fully enjoy myself because of the inevitable, advancing wall of childhood oblivion.

To some degree, I empathize with LARPers who fail or refuse to make the choice to leave childhood behind, and I am thankful that my generation has laid somewhat of a bulwark against total Adultivity. I still watch cartoons, I don't hesitate to hop on the swings at a playground, and I play more videogames than my own children. Occasionally, I stumble upon one that plays to the sensibilities of those Childhood Guilty Pleasures. Adam Spragg's Hidden in Plain Sight is just such a game.

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Tags: xbox360, Indie, xblig, hidden in plain sight

Posted in: Reviews, Gaming

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