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Dragonslayer - Reviewed by Randy Miller

Copyright 1981, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions, All Rights Reserved. Starring Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke and Sir Ralph Richardson, Music by Alex North

Let me begin by saying that no movie collection is complete without Dragonslayer. If you do not own it, search for it and buy it.Dragonslayer is the story of the wizard’s apprentice Galen (Peter MacNicol) and his attempt to fulfill the request of a group of villagers after his master, Ulric (Sir Ralph Richardson) meets an untimely demise. The villagers journey all the way from their homes to seek the help of Ulric and ask him to slay an ancient dragon that is plaguing their lands. Character actor, Sydney Bromley, plays a wonderful Hodge while the “Emperor” from Star Wars, Ian McDiarmid, even makes an appearance as a holy man before being burned alive by the dragon.

This movie is fantastic. While some of the younger generation may not appreciate them, the stunning and gritty visual effects stand the test of time. This movie was made when Disney was not afraid to be associated with quality work. I love models, animatronics and clay. The only cheesy part is really a quick shot of Galen on the back of the dragon’s neck. A great storyline complete with sacrificial lotteries to quell the dragon’s hunger, a Captain of the Guard that you hate in your first viewing but around the fifth or sixth you understand him. And let’s not forget the support of a powerful and dramatic score! As you all know, music can make or break a movie. Alex North gives us plenty of heart-pounding beats and dramatic woodwinds that keep you on the edge of your seat.

What are you waiting for, grab a copy, your D&D friends and spend a night watching a movie! Hey, dice need rest too!

Classic DVD Review - Dragonslayer

Storyline – 10  Acting – 8   Special Effects – 9   Music – 9   Test of Time – 9
Overall Rating: 9
Classic Movie Review -
Night of the Comet

Storyline – 6  Acting – 6   Special Effects – 7   Music – 5   Test of Time – 8
Overall Rating: 7

Night of the Comet  -Reviewed by Rod Edwards

Copyright 1984, MGM, All Rights Reserved.  Starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney and Robert Beltran.

This is a triumph for B-Movie Fans around the world. Night of the Comet is now on DVD. With a modest budget and a handful of great B-List actors, this film would go on to become the best zombie-comedy-action flick of all time. The second best, Shaun of the Dead, came out just a couple of years ago, but thank goodness it did. If it hadn't, this movie would still only be availble of videocassette. Regardless... on with the review.

NOTC follows the story of Regina (Stewart) and Samantha (Maroney), two sisters from Southern California that survive worldwide devastation brought on by a passing comet. Most exposed individuals were instantly turned to dust, but some, who were partially exposed, turned into blood-thirsty zombies. Along the way, they meet a young truck driver named Hector (Beltran) who helps them fight off the the baddies.  

Despite it's premise, NOTC is a clever, fun, well-paced film. It's a movie that knows that it's goals are not lofty and comfortably takes us along for the ride. Also, aside from the supporting roles which are expectedly two dimensional, the movie is surprisingly well-acted. The stars of this film, Catherine Mary Stewart (The Last Starfighter), Kelli Maroney (Choppin' Mall) and Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager) are do an awesome job with this light material..The special effects are an exercise in budget control, but director Thom Eberhardt does the best he has with what he's got.

This film is scary, funny and more than worthy of a viewing, if not a being a permanent part of your dvd collection.

New DVD Review - Life On Mars - The Complete Series

Storyline – 8  Acting – 8   Special Effects – 9   Music – 10
Overall Rating: 9 
Life On Mars-The Compete Series - Reviewed by Rod  Edwards

Copyright 2009, ABC Television, All Rights Reserved. Starring Jason O'Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli and Gretchen Mol

After being hit by a car while apprehending a murderer in 2008, Det. Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara) regains consciousness to find himself working as a detective in the 1970s. As he struggles to figure out if he is truly stuck in the past or stuck in a coma, he does what he does best - bring in the bad guys. Meanwhile, the line between fantasy and reality becomes massively blurred as the cases he's trying to solve in 1973 offer clues to the future/present.

I loved this show and I wish it had found the audience it was looking for, but it never did. Based on the BBC limited series of the same name, Jason O'Mara as Sam Tyler really keeps the show lucid and intriguing and Gretchen Mol (Annie Norris) adds smart sexual tension to the shows predominately male cast. Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt seems a bit heavy handed at first, but when you consider that he is channeling a 1970's police lieutenant, it starts to work very well. 

The music for this series deserves to be noticed as a character as well. From David Bowie's title track to The Who's Baba O'Reilly  and other great 70's gems like Life is a Rock, this show creates an 8-Track soundtrack that sets the mood for each episode.

Even though this ABC series was short-lived, they gave the producers enough time to give the show a proper ending. While the final result was only semi-satisfying, at least some closure was given to viewers.

Book Review - Industry Talk

Tone – 10  Presentation - 8
Data – 9
Overall Rating: 9/10
Copyright 2012, Written by Jennifer Brozeck

I have been a fan and follower of Jennifer Brozek for some time now and when I discovered she was publishing Industry Talk: an insider's look at writing RPG's and editing anthologies, I was very eager to read about her advice and experiences in the role-playing game industry. As an RPG writer with a handful of published adventures under my belt and a full length tabletop game on the way, I figured that indirectly picking Mrs. Brozek's brain would be a great way to learn more about this world which I chose to enter. My only concern was that at 98 pages, how much could I hope to glean (or pick, in this case) about "the business"? How was I going to learn the secrets of the universe in 98 pages? Here's what I discovered.  

Industry Talk is a collection of Jennifer Brozek's columns, Dice and Deadlines and The Making of an Anthology, about the ins and outs of the world of game design and anthology publication, respectively. Out of the 98 pages, 46 are devoted the RPG side and 33 are set aside for anthology editing.

The first part is a wonderful collection about survival in the field of RPG freelancing. It's is filled with some great advice that Jennifer has mined from her 20+ years in business. Whether you want to know how to manage a freelance career schedule or the best way to look for work (in every sense of the phrase), Jennifer will guide you through these topics (and many more) on the way towards a better understanding of the RPG industry. While every section of this collection is informative and fun, I really enjoyed the one entitled "You Don't Have to Fail for Me to Succeed". Her views on karma and collaboration are a much needed shot of solidarity that more RPG companies (big or small) should adopt.

The second part, which focuses on the field of anthology editing, was a surprisingly enlightening read. At this point in my career, the thought of anthology editing is the furthest from my mind. However, I still found this section very useful. The topics concerning the story selection and proof-reading processes make this section worth the time.   

For my part, there were none. It would be nice to see a follow up or a full-fledged "how to".  

This book was a pleasure to read. Jennifer's relaxed, conversational style is comforting and encouraging without the Pollyanna sugar coating. Whether she is discussing the perils of contract negotiation or the necessity of persistence, she provides a "no-nonsense" approach to the information at hand. Thank goodness! I can't tell you how many "informative" books I have read where the author spent three hundred pages dancing around the subject matter, when he could have given me the skinny in ninety.  

Based on the amount of information and the light and breezy format, I'm giving Industry Talk a rating of 9 out of 10.

Industry Talk - Reviewed by Rod Edwards
DVD, movie, game and book reviews
Fluxx Card Game - Reviewed by Randy Miller
As of late, I have been organizing a lot of family game nights.  With a 6 and a 9 year old, girl and boy, respectively and my reality-grounded wife, it's tough. Card games seem to do better than board games as my wife grows bored of the latter.

So, I walked through my FLGS and yet again, I picked up FLUXX.  I read the backs of the original and a few of the expansions/spin-offs (Zombie, Wizard of Oz, etc.). After walking around the store with the original in my hand, I finally bought it.

The game centers around basic rules and no apparent way to win at the beginning of play. It is easy to learn but gets a little confusing for younger and non-avid card players. My son needed more than a little guidance and he is pretty good at games.  It goes without saying that we led my daughter through the game but, she had fun as we all sat together once more at family game night. My wife and I tried to enjoy it but perhaps we are too old and set in the way card games are played, with a goal from start to finish.

FLUXX is mildly entertaining, but far too generic for my taste. The goal changes constantly without any rhyme or reason and there are more than two cards that make everyone's hand switch or all cards null and void.   This is frustrating to say the least.  The original/generic set is too pricy. I could see shelling out a few more bucks for Oz or Star Trek but the generic is generic and with no licensing costs, shouldn't it cost less?     

So, my last thoughts are, anyone want to buy a slightly used set of FLUXX cards? 

2 to 6 Players
8 to Adult
5 to 30 minutes to play

Overall Rating: 5/10