This post has been a long time coming, but – as you may have noticed with the site in general as of late – it has taken awhile to get anything posted. I’m not really sure how to start this other than to say it is with great regret that I report the death of one of this site’s co-founders, Dan Braun, who died Oct. 3 at the age of 35.

Dan was the second writer to take up with me when I started a video games feature for AMP Magazine, and when we shifted to Pads & Panels, he was one of four who helped found the site. Because of other obligations, he did not stay active in the site in the last year or two, but he remained a good friend to many of us. We will miss him dearly. (more…)

Title: WWE Superstar Collection: Sheamus

Format: DVD

Studio: WWE Home Video

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Matt Peters

Limiting the number of matches to only six, the WWE Superstars series of releases are more akin to a “best of” rather than the time capsule the usual multi-disc sets usually are. For instance, the 2011 John Cena 3-disc set did a great job of catching fans up on his recent activities while completely ignoring the Superstar’s Basic Thuganomics and Chain Gang eras. Sheamus makes a fantastic heel, and this release serves as a great reminder of those qualities before diving into his current run as a good guy. Besides, what better way to begin than by showing Sheamus beat the living hell out of the current WWE poster child, John Cena? (more…)

Title: Get the Gringo

MPAA Rating: R

Directed by: Adrian Grunberg

Written by: Mel Gibson, Adrian Grunberg

Starring: Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Dolores Heredia

Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Matt Peters

A fair warning to those with phobias, the opening scene of this film features clowns. It’s not just a quick look at clowns, no. This is a prolonged chase featuring Mel Gibson wearing a full on clown mask. Some may take this as a sign that he’s got a sense of humor about his recent behavior. Others may view this as a clear sign that it’s all downhill from here.

As the title and cast list would lead you to believe, the film does in fact take place in Mexico. Gibson’s character, who is never specifically named, hops the border to escape US law enforcement after stealing from a crime lord. (more…)

Title: Chronicle

Format: DVD


Directed by: Josh Trank

Written by: Max Landis

Starring: Dan DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan

Studio: Fox Home Entertainment

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

DVD Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Film

Yes, Chronicle is a “found footage” film. Yes, it is another entry in the ever-crowded superpowers genre of films. And yes, it features a bunch of actors who will come previously unknown to many viewers.

And yet the film finds a way to buck the trends and provide an engaging experience that will leave many viewers satisfied beyond their expectations, but the same things that work to make it interesting also work to undermine what it is trying to accomplish at points. (more…)

Always show up with donuts. Always. Operations Manager Laura O’Brien (left) was certainly happy to see us.

Matt’s Double Fine Adventure

By Matt Peters

This past weekend, the folks at Double Fine Productions were kind enough to give me a tour of their San Francisco studio. Hard at work on several new projects (including the Kickstarted Double Fine Adventure), the entire team still took the time to make me feel welcome. There were a couple things that I was sworn to secrecy about, but I will say this: Be excited! The following gallery depicts the tour my wife and I received at the studio. (more…)

The Disco Exorcist spoofs nostalgia, horror clichés

Review by Jon DePaolis

All cards on the table, I usually don’t like nostalgic movies. This is mostly because I wasn’t alive in the 1970s and I don’t get what the big deal was. So that generation had disco clubs, cocaine and a promiscuous attitude toward sex, but so what? OK … that sounds great. All the same, I didn’t live through it and, to be honest, Sega Genesis and Puff Daddy’s No Way Out suited me just fine.

Where was I? Right, The Disco Exorcist. I’m pretty sure Wild Eye produced this movie just so that it could do a retro horror movie. If that is the case, they succeeded, and I loved it.

The film is shot similar to Grindhouse, with its grainy, old film strip picture. The gore is mostly contained to red corn syrup and old-school sound effects. The plot is even cheesy, with main character Rex (Michael Reed) – a notorious ladies man – sleeping around on a witch who subsequently tries to kill him. Disco Exorcist is basically softcore porn with a horror movie attached to it, but if we are really getting down to brass tax, what horror movie isn’t these days? (more…)

Title: John Carter

Format: Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

Written by: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Willem Dafoe

Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

Blu-ray 3D Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The Film

John Carter may be best known in retrospect as a bad business decision. One that saw a lot of money spent and not nearly as much made. And that comes, I think, primarily from its source material.

John Carter is the kind of fiction that has attained a certain cult status – an incredibly loyal contingent of followers staunchly stand by the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi adventure – but may be entirely unfamiliar to general audiences. And ultimately what happened is a group of those loyal followers pushed to get this made, and the mass audiences just weren’t there.

But that doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the film. Financial success doesn’t always speak to quality, of course, but in this case there does seem to be a connection. What John Carter struggles with most is finding, or creating, an identity for itself. By the end of 132 minutes, we’ve all seen a lot of fantastic things but are left caring about very little of it. (more…)

Title: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Format: Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

Written by: Eric Roth

Starring: Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, Max von Sydow

Studio:Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Sarah Jones

The Film

Almost everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they found out about the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. Some were directly affected, knowing someone who was killed in the attacks or in the rescue efforts.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close portrays such a story, but it is also a story about trying to move on after losing a loved one and trying to find meaning in the pieces they leave behind. (more…)

Title: Wayne of Gotham

Author: Tracy Hickman

Publisher: It Books, HarperCollins Publishers

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Jon DePaolis

How much do we really know about our past?

The very set of memories that are supposed to define and determine our present and future selves tend to be the set of memories that are least reliable. How much can we truly remember about our lives after years have gone by — distancing us from those memories to the point where it is as if those memories were actually scenes from a movie instead of vignettes of reality?

Tracy Hickman’s Wayne of Gotham attempts to answer the question of how fragile and disconnected our own memories are. In order to achieve that end, Hickman crafts two stories. The first has a son trying to piece together shattered memories of his parents after a villain puts in motion a complicated maze of crime. The second, set approximately 50 years earlier, sees a young adult rebelling against his abusive father, in turn making questionable decisions in the name of morality. (more…)

Product: Nintendo Skyward Sword Cap

Company: ThinkGeek

Review by: Archie Easter

As far as gaming series go, Zelda is a fairly cherished and storied franchise, so when Nintendo decides to release merchandise for the series, it’s usually pretty good.

This cap released by the company for the series’ newest game, Skyward Sword, is no exception. This fitted cap is all black with a golden Skyward Sword and Triforce logo emblazoned in reflective paint across the front. The effect works fairly well, as the logo practically glows when worn in direct sunlight. (more…)

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