Joe Schreiber mows down zombies in a galaxy far, far away in ‘Star Wars: Death Troopers’ (Book review)

If you’re in the right mood, movies about some guy mowing down a bunch of reanimated corpses — Peter Jackson’s “Dead Alive” comes to mind — can be quite amusing and entertaining. But in book form, the same storyline can wear a little thin.

Continue reading “Joe Schreiber mows down zombies in a galaxy far, far away in ‘Star Wars: Death Troopers’ (Book review)”

She & Him: The best grammatically incorrect duo in recent memory (Music review)

Like 99 percent of She & Him listeners, I discovered Zooey Deschanel’s singing talents through her film work. Many were hooked when she sang a short song in “Elf.” But it took me until last year’s “(500) Days of Summer,” in which she soft-sings “To die by your side / Is such a heavenly way to die” to Tom in the elevator and covers another Smiths song on the soundtrack.

Continue reading “She & Him: The best grammatically incorrect duo in recent memory (Music review)”

5 random observations about current TV shows (Commentary)

1. “10 Things I Hate About You” recently returned, and it hasn’t missed a beat from its run last summer. Although it more openly admits to being aimed at all ages, “10 Things” is treading the path paved before it by “Lizzie McGuire” and “Zoey 101” — two other shows about teenagers with humor for adults. For example, when Kat complains about how the school is “violating our Constitutional rights,” Bianca says, “God, you’re like a live feed from C-SPAN.” It’s slightly too witty for believable teen-speak, but it’s just right for adults who find the clichés of teen worries equally relevant and absurd.

Continue reading “5 random observations about current TV shows (Commentary)”

A boy named Boba: Bounty hunter’s origin story continues in ‘The Clone Wars’ (TV commentary)

When Boba Fett appeared 30 years ago in “The Empire Strikes Back” wearing Mandalorian armor (so named in the “Empire” novelization) that was associated with the Clone Wars (a vague concept mentioned by Obi-Wan in the first movie), the logical assumption was that he was a Mandalorian mercenary who fought in the Clone Wars.

Continue reading “A boy named Boba: Bounty hunter’s origin story continues in ‘The Clone Wars’ (TV commentary)”

‘Angry Video Game Nerd’ is pure nostalgic bliss … and anger (Commentary)

The “Angry Video Game Nerd” (type in that phrase on YouTube or go to his website) uses modern production values (film clips and staged scenes to go along with the typical voice-over-game-footage) to capture the nostalgia of vintage games. There are a lot of video game reviewers on YouTube, but no one brings back those old cartridges like the AVGN (actually named James Rolfe).

Continue reading “‘Angry Video Game Nerd’ is pure nostalgic bliss … and anger (Commentary)”

‘Life Unexpected’s’ Baze-or-Ryan: Shades of Jordan-or-Brian? (TV commentary)

If you’re worried about the fate of “Life Unexpected,” the ending of the first season couldn’t have made you feel too good about its chances for renewal by The CW. Baze bursts into the church right after the minister’s classic “Any objections?” line that only happens in movies and TV shows. Cate stares at him for a moment … and then kisses her groom, Ryan.

Continue reading “‘Life Unexpected’s’ Baze-or-Ryan: Shades of Jordan-or-Brian? (TV commentary)”

Uh oh, ‘24’ is back to its old (stupid) tricks (TV commentary)

Chloe is put in charge of CTU; Renee and Jack have sex less than an hour after Jack found President Hassan dead; Hassan’s widow agrees to take over as IRK president; the Russians pull out of the peace talks, blatantly suggesting that they have hidden motives; President Taylor goes to criminal ex-President Charles Logan for help; and the secretary of state who had a heart attack two hours ago is back at work.

Continue reading “Uh oh, ‘24’ is back to its old (stupid) tricks (TV commentary)”

In search of the next ‘Lost?’ It’s already here, and it’s called ‘Fringe’ (TV commentary)

A recent issue of Entertainment Weekly examined networks’ efforts to find the next “Lost,” in terms of both quality and ratings, and determined that nothing fits the bill. I disagree: “Fringe” (8 p.m. Thursdays on Fox) — like “Lost,” produced by J.J. Abrams — is as good as “Lost” (maybe better), and it’s successful enough that it has been renewed for a third season.

Continue reading “In search of the next ‘Lost?’ It’s already here, and it’s called ‘Fringe’ (TV commentary)”

Hold onto this throwaway album from Butch Walker (Music review)

Butch Walker’s latest album was, according to the liner notes, “written and recorded in 5 days at RubyRed Productions in Santa Monica, CA.” I’m not surprised. Not because the album is rushed and sloppy, but because it’s really good — but in a breezy, effortless way that I’ve come to associate with the artist.

Continue reading “Hold onto this throwaway album from Butch Walker (Music review)”