11.19.2014

BIG HERO 6

With so many superhero movies aimed at adult fans of comic books, it's refreshing to have one made pretty much for little kids.  Big Hero 6, inspired by a Marvel comic book and made by Walt Disney Studios, is entertaining, if a little simple for the older viewer.
Sometime in the slightly futuristic city of San Fransokyo, robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a teenager making money and getting in trouble by entering robot fighting games.  His older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) wants Hiro to do more, which Hiro resists until Tadashi brings him to his university.  Hiro loves the advanced technology, likes Tadashi's scientist friends -- burnout Fred (T.J. Miller), happy Wasabi (Daymon Wayans Jr.), flower power-type Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodrigues), edgy cool chick Go Go (Jamie Chung) -- plus robotics legend Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell).  Hiro also likes Tadashi's creation Baymax (Scott Adsit), an inflatable medical robot (that, for comedic purposes, sounds and acts drunk when its battery is low).

Hiro's application project for the school is microbots, small robots that all combine together and are controlled by a headband.  Everyone loves it; businessman Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk) wants to buy them, but Hiro passes.  Hiro's accepted, but before he can celebrate the school burns down, killing Tadashi and Robert, plus destroying all of Hiro's microbots.

Or did it?  Weeks later, as Hiro is moping and Baymax tries to help him, Hiro finds a microbot -- and it's pulling towards others.  That leads Hiro and Baymax to a villain in a kabuki mask controlling massive numbers of microbots -- that he uses to try and kill Hiro!
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Hiro decides that "Kabuki Man" stole his microbots and set the fire that killed Tasashi and John to cover it up.  Since the police don't believe him, Hiro decides it's up to him to find and capture the villain.  He upgrades Baymax with everything from kung-fu skills to battle armor with jets and a rocket fist.  He also talks Fred, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Go Go to help, making them armors that match their interests and personalities.  And then they're off to find and expose Kabuki Man -- while unraveling a mystery about a bird logo.


Big Hero 6 is both fun and basic.  The animation is nice, and the action sequences are well done.  But this is fairly typical superhero origin story material -- loss, anger, redemption -- and the movie only has two sequences with the six heroes together.  Big Hero 6 is likable, but definitely more for kids than grown-up superhero fans.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

11.16.2014

BIRDMAN

 Here's an unusual mix of a movie.  Birdman: or, (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is part comedy, part drama, part roman a clef, part theater, part satire, and part insanity -- overlaid with a jazzy drumbeat.

Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, who's something of a dark parody of Keaton.  Riggan had been a blockbuster movie star playing Birdman in three movies over two decades ago.  Now he's a washed-up actor, staking everything -- his reputation, his finances, even his sanity -- on a Broadway production of  theRaymond Carver short story "What We Talk About When We Talk about Love"  that Riggan adapted, directs, produces, and stars in.
 Naturally, the play -- still in previews -- seems to have nothing but problems.  Riggan's lawyer and friend Jake (Zack Galifanakis) is working to keep everything working together.  Riggan's cynical daughter Sam (Emma Stone) is fresh out of rehab and wandering around as an assistant.  Laura (Andrea Riseborough) is one of the plays' stars, and tells Riggan that she's having their baby.  When a stage accident takes out an actor, Broadway newcomer Leslie (Naomi Watts) brings in her boyfriend Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), who's box office and critical gold; he's also amazingly hard to work with.  Oh, and when he's alone Riggan hallucinates that he has superpowers and that Birdman is talking to him to get him to do more Birdman movies.
Birdman is a whole lot of things, as it meanders from comedy to introspection to fantasy to drama as much as the (seemingly) single camera shot that jumps from characters to characters for the whole movie.   While it works, it's also disjointed and somewhat disorienting.  The movie has terrific acting, and there are plenty of laughs (especially the Times Square walk) and moments of tenderness and discovery.  But it's hard to settle in and enjoy or appreciate one scene or tone before the movie jumps into a new one.  Birdman is definitely unique and enjoyable, but I wish it had come together or held together a little bit tighter.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch


11.12.2014

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT PORTFOLIO: IDYLLIC SHORES

When Sports Illustrated released its Idyllic Shores magazine special, it was a taste of what was coming.  Well, that day has arrived with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Portfolio: Idyllic Shores -- and its very familiar to those who read the magazine special.

The Portfolio contains all the photographs of the models that were in the magazine special, plus the exact same introduction and comments that introduce each model's photographs.  So why go with the Portfolio instead or or in addition to the magazine special?  A couple of reasons, actually.

The Portfolio is a coffee table book, meaning the photos are larger -- and the beauty of the models and the locales are brought out more with the bigger area.  Also, there are additional photos for many of the models, giving something with the Portfolio that's not available in the magazine special.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Portfolio: Idyllic Shores might have been more exciting if so much of it wasn't already shown in its magazine preview.  But that's doesn't detract from the absolute beauty of these models and the locations -- or the extra photographs of this book.
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch









11.09.2014

Taylor Swift, 1989 (deluxe version)

There's something refreshing about Taylor Swift finally ending her county-pop hybrid music albums and releasing a "pure" pop album.  1989 (deluxe version) has a dual significance to its name: It's the year she was born, and it also has the pop sound and sensibility of the 1980s.  And the deluxe version from Target (disclaimer: I work for Target, but not in their artificial intelligence division) has three extra songs and her notes/demo versions of three other songs.

lifIt's no surprise that almost all the songs on 1989 are about romance (except for the generational love/hate song "New Romantics") -- but there's a nice spectrum.  There are plenty of sappy, feel-good love songs, like "How You Get the Girl" and "You Are in Love."  There are also lost of post-romance tunes, from the longing "I Wish You Would" to the angry "Bad Blood" and the recovering romantic "Clean."

This time, though, Taylor is aware of her past/reputation and works that into the music.  Several of the songs, such as "Blank Slate" and "Wonderland,"  have her knowing that dating her will be both great and terrible ("life was never worse but never better").  "Shake It Off" is about Taylor's reputation for short-lived relationships; or her impromptu dancing; or dealing with bullies and criticism in general.

1989 (deluxe version) is an entertaining album.  Swift's voice hits the right notes for both bouncy fluff and tearjerker songs.  The songs are all solidly in the world of pop, but they all work in there (although I found "Bad Blood" to be a little too sing-song-y).  The bonus tracks are good (though I could take or leave the "songwriting voice memos" at the end) and this is very enjoyable to listen to multiple times.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch


11.03.2014

NIGHTCRAWLER

As the news becomes more violent and sensationalized, it makes sense that there are those ready to help with the exploitation for money and fame.  This is the world of Nightcrawler, a drama about one man who finds his calling filming and selling the worst Los Angeles has to offer.

Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is odd.  When he talks, his speech is filled with self-empowerment phrases, business theories, and lots of ambition.  But he's unemployed, living in a tiny apartment, and a thief who's willing to get violent to get what he wants.  When Lou sees Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) arrive at an accident to film it and sell it to the news, Lou is hooked.

Lou pawns his latest theft to get a camcorder and police scanner, and then he's off at his new job: speeding through the L.A. streets to be the first to videotape and sell accidents.  He starts selling his footage to Nina (Renee Russo), the morning news director for a local tv station who explains that they don't just want blood and death, but material that makes their upscale viewers nervous: urban violence in suburban areas.  Lou also hires Rick (Riz Ahmed), a homeless and desperate kid whose only qualifications seem to be his ability to use a cell phone to guide Lou through the streets.  (Lou strings Rick along with promises of a potential raise at a future performance review.)  And Lou's off on his nighttime quest for murders, crashes, and other material he can shoot and sell.

Nightcrawler is a very good, one-person-focused drama.  While it's hardly a revelation that news is more interested in ratings and demographics than truth or information, this film shows what can happen to the audience (and the news field) when sensationalism takes over.  As for Gyllenhaal, it's on him to carry the movie -- and he does so quite well.  He makes Lou Bloom an enigma, someone who may be a sociopath, or just arrogant and humble at once, or just disconnected with the rest of humanity.  The movie might have worked better if the morally-questionable final scenes were introduced a little earlier in the movie, but Nightcrawler is entertaining and disquieting.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

10.31.2014

RIFFTRAX LIVE: ANACONDA

SNAAAAAKE!  Ahem.  I've been fortunate enough not have seen Anaconda, a giant snake horror movie that somehow managed to star Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, and Owen Wilson.  That changed last night, thanks to the comic comments of the Rifftrax crew of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.  Rifftrax Live: Anaconda had lots of terrific comments on this terrible movie.
Before the feature, Rifftrax Live: Anaconda featured fake movie trivia and items, riffing on the Halloween short "Halloween Party," and a preview of the next Rifftrax takeover of the National Geographic channel.  After that, it was on to the wretched feature.  Most of the jokes centered on Jon Voight's inexplicable horrible accent and odd facial expression.  But there was plenty of other material to mock in the movie, from the cheap special effects of the snakes to the infamous "waterfall flowing up" to Ice Cube trying to sound and act tough in this movie.  The results were very good, as there were lots and lots of laugh-out-loud moments (not to mention frequent Owen Wilson impersonations).  Rifftrax Live: Anaconda shows that the Rifftrax trio can create so much fun with so much bad material.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

10.27.2014

Weezer, EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT IN THE END

Weezer is back!  The alternative rockers seem to be taking stock of themselves -- the music scene, a few disappointing albums, and growing up and growing old -- with their latest release Everything Will Be Alright in the End.

It's hard to separate the personal and professional on this album.  Is the lonely (but rockin') opening "Ain't Got Nobody" about a lack of romance  or a seemingly vanishing fan base?  )"Ain't got nobody/to really love me:)  What about "Foolish Father," which could be about making amends with a flawed parent ("forgive your foolish father/he did the best that he could do") or the flawed music scene music scene ("simple love songs/drenched in boring love songs/coming out a long song").

Of course, Weezer is aware of their growing history as a rock band, and the problems that come with it.  "Back to the Shack" has the band singing about returning to their roots, as well as society going back to music ("let's turn up the radio/let's turn off those stupid singing shows") while "Eulogy for a Rock Band" is an almost-touching goodbye to those bands we love and know are gone for good.  And it's hard to miss the frustration with the fans and audience in "I've Had It up to Here."

The lyrics, singing, and music all work well on Everything Will Be Alright in the End.  There's even a slick sense of humor, like having the unabashedly romantic "Da Vinci" followed by a song where the woman tells the man "Go away, go away" repeatedly.  I was disappointed with the songs "The British are Coming" and "Cleopatra," but the rest of the album works very well.  The album ends with "The Futurescape Trilogy," three songs (two instrumental) that suggest yes, things will be alright after all.  Let's hope that that's a sign Weezer isn't done with music, or us, yet.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

10.20.2014

FRIDAY THE 13TH: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE

Horror movies rely as much on their music as their monsters or gore to bring tension and fear to a movie.  While the Friday the 13th movies may be best known for its hockey-masked killer (at least from the third one onwards), Friday the 13th: Original Motion Picture Score demonstrates how Harry Manfredini's music helped propel these movies to their success.

Friday the 13th: Original Motion Picture Score manages to capture the slashing feel of the slasher flick with many sudden, jarring bursts of the violin.  The music draws out the tension with long notes, has the drama of the chase often, and its closing "The Boat in the Water/Jason in the Lake" reflects the serenity and sudden surprise that wraps up the movie.

This soundtrack does have its share of flaws.  Many of the songs borrow/steal from Bernard Herrmann's music from Psycho.  The non-horrific "Banjo Travelin'" and "Sail Away, Tiny Sparrow" feel out of place, not contrasting the horror of the other music but giving a jarring contrast.  And the movie's iconic chant "ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-ma" is used so often it quickly becomes, er, overkill.

Friday the 13th: Original Motion Picture Score manages to match the scares and slashes of its movie perfectly, and it works pretty well on its own.  While it's neither wholly original nor flawless, this is ideal mood music -- if you're in the mood for fear.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

10.14.2014

GONE GIRL

Marriage, media, and possible murder all combine and coalesce in the new film Gone Girl.  This movie is very dark, excellently acted, and wickedly funny.
Gone Girl opens with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returning to his Missouri home on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing and signs of a violent struggle.  At first, Detective Rhoda Boney (Kim Dickens) isn't sure about what happened, and the community rallies together to find Amy (called "Awesome Amy" after the children's book character her parents based on her).  But Nick's poor appearances in the media make him the prime suspect; and his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) supports Nick but soon starts finding out Nick's numerous dirty secrets.


And Amy?  We see and learn about her through her journal entries -- and her marriage to Nick.  At first they were blissful, successful newlyweds living and working in Manhattan.  But when they were both laid off and money ran low, they moved to Nick's hometown.  Amy becomes more fearful of Nick's violent side, as their marital problems lead to hear fears that Nick could hurt her, or even kill her.  And then there's a big change...

Gone Girl is a combination murder mystery and social commentary.  The movie offers plenty of evidence that Nick might be innocent -- or that his secrets and demons could have destroyed his once-perfect marriage.  At the same time, everything plays out in the court of public opinion, whether it's the Nancy Grace-style reporter Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle) who spends all her time arguing that Nick is a guilty sociopath, or Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry), Nick's celebrity lawyer who's as focused on public perception as on the law.  And we get to see the pressures of marriage that certainly had an impact on both Nick and Amy.

This all works together thanks to some terrific actors, directed by David Fincher.  Ben Affleck, who's gained respect and success in recent years, plays Nick perfectly as the regular guy who could as easily be innocent as guilty.  Rosamund Pike is amazing as Amy, who paints a different picture of things than her husband does (and who also has a way of getting what she wants).  The supporting cast is terrific in their roles, and Fincher manages to bring a bleakness and darkness to the proceedings -- along with frequent blasts of dark humor.

Gone Girl is certainly grim, and it's also engaging and gives the viewer plenty to think about.  Just like a great movie should.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

10.07.2014

Mary Roach, BONK

Science and sexuality have an uneasy history together, with taboos and repression often interfering with research and understanding.  But that has changed (largely) in modern times, and a wide variety of methods are used in the scientific community to figure out some of the science behind sex.  Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach explores several of these avenues of exploration; and it does so with intelligence, understanding, and a profound sense of humor.

Bonk is, in a sense, all over the map of how sexuality is explored by scientists today.  There are explanations and discussions of anatomy (including genitals, various treatments for impotence, and how to measure stimulation), mechanical, er, assistants (from whether vibrators increase overall sensitivity to coital imaging) to mysteries and debates (the impact hormones and pheromones have on humans, how people with spinal damage and no sensation below their waist can still experience orgasms).  Roach travels around the globe (Canada, Egypt, Taiwan) and goes back in time -- research-wise -- to find out what has been done and what is being done.

Bonk could have been dry stuff -- some authors can even make sex boring -- if it wasn't for Roach's sense of humor as well as her intelligence.  Roach keeps an open mind, but that doesn't stop her from sometimes being incredulous about what she learns or encounters, or making wry or goofy comments on the material: "Shafik won my heart by publishing a paper in European Urology in which he investigated the effects of polyester pants on sexual activity.  Ahmed Shafik dressed lab rats in polyester pants."

While Bonk takes an open and frank approach to the subject matter, there are plenty examples here of repression and fears that stifled this sort of research (and still can today: Several scientists mention the difficulty of being taken seriously or getting approval for their work, while the aforementioned Shafik, who works and lives in Egypt, fears the impact of the repressive Muslim Brotherhood).  But Roach demonstrates that the scientific exploration of sexuality can be serious and playful at the same time -- and, in the end, very illuminating.  Bonk is that rare creature: an informative scientific work that's also witty and entertaining.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

10.06.2014

SMASH UP: MONSTER SMASH

Who'd have guessed that a common trait of horror monsters was +1 tokens?  This is a pretty common thread in Monster Smash, the latest expansion for the Smash Up card game.

Monster Smash introduces four monstrous new factions, and three of them rely heavily on getting +1 tokens.  Vampires can destroy minions -- their own or those of other players -- to get their +1 tokens.  Giant Ants often start with +1 tokens, and many cards let them not only get more, but also share them with other minions.  And the Mad Scientists put out a *lot* of these tokens, from Igor giving one when he's destroyed or discarded to the Uberserum, which gives a minion a +1 counter at the start of each turn and keeps it from being destroyed!  The exceptions to this token tendency are Werewolves, which rely more on brute strength and, reflecting the boost from the moon, often get bonuses that last until the end of the turn.

So, how do these new factions work in the game?  Pretty well, it turns out.  Each faction's ability certainly feels like the abilities the monsters would have, reflected as well in the art and the names.  While there are numerous good cards, Monster Smash doesn't power up the new ones so much that it will always beat the other sets.  (Remember when I mentioned how good the Uberserum was?  It was so good, a rival kept stealing it from the Mad Scientists and using it on his own minions.)  And there's plenty of humor in the cards: a Vampire with a skull-shaped alarm clock, Werewolf cards "Chew Toy" and "Let the Dog Out," and, possibly because of the Killer Queen card, all of the Giant Ants' actions are named after Queen songs.

Monster Smash doesn't change the rules for Smash Up, but it does what an expansion should: add variety, options, and humor to the game without unbalancing it.  These factions are a welcome addition -- especially with Halloween coming!


Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

9.27.2014

Britney Spears, BLACKOUT

History and timing have not been kind to the Britney Spears' album Blackout: When Britney appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards to promote the album, her performance was perceived as her descent into instability.  (It didn't help that the album was called "blackout" and ended with the song "Why Should I Be Sad.")  So how is the album with some distance from the scan,dals and controversy?

Blackout is, from start to finish an album made for the dance club (or, with songs like "Get Naked (I Got a Plan)," "Freakshow" and "Ooh Ooh Baby" the strip club).  There are no slow ballads or sensitive songs here.  Instead, the songs are almost all about sex (like the aforementioned tunes) or idolizing a guy ("Heaven on Earth," "Perfect Lover").  The only exceptions are Britney's take on the downside of fame ("Piece of Me") and her song trashing her ex-husband ("Why Should I Be Sad.")  The songs are all heavy on beats and bass, with frequent rap contributions by some generic rappers.

Unfortunately, "generic" sums up Blackout pretty well.  Britney Spears has never been known for her strong voice, and here the synthesizers and heavy production tend her to breathy speaking more than actual singing.  The lyrics are nothing special at all ("I'm cold as fire, baby/ Hot as ice/ If you've ever been to heaven/This is twice as nice") and the massively increased sexuality feels more like self-exploitation than musical or artistic growth.

Blackout 's opening "It's Britney, bitch" was meant to be a statement of defiant strength and putting down the haters, but in light of the singer's personal problems that followed, it turned out to be fairly ironic.  Alas, Blackout didn't help much due to its mediocrity.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch


9.21.2014

SMASH UP: THE BIG GEEKY BOX

An often-overlooked difficulty in the world of Gaming is storage.  Naturally, all games fit in their box (though not always as easily once all the pieces and parts have been removed and sorter), but what about after the first expansion -- or several expansions?  The game Smash Up from Alderac Entertainment Group started with a box big enough for the core set and two expansions; but as their upcoming expansion Monster Smash will be their fourth expansion, that starter box is well out of room.  AEG has addressed the issue fairly well with Smash Up: The Big Geeky Box.
Well, The Big Geeky Box certainly lives up to its name, in two very nice ways.  First, the box itself (nicely illustrated with members of factions from all the game's sets) is a very good size.  While it won't take up a whole shelf, it has more than enough room for more Smash Up expansions than I can imagine.  The Big Geeky Box also stores the cards vertically, plus it comes with standing dividers for the factions and bases.  And to top it all off, there are foam bricks to fill any empty space and keep the cars from falling over .


Did I mention "geeky?"  The Big Geeky Box also comes with a new faction: Geeks!  These minions may lack the raw power of Dinosaurs (with lasers) or Robots, but with cards like "Rules Lawyer" and "Banned List: players can work the rules around to their favor.  And since Smash Up was played on TableTop, it's no surprise that there are cards for Wil Wheaton (and his fan site "Force of Wil") and Felecia Day too!  There are also two appropriately geeky Bases for the Geeks to battle for as well.

The Big Geeky Box is hardly mandatory for card storage (such as cardboard or plastic boxes), but it is a fun little spin on storage.  And who wouldn't want to play as the Geeks?

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

9.12.2014

HEROES WANTED

It's time to get your hero on!  The Champions of Zeta City have an opening, so you can make it onto the team by earning enough fame to prove your worth by taking on a big villain, plus their henchmen and underlings.  Other wannabe heroes have the same idea, but you can prove your worth by outdoing them (or attacking them).  This is the world of Heroes Wanted, a card/board game from Action Phase Games that has the silliest heroes and villains outside of The Tick -- and some very good gameplay too.

Each player assembles their hero by combining a card from the A deck (the top half, which gives a type of hero (Vigilante, Cosmic, Tech, or Mutant) and superpower) and from the B deck (with a more ongoing ability).  Players can go for straight ability (like Danger Blade), silliness (Brunch Giraffe), or a mix of the two (like American Weevil).  Players also get a random quirk, which gives them 10 fame but goes down 2 fame each time they don't do what the quirk says (like consoling another hero who rests, or posing heroically after damaging a bad guy).  Players get a Hero Bonus area, which gives benefits when they complete Headlines.  Finally, the heroes get four basic action cards, one Superpower action card, and one Hero Type card.
Villains are assembled by combining A and B cards  -- so far, I've faced the Mama Twins, Unstoppable Jock, and the dreaded Cat Taco -- and the villain usually has 15 hit points per player.   The scenario (four come in the basic game) includes: spaces for the Villain (plus their movement), underlings, and henchmen; special rules, from throwing out trash to secret doors; Headlines that give players fame when accomplished; and when the villain escape if not knocked out.  Once that's all set up, it's time to play!

Starting with the first hero (which can change during the game) and going clockwise, each player can play one action card.  These are usually a movement or attack, but they can sometimes do other things, like make a player the first hero or let them get a card from their discards.  Players can knock out an underling for 4 damage (and earn 1 fame) or henchman for 5 damage (and get 2 fame), or damage the villain (earning half the hit point damage at the end of the game, plus a bonus for knocking them out or doing the most damage to them).  Players can also attack other players.  If a player meets a headline requirement (like knocking out three henchmen or earning 10 fame), the players get a bonus from their Hero Bonus card.  And since players can't use cards in their discard pile, they can choose to rest, doing nothing but getting all their cards back.

Of course, villains get to attack back!  The main villain does an amount of damage determined by their A and B cards; in addition, heroes take 1 damage from each adjacent underline and 2 damage from each adjacent Henchman.  Players can discard cards equal to or greater than the damage to avoid being injured.  If a player can't, they spend the next turn doing nothing (and getting all their cards back) and get an injury token, which adds 1 to future damage and costs them 2 fame at the end of the game.

There is so much I like about Heroes Wanted.  The game has an absolutely terrific sense of humor, from the hero and villain combos to the flavor text ("Giraffes are the nunchucks of the animal kingdoms) and scenarios (where you stop villains from jaywalking or selling bootleg dvds).  The gameplay is also quite effective, as you have to decide when and who to attack, when to holds cards back to defend with, what headlines to grab, and what you'll do to win.  (I learned early on that knocking out the villain doesn't guarantee victory.)  The tokens are designed perfectly to see exactly what's on the board: Underlings are small and gray, henchmen are bigger and tan, and the villain is the biggest and black.  The Extra, Extra expansion gives many more hero and villain cards, and future expansions should provide new scenarios as well.  Heroes Wanted is perfect for folks what want to play something that's both thoughtful and amusing.  Trust me: I was DJ Worm.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

9.05.2014

REGULAR SHOW FLUXX

When I firsr heard about Regular Show Fluxx, it seemed both surprising and logical: The show seemed a bit too currently popular compared to other Looney Labs licenses, but the silly and surreal nature of the show certainly lends itself to the combinations and silliness of the Fluxx games.

Regular Show Fluxx mixes the standard Fluxx rules with the characters and stuff from Regular Show.  Players put down Keepers, New Rules, and Goals, hoping that their Keepers will match a goal.  They can also play actions and may have to play Creepers, which keep that person from winning (unless the Creeper is part of a goal).  Rule-wise, there's not much new here.

 What is present is a very strong feel of Regular Show.  Keepers include almost all of the main characters from the show (though due to the time of making the show, Margaret is here and CJ isn't), plus things like the Eggscellent Hat, Video Games, and Soda.  Players can play the Death Punch of Death, Rock-Paper-Scissors Showdown (which makes two players have a 3-round R-P-S challenge, where the winner gets all of the loser's cards), and Step Off!  And the new rule "Yeahuh!" makes players use Mordecai's catchphrase whenever they play a Keeper, or another player gets that Keeper.  Some cards also have small pictures of the Regular Show cast commenting on the card.
Regular Show Fluxx isn't new in terms of rules or gameplay, but it's the closest anyone will come to entering the world of Regular Show.  This game is fun, funny, and terrific for anyone who's a fan of Regular Show.  Yeahuh!
Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch