TR Retro Review: Hook

Monday, August 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm


Like probably a great many of you, I watched a Robin Williams movie over the weekend. Now, in fairness, I didn't pick the movie; it was at a birthday party, and Hook was projected to keep us busy while the man of the hour prepared a slow-cooking curry. But considering how many of you were vocal about seeing reviews for older things here at TR, this would seem to offer a perfect opportunity.

To put it mildly, Hook is one of Williams' more problematic movies, one that attempts to utilize his dramatic and comedic talents in a movie where the solution to everything appears to have been "throw money at it." As middle-aged Peter Banning, he's a grown-up, American Peter Pan who has forgotten his past, and must reconnect with his inner child when Captain Hook shows up to kidnap his children. I first saw Hook when it came out and liked it, then years later caught it on TV and hated it. In light of the sort of generous reappraisal we tend to give people after they die, how did I feel about it this time? Read on...

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8 Reasons D&D 5th Edition Is Better Than Pathfinder

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

Wizards of the Coast
Prepare for the editon war to begin

A new version of D&D is dawning that intends to unite the fractured fan base, as currently D&D is playing underdog to Pathfinder, a game which itself was based on D&D 3rd edition rules. Imagine if the legal vagaries allowed an old partner of Microsoft to make a Windows 7 variant which then beat Windows 8 in sales, and you're pretty close to the situation with D&D and Pathfinder at this point.

The makers of D&D have long had a problem with gamers finding it easy to ignore their releases of new editions. The old books are still available, as well as the aforementioned Pathfinder, and any one of these has enough adventures, class variations, and settings that anybody with a normal life as well as a gaming life would not be able to completely devour them in a lifetime. D&D 5th Edition aims to fix that by appealing to fans of all versions of the D&D experience and thus get them to start buying books again. I was able to get the new Player's Handbook thanks to a limited early release, and despite being pretty firmly in the Pathfinder camp I was really impressed with it - enough to switch our home game over to the new system. Here are eight reasons why...

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Contact in the Desert: Luke's Mother-in-Law Reports From the UFO Show

Monday, August 11, 2014 at 8:00 am


When we heard that our weekly advice columnist and favorite ex-cop/crazy cat lady was volunteering at a convention of UFO-buffs, we couldn't resist asking her to send in her thoughts, and pictures. People paid big money to get in, but now you can hear one person's account for free.


Hello all. I made it through the first day of Contact in the Desert. The event runs until Monday, but I only volunteered for Friday and Saturday. It was HOT, and I feel so sorry for the people who came who were not used to the heat. There is no shade at the event and some of the speakers were in the amphitheater. One of the big speakers, Erich Von Daniken, was moved from a room to the wide outdoors for this first talk. The poor man is in his late 70s and was melting. I have attached a photo of him on the outside stage. Sorry the pics are not very good as I was near the rear for the morning welcome. and then for the inside ones the lighting was not the greatest and speakers tend to move around a bit.

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Weekend Hangover: Anne Rice Rebooted, Milli Vanilli and Mario, Rubber Duck and Bondage

Monday, August 11, 2014 at 6:00 am


What stories might you (and we) have missed over the weekend? Fear not, dear readers, for many of them have been gathered here for your perusal via reader submissions, and the assistance of Kyle LeClair.

This week's tipsters include James.k.Polk, SlyDante777, NebulaJack, troi, DrAbraxas, Gallen_Dugall, Dr.Gonzo82, rkwsupserstar, donnaryoko, Timely-Tardis-Lego

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I Wasn't Going to Write About Left Behind Again, but I Saw This...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm


The other best part of their new press release is this:

"My greatest hope for this movie is that people will be entertained and thrilled by it, but also that they'll go home and have conversations with their family, and ask 'do you think this could happen, or couldn't happen?' and it'll inspire discussion and closeness," says leading actor Nicolas Cage.
Well, I guess it wouldn't be politic to say "My greatest hope for the movie is that I'll get a paycheck and take care of some of my staggering debt."

But here's a spoiler alert - the "discussion" that will take place in my house:

"Do you think this could happen?"

End of discussion. But there's another reason Cage says he took the role, and I'll just leave it below (it's nothing whatsoever to do with religion)...

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Left Behind Appears to Be Trying to Make Nic Cage Un-Fun...and Failing

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm


Yes, this new trailer offers hints that the remade Left Behind will suffer the same weakness as so many explicitly faith-based films, like a painful earnestness combined with absolutely terrible Christian pop that only sells to people who'll buy literally any song that's about Jesus.

But then Nicolas Cage starts yelling technobabble, and you kinda think, "Well, maybe..."

For those referring to this as a potential 15-movie franchise, incidentally, it's worse than that - this new movie only covers the first half of book one. Because it was such a complex work of literature and all. I want this to be wonderfully bad, but it may end up just plain bad.

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The Strain SPOILER Talkback: Autopsy-licious!

Monday, August 4, 2014 at 10:00 am


I'm guessing this will be the last episode to close on the creepy little girl as usual. Did the guy in the shed remind anyone else of Shaun of the Dead?

Weekend Hangover: 16 Stories You May Have Missed, From Female Ghostbusters to Sharknado Perfume

Monday, August 4, 2014 at 6:00 am


Rounding up some stories you may have missed over the weekend, some of which were noticed by me and others of which were submitted by you, the readers, on the weekend thread. Compiled as always with the help of Kyle LeClair.

This week's tipsters include: SlyDante777, Gallen_Dugall, James.k.Polk, donnaryoko, franciebrady27, latigid, Edwin Santos, Dr.Gonzo82

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Weekend Open Thread: Damn You Michael Bay Edition

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

He's gone too far with the changes this time:


In other things:

-Bill Murray to voice Baloo opposite Christopher Walken's King Louie in Disney's live-action Jungle Book, which makes me think Wes Anderson should be directing.

-The Dead Island movie might be happening again.

-Doctor Who to debut Peter Capaldi in theaters before TV, and of course CHris Hardwick found a way to be involved.

-There's a food truck for dogs, because dogs are so discriminating in what they put their mouths on.

-Dragonriders of Pern to be a movies series.

-Artist SUCKLORD sells unique spins on Star Wars figures.

-Leatherface may get a teenage angst prequel. And yes, I just typed that.


Friday, August 1, 2014 at 8:00 am


If you want to submit fan fiction for me to read, please send it - or a link to it - to toplessrobot-at-gmail-dot-com with subject line "Read my Fanfic!"


Logline: I have no goddamn idea. It starts with Harry Potter and Dobby skullfucking people with groinsaws, then moves on to hats being thrown into space and the history of America as told by insane people.

Acts Involved: Skullfucking, groinsaws, cannibalism, demon rape, vomit, disembowelment, menstruation, decapitation, space vaginas, murder of planets, vampirism, beastiality, sex with dragons, implied racism, incest, BDSM, cross-dressing, crying fetish, "rape ape," diaper fetish, castration...but in more innocent and weird ways than you'd think.

Participants: Harry Potter, Dobby, Ray Bradbury, various made-up characters whose names keep changing.

The Live Reading/Performance...

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