It’s an honor and a pleasure to announce a new feature here at Blast-O-Rama, one that I’ve been thinking of doing for sometime, but now I’m crazy enough to start doing every tuesday (or DIE TRYING).
As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I consume quite a bit of media, and I’m sure you’re probably what discs I’m spinnin’, games I’m playin’ or books I’m readin’.
So, the idea for Awesome-O-Rama is to give you, each week, my picks from the world of graphic novels, movies and gaming which are worth picking up, along with a break down of why.
Without further adieu, here are the first picks for Awesome-O-Rama: Week of November 15-21, 2009.
Star Trek (2009)
As a non-Trek fan, JJ Abrams’ reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise blew me away when it hit theaters this past May, and ever since I walked out of the IMAX screening that sunny summer day, I’ve been wondering when I’d be able to spin the disc at home. The time has finally arrived, and with reviewers saying this might be the most impressive blu-ray yet, packed with stunning features. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this disc under many a Christmas tree this fall. If you’re not rockin’ the HD yet, the same extras are available in the 2-disc set.
Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray
Aside from making me feel quite old with the 10th Anniversary subtitle, this HD re-release of the David Fincher classic has me excited to revisit an old cinematic friend, albeit with better picture and sound. Early reviews have been great, even if the disc plays a fantastically mean prank on you when you pop it in…
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas
Ah, It’s Always Sunny…, truly the little show that could. Ever since it premiered on FX in the Summer of 2005, it’s been keeping audiences entertained with the adventures of a cast made up of possibly the worst human beings ever. Despite that, the show is consistently one of the funniest on television (if not the funniest), and Fox has finally realized what a powerhouse they’ve kept hidden from the world the past few years, giving the Gang a full length DVD christmas special. The special leaked to the web last week, and I can say it is as great as any of the episodes of Sunny that proceeded it, and includes an incredible moment where Charlie meets Santa Claus. While it won’t end up in the rotation of most family’s Christmas classics (unless your family is kinda screwed up), it certainly makes for a great side for an “alternative” Christmas viewing list, alongside say…Die Hard. Of note, while there is a blu-ray release for this disc, it’s simply standard definition video up-converted, so save yourself the cash and grab the DVD.
Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead, truly a cruel mistress of video gaming. So many late night online gaming hours I’ve lost to it…and based on the demo released a few weeks back, Left 4 Dead 2 will leave me with just as many sleepless nights. Taking all of the awesome of the Valve original and upping it to 11 with new zombie types, melee weapons, new characters and five brand new locations to get your undead fix in, I can’t see how this will be anything but awesome. Let’s just hope that Valve remembered to make the L4D1 cast unlockable in this one… PC users, you’re gonna wanna get it at this link.
New Super Mario Bros Wii
It’s a new Mario Bros game for the Wii, what more do you honestly need to know?
Ok, you’re right. New Super Mario Bros Wii (or NSMBW for short) takes everything great about the Nintendo DS game from a few years back and amps it up for console use. With 4 player multiplayer and a unique new mode which allows gaming assist for areas you’re stuck on, this game is sure to be a HYOOOUGE hit, and I can’t wait to get my mitts on it. Special props to the big N for the sweet red case/sleeve for this title, looks really sharp.
Now, something you may have noticed is that each item is linked to their respective Amazon listing. Kinda shameless, I know, but if one of these things tickles your fancy, just click through and purchase, and Blast-O-Rama gets a lil’ kick back. I appreciate your support here, and let me know what you think of Awesome-O-Rama!
Yeah I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it’s time to get ready for the holiday season anyway!
And honestly, is there a better way to get excited for Christmas than with a standup comedy all-star cover of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”?
Featuring the talented Comedy Death-Ray team of Paul F. Tompkins, R.O. Manse, Tig Notaro, Rob Huebel, Patton Oswalt, Mike Phirman, Jimmy Pardo, Brian Posehn & Scott Aukerman, Garfunkel & Oates, Aimee Mann, Chris Hardwick, Paul Scheer & June Diane Raphael, Doug Benson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Nick Thune, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Cracked Out, Dragon Boy Suede, Natasha Leggero, Thomas Lennon & Ed Helms, it’s a sight to behold…even if it isn’t the greatest thing in the world to listen to.
This amazing congregation of talent is only part of what you’ll hear if you pick up the Comedy Death-Ray Christmas CD, which comes for free with a Comedy Death-Ray 2010 calendar, available now from online standup comedy album mavens ASTRecords.com (owned by Matt Belknap, producer of Never Not Funny).
The full tracklisting of the Comedy Death-Ray Christmas Album is as follows:
1. The Comedy Death-Ray Xmas Nativity Choir (feat. Paul F. Tompkins, R.O. Manse, Tig Notaro, Rob Huebel, Patton Oswalt, Mike Phirman, Jimmy Pardo, Brian Posehn & Scott Aukerman, Garfunkel & Oates, Aimee Mann, Chris Hardwick, Paul Scheer & June Diane Raphael, Doug Benson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Nick Thune, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Cracked Out, Dragon Boy Suede, Natasha Leggero, Thomas Lennon & Ed Helms) – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
2. Sarah Silverman – Give The Jew Girl Toys
3. Aziz Ansari – Jingle Bells
4. Matt Besser – Billy Braggart Sings People’s History Version Of Xmas Gospel
5. Reggie Watts – Christmass Is For Fuckin’
6. Scott Aukerman & BJ Porter – Grandma Got Run Over By A Hyundai
Over the past few years, there has been an amazing resurgence of comic book anthologies. The trend started with the amazing Flight series, continued with a few stand alone volumes like the Tori Amos-inspired Comic Book Tattoo, but I think my favorite of the batch has been the continuing Popgun series, by Image Comics.
To date, there have been three stunning volumes, released in November 2007, July 2008 and April 2009 respectively, but considering I had heard nothing of a fourth volume, I was worried that the project had been ended.
I worry no longer.
Due to hit shelves on February 10, 2010, the Fourth Popgun volume features work from a whopping 91 creators across 512 pages of awesome comics, all wrapped up in a beautiful Ben Templesmith cover (seen above) for just 30 smackers.
Honest to God, Popgun is one of my favorite collections going, and I hope to see the self described “graphical mix-tape” continue on for dozens of collections to come. Don’t just take my word for it, though, click the link below and check out the previews for some of the stories contained in the 4th volume. You’ll be sold, I’m sure.
You know, I really sort of expected to write that I hated this book.
Let me give a bit of history here. While the talented decorating crew and baking staff at Charm City Cakes has been building a name for themselves nationally, here in Baltimore, there’s been a slowly boiling backlash towards them.
First, it was cute, that a local bakery was getting the spotlight. Then, the show grew into a part of the Food Network lineup, mixing the face of Duff with such near comical human beings as the bleach haired Guy Fieri and butter devote Paula Dean. Add the fact that a simple bakery in the middle of Baltimore’s Remmington neighborhood has become somewhat of a tourist magnet, it didn’t take long before Charm City’s citizen’s got a little sick of the so-called Ace of Cakes.
So it was with massive trepidation I cracked the cover of Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes. What on Earth had they done to earn a BOOK? What interesting stories would be found within it’s pages? Would this feel like another ghostwritten fluff piece like the biographies of other so called “celebrities” that stuff the shelves (and ultimately bargain bins) of your local Barnes & Nobles?
I’m very shocked, and surprised to say that…it’s actually a hell of a great book.
As someone who quickly grew tired of the Ace of Cakes show proper, I realize that I wasn’t quite the target audience, but the book actually won me over.
Presented more as a catch-all scrapbook, the book contains Duff’s life story up through building the Charm City Cakes empire, written in a very relaxed, informal style. Never once does he seem to have an air of self importance, if anything, he seems as confused as I was that they had a book about them. This can be said for the rest of the staff as well, as each member of a bakery has a 3-4 page bio section, where they describe in depth their journey to the bakery and their favorite projects, giving you a closer glimpse of the team behind the cakes. For avid fans of the show, the book has a roundtable discussion with the Food Network executives who greenlit the show, discussing the process from concept to execution of what could be the network’s least-expected hit. Furthermore, the back of the book has a complete episode guide for the show so far.
What really grabbed me, however, was the stellar design of the book. With full color interiors, including hundreds of personal photos, both impressive and embarrassing, you walk away from the book with an amazing grasp on the really laid back and talented people behind the world-renown Charm City Cakes. One of the highlights of the book has to be the fold-out section with photos of seven years worth of finished cake designs.
At a cover price of $35, the book is more than a little pricey; but online booksellers such as Amazon.com have it as low as $19 as of this writing. I’d say it would make a great holiday gift for a fan of the show or of their amazing cake designs.