Film Review: Child’s Play

I’ve written before about how scary dolls can be – most notably my review of Dolls a week ago – and I’ll reiterate that there’s something inherently terrifying about animated an otherwise inanimate object. It can be played in a touching and amusing way, as the Toy Story franchise reminds us with the splendid 4th installment out this summer, but it can also be scary as heck, as Annabelle keeps trying to demonstrate. That gets…Read More

Two Weeks with the Great Husqvarna 430XH Automower

I don’t mind mowing my front and back yard. Too much. I mean, I’d like to think that it’s a chore for my kids, but their schedules and a general lack of enthusiasm for the task means that while the front might be mowed every few weeks, the back yard can get to be as thick and unwieldy as a jungle between mows. Which is why when I had the chance to work with the…Read More

Film Review: Toy Story 4

By any measure Toy Story 4 is a splendid movie, full of heart, humor and with a strong and engaging story. In a summer of mostly bleh, predictable sequels it’s also that rare film that improves on its predecessors, delivering one of the best and most touching cinematic experiences of the year. But Toy Story 4 is a lot more, because it serves as a reminder to film makers – especially in our modern, visual…Read More

Summer with College Kids is Quite Different!

Ah, I remember heading off to college after my high school graduation. That summer I continued my job at the local hardware store, working basically full time and earning some good money to help pay for my college expenses. Indeed, my boss offered that if I deferred college they’d put me on the fast track to management in the organization, a pretty nice offer for a punk 18yo. But I stayed my course and headed…Read More

Film Review: Dolls

There’s something deep seated and primitive about the belief in the supernatural power of dolls. From voodoo dolls to the golem of Jewish mysticism to more recent evil dolls like William Goldman’s terrifying ventriloquist dummy in Magic to Chucky from Child’s Play and creepy Annabelle from the horror series of the same name. Evil dolls with malicious intent have become somewhat of a horror trope they’re so darn popular. Which is why the indie horror…Read More

What Is It With Cellphone Usage In Public Venues?

I spent the afternoon working at a favorite coffee shop today and instead of listening to music, as I usually do, I decided to just enjoy the ambiance of the café crowd. Then I was fairly appalled to have the guy sitting next to me jump on a call. But he wasn’t just chatting on his iPhone, he had it on speakerphone. Even worse, he didn’t know how to use the darn speakerphone mode, so he…Read More

Film Review: Men In Black: International

There’s a certain amount of whimsy that runs throughout the Men In Black series. The story posits that aliens have always lived among us and that humans long ago created a secret organization to keep things from descending into chaos. The “Men In Black” manage aliens who visit or move here to Earth. They all dress identically, with narrow black ties, white dress shirts and black suits. As part of their standard kit, they also…Read More

Film Review: Project Ithaca

They’re among us. In fact, aliens have been abducting humans for decades, without us noticing much of anything. Except for one brave group of government agents who know that the truth is out there. But defeating the aliens is complicated and requires some pretty out-of-the-box thinking. I’m not talking about a core storyline from The X Files, however, but the new indie sci-fi horror film Project Ithaca. Told mostly as a locked room mystery, six…Read More

Actually Cool Stuff for Father’s Day Gifting

We’re just a few days away from Father’s Day, which means there are droves of kids who are kind of clueless about what their dads like and are buying ties, cologne, shaving kits or other highly promoted products that are going to be received with a slight grimace. Gifting, it turns out, is somewhat of an art and involves knowing the recipient pretty well to know what they like and what they like to receive…Read More

Film Review: Dark Phoenix

There are few film franchises with a more convoluted storyline than the fabled X-Men of comic book lore. The films don’t really work chronologically, there are movies that people argue are – or aren’t – part of the franchise (Deadpool), and there are literally multiple storylines and timelines that never quite seem to converge into a coherent whole. But here’s the thing: That’s exactly how the comic book universe has always worked. There are characters…Read More

Hey Denver! You Should Check Out Colorado Springs!

Cities have personalities. Paris is chic, London is a busy financial hub and New York has a tough veneer all its own. I live in a city with a famous personality too: Boulder, Colorado. Home of more natural food startups, yoga studios and tech companies than you can count, the roads are clogged with Tesla, Prius and Volt alternative power vehicles, when you’re not being blocked by swarms of bicyclists 10 miles into their daily…Read More

Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Even though he’s a 350-foot radioactive fire-breathing throwback to the Jurassic era, Godzilla has always had an ambiguous role in human society; is he the savior of humanity when other monsters menace, when aliens come from outer space or when huge robots run amok, or is he just as dangerous when he yet again rampages through Tokyo? The newest chapter in Godzilla’s colorful history, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, has a clear vision: He’s a…Read More

Film Review: Brightburn

It’s one of the great nerd questions: What if Superman wasn’t such a darn Boy Scout? The question has been explored before in the graphic novel Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson (in which Superman grows up in the USSR and helps defend their way of life), but the surprisingly engaging new horror film Brightburn offers a very different take on the story. What if our young hero doesn’t have a moral…Read More

Game Review: The Oregon Trail: Journey to Willamette Valley

Compared to modern tech, the computers of the 1970’s were crude, with chunky graphics, slow performance and almost no storage capacity. Still, people love games and programmers wrote games, from text-based adventure games like Zork and Rogue to interactive graphic games like Breakout and Space Invaders. Originally created as an educational program, one of the most famous games from that era is The Oregon Trail. Developed by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger in…Read More

Road Trip Journal: 2019 Nissan Murano, 2200 miles

Hard to believe it’s only been a week since we returned, but last week at this time my son and I were on the last leg of our epic road trip to bring him home from his freshman year at beautiful Pitzer College in Claremont, California. We live in Boulder, Colorado, so that’s almost exactly 1000 miles away. The route goes through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, then through Utah, a little corner of Arizona, Nevada…Read More