Film Review: Mary

While it’s possible to set a horror movie in a big, wide open space, the claustrophobic feeling of confinement is an important ingredient of many stories and films in the genre. If you can’t escape, how can you avoid the horrible fate that awaits you? Heck, there are horror films literally set inside a coffin where the protagonist wakes up and realizes they’re buried alive. Doesn’t get more confining than that! That’s also why I…Read More

Film Review: Gemini Man

Just to dispel any confusion up front, lead character Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is not a superhero in this film, drunk or otherwise. Though you wouldn’t know it given that director Ang Lee has offered up what can only be considered an homage to bad 80’s action films with a laughably indestructible protagonist. Brogan’s so tough, so single minded and so astonishingly good a sniper that a mysterious group affiliated with the Defense Intelligence Agency…Read More

The Fun RAV4: The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE

I’ve driven and owned more Toyota vehicles than those from any other manufacturer in the business. While in college I got my first new car: A gold Toyota Tercel hatchback. Ugly in retrospect, but a great workhorse that kept me on the move through road trips, a move from San Diego to Colorado and then a move from Colorado out to the San Francisco area. Never had an issue. Subsequent Toyota vehicles included a Sienna…Read More

Film Review: Joker

At one point or another, everyone has felt the anguish of being on the outside, has experienced the darkness of trying your best just to have the world laugh at your efforts. The traditional comic origin story for the Joker character in Batman’s Gotham City is that he was disfigured by a vat of industrial chemicals that turned him into an amoral wacko. The dark, intense and brilliant 2019 Joker film has a decidedly different…Read More

“Hasty Baker” Card Game Review

Imagine running a bakery and it’s crazy complicated. The employees want to unionize, the city health regulations mean that you have to redo all your recipes, your oven’s not working correctly and that guy you just hired to deliver to the local coffee shops seems more than a bit flakey. You’re also trying to master 78 different recipes while keeping your kitchen nut, dairy and gluten free. Fun? No. And that’s why it’s not the…Read More

The Most Spacious Mazda, The 2019 CX-9

I’ve been a happy Mazda CX-5 driver for a couple of years now, and I find it a splendid little SUV (well, technically it’s known as a CUV, a compact SUV, but that’s a goofy acronym at best). I did downsize, however, going from a Toyota Highlander with quite a bit more room. Three kids, two of them with their own cars, and it turns out I don’t really need as much room. Still, when…Read More

Film Review: The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)

Films like The Hateful Eight and Kill Bill wouldn’t exist without its predecessors to serve as inspiration, and director Quentin Tarantino has been very clear about the inspiration he’s drawn from classic martial arts movies. There’s a certain style to thesee “kung fu” films, basic morality plays interwoven with Chinese mythology, intimate set pieces that could be on a performing arts stage and, of course, those fantastic fight scenes. The industry has a name for…Read More

Film Review: Ad Astra

Before we go any further, let’s clear up the confusion around the name of this film: Ad Astra is Latin for To The Stars. Why they thought that was a good name is another discussion, but suffice to say, for a film set at least 100 years in the future where we travel into space, onto the moon, to Mars and then to the outer reaches of our solar system, To The Stars is entirely…Read More

Parenting Kids in College: Time to Let Go

When you have toddlers, tweens or even teens, it’s hard to imagine a day when you won’t have ’em underfoot. From meals to cleanup, clothes to the daily grind of parenting, lots of exhausted parents forget that there’ll come a day – hopefully! – when your little minions have jumped ship and are on their own adult adventures. The starting point for about 70% of today’s kids is college and while the helicopter parent generation…Read More

Film Review: Investigation 13

There are so many tropes in the too-often formulaic horror genre that it’s impossible for these films not to veer into the cinematic cliché now and again. Urban legends? Paranormal investigators finding that yes, there really are supernatural entities? Abandoned and haunted insane asylums? Secondary characters with secrets to hide? It’s enough to get Scooby and the gang on the job! Fortunately, the indie horror film Investigation 13 doesn’t take itself too seriously as it…Read More

Film Review: Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)

It’s every parent’s nightmare: You go to pick up your child from school and they’re gone. But Bunny Lake isn’t just any little missing four year old because her mother Ann (Carol Lynley) might have some psychological issues and Bunny might only exist in her imagination. Is the preschool liable if no-one ever saw the girl on her first day at school? Did Bunny vanish because she went to visit the creepy and eccentric old…Read More

Dozens of Cars and Beautiful Roads: RMDE 2019

One of the best perks of being an automotive writer is the ability to join the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press group and attend the annual Rocky Mountain Driving Experience. I couldn’t make it last year – disappointing! – but two years ago we took over the Stanley Hotel parking lot in Estes Park and three years ago we were at the Devil’s Thumb Resort in Winter Park. This year the venue changed yet again, to…Read More

Game Review: Pumpkin Patch Bad Seeds

While I love the social aspect of multi-player gaming, and even more so when it’s a cooperative game, there’s a lot of logistics involved in getting a group together for some gaming. I’m not alone in this, so there’s a whole world of solo board and card games for people who want to solve a puzzle or overcome a challenging scenario without a video controller in their hand. And then there’s the toughest category of…Read More

Game Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

First Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was a terrific book written by Susanna Clarke then the BBC picked it up and created a highly entertaining and engaging series with the same name that’s available on Netflix. Great. Why not turn this rich Victorian world of gentlemen magicians and strange characters into a board game? Game designers Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello joined up with game publisher Osprey Games and created A Board Game of English…Read More

Film Review: D-Railed

There’s something inherently entertaining about yelling at the characters in a horror film. “Don’t open that door!” “Don’t pick up the phone!” “Don’t get on that darn train!” Is it the sign of a cheesy horror film, though? Probably. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a certain existential pleasure in smugly knowing that if you were in the same risky situation, you’d make better choices than the nitwits on screen. That’s just one of the…Read More