As I’ve had some articles published all over the place recently, figured it was time to start a new compilation post.

Chris Rousseau sorts through records at Nice Price Books in Carrboro.

Very Sad: Beloved local used bookstore Nice Price Books is closing, and I talked to them and several other used bookstores to get the reasons why.

Jonathan M. Katz - Zach Hetrick

Here’s an interview I did with reporter Jonathan M. Katz about his new book on life in Haiti and the failed policies of relief efforts, THE BIG TRUCK THAT WENT BY.

Madeline Trumble and Con OShea-Creal as Mary Poppins and Bert

Here’s a strangely detailed review I did of the touring production of Disney’s MARY POPPINS, and how it compares to both the original books and the film.

LIzzy Caplan and Geoffrey Arend in SAVE THE DATE

For Valentine’s Day: A look at some anti-romantic movies, SAVE THE DATE, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, THE HEARTBREAK KID, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN and MARGARET.

Kyle Baker recently put his classic graphic novels including WHY I HATE SATURN and THE COWBOY WALLY SHOW online for free, and here’s my look at why these are worth checking out.


I interviewed  Brandon Sanderson on his besteselling conclusion to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, A MEMORY OF LIGHT!

Ron Rash - Photo by Mark Haskett

Here’s my interview with SERENA author Ron Rash on his new short story collection NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY!

George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" plays Saturday at 7 p.m.

A look at the films of the Nevermore Film Festival in Durham this weekend, including JOHN DIES AT THE END and a 35-mm print of the original DAWN OF THE DEAD!

My new interview with Ryan Browne of the webcomic GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS on his Kickstarter Campaign!

Here’s my talk with Michel Fiffe on his acclaimed self-published comic COPRA!

My interview with the creators of the webcomic TRIP FANTASTIC!

The creators of HACK/SLASH and HOAX HUNTERS Pay Tribute to Fake 1980s Toys with MINI COMICS INDLUDED on Kickstarter!

The Book of Mormon comes to Durham Feb. 11-23, 2014.

A Look at the Durham Performing Arts Center’s New Broadway Series!

Follow-up to earlier piece: Nice Price Books is having a closing sale that will help raise money for the Chapel Hill Library.

A review of a local production of the play THE LAST FIVE YEARS!

Jeffrey Brown talks the adorable VADER’S LITTLE PRINCESS!

A look at the many (many, many…) faces of Superman’s foe General Zod!



My Little Pony Meets Doctor Who with “Doctor Whooves!”

Coming soon: New JURASSIC PARK Toys!

New “Presidential Monsters” with Baracula!

The Many (Toy) Faces of Slyvester Stallone

New Batman “Movie Masters” Trilogy 3-Pack!

The Return of Captain Power Toys?

Some high-end pieces of IRON MAN 3 Merchandise!

Check Out This Chic Han Solo in Carbonite Business Card Case!

Yes, they finally made a figure of Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING

New WALKING DEAD Michonne 3-Pack

New Target “New 52” Justice League 7-Pack!


How to Build Your Dragon — Getting Down with Masters of the Universe Classics’ Granamyr!

New Reverse-Flash FUNKO at Dallas Comic-Con!

These ‘Alien” Pint Glasses are Xenomorphically Awesome!



Not since Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has a comedy sequel so directly copied the original (i.e. every single scene playing out beat for beat complete with the characters going, “I can’t believe this is happening again!”). The word “remake” comes to mind. This time, the dipsomanical trio of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis head to Thailand (inexplicably scored to Billy Joel’s “The Downeaster ‘Alexa'”) for Helms’ character’s wedding, where their efforts to not wake up after a night of chaos again result in, yes, the first film happening all over again. Jokes about smoking monkeys, gay sex and monks ensue, with Galifianakis again getting most of the good lines, including a shout-out to the Triangle. It’s not so much bad as … exactly the same, with no real sense of surprise or innovation from the original. That might be all some audiences want, but if this results in The Hangover III: We’re Milking This Till It’s Dry, could we please have some new ideas? Rated R for language, adult situations, male and female nudity and an exploding pig carcass.                                                      ByZack Smith

Reprinted from the Independent Weekly

THE HANGOVER—Todd Phillips’s Frat Pack comedies (Road Trip, Old School), have always suffered from a certain narrative patchiness, but the tight script for this tale of the aftermath of a raucous bachelor party might be his strongest film yet. It’s certainly the most entertaining R-rated film of 2009 so far, with NC native Zach Galifianakis walking away with the film as socially-maladjusted Alan, whose random one-liners contain a weird combination of innocence and scariness. A great deal of the fun comes from the surprises, many of which have been revealed in the ad campaigns and trailers, so it’s hard to say how well this will play up in repeat viewings. It is worth mentioning that the subject of a four-star documentary also playing in the Triangle gives his second-best performance this summer. And make sure you stick around for the credits. Rated R. —ZS