So I got lazy with my occasional entertainment news posts. All but the last one of these tidbits are from a month ago, but I figured I'd include them anyway...
A federal appeals court upheld a ban at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin preventing inmates from playing Dungeons & Dragons (NY Times). Apparently, D&D can “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior.” If this is true, then so can books, for heaven's sake. It's not like gaining the lock pick ability or hide in shadows or fireball for your character in D&D can actually give you the ability in real life. Maybe D&D games would promote groupings among inmates, but that happens anyway and I'd say that a gang of fantasy geeks isn't as bad as other possible prison gangs. Oh well, what do I know anyway?
Avatar officially passed Titanic in record worldwide box office take on January 25, after its sixth weekend at the box office (Variety). Since then it has also passed Titanic in domestic (US) gross. It is still going strong, ranking in the top five at the U.S. box office and number one overseas. Recent tallies place it at over $688 million in the U.S. and over $2.4 billion worldwide (inclusive of U.S.) (Variety).
In further Avatar news, a mountain in China's Hunan province has been renamed for Avatar (BBC news). According to the Xiaoxiang Morning News, a photographer from Hollywood had visited the Wulingyuan Scenic Area in 2008, and the photos had served as a basis for the planet Pandora--particularly for the floating Hallelujah Mountains. The Southern Sky Column mountain in Zhangjiajie has now officially been renamed the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. Avatar is now the top movie of all time in China, and locals hope that renaming the mountain will allow them to capitalize on its popularity; they are currently promoting Avatar Tours with the slogan "Pandora is far but Zhangjiajie is near." Sweet.
Taylor Lautner has been cast as Stretch Armstrong in the planned Hasbro - Universal film that I'm kind of horrified is being made (Variety). I guess a different toy franchise had already claimed Channing Tatum. In case we've forgotten them, I'll list the other Hasbro movies that are in the works: Battleship, Monopoly, Candyland, Ouija, Clue, and Magic: The Gathering. Really.
OK, finally the news that I actually wanted to share, and it's just a little tidbit:
Dragon Age: Origins was named Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year at the 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences--essentially, the Gaming Oscars (Variety: The Cut Scene). And it's well-deserved. I should mention that the big winner of the night was Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Batman: Arkham Asylum also did well (winning, among other things, Best Character Performance for its Joker, voiced by Mark Hamill). Anyway, I was pleased to see a prestigious award go to Dragon Age: Origins. But now I'm ready to move into 2010 and finally get Mass Effect 2 started.