Apr 18, 2017

6 Things You Totally Didn't Miss in The Last Jedi Trailer!

Unless you've been in carbon freeze, there's a good chance you know the first trailer for the new Star Wars movie dropped this weekend. Even if you're just getting thawed out now, there's a good chance someone told you about it.

There were just so many videos "breaking down" the trailer and telling us "what fans missed". I made a deal with myself awhile back to never ever click on a clickbait link that has an image like the one above with red arrows and/or circles. I mean, most of the time it's pointing out something in the picture that has nothing to do with anything. I also get really offended when I see something like "not even true fans noticed this." To me, if you're a fan, you are a true fan. End of story.

Without further ado, here are a few things that no one who watched the trailer would have missed along with some commentary.

Finn doing a whole of of nothing.

Given the way The Force Awakens ended, we have to presume The Last Jedi picks up right where we left off so it only makes sense that Finn is still recovering. John Boyega told fans at Celebration over the weekend to not worry, Finn will be in action!

Poe and BB-8 making a mad dash.

Are they under attack, does it tie in to the next clip? Seems a safe bet. The most important thing in this shot is the original trilogy inspired set design that looks gorgeous.

Poe's X-Wing goes boom.

Aw, come on! Poe must love Halloween because he's got the only black and orange X-Wing and it's getting blown up. Boo! A-Wings show up here and in the space battle clip.

Kylo Ren.

Yup, there he is with his lightsaber, sporting a new facial scar.

Leia's back!
It's her back and she is back, get it?

Rewatching The Force Awakens recently was hard enough knowing that Carrie has left us. As a long time fan, the scene where Leia and Han reunite was emotional seeing it the first time in the theater. Now, Han is gone and so is our Princess. I hope she gets more screen time for her final appearance.

This is probably the thing that got me most excited in the trailer. It looks like we'll get some flashback explaining what happened to Luke's Jedi academy. Rey got a brief glimpse of this scene from a different angle when she has her Force vision in The Force Awakens. I'm hoping for a decent sized Jedi vs First Order battle. Or maybe it'll be the Knights of Ren instead of (or in addition to) the First Order. We'll have to wait and see!

So there you have it, six things you totally didn't miss if you watched The Last Jedi trailer!

Apr 13, 2017

Win with the Guardians of the Galaxy

With the success of the first movie, it was pretty much a given they'd market the next one out the wazoo. But are they doing it right? Maybe it's Disney sticking with what's come before but the tie-ins just don't feel out of this world.

First up, we've got Doritos. They've partnered with the Avengers before. Every Gaurdian is featured on a different flavor. Inside each bag is a code you can redeem on the Doritos site for a chance at prizes when you Choose Your Guardian.


Each character has a three tiered group of prizes associated with them. One code puts you in for a shot at an instant win Level 1 goodie. After four codes, you unlock level 2 prizes and another four gets you in to the "most epic" Level 3 prizes. Not bad if you eat a lot of Doritos, at least you get something out of it. You know, aside from the nacho cheese dust under your fingernails.

Next, Mars Brand Candy!

I'm not usually one to collect movie tie-ins unless it's something interesting. Give me kids' meal toys or collectible cups and I'm all in! Food packaging? Not so much these days.

You'll find the Guardians on packages of Starburst, Skittles, M&Ms, and Juicy Fruit gum. That's right, I said Juicy Fruit. I remember seeing Civil War on Juicy Fruit. With the candy promotion, you can enter to win a free movie ticket. Snap a pic of your purchase receipt and upload it to the site. In the next day or so, you'll get an email telling you you didn't win.

I don't usually buy much candy but I guess the movie hype has me jonesing to buy something other than action figures. That and the fact that wehn I went to look for M&Ms and Skittle, "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc was playing in the store, so I took that as a sign.

The packages will be going in the trash when I'm done. I thought there would be a code inside to enter online for the contest but there isn't which is really the only reason I bought them. Uploading a receipt just isn't as exciting as entering a code.

And finally...

In the most unusual product tie-in I can think of: Guardians and Hanes. Buy a pack of underwear or t-shirts and you get a pack of four promotional trading cards. If that's not enticing enough, you get a free Marvel movie rental on Vudu!

I get partnering with food items. It might be something you were buying anyway or you might impulse buy when you see it, but underwear? And it's just regular underwear, they don't even have the characters on them. Those, I would buy! As far as I can tell, the trading cards are the same ones that are being released alongside the movie but with a promo number stamped on them.

I guess what I really want is a fast food tie-in. With Avengers and Star Wars Rebels, you could get a drawstring bag at Subway. Sure, it's more practical for a kid but you can't really put it on your desk. I want toys!

..and maybe a Lucky Charms-like cereal with marshmallows shaped like character heads, Baby Groot, and the Milano.

Apr 5, 2017

Meet Wreck-It Ralph!

I thought with the recent announcement of Wreck-It Ralph 2, this would be a good time to share these photos from three years ago. Timely, right?

Starting around November 2012 you could meet Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz in person at DisneyWorld's Hollywood Studios park. I was lucky enough to visit during this time frame. They were in the Art of Animation building, which has since been converted to the Star Wars Launch Bay. In 2014, they left (presumably to start working on the sequel?) to make way for Baymax and Hiro. Will they return to the parks with the new movie? We'll have to wait and see.

The sign above greets you as you enter the queue area, which is indeed themed to make it feel like you're in Game Central Station. Along the queue are a few video screens made to look like you're inside different games looking out.

The queue isn't a very big area compared to the ones you'd be in for big time characters like the Princesses or Mice but it is a fun area to hang out in. My favorite thing there was a status board that showed if games were on time or delayed.

What really surprised me is the people that put this together did their homework. Well, I guess it shouldn't be that surprising because it is Disney after all. Aside from some of the big names in video games there were also some in there that I'm guessing most people haven't heard of like Zookeeper.

Of course, there are a few mentions of Tron. Disney, all I'm asking for in the next movie is some kind of Tron cameo: lightcycle, recognizer, heck I'll take an identity disc in the background somewhere!

Eventually, the wait is over!

I enjoy meeting the characters and I don't usually geek out too much about it but I was pretty excited to meet Ralph and Vanellope. I thought it was a nice touch after going through the game themed waiting area that the meeting area looks like you stepped into Vanellope's game, Sugar Rush.

Here's a brief video I found to show you what the area is like.

Apr 1, 2017

Monthly Movie Recap - March 2017

2017 is shaping up to be a fun year for movies and we're just getting started!

If you're a fan of B-movies, check out Midnight Macabre Films on YouTube. They've posted a lot of greats like Chopping Mall, Spookies, and The Pit just to name a few.

Logan (2017)
I don't think a lot of people like seeing their heroes get old and weak but this is probably the best way it could be done. There's a tiny bit of mystery here between figuring out what year it is and what happened to the other mutants. This is really the Wolverine movie I wanted...except a younger version...in Japan.

Cool: Wolverine is finally unleashed. Plenty of claw action! Daphne Keen is awesome, I hope she continues to act.
Lame: I'm assuming adult people brought the other kids to the meeting point. Did they just leave the kids there by themselves? I mean, they're mutants, but they're still kids.

Rating: 8/10

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016)
Not going to lie, as much fun as this is, it's definitely a bit sadder than it would have been a few months ago. Even if you're not a Star Wars fan (if that's possible) but are a fan of Hollywood, I'd still recommend this, it's a fantastic documentary about the relationship between two amazing women.

Rating: 9/10

Moana (2016)
I swear someone at Disney found a way to get into my brain and find out all the things to put in a movie that would make me love it! Everything about this was a home run for me: the plot of a mortal helping a demigod, Moana's journey and the theme of finding who you are, the Polynesian mythology...LOVE IT!

Cool: See above
Lame: Needed more coconut pirates!

Rating: 8/10

Beauty and the Beast (2017)
You hear "Disney magic" thrown around a lot, this is it right here. The effects are really magical. I like Emma Watson but wasn't sure she would be a good Belle. She's not, she's great!

Cool: Love the wolf scenes, very intense! Getting a peek into Belle's backstory.
Lame: New songs may need some time to catch on. Something about the design of Mrs Potts...creepy

Rating: 9/10

 Full movie on YouTube!

Rockula (1990, Amazon)
Nothing I say here can prepare you for the cheese that is Rockula. It's like 80s Mtv decided to make a vampire comedy. If not for the musical numbers, I probably would never have finished watching it. From the white boy vampire decked out like an 80s rapper (and rapping!) to Toni Basil's horny vampire mom doing a sexy number in front of her son and his girlfriend...this is Rockula.

Cool: Thomas Dolby is delicious as the bad guy. Toni Basil, just delicious. Some of the songs are actually pretty fun!
Lame: If you're not a fan of camp, steer clear

Rating: 5/10

If you want to read more about Rockula, head over to It Came From the Man Cave, which is where I lay the blame how I knew this existed.

Gantz:O (2016, Netflix)
I knew nothing about this going in other than the blurb in Netflix and the fact that it has a 4.75/5 rating. After the first 15-20 minutes I'm wanting to know where I can buy the RPG and/or video game for this universe. If you're a fan of action movies and monsters, get this in your queue! While I'm not going to read the manga this is based on, I am interested in seeing the anime and other live action Gantz movies.

Cool: Weird ass alien/monsters that can only come from Japan, like a 30' tall beast made from writhing naked lady bodies. Cool tech.
Lame: No real back story on how this whole Gantz thing came to be or why. It's not a huge deal for me though as it makes me want to know more. The lead female voice dub is just...ugh.

Rating: 8/10

Month Total
 New: 6  Rewatch: 0

Year Total
 New: 15  Rewatch: 1

Mar 29, 2017

Funko Smuggler's Bounty - Rebels

Seems like this was some good timing on Lucasfilm's and Funko's parts as the box arrived just a couple days before the Rebels season finale aired.

Despite the box reminding me in huge letters that the theme is Rebels, it took me a minute to figure out the character is Ezra. Maybe it's because this is a look from a couple seasons ago.

Awesome! The patch and pin are my two favorite main characters: Zeb and Sabine!

A very cool shirt featuring the entire crew of the Ghost. Totally digging little Pop-ified Zeb baring his teeth but still very cute.

This was an extra long box which means extra figures!

Just like the Vader Hikari figure from the Rogue One box, this figure of Chopper is a few inches tall. Subscribers got one of a handful of random colors. I would have preferred an orange one because he's more associated with that color. It's not as transparent as it looks, I lit him up to show off his details. The foot in the bottom right is a better representation of what he looks like under room lighting.

Funko has started revealing an exclusive from each of their sub boxes in advance and for this one, it was Maul. I have to admit I wasn't thrilled about it. While it was fun to see him make a come back in the series, there are other characters I would have liked to see. But, having it in hand, it's a great looking Pop!

On the flip side of that coin, I was like a kid on Christmas when I saw Rex! He's been a favorite of mine since the animated Clone Wars series began way back when. I was genuinely excited to see him come back in Rebels so having this Pop be a surprise was amazing.

And that wraps up the penultimate Smuggler's Bounty post. I say every post it's going to be my last one and then they announce the next theme and I get pulled back in. Next theme? Star Wars' 40th Anniversary. How can I say no to that?

Mar 22, 2017

Fundimensions Sound Gizmo Toy (1980)

With the advent of the internet, it's become ridiculously easy to revisit one's childhood. Whether you're reconnecting with friends or searching for that favorite toy, it seems everything is a mouse click away. But then there are those rare occasions when you go to Google up something and find just about nothing online and you remember that all that information out there has to be put there by someone.

In 1980 Fundimensions released a weird electronic toy called the Sound Gizmo. I don't remember exactly how I came by mine. It might have been a gift for a special occasion but I do remember not knowing anyone else that had one. This might explain why they currently go for $200-$300 on Ebay and why I can barely find any mention of it online.

Image from Neato Coolville
So what was the Sound Gizmo? Ready for this? It makes...sounds! If you were to play with one now, you'd think it was junk, barely a novelty. But to a kid barely into double digits that was obsessed with sci-fi, it was magic!

You've got a slider on the right that lets you pick from 9 different sounds, three knobs to tweak the sound, and two buttons for duration.

The manual (click for larger view) gave you suggested control settings for typical sound use. But having 9 sounds with variable pitch and speed, who wants typical? This is really where the replay value kicks in. I remember when I was outside playing (it's a thing kids used to do a long time ago) it was sort of a imagination multi-tool useful in any situation.

Need a machine gun?
Use the Train sound and crank the speed up.

Need to break out (or in) somewhere?
Use the Siren and keep adjusting the pitch and speed until you hit the right frequency and you've got a sonic lockpick! And yes, that's totally a riff on the sonic screwdriver.

Need to really annoy someone?
Set it to Tone and crank the pitch all the way up.

Here's a little demo video. I did not make this and (apologies to the creator) it's not a great showcase of what the Gizmo can do but it's the only thing I could find that isn't related to a certain Mogwai.

Here's a fun read I found at the Howard Stern show, of all places, where it was used in the days before soundboards to provide sound effects for the show. There's also a brief audio talking about the toy.

Do you have any childhood toys you don't think anybody else remembers?
Let's reminisce in the comments!

Mar 15, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Pint Sized Heroes

Somehow Funko keeps finding new ways to sell characters. We had Pop Vinyl, Mystery Minis, Dorbz, Wobblers, Rock Candy, and probably another one or two I'm forgetting. Now comes Pint Sized Heroes! This line has been out for awhile but only recently did my favorite bunch of a-holes get their own series.

Each pack retails for about $4 and comes with one figure and a mini-poster/checklist.

You'll notice the checklist shows 6 exclusives, three in red and three in blue. Reds are a GameStop/ThinkGeek store exclusives while the blue can only be found in Hot Topic. But they don't tell you that anywhere in the packaging. If you were to only buy from one place, you'd be left wondering where you can get the other exclusives!

I'm not planning on chasing a regular set of these, much less trying to get six exclusives split between two stores. Although I know I'll be getting a few more because I need some form of Rocket and Groot!

When they say Pint Sized, they ain't kidding! 
These cute little figures come in at just around the one inch mark.

Let me tell you, for only being an inch high, these things have got some crazy amount of detail on them! Not only do they replicate the graphics on Quill's t-shirt but check out all the line work that makes up his clothes and remember this figure is a whole 1" high!

I love the way they capture Gamora's multi-hued hair.

When I first saw Russell  in the new trailer I thought it was Jeff Bridges for a minute.

That's all the Guardians goodies for now but with it being a known quantity this go round, I know they're going to merchandise it like it's Spaceballs. You can bet there will be more GotG posts in the coming month and a half!

Mar 9, 2017

Star Wars Rogue One Trading Cards - UK Set

Welcome to part 2 of he Topps UK Rogue One Trading Card review!
If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

This set is a little different from the way they do US sets. In US sets, there is usually a base set of cards and then inserts which have different odds of getting one in each pack. The only "inserts" in this set are these special cards.

I don't know what the "actual" name is for them so I'll go with rainbow holo-foil. These limited editions can be found in regular packs at 1:36 odds. If you buy a starter set, you get Jyn. They used to sell a special package of 5 packs that included either Cassian or Vader. Those packs are no longer in stock online but I did manage to grab one. The Vader I pulled from a regular pack.

This is what I like to call a hype set. It's released before the movie so it typically doesn't contain a lot of spoilers. This is a 212 card set and although the cards are individually numbered, there are definitely mini sets or themes that run throughout.

Cards 1-33 consist of 11 characters, each with three images. The cards themselves are even a bit different from what you get in the US. You can sort of see it on Jyn, they have a bit of texturing on them instead of being just cardboard.

Cards 34-51 are mostly characters with a few ships. Some characters get three different cards, while poor Director Krennic only gets one. Even the Deathtroopers get three!

It was about this point shooting the cards that I decided to double up on the mini sets, otherwise this would be a really long post.

Cards 52-61 are represented by the top row. These are some of my favorite in the whole set. I think they have a bit of a stencil graffiti vibe.

62-73, bottom row, is more character art. Most of the cards in the set have no information on the backs so a lot of these feel they're almost playing cards.

74-84 on the top, is all character head shots. The art style is reminding me of...something. I can't think of what it's reminding me of at the moment though. These also have two bits of info on the back: allegiance and height.

Bottom row, 85-92, is all Vader, all the time! These are another favorite mini set, especially the style of the two on the right because they feel like a 70s throwback.

Cards 93-128 make up four 9-card puzzle posters. You can fit 9 cards per storage page. Coincidence? They're a little spaced out in the page but they still look pretty good.

129-150 are movie scene cards. Again, unlike what you'd be expecting in the US, there is no text on the back describing the scene or plot. They're not even numbered in the order the scenes happen in the movie.

151-160 look a bit different. The first time I pulled one I thought it was a little...odd. The white circle in the lower left has a faint image of a character. Why this strange design? I'll get back to them shortly, they do have a purpose!

161-192 are holo-foil cards. In a US set, these would probably be an insert that you'd expect to get in every few packs. Not here though! You get one in every 8 card pack! They also have text on the back describing the thing on the front.

I'm still trying to figure out why you would need a cargo AT-AT in a galaxy where flying/hover vehicles are as common as cars.

193-202 are plastic! It's kind of hard to tell but everywhere you see white on the top two cards, it's transparent and the background is showing through. Remember those unusual cards a couple pictures ago that looked kind of blank? Well, you pair those with the corresponding plastic card and you get what you see on the bottom. I really like this idea!

203-212 are sticker cards, which I didn't even realize until I looked at the poster that came with the starter set. They are a little bit thicker than the rest of the cards in the set. The same image is on the back of the card so if you decide to use the sticker, you still have a card with the image on it.

Overall, I really enjoy this set. I collect playing cards for the art and I think that's part of why I like this set so much, it's very art-centric. I still need just over 25% of the cards to complete it. This is where you end up paying for it because I'm more likely to find people outside the US to trade with.

The only negative things I have to say are that the cards are not as sturdy as what I'm used to and you have to be careful handling a stack of them to not ding or bend the corners.

The second thing is more at Topps Direct for their shipping. They always use a padded mailer no matter what you order. Packs of cards? Padded envelope. Individual cards to complete your collection? We'll put those in a regular envelope and put that in a padded envelope. I guess I can't complain because the shipping is so cheap but it would be nice to not have to worry about the condition of your cards.

By the way, that is one of the best things about Topps Direct is that you can purchase individual cards from them! As of this post, they still have Rogue One Starter Sets (around $5) and 8-card packs for just over $1 each! You can find them here.

Mar 7, 2017

Star Wars Rogue One Trading Cards - UK Starter Set

While trying to fill in the last few spots in my Force Awakens sticker book, I found that the Topps UK site sells individual stickers which allowed me to quickly get the last few I needed. While I was browsing the site, their Rogue One trading cards caught my eye. I figured since I was ordering from them already, I'd pick some up to check them out.

The do things a bit differently in the UK than they do in the US. You can buy a starter set which includes a binder with built in pages. Granted, the pages aren't the same quality if you were to buy them in the store but they do the job.

Also in the starter is a fold out poster/checklist. The green section on the right is for you to put the stickers on. While it's not something I'm doing I think it's a cool idea.

Rounding out the starter are front and back cover inserts. The reverse of the front has an image of our heroes, just in case you think the bad guys are getting all the glory. You also get a single pack of 8 cards and a limited edition Jyn Erso card. All that for £5!

Topps UK still has starter sets available and the individual packs of cards are now down to £1! The exchange rate is pretty good right now and the shipping is cheap. I would recommend buying a starter if you're getting card packs because they ship everything in a padded envelope and the starter's binder provides nice backing so there's less chance of cards getting dinged in transit.

Tune in on Thursday when I'll be showing off the cards.

Mar 3, 2017

Kickstarter - Campy Creatures

Hi, my name is Dex and I have a slight Kickstarter game addiction.

And things like Campy Creatures are why!

Whether or not I may ever actually play this game, I absolutely have to have it just for the artwork. I love the old school Aurora model kit style box.

Players are mad scientist in need of precious Mortals for future experiments. Rather than getting your hands dirty, your army of Campy Creatures awaits to do your bidding. Capture the most valuable Mortals over the course of three nights to win. But be warned—the Mortals won’t go down without a fight.

Campy Creatures is a ghoulish game of bluffing, deduction, and set collection for 2-5 players. Players begin each round with the same hand of creatures. Their goal is to capture valuable Mortals by outguessing their opponents. Each player has perfect information at the start so knowing what a person might do in a particular situation is key.

Check out these gore-geous Creature cards!

There's only a few days left but they're over triple their funding goal!

Head over to the Campy Creatures page to find out more about the game, pick up a copy for just $20, or grab the free print n play files until the campaign ends.

You can also add on an 8 x10 giclée print of the monster of your choice. Or if you're a really mad scientist, you can get all 9 prints and the game. These prints are awesome, it's not just reproducing the card art but they look like movie posters.


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