Jun 1, 2020

Monthly Media Recap - May 2020


Hope everyone is still doing good out there in internet land! I know a lot of places have started a phased re-opening but don't let that make you think we're out of the woods. We still have a way to go to get back to "normal". Please continue to be safe!

Okay, on with the show! I know we joke about time having no meaning but I seriously had to double check my movie log to make sure I saw the first entry this month because it felt like I watched it so long ago!


Streaming

Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian (Disney+) - An 8 part series on the making of The Mandalorian? Um, yes please!

Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC) - I'm glad I decided to wait until all the episodes were out to watch them over a few days. I really enjoyed this as it actually engaged my brain and made me feel things.

Movies


This was sort of like The Andromeda Strain (science lab) meets 28 Days Later (rage virus) but keep in mind it is 1985. The scariest makeup effects are some flaky skin and boils which is a shame because if they'd done any kind of gore, it would make a better movie. As it is, I have no clue how this got an R rating.
There were a couple moments where the local yokels clash with the government/not quite CDC people that felt pretty relevant with the quarantine protestors. Despite it feeling like a made for TV movie, I thought it was pretty good overall. I mean, how can you go wrong with Police Academy's G.W. Bailey (Lt. Harris)? I was surprised at some of the "big" name cast that are here considering I hadn't heard of the movie.

Rating: 6/10


The only way I can describe this is sort of like a Dollar Store Evil Dead with a splash of 1985's Demons. The plot will sort of make sense while you're watching it and then rockets off the next exit for Whathehellsburg at 70 mph. The only thing more laughable than the effects is the acting. Having said that, it might be a good candidate for your own MST3k-inspired rip session.

Rating: 4/10

I'm not familiar enough with Treasure Island to make any kind of comparisons but it was pretty fun. The casting was spot on with really enjoyable performances.

Rating: 7/10

Blumhouse has made a name for itself cranking out mostly PG13 horror that I usually enjoy. Not so much for this vacation. While I didn't think it was all bad, the rating keeps it from becoming truly threatening at the needed times and it ends up feeling more like an amusement park haunted house than horror movie. The contrived plot "twist" at the end was too out of left field for me to do anything other than roll my eyes at it. And don't even get me started on how dumb Tattoo is...

Rating: 5/10

Never read the book and it's been decades since I've seen the original movie. From what I do remember, they made a few changes but it still feels like a hollow remake, some of which I blame on bland Jason Clarke. What I'd really be interested in is some kind of prequel about the mythology/creation of the Semetary. I do have to applaud the young actress that played the daughter, she was amazing. Also good: some cringe inducing gore.

Rating: 6/10

Month
New: 5  Rewatch: 0

Year to Date
New: 27  Rewatch: 0

May 27, 2020

Star Wars Black Series Probe Droid

Continuing the 40th anniversary celebration of The Empire Strikes Back, and the 43rd of Star Wars from Monday, here's the recently released Black Series Probe Droid.

Click to order on Amazon
The probe droid is one of my favorite droids in all of Star Wars so I was thrilled to find this on a recent trip to Target. But then I had a moment of sticker shock and didn't pick it up right away. I wasn't expecting to pay $10 more than the usual 6" scale Black Series figure.

By my next trip back, I had thought it over. Despite being a huge Star Wars fan, my collecting has been scaled back to almost nothing and this is one of my favorite things in my favorite movie. So I took heed of some wise words: Treat Yo'Self.


And I'm so glad I did! It is totally worth every penny!

Aside from the larger box, I can see where that extra $10 went to with this figure: its size and detail. Having it sitting around, I feel like I have a prop replica instead of an "action figure." Probe droids aren't known for their fashion sense, so it doesn't come with many accessories except a clear pole and a snowy base to plug it into.


The head turns 360°and I'd be lying if I said the little kid in me secretly wanted it to make a clicking noise like the old Kenner droid figures. The longer legs have three joints, while the shorter ones just two. I am loving the silver weathering they used to give it that "used" look.


In addition to paint weathering, they also dirtied it up a little.


Another thing that would have been cool to have would be an extendable antenna but given how thin they are, I can see where that would be hard to do. This front on angle is kind of odd, I feel like he's being fancy and extending an arm to say "How do you do?"

If you're on the fence about picking this up, definitely do it. You won't regret it. I don't think this will be one you can wait on to go on clearance.

Not having a Chewbacca or Hoth Han figure (not to mention snow) I couldn't recreate the scene from Empire Strikes Back so I had to work with what I have.

May 21, 2020

Happy 40th Empire Strikes Back

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, I wanted to reminisce a little about the greatest sci-fi adventure.


I grew up watching Creature Double Feature on Saturday afternoons and while there was a good mix of Godzilla flicks in there, I think ESB was the first real sequel I saw that continued the adventures of another movie. I"m not 100% sure but I think the first time I saw a trailer was in front of Moonraker (also my first Bond). If it had to so with outer space, I wanted to see it! I can't even convey to you the sense of how much 9 year old me was blown away by the trailer! Not only seeing the characters I loved coming back but all the new stuff. I didn't even know the name AT-AT yet but they were damn cool!


The Music
While the Star Wars main theme is certainly iconic, there's no denying that the Imperial March has become "the Star Wars song". Even people that aren't familiar with Star Wars (who ARE these people?) know it just like everyone knows the Jaws theme. Another reason I love the soundtrack is that the March's influence is felt in other tracks. When CDs first came out, this was the first one I bought. It was also the first CD I played in my first brand new car.

The Places
Okay, Dagobah doesn't bring much to the table aside from Yoda. Hoth is pretty much an ice cube but I love just about everything there from cold weather outfits to Probe droids. The Battle of Hoth is one of the best sequences in all of Star Wars. But Bespin? Out of all the locations in all the movies, that's the place I'd move to if I could. You know, when it's not under Imperial occupation.


The Characters
There were only a handful of new main characters but they make up for quantity with quality. It would take a few more years for me to fully appreciate Yoda's wisdom. I remember turning to my dad and asking him what "That is why you fail." meant. Lando was kinda cool but also a bit on the shady side.


Boba. Fett. So much hype for him even before the movie from his animated appearance in the Holiday Special to the mail away figure and articles like the one here. Imperial Shocktrooper that wiped out the Jedi? Bounty Hunter? Who was this guy and what's with the cool armor?


The Toys
OMG the toys! That mail away Boba Fett before the movie even came out was everything! Even though I had the AT-AT, it was always the smaller vehicles like Slave I or the Cloud Car that captured my imagination (again going back to Bespin). The new mini-rigs gave us a peek at what might be just off screen. I still wish we'd gotten a Kenner Carbon Freeze Chamber playset.

I remember having to go to a toy store in another state to get the Yoda figure after he was released. Sure it was probably easy enough to find down the road but when you're a kid, you had to have it!

The Fast Food Tie-Ins
Fellow fan Richard Woloski over at Skywalking Through Neverland has a great piece up spotlighting the Burger King and Burger Chef Empire promo items which is sure to give you some warm fuzzies.

The Speculation
Who was the other Yoda mentioned? Couldn't be Han, right? Leia? I dunno. A character in the next movie?

Wait, what? Vader's gotta be pulling Luke's leg, right? There's no way he's really his father, that's insane! This was the talk of the playground for the next three years.
Kids today will never understand.

Feel free to share your Empire memories in the comments!

I've also shared some Empire poster magazines over the years.

ESB #1

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