Sep 30, 2014

Monthly Movie Recap - September 2014

A day early because tomorrow starts the annual Countdown to Halloween!

This month's flicks start off on the lower end of the scale and get better as we go along. If you feel the need to own any of these gems, clicking on the link will take you to Amazon and help support the site.

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (2014)
I"m not going to waste a lot of keystrokes on this. If you're a Bell fan, there's probably no talking you out of watching this, but you can't say you weren't warned.

Rating: 4/10

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
You know a horror series is getting long in the tooth when they go urban (or to space). After the last two, I wasn't expecting much, but this one's got some good gore thanks to Screaming Mad George. Where the previous ones fell apart at the end because of the effects, this one manages to at least get into the "so bad it's good" area.

Cool: Cornthulhu! Some interesting kills
Lame: The child villain isn't sinister looking enough; If Attack of the Killer Tomatoes has taught us anything, it's that murderous plants/veggies can't be taken seriously
Rating: 5/10

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)
And we're back to a really bad movie. I honestly don't know how they keep turning these out...or why I keep insisting to myself that I have to watch the whole series.

Cool: Naomi Watts & Karen Black
Lame: Not even a passing mention of He Who Walks in this one.
Rating: 3/10

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)
And here the series becomes a fairly rote with teens looking to party getting hacked up. Poorly developed characters, poorly written story, poor me for making myself watch another one!

Cool: Hey look, Eva Mendes
Lame: Who would have made a much better Final Girl that the forgettable one we're given.
Rating: 4/10, at least we're back to He Who Walks, so it's a little better than the last one

Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return
Supposedly a direct sequel to the original with Isaac somehow surviving. The plot is needlessly complicated, there's lots of confusing visions and prophecy talk and worst (for me) is that they don't seem to play by the cult rules of dying at 18.

Cool: I don't think I have anything nice to say about this one
Lame: How does Isaac even have a daughter? I don't think he was even old enough in the first movie to make a baby.
Rating: 3/10, I think this one may kill the series for me. I'm skipping the next one and going right to the reboot.

Duran Duran - Unstaged (2011)
Caught this for the "one night only" theatrical showing. The band, the musical guests, and music were all fantastic. David Lynch's directing, on the other hand, has made sure I will never willingly watch this again. It's in black and white/sepia, which is fine. But I don't think there is a single frame of the film that doesn't have at least one layer of non-concert imagery over it. The imposed visuals range from WTF to laugh out loud, such as a synchronized chorus line of mostly nude Barbie dolls to another scene with someone beating a spatula on a wiener filled grill. If you watch the video above, keep your eyes on the top left screen which is showing what I saw.

Rating: 9/10 (music), 2/10 (Lynch). Overall would have visually been much better in color and void of Lynch's fever dreams.

The Specials (2000)
Never knew this movie existed until the Cult Film Club podcast covered it. It's a comedy about the day to day of being in the 6th or 7th most popular supergroup and how the members interact with each other. Low on flash but high on character.

Cool: Plenty of people you'll recognize; there are plenty of memorably funny scenes
Lame: U.S. Bill can get a little annoying
Rating: 7/10, absolutely worth a watch if you're a comic fan

The King of Arcades (2014)
A documentary following one man's dream to run a classic arcade. If you love 80s video game culture, you need to see this. It also crosses over a little into the King of Kong world.

Cool: So. Many. Video games! The dedication of the people involved is amazing. Co-Produced by Adam Goldberg (TVs "The Goldbergs") Polybius!
Lame: Seeing what has happened to some of these machines since their heyday might break your gamer heart.
Rating: 8/10

Sex Kittens Go to College (1960, uncut version)
Yes, the title makes it sound like an exploitation sleaze fest, but it's not...mostly. It's more of a sex comedy (1960s sex comedy, mind you) with a beach movie level of humor. There are two versions of it though. The uncut version that I saw has about 10 minutes of strip tease/topless dancing, which feels totally out of place. Especially since the sequence is supposed to be happening in a robot's dream!

Cool: Mamie Van Doren; Vampira has a bit part; Conway Twitty(?!); The robot Elektro (even though he doesn't do much)
Lame: What plot there is is really silly. It involves a robot that can predict winning lottery numbers and race horses, gangsters that want to steal him and a sexy new professor who isn't what she seems
Rating: 5/10, not a great movie by any stretch, but a good enough piece of fluff

Month Total
 New: 9  Rewatch: 0

Year To-Date Final Total 
New: 79 (+1 incomplete)  Rewatch: 14

Sep 29, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

Before things get to crazy with the Countdown to Halloween in a couple days, I wanted to do a quick birthday post to show off some stuff. It's kinda braggy but it's my blog! My family and a couple friends came around to celebrate with my this weekend. We walked around Salem and then went to dinner. Nothing too exciting but it was fun and I got to finally go into Fivehands Curiosity Shoppe. That will be getting its own post in October because...well, you'll just have to stay tuned.

Guardians Cake

Usually, I have a Halloween themed cake but my wife knows me well and changed it up this year. The Milano is a separate piece that comes off the purple block that's sitting on the cake. But how cool is that decorating job they did? This was just the start of the Guardians stuff!

Guardians of the Galaxy party

The two bags are from Subway, but the rest of the stuff was from Party City. They also have invitations and balloons. I noticed that Gamora only appears on the napkins. She's not even on the table cloth which has all the other heroes on it! #WheresGamora

Anyway, here's some of the other goodies I got.

Star Wars Itty Bitties

The new Star Wars Itty Bittys from Hallmark. Vader's a little hard to see, poor choice in background on my part! Usually, these are sold individually but the ones in the box set are only available as a set. It says the box makes a backdrop if you open it up, but I may never do that. Just like all the other Itty Bittys, these are insanely cute. I'm not a fan of the way they did Artoo's legs/arms, but the rest are awesome.

Star Wars sheet music

This is something a little different for my Star Wars collection: sheet music! It's just a two page folder but I think it's pretty neat. I don't have any sheet music and it's from the 70s.

Star Wars Rebels bags

A few more kids meal bags from Subway. These are promoting the upcoming animated series Rebels on Disney XD. These are a bit smaller than the Guardians bags due to one of the corners being cut diagonally. The graphics look really sharp and they each have an image of the back as well.

Key ring

A whole bunch of keys! I'm sure I'll break these out into their own post in the future. There's a few interesting looking ones that need to be seen in more detail. Side note: Am I the only person that would get excited at getting old keys as a gift?

Spooky Groot

It's Spooky Groot! Well, ok, it's not really Groot but I thought it was funny and this is how my parents gave it to me. It has a color changing light inside of it to make him spooky.

Costume Book, Vincent Price Set

What more could you want for October? Swedish Fish, the first volume of the Vincent Price Collection on BluRay, and Halloween: Costumes and Other Treats. I forsee a couple of afternoons of Price viewing and Swedish Fish eating in my future! I haven't had a chance to read much of the book, but if the following doesn't sell you on it, nothing will...

Costume book

It's just pages and pages of old school Halloween costumes and stuff. And it's not just 70s/80s stuff, it goes back earlier in the 20th century. I think this book will have you questioning your Halloween costume choices throughout your childhood. Well, if you're around my age anyway...

That about wraps it up. I did get a few more Guardians goodies early this morning so I didn't have time to take pics. Among the things were a Rocket Raccoon lanyard, a pair of gigantic movie theater cups with character toppers, and a Tervis tumbler.

Sep 26, 2014

September 2014 Loot Crate - Galactic

I always look forward to getting Loot Crate every month, but I don't think I've been as excited for an overall theme since my first Crate, Arcade way back in April of 2013. Especially intriguing was the tease that we'd be getting another Funko exclusive item.

Loot Crate - Minimag

As usual, we'll start off with the mini-mag. I love the cover, calling back to the end of Empire Strikes Back and featuring all the properties in the Crate this month.

Like the Crate itself, this month's mini-mag is Firefly heavy. There's a spread on some of the iconic things from the series like Mal's coat, Jayne's hat, and Wash's dinosaurs. The main article is about their new 15 minute short based on Firefly called The Verse.
You can see that right here.

Loot Crate - Box

Another stellar (pun...intended? I'm not sure.) interior box design with some fun details. It's no accident that it resembles the deck of the Sulaco from Aliens. You can even see a Weyland-Yutani crate on the right. And if you squint (or click on the pic for larger view) you can see R2-D2 in the back left. But who's that in the foreground, you ask?

Loot Crate - Alien & Mal

Why it's our Funko exclusive Science Fiction Mystery Mini: Captain Mal from Firefly! Yes, it's a "Mystery" Mini but the box has a Loot Crate logo and sports rifle-toting Mal front and center. The retail series also has Mal, but that one is pistol packin. So the only place you can get this figure is from Loot Crate. Funko has another winning series on its hands with these SciFi ones. Can't wait to get more!

The other Funko item we got was an Alien ReAction figure. Not everyone got the same figure but from the posts I've seen, a lot more people seem to have gotten the xenomorph than any other figure. My wife's Crate had Spacesuit Kane. This is my first ReAction and I know I'll open it eventually but I just can't right now. It looks so glorious on card and it's unpunched to boot. The xeno has a tiny lever so you can extend/retract his inner jaws and he also has a glow in the dark noggin!

Loot Crate - Firefly credits

Speaking of Firefly, we also got some beautiful prop replica credits. There's a few in each denomination, 100 and 500. I'm not a huge Firefly fan but I do love some prop replicas. I've seen other Looters framing them. They really are that nice to look at!

Loot Crate - Tribble

From another galaxy came this exclusive tribble. (And yet, I'm talking like Yoda.) The packaging says on it that this specific coloring and package were made just for Loot Crate. It also suggests keeping it away from Klingons! Always good advice. It's not too big (see last photo for scale) so you'll need more than a few if you want to bury yourself in them.

Loot Crate - Star Wars poster & magnet

Out of all the franchises teased for this month, I was most excited for Star Wars. But I was a little disappointed.The first item is a frozen Han Solo poster that's 9" x 27". I don't know if I have the space to display it properly but it's probably as close as I'll ever get to having a real carbonite block hanging on my wall. The other thing is a cool Asteroids/Empire Strikes Back mashup magnet. There's a better view coming up...

Loot Crate - Halo, Star Wars magnet

You can see the magnet better here with the Falcon flying through an Asteroids field being chased by a Star Destroyer, TIE Fighters, and a space slug! The slug is really what makes this so awesome. There's also a redeemable code for a free Halo comic from Dark Horse and Pop Rocks! I love when they toss in random candy.

Overall, I think they did a great job this month and yet the Star Wars fan in me is a little let down. I know they can't please everyone all the time, and I've seen the messages to prove it. I'd be happier if they gave us one Firefly thing and combined the Star Wars items to make one really cool Star Wars thing. Such is the Way of the Crate: if you can't find at least one thing you like, there's always next month.

If you want to get this kind of geeky stuff sent to your door every month, head over to Loot Crate and use code AEIOUWHY for 10% your entire order. Because just getting it for one month isn't a good gauge, as you can see from past posts.

Loot Crate - Mal vs Tribble
That's one big tribble!
Loot Crate provides this merchandise in exchange for review/promotion.

Loot Crate - Mal closeup

Sep 24, 2014

Hunting Halloween Hot Wheels

Do you live near a Kroger? 
I'm putting a call out to my fellow toy collectors around the blogosphere for help.

Kroger stores have five exclusive Halloween Hot Wheels again this year and of course, the closest store is 100+ miles away from me. 

Hot Wheels Collectors News has images of the exclusives. 
One of  them is a new Ecto-1 repaint!

If you find these at your Kroger, I would appreciate it beyond words if you could pick me up a set (and maybe an extra Ecto). I can't offer a lot beyond cost and shipping but you can be sure I'll put together a small Trick or Treat package for you.

Hot Wheels also has some new General Mills cereal releases in their Pop Culture line which may be of interest to Halloween fiends. These aren't store specific.

Hot Wheels seems to have all but given up on putting any effort into the annual Target Halloween packs. There was a time when I was excited to find these in stores every year but now...meh. They've reduced down to a four car pack and the cars range from "yeah it could be Halloween" to "yup, it's a car" in theme. Another plus for the Kroger exclusives is that those cars have a small Hot Wheels pumpkin logo on them to make them Halloween specific.

Here's this year's Target pack:

The two most Halloweenie cars (middle) are repacks from the Monster Mission 5 Pack. Which works out to one more car for about the same price. So if you want those, I'd suggest looking for that 5 pack because you'd also get the funky Piranha Terror car. The box art is appropriately spooky and fun, if only they could do cars to match.

Sep 17, 2014

League No More!

It was with heavy heart that I caught up on my RSS feeds last night when I saw that Brian at Cool and Collected is closing down the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Although Cool and Collected and the other League members aren't going anywhere, I'll still miss having a topic thrown at me to write about.

Over the course of the League, 75 different blogs have risen to the weekly challenge at one time or another. Some of these cool people I may not have met otherwise. I think the League's lasting legacy will be the community and friendships that formed around it.

Brian's post says "Goodbye" to the League, but I prefer to say "Until next time." Like any good super team, I think the League will wait in the wings until the world needs them again and their leader (whether new or old) calls for them to assemble.

Huge thanks to Brian and all the bloggers who made The League so much fun.
*Cue the slow clap*

Really, Superfriends? If you need pall bearers, why choose the Flash? That's gotta be some kind of torture for him to have to walk as slow as everyone else.

Sep 12, 2014

Halloween is Coming...

Alright, after grousing that Halloween stuff appearing in August is too soon, I'm ready to go all in now! Although Autumn doesn't "officially" start for about a week and a half, it's getting cooler and that crispness is starting to creep into the air ever so slowly.

If you have a blog and are going to be posting about Halloween during October, be sure to head over to the Countdown to Halloween site and register! It's a great community and a way to discover some new blogging buddies. You don't have to post every single day of the month, but some people do. I don't know if I'll be able to keep up for all 31 this year, but I'll definitely be contributing when I can.

You can also join in the fun with Strange Kids Club's annual HalloWatch. See something Halloween related that's cool? Snap a pic, post to Instagram and tag #Hallowatch and @StrangeKidsClub for a chance to have your pic featured on the site.

If you need to treat yourself to a little something to start getting in the holiday mood, check out the Universal Monsters ReAction figures. Entertainment Earth recently put up an exclusive translucent Invisible Man. They also just announced a new wave of Alien figures, including a metallic Alien and two Kanes: one with Facehugger and one with burst chest (dancing baby alien with top hat and cane not included).

And you should also definitely check out the brand new single from Salem's own Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette which just came out. It's 80s-tastic! Preview it here on iTunes. They're having an 80s Halloween dance party in Salem at the end of this month and I hope I'll be able to go, it should be awesome.

Sep 9, 2014

The Munsters Uncle Gilbert Figure

Thanks to a recent one day sale at Entertainment Earth, I scored the Uncle Gilbert figure.

Munsters Uncle Gil

In addition to his dapper hat, he comes packed with a section of floor with a foot peg, and a couple of staircase parts so that if you get all the figures in the set, you can build the Munster home stairs, complete with Spot's head! Freeing him from the package was a bit of a pain. He was secured with the dreaded wiry twisty ties. Sometimes you just want to open the thing with minimal hassle, y'know?

Munsters Uncle Gil

He's the most articulated Creature figure I own so far. I say so far because I happened to be in Toys R Us today and saw they had a new exclusive Universal Monsters line which has a Creature figure that has got some major articulation going on. There's a good review of him at The Fwoosh. Gil's leg articulation is a little odd. He's got knees, ankles, and swivel cut thighs, but no hips! You can bend his knees but not bring his legs forward. Probably for the better with his long coat, although it is pretty pliable.

Munsters Uncle Gil

Here's Gil with the previous Diamond Select Creature figure. What the older one lacks in articulation,  it makes up for in paint detail. When I started shooting Gil I was getting annoyed because the pics looked like they didn't have enough light and weren't capturing his face. It wasn't until I paired these two up that I figured out what the problem was.

Munsters Uncle Gil

Gil has no real facial definition. Look at his noggin compared to his naked brother. A world of difference! Maybe they didn't think of it since they were bringing a black & white character to color? Or maybe it was a cost saving decision.  Either way, I think I'd rather have a B&W figure. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a variant.

Munsters Uncle Gil

Sep 4, 2014

Marvel Legends Star-Lord Figure

Star-Lord, man.

Star-Lord hero pose

Star-Lord is the first Marvel Legends figure I've ever bought, so I thought I'd show him off and give a mini-review. I listen to Marvelicious Toys podcast. They review all sorts of Marvel collectibles and toys and they always have great things to say about Legends. If you're not familiar with the line, they're 6" scale and are loaded with articulation.

Star-Lord air blasting
Pew! Pew! Pew! Rocket boots, awaaaaaay!
He comes with plenty of accessories, including his twin pistols and "purse." The satchel is not removable unless you pop an arm out of its socket. I'm not sure if it's possible considering how the figures are made, but since I paid $20 for him, I'd rather not damage him. I don't know why they couldn't have made it with a buckle to make it easy to take off. They did something like that with the recent Dagobah Luke Skywalker's backpack. Granted it looks a little weird in that size but maybe it would work in the slightly larger Legends scale.

Speaking of non-removable accessories, I love the long coat but it would have been awesome if they could finagle some way to make the bottom half removable so he could also sport the biker type jacket he wears for most of the movie. Aside from looking cool, having the biker jacket would allow him full use of all articulation points, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is, the long coat prevents him from being posed in several positions and makes the chest articulation almost useless.

Star-Lord rockin
If you like Piña Colaaadaaaaaaaas
He also comes with headphones and a tiny yellow block which I presume to be his Walkman. It doesn't fit in his hand too well due to it's small size and I bet it could get lost very easily, which is why I'm keeping it in a ziploc baggy with the rest of his stuff. Another small improvement would have been to put a peg on the back of it and a hole on his belt so he could wear it. Oh yeah! He also comes with two, two, two heads! This is something I applaud them heartily for. They could have gone with just the unmasked face and had some kind of clip on mask which would probably not looked as cool as the alternate head.

Star-Lord ord
Ooh, shiny!
And Star-Lord just wouldn't be complete without the movie's MacGuffin: the orb. It's not as small as the walkman, but it is round which means it will roll if you drop it on a hard floor.

Star-Lord elbow

The previous things I've groused about are relatively minor. I am not a fan of the way they do the elbow joints. The hinge piece in the middle is rubbery which makes it almost impossible to have the figure hold its arm straight out. As you can see in the photo, the arm is extended but not quite straight, like he had a fracture that didn't heal properly.

There's also an issue with his shoulder on this side. The jacket is molded a little too tight around the socket. I have to stick a something inside the coat to loosen it and allow the shoulder to rotate to specific angles.

Even my bigger problems with the figure aren't so major, he really is a nice piece of work. I almost forgot, he also comes with a Groot arm. The Legends usually come with a build-a-figure part, which means you have to buy most, if not all, of the figures in a wave to build the bonus figure. That's how they get you! I'll show Groot off sometime in the future once I have more parts.

Here's a few more shots for fun.

Star-Lord incoming

Uh-oh, what was that?

Star-Lord busted

Throw down your weapons, we have you surrounded!

Star-Lord vs Fett 1

This is why it's not the best idea to go around air guitaring when you think you're alone.

Star-Lord vs Fett 2

Oh, uh...hey there Mister Fett...

Sep 1, 2014

Monthly Movie Recap - August 2014

Wow, September already! For most of us, that means Halloween is just around the corner, but not Dinosaur Dracula! His countdown starts now and I love him for it.
This blog can only dream to be like his when it grows up. 

If you see a title you like, click to order from Amazon. Even if you don't see anything you like, click a link and find something you do like and buy from Amazon. Every little bit helps!

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Full disclosure: I was in love with this movie from the first trailer and I've been a fan of Rocket since the 80s. I had ridiculously high hopes for this movie. It did not disappoint! I haven't had this much pure fun watching a movie in a long time. I can't wait to see them interact with other residents of the MCU. I need prequels! Rocket & Groot, Nebula & Gamora, Star-Lord & Yondu's adventures!

Cool: The characters, the soundtrack, the gorgeousness...too many things to list!
Lame: It felt like there were throwing a lot of info at me and if I wasn't a comic reader, I don't know that I would have kept it all straight.
Rating: 8.5/10, the only people that shouldn't see this are those that don't like a good time