Sep 30, 2015

Monthly Movie Recap - September 2015

Hey, folks! The Monthly Movie Recap comes to you a day early because the Countdown to Halloween starts tomorrow! Clicking on a linked title will take you to that film's Amazon page where you can not only buy it, but put a few coins in my pocket too. Win-win!

Welcome to Planet Earth (1997) aka Alien Avengers
I couldn't find a trailer for this campy dark comedy. I would have sworn it came out of the 80s because that's just how off the wall it is. Basically this couple and their daughter vacation (on Earth) and have a grand old time mopping up the street trash. If it had more violence, it would be a great Troma flick.

Cool: George Wendt beating up lowlife scumbags, what more do you need?
Lame: The plot doesn't make much sense, but then this is from Roger Corman so...

Rating: 5/10

Burying the Ex (2015, Netflix)
This is a pretty fun zom-com. It never really goes anywhere you're not expecting it to but it doesn't get boring.

Cool: Someone really needs to franchise the "I Scream" shop from this movie!
Lame: Undead, horny girlfriend.
Rating: 7/10

TMNT (2014, Netflix)
Ok, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't great either, but it didn't totally suck. That's the best thing I can say about it. This is coming from someone who didn't like the original cartoon when it came out so take that as you will.

Cool: The turtles looked realistic on screen; good fight choreography
Lame: I don't like the design of the turtles (mainly the faces) or the mecha-Shredder suit. On the other hand, the mecha suit is very comic book-y.
Rating: 6/10

Definitely funny but I was expecting a lot more. Mainly because when I hear people talk about it, it seems to have a cult status. I'm also not a stoner so maybe that has something to do with it?

Rating: 6/10

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
If you liked the first one, you like this one! If you haven't seen the first one, you really should check it out. They're a lot of fun and the kids will enjoy them too.

Lame: The whole theme of the movie revolves around Mavis' kid, whether he's a vampire or not, and the family accepting him for who he is. The ending (spoilers!) totally undermines this by having him turn out to be a vampire, which is what pretty much everyone wants. Why have a message of acceptance and then have the kid turn out the way you expect? But I"m probably over analyzing a kids movie.

Did you see anything worth watching this month? Anything on your radar that you're looking forward to seeing? Let me know in the comments.

Month Total
 New: 5  Rewatch:0

Year Total
 New: 57  Rewatch: 3

Sep 28, 2015

September 2015 Loot Crate - Summon

Just when I thought it was going to be quiet around here for a bit, I have to sneak in two more monthly staples before October gets into full swing.

The wonderful wizards at Loot Crate have conjured up a box spell-tacular Summoning items. As always, these goodies have been provided to me in exchange for a review. 

This month's booklet contains a Pokè-puzzle, an interview with the Loot Cast podcast hosts, and an interview with Supernatural's vehicle co-ordinator talking about the most bad ass car currently on TV.

I've seen this style of knit hat around for awhile now but had no clue they were called Laplanders. I never really got into Pokèmon but I've watched enough of the first season to know a Squirtle from a Blastoise. 

Next is a pair of Hearthstone related items. On the left is a foam stress stone. And the card was originally a 2014 Blizzcon exclusive. The coin is real and pops out of the card. The back of the card has a game code that has exclusive DLC for digital game cards. 

Mmmmm...golden Homer Buddha. I love the Chinese take out art on the box.
Another win for Kidrobot!

This 1:64 scale replica is a Loot Crate exclusive. What makes it so special is the Kansas license plate. All other version of the car have an Ohio plate. The body is die-cast but the underside is plastic which makes it feel kind of cheap when you're used to $1 Hot Wheels feeling heftier.  But it's definitely cool to have an actual scale version of the Impala in the Halloween Garage. For the record, this is my 2nd version of the Impala. I have another that has a die-cast chassis but it's still in its package.

And lastly is the Crate itself. When inverted, it turns into a summoner's spell book. While that's pretty cool on its own, there's also a Loot Crate Summoner game you can download that interacts with the book cover to provide an augmented reality element. 

I'd say this Summoning was spot on! All the chalk marks were drawn just like in the manual, the candles were lit, and they remembered to say "Klaatu Barada Nikto" just in time. 

If you'd like cool stuff like this to magically appear on your doorstep every month, head over to Loot Crate and sign up with code AEIOUwhy to save 10% on whatever plan you choose. 

Sep 25, 2015

SummerSwap2015 Update 8

For those following along at home, you may be saying "Update 8? What happened to 7?" The host of stop 7 is going to blog his experience with the SwapBox and when he does, I'll be sure to post a link to it here!

For now, head on over to Cool and Collected to check out the latest SwapBox field report.

PS - If you're planning on joining in on the Halloween Web interview series, try to get that in as soon as you can. Thanks!

Sep 21, 2015

NYC & Duran Duran

Things were a little quiet last week because I was in New York for the first half of the week. Things will probably continue to be a little quiet around here for the next week or so as I spend my normal "blog time" ramping up for the Countdown to Halloween. Also, for those wondering, the SummerSwap is still going on! Should have a field report soon.

The main reason we went to NYC was to see Duran Duran as they start touring for their latest album, Paper Gods. If you're saying "Are they still around?" the answer is yes, yes they are. In fact, I defy you to listen to "Pressure Off" and not get it stuck in your head.
More on the concert later.

While doing touristy things, we found NBC was out in Times Square promoting Heroes Reborn. I have to admit, when I first heard it was coming back as a finite series, I wasn't all that excited. But the more I see of it, the more I want to see of it!

They had a "4D" experience you could go through to get tested for powers. There was a pretty long line and it would take about 3-4 minutes per person. A little quick math told me I'd be standing there at least an hour. It seemed pretty cool but not wait in line an hour cool. Luckily, if you just wanted to do the free photo op, you could skip ahead to do just that.

And as soon as you fill out your info on the computer, BOOM! You get an email with a link to your pic. Not only that, but it also gets plastered on the Jumbotron.

One of the other fun spots on our trip was Dylan's Candy Bar. Oh. My. God. If you ever have the chance to see this place, go! Not only do they have probably every candy you can think of, they also make their own fudge and there's an ice cream shop on the top floor. You'll be seeing more from there in October but here's a few shots for now...

This doesn't really show the scale of this giant chocolate bunny.

Just a sampling of the variety of deliciousness.

Remember these?
Nothing appeals to kids like candy based on things that can kill you.

And then, there was the concert. I got to meet some new people, one of which is an autopsy photographer, so that was an added bonus!

We got there a few hours early after getting a text from another friend that said the band was popping out to sign for the people waiting at the back door. Unfortunately/fortunately, by the time we got there they weren't outside anymore but were doing a sound check. So we got to hear a few songs before lining up at the front door.

I had heard the first two ladies in line had gotten there around 6:30am! We got there almost 12 hours later and were still able to be in the first three rows for a general admission show. It was a great show, as always!

^^ Probably my favorite shot of the night. ^^

So those are just three of the 98 shots I have!
If you want to check out the rest, head over to my Flickr album.

Sep 11, 2015

9/11 National Museum & Memorial

Back over the Memorial Day weekend, we took a weekend trip to New York. One of the places we visited was the 9/11 National Museum & Memorial. We were there for about two hours and we still didn't see everything there was to see!

This is the new One Trade Center building, also known as Freedom Tower.

In the places where the twin towers previously stood are memorial pools. The names of those that were lost that day are engraved all around the edges. It's hard to get a sense of scale here but if you look along the far wall, you can make out people standing behind it. You may need to click for a closer look.

The museum is below street level and is enormous. Not just in the fact that there is so much to see, but also in the size of the exhibit area.

This is "The Last Column." It was chosen to symbolically mark the completion of the recovery of the site. A ceremony was held on May 30, 2002. Before it was removed from the site, recovery workers, first responders, volunteers, and victims' relatives signed it and attached memorial messages, pictures, and other tributes.

There are a number of personal stories around the museum.

And here's a closeup of the urn.

Some interesting things were found during the recovery of the site.

This is the National 9/11 Flag.

Of all the things in the museum, this was the most incredible. There's an entire website dedicated to it but I'll try to give you the TL;DR version.

The main body of it is the flag that was flying over the WTC on 9/11. It went on a national tour where victims of other tragedies, veterans, students, local heroes, and many more helped restore it.

It includes threads from the original Star Spangled Banner that flew over Ft. McHenry that inspired the song and an American flag bunting that was laid over Lincoln after he was shot. It really is not just an amazing piece of history but a real testament to the strength and spirit of our country. If you check out the flag's site, there are stories from nearly every state.

If you ever visit NYC, plan a trip to the museum or at least visit the Trade Center plaza. 
It's a very humanizing experience.

If you're interested in my own experience on 9/11, you can read that here.

Sep 7, 2015

Calling All Ghouls

Now that summer is officially unofficially over, it's time to turn our eyes toward October!

Last year I did a series of interviews with fellow bloggers about their Halloween memories and experiences. I think it went over pretty well so I'm doing another round this year.

If you didn't participate last year and you have a love for Halloween, I want to hear from you! Especially if you have photos to share from Halloweens past. 
I'd like to get somewhere around 10-15 replies.

If you're up for it, click here to get the interview questions.

If you're joining in this year, please comment below so I have a head count.

Sep 4, 2015

Marvel Legends - Captain Marvel

After months of hemming and hawing, I finally decided to pull the trigger and pick up the Captain Marvel Legends figure.

They did a good job capturing her in plastic. Her costume isn't too complex, so there's not a lot of detail to worry about. They did get the dots on her gloves and boots which is a nice touch. For whatever reason, she's a little back heavy and is troublesome to get to stand straight up without some readjusting.

She comes with two accessories: a "power punch" and a swapable "helmet head." When they first introduced this new costume for her, I was not a fan of the mohawk. I don't know why, I just felt it looked weird. I've warmed up to it a bit more but I still think it can't be the most comfortable thing in the world.

The eyes aren't quite centered so she always has a wistful look on her face. But they did get some eye shadow on her without screwing it up, so bonus points there! My only gripe with the figure is that both of her hands are fists. I suppose it's good for action poses but I think she always looks like she's ready to brawl.

Recently, Captain Marvel was running with the Guardians of the Galaxy so I thought it only appropriate to have a couple of guest stars for this photo shoot.

That Star-Lord is such a goof! He's holding his gun upside-down.

Overall, Captain Marvel is a pretty solid figure. If you're a fan of the character, she's absolutely worth picking up.

I can't wait to hear who they'll be casting to play her in the upcoming movie. Behind Doctor Strange, she's probably the next solo film I'm looking forward to most. I've always liked her character, even back in the Ms Marvel days. After taking the Captain mantle, she's done nothing but become more interesting, a strong(er) female character, and an inspring role model.

Sep 1, 2015

Monthly Movie Recap - August 2015

One month closer to Halloween and Star Wars!

As always, clicking a link below will take you to Amazon where you can order the flick and put some coins in coffers. If you are the person that ordered a standing desk from my Amazon link, thank you!

Justice League: Gods and Monsters (2015)
In this alternate timeline, it's Zod that gives his DNA to create Kal-El not Jor-El, Batman is Kirk Langstrom, and Wonder Woman is the daughter of the god of War. I'm a sucker for "What If?" and Elseworlds stories but even if I wasn't, this one is still really good! Even if you're not a hardcore DC reader (like me), if you're a fan of comics this is worth checking out.

Cool: Back to the DC Animated Series style we all love; Bruce Timm!

Rating: 9/10

Brave (2012)
Although it's Pixar, it feels more like a traditional Disney movie. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just in terms of the story and characters, that's what you get. I like that they went Scottish for the background instead of a generic fantasy world, it gives it a unique flavor.

Cool: The mythology/magical elements.
Lame: I was expecting the three brothers to be in it a lot more based on how much they were a part of the marketing for the movie.

Rating: 7/10

Descendants (2015, Disney Channel)
It's High School Musical meets Disney fairy tales. It's an interesting concept that's done pretty much by the Disney book. Even though I'm not the target age group, I didn't think it was horrible. Maybe a few minutes longer than it needed to be, but that's probably from the musical numbers.

Cool: Kristen Chenoweth totally steals all her scenes
Lame: It seems like all the villains are single parents? And does it not seem weird that the heroes and villains all have kids that are the same age? (These are not the questions that should be asked!)

Rating: 6/10

The Man from UNCLE (2015)
If you could go back and make an intentionally funny Roger Moore Bond film, this would be it. I've never seen the show so I don't have any comparision but this is definitely a fun action movie. It's got great style both visually and during the action sequences.

Cool: Who knew Superman and the Lone Ranger would be so good together?
Lame: The confusing three way chase near the movie's end.

Rating: 7/10

Hercules (2014, Netflix)
I was somewhat disappointed with the original Scorpion King, so I wasn't expecting much here. But maybe having low exceptions is why I enjoyed it as much as I did. I like the way they sort of flip the legendary aspect of Hercules so that the stories are bigger than he is.

Cool: Herc's traveling companions
Lame: I like my myths with more monsters

Rating: 6.5/10

NSFW trailer

Demon of Paradise (1987)
A recently released "Corman classic." It's a Creature from the Black Lagoon wannabe that doesn't want it bad enough. I have to give props for whoever cut this trailer because it makes the movie look great. Watch it, then YouTube the final 10 minutes and save about 80 minutes of your life.

Cool: The final showdown between the monster and soldiers is pretty funny.
Lame: Too much story stuff going on that's not monster related.

Rating: 3/10

V/H/S/ 2 (2013, Netflix)
Somewhat similar to the first one. There's a bookend story and several "VHS" tales in between. The shorts themselves cover a wide variety: a man gets a cybernetic eye and starts seeing weird things through it, a fun zombie romp, a creepy cult, and alien abduction.

Cool: Extra points for being shorter than the first one. Good assortment of stories.
Lame: I thought for sure the aliens would turn out to be guys in suits because that's what they look like! The bookend story doesn't make much sense.

Rating: 7/10

Ghost Chase (1987) aka Hollywood Monster
From the director that brought you Stargate, ID4, and that 90s Godzilla movie! Starring European Vacation Rusty, the principal from The Breakfast Club, and Cynthia from Night of the Creeps! If I had somehow seen this when I was in my early teens, I'd probably have some nostalgia for it. It's cute and family friendly.

Cool: Catchy 80s tunes; the animatronics for the butler
Lame: Had trouble holding my attention

Rating: 4/10

Month Total
 New: 8  Rewatch:0

Year Total
 New: 52  Rewatch: 3