Aug 28, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy - Rocket Raccoon Animated Figure

So I was wandering through Toys R Us this weekend expecting the same ol' same ol' when what to my wondering eyes should appear? A set of Guardians of the Galaxy figures based on the animated series!

It was hard to keep myself from grabbing them all up because I wasn't expecting more Guardians toys until next year. But I had to pick up Rocket!

For now, the figure line up just includes the Milano crew. Yes, even Gamora (although her outfit is not great).  But you gotta have bad guys to fight, right? I'd love to get a Nebula and Yondu in this line. Maybe even a Collector and definitely a Cosmo because he pops up in the show pretty frequently.

Rocket stands around 3.75" and potted Groot is about 1.75". Being from a cartoon series, these are aimed at a younger audience but that's not saying I don't like them. I have a hard time justifying paying $13 for the current Marvel 3.75" line. These are $8 (at TRU anyway), not super articulated but are good for what they are. I love the ferocious face on this Rocket.

He's got articulation in his neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and ball socket tail. The tail articulation is nice because he needs some extra stability with his BFG, but it can pop out if you move it too much.

What's not nice about the tail is actually looking at it. I mean, I guess it's the best place they could put all this text? The paint apps are good for the most part. I didn't really notice any problems (like the white on the left side of his head) until I started photographing him. Again, it's a line aimed at kids who probably won't notice or care.

Here's a close up of lil Groot. I'm going to have to find a really fine tipped Sharpie and fill in his eyes and mouth and maybe the soil to make him stand out a little more.

Lastly, here's animated Rocket next to his Marvel Legends counterpart. I've never liked the head they used on the Legends figure, it's way too passive for Rocket! Their guns are almost identical to the point where I had to look them over to see if Hasbro was reusing the mold but it's got a few subtle differences.

As I was getting ready to wrap this up, it occurred to me that I didn't get a shot of Rocket without his gun so you can see his outfit. Not a lot of detail paint-wise but there is some good sculpting and it matches pretty well with what he wears in the cartoon.

Aiiiir guitaaaaar!!

You can see pics of the whole wave over at Marvel Toy News.

Aug 24, 2016

Now Hear This - Michael Nesmith's Cruisin'

Waaaaay back in the day, MTV used to play music videos. I've tuned into the recently VH1 Classic re-branded MTV Classic and every single time, it has been a TV show or movie. I swear there was talk of them playing videos on there, but I'm getting off topic...

At various times in the 80s, Weird Al took over MTV and made it AlTV for a few hours. He'd play skits and plenty of music videos you'd be hard pressed to catch during MTV's normal rotation. And I being a young fan of Mr. Yankovic, recorded the entire show on VHS because that's how we rolled in the 80s. I don't recall which incarnation of AlTV it was but I seem to remember it being during the summer, so I'm loosely tying this into my favorite things about summer series of posts.

Now, I could be wrong about it being during the summer because of the subject matter of the music video, but ever since viewing this gem I associate it with summer. I can practically feel the A/C on me as I imagine watching it on TV.

According to Wiki, Cruisin' was the last solo single released by Michael Nesmith in 1979. Yes, The Monkees' Michael Nesmith, as if there were more than one in the world!

I was a young teen when I first saw this video so I don't think I fully got the whole picture of what exactly was goin on in the lyrics. All I really got was a sort of Three's Company vibe happening between Lucy and Ramona and Sunset Sam. The simple repetitive bass line and chorus got lodged in my head to the point where in the pre-internet days I thought the song was called "Lucy and Ramona". Thanks to the internet, I now know the name of the song is "Cruisin'" and I can share this piece of my summer history with you.

Grab a cold one, Ecto Cooler if you're lucky enough, and prepare for a trip back to the early 80s and the epicness that is Michael Nesmith's Cruisin'...

Fun fact: Sunset Sam is not portrayed by a young Hulk Hogan.

Aug 21, 2016

The League is Back in Season

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, the Pop Culture League is born anew!

Masterminded by Brian over at Cool and Collected, the original LoEB was a fun way for bloggers to join together with their take on a weekly topic or challenge and it's a good way to meet folks outside your current circles. It's back and slightly tweaked for the hip kids to join in with their Instapics, Facebooks, or Slapchat. If you want to join in, you can get all the details here. There's no commitment, just join in when you want.

If you're reading this, you probably already know the League is back because someone else has posted about it. I don't have a lot of time to write during the week so I'm usually going to be the last one to the party every week. But I'm here!

The topic for the return of the League is Shelfie.

With the end of August looming, I thought I'd start getting into the Halloween spirit! I know stores have had candy displays out for weeks and the Spirit store at the mall has opened so it's time to get things started!

There's plenty of books on this shelf to keep you busy during the spooky season. Starting on the left are quite a few (if not all) of artist Gris Grimly's books. I highly recommend his Wicked Nursery Rhymes series. 

All sorts of "reference" material for encountering the supernatural. The only thing I'm really missing is Tobin's Spirit Guide and now I can finally get one!

The right side of the shelf is mostly fiction with the odd "idea" book. This is also where most of my Halloween-ish Playmobil characters live. Now that I think about it, this is not most of them. Most of them are packed in with the Halloween decorations but those are trick or treater types dressing up, not actual creeps!

Off to the far, far right (out of frame) is the Halloween Tarot and the I Luv Halloween omnibus. The book is a collection of the three I Luv Halloween manga in glorious color. If you've got a warped sense of humor and a love of Halloween,you have to read this. It's got an 80s kid adventure vibe to it, only it's definitely R-rated! I re-read it every year.

The Egyptian princess is there because of the mummy on the left and because of the Egyptian dagger. If you've got books on how to fight monsters, you need something to fight them with, right? Plus, I think it just looks cool, like it could be magical.

Well, that wraps up the first Pop Culture League post! Curious what other League members are posting? Head on over to the Shelfie post at Cool and Collected.

Here's a few to get started

GI Jigsaw has an amazing vintage Star Wars display
Relatively new blog Scotch and Spacemen has got lots of 80s toys
The Harvey Mercheum is packed with merch based on Harvey Comics

Aug 15, 2016

Boston Comic Con 2016

Boston ComicCon was this past weekend and at best, I think I can say I had a pretty okay time. The main reason we went was to see John Barrowman again and he did not disappoint, but I'll get to him later.

We planned to get there at 11, an hour after the doors opened, figuring the line to get in would have pared down by then...


Not only was there still a huge line, but for some reason, we were lined up in a different place than what was sent out in an email from the convention days before. The plan was to line up around the building and this line went a few blocks away from the building.

To give you an idea, the red line is where we ended up going and the green arrows show the path around the building which has a lot more space for people to line up and be out of the general public's way. I'm not great at estimating distances but if you look toward the bottom left of the green (next to the word Priest) you'll see the Spirit of Boston which is a luxury cruise yacht. Not a small ship!

Once we got to the end of the red line in front of the building, we then had to follow the green arrows all the way around to get back to the front. Maybe they did stick to the plan and there was such a line that it went around the building and then down the block? The only good thing about waiting in line for an hour just to get in, is that the days before and after were in the mid-90s and ultra-sunny and the one day we went it was maybe mid-80s and overcast.

Once we got in, we hit the bathrooms, met a couple friends, and went to grab lunch. Waiting in line for food was another hour. By the time we finished eating, it was around 1:30. We had a 2:30 photo op with John Barrowman so we went back, browsed the floor a bit and got in line for his autograph. Next to the line for the bathroom, this was the shortest line of the day, and also the hottest.

I say this every year but the event space is not equipped to handle the increasing amount of people that come. The aisles aren't wide enough and it gets way too hot. Thankfully, there was a large fan just before John's table. He had a good sized line so we didn't get to really chat much but he was  having fun with each person that came to meet him.

Other celeb guests included William Shatner, Jenna Coleman and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of SHIELD), and a handful of people from DC television: Hawkgirl, White Canary (below), Caitlin Snow, and Det. James Gordon.

I wanted to get Karen's autograph because she played Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy but the line seemed very long and I had to make the choice of standing in another hot line or possibly seeing the con floor. However, when my friends made a bathroom break on the way to Barrowman's photo op, she and her handler passed by me. I said, "Hi, Karen!, she said "Hi!" back, so there was that.

We lined up around 2:15 for the scheduled 2:30 photo op. Eventually the line moved into a smaller room and at 3:15, John came out with a megaphone and entertained for a couple minutes before we were herded through the photo process. He also wanted people to make sure what pose they wanted because you they have to move a lot of people through. But he said he was open for just about anything, including groping anatomy of either sex! The only rule was no kissing because he got swine flu after last time.

By then, it was 3:45-4 and we had a free 90 minutes. We were in desperate need of a drink so we went out to the 7-ll next door and the line there took about 20 minutes. You've probably never seen a line that long in a 7-11! We got to walk the floor for a bit. I did some browsing and no buying. It's not that I don't like buying art, it's just that it ends up in a pile or a box somewhere within a couple weeks, forgotten. There were a lot of the same vendors from previous cons so I didn't take pics. That and I just didn't feel like it either due to the heat or people being in the way.

Peter Pan's Shadow
Then it was 5:30 and we got in line for John's panel. He came out in a Zap Brannigan outfit with white high heels.

Despite it being all ages, he didn't hold back too much and was hilarious. He talked for a bit up front and the rest of the time he took questions. Some of the topics included how he likes ot watch movies at home, acting, writing (books and comics), and Torchwood. He really wants to bring Torchwood back to TV. If you like the show, go out and buy the books, audio dramas, and comics so the BBC will take notice! Not a much better way to end the day than to see John Barrowman being John Barrowman.

And so ended my day of hurry up and wait at the con.

I would have had more fun if it hadn't been so hot inside, and probably taken a lot more photos. I kind of hate myself a little for not being able to power through it because there was a lot of great cosplay going on. So many Harley Quinns I lost count. And there were a good number of Reys, including a couple of male ones! I also saw quite a few Gravity Falls cosplayers which made me happy because I love that show and miss it.

There are a few more pics posted to Flickr.

Aug 10, 2016

LEGO Doctor Strange 76060


I have no idea about the plot and/or characters in the Doctor Strange movie. This LEGO set may or may not have spoilers so if you intend to stay as spoiler free as possible, you may not want to keep reading.

Aug 1, 2016

Monthly Movie Recap - July 2016

One of the great things about the hot summer weather is that it doesn't make you feel too bad about lounging about in an air conditioned room watching movies.

I saw a poster for Rogue One at my IMAX theater this weekend which was so cool to see in person! Just a handful of months left.

I call them out later, but if you should be listening to the Cult Film Club Podcast. They do reviews of some really cool flicks and it may even lead you to a new favorite.

The Houses October Built (2014, Netflix)
A found footage road trip to find the next level of haunted attractions? Sounds good! While it can feel like an ad for the real life attractions, I enjoy the footage around and in them. The cast seem like real people instead of actors and that goes a long way to keeping my attention between haunts. The interviews with the haunt workers starts to hint at the possibility of a dark side to the industry but the story goes in a different direction.

Cool: Some genuinely creepy moments. Seeing the haunts.
Lame: Ending was a little disappointing. I was expecting something a little more supernatural.

Rating: 6/10 

Vaction (2015)
I didn't hate it but I also didn't love it. I think they blew a lot of the good gags in the trailers but there are still some funny bits throughout. I never really got involved with the "new" Griswold clan.

Cool: Love the rental car! The foul mouthed little brother. Chris Hemsworth is a riot.
Lame: Felt like a lot of bits strung together. Not much of a story, more like a Vacation checklist.

Rating: 6/10

Ping Pong Summer (2014, Amazon Video)
Shout out to Cult Film Club for getting me to this movie! Possibly the best 80s movie that wasn't made in the 80s. It's got the quirky humor of Napolean Dynamite and the feel of the Karate Kid, just replace karate with ping pong.

Cool: The awkwardness of the kids makes it feel that much more authentic. Bitchin soundtrack!
Lame: I need more of this in my life!!

Rating: 8/10

Pet owners/lovers will probably get the maximum enjoyment out of this one. I'm pretty sure the over 40 gang I went with was laughing harder, and more often, than the kids that were there! I think this is the closest DreamWorks has gotten to the feel of a Pixar movie. It's a fun, and funny, movie.

Cool: The pets' antics are so funny because they're true to life. The sausage factory is probably the best sequence in he whole movie.
Lame: There's a weird subplot sandwiched into the movie about one of the dog's former owners that just doesn't feel like it needed to be there.

Rating: 6.5/10

I don't even know where to start with this one. It's just a damn good time that has a smooth blend of horror and comedy. It's definitely got a Todd & The Book of Pure Evil vibe to it. And if you haven't seen that, you're really missing out!

Cool: Plenty of gore and gags, usually combined.
Lame: No complaints here, rock on! \m/

Rating: 8/10

Continuing the crazy antics from the previous movie and still revving it over the top! They've sure come a long way from hijacking trailer trucks of DVD players. Sometimes it feels "Like gas through a fuel pump, so are the wacky days of our lives" but then there's some great action. Plot? Plausability? This is not that franchise.

Cool: Some insane stunts. A return to Race Wars. Finally connecting all the movies!
Lame: I hate to say it, but for maximum pay off, you have to watch the first six. Ok, look, I know why the Paul Walker thing is at the end and the did a nice job with it but it flat out does not fit in the story context...and some of those CGI shots are just damn creepy.

Rating: 7/10

I'm a pretty casual Trek fan so I think I'm having an easier time with the reboot series. There's some nice character moments and a decent story hiding under the action. It's definitely a fun ride. The word "pulp" kept coming to mind as it hardly slows down and there's always another plot complication around the corner. It feels like what a classic scifi B movie would be if you threw millions of dollars and good actors into it. 

Cool: No shortage of action (even if it doesn't always seem logical)
Lame: By the time you find out the baddie's motivation and are able to piece together the seemingly random clues dropped, the movie is almost over and there's no reason to care about why he's carrying out his evil plan.

Rating: 7/10

Month Total
 New: 7  Rewatch: 0

Year Total
 New: 40  Rewatch:3