Saturday, May 12, 2012

El Professore Movie Review: Hap Ki Do (aka Lady Kung Fu)

El Professore Movie is a good friend of mine named Jeff Goodhartz. A few years ago, Jeff and I (along with two others) hosted a weekly screening at The Loft Film Club. Jeff would feature films that I had never seen or heard of, and his choices have left a long lasting impression ever since. Films like Assault on Precinct 13, Dark Star, Used Cars, APE, Targets, and much more. I'm very happy to bring Jeff's tastes to Fruitless Pursuits. 
                                                                                                          -J. Tagmire
Hap Ki Do (aka Lady Kung Fu)
Director: Hwang Feng
Starring: Angela Mao, Carter Wong, Sammo Hung, Whang Ing Sik
* * 1/2

Hap Ki Do was an early entry from Hong Kong action superstarlet Angela Mao (aka Mao Ying) and under it's retitling Lady Kung Fu, was a big hit in U.S. theaters. 

Click through the jump for the full review.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Comic School Review: The Avengers #1 (1963) is Batshit Insane!

We all have issues. And thanks to Comixology, I now have The Avengers #1 from 1963. It's drawn by Jack Kirby and written by Stan Lee and let me tell you, it is crazier than a bag full of cats and rattlesnakes! Welcome to Comic School!

If you loved the film, then you owe it to yourself to go back to the original source and find out just how closely it all matches up. Loki is indeed the villain here, so it's pretty close - providing you ignore the fact that it excludes Captain America (who won't show up for another few issues), includes Hulk in clown make-up, and a cast of one hundred thousand plot-hole solving ants.

Next time some asshole scoffs and says, "You know, the comics were better!" you punch him in the greasy maw and bellow, "Oh yeah, fella? I heard all about Avengers #1 and I don't appreciate your tone!"

To hear all about Avengers #1... join me after the jump!

Lucky Dice Is A Super Fast / Super Addicting App!

Lucky Dice was originally a small, stand alone expansion/supplement to the Carnival board game Kickstarter Project (previously covered here and here). I sadly missed out on this, but I've seen the fantastic graphic design and read about the simple, yet addictive gameplay. You roll 9 dice in groups of 3, and line them up on a tic-tac-toe style grid. After all dice are rolled, points are scored on all 8 possible lines (horizontal, vertical and diagonal). Players get 5 points per pair, 10 points per set of three, and 15 points for a straight (3 in a row numerically).

Just this week, publisher Dice Hate Me Games released an iOS version of Lucky Dice, which oddly feels like it's natural home. I hate to say that about a tabletop game, but the ease of use mixed with the portability makes this app really shine. I must have played 30 times in a row last night trying to beat my high score of 75. It took me about 24 hours to beat that with my new high score of 80. 

Games can be as quick as 1 minute, so it's the perfect game for anytime you have a minute to spare. If you have 10 minutes, it's even better because you will need to play more than once. There's also a handy reset button for each time you get a bad roll and want to quickly restart.

Before and after screenshots
My only real complaints are minor and could easily be addressed in an update. You currently shake the device to roll the dice (I'm rhyming now...) but it's a bit awkward on an iPad. The portability feels like it's primarily built for iPhone anyway, but I would always like to see a touch option for the lazy folk. And the second thing is Game Center integration, which, according to the designer Cherilyn Joy Lee Kirkman, is coming soon. (She also hinted at a possible expanded competitive future version called Battle Dice, which is super exciting)

Oh and I forgot to mention... THE APP IS FREE!

My Paper Heroes: Papercraft Avengers!

You don't need to spend huge amounts of cash on expensive Avengers tie-ins to satiate your buzz. Not when nature's greatest resource - trees - are completely free and abundant, so why not use your ingenuity to down a mighty oak, turn it into reams of paper, and make yourself some brilliant Papercraft Avengers!

My Paper Heroes is a fantastic repository of easy(ish) to make paper superheroes thanks to the clever work of Mr. Xavier Gale-Sides. He's created a lot of X-Men in the past, but his current project is a full set of move-style Avengers, releasing regularly. In fact everybody except for Iron Man is already available. Check out these three to prove that I'm not making this whole thing up:

I want to make some of these so bad that I might actually change the cartridges on my creepily dusty printer. (I actually even have spare cartridges. I'm just really lazy). 

If you want to assemble your own team then go to My Paper Heroes to grab: Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and an appropriately incredible Hulk. If you make them then you should send us a picture or something. Now go murder that stupid tree!

Review: The Deep: Here Be Dragons!

With its much-anticipated sequel looming on the horizon, I had the pleasure of catching up on the beloved graphic novel The Deep: Here be Dragons, thanks to our good friends at Gestalt Comics (based right here in Western Australia). Written by the award-winning Tom Taylor with stunning and expressive art by James Brouwer, it is a light-hearted all-ages romp beneath the ocean’s depths.

To plumb the depths even further, join me after the jump!

Pre-Order Square Enix Play Arts Kai MASS EFFECT!?

After recently extolling the virtues of the super flexible (and guitar thrashing) Play Arts Kai Arkham Asylum Batman consider me well and truly fist-pumped to discover that they are releasing not one, not two, not seventeen, but THREE new figures from the brilliant Mass Effect. Super articulated Mass Effect characters with multiple weapons and exchangeable hands? Holy crap. How long have you known about these? Why doesn't anybody tell me anything?

Garrus is a wonderful choice and is going to look super badass swinging around his rifle (and rocking out on the guitar). The Big Fish Mass Effect figures were cool, but lacked the articulation and flexibility that these do (although of course you'll be paying three times more for the privilege). This is a solid Commander Shepherd but you should know by now that I am FemShep all the way and would far prefer her. Ashley Williams looks great but is a pretty soft choice (half of Mass Effect 2 and 3 players won't even have her in their game!). Surely Miranda or Liara would have been a no-brainer. Still, I'll definitely pick up Garrus, and will probably be tempted by one of the others.

They hit later this year but you can pre-order them already at Sideshow:
Square Enix Garrus Vakarian Mass Effect 3 - Play Arts Kai (Square Enix)
Square Enix Commander Shepard Mass Effect 3 - Play Arts Kai (Square Enix) Square Enix Ashley Williams Mass Effect 3 - Play Arts Kai (Square Enix)

Thank GIF it's Friday

We think - think - this is from the rather wonderful South Korean film The Host. Which you should see, by the by. 

Tom Wilson Answers All Of Your Back To The Future Questions

I guess if you starred in one of the biggest trilogies of all time, you would get sick of answering the same old questions over and over. But Tom Wilson, who many only know as the big BTTF bully Biff Tannen, is definitely a smart and very funny guy. Instead of answering those questions, he put together a FAQ card with all of the answers.

via Letters Of Note
And if you haven't seen it already, here is one of my favorite videos of all time. Tom Wilson performing "The Question Song", which is basically the above card in song format.

As much as I love Back To The Future.. watching this always makes me think back to Freaks and Geeks. Tom Wilson was perfect as Coach Fredericks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Polish Parkour

Aw man this guy has all the moves!

I wish I was this fit as this guy. It's amazing how they push the human body and change our cities into urban playgrounds. The awesomeness really brings a tear to my eye

What!? New Star Wars Figures?! Mother Talzin Makes the Cut.

This year it's like Hasbro's long-running Star Wars figures have gone into hiding. Even online they are rarer than unicorn fingers and it feels like it's been a long time since we've had any significant news. Even in the Clone Wars line the focus has shifted to continuous updates of core characters, and the obscure fringe character coveted by crotchety old collectors are mostly missing in action.

So I'm jazzed to see that Rebel Scum is reporting a new Target Exclusive Darth Maul Returns (it turns out he had just ducked out for milk. He wasn't even gone long) battle pack, including three figures, one of which is much requested character debut:

This image is from Rebel Scum who could service themselves with a more legible watermark.
Yes, I'm talking about Mother Talzin, the spooky Nightsister leader who is derived from some discarded Episode One concept art. NEVER throw anything away! I believe a Lucas intern had just eaten a particularly greasy hamburger and was about to wipe his glistening maw with the discarded sketch and George Lucas himself burst in and bellowed, "NO! I just invented something called a Mother Talzin!" and he wrestled the sketch from the terrified intern's hand. Although I might have dreamed that.

Also included here is Lucas' other off-the-cuff invention, Darth Maul's yellow brother Savage Oppress. Their mother owned a copy of Most Depressing Baby Names Ever. Not too exciting as we've seen Savage twice before, but the Roboleg Maul is brand new, although I would have preferred his crazy spider body. Still, it's great to see something new and I look forward to paying five times the retail price for this on ebay!

An Interview with the Folks Behind The Double Shadow - the Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Clark Ashton Smith was a "weird fiction" writer and a contemporary of HP Lovecraft. His works have largely been overshadowed by HP Lovecraft's popular resurgence over the years, and The Double Shadow Podcast is a brand new podcast that is, in part, trying to put the spotlight on an underappreciated writer. The three minds behind the podcast agreed to give us a quick interview and some information on the podcast, podcasting, Clark Ashton Smith, "weird fiction" in general, and more. That interview is beyond the jump:

Review: The Art of The Avengers!

If you're still on an Avengers high and you're ravenously searching for more tie-ins to consume then you could do a lot worse than Marvel Publishing's The Art of The Avengers, written by the surreal Jason Surrell and designed by the powerful Jeff Powell. And it's a weighty 270 page hard cover, packaged in its own mighty box/sleeve, so it's going to keep you occupied for a while.

I love art books and I love behind-the-scenes material. I find buying art books such a no-brainer, in fact I often have to fight the urge to buy two copies so that I can pull one apart to frame my favourite pages. If I ever have to move house and can't face lugging a billion books again I might even have to do just that.

So how does this one stack up? Join me after the jump and we'll find out!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: ThreeA Adventure Kartel: Penumbra and Shadow2.

I recently spoke of how enchanted and intrigued I was by artist Ashley Wood's brilliantly designed work for his company ThreeA Toys, and now I've finally got my hands on some! At the end of last week I received two of his 12 inch Adventure Kartel figures, namely Penumbra and Shadow 2.

If you'd like to see two of the most beautifully designed and detailed figures (with the craziest clothing you've ever seen) then I implore ye to join me... after the jump! POW!

Burning Love - A Fake Reality Show Starring Ken Marino!

On June 4th Yahoo is premiering it's new web show Burning Love, a reality show about Mark Orlando, a firefighter who is looking for love. It sounds like a pitch for an actual dating show, and it may have been at one time... but Burning Love is totally fake. It's a scripted show produced by Ben Stiller, and starring Ken Marino, Kristen Bell, Michael Ian Black, Adam Scott and Malin Akerman.

If you want a little taste of Burning Love to hold you off for the next few weeks, you could always follow Mark Orlando on Twitter

Also in the meantime, click through the jump for a few of Ken Marino's best moments.

Celebrity Apprentice Recaps Episode 12: Why is Aubrey Topless?

Wait! Could this really be the penultimate episode of this year’s Celebrity Apprentice? Is this screeching, wild animal filled circus train really crashing to a halt? Or perhaps the lethargic, sour, near-motionless, expressionless, reverse-racoon that is Donald Trump will split the finale into seven sluggish parts? Whichever way you choose to look at it, things are drawing to a close!

This week the format is switched up a bit as the final five is reduced to two! Well... three. Two! Three? You’ll see what I mean when we get there. Will my new personal favourite, Aubrey O’Day (the smartest, most creative and talented, and beautiful being in the universe) survive these huge staffing cuts? 

Join me after the jump and I’ll tell all!

What's Out? 9th of May 2012

New Comics Day! Don't forget that you have to pay for them this time!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak and Adam Yauch - RIP

A few good ones have left us. RIP Maurice Sendak and Adam Yauch aka: MCA

Review: Batman Arkham Asylum Square Enix Play Arts Kai Action Figure (Phew!)

What on earth is a Batman Arkham Asylum Square Enix Play Arts Kai action figure? And do I have to type that out every single time?

I don't really know the entire answer to either of those questions, but I did buy one in Quality Comics' recent Free Comic Book Day sale and I can confirm that it is a super articulated 9 inch Batman action figure based on his appearance in the critically acclaimed Arkham Asylum video game. And he can do just about anything. Seriously.



Join me after the jump for more images and a few more thoughts.

Nerd History: The Voynich Manuscript

This week, there is scheduled to be a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of one of Earth's great mysteries, The Voynich Manuscript. The Voynich Manuscript is a puzzling text purchased by Wilfrid M. Voynich in 1912. Contained in the book is text written in some sort of code or yet-uncracked cipher, illustrated with different plants and animals along the way. It's carbon-dated to the 1400s, meaning that the manuscript is at least 600 years old.

The Book Was Better Podcast. Episode 17: Jurassic Park!

Hold onto your butts! It's a brand new episode of The Book Was Better podcast and Jessica discuss, dissect and openly mock Jurassic Park! No. Not the Crichton version. But why waste my words when I can quote Jess!
"THE BOOK OF THE MOVIE OF THE BOOK. The dinosaur is eating its own tail! But will the junior novelization get across the majestic herds of CGI creatures, the heart-pounding intensity of the action, and the understated Spielbergian brilliance of the imminent T-rex attack? No, of course not."

Grab it from the official site HERE or download it on ITUNES. And for god's sake leave a review, people!! 

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones! Episode Six: The Old Gods and the New!

Now over the half-way point, Game of Thrones is getting tense! The edge of my seat is scuffed! George R.R. Martin makes us all his Muppets by thrusting his huge, hairy arm up inside us and manipulating our emotions! This show has more twists and turns than M. Night Shyamalan in a hurricane! I am totally hooked!

To find out what craziness went down this time.... join me after the jump!

Tuesday Bounty: Glorious Bounty Opens Up!

It's Tuesday and that can only mean a brand new page of sci-fi/humour comic Glorious Bounty, drawn by the stalwart Edward J. Grug III and written (and coloured) by me.

When we last left the Bounty crew they were in robot bodies and murdering people far smaller than they were. Real robot, PK, had a moment, and now Bruce is starting to get a little wistful...

Click to embiggen or read it at the official site:

And if you're an awkard Bounty virgin then why not start reading all the way back at Chapter One!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 5/02/2012

Well the first week of May brought us big things with both Free Comic Book Day and the launch of DC's "New 52 Wave 2"!  Not to mention the first New 52 Annual!  I bought the annual and two of the four new #1's released last week...let's take a look!

NEW!  Earth 2 #1 - Our story begins on this alternate Earth as their versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Robin the GIRL Wonder are fighting a battle against Parademons, the shock troops of Apocalypse, in a battle for the very planet!!  The shock troopers, led by the "seemingly brilliant and unstoppable" Steppenwolf  have been winning for a long time.  Metropolis, like most of the world, lies in ruins!  Wonder Woman is the LAST of the Amazons.  Even the GODS are dying in battle!  This is a much darker world than good old Earth 1!!
Batman has a plan though...there may be a way to win the day and salvage what's left of human civilization!  If someone is willing to just buy him a little time...

Anyway I won't spoil it but a LOT more happens and I thought it was a really good read.  I'll pick up #2 for sure and at least let the first story-arc play out.  We saw a few familiar faces in issue #1 here, but there's a lot more to come I'm sure!  I've never been a huge fan of alternate universe fiction but in this case, I'm in!!

Find out more about Earth 2 and what else I read this week after the JUMP!

Adventure Time Retro Video Game T-Shirt!

Following in our tradition of posting cool retro video game mashup TeeFury shirts, here's an awesome Adventure Time design by Caddywompus. I could only imagine how cool the game would actually be.

Guardians of Sunshine is available at TODAY ONLY, and it's just $10.

Lego Minifigures Series 7 Is Out! Photos & Bar Code / Bump Code Decoder!

The newest series of Lego Minifigures (Series 7!) is out in stores and waiting for you to feel around the bags to find your favorites. I was able to pick up 6 yesterday, so I have some photos to share. I also scoured the net and found a bump code detector, so you can save some time (and also save money from accidental duplicates) while shopping.

Click through the jump for images of the minifigures and the bump code detector!

Kickstart the Week: Epic Mario by Zachary Pollock

This is something that I would love to see get made.

I've personally tried to make video game images, pixel by pixel out of Lego bricks, but it's insane. The NES screen resolution was 256 x 240 pixels, which means one screen has 61,440 pixels. If you needed to use single 1x1 bricks at the price of .10 each.. each screen would cost you over $6,000. Luckily, Super Mario Bros had a solid blue background for most of the level, and a 16 x 16 plate can be used, bringing the cost of each background pixel down to less than 2 cents each.

Another issue with Lego is the amount of colors available. The NES had a color palette of 48 colors and 6 greys. Lego has that many, but not in every piece. The amount of colors that are readily available is way less than 48. But it's close enough to make work, especially in the earlier less detailed video game designs.

It would take a miracle to hit the goal within the next three days, but Kickstarter miracles do happen. Plus at the pledge levels of $25 and above, you get a pixel by pixel Lego recreation of level specific items, characters, and even full scenes. If some of the big gaming sites took notice, this could still be successful. Anyone up for sending some emails to Kotaku, Joystiq, IGN, G4TV, 1up, etc..? :)

Epic Mario on Kickstarter:

Free Comic Book Day Reviews: Part 2

Our Free Comic Book Day coverage continues with another slew of free comic book reviews. You can read part one here or just dive straight into the action, windmilling your arms and punching with reckless abandon.

This time I’m looking at Mouse Guard, Image Comics, Atomic Robo, and this month’s buzzword: Avengers. How do they shape up? Do they even make any sense? Find out all this and more... after the jump!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Avengers Chibis by Bulls I Toy

I found these Avengers Chibi toys at Target yesterday and figured I'd take a chance. I really like the designs, and thought it would be my little way of jumping on the Avengers bandwagon. (Note: I haven't seen any of the individual films, or the Avengers film)

Look at all the possibilities! Wait until you see what I got!


In the post-Thor/War Horse/Avengers haze, the ladies of Fruitless Pursuits have developed quite the taste for the dapper English gentleman behind Loki, Tom Hiddleston. Doing my duty as a pop-culture enthusiast meant I OBVIOUSLY had to sift through the 'Tom Hiddleston' tag on Tumblr which is where I found this little gem.

From MTV After Hours (I think), it starts off a little awkward and ends up totally bizarre. A WEIRD dapper English gentleman, perhaps.

Zombicide - Kickstarter Final Countdown

Have to type fast because we don't have much time, and you need to be informed - Zombicide is coming.

Wow, that was a terrible lead in, but its actually true. Zombicide is a minis-based zombie board game that is currently exploding Kickstarter (from a board game sense), and it is coming to a close. With under 2 hours left, the game has raised over $730,000 (its goal was $20,000 - 3,656% successful so far!). If you're a fan of zombies, this is definitely worth taking a look at (and you best hurry)

All the details to what you can get after the break.  But hurry, you're wasting time!

Review: Avengers Lego!

As The Avengers finally opens in North America we all face the very real possibility of being crushed by a deluge of tie-in merchandise. In this storm of plastic masks and re-released Hulk Hands, I became a man with a dream. And that dream was not equality, or world peace, or eating a giant marshmallow. It was assembling my very own set of Lego Avengers! Thanks to modern science and Danish ingenuity, that lofty dream has just become a reality.

Assemble, my noseless, stunted, plastic brothers! ASSEMBLE!

Assembling your own team isn't going to be cheap though. You'll actually have to purchase three sets: LEGO Hulk’s Helicarrier Breakout #6868, LEGO Captain America’s Avenging Cycle #6865, and the granddaddy: LEGO Quinjet Aerial Battle #6869. There's another small set too but it's all repeat figures and a truck you don't need. Although it does have the cosmic cube.

I'll review all three of these freshly released (and quickly selling out) sets... after the jump!

Perfect Strangers: The Video Game

Okay, so calling this nostalgic jaunt a 'game' is maybe pushing it a little, but for those of us who remember the 90s as the delightful hypercolour landscape it truly was, Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now will have you tapping your toes and grinning along faster than you can say 'Don't be ridiculous, Larry'.

You play as Mediterranean hero Balki, chasing your DREAM, and...well, that's pretty much it. It ain't rocket science, but it's a whole lot of silly fun. Get to it. Oh, and if at first you don't succeed, try try again. The little animation at the end is brilliant payoff.