Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Pixar's Brave Plays it Safe.

By this stage there should be no question in anyone's minds that Pixar can produce exquisitely rendered and thoughtfully animated films, and their newest, Brave, is certainly no exception. It's a visual feast with the utmost attention to detail and a vibrant cast of likeable characters who have been vividly brought to life. But, beyond that, at the core of every great Pixar film is an intelligence, a wit, and a warmth. They have an effortless breeziness about them, they're quirky, fun, contemporary, and often make us laugh or cry when we're really not expecting too. This is why they have such a wide reach - they are the rare animated films that truly do appeal to all ages.

So going into Brave, the expectations are set very, very high... 

Is Brave an instant classic? Join me after the jump and we'll find out.

El Professore Movie Review: The Super Cops

The Super Cops

Director: Gordon Parks
Starring: Ron Leibman, David Selby, Sheila Frazier, Pat Hingle
* * *
Photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and occasional film director Gordon Parks scored a huge hit in 1971 with Shaft which kicked off the whole decade long Blaxploitation movement. Three years later, Parks returned to the urban action market. This time however, he took a decidedly different approach. The project he chose was The Super Cops, a true story about two rookie policemen, Dave Greenberg and Rob Hantz who casually took matters into their own hands when dealing with the drug dealers in New York and in the process became media darlings under their nicknames of Batman and Robin... and infuriating their often corrupt bosses and coworkers.

Full review after the jump.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Super Dingo Vs the Pirates" Film Shows True Face of Australia.

As an Australian I have long battled ignorant misconceptions of folks from other countries (mostly American countries) (North American) that all Australians live in the bush, are unintelligible alcoholics, and are under constant threat of attack from dangerous animals, especially dingoes.

Well, I can't fight it any longer. I've been living a lie. It's time to share with you the truth...

Super Dingo is a brilliant (documentary?) series written and directed by the very funny Ethan Marrell and Paul Montague. And better yet this series is being made right here in Perth and it turns out that I actually know some of these maniacs, I just wasn't aware that this was how they were spending their spare time. And now I am jealous.

America may have a Hulk but we have a Super Dingo, so watch your back. We fight drunk and dirty!

Review: The Avengers Minimates (Movie Style!)

Although the film has been out for over a month now, The Avengers merchandise is really just starting to hit its stride. With new stuff showing up all the time, and plenty more on the horizon, I succumbed to starting my very own tiny, blocky, malformed, noseless version of the team. No nose? Wait... then how does Hawkeye keep his sunglasses on?

Yes, I am of course talking about the movie Avengers Minimates two-packs, which are a relatively cheap way for you to "assemble":

To see what I thought of these... join me after the jump!

Why Not Listen to (Samples) of The Dark Knight Rises Score!

The only cure for your Avengers fever is getting struck down by the Batman plague! And what better way to get those bat-symptoms started than injecting your ears with these 30 second doses of Lord Han Zimmer's The Dark Knight Rises score!

This was made possible by the evil geniuses at Batman-News who know ten times more about Batman than you do. I promise. The full score will be available for purchase on July 17th. Which is forever away.

It all sounds pretty epic so far. If you're short on time and just want a taste then may I suggest to Sir and/or Madam that you sample a bite of track number 12: Imagine the Fire. I'm sure Sir and/or Madam will find it most satisfying. Take it away, Hans....

Thank Gif It's Friday!

Just in case you needed reminding:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pre-Order Hot Toys Black Widow Right NOW!

As promised, here's the link to pre-order the Hot Toys Black Widow 1/6th scale collectible figure from The Avengers!

Our friends at Sideshow have her for $189.99: Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series Black Widow Sixth Scale Figure - The Avengers I wouldn't drag my feet on this one. I've just secured mine!

Review: Laird Barron's short fiction collection "The Imago Sequence"

Laird Barron is quickly becoming my new favorite weird/horror writer.

I read and reviewed The Croning last week and quickly went to seek out his earlier fiction. He has two short fiction collections and this one, The Imago Sequence was recommended to me first. The good news is that the collection falls mostly on the good side - the first story, "Old Virginia," was probably my favorite of the collection. The final story, "The Imago Sequence," is a Barron fan favorite and for good reason - it's nearly perfectly constructed and is just creepy enough.

While I didn't love everything ("Proboscis" in particular), that's going to be the case with any short story collection. He has one more, Occultation, that I'll be seeking out very quickly. Barron's a great writer that more people need to seek out. He's got a modern sensibility while being closer to Lovecraftian storytelling than anyone else I've read recently.

Newest Lego Batman 2 Trailer is All About the Voice-Acting

The Lego Batman 2 game is skulking on the horizon and to drum up more excitement, here's a trailer that focuses on the voice-actors! Yes! Long gone are the days when Lego minifigs mumbled nonsensically like the gagged hitch-hiker in the back of my car, they can now express themselves fluently  and... well, sarcastically apparently. Listen for yourself:

Didn't Mark Hamill retire from voicing the Joker? Not sure if that's him or if they've hired a sound alike. Could be Kevin Michael Richardson. And there's no mistaking Kevin Conroy as Batman. And that's definitely Rob Paulsen channelling Jim Carrey as the Riddler. 

Excited about this but Australians are going to have to wait a whole week after the US. Now we're even for The Avengers. (Ha. Not really. It's not even in the same league. And we're going to get Dark Knight Rises first too).

Via Topless Robot.

Sponsor News: Let's Discuss This Week's Toy and Collectibles Highlights!

Our friends at Big Bad Toy Store have released a slew of new pre-orders and I am going to share and comment on everything that caught my seasoned eye as a professional Collectorian. ( I have a degree in the Acquiring and Displaying of Awesome Unessentials). Like this spoilerish pair of figures from Sir Ridley Scott's stomach-splitting Prometheus:

What!? I always assumed they were called Space Jockeys because they raced horses, wore jockey shorts, and constantly jockeyed for our attention!

This is actually a set of two separate figures as opposed to an elaborate piece of armour. Made by NECA, both are around 8.5 inches tall and BBTS has them listed right here for $34.99. Also interesting to note that this pair of Engineers are identified as "Series 01" so maybe we'll get a fass-bending David the Uneasily Polite Android later on.

To see what else caught my keen Collectorian eye... join me after the jump!

Hot Toys Black Widow Revealed!

Here's the moment that a lot of us have been waiting for! On Hot Toy's facebook page they have finally released the full gallery of the Hot Toys Avenger's Black Widow 1/6th scale collectible figure, capturing the likeness of Scarlett Johansson! Here she is!:

For many more pictures and thoughts... join me after the jump!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Batman Inc. DAMIAN as ROBIN Action Figure Review!!

Once again when I walked into the comic book store last week there was something more than just My Favourite Comics to be bought!  Since my review of the New 52 Batman figure went over so well, I bring you Damian Wayne as Robin the Boy Wonder!!

This figure was part of a Batman Incorporated line of 4 figures I wasn't even aware of!  Also available (but not purchased) were Batman Inc. Batman, Knight and Man-Of-Bats.  You can go to to check them out.  First though, check out my thoughts and some (much better!) pics AFTER the JUMP!!

Before Watchmen: Preview the First Five Pages of Silk Spectre. (But Not in my House!)

It's probably clear by now that I'm pretty much done with Before Watchmen. And I'm kind of gob-smacked that a lot of comic fan sites are saying, "Hey you guys! It's really good! Forget that grumpy Alan!" And not because it's terrible - but just because it's really, really, really bland. Have comic fans been fed so many shit sandwiches that a shit wrapped in pastry starts to look good?

Anyway, Los Angeles Times: Hero Complex has your five page preview of Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Connor, which I'm not going to post in its entirety here, but if your curiosity still isn't sated then go check it out at the link. And as much as I tease, if you're genuinely enjoying this and excited about this then that's your right and honestly more power to you! I wish I had the capacity to enjoy it. I can go and be a curmudgeonly hermit like Alan and you can enjoy your Nu Watchmen Lite in peace without my constant griping.

But I will leave you with this. Wow... These guys have really captured the tone and intelligence of Watchmen:


Review: Funko Pop Vinyl Star Wars Series 3: Jabba the Hutt!

The fine folks at Funko are building a bobblehead empire so vast that it is almost threatening. Through their cute and stylised, beady-eyed Pop Vinyl line they appear to have conquered more licenses than any other company, quite possibly because they have the bobble-head monopoly. Their lines to date include: Disney, Pixar, the Muppets, Marvel Heroes, DC Heroes, horror icons, videogame icons, music icons, sports icon, cult film icons, and of course, Star Wars characters. Whether you're fan of V for Vendetta, Mahna Maha, or Joey Ramon, Funko have got you covered!

And ironically, the biggest criticism I hear about this collection is the fact that they ARE bobbleheads and not just figures or statues, but I guess that's Funko's untapped niche and is exactly why they are able to secure this many characters!

Star Wars wave 3 is now hitting the shelves and when I saw this I knew it would be criminal not to add him to my collection:

When Mr. T proudly proclaimed, "Quit yo' jibber jabba, fool!" he clearly wasn't talking about this lil'
 guy. Clearly. To find out what I thought... join me after the jump!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's Out? 13th of June 2012

A very bare What's Out for this week. Leave a comment if I missed anything:

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 6/6/2012

Controversy, suicide bombers and radioactive men!  These are the things that this week's comics have in common!  DC starts off the month of June with a bang!  Of course I took a look at Before Watchmen:  Minutemen (after the JUMP!) but first, let's take a look at...

Earth 2 #2 - OMG Controversy!!   There's a man in in this comic and *GASP* he kisses ANOTHER MAN!!!

Unless your internet connection is out, you should already know that New 52 Alan Scott, who has yet to BECOME the Green Lantern of this universe but who certainly will in issue #3 is (wait for it) GAY.    For reasons beyond my understanding this is supposedly controversial, despite the fact that my calendar CLEARLY states that it is 2012

SO this issue starts, from what I understand, 5 years after issue #1, when Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman gave their lives to protect Earth 2 from Darkseid and the Parademons of Apokolips.  Darkseid's general, Steppenwolfe, is believed to still be on Earth in hiding (possibly releasing hit singles?  Naaah), and the Earth has NO super heroes (or "Wonders" as they are called on Earth 2).  This is about to change, though, as the Roman God Mercury plunges to Earth conveniently near a young Jay Garrick, who rushes to see the "meteorite" that crashed to the ground.  He instead finds a dying god.  Mercury gives a long, long speech about a dire threat, worse than Apokolips, on it's way towards Earth.  Then he gives Jay Garrick his powers, "the Speed of a God!" warns Jay not to trust ANYBODY and promptly dies!

Meanwhile, Alan Scott returns to NYC from a so-far undisclosed time away and meets up with his limo driver and his boyfriend Sam.  They have a sweet, romantic moment and decide to take a train to a country hideaway (sans limo driver).  Oh yeah, Alan Scott is a mega-rich head of a corporation or some such.  Probably why his boyfriend is HOT!  I mean, I'm A: straight and B: not a cartoon but still...

Well, of COURSE they run into trouble on the train!  I'd tell you about it, but hey, just go buy the comic! 

Oh did I mention that Mr. Terrific from Earth 1 shows up?  We also get a taste of "the world's smartest man" who does NOT act very heroically.  Why is it that all the "smartest men" in comics are villains?  Are they trying to tell me something??

Read my thoughts on The Minutemen, Worlds' Finest, Action Comics and more after the JUMP!!

Indie Game: The Movie Releases Today!

Our good friend Taylor from Boards and Beers returns with the following announcement and interview! Go Taylor go Taylor go!

"The past couple of years have been fantastic for independently made video games, seeing the release of titles like Super Meat Boy, Bastion, Braid, and most recently Fez. All of these projects have been developed by very small teams (like one or two people) with massive amounts of passion and vision to get these games made for the sole purpose of being shared and enjoyed by people like you and me.  This of course is no easy task to accomplish and usually goes unnoticed by anyone outside of the folks directly involved and their loved ones. Enter Indie Game: The Movie

Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary focusing on the story of the developers behind these games and what it takes to get these games made. In true indie fashion, Indie Game: The Movie is just as DIY as its source material, itself being a successful Kickstarter project not once but twice to get made. A few months ago a buddy and me had the opportunity to see an advanced screening down in Boston. Needless to say it was fantastic. But as a surprise, the directors of the film were present, and we were able to catch up with them afterwards and talk to them about their work and what inspires them to do good work. Oh, and got it on video:

Indie Game: The Movie releases today, and can be downloaded via their website, iTunes or Steam."

The Book Was Better Podcast: Teaser for Episode 20!

Remember Jess and my podcast where we discuss, dissect, mock and make puerile sexual innuendo about movie novelisations? Usually junior movie novelisations? Of really crazy genre movies? Well our teaser for episode 20 is available now and we reveal the most insane book yet! But I'll let Jessica fill you in:
"For our 20th episode we've pulled out all the stops and read a book so ridiculous, so unnecessary, so emblematic of the bloated merchandising juggernaut that accompanies even the most failed films, that you will fall to your knees and cry out to the heavens, "WHY?!? Why did they make a book of that movie?!?"

We DARE you to watch it along with us. DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?!?"
You can download this brief and disorganised teaser episode at the BWB site, or subscribe to us on iTunes!

Tuesday Bounty: Glorious Bounty is Tardy.

Our update maybe a little bit later than expected, but it's still definitely Tuesday and that can mean nothing but a brand new page of sci-fi/humour comic series Glorious Bounty forced upon your quickly skimming eyeballs. It's drawn by the powerful fists of Edward J. Grug III and written by me!

When we last left the crew Bruce and Deevis (in their temporary robot bodies) were channelling electricity into their gigantic alien target. But will real robot, PK, chip in and save the day, or will he continue to be an ornery robot bastard. Find out as this storyline races towards its climax!

Click to embiggen or read it on the official site!

And if you're super late to the party, why not start all the way back at Chapter One!

Preview: Toy Star Wars Trade Federation MTT is Frigging Massive!

Our friends at Big Bad Toy Store have a new pre-order up today which caught my covetous (and wandering eye). Every year our bros at Hasbro release a new giant vehicle, usually about the size of a pony, that we're forced to inventively  squeeze into our already overflowing collections. And I'm glad they keep doing it because these things are usually pretty badass! The giant Millenium Falcon and AT-AT of recent years are some of my favourite Star Wars items I own.

This year's offering is from the Trade Federation MTT (Multi Troop Transport) from beloved, thought-provoking indie classic La Amenaza Fantasma, also known as The Phantom Menace. If the moniker "MTT" confuses you then basically it's the big brown thing that pops out a whole lot of battle droids. Seriously, this thing has a bigger rack than Christina Hendricks...
And breathe a little because every figure you see here actually comes with the vehicle, a rare time when Hasbro is really sticking it to that "action figures sold separately" fine print. You get 4 fully articulated pilot droids and then 16 semi-articulated droids (with built-in bases) that slot into that impressive, bountiful rack. You also get a rat-tail Obi Wan as a bonus, probably ripped from the unsold Episode One Obi Wans currently keeping the pegs warm.

This thing has lights and sounds, firing missiles and plenty of opening panels and hatches. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on one to see what it can actually do. And I'm going to solve the space problem by using it as a coffee table in the off-season. Now if only someone could score me one of those SDCC exclusive helicarriers...

You can pre-order this one right now from BBTS for $149.99 RIGHT HERE. And then anticipate a ridiculously big package in July!

Nerd History: Emilie Sagee and her Doppelganger

One of the little nods to real world things in 172 Hours on the Moon was the story of Emilie Sagee. A French teacher, she lost numerous jobs and had significant trouble because of numerous reports of her having a ghostly-ish doppelganger.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Burning Love: The Most Romantic Web Series That Will Ever Be

When we previewed Burning Love a month ago, it felt like it would be forever before we got to see firefighter Mark Orlando start to eliminate women one by one in the search for his soul mate... on a fake reality show hosted by Michael Ian Black.

Now, we're 4 episodes into the web series, with another coming out on Thursday and I'm already attached to some of the contestants. As scripted as it may be, you'll still feel for the ladies as they are booted off when Mark decides not to give them his golden hose. 

The show is short format (only 8-9 minutes per episode) with a rapid release schedule. There are new episodes every Monday and Thursday, so you are always less than 4 days from your Mark Orlando fix. We're seeing this format of video more and more, and it's great. Long enough to suck you in, and short enough to leave you wanting more. 

Here are the first 4 episodes of Burning Love. Lots of great guest appearances!

Click through the jump for episodes 2, 3 and 4.

24 Hours Left on a Worthy Kickstarter

The two creators of the classic Space Quest games have about 24 hours left to fully fund their Kickstarter for their new game Spaceventure. They're currently about $20k short, so if you're interested in helping out some classic gaming icons get a new, probably quite funny game off the ground, it might be worth your time to head on over.

Flip The Table - A New Podcast About Cheesy Board Games

Yesterday, Chris Michaud (of the long running sketch comedy podcast The Abraham Lincoln Show) launched his new board game podcast, Flip the Table: The Podcast About The Other Side of Board Games. It's all about playing cheesy, weird and obscure board games, and then getting together as a group to dissect and discuss them.

As part of the big Flip The Table launch, they released the first 4 episodes at once. You could spend half of your workday getting caught up with these games... starting lightly with Transformers: The Adventure Game, and quickly diving down into the horrors of the American Idol: Collectible Card Game (WHAT?), WWE: DVD Board Game, and Lingo: DVD Board Game.

One of the big highlights of the first episode is a story about quoting Optimus Prime in a job interview.

Looking at their want list, we can hopefully expect some of these in the near future: E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (it can't be as bad as the Atari game... right?) TV Scrabble (I can only imaging this being scrabble, but clunkier and harder to play), The ALF Game (anything ALF is solid gold), and Super Mario Bros: The Great Ladder Race (a Chutes and Ladders re-theme?).

Check out Flip the Table: The Podcast About The Other Side of Board Games!

Comic School Review: Avengers #10 (1964): Avengers Break Up!

We looked at their origin in The Avengers #1, we saw Cap join the team in The Avengers #4, so it's high time we checked in on those crazy nuts again, this time in The Avengers #10 where you'll be mortified to learn that The Avengers break up! Say it ain't so!

Looks like the Cap is in the crap with the rest of the gang! And this issue marks the first appearance of the evil Immortus, who is heralded as "truly different"! Well, yeah, I guess a pompous community theatre guy in his early fifties who wears a purple cloak and a flamboyant pink hat is a different kind of villainy indeed! As a side note, this is also the first issue to feature the phrase: "Avengers assemble!" but we've got bigger, more pompous and flamboyant fish to fry!

Naturally this wackiness was written by Stan "the Man" Lee and drawn by "the adorable" Don "what the" Heck. I picked it up from Comixology for $1.99 and you can too if you want to read along!

To witness the craziest break up ever... join me after the jump!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Origins 2012 Mega Recap

Last weekend I drove out to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH. It was my first time to Origins and will definitely not be my last. I met up with great friends, and made plenty of new ones. I played some unreleased board games, ate some ridiculous food...

And in between all of that, I had this photo taken.

Please ignore the massive water spot on my shirt.
If I could recap Origins with just one photo, that would be it. 

But if you want to read a LOT more about the event (including meeting Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, game designers Loren Overby & Chevee Dodd, games like Sentinels of the Multiverse & Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge, the whole Tentacle Bento controversy, and much more….) then click through the almighty jump!