Saturday, March 9, 2013

El Professore Movie Reviews: Angel Terminators 2

Director: Simon Yun Ching (aka Tony Liu)
Starring: Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima, Sibelle Hu, Jason Pai Piao
* * * 1/2
After first appearing together in the seminal film, 'Angel' (which I previously reviewed here), both Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima became hot properties in the suddenly booming 'Girls With Guns' subgenre in Hong Kong cinema. Moon Lee with her combination of incredibly cute looks and newly developed physicality (due to her extensive dance background) was groomed as a major action heroine and she tackled her new found popularity with mucho gusto and surprising grit, appearing in dozens of like movies from the late '80s through the early '90s.. Yukari Oshima on the other hand being Japanese, was often relegated to supporting roles as it appears that Hong Kong wasn't quite sure what to do with her. Tough, tomboyish, unglamorous and a real life karate black belt, Yukari bucked nearly ever trend going as she seemed content in taking whatever part was offered, no matter how small and no matter how bad the film itself sometimes was. This was really a shame as she had proven to not only be tough as nails in the combat department (nobody fought quite like she did), but also displayed untapped acting skills. Thank goodness then, for director Simon Yun Chung who consistently gave both ladies some of the best roles of their careers. This film is a prime example of that.

Full review after the jump.

Oz: The Great And Powerful Review!

While most of our staff is at the Oz Comic Con, I took an impromptu trip to Oz: The Great and Powerful. With just a few hours notice, I had no time to read my books or watch the classic film… so I went in with just my memories of The Wizard of Oz, which hold up pretty well (at least the first half of the film. There are some parts toward the end that I may have never seen).

In this new film, James Franco plays the great and powerful Oz, a second rate magician who wants to be more than what he is. In a blustery day, he gets whisked away to the land of Oz in a hot air balloon and is instantly recognized as the man they have been waiting for, the great Wizard of Oz. His journey starts here.

Brief spoiler free thoughts:
I love the setting of Oz and was really excited to hear that a new film was being made. The casting choices seemed interested, but they were backed up by a solid team of L. Frank Baum (kind of), Sam Raimi and Danny Elfman. L. Frank Baum shines, as the story is wonderful. Sam Raimi kept the massive budget film grounded with some interesting and jarring camerawork, and Danny Elfman is barely heard. Overall the film moves a mile a minute (in a good way) and was fun, enjoyable, and even pretty heavy towards the middle/end. There are a few memorable characters here, but outside of Oz himself, most are underused (porcelain girl) or unlikable (witches). The films biggest weakness is that it's going to be compared to The Wizard of Oz, and nothing will ever match that film. But I can say that this does represent it well. While not as upbeat of a story, it has its funny and light moments. Thankfully, the humor doesn't really dip into anything embarrassing or offensive. And it kept the references to the classic film at a very subtle level. Oh... and this isn't a musical. Not even close.

And now on to the SPOILERS: 

Oz Comic Con Perth 2013: Day 1 Highlights!

So Jacinta, Suzanne, Vanessa and I all spent today at Perth's very first Oz Comic Con, held in the spacious and fancy Perth Exhibition Centre. We are all exhausted from lugging equipment and shopping through crowds of costumed enthusiasts, so our more meaty coverage will commence tomorrow and Monday, but here's a bleary taste of the cavalcade of pop culture awesomeness that just exploded on our unsuspecting shores.

Including this unlikely band of miscreants...

Image: Jacinta.
Amy Pond and Jabba the Hutt together at last! It's like someone hacked into my computer and read all my fan fiction!

More cosplay, sights and stores... after the jump!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Trailer: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon was bored one weekend, so called up a few of his friends and they knocked out a quick movie. Okay, so that might not be 100% true, but it's at least 95% true. After months of torture (the movie was only announced after filming had wrapped) the trailer is finally out so we mere mortals can get our first glimpse of the Whedon/Shakespeare experience.

Oh yes. This works for me. The USA release date is the 21st of June, but we'll be waiting a little bit longer Down Under til we find out when we'll be getting to see it in all its delicious monochrome glory.

Thank GIF It's Friday!

Here we are once again. Glorious, wonderous Friday. Our Perth Fruitless Pursuits contingent are going to be spending their weekend surrounded by wall-to-wall sweaty nerds at Oz Comic-Con and wouldn't have it any other way. Ewan McGregor is in town at the moment shooting a movie, so we can only hope for a bit of this action at the Con over the weekend.

I swear I've watched that about 30 times in a row and can't stop laughing. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday Threesome: '84 Transfomers

For my shot at the Thursday Threesome this week, I figured I'd pay tribute to one of my very first obsessions.  The toyline that cemented my geek-status forever once they appeared on toy store shelves back in 1984.  Of course, I am talking about The Robots in Disguise...The Transformers!!


It's Stryder's Top 3 '84 Transformers!!  Take a look after the JUMP!

You Should Probably Be Watching Continuum

The loss of Fringe left a large science fiction-shaped hole in my television viewing. Revolution ended up being not very good, Robot Combat League is something we can pretend isn't really happening, and so on. Continuum, a science fiction series from Canada that's being broadcast in the United States, is filling that hole quite nicely. It's like if Fringe and short-lived but well-loved The 4400 went off and had a baby, and the result was a fun, not-too-serious sci-fi achievement.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 2/27/2013

So, Batman, Incorporated #8 may have been the most-discussed comic to come out in the last 7 days, but that doesn't mean that nothing else was going on!  Certainly not!  Let's take a look at all the OTHER comics I read this week, shall we?

Flash #17 - "I am GRODD.  Destiny is on MY side."

It's the Flash versus King Grodd inside the Speed Force dimension as we come to the Finale of "Gorrila Warfare" this month!  Grodd, having been infused with the same Speed Force powers as the Flash thanks to the treacherous Dr. Elias and his "Speed Force Batteries" was completely dominating the battle in the "real" world, but WITHIN the Speed Force?  Barry Allen SHOULD be the king! 

Of course, you may recall, a handful of innocent civilians (including Iris West) were, unbeknownst to the Flash, trapped within the Speed Force dimension several issues back (issue #7, I think)!  Well, Barry sees some trapped people, but Grodd sees a Hostage Opportunity!  Can even the World's Fastest Man beat the World's Fastest talking Gorilla?

This is a really great and fun conclusion to the arc!  It reminds me why I really love this book, and the Flash!  Good work! I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Aquaman, some Before Watchmen and more after the JUMP!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kickstart the Week: Emperor's New Clothes by Game Salute / Hoke's Games

We've seen a few REALLY high quality board games come from Kickstarter. Alien Frontiers broke the mold. Escape: The Curse of the Temple was my top game of 2012. Zombicide 2 funded in under 2 minutes.

But none of that compares what I am about to show you...

Here I would usually feature the Kickstarter video, but there is no time to waste! I'm skipping right to the game tutorial.

I can safely say, it's unlike anything I have ever seen before. With names like Jonathan Liu (GeekDad), John Kovalic (Munchkin), Darrell Louder (Compounded) behind this, it's sure to be as amazing as it looks.

I'm hoping to preview this game at an upcoming convention, but in the meantime  you can pledge for your very own copy at:

Lead Up To Oz Comic Con Perth

Oz Comic Con is nearly upon us in Perth, starting on the 9th March and finishing on the 10th March. I just looked at the schedule and tried to plan my days around the election, sleep and a million things I want to do and see. Armed with my VIP pass and my schedule I am amped for the guests part of the convention. Join me under the jump for a look at which guests I want to see and what you need to know about them as well as some cool things you might want to check out.

Titan Books Reissuing Helen MacInnes's Spy Novels, and They're Great!

For as much as I enjoy spy movies and some modern spy books, I am woefully underread on the classics of the genre. I've seen a ton of Bond movies, but never read the Broccoli books. And when Above Suspicion and Pray for a Brave Heart landed on my doorstep last week, I learned that "the queen of spy-story writers," Helen MacInnes, was not only someone I had never heard of, but was responsible for some important fiction to the genre. I suppose I should just dive in from there, right?

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 37: Back to the Future Part II (with Guest Host Laura, my Little Sister!)

The Book Was Better is the podcast where we read and tear into the hastily written book of the film!

This week you've got to come back with me. Back where, you ask? Back to a second helping of sassy teen Marty McFly as we read the far weaker tie-in novelisation of Back to the Future Part II!

Marty is constantly jumping forwards or backwards fifteen years so why not explore this with my special guest host Laura, my little sister, who just happens to be (nearly) fifteen years younger than I am! We're going to attempt to bridge the generation gap and see if 1989's BTTF 2 still holds up 24 years later, for someone 14 years younger. And is the 2015 portrayed in this novel all it's cracked up to be? There's only one way to be sure...

Download it right now from the official site or subscribe to us on iTunes so we can brag to strangers!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Review: The Art of Sucker Punch!

I’ve declared my love for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch plenty of times in the past. It’s a wildly divisive film, but it does have its fans, who are slowly growing in number as more people discover it. I always liken it in my mind to Disney’s Fantasia, i.e. an experimental, visually striking series of loosely connected music videos that not everybody wants to sit through. But if you can find a way to approach it then there’s plenty to appreciate. You simply have to be willing to submit to the journey.

We can probably at least agree that the design is a driving force behind the film so I was absolutely thrilled when our dear friends at Titan Books sent me a glorious hardback copy of The Art of Sucker Punch. I adore film art books in general, and this is a perfect film to study more closely and maybe we can even learn something along the way.

So, if you’re a fan, help me unravel Sucker Punch... after the jump!

Are The Brand New Star Wars 12 Inch Figures Already Dead?

Fresh off of Toy Fair 2013, the new Star Wars 12" figures are already dead. And by "dead", I don't mean the line was canceled or discontinued… I mean the figures are seriously dead. On their backs. In a tiny, stiff coffin. 

RIP Anakin.
I can see the appeal on the business side of this. Massive figures that have a retail price of a figure 1/3 of it's size. They'll dominate store shelves and catch the eye of the consumer. How could a parent resist paying $10 for a figure that size?

But in order to get the figures that cheap, everything has been sacrificed. I won't dive into paint or articulation or anything hardcore like that because those issues are irrelevant to the intended audience. There is just one major issue:

These figures are as lifeless as it gets.

Click through the jump for more images and thoughts.