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Showing posts from 2018

The Gods and Monsters of the Cosmos: An Analysis of Alien: Covenant

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With "Alien Day" coming up on April 26th (you know, as in LV-426), I figured that I should get around to doing something that I've been meaning to do for months: post a review/analysis of last year's Alien: Covenant. I've been putting this off for some time because even though I love this movie, I've come to the conclusion that there’s plenty of material in the film to unpack if I’m going to write a proper blog post about it. I even felt like I needed to pick up The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant book by Simon Ward and the Alien: Covenant Blu-ray set (specifically, the set that included The Creatures of Alien: Covenant booklet) to ensure that I didn't miss anything in what I write. I don't think that I’ll get to it all, but here's my take on the second Alien prequel just the same. Enjoy ... and yes, there are spoilers ....

In case you have little to no familiarity with the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant is the second prequel set before Alien,…

Advanced CGI Effects and the Rampage Movie: Was This Really Necessary?

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Last weekend saw the debut of Rampage, a film headlining Dwayne Johnson and is based on the '80s coin-op video game of the same name. According to box office stats, Rampage claimed the top spot during its opening weekend, clearly demonstrating that the combination of Johnson's star power and top-notch special effects is worth plenty of money in today's cinema. While I'm sure that Rampage is an enjoyable enough creature feature in its own right, I can't help but to be disappointed at the lost opportunity that this film represents.

Even though the press has been covering this film as a "video game adaptation" (which it is ... sort of), I think that the more accurate description of Rampage is Warner Brothers' attempt to cash in on the latest giant monster movie trend that's been seen in films such as Pacific Rim, Jurassic World and Kong: Skull Island. WB owns Midway Games, the company that created the Rampage video game series; thus, all WB had to do…

Modularity Takes Center Stage in Takara Tomy’s Diaclone Toy Reboot

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When it comes to purchases of expensive geek collectibles, I do a pretty good job at restraining myself from spending too much money. However, with its recent re-designs of its Diaclone line, Takara Tomy has been making it difficult for me to keep my financial resources secure.

As anyone who knows their Japanese toy robot history can tell you, Diaclone was a toy line from early ‘80s Japan that Hasbro later imported into the U.S. and repackaged as the Transformers line. However, Hasbro only imported the Diaclone items that transformed between robots and vehicles; the rest of the Diaclone line, which consisted of giant robots that could be rearranged into smaller vehicles and machines, were not included in the Transformers line. So, in order to cash in on the ‘80s toy robot nostalgia bandwagon like Hasbro has, Takara Tomy has been re-designing its non-Transformers Diaclone products and releasing them for the current toy collector market.



Above: One of the toys from the original Diaclone…

Ready Player One and the Limits of Name-Checking Nostalgia

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As a nerd such as me grows older, it becomes unavoidable that certain things that once felt exhilarating and fresh have since become stale and predictable. Among those faded thrills are the promise of big-budget, special effects-laden fantasy/sci-fi films that are helmed by popular directors. In particular, I'm talking about this weekend's release of Ready Player One, a movie adaptation of a bestselling novel that has been directed by Steven Spielberg.

Yes, Spielberg knows a few things about adapting bestselling novels into blockbuster films (see Jaws and Jurassic Park) and he knows his way around special effects. Yet between the teaser trailers' emphasis on CGI set pieces and the story's widely known reliance on nostalgic references to pop culture, I can't work up much interest (let alone enthusiasm) for Ready Player One. For everything that this film is promising, I can't but to feel that I've seen this done before and done better.

Even though Ready Playe…

Disney Drops 3D Blu-Ray Distribution in the U.S. Market

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If the Disney corporation can't be bothered to say this to the public, I will: Disney has stopped producing and distributing 3D Blu-ray versions of its 3D movies in the United States.

I've been searching all over the 'net to find confirmation of this, but I can't find an official press release from Disney about the status of its 3D Blu-rays at all. Based on the recent home video releases of Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (all of which were released theatrically in both 2D and 3D), it appears that Disney has given up on the 3D Blu-ray format in the U.S. 2D formats, both standard definition Blu-rays and 4K ultra high definition (UHD), will be Disney's preferred home video mediums in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. However, Disney will continue to release 3D Blu-rays in markets outside of the U.S.; thus, 3D buffs (like me) will be stuck with either buying region-free 3D Blu-rays and/or region-free 3D Blu-ray players.

Of course, other American …

Why Are Star Wars Toy Sales Dropping?

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I regularly review geek news sites from around the 'net to stay up-to-date on the latest trends within my community of interest. In recent weeks, I've noticed a story that's been popping up frequently: the sale of Star Wars toys have been dropping. As someone who is a life-long Star Wars addict, I never thought that I would live to see the day when Star Wars toys don't sell well. However, after thinking about how Disney has been handling the franchise since it purchased it from George Lucas back in 2012, I can see how the popularity of Star Wars toys would begin to falter during the new movie releases.

Oversaturation of toys: I occasionally look at what kind of Star Wars toys are being sold both online and in stores, and the selection is staggering. Action figures are available in a wide range in sizes (from 3.75 inches to 6 inches to 12 inches and higher) and they cover the recent movies, the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and the two animated series. This arr…

On Sale Now: Son of Unsung Horrors Movie Review Book

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One of the great things about horror movie blogging is when an opportunity arises to contribute to a project that's designed to appeal to the larger horror fan community. Case in point: Son of Unsung Horrors, a compilation of movie reviews from Buzzy Krotik Productions, the publisher of the We Belong Dead fanzine.

As the title suggests, Son of Unsung Horrors is a follow up to 2016's Unsung Horrors book. Both titles assemble reviews of movies that some fans feel should receive more attention from the larger critical community and pop culture in general. As such, these reviews include both the author's experience with the film and the critical assessment of the film's worth within the horror genre, a perspective that many horror fans should find interesting.

I've read some comments online about how the term "unsung" may not be appropriate for all of the films that are reviewed in these books, since some of them have received wide theatrical release and are …

FOUND: Mechanical Shark from Universal Jaws Theme Park Ride

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When the Universal Studios Theme Park in Florida shut down its Jaws ride back in January 2012, Jaws fans everywhere were devastated. Yet even though this part of the Jaws franchise is no longer operational, some of its sharks are swimming around out there … including places such as Frederick, Maryland.

A few days ago, I was contacted by a fellow Jaws fan named John Ryan, asking me if I knew anything specific regarding the sharks from the Universal Jaws ride. He was asking because he thought he found one and is trying to verify its authenticity. We spoke on the phone and exchanged a few emails, and here’s what he told me about his find:

“I've been collecting Jaws memorabilia for decades and when I found this incredibly rare gem sitting in a backyard in Frederick, Maryland, I wondered about its connection to the state. The current homeowners said the shark was already there when they purchased the property. They also told me it had been the subject of neighborhood rumor for years. …