Showing posts from March, 2012

Pissed at The Mist (2007)

Good monster movies are hard to come by, let alone good monster movies that were released in theaters. In the case of The Mist, the 2007 adaptation of a Stephen King novella that was released in theaters nationwide, we get a monster movie that is well made and has a lot of potential. The central premise about an invasion from another dimension is intriguing, the cast is solid, and the scriptwriting and direction by King adaptation vet Frank Darabont keeps the plot moving at a steady pace. Unfortunately, the story itself never comes together, largely because it’s nothing more than an assemblage of familiar King character types and situations taken from other, better monster movies. Read on for my complete review.

The Smithsonian Hosts The Art of Video Games

As someone whose first video game console was an Atari 2600, I can tell you with great certainty and enthusiasm that video games have come a long way since their early Pong days in the 70s. But don't just take my word for it--it appears that the Smithsonian agrees with my opinion in their current exhibit, The Art of Video Games.

According to the exhibit's site, "The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. ... The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. Eighty games, selected with the help of the public, demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The games are presented through still images and video footage. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with t…

Topps’ Mars Attacks Trading Card Series Turns 50

One of the coolest horror/sci-fi events that's coming this summer won't be playing at your local multiplex. Topps' legendary Mars Attacks trading card series is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and in honor of this pop culture landmark, Topps will re-release the original 55-card set this July along with 25 additional cards that feature never-before-seen art. Several other companies have also signed on to release a wide selection of other Mars Attacks merchandise during this summer, including action figures, plush toys, comic books and model kits.

A 50th Anniversary Mars Attacks Action Figure, by Mezco.
In the long list of alien invasion novels, movies and TV shows, there's nothing quite like the Mars Attacks card series. It's an insane mash-up of 50s-era nostalgia and over-the-top violence; even though the cards depict a story about an alien invasion of Earth by skull-faced, large-brained invaders, the story doesn't weight itself down with complex chara…

Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown: The Best Peanuts Parody Ever!

Things have been pretty busy for me lately over in my corner of the geek-o-verse, so I thought I would take this time to share with you this hilarious cartoon short, "Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown":

The Peanuts comic strip by the late Charles M. Schultz (as well as its ample supply of licensed merchandise and ancillary media titles such as holiday specials and feature-length movies) had become such an institution during its original 50 year run, so much so that newspapers still feature it on their comics pages over a decade since Schultz's death. Thus, there have been many, many parodies of the strip, yet I think that so few of them are as funny (and as wildly violent) as "Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown".

I first saw this 1986 short while I was in college, when it was making its rounds on VHS bootlegs in Japanese anime fan clubs. (Sadly, the video quality of the short is pretty poor, and I doubt that it will ever get a "special edition" treatme…

Avengers + Spider-Man + Tron = Must-See TV on Disney XD

Even though the latest live action film versions of the Avengers and Spider-Man won't be arriving in movie theaters until this summer, you can get your fill of both when they premiere on Disney XD this April. Furthermore, while Tron Uprising isn't scheduled to begin airing as a regular series on Disney XD until this summer, a preview "micro-series" will begin in a few weeks. Read on for a closer look at each of Disney's new offerings to superhero and sci-fi fans alike.

Darth Maul Returns (Again) to the Star Wars Universe

The relationship between what is considered canon and non-canon in popular horror and sci-fi movie and TV franchises has always been a curious one, in my opinion. Usually, only the movies and/or TV episodes are considered canon, while other stories that take place in the same franchise but are told in video games and print (such as novels and comic books) are not. Yet this is not to say that the non-canonical elements in a franchise have no influence at all on what is later considered canon. For example, several story ideas that first appeared in Predator and Terminator comic books eventually re-appeared in each of the Predator and Terminator movie sequels (and, in the case of Terminator, in The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series). Another example of the relationship between canon and non-canon happened in the recent fourth season finale in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, when Darth Maul returned to take his revenge against the Jedi order.

Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The retu…

Paranormal Activity 3 Review: A Tale of Two Doomed Sisters

It's rare for a horror film franchise to produce sequels that remain devoted to a group of characters with a consistent chronology. It's even rarer that the same franchise can tell its ongoing story in reverse chronological order, and that the franchise keeps the budget and production values of each of its films consistently small. Upon viewing Paranormal Activity 3, I can confirm that this "found footage" franchise, which began back in 2007, meets all of those attributes, which makes it a valuable rarity unto itself.

Click below to read my full review for PA3, which contains some mild spoilers. I really enjoyed this sequel, largely because it provides some great scares and it adds a great deal of new background information to Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden), the sisters from the first two movies. If you prefer to stop reading to avoid spoilers of any kind, then I can only recommend this: If you're of the mindset that prequels are completel…

Coming Soon: 2012 Annapolis Comic-Con

If you live in Maryland or anywhere else near the Chesapeake Bay area and feel the need to get your comic book geek on, you’re in luck. Third Eye Comics will be holding the 2012 Annapolis Comic-Con on March 24 and 25.

This year’s con has an impressive list of guests, including John Ostrander (Suicide Squad, Star Wars: Legacy), Jo Chen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), JK Woodward (Crazy Mary, Zombie Tales), and many more. The topics of panel discussions will range from comic writing and painting, to selling your original comic book creations, to zombie survival techniques (yes, you read that last item correctly). There will also be a cosplay forum and a costume contest—must-haves at any self-respecting comic book convention.

Check out the Annapolis Comic-Con site and Facebook page for more details and pictures from last year’s convention.

R.I.P. Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012)

I don't usually do obituaries on my blog but given how frequently I cover visual art and sci-fi franchises such as Star Wars, it would be remiss of me to not mention the recent passing of concept artist and matte painter Ralph McQuarrie. He passed away on March 3 at the age of 82, from complications due to Parkinson's disease. There are many places around the Web that feature much more information about McQuarrie's career and art (check out his official site here), so I thought I would share a few memories I have of his sizable contributions to my lifestyle choice of obsessive geekhood.

Even though his career didn't start in the entertainment industry, McQuarrie contributed his talents to many movies and TV shows. He provided conceptual art for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Cocoon, Nightbreed, Jurassic Park and the original Battlestar Galactica TV series. Yet he left his biggest impression on the original Star Wars trilogy, and I don't think that any oth…

Prometheus Versus Alien Vs. Predator (AVP)

Last week, 20th Century Fox's promotional campaign for the upcoming release of the Alien prequel Prometheus moved into the area of viral marketing. Fox launched the Weyland Industries site, which features a video clip of its fictitious founder Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pearce) providing a TED Talk in the year 2023. I included the video in the window below.

Alien fans will notice nods in Weyland's speech to a few entries in the franchise--particularly Alien and Aliens, with brief mentions of androids and terraforming. Weyland also recites the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, the namesake of this movie. From what I've pieced together from other sites that have covered this video, Weyland's TED Talk predates the events in Prometheus by 50 years, although Pearce will appear in the prequel as well. Whether he will play Peter Weyland's grandson, Peter Weyland himself in flashbacks, or something else entirely remains to be seen.

Regardless of exactly where and how this …