Showing posts from July, 2012

An Interview with Jaws Maquette Sculptor Mike Schultz (Part 1 of 2)

Two Bruce maquettes from Shark City Ozark.

August is going to be a fin-tastic month for Jaws fans. Not only will Jaws be released on Blu-ray on August 14th, but the JawsFest: The Tribute event will be held in Martha’s Vineyard from August 9th to the 12th. At this event will be yet another Jaws milestone: Shark City Ozark will be at JawsFest to officially launch its Jaws 2 maquette, the second in its “Ultimate Bruce Shark” Collector’s Set. That fact that Shark City Ozark has already produced several different movie-accurate Bruce maquettes is amazing, but its production of movie-accurate maquettes for the sequel sharks is unprecedented for the Jaws franchise.

To help celebrate the long overdue Jaws milestone, I had the chance to interview Mike Schultz, the owner of Shark City Ozark and its chief sculptor. Read on for the first part of the interview, where Schultz recalls his first encounter with Jaws, his experiences with sculpting his own mechanical sharks, and his struggles to bring t…

Robo Redneck: Part Man, Part Machine, All Redneck

I'm not a country music fan, but I thought I would share this recent video for "The Wind" by the Zac Brown Band:

I'm posting about this video for three reasons:

1. It's a pretty funny video filled with physical humor and sight gags to which only cartoons can do justice.

2. It's directed by Mike Judge, the same guy who gave us such wonderful things such as Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill and Office Space.

3. It's a southern-fried parody of geek-friendly stuff such as The Six Million Dollar Man, The Terminator and Robocop.

Super 7 Will Release Kenner's Lost Alien Action Figure Line

Given how busy my schedule has been as of late, I haven't paid much attention to news from this year's Comic-Con. I have been dropping in from time to time on sites that have been covering this event and of all the stories I've read, one surprises me much more than the rest. Next year, a company called Super 7 will be releasing completed versions of Kenner's unreleased 3 and 3/4 inch action figures from the movie Alien.

You see, Kenner picked up the toy license for Alien back in 1979 after its line of Star Wars toys became a blockbuster success. Kenner thought that Alien would be the next big thing in sci-fi and it apparently didn't give much thought to the film's R rating or the genuinely terrifying nature of the film's titular creature. As a result, the few Alien items that Kenner did release--which included a board game and a 18 inch figure of the Alien--didn't sell well and the toy line was discontinued. A few Alien action figures were sculpted befor…

Jack Arnold Builds a Better Big Bug in Tarantula (1955)

I like big bugs and I cannot lie. From Them! to the Mimic trilogy, these giant creepy-crawlers always fascinated me with their M.C. Escher-esque distortions of scale. On the other hand, finding big bug movies that are actually worth watching can be a challenge, since the overwhelming majority of them are low-budget, low-talent rip-offs of better movies.

Jack Arnold's Tarantula is one of the better big bug movies from the 50s, the second best movie of its type after Them!. I can't add much more to what has already been said about the quality of Tarantula as a movie, but I've decided to post about it anyway to look back at its impressive effects work. In our modern era where Hollywood's overreliance CGI technology has drained the creative spark out of many horror and sci-fi titles, Tarantula stands as a textbook example of how talented people can make a simple optical illusion yield amazing results. Read on for my complete retrospective, which includes video clips.

Team Up With Your Favorite DC Superheroes in Wii's Batman: The Brave and the Bold

With the release of Christopher Nolan's final film in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, just a few days away, I thought I would take this time to provide a review of something that involves a different kind of Batman--namely, the Batman: The Brave and the Bold video game for the Wii, a game that's based on the animated series of the same name.

I loved Brave and the Bold when it ran on Cartoon Network, so I really enjoyed how the game successfully imitates the look and feel of the show. However, because this game is a two-dimensional side-scrolling platformer, it will most likely disappoint Batman fans who are looking for another gaming experience along the lines of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Read on for my complete review.

Nerd Rant: Somewhere Out There, a Comic Book Supervillain is Missing His Face

I don't read monthly comic book series anymore. They're too expensive for my budget these days, so I have reduced my comic book intake to stand-alone graphic novels and multi-issue compilations. I stay informed of what DC and Marvel are doing through comic book reviews and news updates, so I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I found out that the Joker had his face cut off at his own request a few months ago. Yes, really:

Can you read this J-J-J-Joker Face?
I heard about this plot development a while back but I didn't pay much attention to it because of the other stuff that DC had been doing at the time with its company-wide reboot of all of its characters and their respective comic series. Batman series writer Scott Snyder has been touring the news outlets as of late to promote his upcoming story arc involving the Joker called "Death of the Family", which will begin in October. As part of this arc, Joker will be sporting a new look à la Leatherface, with…

Relive High School as a Video Game with Bully: Scholarship Edition

Throughout the years, video games have allowed players to assume exciting roles such as space adventurers, superheroes, ninjas, soldiers, spies, samurai and medieval knights. However, to assume the role of a surly teenager at a dysfunctional boarding school, you'll have to play Rockstar Games' Bully: Scholarship Edition. I usually purchase horror and sci-fi games, but the premise of Bully was too unique for me to ignore so I picked up a copy for my Wii a few weeks back. I'm glad I did--Bully: Scholarship Edition is one of the best open world video games I've ever seen. Read on for my complete review.

Sony Keeps Its Seat on the Superhero Blockbuster Bandwagon with The Amazing Spider-Man

Last week I saw The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot of Sony's series of live action Spider-Man films. This reboot features a new director, new actors and new details added to the Spider-Man origin story that are intended to push this reboot into new directions in subsequent films.

I could say a lot of snarky things at this point, such as how Sony's reboot comes too soon after the last Spider-Man film or how this reboot is another sign that Hollywood is completely out of ideas. Yet the truth of the matter is that Sony rebooted Spider-Man for two reasons: It let go of the director of its first three Spider-Man films, Sam Raimi, as well as his cast, and it had to make another Spider-Man movie this year or else the character's film rights would revert back to Marvel Comics, the company that owns Spider-Man. That's it--there are no other reasons for this reboot. In fact, these were mostly the same reasons behind last summer's superhero reboot movie, X-Men: First Class. (Of…

Monster on the Campus (1958): The Hulk's Missing Link?

I don't know what it is about creature features from the 1950s. Even when they descend into the depths of accidental camp, there's still something quite charming about them. Maybe it's because creature features were still finding their aesthetic legs, or that the still-new Atomic Age had generated so many larger-than-life anxieties that only creature features could do them justice on the big screen. Regardless, I just re-watched Monster on the Campus, one of Jack Arnold's lesser sci-fi flicks from the 50s. I first saw it a long time ago when running this kind of movie on syndicated TV during the weekend was a common practice, and I was looking forward to seeing it again. Read on for my retrospective of this cult classic, which includes some thoughts as to how it’s connected to Marvel Comics’ not-so-jolly green giant, the Hulk.

A Wish for Change Becomes a Curse that Destroys in Pixar’s Brave

When it comes to animated entertainment, Pixar ranks next to Hayao Miyazaki as one of my go-to sources for quality movies. Both provide engaging stories that are told through breathtaking animation, and both are willing to push themselves in new directions while at the same time remaining faithful to a set of recurring themes.

With its latest title Brave, Pixar stakes out new territory to add to its expanding roster of unique characters and gorgeous settings. Indeed, Brave is unique in that it is the first Pixar movie with a female main character and the first Pixar movie that's a period piece--in this case, pre-medieval Scotland. Yet in spite of these differences, Brave remains grounded in one of Pixar's recurring themes: the importance of maintaining ties with family and friends during times of change, particularly changes that are sudden and unexpected. Read on for my complete review.

Marvel Flashback: A 1977 Spider-Man Origin Cup

Given this week's release of The Amazing Spider-Man, I thought I would dig into my own archives to see if I could find anything Spidey-related to put on my blog to celebrate this event. This new release is the first 3D Spider-Man movie--an IMAX 3D movie, no less--so that alone is worth celebrating in my opinion.

I've mentioned before that Spider-Man was one of my gateway drugs into geekhood. Spidey soon took a backseat to Star Wars (my other gateway drug), but he's always been in the background somewhere during the course of my lifetime of geekery. In addition to some of the Spider-Man toys I had during the late 70s (click here to read about some of the lesser Spidey toys that I owned), I had some regular, everyday items that bore the likeness of Spider-Man in some form (towels, pajamas, lunch boxes, etc.). The item I'm featuring in this post is one of great sentimental value: a Spider-Man cup from 1977 that included a brief description of Spidey's origin story.

As …