Friday, August 30, 2013

Action Figure Inter/Review: Pirate Batman and Pirate Two-Face from Legends of Batman by Kenner (Good and a 1/2)

 
     It feels like a few years back--probably around the time that the third Pirates of the Caribbean film was released--that American pirate popularity reached its zenith in American popular culture.  In 2007 it seemed like you could find nearly anything and everything you wanted regarding pirates. Well, everything except pirate themed Batman figures; those actually were released in 1996 as part of the third series of Kenner's Legends of Batman toyline.  The line included The Laughing Man Joker, First Mate Robin, Buccaneer Batman, and the subject of today's Inter/review, the Pirate Batman & Pirate Two-Face two pack.  Today we've got these two very special guests stopping by ThEpic Review's studios to chat with us for a few.  Ready for an action figure inter/review that will shiver your timbers? Then read on after the break...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Movie Review: You're Next (Confirmed: Great)

   
     Family reunions and wedding anniversaries typically serve as the backdrop for family comedies, romances, or "very special episodes" of sitcoms.  In Adam Wingard's You're Next, however, they serve as the backdrop for a brutal massacre.  It's definitely a family get-together that puts even the travesties experienced by the Griswold's to shame.  You're Next falls into the sub-genre of the "home invasion" horror film, and rather than ghosts, ghouls, or goblins,  presents it's horror through the terrifyingly visceral experience of a family being systematically slaughtered in their home by assailants unknown.  It's a tense, well paced film, and if it weren't for Evil Dead, You're Next would easily be the most brutal, bloody, and fun horror movie released this year.  Is You're Next a film worth your time, or would you be better served to skip over and see the next film on the marquee?  Read on and find out in this mostly spoiler free review, after the break.... 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NECA Reveals Nostromo Spacesuit from Alien for the 35th Anniversary


     On their Facebook page, NECA has unveiled some early shots of the in-progress wax sculpt of the Nostromo space suit from Alien.  It looks awesome so far and definitely seems like it could be used a few times for NECA to release a few crew members like Kane and Dallas in the suits.  I had the super cool Alien Micro Machines playset that came out in the mid 1990s which included a space suit and, believe me, I loved the heck out of that thing.

Also, even if you're not an Alien fan, wouldn't this look decent standing inside your Castle Grayskull?

Action Figure Review: Castaspella from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)


  While Mattel has already released every figure from the first three years of the vintage Masters of the Universe line and has the last three figures from the fourth year planned (Mantenna, Two-Bad, and Modulok), they haven't even covered the first year of the Princess of Power toyline.  Fortunately, Castaspella gets us a little closer to completing the first series of figures, and gives us another key member of the Great Rebellion.  An alluring and enchanting redhead with magical powers, Castaspella might be one of the best female figures released in Masters of the Universe Classics to date.  Ready for a look at the magical queen of the Kingdom of Mystacor?  Then join me after the break.....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Action Figure Review 90's Edition: Twister Strike Scarecrow from Legends of the Dark Knight by Kenner (Confirmed: Great)


If you want a rundown of a little bit of the history of this line, check out my review of Laughing Gas Joker here.  In order to compete with the growing popularity of McFarlane Toys' Spawn figures, Kenner crafted Legends of the Dark Knight to be bigger, more detailed, and somewhat more twisted than your average Batman figure. Released as part of the first series of figures in 1996, Twister Strike Scarecrow is a gangling, frightening vision of evil in plastic form that might still have a place on your toy shelf, even though he's 18 years old at this point. Prepare for some fear, after the break...

Action Figure Review: Shokoti from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel (Confirmed: Good)

  
I love Masters of the Universe. A lot.  I'm not the biggest Filmation fan in the world, however.  Actually, let me clarify: I love Filmation's She-Ra: Princess of Power, but I'm just not as big of a fan of Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Don't get me wrong, I do like to watch it.  If I'm sitting around and want something quick and fun, I'll put it on. I love the show. It's just not as definitively MOTU to me as it is to some fans.  That being said, there are some really good episodes in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and one of the best that always gets brought up is the season one two-parter "House of Shokoti."  It's a pretty good episode that is legitimately scary and menacing while also featuring a discernible plot.  While there weren't a ton of Filmation He-Man and the Masters of the Universe characters I was dying to get in Classics, one I definitely wanted was Shokoti, the evil titular star of the episodes named above.  Rather than give you a standard review of a character you may not be familiar with, I opted to do a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). All the same info as usual, but in an easier to read format.  The FAQ starts after the break....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Action Figure Review 90s Edition: Burnt Spawn from Spawn:The Movie by McFarlane Toys (Confirmed: Good and a 1/2)


Slowly but surely I'm picking up Spawn: The Movie figures here and there.  While I only owned Spawn and Jason Wynn from when the movie was originally released on August 1, 1997, over the past few months I've picked up Jessica Priest and Al Simmons, and now I've picked up Burnt Spawn.   This figure represents Al Simmons (played by Michael Jai White) after he returns from Hell after making a deal with the villainous Malebolgia.  Not yet aware of how to use his Spawn powers yet, Al's still running around looking like a hobo version of Freddy Krueger.  While it's been years since I last watched the movie (although I do plan to rectify that as I found a DVD copy last weekend for $1) I think this figure's accessories tie into a scene where Spawn meets the Clown and ends up digging up his own grave. Am I right? Wrong? Does anyone really care? Let's just look at this toy!

Action Figure Review: Rokkon and Stonedar--The Comet Warriors from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel (Confirmed: Good and a 1/2)


 For their SDCC 2013 exclusive, Mattel decided to let fans scratch two vintage Heroic Warriors off their lists by offering a 2 pack of Rokkon and Stonedar, the only two Masters of the Universe characters I still get confused from time to time.  Released as part of the 5th series of figures in the vintage Masters of the Universe line, Rokkon and Stonedar are also known as the Rock People or the Comet Warriors, and feature the gimmick of being able to transform from a humanoid figure into a comet.  Rokkon and Stonedar represent two of the three Rock People found in the vast body of Masters of the Universe lore; the third is Granita, a female Rock Person who was planned for the vintage line at one point, but was later scrapped.  This release of Rokkon and Stonedar in Masters of the Universe Classics is quite interesting because 1.) Mattel kept the action features intact and 2.) while released as an SDCC exclusive, the only difference between the convention release and the release available on Mattycollector.com is the presence or absence of the SDCC 2013 sticker.  I'm actually pretty pleased with this, especially considering the pain that SDCC exclusives can sometimes be. Ready to jump in and take a look at these crazy Comet Warriors? Then join me after the break....

Friday, August 23, 2013

Action Figure Interview: Cyborg Batman from Legends of Batman by Kenner (Good and a 1/2)

   
 Today on Action Figure Interview we have a special guest from Kenner's 1990's Batman line "Legends of Batman", Cyborg Batman.  Released in the first series of Legends of Batman figures in 1994, Cyborg Batman came out as part of Kenner's first foray into larger, more dynamically posed Batman figures that were more similar in style to some of Playmates Toys offerings.  Utilizing the concept of DC Comics' Elseworlds line, Cyborg Batman represents a version of Batman from the future: the year 25000, that is.  As the blurb on the back of the package and trading card states: "In the year 2500, Batman has enhanced his strength with custom mechanical parts!  His left eye can see incredible distances, even in the dark, while his arm and leg have gained amazing strength, thanks to his artificial devices.  And his laser-powered blaster never misses! Far into the future, Cyborg Batman will do anything to stop the progress of crime."  Pretty slick- Batman and Terminator mixed together, huh? Anyways, I see Cyborg Batman entering ThEpic Review's command center; let's start the interview now....

Action Figure Review: Baxter Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates (Good and a 1/2)

   

I'm really loving the new TMNT series on Nickelodeon, especially the appearances by Baxter Stockman. While my initial thoughts of Baxter Stockman will always be of the mutated fly man from the vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, the new series has done a nice job of adapting Stockman's appearance in volume 1 of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics by Mirage and making him both a menace and comic relief (actually, my favorite version of Baxter is probably his appearance in the ongoing IDW comic series).  Anyways, Snakeweed was the first figure I found in the fourth wave of TMNT figures and Leatherhead was the second, but Baxter took me a bit longer. He's presented here in his battle armor from the season 1 episode "I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman". Ready for a look at this guy? Join me after the break....

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Action Figure Review: Darth Maul from Star Wars Black by Hasbro (Great)

    
Last year after watching Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3D, I created a list of 100 things that I like about the movie.  I'm not going to argue that the film is a great movie or that it stands on par with the original trilogy, but I still managed to find 100 things I liked about the movie. At the top of that list, however, is Darth Maul.  He's definitely has one of the most interesting appearances of any character in the Star Wars universe (which is saying quite a bit) and just emits a very real evil and menace.  While Darth Vader is a tragically conflicted character and Emperor Palpatine craves power, Maul seems to be a character who truly relishes evil and the Dark Side of the force just because.  All that is to say that I'm really excited that Hasbro chose to include Darth Maul as part of the first series of Star Wars black, the new 6 inch Star Wars collectors line.  I love the character and if you're going to pick a prequel character that pretty much everyone loves, I'd say Maul's the top choice.  Maul's the only figure from the first series of Star Wars Black that I wanted, so I'm glad that I finally got him. Is the Star Wars' franchise's first steps into the 6 inch scale a success? Read on and find out...

Action Figure Review: Ooze Scoopin' Donnie from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates (Confirmed: Good)


Remember back in my review of Ooze Tossin' Raph how I said that I didn't plan on picking up the rest of the Ooze Launching Turtles but made a special exception for Raphael since he's my favorite Turtle?  Yeah, that didn't pan out.  I ended up finding these guys on sale for a really good price and ended up buying the rest of them just the other day. I've now got a ton of Turtles figures still to review (Cockroach Terminator, Baxter Stockman, the rest of the Stealth Tech guys, and the Rat King) but today I'll be looking at Ooze Scoopin' Donnie. Actually, I'll be interviewing Donatello for this review. Yup! This is my first ever combination interview/ review. I hope it goes well!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Movie Review: Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (Confirmed: Eh and a 1/2)

   
     Last year during my annual Halloween horror movie marathon (which typically starts in mid-August) I set out to watch all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I had seen the original and the remake with Jackie Earl Haley (which I liked- sue me) but had never seen any of the sequels.  I only made it through the first five last year so I just recently decided to start checking out the others. Last night I watched Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (A.K.A. A Nightmare on Elm Street 6), both because I wanted to see how the main series ended and because I wanted to see the context of this crazy NECA version of Freddy Krueger with the Powerglove.  So, I know you're just dying to know my opinions on this 22 year old film, right?  Let me just start by saying that this was enjoyable film, but just not a very good one.  There's always a macabre fun when Freddy Krueger's involved (much like the Cryptkeeper) and I love the special effects of the period, but the story is kind of crazy and doesn't seem to make too much sense.  Anyways, here's a review of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.

Action Figure Review: Legacy Megazord from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers by Bandai (Confirmed: Great)


   Since so many of you really seem to like my review of the Power Rangers Legacy Morpher, I decided to give into my impulses and pick up the Legacy Megazord as well.  As I mentioned in my Morpher review, I wasn't into the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for too long, but, like a catchy pop tune, my time with the Rangers was short, lively, and something that I look back on with equal parts nostalgia and embarrassment.  Thinking back, there was absolutely no reason for me to be running around in all blue clothes and shouting "Triceratops" at the top of my lungs.  I do have some fond memories, such as seeing Power Rangers Live twice, collecting Power Rangers pogs from McDonald's, and hearing my dad one day shout that he didn't ever want to hear the words "Power Rangers" uttered in his house ever again. Well, guess what? Now I live in my own house and I say Power Rangers as often as I want.  Sometimes my wife will say "What do you want for dinner?"   "Power Rangers!" I shout!  (If I'm feeling really feisty, I'll randomly yell "V.R. Troopers!" just to shake stuff up. That's how I roll.)  (**Editor's note:  Now I know how your dad felt.**)  OK, so I guess you didn't come here to hear me ramble on about nothing, but instead to hear about the Legacy Megazord? Well, let's bring 'em together and get on with the review/FAQ. After the break, of course.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Action Figure Review: Shredder (SDCC 2013 Exclusive) from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates (Confirmed: Eh and a 1/2)


     There's no doubt that the Shredder is one of the most iconic villains around, but has he ever truly had a perfect action figure made in his likeness?  He's had plenty, and I've owned most of them, but I've never felt that there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Last year when I bought the entire first wave of Nickelodeon's TMNT figures, I was really disappointed by the Shredder.  On my Amazon review of him, I wrote:

     "I'm really disappointed with this figure. The Shredder usually makes an awesome toy, but I'm not exactly sure what happened here. He looks ok as part of a display, but if you put him by himself or try to play around with him, I think you're going to be disappointed. Hopefully, Playmates revisits this character down the line (although there is a talking version with a cape available currently) because this guy just doesn't cut it for me."

     Well, now Playmates has released a new version of Oroku Saki that was a SDCC 2013 exclusive. He's taller, articulated a bit differently, and features vac metallized blades and armor. He's also $35, about 4 times the price of your standard TMNT figure.  Is he worth it?  Read on and face the Shredder to find out...

Netflix for the Poor Kids: Rosemary's Baby (Confirmed: Epic)

    
     Last weekend I was discussing ThEpic Review with a friend and talking about my desire to review more schlocky horror movies on Netflix, especially over the next couple of months as we work our way towards Halloween.  She commented that it wouldn't be too difficult to find more terrible horror movies on Netflix, since that's all they seem to have.  Not true, I stated, as every time I turn on my instant queue I see Rosemary's Baby available to watch.  Rosemary's Baby is considered to be not just a classic horror film, but a true turning point in the genre.  Released in 1968, Rosemary's Baby represented a new direction for horror films that focused less on aliens, gothic castles, and mad scientists, and more on the horrors that could be found right at home when the modern world crashed together with primitive and demonic powers.  Watching a modern horror film like Paranormal Activity or Insidious that relies on terrifying events happening in mundane urban and suburban locations, you're exploring ground that was largely discovered by Rosemary's Baby.  Directed by Roman Polanski and starring the fantastically talented Mia Farrow as the titular Rosemary, Rosemary's Baby is a classic, it's available on your Netflix, and it's very, very good. Can I say anymore? Absolutely--after the break, of course...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Action Figure Review: Stealth Tech Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates (Confirmed: Great)

 
Well, since I last reviewed a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figure I've actually began watching the new cartoon series and am loving it!  It's really good--it manages to be quite funny and silly while still having some engaging storylines and very impressive action scenes. It seems like it's doing a great job of appealing to the kids while still having enough throwbacks to keep old school TMNT fans happy. It's not as amazing as IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, but it's still pretty bodacious.  From the newest series (I believe TMNT series 5) of figures based off of the cartoon, we have Stealth Tech Donatello, who I'm looking at today. I skipped all of the Ooze Tossin' Turtles except for Raph (cause he's my favorite) but the Stealth Tech guys just looked too cool. They're really nicely designed with a cool stealth vibe. If you want to reenact Mission: Impossible, Splinter Cell, or Metal Gear Solid with your TMNT figures, these guys will let you do that! And who wouldn't want to?  Here's a brief look at Stealth Tech Donatello.
    

NoisyDvL5 at ItsAllTrue reviews The Riddler from Mattel's 1966 Batman line


Image from ItsAllTrue.net
NoisyDvL5 at ItsAllTrue.net just put up his review of the Frank Gorshin Riddler from Mattel's new Batman line based on the classic 1966 Batman TV series.  It's a great review of a figure that is a tad bit disappointing. So far, having seen reviews of the Batman and Robin two pack and the Riddler, I can say that I'm not overly impressed with the line.  The Riddler isn't bad, but I'd be more likely to snap him up as an impulse buy rather than hunting him down. The figures, coupled with the disappointing news that Mattel seems to have no future plans for this line (Yes, this seems to imply no Batgirl! Tragedy!) have really diminished my enthusiasm for what was one of my most anticipated lines. Anyways, head on over to ItsAllTrue.net and check out Noisy's review of The Riddler.

Video Game Review: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Confirmed: Great)

    


     Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a beautiful dark fantasy game with an interesting gameplay gimmick that proves to be not only unique, but eventually indispensable to the game's major theme.  Before playing the game, I really wasn't sure what to expect from it.  Dowloading the demo gave me a glimpse of the unique gameplay concept of simultaneously controlling the titular the brothers independantly and intrigued me enough to invest the 1200 Microsoft Points (about $15) in the game. I'm glad I did; while it isn't terribly long (maybe 3 - 3 1/2 hours), Brothers is an incredibly rewarding experience that will bring to mind other minimalist adventure games like Ico, Heart of Darkness, Limbo, and Shadow of the Colossus.  For gamers looking for something a little different with a compelling story (even if it's told without understandable dialogue), Starbreeze Studios' Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is certainly worth a look. More details after the break.... 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Masters of the Universe 2014 Subscription Sign-Up Closing Soon!


Alright, folks, it's decision time for those of you considering signing up for the MOTUC 2014 subscription from Matty Collector.  The sub closes on Monday the 19th at 11:59pm.  So what are you waiting for? Follow the link below and sign up already!
http://www.clubs.mattycollector.com/store/mattycol/en_US/DisplayShopperDefinedBundlePage/OfferID.40890484909

Action Figure Review: Jungle Disguise Dutch from Predator by NECA (Great and a 1/2)

 
     This is the figure I've been waiting for!  While the other Dutch figures in various states of undress are undoubtedly cool, it's this figure of Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer covered in mud and leaves that really captures the primal warrior versus warrior spirit of the original Predator.  When Dutch realizes that the cool river mud camouflages him from the Predator's thermal vision, he finds a way to potentially beat the ultimate hunter at it's own game.  Including this figure, Jungle Disguise Dutch, NECA has now released four figures of the character and looks to have two more on the way considering what we saw at SDCC 2013.  Ready for a look at this guy?  Let's jump right in, then, and get things rolling.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Action Figure Review 90's Edition: Deluxe Flightpak Batman from Legends of Batman by Kenner (Confirmed: Eh)


    So far this year I've pretty much finished my Aliens and Predator lines from Kenner (except for a few of the really rare figures), completed Playmates Monster Force, and picked up every figure I needed to complete my set of Toy Biz's Resident Evil line.  What's next? Well, lately I've been working on Legends of Batman. I'm getting there. Today I'm looking at another of the "Deluxe" figures in the line (deluxe meaning shiny, apparently), Flightpak Batman.  Released in the first wave of series 2 in 1995, this version of Batman is told to be from "the near future" with the mission "to battle criminals straight out of cyberspace."  Yup, that sounds like something someone with no grasp of the internet might say.  Anyways, when I look at this "Deluxe" figure, it seems like someone tried to squeeze in everything they thought would appeal to a kid: the figure is shiny, bright, has a giant jet pack, comes with a gun of some kind, and is Batman. To me, it's actually a painfully dull figure. Agree? Disagree? Read the review and come up with your own opinion...

Netflix for the Poor Kids: FDR: American Badass! (Good and a 1/2)



     FDR: American Badass! tells the story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (AKA: The Delano, AKA: Wheels of Steel, AKA: Big Papa Juicemaker) as he comes to terms with the loss of the usage of his legs due to polio and the strains this put on his marriage to Eleanor Roosevelt during his first three terms as President of the United States.  Covering such significant events such as Roosevelt contracting polio through a werewolf bite, his first election as President, and his triumphant one-man attack on Normandy, FDR: American Badass! gives us a robust and yet intimately personal look at the werewolf fighting 32nd President of the United States.  It also features a werewolf Adolf Hitler, a gatling gun wheel chair, and a drug-induced visit with the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.  This is an over-the-top and offensive comedy that's sole purpose is to make you laugh and cringe in equal measures. Want to learn more? Check it out after the break....


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Action Figure Review: Corporal Dwayne Hicks from Aliens by NECA (Confirmed: Epic)


 
    Well, SDCC 2013 has just recently passed and we saw that NECA has some cool upcoming plans for more toys based off of Alien and Aliens. NECA has really gone crazy with their Predator line and hopefully will have the same type of success with the Aliens franchise.  I've already looked at the Xenomorph and Private Hudson from series 1, so now I'm going to finish off the first series with a look at Michael Biehn's character from James Cameron's 1986 sci-fi masterpiece, Corporal Dwayne Hicks.  Corporal Hicks is no stranger to action figures, and has been available in toy form a few times before.  He appeared in Kenner's early 90's toy line four times, including the standard first series figure, a Kay-Bee toys exclusive repaint, a newly sculpted figure for the Aliens: Hive Wars line (that came with a robotic dog), and a Kay-Bee toys exclusive 12 inch version modeled after the film. That figure actually came packaged with a 1/6th scale Alien warrior, as well.  Galoob put out a small version of Hicks in their Micro Machines/Action Fleet line, McFarlane Toys released two versions in their Movie Maniacs line (one without a helmet and a McFarlane Collector's Club exclusive with a helmet and a shotgun), and even Hot Toys released the character as both a 1/6 scale figure and a 4 inch figure.  Dang--Hicks gets around!  Anyways, that wasn't enough Michael Biehn figures for the world, so NECA jumped in to release the finest version of Hicks that you're likely to find.  Stay frosty and alert, and check out the review after the break....

Netflix for the Poor Kids: The Ape (Confirmed: Eh)

    
     Boris Karloff made some fantastic and fun horror films during his long career. He also made some movies that are so delightfully insane that you can't help but enjoy them.  Of course, he also made some movies that are insane but simultaneously unenjoyable.  That's The Ape right thereReleased in 1940, The Ape seems like it should be a true classic: it features Boris Karloff as a scientist/mad scientist, a circus, an escaped killer ape, and Boris Karloff wearing said ape's skin as a disguise in order to kill people so that he can collect their spinal fluid to cure polio.  How could that go wrong?  Well, it just kind of does. It's not well-developed enough to actually be "good," but neither does it get crazy enough to actually be entertaining.  Don't believe me? Then read on for my review of The Ape after the break....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Masters of the Universe Classics Two Bad will be Exclusive to the Subscription

    
Image from Poeghostal.com
     In response to a question on Mattycollector.com, Scott "Toyguru" Neitlich just dropped the news that Two Bad will have no day of sale next year, thus making him exclusive to the 2014 Club Eternia Subscription.  Responding to a fan's request for more sub incentives, Neitlich wrote:

How about this, we just confirmed from logistics that Two Bad, like Clamp Champ or Fang Man will be short produced and therefore will only be for sub holders in 2014. I don't know if that is an incentive, but it is the latest info we just got.
    Now Two Bad, probably the most wanted figure for many fans from the 2014 sub, is going to be exclusively available to fans who sub. Does this make you want to sub more? Less? How do you feel about this move? Honestly it's probably a smart move for Mattel to make in order to ensure that vintage fans subscribe. Plus, it gives more incentive for e-tailers to purchase more subs since they can charge whatever they want for them.  If you're planning getting Two Bad and a few other figures next year, subbing might be the best way to go because this guy could truly be price gouged like nobody's business.

Movie Review: Elysium (Confirmed: Great)

The wait for Director Neill Blomkamp's 2nd film is finally over!

     In 2009, first time Director Neill Blomkamp (with the help of producer Peter Jackson) gave audiences one of the most captivating and original films in recent memory: District 9.  In District 9, Blomkamp was able to create the most effective social commentary on immigration to come out of Hollywood.  With the success of his 1st film, Blomkamp was rumored and courted for several franchises that he turned down in order to focus on another truly original film, Elysium, this time without the help or name of Peter Jackson.  When the first trailer for Elysium hit in early 2013 it looked like Blomkamp would deliver that same sort of social commentary in his second film, this time with a heavy focus on social inequality in addition to immigration.  That powerful message seemed to be wrapped in a different package, however, in the form of a summer blockbuster with Matt Damon headlining.  So was Elysium a truly revolutionary summer blockbuster, or was it simply a fun science fiction film? Find out after the break……

Mattel Reveals Filmation Power Sword for Masters of the Universe Classics


     Sometime yesterday, Mattel revealed what looks lik a protype image of He-Man's Power Sword as it appeared on the Filmation cartoon series "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". Fans have requested this item for quite some time and it seems Mattel is willing to deliver if the 2014 Club Eternia subscription goes through (Last night's update was at 57% of the needed subscriptions and we have a week left).  Anyways, here's the article--it seems like Mattel has plans for other artifacts and such from the Filmation cartoon and the minicomics, so maybe that will encourage a few more folks to subscribe.

 More pictures after the break....

Netflix for the Poor Kids: Compliance (Confirmed: EH)

Is Compliance truly as disturbing as audiences say?

      One of the most polarizing movies within the film community in recent memory has been Craig Zobel’s Compliance.  While the controversial film has been praised by many critics, it has also alienated some audiences, including several walk-outs and shouting matches during question and answer sessions at last year’s Sundance International Film Festival.  The film has finally made it all the way from Sundance to Nextflix's instant watch.  So, is the film about a real life fast food prank gone too far really worthy of walking out on? Find out after the break…..

Monday, August 12, 2013

Action Figure Review 90s Edition: Ada Wong and Ivy from Resident Evil 2 by Toy Biz (Confirmed: Great)


This is it! The last review from Toy Biz's Resident Evil/Resident Evil 2 line!  How exciting! It also means that I completed my collection of these figures--something I've been meaning to do for some time.  Today I'm looking at one of the sets from the last series of figures: Ada Wong and Ivy.  I've wanted this set for quite a while but only recently acquired it, so I'm really excited to be taking a look at it today.  Ada Wong has definitely become one of the most prominent characters since her appearance in Resident Evil 2,  but has only been immortalized in plastic by NECA for their Resident Evil 4 line, and is soon to be released by Hot Toys as a very cool 1/6th scale figure.  Ivy is another character/creature that has only ever appeared once, in the Biohazard 3 line by Moby Dick toys, and it's always fun to look at something that hasn't been done a million times before.  Ready for a look at this very cool set?  The read on, after the break....

Friday, August 9, 2013

Action Figure Review: The Joker from DC Superfriends Imaginext by Fisher-Price (Confirmed: Eh and a 1/2)

 
     As a collector of Batman stuff, I've actually been pretty impressed with the Imaginext toys. They're really fun, charming, and remind me quite a bit of the action figures of my childhood with their fun accessories and wacky action features. I've recently seen some new Superman figures out, as well, so they seem to still be making these.  While I bought one or two of these for myself, I do realize that most folks are buying these for their kids, so I'm trying to pay attention to some of the elements that I think might be frustrating to the little Bat-fans out there. The Joker is definitely a fun toy, but there are quite a few frustrating aspects to the toy that might diminish your love for it. Join me for a quick look at the Joker, after the break...

Movie Review: 2 Guns (Confirmed:Crap)

From the man that brought you Contraband!

     There was a time in Hollywood when the name Denzel Washington really meant something as the Academy Award winning actor put out hit after through the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Versatile hits from Remember the Titans to Training Day made Denzel not only one of the best, but also one of the most marketable actors in the business.  Recently, however, Washington has had a run of flops (The Book of Eli to Safehouse), usually followed by a good film like Flight or Unstoppable in between, resulting in a very uneven feeling for the Denzel brand.  As for Wahlberg, his career has been pretty steady about putting out films that vary from crap to mediocrity, somehow making him one of the most overrated stars in the business (*Do you know why people love Mark Walhberg? 3 words: The Big Hit- Editor*). Put the two together and you get 2 Guns from director Baltasar Kormakur, who directed Mark Wahlberg’s last debacle earlier this year: Contraband.  So did 2 Guns come out better? Find out after the break……

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Masters of the Universe Classics Update- Post SDCC 2013

    

     If you're going to subscribe for Club Eternia 2014, now is the time to do it, as the subscription window ends August 19th, 2013.  As of this writing, we're up to 48%, which is pretty much where we were this time last year.  If you haven't already subscribed, you can head over here and do so.  Now that that's out of the way, ready to take a look at and read some thoughts on the new Masters of the Universe figures revealed at SDCC 2013?  For a little background, check out this article where I discuss the creation of my "Top 25 Masters of the Universe Classics" list prior to New York Toy Fair in 2012. First, here are the new figures revealed that have been on my top 25 list since February of 2005:

Hydron


Image from Mattycollector.com
     Hydron will be one of the 2014 Club Eternia monthly figures and, frankly, is a character I'm shocked that it has taken Mattel this long to get to. Along with Icarius (Flipshot) and Galactic Protector He-Man, he makes up the three main New Adventures heroes from the first series. I think the figure looks excellent and that it's a real shame that there's so much hatred directed towards the New Adventures of He-Man. I'm not a huge fan of the cartoon, I've always liked the toyline. You can't tell me there's no way you could fit this guy in with your other MOTUC figures.

More after the break...

Action Figure Review: Clubber Lang (Black Shorts) from Rocky by NECA (Confirmed: Epic)



I'm trying a different format for my reviews that focuses less on the traditional categories and more on the high and low points of a figure.  Let me know what you think.- Barbecue17*

First name: Mister. Middle name: Period. Last Name: T. If you're not at all interested in this toy because it's a figure of Clubber Lang, Rocky's opponent from Rocky III, at least you should be interested in this as an action figure of Mr. T. If you're not interested in this as a figure of Mr. T, what the heck is wrong with you?  Mr. T is such an important part of my life that I made sure to schedule my wedding day on his birthday (May 21st, baby!).  That makes it easier to remember my anniversary, because whenever I'm out shopping for a birthday gift for Mr. T, I remember to pick something up for my wife as well.  (**Editor's note:  Wow, that's so romantic.  With that in mind, I'll be sure to have our baby--due any day now--on Aug. 11 so I'll always remember to send Chris Hemsworth a birthday card that day.**) Anyways, NECA did an amazing job on their Rocky line: Unique sculpts, excellent paint, and really well thought out articulation has made these hands down not only the best Rocky figures ever, but also some of the best action figures of last year. Clubber comes in two versions and today I'm looking at the pre-fight Clubber. Take a brief look at a real man, Clubber Lang. He's after the break and he's waiting for you!


Movie Review: We're the Millers (Eh and a 1/2)

Could We're the Millers be the next surprise comedy hit for Warner Brothers?

     At the beginning of the summer we saw the first trailer for We’re The Millers, a film about a very unconventional family who comes together for an epic drug deal. The insanely hilarious trailer left audience after audience dying of laughter despite the fact that trailer was attached to nearly every big summer release.  The response from the marketing of the film combined with Hollywood’s up and coming A-list comedy star Jason Sudeikis left many, including Warner Bros, to believe that they could have the next surprise breakout comedy on their hands ala The Hangover and Horrible Bosses.  So was We’re the Millers the start of the next surprise comedy franchise for Warner Bros., or did it just have a really funny trailer? Find out after the break…….

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

NECA announces Classic Video Game Appearance Freddy Krueger for their A Nightmare on Elm Street Line

  
Not content to just release one oddly colored slasher from a 1980s Nintendo movie-based video game, NECA has announced a 7" Video Game Appearance Freddy Krueger as a companion piece to their NES Jason Voorhees SDCC 2013 exclusive.  From NECA's press release:


Inspired by the Classic 1989 Video Game

Freddy is the companion piece to the Friday the 13th Classic Video Game Jason, one of the hottest SDCC Exclusives this Summer. Released in 1989 for the super popular 8-Bit home console, the video game Nightmare on Elm Street is so bad… it’s good.

A cult classic if there ever was one, NECA’s Freddy Krueger (1989 Video Game Appearance) will be a fully articulated 7-inch figure done up in that truly horrifying video game deco. This figure comes in a special window box packaging with opening flap to re-create the look and feel of the classic 1989 video game packaging.

 More pictures and info after the break......

Action Figure Review 90s Edition: Tyrant from Resident Evil by Toy Biz (Confirmed: Eh)

 
     Just like a horror franchise, just when you think Resident Evil Week is done, it comes back for more. I'm down to two figures left to review in order to have reviewed every figure from Toy Biz's Resident Evil line, and now I'm going to knock that list down to one by reviewing the big baddie from the original Resident Evil, the Tyrant.  Designed to be a B.O.W. (Bio-Organic Weapon), the original version of the Tyrant turned out to be a bit of a failure.  Still, that's not to say that the guy isn't popular, as he most certainly is.  Tyrants have become some of the most recognizable villains from the Resident Evil universe, each with their own unique traits, such as the methodical and cool demeanor of Mr. X or the "Kool-Aid Man on crack" intensity of the Nemesis.  This guy, however, is the original. He originated the "walk slowly then strike quickly with a giant claw" that all Tyrant's aspire to perfect. Is he a good figure, however? Read ahead and find out!

Blu Review: Insidious (Confirmed: Good and a 1/2)

         

     Insidious was a movie I had wanted to see, but somehow it just passed me by.  When I was intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming Insidious: Chapter 2, Brad told me that I had to absolutely watch the original.  I'd heard great reviews of the movie from a number of folks with quite a few people telling me they thought it was one of the scariest movies they had ever seen. After seeing (and loving) director James Wan's The Conjuring, I knew I had to track this film down.  I guess I am a fan of James Wan's directorial horror efforts, as I enjoyed the original Saw, the somewhat silly but fun Dead Silence, and of course The Conjuring.  So, what did I think of Insidious?  I'll get into a slightly more spoilerish review after the break, but I will say that I enjoyed the movie.  I didn't, however, find it nearly as scary as so many people have made it out to be (for my money, The Conjuring was a much more frightening film).  For most horror movies, unless there's some relevant history, I think viewers are best going into the theater with as little information as possible. Since you've probably heard a bit about Insidious by now, as the movie came out in 2011, I will say that I felt the movie was more of a blend of horror and dark fantasy rather than just a straight up horror film.  It also reminds me quite a bit of Poltergeist, which always earns a film a few points.  It's got good performances, especially by Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, and manages to pull a few surprises.  If you're looking for a good haunted house movie that's more psychological rather than visceral, it's worth looking into. More detailed thoughts (and some spoilers) after the break......

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Action Figure Review 90's Edition: Hunter & Chimera from Resident Evil by Toy Biz (Good and a 1/2)


     Yes, I know Resident Evil week was last week, but I still have a few Resident Evil figures I wanted to review. I'm so close to having reviews of the complete Toy Biz Resident Evil series that I figured I'd go ahead and finish things out. I also just got these guys last month and I'm trying to review every toy I get. Just because, really. Anyway, here's another cool two-pack from the first series of Resident Evil toys from Toy Biz that featured characters from the original video game. In my opinion, this set features the deadliest and most frightening creature in the entire game: the Hunter.  The Hunter doesn't appear until after you've gone to the guest house, defeated Plant 42, and are sent back to the main Mansion by Wesker to investigate further.  As soon as you walk in the door you're greeted with a cut scene of a fairly agile creature making it's way through the gardens and into the door you just entered. Then, unless you're ready with your shotgun and at nearly full health, the Hunter proceeds to cut off your head. Hope you saved recently!  Chimera is a little annoying, but nothing compared to the Hunter.  Ready to check these guys out? All right, well let's go!

T-Rav at Doomkick reviews the Computer Warriors Strategic Weapon Base Playset

    
Check out Doomkick.com!
     Not many people seem to remember Computer Warriors these days.  Released by Mattel in 1989, Computer Warriors focused on a group of government manufactured warriors called the Computer Warriors who fought against a group of evil computer viruses that would hide in everyday objects like computers, sci-fi novels, and Pepsi cans.  "Expect the Unexpected!"  The line was a very cool minifigure toyline which featured transforming objects. The Pepsi can opened up into a launch center for a small aircraft. The science fiction novel Invasion of the Viruses opened up into a missile base for the bad guys.  The largest piece, however, is the very cool set that T-Rav over at Doomkick.com is looking at today: an old-school desktop computer that turns into a Strategic Weapons Base playset.  I actually bought one of these at a garage sale in 1996, but must have sold it at another garage sale.  Sometimes I hate myself for doing that, and this is definitely one of those times. Anyways, head over there and check this thing out. Thanks to T-Rav and Doomkick.com for reawakening some childhood nostalgia and self loathing.  

Perhaps this series will be next on my list after I complete Legends of Batman.....

Netflix for the Poor Kids: Madhouse (Confirmed: Good)

 
     Madhouse is a slightly interesting and somewhat ridiculous British horror film from 1974 starring horror icons Vincent Price, Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin), and Robert Quarry. Heck, this movie even manages to claim special appearances from horror icons Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff (both of whom were dead at the time) by using footage from two of Price's older films, The Masque of the Red Death and The Raven, in which Price starred alongside those actors.  Perhaps this is actually fitting because Madhouse is a very "meta" film, produced long before being meta was even cool.  While the story is fictional (neither Vincent Price nor Peter Cushing nor Robert Quarry murdered dozens of innocent actresses that we know of), it does playfully borrow elements from Price's filmography in weaving a story about a famous horror actor who may be getting too wrapped up in his character.  Interested in watching a movie about making horror movies filled with crazy Vincent Price one liners, a spider-obsessed burn victim, a killer that dresses like Darkman, hot 70's girls, some PG- rated stabbings, and Peter Cushing, who's always suave whether he's staking Dracula or blowing up planets?  Then read on and see if this Madhouse is right for you!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Movie Review: The Way Way Back (Confirmed: EPIC)

The Way Way Back, isn't your typical summer movie!

     What exactly is a summer movie? Has it simply become giant robots punching each other or superheroes racing to stop a doomsday device, or can a summer movie still be something more?  A couple of weeks ago the answer to what summer movies have become would probably have been a relatively simple one, answered by post credits stingers and marketing stretched to cover the globe.  That was until the theatrical release of one of the favorite films of Sundance 2013: The Way Way Back.  Could this film really restore the promise of a summer movies? Find out after the break……

Action Figure Review: Predator 2 Trophy Wall Diorama from Predator by NECA (Confirmed: Epic)


      A limited edition of 5000, the Predator Trophy Wall Diorama is absolutely one of the coolest toys/ display pieces I've ever seen.  I don't usually do video reviews, but I did one just for this set because #1) I wanted to gush about this piece in person and #2) I wanted you to be able to see how big this thing actually is.  NECA has been quite prolific with their Predator line so far, releasing a plethora of Predators from Predator, Predator 2, and Predators as well as figures from the fan film Batman: Dead End and figures based off of the Kenner toy line from the early 1990's, but a diorama of this magnitude is completely above and beyond anything I expected to see.  The scene at the end of Predator 2 features the appearance of not just the Lost Tribe of Predators but also the appearance of a Xenomorph skull from Aliens.  While Alien and Predator had first come together in a three part comic in Dark Horse Presents #34-36 in November 1989, Predator 2 really got fans speculating.  Remember that this set only comes with one skull, the "T-Rex" skull, so if you want the others you'll have to track them down individually, or you can order this limited edition Trophy Pack from NECA.  If you're reading this, you probably know all the details about the series, so let's jump right into the review:

Friday, August 2, 2013

Movie Review: R.I.P.D. (Confirmed: EH)

Here come the Men in Black, I mean The RIPD!

     RIPD (Rest in Peace Department) arrived into the summer of 2013 in a very interesting spot.  On one hand the film was a virtual unknown except for the few people who read the Dark Horse comic series by the same name, but on the other hand the premise had received some interesting buzz within the film community, buzz that was only aided by the fact that Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds were going to play the film’s two leads, Roy Pulsipher and Nick Walker, respectively. The buzz seemed to be completely destroyed, however, when the trailer for this film hit, making it look like nothing more than a Men in Black rip off.  Also making the opening of RIPD even more interesting is that the film’s director Robert Schwentke was competing against an existing franchise based on another graphic novel, Red 2, of which he directed the original.  The film’s release date also put Mary Louise Parker in competition with herself because she also appears in Red 2.  With all the being said, where did RIPD land? Was it as interesting as the film community initially thought or was it simply a Men in Black rehash? Find out after the break……

Action Figure Review: Stealth Tech Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

  
 On a recent trip to Toys R Us (initiated not by me, but by my wife surprisingly), I happened to stumble across the majority of the newest wave of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. All of the Stealth Tech Turtles were present, as well as Rat King.  The only thing I couldn't find was the Cockroach Terminator, so I'll just have to be patient on that one.  Anyways, when I first started collecting this line I hadn't planned to buy all the Turtle variants.  When the Ooze-Tossin Turtles came out, I wasn't overly impressed. Eventually due to a sale at K-Mart I bought Raphael since he was my favorite turtle, but I wasn't overly impressed with him.  The Stealth Tech Turtles, however, captivated me. Any figure dressed in tactical styled spy gear automatically registers on my action figure radar, so these guys ended up in the armful of TMNT figures I purchased last week.  Ready for a look at Stealth Tech Raphael?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Video Review: Predator 2 Trophy Wall Diorama from Predator by NECA (Confirmed: Epic)



Here's Barbecue 17 doing his first unboxing review!  Check it out, then order it for yourself at Big Bad Toy Store!  http://www.bigbadtoystore.com/bbts/product.aspx?product=NEC12127&mode=retail.

Action Figure Review: Predator Limited Edition Trophy Skulls Pack from Predator by NECA (Confirmed: Great)

   
     I'm really excited by what I'm looking at today: it's the Predator Trophy Skulls Pack from NECA.  For the past few years as NECA has released various figures from Predator, Predator 2, and Predators,  they've also included various skulls that appeared on the trophy wall seen at the end of Predator 2.  Well, besides just being cool, in March NECA announced that those various skulls can serve a purpose in your display by being stored on the Predator Trophy Wall Diorama that's just recently been released.  This was such a cool idea, but it left me with a massive problem: I only owned a couple of the skulls and some of the figures they came with have since become notoriously difficult to find.  Well, since NECA is a company that I truly believe respects it's customers, they've created a really cool little pack of all 10 unique skulls which have been previously released that is available as a limited set (I found it on their Amazon store). If you've already bought the individual figures that came with these skulls, you're all set to just pick up the wall or snag some extras. If you're a slacker like me who held out until Dutch was released, this really solves a lot of problems.  This is a simple set of 10 accessories that ships in a plastic tray in a plain, white mailer, but it can definitely make the difference in deciding if you want the Predator Trophy Wall. Ready for a brief look at these trophies? Then join me after the break....

Movie Review: Fruitvale Station (Confirmed: EPIC)

Could Fruitvale Station be 2013's first true Best Picture Contender?

     After taking home all the major awards at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Fruitvale Station was the first film of 2013 to have true Oscar buzz surrounding it.  The debut film from Director Ryan Coogler tells the tragic real life story of the unjust shooting of Oscar Grant, played in this film by Michael B. Jordan, at the Fruitvale train station in Oakland California on New Year’s Day 2009.  So is this tragic directorial debut truly a best picture contender this early in the year? Find out after the break……