Friday, January 31, 2014

Should we still believe in Aaron Eckhart?: I, Frankenstein Review

Will you believe in Aaron Eckhart after I, Frankenstein?

    We are only a month into 2014 and critics everywhere seemed to have already have decided what the worst movie of 2014 will be: I, Frankenstein.  While January has traditionally been reserved as a dumping ground for the worst films Hollywood has to offer, the past two years two have seen gems sneak through: The Grey in 2012, and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters last year.  Despite Hansel and Gretel's negative critical reception the film manged to make Barbecue 17's top ten of 2013.  With belief in Aaron Eckhart intact even after Olympus Has Fallen, did we get another January surprise or the typical January turd? Find out after the break.....

EPIC News: Friday January 31st 2014


     We are proud to announce what will hopefully be a new daily tradition at the Epic Review: Epic News.  Epic news will be your one stop quick read for all of your collecting, comic, movie, and TV news.  Checkout the 1st edition after the break!

Must Watch!: The Full House boys reunite on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!



Never thought we would see this again, HAVE MERCY!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

(Blu-Review) Why Trying to Make a Difference Matters: Short Term 12 Review

While Short Term 12 didn't make a run for best picture,
 it is still widely considered one the best films of last year!


    After taking home every major award at the 2013 SXSW film festival and being heralded by many as the best film of 2013,  film fans have been eager to see Short Term 12.  I, like many, saw this film make nearly every major critics top list of last year and was disgruntled that no theatre in my area carried the film.  While last year was great for coming of age films such as The Way Way Back and The Spectacular Now ,the premise of director Destin Daniel Cretton's Short Term 12 seemed like a film that would give us something more.  Well, now that the film is finally available on blu-ray and video on-demand, we can finally find out ifit delivers after the break....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

(Movie Review) Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: Rebirth of a Cinematic Icon or Generic Procedural?

Is Jack Back?
    Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character is one of the most interesting action characters in film because, guess what? He isn't much of an action character.  Anyone familiar with the character of Dr. Ryan, whether through Clancy's books, Alec Baldwin's performance, Ben Affleck's performance, or most famously Harrison Ford's portrayal of the character, knows that he is a thinking man's hero.  No matter how much the odds are against him always, Ryan always seems to outsmart his foe.  When I first saw the trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit from the man who brought us Thor, director Kenneth Branagh, I saw more Ethan Hunt, John McClane, and James Bond in Chris Pine's portrayal than I did Jack Ryan.  So were the sum of all my non Jack Ryan fears realized or did Branagh actually make a pretty decent Jack Ryan film? Find out after the break....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Action Figure Review: Harley Quinn from The New 52 Super Villains-Suicide Squad from DC Collectibles

  
     While the New 52 had many character changes, some more significant than others, one of the changes to a character that seemed to generate the most controversy was Harley Quinn's new appearance and personality in Suicide Squad, one of the original 52 titles from DC's 2011 relaunch. In Suicide Squad, readers were introduced to a more sexualized and violent Harley Quinn. While Harley's traditional design and portrayal has always seemed to have stylistic roots in pin-up art, she also always had a strangely innocent and playful side to her. The New 52 Harley is definitely more sadistic and perhaps even psychotic now, having been "drafted" into the Suicide Squad after going on a killing spree due to the Joker being imprisoned. Interestingly, after the events of the "Death of the Family" storyline, Harley Quinn seems to be less interested in the Joker and more focused on being her own person. A new Harley Quinn series just launched in November 2013, so perhaps there is plenty of time for both DC and fans to reach a Harley Quinn that almost everyone can agree on. Still, that's all secondary to our focus today: this new Harley Quinn figure from DC Collectibles' Suicide Squad subset of their New 52 Super Villains series. Just launched along with Captain Boomerang and Deadshot, Harley was one of my many purchases from Charlotte Mini-con this weekend. Ready for a look at the newest version of Dr. Quinzel? Then join me after the break...

Do you recognize this action figure?


Do you recognize this action figure or at least what toy line she's from? If so, head on over to Action Figure Imagery and let the Action Figure Man know in the comments. If you're the first person to get it right, you can win a free Elliot Carver figure from Tomorrow Never Dies. You'll also satisfy my curiosity because I get frazzled when I can't identify an action figure. It doesn't happen often, believe me.

Must Watch!: Jonah Hill Parodies Her!


Her was one of our favorite films of 2013, now Jonah Hill's ME may wind up being the best SNL skit of 2014!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Action Figure Review: Wonder Woman Vs. Katana from The New 52 Justice League by DC Collectibles

   
     So, my rule about really only picking up Batman related heroes and villains for can sometimes be difficult because Batman interacts with pretty much everyone in the DC Universe at one point or another. I've kind of had to work on my policy here and there and apply the virtue of discernment or else I'd still be buying every DC figure that gets released. Generally, if someone is a prominent character in a Bat-family book or appears multiple times in one of Batman's own titles (not Justice League or something) I'll give them a pass. Katana definitely has some major Batman credentials, though. Not only was she a member of the Outsiders back in the old days but she also is a member of the Birds of Prey in the New 52 and is a significant character in Beware the Batman. She's packaged with Wonder Woman which is fine with me because 1. She's Wonder Woman; 2. She's really nice looking and 3. She's a good action figure. Ready for a look at this two-pack of Katana and Wonder Woman? Then join me after the break....

Friday, January 24, 2014

(Blu-Review) When My Problems Became Yours: Why The Spectacular Now isn’t Your Typical High School Coming of Age Story

Make no mistake; this isn't your typical coming of age film!
    The coming of age film has been done and perfected so many times; the coming of age love story probably even more so.  When a filmmaker sets out to make that quintessential high school love story for a generation, they have to add a little something extra to the conversation about growing up and falling in love. That is exactly what director James Ponsoldt has done in The Spectacular Now; find out how after the break…..

Thursday, January 23, 2014

(Movie Review) Her: Why that weird movie about Joaquin Phoenix dating his phone is actually pretty great!

What is love?
    When the trailer for Spike Jonze latest film Her debuted a few months ago you could almost hear the collective laughs and see the collective rolling of eyes at theaters everywhere.  No matter how well done the film, how great the director, or how great the cast, it just did not seem that America would be willing to a give a film a chance about a guy who falls in love with not his phone, but rather a multi-faceted operation system voiced by Scarlett Johansson.  Fast forward a few months and Her has become one of the most widely talked about films of last year and has even managed to get a best picture Oscar nomination.  So how good is Her? Is it the cheese ball film mainstream audiences were expecting or is it the beautiful commentary on love and society critics are making it out to be? Find out after the break….  

Action Figure Revew: Two Bad from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

   
     Together with next month's release of Modulok, Two Bad lets us complete all of the figures from 1985, the fourth year of the vintage Masters of the Universe toyline. Being both one of Skeletor's evil minions and a fairly unique figure, Two Bad has lone been a fan favorite. He received an updated figure and a refined origin during the 200x era and is finally getting his due in MOTUC. As the first figure of 2014 Two-Bad definitely fills gaps and features some impressive unique elements, but he's also hit with a few little bumps that keep him from true greatness. Ready for a look at Skeletor's "Double Headed Evil Strategist"? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rise Up and Let your Voice Be Heard! The Poppies and the Golden Germs

    

     Do you get a thrill from reading all of the top ten, best of the year lists that pop up around this time? Want to get in on some of that action? Here's your chance! Two great websites that I frequent are holding voting for the best toys and action figures of 2013.

Over at MWCtoys.com, Michael Crawford's Poppies are now accepting votes for the People's Picks. Michael's been doing this since 2000 so you know this thing runs like a well oiled machine. Head on over and let your voice be heard to the man who must have the greatest Hot Toys collection in the world.

Over at Nerditis, Ridureyu is beginning his own awards, the Golden Germs. He's still looking for feedback in multiple categories regarding what you thought were the best and worst toys of 2013. Head on over and tell give him the scoop!

Action Figure Review: Catwoman from Batman: Classic TV Series by Mattel

   
 Finally! I've come around to reviewing Catwoman from the Batman: Classic TV Series line by Mattel. This line has definitely had its ups and downs, but the more time I've spent with it the more I have grown to appreciate most of the work Mattel put into it. I don't think anyone who collects toys could seriously call this a high end collectors line but it's certainly more interesting than many mass market retail lines we see. Since three different actresses played Catwoman during the time (Eartha Kitt in season 3 and Lee Meriweather in the tie in 1966 film), it seems that Mattel chose the most recognizable actress, Julie Newmar, who played the character during the first two seasons. While Michelle Pfeiffer is hands down my favorite Catwoman ever, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Ms. Newmar is without a doubt the most gorgeous Catwoman we've seen. When you think about the list of actresses portraying Catwoman, that's high praise indeed. If you're interested, you can actually visit Julie Newmar's website and order a personalized, autographed picture of her as Catwoman for around the same price you might pay for this figure. Pretty cool, huh? Ready for a look at Batman's flirtatious and feline femme fatale? Then join me after the break...

Lego Review-- Batman: Man-Bat Attack from DC Superheroes by Lego


  Back in 2012 when I first bought the Vampyre Castle Lego set from the Monster Fighters theme, the design of the "manbat" characters just seemed to guarantee that Lego would release a Man-Bat minifigure in their DC Superheroes line. It's finally happened, as Man-Bat is the anchor for one of the first of the 2014 DC Superheroes sets to be released: Man-Bat Attack. The set includes a New 52 styled Dick Grayson as Nightwing, a standard black and yellow Batman, a Batcopter, a glider for Nightwing, and Man-Bat. This is the first Man-Bat figure released in any of the Lego lines, so he's sure to be a pretty popular guy. Fortunately, the set isn't terribly expensive and is actually a pretty good set. Want to learn more? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Action Figure Review: The Joker from Batman Classic TV Series by Mattel

   
 There is no villain in comics that is more recognizable than the Joker. While he's been a long term Batman foe, much of his continued popularity can certainly be attributed to Cesar Romero's portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in the 1966 Batman TV series and the accompanying film. My guess is that for most fans of the 1966 Batman TV series who wanted action figures, the Joker and Batman were at the top of the list. While Romero's tone for the Joker was certainly a lighter, more whimsical approach to the character that was more in line with then contemporary representations of the character rather than the earliest representations, he certainly crafted an influential and lasting version of the Harlequin of Hate that has remained a fan favorite. I probably have more action figures of the Joker than I do of any other Bat character other than Batgirl and Batman himself, so how does this one stack up? Read on and find out, after the break....

Monday, January 20, 2014

1/4 Scale Michael Keaton Batman from Batman 1989 by NECA

   
     While I liked Batman as a kid and remember having Batman and Robin pajamas, I don't think the character really ever caught my attention until the 1989 film was released. That was huge. Maybe it just me looking back with Nostalgia Goggles but it seems like everything in the world revolved around Batman when that movie came out. Batman and the Joker were everywhere. Batman cups and cinnamon twists at Taco Bell? Batman cereal? Commercials for the film non-stop? There was nothing that existed that made me want to not see this movie. Well, except my parents. For reasons I can only speculate to my therapist, no one took me to see Batman. Oh, I had the trading cards and read them over and over (trading cards told stories back then), but I didn't see the film until either TV or video. Here's a list of lame movies my parents took me to in 1989 instead of Batman: Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Prancer, and She-Devil. Yup. At least we saw Ghostbusters II and Field of Dreams in theaters. Anyways, that's really neither here nor there; my parents certainly have made amends by continuing to buy me plenty of Batman toys, comics, and novelties every year for Christmas. My college graduation also had a Batman pinata. They also took me to Batman Returns. My parents and I are square now and I'm here to talk about NECA's 1/4 scale Batman based off of Michael Keaton's Batman in the 1989 film. Ready for a review of a behemoth of a figure? Then join me after the break...


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Action Figure Review: Mr. Freeze from DC Comics Multiverse by Mattel

   

     It's been quite a few years since Mattel's DC Infinite Heroes line was canceled, and while DC Collectibles has released a few convention exclusive 1/18th scale figures and the Injustice: Gods Among Us two-packs, there hasn't been much else for DC Collectors in the scale. Interestingly, Mattel's newest line, DC Comics Multiverse, isn't based on comic representations of the characters but on video game and film interpretations. So far it appears that we're getting figures from the Arkham games and soon we should see figures from Superman 2 and the Burton Batman films. I have some thoughts about this line overall that I'll save until the end of the review as first I'll talk about the Arkham City Mr. Freeze. Arkham City was a fantastic game that surpassed the original and was filled with plenty of high points. One of these was a fantastic battle between Batman and an amazingly redesigned Mr. Freeze. Honestly, Freeze's redesign and appearance in Arkham City was probably the most exciting thing to happen to the character since the Mike Mignola redesign and his appearance in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice". Freeze is such a fantastic character and it's a shame that so many people immediately associate him with Batman & Robin. Let's try to clear that abomination from our minds as we look at this figure, shall we?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Action Figure Review: Solomon Grundy from Batman: Arkham City by DC Collectibles

   
      One of my biggest pet peeves is when a company only releases a few figures from a fantastic property or misses out on a major event for their most popular characters. I always felt like DC Direct/ DC Collectibles did this with so many of their various lines. There would be an awesome event or a classic Batman storyline and they would just completely pass it over. I really don't understand why DC Direct never just created an evergreen Batman line that continued to release new characters in a similar style. Instead, we had to cobble together Batman collections from here and there in  variety of artist specific styles. Heck, there are still plenty of significant characters like Batwing and Jason Todd as the Red Hood that we've never seen in action figure form (although DC Collectibles made sure that we had a Black Lantern Terra and Mattel made sure that we had Cyclotron. Thanks, guys!). Well, all that seemed to start changing when DC Collectibles released their first series of Arkham Asylum action figures. That wave was followed by another, and kept going through Arkham City and now Arkham Origins, delivering us plenty of great Bat heroes, villains, and other characters in a cohesive scale and style. Today I'm looking at Solomon Grundy who appeared in Arkham City as a boss Batman battled beneath the Iceberg Lounge. He's large and in charge. Ready for a look at this guy? Then join me after the break....

Action Figure Review: The Penguin from Batman: Classic TV Series by Mattel


     First appearing in Detective Comics #58 in 1941 and continuing to harass Batman and Robin on numerous occasions, The Penguin has certainly cemented himself as one of Batman's A-list villains. While Penguin seems to be a divisive member of Batman's gallery of rogues (some fans just don't like him), there's no doubt that he's extremely well know. Much of the character's A-list status can be attributed to his appearance in the 1966 Batman TV show where he was played by actor Burgess Meredith. Meredith took all of the crazy elements of the character (the odd behavior, birdlike laughter, obsession with birds and umbrellas) and really crafted what might be considered by many to be the definitive representation of the Penguin. While I have a fondness for Danny Devito's portrayal of the character and consider Gregg Hurwitz's Penguin: Pain and Prejudice to be the best Penguin story ever written, when someone asks me to think of the character Burgess Meredith is who springs to mind. What you might be noticing is that while I was initially very displeased with this action figure line (I didn't care for Batman) I've since come around on a few of the figures. Is Penguin going to be closer to the top of my list or closer to the bottom? Read on and find out!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Action Figure Review: Beware the Batman from Batman Unlimited by Mattel

   
    I haven't watched Beware the Batman yet, but I plan to as soon as I get around to picking up the first season on DVD. I'm always willing to give anything Batman related a try and I really like how the series seems to utilize many of Batman's lesser know villains such as Anarky, Magpie, Professor Pyg, and Tobias Whale. Remember how Batman: The Animated Series launched characters like Clayface, Killer Croc, and Harley Quinn into the A-list of Batman villains? I'm hoping Beware the Batman does the same for these guys. I'm actually really shocked that Mattel didn't release a toyline to coincide with the series, as today's figure is simply included as part of the Batman Unlimited line that emerged when DC Universe Classics disappeared from retail. The cartoon has it's own unique art style that Mattel has attempted to translate into the 6 inch scale. Were they successful or should you truly beware of this Batman variant? Read on and find out after the break....

Action Figure Review: Surf's Up Batman from Batman: Classic TV Series from Mattel

    
     While I do adore the 1966 Batman TV series, some of you might remember that I wasn't a fan of Mattel's Adam West styled Batman from the Batman: Classic TV Series line. While the headsculpt resembled Mr. Adam West in the cowl quite well, the body seemed too gangly and oddly proportioned. I honestly had planned to be done with the line (barring a future Yvonne Craig as Batgirl figure release, of course) but finding most of the basic figures on sale for about $5 changed my tune a bit. While these weren't $16 to $18 dollar figures to me, $5 seemed just about right. Today I'm looking at one of the wackiest figures from the line, Surf's Up Batman. Based on the third season episode "Surf's Up! Joker's Under!", this figure shows Batman as he engages the Joker in a surfing contest in his cool swimming trunks and full Batman costume. Ready for a figure that's weird, wild, wet, and wacky? Will I like this figure better than the previous Batman figure? Only time will tell, the time that it takes you to jump past the break of course....

Monday, January 13, 2014

Action Figure Review: The Riddler from Batman: Classic TV Series by Mattel

   
     I'm back with another review from Mattel's Batman: Classic TV Series line based on the 1966 Batman television show. If you remember, I really wasn't impressed by this line at all when it first came out. The only figure I bought was the standard Batman and I found him to be really awkward and sub-par. During the days leading up to Christmas, however, I managed to pick up all of the single carded figures for around $5 each. Honestly, I'm kind of an easy sell when it comes to action figures of Batman's villains and I decided I needed to snag these for a project I'm working on. I picked up Surf's Up Batman and was surprised by how much I actually liked him. Today I'm taking a look at my first villain from this series, the Riddler as portrayed by Frank Gorshin in the first and third seasons of the series, as well as in the film Batman: The Movie.

     Originally appearing in 1948, the Riddler is an interesting character who spent many years being sort of a Joker-lite. While he was more compulsively obsessed with puzzles and riddles than the Joker, both of them sort of had similar personality traits. During the 1980s, when the Joker's much darker personality really began to reemerge (the oldest Joker stories were pretty dark), the Riddler began to find his niche. Soon after, in Batman: The Animated Series, we saw the next development of the character as a brilliant, somewhat suave individual who compulsively felt the need to challenge Batman's intellect. While the Joker was Batman's equal in willpower, the Riddler truly was Batman's equal in brainpower. I always see portrayals of the Riddler as fitting in one of two camps: the laughing and goofy prankster or the cool, calculated mastermind. Gorshin's portrayal of the character might just be the definitive representation of the prankster version of the Riddler ever. Ready for a look at the figure? Then join me after the break....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Action Figure Review: Batman from Arkham Origins by DC Collectibles

    
Over the past week I've been cleaning and rearranging my world famous hobby room to make room for all of the new toys and action figures I've added to the collection since the middle of last year. It had been awhile since I rearranged my display shelves of 6-7 inch Batman figures and now I have two full shelves of Batman figures. Not two shelves of Batman characters like Joker, Robin, and Batgirl, but two shelves of simply Batman himself. Only in the 6-7 inch scale. Not including older Kenner and Mattel figures from the animated or movie lines. Yes, that might be obsessive. Anyways, when DC Collectibles released their Arkham Origins action figures based on the newest installment in the video game series I snapped up the villains in a hurry but left Batman. Did I really need another Batman? It turns out that I did. After seeing lots of great pictures of him online I figures that the Arkham Origins Batman was just too good to pass up. While the videogame Arkham Origins is a prequel to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City which covers a particularly catastrophic Christmas Eve from Batman's early years, there's nothing about this figure that makes Bruce look like a rookie. In fact, this might be one of the roughest, toughest looking Batman figures ever released. Ready for a look at the Arkham Origins Batman? Then join me after the break...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lego Review: Pirate Ship Ambush from Lord of the Rings by Lego

    
     I think Lord of the Rings has been one of the coolest licenses that Lego has picked up in years. I really hope they continue to release new product for it this year. I know we'll get a few more Hobbit sets (and hopefully one with a Lego Smaug) but I really want some more from Lord of the Rings, too. One of the most surprising sets to be released in 2013 was the Pirate Ship Ambush. It's a pretty minor scene in The Return of the King, but a neat one that created a great toy. While I love The Lord of the Rings, it was actually the fact that this is a pirate ship with ghosts that interested me in the set: since my whole Lego display is a giant haunted world, a ghost ship will look great in my harbor! ready for a look at a set that just might shiver your timbers? Then read on, after the break....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lego Review: Dol Guldur Battle from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by Lego

     

     I was really looking forward to scenes taking place in Dol Guldur in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I actually assumed that Gandalf and Radagast confronting the Necromancer would be the climax of the second film, but it turns out I was wrong. Actually, and I hope this isn't spoiling much, but Dol Guldur doesn't get much screen time in the film. I thought this was quite peculiar, particularly since Lego chose to make the Dol Guldur Battle the flagship set for their Hobbit theme this year. Of course, changing up the release of the films by stretching The Hobbit from two films into three definitely had to cause some confusion and headaches for Lego and other companies producing merchandise. Anyways, I reviewed the smaller set Dol Guldur Ambush a month or so ago but am just getting around to this one. I snagged both of these because I figured they'd fit perfectly into my giant haunted castle that I've built around the Monster Fighters Vampyre Castle. How's the set on it's own, though? Check it out after the break....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lego Review: Wild West Wildstyle from The Lego Movie by Lego

    
     I'm really looking forward to The Lego Movie. With a great voice cast and a great team of directors, the films looks like it could be an incredibly fun and silly animated film that can appeal to a wide demographic. In anticipation of the release of the film, Lego is releasing a number of sets based on the film as well as a series of 16 blindbagged minifigures. Wild West Wildstyle, who I'm looking at today, is one of those blindbagged minifigures. Wildstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) looks to be the protector of the film's protagonist Emmet, and thus a pretty important part of the story. While Wildstyle appears in a few of the other sets, it was this version that appeared to me because of her distinctive period garb. I didn't realize at the time that I bought her that she was dressed for the Wild West; I was actually thinking she was clothed in some sort of Victorian garb. I plan to use her with my enormous haunted Lego world which is an extension of the Monster Fighters theme. I assembled my own Sir Edward Grey, Liz Sherman, and Hellboy Lego minifigures to fight alongside my Monster Fighters, and I think Wildstyle will make a great addition to the team. Ready for a look at this gal? Then join me after the break...

Lego Review: Bruizer from Hero Factory: Brain Attack by Lego

    
     I've already reviewed the Hero Factory Rocka on The Epic Review so now it's time for one of the bad guys: Bruizer. As I said in my Rocka review, while these guys have been around since 2010 I wasn't even aware of them. Bruizer comes from the 2013 theme "Brain Attack" and is a rock giant that has been transformed into some kind of evil beast via an evil brain. Bruizer's an interesting looking figure that reminded me of various 80's henchman such as Hacker from Centurions or Beastman from Masters of the Universe, so I decided to give him a try. Read for a brief look at Bruizer? Then join me after the break...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Action Figure Review: Batman from DC Total Heroes by Mattel

   
     Another year, another Mattel incarnation of Batman and the DC Universe. This year it seems that we'll be seeing two new lines Batman/ DC themed toylines from Mattel: the 4 inch DC Multiverse line and the 6 inch Total Heroes line, which is what I'm looking at today. Total Heroes is an unusual beast: it's not quite as articulated or sculpted in a more accurate comic style like DC Universe Classics or the DC/Batman Unlimited lines, but it's also a major step above the Batman Power Attack series. So far the line features Batman and most of the other big DC mainstays like Superman, Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern (hopefully Wonder Woman doesn't get left out) and has a few villains scheduled for the new feature like Bizarro, Sinestro, and Mr. Freeze. Will kids enjoy this line? Is it going to appeal to collectors? Are these in scale with any DC figures that have come before? Find out after the break....

Lego Review: Rocka from Hero Factory: Brain Attack by Lego

    
     I really never got into Lego's action figure line BIONICLE and was not even aware that Hero Factory existed until a few months ago. It turns out that the Hero Factory line has been going since 2010 but it was this year's theme of Brain Attack that caught my attention. Apparently the heroes of the line are fighting some sort of evil alien brain parasites or something. Who knows? I was initially drawn to the bright green packaging of these guys but passed them by. When I stumbled across one of these guys at a friend's house, I decided to pick one up. I ended up snagging Rocka here and Bruizer, whom I'll review at a later date. If you're familiar with BIONICLE or Hero Factory, you'll know what to expect here: you actually build these guys from a number of non-traditional Lego pieces that utilize Technic pins and ball joints rather than the traditional Lego studs. Want to learn more? Then join me after the break...

Movie Review: American Hustle

David O. Russell with a cast this good, American Hustle's gotta be EPIC right?

     No director has been hotter than David O. Russell over the course of the past three years.  Russell has directed back to back films with The Fighter and Sliver Linings Playbook that while not winning "Best Picture" did garner both a best actress win for Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings and a best supporting actor win for Christian Bale in The Fighter. Both films were also nominated for most of the major Oscar categories. This awards season O. Russell brings us American Hustle, a film about the political corruption of the 1970's. So with a ton of Oscar momentum and arguably one of best casts assembled in recent memory, will American Hustle be the film to get David O. Russell that coveted "Best Picture" win? Find out after the break....

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Top Ten Masters of the Universe Classics Figures of 2013 (And My Five Least Favorites)


It's that time of the year again! Time to roll out the best of lists (and the worst of lists) to help us all put the year into perspective. I've got plenty of other toy related lists coming, but I wanted to start with Masters of the Universe Classics because it is without a doubt my favorite toyline to collect and I actually rank the figures throughout the year as they arrive and I review them. 2013 really was a fantastic year for MOTUC. Besides getting a ton of figures (34 if you count Kowl) we also got a weapons pack, the Jet Sled, and Castle Grayskull. So here is my list of the top ten MOTUC releases this year, followed by the five scalawags sitting on the bottom of my list. Oh and since we just mentioned it, here's Castle Grayskull.....
#Honorable Mention- Castle Grayskull

     Let's be honest: if Castle Grayskull were eligible to compete in this competition, it would automatically win. It's an unstoppable juggernaut and allowing it to battle for a place on my list would be like inviting the Harlem Globetrotters to compete against your church's peewee basketball team- lots of fun to watch but ultimately pretty unfair. That being said, 2013 saw the release of a mother flippin' MOTUC Castle Grayskull. End of story. The rest of the countdown is after the break.


Action Figure Review: Snoopy's Doghouse Display from Peanuts by Forever Fun

    
     Originally airing on December 9th, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas without a doubt holds the title for this author's favorite Christmas special (my second is "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean"). It's blend of Christmas spirit, holiday activities, and strong messages are always refreshing to me. In fact, when I was in 8th grade I adapted, directed, and played Linus in a school adaptation of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I've always liked Snoopy, but my appreciation for the character has grown as I've come to have dogs of my own. One of the four legged residents of my house is what I believe to be a Jack Russel/ Beagle mix of some sort. When we first found him I gave him a red bowl which, when emptied, he would drag around the kitchen or spin with his nose to let us know he wanted more food. For some reason, he reminds me of Snoopy (he's white with black and brown ears). Long story short, I was really excited to receive this Snoopy action figure set as a Christmas present this year. Over the past few years a number of companies seem to out out Peanuts action figures and Christmas themed toys in a variety of scales, but this wasn't one I recall seeing before. The figure is marked 2003 while the box says 2012, so I have no clue when this thing was actually released. Big Bad Toy Store has it listed with their 2013 Peanuts items, so perhaps it's new? It's a great set, though, that features a Snoopy action figure, Snoopy's doghouse with music and lights, and a cardboard backdrop. Ready for a review that will help you get over the post-holiday blahs? Then join me after the break....

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Can the magic of Disney, be truly brought to life in a Disney movie 
about the making of another Disney film?

    When I think of the Disney films I cherish, being a child of the 90’s films such as Aladdin and the Lion King come to mind; nowhere on that list will you find Disney's live action classic Marry Poppins.  While I like most people saw the beloved 1964 film as a child, once was enough for me.  When I heard one of the heavy Oscar favorites this year was sure to be John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks I began to dread the notion of seeing a film about the making of a film that I respected but had no real love for.  So did Saving Mr. Banks go down like a spoon full of sugar?  Find out after the break……
The Epic Review would like to say a very fond farewell to James Avery, who died Tuesday.  We will always remember him as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and as the voice of Shredder on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Action Figure Review: Strong-or from Masters of the Universe Classics from Mattel




    
     December 2013 has definitely been a month for Filmation one hit wonders in Masters of the Universe Classics. In Club Eternia (the main sub line) we got Plundor and in Club Filmation we got Strongarm, called Strong-or in MOTUC for legal reasons. Only appearing in one episode of the Filmation series ("She-Demon of Phantos"), Strongarm has somehow become a fan favorite and has been requested by many MOTUC collectors for quite some time. Since we're nearing the end of the vintage Evil Warriors from the toyline, Strongarm/ Strong-or is a welcome inclusion to a popular faction. He really does look like he was intended for the vintage toyline with a clear "action feature" and a simple color scheme. Ready for a look at Strongarm/ Strong-or? Should I pick one name and stick with it? I'll just call him Strongarm, then, and you can learn more about him after the break....