Monday, April 28, 2014

Masters of the Universe Day 2014 Feast!


What better way to celebrate Masters of the Universe Day 2014 with a dinner of chicken and ribs and a viewing of Masters of the Universe? We celebrate things right at my house!

Happy Masters of the Universe Day, everyone!

Action Figure Review: Goat Man from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel


         If you don't know who Goat Man is, don't panic! He is a pretty obscure one-shot villain who appeared in the 1985 Golden Book Secret of the Dragon's Egg. Despite that brief appearance, the fact that so many MOTU fans had the Golden Books as kids (last year I got one of mine signed by Mr. Earl Norem who did many of the beautiful covers) helped to cement this character in our young minds. While convention exclusives are nothing new, for the past few years Mattel has started creating figures that travel to multiple conventions that don't already have their own exclusive. Goat Man is the 2014 traveling exclusive and will be sold at Power-Con later this year, but he did get a brief release to subscribers through the early access perk on April 14th. My wife was kind enough to log in and pick him up for me while I was working, so I'll say thanks again to her for helping me out! Are you ready for a look at the terrifying Goat Man? Then join me after the break...

Action Figure Review: Loo-Kee and Kowl from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel


     Last year, Mattel surprised Masters of the Universe collectors by releasing The Spirit of Hordak, an unannounced chase figure sold exclusively on their website. This year we were informed about the sale in advance and thus knew that Loo-Kee and a Filmation colored Kowl would be the two minifigures sold together this year as the 2014 chase figure. These were sold in Mattel's early access for Club Eternia subscribers earlier this month and fortunately my wife was able to pick them up for me (along with Goat Man). Last year I wrote a little rant about Mattel offering a chase figure here, and I still stand by pretty much everything I said. Back in the late 90's when chase figures emerged as a concept in the action figure industry, they served the legitimate purpose of getting collectors to check the stores on a regular basis. Most companies had multiple toylines out so even if you didn't find the Spawn or X-Men figure you were looking for, you still might purchase a Total Chaos or Spider-Man item. These were toys intentionally designed to be difficult to find to ultimately help the company sell more stock. So, what's the point in an online only line that sells mostly direct to subscribers? Unless Mattel wanted Mattycollector.com to get more hits or Mattel did this as a favor to Digital River to get them some extra overpriced shipping income on a very light item, it seems like a rather silly idea. Still, I've got Loo-Kee and Kowl now. How are they? Read on and find out after the break...

Masters of the Universe Day 2014: Hidden Names Story!

    

 Happy Masters of the Universe Day 2014 everyone! While we've got some great Masters of the Universe Classics reviews lined up for you today, I also wanted to do something special and kind of silly. It's a Masters of the Universe hidden names story! In the short, poorly written story below I have hidden the names of around 50 Masters of the Universe characters. Masters of the Universe, Princess of Power, New Adventures, 200x, mini-comics, they're all covered! They're mostly hidden within or between words, however. You might, for instance, see a sentence such as "The lion's mane faces the south." Look at that sentence again: "mane faces" actually is Man-E-Faces hidden right in plain sight. Pretty cool, huh?

Here are the rules!
1. Characters, creatures, and vehicles are all included!
2. Even if a character appears more than once, they only are counted one time.
3. While the names are all spelled right, hyphens and such have been left out.
4. Have fun! Comment below and us know how many you found! The fun begins after the break....

Action Figure Review: Blade from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel


     Masters of the Universe fans are typically pretty divided on Gary Goddard's 1987 Masters of the Universe. Me, I love it. Yeah, I'm not thrilled that large parts of the film took place on earth due to budgetary restrictions, but overall it's definitely one of my favorite representations out there (we discussed the film in depth last year for Masters of the Universe Day 2013 on the Confirmed Epic Podcast: Check it out!). That being said, I'm super thrilled that we've finally received our first figure from the film in Masters of the Universe Classics: Blade! Portrayed by actor and master stuntman Anthony De Longis (seriously, the guy taught both Indiana Jones and Catwoman how to use a whip!) Blade was a character created exclusively for the 1987 film who managed to get an action figure in the vintage toyline. Mattel doesn't have the rights to the 1987 film but since Blade was released in the vintage line, he's apparently fair game. That's great because not only is Blade an awesome looking character (he's been on my wishlist for a long time) but De Longis has also been a supporter of the line and involved in the MOTU fan community. It's about time someone who has done something for MOTU gets a figure, eh? Anyways, ready to learn more about Blade? Then join me after the break...

Masters of the Universe Day 2014!

This is it everyone! Today is Masters of the Universe Day! All day we'll be posting lots of great, new Masters of the Universe themed reviews and other fun stuff. It's not just us a The Epic Review though. There are lots of over great sites involved this year!

Other sites participating today are:

BattleGrip!

Preternia!

The Fwoosh!

Crooked Ninja!

Filmation Cels!

DoomKick!


Raging Nerdgasm!

Blast Processing Entertainment Network!

MOTUC Fan Page!

The Epic Review! 


Please visit all of these sites today and check out their great Masters of the Universe content as well!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Official Lucasfilm Statement on the Canonicity of the Star Wars Expanded Universe

Image from StarWars.com
    


     Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced Star Wars: Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, we've been wondering how the Star Was Expanded Universe would be handled moving forward. Today on Star Wars.com, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy is quoted as part of a feature where the past and the future of the Expanded Universe is determined. Here's the details:

*The Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy are obviously still considered absolute canon, but now The Clone Wars is placed alongside of the films as absolute canon. Previously these were considered as the second level of canon (T-canon for television canon) to the films' first level (G-canon for George Lucas canon), but now they're considered to be "the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align."

*Moving forward, all Star Wars media will be connected and managed by a story team. The announcement calls this "interconnected storytelling" and seems to imply that all future media releases will have the same level of canonicity as the films.

*I think most of assumed this, but it is clearly stated that "Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded." The article states that authors can still bring non-conflicting elements from the previous Expanded Universe into new material.

*The old Expanded Universe stories aren't going anywhere. They will be sold under the "Star Wars Legends" banner (see picture above).

I've still got some questions and more thoughts on this, though, but I'll delve into those further after the break....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Watched This Movie: City of the Living Dead (AKA The Gates of Hell)



To expand his ever growing body of knowledge, Barbecue17 enrolled in a film appreciation class at his local college. He has been kind enough to send copies of his class assignments to ThEpic Review for days when we just don't have enough content to post. 

Movie Thoughts by Barbecue17
The movie I watched: City of the Living Dead (AKA The Gates of Hell)
It was directed by: Lucio Fulci
It was released in: 1980

Please briefly summarize the plot: When a priest named Father Thomas commits suicide in a cemetery in the town of Dunwich, he sets off a series of events that include the dead returning to life, a psychic falling into a comatose state, and a portal to Hell opening up. While an investigative journalist and a psychic try to find the mysterious town of Dunwich, the residents of the cursed town try to survive the strange happenings. As people continue  to die under odd circumstances, the town itself slowly transforms into something out of a nightmare.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boom or Bust: Draft Day Review

Is the NFL's first licensed film a boom or bust?

    Sports films are some of the trickiest sub-genre films to pull off within Hollywood. Within that subcategory, football films are an even tougher sell.  Sports films always seem to be hit or miss.  You either seem to get an enduring emotional journey or a forgettable macho piece of garbage that fails to cover the essence of the particular sport the film features.   Often this is the case due to lack of willingness from professional sports organizations to lend their likeness rights.  Well, that was all before the film Money Ball transcended the sub-genre garnering Academy praise in several categories.  Suddenly the hottest sport in America, the NFL, thought "Hey! If the MLB can make a great film based on personnel decisions, so can we.  Draft Day is on the clock after the break…..

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Movie Review: Oculus

   
    I had really high hopes for Oculus. It seems to have had so much going for it: Great early buzz, a creepy, cursed antique, and Karen Gillan. What's not to like? Oculus is an interesting film as while it initially seems to be more of a ghost story, it actually feels like more of a psychological thriller. Directed by Mike Flanagan and based off of his short film Oculus: Chapter 3-The Man with the Plan, the film revolves around an 18th century mirror called the Lasser Glass that has a long history of tragedy attached to it. Like baby dolls and jack in the boxes, mirrors are just another of those fairly mundane objects that somehow end up being exceedingly creepy when put into a horror context. Is Oculus worth a look or is this one looking glass you should just pass right by? Read on and fight out after the break...   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Toy Review 2000's Edition: Captain Yesterday from Futurama by Toynami


     Since I reviewed Nudar from Toynami's Futurama series 4, I figured I'd go ahead and review the other figure from that same series: Captain Yesterday. In the episode "Less than Hero" Fry and Leela develop superpowers after using a tube of Dr. Flimflam's Miracle Cream. Bringing in Bender, they proceed to form the New Justice Team and fight to rid New New York of crime! Using costumes supplied by Bender, Fry garbs himself in disco themed outfit and adopts the moniker of Captain Yesterday. Alongside of Clobberella and Super King, Captain Yesterday uses his lickity speed to protect the future and become a minor celebrity. Does your desk need a fast blast from the past to defend it from super villains? Then check out this review of Captain Yesterday after the break...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Minifigure Review 90's Edition: Bio-Degrador from Trash Bag Bunch by Galoob


     One of the best things about the internet is having the chance to connect with fellow collectors who also have a love for toylines that you're pretty confident no one else remembers or cares about. For me, one of those toylines is the Trash Bag Bunch. Created by Mel Birnkrant (of Outer Space Men and Colorforms fame) and released by Galoob in 1991, the Trash Bag Bunch had two things going for it: An environmental theme and a cool gimmick. Like many other toys from the early 1990's such as Captain Planet, G.I. Joe ECO Force, and the Toxic Crusaders, the Trash Bag Bunch had an eco friendly message that trumpeted values such as reducing, reusing, and recycling and denounced such nasty things as littering, toxic waste, and smog. Interestingly, the Trash Bag Bunch was inspired by a real life battle Birnkrant had with the State of New York centering around their desire to put a landfill right next to his home. The second cool thing about the toyline was that they were sold in little biodegradable trash bags. When you dropped the bag in water (I remember my parents filling up the sink for me) the green trash bag dissolved and an effervescent tablet inside fizzed, revealing your plastic minifigure. Would you get an evil Trashor or a heroic Disposer? Who would it be? Today's figure is Bio-Degrador, one of the Disposers. He isn't from my original collection; I obtained him secondhand recently as I'm working to complete my collection of the original 36 figures. Ready for a closer look at this crazy cool minifigure? Then join me after the break...

Toy Review 2000's Edition: Nudar from Futurama by Toynami


     Of all of the animated comedy shows that have appeared on prime time, Futurama is my second favorite (#1 goes to King of the Hill). I've been watching back through the series again and catching a number of the episodes I had missed when the show was relaunched on Comedy Central; man, there are some real tearjerkers in Futurama! A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to pick up a few more Futurama figures, so I began searching the internet. I've owned Bender and Kif for quite some time but hadn't realized how expensive some of these figures had gotten! Try and find a Zap Brannigan or a Dr. Zoidberg for anything resembling a reasonable price. It can't be done! Fortunately, though, I found an interesting deal that included the all six of the series four, five, and six figures plus the Robot Santa build a figure for only $60. It had some of my favorites such as Amy Wong, Calculon, and all three members of the New Justice Team. It also had the subject of today's review, Nudar. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Nudar (voiced by David Herman, AKA Michael Bolton from Office Space) as he was a pretty significant character in the film Bender's Big Score, but he's definitely a one-shot character that doesn't have the kind of fan love that other characters have. Since he's easily my least favorite figure in the line, I figured I'd review him first. Ready for a closer look at the Nudist Alien Scammer leader Nudar? Then join me after the break....

Monday, April 14, 2014

Toy Review: The Tumbler-Camouflage Version from Hot Wheels by Mattel


     While I may have had a few Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars when I was younger, I was always a kid who preferred action figures to toy cars. I'm really not a car guy unless we're talking something awesome like the Ecto-1 (I've sat in and had my picture taken with the real deal), the Shaggin' Wagon from Dumb and Dumber (also had my picture taken with the real deal), or the Batmobile (I've been near quite a few real Batmobiles and have pictures somewhere to prove it). If it's something awesome like that, I'm in like Flint. Fortunately, today we are looking at a new Hot Wheels version of the Batmobile. Well, the Tumbler anyway. It's the camouflaged version so whether or not it actually counts as the Batmobile is definitely a topic worth addressing. This can either be a pre-Batmobile Tumbler from Batman Begins or one of the three Tumblers stolen by Bane from Wayne Enterprises in The Dark Knight Rises. I guess the choice is up to you! The logo on the package of this Hot Wheels Tumbler is for The Dark Knight Trilogy. While Mattel has released some more expensive small scale Batman vehicles in the past, this little guy was less than $1 before tax. Ready to check it out? Then join me after the break...

What if The Godfather were a martial arts film? The Raid 2: Berendal Review

Does The Raid 2 live up to hype of being our most anticipated film of Winter/Spring 2014?

  By a miracle from the film gods The Epic Review's most anticipated film of Winter/Spring 2014 finally made it to the Hollywood Foothills of NC.  Despite being an Indonesian martial arts film the original movie, The Raid: Redemption, quickly garnered a cult following within film circles thus ensuring a major wave of anticipation among film junkies for its sequel.  Could The Raid 2: Berandal live up to the original?  Find out after the break...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Minifigure Review: Toy Break Mascot from OTMFG by October Toys

  
     When I ordered my Luck Green Pheyden figure in March, I also added this guy to my cart. That was a smart move on my part because now this little Toy Break Mascot minifigure seems to be gone from October Toys' website. If you're not familiar with Toy Break, it's a fun little webshow and podcast that focuses on toys; action figures, designer vinyls, minifigures, Toy Break covers it all. Check out their cool show later but check out their cool little minifigure mascot guy right now, after the break of course...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Action Figure Review 2000's Edition: Maria from Metropolis from Silent Screamers by Mezco

    
     One of my favorite toylines of the 2000's is Silent Screamers, a series of awesomely sculpted action figures inspired by various characters and creatures from silent horror films.While the first series of action figures was released by Aztech Toyz in 2000, the second series was released by the then newly formed Mezco Toys in 2001. Taking a cue from McFarlane's successful Movie Maniacs toyline, Aztech and Mezco also based their toyline on a variety of different horror properties, only favoring then public domain works versus licensed properties. For quite a few years my line has been almost complete, but just a few weeks ago John over at The Clawful Punch helped me to finally complete my Silent Screamers set by hooking me up with the subject of today's review, Maria from the 1927 film Metropolis! Thanks, John! Surprisingly, I actually haven't seen Fritz Lang's Metropolis, so I guess that's something I'll have to put on my to do list. In the meantime, let's check out this figure, shall we?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Minifigure Review: Glow in the Dark Minigwin from Gwins by October Toys

   
When I ordered a few minifigures from October Toys a couple of weeks ago, I ended up finding a cool little surprise in my order: A glow in the dark Minigwin. According to the October Toys website: 

"The Gwin is a curious creature based on Tux, created by Larry Ewing & The GIMP. Gwins spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and hoarding treasure. They often form “armies” to protect their amassed riches. Now is your chance to build your own Gwin Army to guard your prized possessions!"

     I think most of us who collect minifigures (and probably action figures and toys in general) love glow in the dark stuff. There's something fun about walking in my toy room at night and seeing the various stuff that's glowing with that familiar, comforting glow. Minigwin is a tiny little mini, so this is going to be a tiny little review. More after the break....

R.I.P: Ultimate Warrior


WWE has confirmed that just day's after his WWE Hall of Fame Induction that James Brian Hellwig AKA The Ultimate Warrior has passed away at the age of 54. 
 No cause of death is known at this time!

10 Nerdiest Memories of My Grandmother



     If you're wondering why there weren't many updates to ThEpic Review last week, it's because my grandmother passed away on Monday, March 31st. My grandmother was a wonderful, loving person and I'll miss her dearly. She taught me so much and was such a significant part of my life, and I was very proud to be able to fulfill her wishes by officiating and delivering the message at her funeral service. When she told me she wanted me to handle that task over a year ago, I told her that I didn't think I'd emotionally be able to do it. When the day came, however, after much prayer and reflection, I was able to do so for her. At her service, I shared many memories of my grandmother, and talked about the lessons myself and other family members had learned from her life. There were some memories, however, that were far too nerdy and specific to me to share there amidst my entire family during that service. So, I'm sharing them here as both a small tribute to my grandmother and a way to store them for my own daughter to read someday.

1. Grandma dressed like Skeletor to play Masters of the Universe with me!

     I shared this one last year on Masters of the Universe Day, but I'm sharing it again here:
Many of my action figure related memories stem from my grandma, but one of the most significant ones that sticks out for me was when I was staying at Grandma's house and she came out of her bedroom dressed like Skeletor.  The 1987 movie had just came out, but I was too scared to go see it, only being around 3 or 4 at the time.  Anyways, I did want to play He-Man and so I went and grabbed 2 belts, some red shorts, and a pot lid, and came out looking for evil.  And find evil I did! When Grandma came out of her room dressed in a hooded robe with her face covered in cold cream and wielding a broom as her Havok Staff, I actually was kind of scared at first.  When your grandma dresses up like Skeletor to play Masters of the Universe with you, you know she loves you!

More memories after the break....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Epic Photos of The Day: First Posters for Michael Bay's TMNT Reboot





Checkout the 4 new Epic Teaser posters for Michael Bay's TMNT film out August 8th!

Action Figure Review: Battle Shell Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Tutles by Playmates

  
 It's been over three months since I reviewed Battle Shell Raphael and all that time I've had the rest of these guys just sitting on my shelf. Since we're seeing a bunch of traffic related to all things TMNT due to the release of the trailer for the new film coming out this summer, I figured I'd go ahead and review another one of these guys. Other than Casey Jones, I haven't bought any other TMNT figures this year. I've been overly impressed with some of the new offerings and if you remember my review of Battle Shell Raph, I wasn't overly impressed by him either. I get that Playmates has tried to make these figures look more like their very stylized cartoon counterparts, but it's just not a look that's as appealing to me on a toy as it is in a cartoon. Anyways, here's a closer look at Leo....

Fear Vs. Freedom: Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

Could Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
be Marvel's The Dark Knight ?

    Fear versus freedom is a question that has been ingrained in American society since September 11th, 2001.  Since that tragic day many films have handled controversial issues surrounding not only terrorism, but also the subsequent Patriot Act legislation that followed.  Since that piece of legislation allowed the government to keep an extra close eye on Americans to keep them safe, many films, TV shows, books, and comics have tackled the issue.  Specifically pertaining to the world of superheros, the Marvel comic book crossover Civil War tackled this subject through the topic of superhero registration. It was probably most definitively handled, however, by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight in 2008 by posing the concept that you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.  After Nolan did such a great job tackling that issue by using Batman, when it looked like Captain America: The Winter Soldier would deal with the same Patriot Act inspired issue the question became, "could this be Marvel’s Dark Knight or just another liberty versus security story to fall by the way side?" Find out after the break….


Monday, April 7, 2014

21-and 0ver: Wrestlemania XXX Review

21-1.

Even by typing those words I'm not one hundred percent sure it even happened.  After 21 straight victories at Wrestlemania, The Undertaker lost.  Let that sink in for a moment.  The Undertaker lost.  At Wrestlemania.  We witnessed the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.  Daniel Bryan finally won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  I'm going to go segment by segment after the break.

Confirmed Epic Podcast Episode 26: Captain America The Winter Soldier




In the 26th Edition of The Confirmed Epic Podcast Gina and Kristen return to help the boys review one of their most anticipated films of 2014: Captain America The Winter Soldier Directed by the Russo Brothers, as well as the Community GI Joe spoof episode: GI Jeff.  The gang also gets into what they have been checking out:  The How I Met Your Mother Series Finale (Spoiler Free), Table Top Day 2014, Classic Plastic Toy Soldiers, Bob’s Burgers, Season 3, and Once Upon A Time on ABC.  In the Epic News segment we discuss the possibilities of a Goonie’s 2, DC Collectibles new Batman The Animated Series Figures, and Johnny Knoxville voicing Leonardo in Michael Bay’s TMNT reboot.



(Remember to email any questions or comments about the podcast to thepicreview@gmail.com and we will read your questions or comments on the next episode, also feel free to leave a comment about this episode below!) 


(You can also find the Confirmed Epic Podcast on iTunes, just search for "thepicreview", and if you have time we would appreciate it if you could leave us a review on i Tunes!)


(Editors Note: If you have any problems with the link either install adobe flash player or if you are listening from a phone simply follow the direct link to our audio here: http://thepicreview.podbean.com/ Thank You!) 





Toy Review: "I Love This Town" Box Set from Ghostbusters Minimates by Diamond Select/ Art Asylum


What's the greatest Ghostbusters toyline ever? The Real Ghostbusters from Kenner? Nope. Mattel's Ghostbusters line? Absolutely not. NECA's offerings? Please. The best Ghostbusters line ever is Diamond Select and Art Asylum's Ghostbusters Minimates. Not only does the line contain nearly every character from the two films but it also contains characters from the videogame and The Real Ghostbusters animated series. It's been quite awhile since there were any new Ghostbuster minimates released (November of 2011, I believe) so I was thrilled to see that Diamond had another boxed set slated. While it doesn't give us any new characters, it does give us the first versions of the Ghostbusters from the line with removable proton packs. Honestly, that's enough reason for me to jump in and snatch these guys up, even as someone who owns most everything released in the line. For new collectors, this is also a great chance to get the four guys themselves in their uniforms from the first film. Ready for a look a these guys? Then join me after the break....