Sunday, September 23, 2007

Two Angry Greek Dudes

Great image or greatest image ever?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Idiot Box

  • The third season of Avatar: The Last Airbender premiered last night. It laid out a lot of plot threads to expand upon and was a good start to the new season. I like how the writers refuse to take the easy route with the characters' development. At the end of season two they could have had Zuko join Aang and the others and together they could have saved Ba Sing Se. Instead Zuko rejoined the Fire Nation and is finally back in his father's good graces, but instead of being happy he's completely paranoid over his sister's machinations. And rightfully so; Azula is pure evil. Aang meanwhile feels like he failed the people he swore to protect and is wallowing in shame. He even mentions losing his honor in a clear echo of how Zuko once felt. Even Aang burning his own glider is like when Zuko cut off his ponytail. Aang and Zuko seem to have a shared destiny which makes you want them to become allies even more. I can't wait for the next nineteen episodes.

  • It's not just Avatar that's coming back. There are a ton of new seasons of shows I watch premiering over the next few days. Sunday is the premiere of The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Metalocalypse. Tuesday is the premiere of House. Thursday is the premiere of The Office and My Name Is Earl. Next Sunday is the debut of Funimation's non-awful dub of One Piece. Next Monday is the debut of a new series of Digimon, the first new episodes in over four years. Plus there continuing new episodes of Doctor Who, Naruto, Bleach, Blood Plus, Noein, Frisky Dingo and Robot Chicken. I seriously need to get a second TiVo.

  • There's one other premiere I should mention which I think deserves its own bullet point. Death Note is coming to Adult Swim on October 20th. Man I am so glad about this I can almost forgive them for not announcing it sooner.

  • As if there wasn't enough to watch already there are a few specials timed to coincide with the release of Halo 3 on September 25th. G4 is airing Halo 3 Countdown Live on Monday. The same day Spike will air a Halo 3 based episode of Game Head. And Sci-Fi Channel will air Halo 3: Sci vs Fi on Tuesday. Oh the world will be a better place to be when Bungie finally gives us Halo 3.

  • Since we're on the subject check out these new pieces of Halo merchandise. There's a scale replica of the Battle Rifle. Plus you can reload your rocket launcher or just store your controllers with this handy case.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Time to Revisit Your Fear of Ventriloquist Dummies

Goosebumps is coming to Cartoon Network on October 1st. Unlike the rest of the internet I'm not going rage about how Cartoon Network is airing live action programming in a lame attempt to emulate Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. I'm not even going to comment on the irony that Carton Network decided to air a decade old live action show from the mid-Nineties yet they seem to ignore so much of their massive animation library and its generations of fans. (Man there's a lot of passive aggression in this paragraph.) I'm jut going to relish the opportunity to revisit a show I enjoyed from my youth. I barely remember the show so I have no idea if it's aged well. My expectations are low but I'm willing to give it a shot.

You have to hand it to Cartoon Network though. They put together a really slick commercial. It's very reminiscent of the Grindhouse trailers, which might not be a coincidence.

I went to Target today. They have their Halloween display up which is as impressive as ever. They were selling Goosebumps DVDs for about five dollars. I would have bought one but I didn't recognize any of the stories. One of the DVDs uses the artwork for Monster Blood but the DVD didn't feature the Monster Blood episode. (Or even the episode with Monster Blood on a plane.) I'll just wait for the series to premiere on Cartoon Network. Free nostalgia is the best kind of nostalgia.

Incidentally Target's Halloween theme for this year revolves around the new Nicktoon show Edgar & Ellen, based on the book series. I remember the year Goosebumps was Target's Halloween theme. That year was awesome.

He's A Long Way From Bloatsburg

Monday, September 17, 2007

Homicidal Motorists and the Lovely Ms. Winstead

Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino's half of Grindhouse comes out on DVD tomorrow, Sept. 18th. Grindhouse was quite possibly the most fun one could ever have in a theatre. Of course it was a significant box office bomb. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say the Weinstein Company is releasing Death Proof and Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror separately on DVD to recoup their loss. The realist in me knows that they would have split up the movies even if it was a huge success.

The upside to this is that this isn't the same Death Proof that was a part of Grindhouse. This is Tarantino's extended cut that premiered at Cannes. The "missing reels" have been restored, including the oft highly spoken of but unseen lap dance. This new version of the film has gotten pretty good reviews and I'd like to see it. Planet Terror might have been the audience pleaser of the century, but Death Proof really got under my skin. Without giving away too much, it's like Psycho but with a car. Yet it's a much more intense film than my lame analogy gives it credit for. You will loathe Kurt Russell more than you did in The Barefoot Executive. (I actually saw the remake of that once. I blocked most of it out.)

The deal breaker however is the omission of the fake trailers. The trailers were just as good as the full length movies. I'd love to be able to watch Grindhouse in its entirety just as I did in the theatres. I'm certain that the Weinstein Company will eventually release the theatrical version of Grindhouse, trailers and all. I just don't know how long the wait will be. They're just getting around to releasing Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair this year.

It's worth noting that Death Proof and Planet Terror were sold as individual features outside the U.S. The justification being that the old timey grindhouse theaters were purely American institutions so trying to recreate that nostalgia overseas would be pointless. I'm fairly certain that's just marketing spin. But check out these movie posters from Japan.

The Planet Terror one is similar to the one in the U.S. with the major difference being that Cherry Darling is in a more active dancing pose. But if you ever doubt the superiority of Japanese marketing check out the Death Proof poster. Three words my friends: Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Man with the power of Winstead on its side, how could this movie not have been a huge success?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One That's Transformers

The one good thing about September is the return of our favorite TV shows. This promo for the new season of The Office has the character reminiscing about their summer vacations. As expected Creed's summer sounds the most interesting. Also we get our first glimpse at Ryan at his new job.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Work In Progress

I haven't posted in a few days just, but I've been working behind the scenes. I've only had this blog for a few months and I'm still learning things as I go along. I'm not tech savvy so it's been an uphill battle. For example look at this post and look at what it's supposed to look like. Does the formatting look right on your end?

I'm continuously tweaking things here and there. The major "tweaking" is that I recently changed my posting style. Instead of long posts with many short subjects, I'm going to try to stick with sort single subject posts. I'm enjoying the change myself but I admit it doesn't help things if I'm don't post all that often.

A few other things. It's been pointed out to me that my header is misaligned. Well here's how it looks on my monitor. I don't know why it might appear differently. I also started adding labels to my posts. I haven't finished but you can check them out now. Finally as promised I updated a previous post with a picture of The Office DVD set with cooler. I'd say that earns me a Schrute buck.

So what does my readership think? All two, maybe three, of you. Feedback is always appreciated.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Repulsa Indeed

Like any good child of the Nineties I was a big fan of the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. I had many of the toys but of course it was never enough. For one I didn't have the Command Center playset, which was also the only way to get the Alpha 5 figure. Technically it was the only way to get Zordon as well but that's kind of a no-brainer. It's not like they could have sold him separately. Too bad. Floating heads are cool. The playset itself was pretty cool IMO. Okay the Viewing Globe should be behind the console, not off to the side. Also there are inexplicable dinosaur shaped weapons, but that doesn't make me want one any less.

One important aspect of the series that no kid had in toy form was the villains' original leader Rita Repulsa. How Bandai could have deprived the fans of this crazy alien witch is beyond explanation. In fact a prototype was made but the final product was never released. The figure was canceled because Rita was replaced by the skinless Lord Zedd. I'm fairly certain that wouldn't have stopped any kid from buying a Rita toy but past experience has proven toy companies are run by chimps. In the later episodes she and Zedd would eventually co-exist but that still wasn't enough to get her toy released. The prototype would make an appearance as a cake topper when Zedd and Rita got married. That's right the skinless dude and an old witch together in holy matrimony. It was a weird show.
Another never released figure was one of Rita's more dependable flunkies Scorpina. Scorpina is notable in that she was not a regular character but still made semi-frequent appearances. Also she's a chick. Except when she's a giant scorpion monster. Her action figure was based on the latter form. She was quietly dropped from the show at the same time as Rita, so her figure was canceled as well. She only made a single post-Rita appearance. It's so sad that I know that.

I'm glad I took this nostalgic look back. They don't make them like they used to.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Bungie Bunch

Today McFarlane Toys revealed their upcoming collection of Halo 3 toys. I get that they're riding the hype of the game's impending release but it feels kind of empty. The toys won't be released until Spring which is at least five month away. I like all the figures. The Jackal has never looked cooler. Even the Grunts look intimidating. I'm underwhelmed by the vehicles though. They don't look bad but they're not to scale with the figures, which is a wasted opportunity.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I got to play some BioShock at a store recently. From what I could discern the game is really quite good but my pitifully weak skills clouded the situation a bit. For example I approached the "hacking" aspect of the game much the same way a person with no hands would try to play Jenga. Still I felt the essence of brilliance in those awkward minutes of gameplay. You don't even have to play to appreciate the game's unique art design. In an age of first person shooters where you roam endless generic corridors, BioShock is quite refreshing. It'll make you be afraid of fishbowls. I'd like to try out the full game but I don't have an X-Box 360. Not to mention at this point I'm not willing to buy the PC version.

If you haven't been keeping up with the BioShock controversy, here's the deal. Developer 2K Games is implementing restrictions to prevent piracy. To install the game you need to activate it over the internet and you can only use the registry key twice. Needless to say this brings up a lot of issues concerning fair use. One could imagine countless situations in which one would have to install the game more than twice for legitimate purposes. 2K Games are making arrangements to circumvent these problems in the future. However this does bring up a lot of concerns. What if this becomes a trend and all software becomes this restricted, all for the sake of corporate paranoia? Perhaps it's best to take a break from worrying about that for now and enjoy Big Daddy in his widescreen glory.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Only 42 Days To Go

Here's some Transformers DVD artwork of higher quantity and quality. Here's the single disc edition with slipcover.

The single disc edition without the slipcover.

The single disc edition from the back.

The Two Disc Special Edition with slipcover.

The slipcover appears to have a clear window so you can see Optimus on a plain white background underneath.

And Megatron on the back. This picture also shows off how the Two Disc Special Edition's slipcover works.

The Ratio of Unicorns to Leprechauns

The third season of The Office was re lased yesterday and there's a number of retailer exclusive limited editions available. Target has the "Nifty Gifty" edition which comes in unique packaging, a bonus disc featuring a Q&A with the cast and crew, and a script of the episode "Gay Witch Hunt". Best Buy has a gift set that includes The Office season three, a "Welcome Aboard" letter, a Dwight Schrute mini-bobblehead, and a Dundie. The Dundie is the award given out at Dunder Mifflin's annual award ceremony. It also has one Schrute buck which may or may not be exchanged for Stanley nickels. All of these things come packaged in a Dunder Mifflin shipping box addressed to Future Dwight.
There's also a complete series set that is available at wholesale stores like Costco and Sam's Club. It includes all three seasons of The Office and a Dunder Mfflin cooler. The DVDs can be stored inside the cooler.

Soon I Will Be One With the Matrix

Transformers comes out on DVD on October 16th. The timeframe between a film's theatrical run and DVD release is getting shorter and shorter these days, isn't it? The movie will be available in single and two disc editions, as seems to be the industry standard these days. The two disc set has some pretty good extras including a commentary by Micheal Bay, an interview with producer Steven Spielberg, and a featurette on how the filmmakers collaborated with toy company Hasbro. I'm really digging the artwork too. All in all I'm pretty jazzed. Just to be sure I don't mean that as a pun on Jazz, our poor bisected friend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Spidey and the Brits

The United Kingdom is getting three versions of the Spider-Man 3 DVD with alternate cover artwork. Bloody limeys and their superior DVD releases. I could see the U.S. getting something like this but as retailer exclusives. I can foresee a situation in which I, in my frenzy, buy multiple copies of this movie. I rather it not come to that but I have as much control over my purchasing habits than I do over the weather. Speaking of which, how about that weather? It's way too hot.