Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years Eva

Is it me or is that the worst pun ever? Sorry, it was just too easy.

Funimation licensed Evangelion 1.01 You Are Not Alone. The official website is here. The trailer is here. The release date is November 10, 2009. I'm already counting down the days. Only 313 more to go.

In Memoriam

Before we move on into the new year let us take a moment to look back and remember those who are no longer with us.

At the Movies With Ebert and the other guy
BCI Eclipse
Bratz dolls
Broccoli USA
Janet van Dyne
KB Toys
Kids WB
Mother's Cookies
Moral Orel
New Line Cinema
Newtype USA
The Batman
The standalone Anime On DVD website
The Parker/Watson marriage
The United States' economy

Some real people passed away too but it would have been disrespectful to lump them in with failed businesses and canceled TV series.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Year's End Haul

So apparently I'm not as lazy as I like to claim. Here's a few more shots of my Christmas presents starting with the Gurren Lagann Set 01 Limited Edition.

The Gurren Lagann set includes a toy drill that lights up. The drill is an important item from the series used to activate and control the Gunmen.

I got the Circuit City exclusive version of The Dark Knight sporting some nice Joker artwork. The set includes a slick looking journal.

Here's The Dark Knight with my other editions of comic book movies in over-sized slipcovers packaged with booklets. It's a small but very specific subset of my collection.

Next is a different type of comic book movie is Wanted.

Lastly are some items that aren't Christmas presents. Burger King has had a Nintendo Wii promotion this month and I've been snapping them up. The world needs more cool Nintendo toys like these.

Friday, December 26, 2008

'Tis Better To Give But 'Tis More Awesome to Receive

Now here is my Christmas haul. I've yet to open any of it. I would promise to take more detailed pics later but hey, I'm lazy.

Steelbook Update

Recently I finally received the Dragonball Z double feature set of the Cooler movies that I had ordered earlier. This was a momentous event as with this addition I had doubled my steelbook collection since the last time I took stock of them. My total count is now precisely way too much.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

So I've been obsessed with this lately.

I can't really explain why, although I have to say I find the phony holiday special dialogue as equally fascinating as the song itself.

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit I've listened to the cover by the Monarch and Doctor Girlfriend more often than the original. The folks behind The Venture Bros. sure do love their Bowie.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Very Merry Gurren Lagann Christmas

I hope you're enjoying the holidays. I sure am. I got the Gurren Lagann limited edition starter set as a gift. I'll share some haul pics later. For now have a Merry Christmas.

While I'm at I'll wish you a very Merry Haruhi Suzumiya, Code Geass, and Evangelion Christmas as well.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Talking About Anime

  • For the Jump Anime Tour in Japan Toei debuted three new specials incuding a new Dragonball Z special titled Yo! The Return of Son Goku and Friends which introduces Vegeta's little brother Table. This is the first new Dragonball animation in over ten years so this is a big deal. What's awesome is Toei has the special available for viewing for free on the internet complete with English subtitles. To watch it you must first download their browser off the site before downloading the video file. You'll also be able to watch Toei's other specials including the animated version of Romance Dawn, Eiichirō Oda's prototype story for One Piece. The specials will be available for viewing until the end of January.

  • Naruto no longer has a steady time slot on Cartoon Network after certain events. Recently it's been getting pre-empted for movies on Saturday night. Viz is stepping in however and has episodes 216 to 220 for viewing on the official website. This batch of episodes features the final storyline of the series' run before Naruto: Shippūden. So this is sort of Naruto's series finale.

  • Clearly digital delivery of anime seems to be the big trend right now and Anime News Network is jumping on the bandwagon. They've featured news stories and trailers and such for awhile now but currently they have the first full episode of Girl's High and the entirety of Kite Liberator. Both series are licensed by Media Blasters in North America. I thought it was kinda odd for a news site to feature anime for viewing, but hey who am I to question free legal anime?

  • Funimation is intent on ending the year on a high note and they're having a New Show A-Go Go!! event on their website. Starting tomorrow Funi will be announcing a new license acquisition every day until the end of the years. This is usually a bad time of the year for exciting news so I'm glad Funi is doing this. With ten new licenses there's a good chance there will be at least one that I find interesting.

  • Universal is producing a Bakugan movie. Yeah. The article doesn't specify if their doing theatrical distribution for an anime movie or if they're producing their own live action adaptation.

  • The website for the in-production Eureka Seven movie is now up. There's not much there other than a beautiful teaser image. I'm very much looking forward to more Eureka Seven so even the slightest preview is enough to delight me.

  • While we're on the subject of returning favorites, the teaser for the new Fullmetal Alchemist series is up. The teaser consists solely of a single preview image that looks like it could have easily been produced for the first series. I felt Fullmetal Alchemist had a satisfying conclusion so I'm not all that eager for this second series.

  • I've been watching Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Monday nights on Sci-Fi Channel. It's become the television program I most look forward to, especially now since Code Geass is on hiatus until January 10th. Gundam 00 is very interesting especially to me as a long time Gundam fan. Whereas other Gundam series occur in a far off timeline, Gundam 00 takes place in the not too distant future that still feels familiar to the viewer. The world has been divided into three super-power nations centered around three gigantic satellites built to gather solar energy developed as an alternate energy source. The nations are in the middle of a long running conflict and tensions are running high. Enter Celestial Being, a mysterious organization bent on ending all war by using their vastly superior Mobile Suits (you can guess what kind they are) to squash all violent actions when they start. This ends up having a domino effect and a terrorist group begins to attack out of protest. Gundam 00 has very dense plotting with many characters living across the world with their own stories that I'm sure will eventually start to interconnect. In that sense it reminds me of Gundam Wing and also because Gundam 00 has a strangely stoic main hero. This character is Kurdish and became a soldier after he was persuaded to participate in violent acts when he was still a child. I've never seen a mecha series with this much emphasis on the Middle East, which adds to this Gundam's series particular mystique.

  • I'm going to end on a down note, voice actress Maddie Blaustein passed away on December 11th. She preformed many bit roles for 4Kids but most us will remember her as the voice of Meowth in Pokémon. This is sad news and I'm trying my darnest to not make some kind of inappropriate "Team Rocket is blasting off again" joke.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Judging a DVD By Its Cover 7

The holy grail of DVD releases (besides The African Queen) is finally coming: Howard the Duck. I've never seen it and I'm not yet convinced that I ever should. The DVD art is essentially this poster minus the family un-friendly cigar but with the feet added from this poster. No amount of Photoshop could make this movie an easier sell.

Here's the re-release of the first Friday the 13th movie coming to DVD and Blu-Ray unedited for the first time in R1. It features new artwork that is loosely inspired by the classic poster artwork. A few notable differences include the knife in the killer's hand being a part of the movie's logo. Frankly I think it looks lame. Another thing is the killer is sporting some very misleading man-hands.

The first two sequels are also being re-released but only on DVD and still in their R-rated cuts. As with the first movie the artwork is based on the original posters, although these lack the "knife logo" so I like them a little better. I found the title of the third movie slightly amusing. The 3-D version is being made available for the first time, so it's being marketed as Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D which sounds a little redundant but maybe that's just me.

This is a stand-alone Blu-Ray release of the original Matrix film with a hardcover book. I like the black and white artwork but it bugs me that Neo is standing slightly askew while Trinity and Morpheus are facing straight ahead. This set is being released to coincide with the movie's tenth anniversary. The Matrix is ten years old. Now you feel old!

It's not as nice as the original poster artwork but the color scheme is pleasing to the eye especially for a Blu-Ray disc. Still there's really nothing I could say about the artwork that could eclipse the awesomeness of this even existing in the first place. I guess we have to thank the upcoming releases of Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li for this. Oh media tie-ins, is there anything you can't do?

Beautiful. The packaging is modeled on that of an Atari 2600 game, which is before my time but I still picked up that there was something special about it. I love that Hank and his gun is the centerpiece of the artwork even though he appears that way a for about eight seconds in the actual show. I also think it's great that they're going to start releasing this series on Blu-Ray.

Well if I could ever be convinced to watch a movie solely based on its cover this would be it.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Moment With Piccolo

Let us rinse our palate of such a text heavy article with this brief foray into me geeking out over very little.

Look, he's green! That's awesome.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pondering Wolverine

The teaser trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine officially debuted today. You can see it, not on the official site, but on the mySpace page. I thought that was odd enough to point out. I would embed the trailer here but my meager blog can't contain a video that giganimus. I'm going to discuss my thoughts on the trailer itself and my feelings towards the movie in general. So if you take issue with someone laboriously contemplating a film project that isn't due to be released in months based merely on a smattering of details, well you've been warned.

In my experience the stronger superhero movies are the ones that ones that downplay the origin stories or are sequels which have moved past the origin story. That's just my opinion and I don't even really know why that is. I've got nothing against origin stories with one slight exception. The more we learn about a cool mysterious character the less cool they are. Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader become less scary after you've seen them be young and vulnerable. Is Cobra Commander better as a former used car salesman or a blue skinned lizard person? I'd say he was better when you had no clue what he was.

Wolverine is the poster child for over-examined cool mysterious characters. He was a badass the likes of which superhero comics had not seen and was the first break out star of a post-Nixon, more cynical age. Part of his appeal was the mystery that surrounded him. Heck even he had no idea who he was. Writers exploited this and delved into all potential aspects of his very long life. Nowadays there isn't a shred of his identity that hasn't been picked apart. That doesn't mean he can't be cool again, but I think dwelling in the past won't help the situation.

The trailer opens with a few scenes that gives the impression that the movie will be a superhero Forrest Gump with Wolverine living through several key moments in history. I guess that would be cool if you think the world needs a superhero Forrest Gump, and if that's the case then I admire your taste in movies even if I don't quite share them.

We see a young kid who I'm guessing is a young John Howlett. This is something I had never considered even if it seems pretty obvious; will X-Men Origins: Wolverine take cues from Origin? Origin isn't exactly held in too high esteem in the comic book community, and I myself had put it's existence out of my mind soon after it wrapped up. Still there is an actual tale of Wolverine's earliest years so it stands to reason that the movie of Wolverine's origin would draw upon it.

Then the trailer moves on and we see a military figure, I'm assuming Stryker, talking with Wolverine and showing what was hinted at in X2. We see glimpses of the Weapon X project and Logan getting injected with adamantium, followed by one of his patented Berserker Rages. There's an odd exchange of dialogue about Logan's dog tags that play an important role in the first two X-Men movies. I'm curious myself as to why he chooses the code name Wolverine. My guess is it's a Canadian thing. Then we get to what I think is the coolest shot of the trailer, Wolverine standing with his fellow Team X members including Silver Fox and Maverick. Silver Fox BTW appears to be Wolverine's primary love interest in the movie.

Enough about Wolverine, let's talk about some of these other characters. I have mixed feelings about them. I mean I'd like to see them on the screen but I think I'd prefer if they were in a new X-Men sequel instead. See if X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place years before the X-Men trilogy then does that mean these characters are not contemporaries of the X-Men? Are Gambit, Blob and Beak long dead before Rogue, Iceman and Kitty have even been born? I guess it depends on when specifically these characters show up in Wolverine's life time. It could end up being a total non-issue.

Then of course there's Deadpool. In the trailer he's just a normal looking Ryan Reynolds wearing a red shirt and wielding katanas. I'm actually cool with this. Deadpool was a human being who was imbued with Wolverine's mutant healing factor which leaves him disfigured. If this is a prequel than a pre-Weapon X Deadpool makes sense. Hopefully we get to see the Merc with a Mouth in costume later in the movie or maybe even in his own spin-off. Reynolds is an interesting choice to cast as a guest character as he's a "name" actor that could open his own movie. So a solo Deadpool movie seems plausible.

Another character I feel less positive about. Supposedly the glowing thin bald woman who is seen for a few seconds is meant to be Emma Frost. This actress doesn't exactly have the same body type as Emma Frost is typically depicted as having. Needless to say this is deeply depressing.

Last but most most certainly not least is Sabertooth. In X-Men Sabertooth was played by 6' 9" former professional wrestler Tyler Mane. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine Sabertooth will be played by accomplished actor and Yale School of Drama graduate Liev Schreiber. So there's a discrepancy there. I'm not such an über-nerd that I'm bothered by this. It's interesting to note though. Sabertooth appears to be the Big Bad of the movie which seems appropriate but it does put their meeting in the first X-Men movie in a different context. Did they recognize each other? Is there reason why Sabertooth got bulkier and hairier and less chatty as the years went by? I hope not. Gives us geeks more to kvetch about.

My issue with X-Men Origins: Wolverine has always been that it's a story I feel like I don't need to see. I know Wolverine's origin, too much actually. While I wouldn't mind a Wolverine story, he was already spotlighted heavily in the first three X-Men movies. Now this doesn't mean I won't see it on the first day it's released. I mean am I excited for this movie? Yeah. It was number eight on this list before I saw the Astro Boy teaser and then it got bumped off the list when I remembered about Inglorious Basterds. It still would've made the list if I had done a proper top ten list but I was determined to use the "cute" title. Now that I've seen actual footage I think I can bump it back up to the eighth spot. Sorry Astro.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Cruel Revenge of Subtitle Fatigue

What? Dragonball Evolution? Why? Well I know why. It's all in the interest of establishing a franchise. Try explaining that to the fanboys on the net though. What Dragonball fans understand about the film industry couldn't fill a ketchup packet.

Still though, Evolution? That's an odd choice for Dragonball. As weired out as I'm feeling because of the title change, I'm still not nearly as down on this movie as I probably should be. My enthusiasm has been diminished but it has not yet burnt out. You can see other posters, including ones that spotlight Roshi and Bulma, and screencaps at IGN .

Even more interesting is the Japanese trailer (which is completely in English with Japanese subtitles) which you can see here at Inside the Briefcase. It really doesn't show us too much more than what was already known. There is an origin given for the Dragonballs that's unique to this film, but I'm not too bothered by it seeing as how the anime and manga gave a few different conflicting explanations for the Dragonballs. What's significantly more disconcerting is that there is apparently some destiny that Goku must fulfil. A few positive highlights for me include seeing Grampa Gohan train Goku and the yelling of "Kamehameha". Nerd-gasm!

Mr. Belvedere Is Coming To DVD Next Year

This is the greatest news in the history of news.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Hulk In The Wall

There were a lot of potential titles I was deciding upon for this post. In the end I went with the Floyd reference. How could I have second guessed myself?

It's been a little under two months since my last haul post. That's a long time and this stuff is starting to pile up. Sorry for this assault of JPEGs. Well you've met the Hulk, so now some action figures.

This is a pretty good indication of how much time has lapsed since the last haul; these are some of the horror DVDs I picked up in the various sales held in October. I actually received a few in a package that arrived the morning of November 1st. Ah well, I've got something to watch next year.

Yeah that's the Silent Hill disc art. It was nicer looking than the actual DVD cover.

I finished up Black Lagoon. I got the rest of the second season and all of season one.

One anime series I won't be finishing anytime soon is Hellsing Ultimate. How long has it been since I got the last volume? I'm afraid to check. For volume four I went with the Limited Edition. It comes with an artbook.

Here's a couple of sample pages from the book.

Here's one item I've eagerly wanted as soon as I learned of its existence, the Star Wars The Clone Wars steelbook. Is there anything that could top a Star Wars steelbook?

Yes, one thing and one thing only. A Doctor Who steelbook. It was forged from pure liquid freaking awesome.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

9 Most Anticipated of '09

After giving much thought I've compiled this list of the nine movies I'm most looking forward to next year. I probably should've waited until at least the end of this month to share this list but I'm impatient. It will be very interesting to look back on this list a year from now and see how things panned out.

9. Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino is writing and directing this pseudo-remake of an Italian film from the '70s. Inglorious Basterds is a World War II story about a group of former prisoners going up against a group of Nazis. The "Basterds" include Brad Pitt, Eli Roth and B.J. Novak of The Office fame. I'm actually a little skeptical that the movie will actually reach theatres next year. Of all the films on this list I believe Inglorious Basterds is the only one that hasn't completed principle photography. Plus Tarantino likes to take his time with his projects. That's fine though, as long as we get to see it eventually.

8. Astro Boy

I wasn't really sure what to think fof Imagi's CGI adaptation of the beloved anime classic. I had become blasé about it until the debut of the teaser trailer. That just looks like pure fun. I'm also pleased with the characters designs which stay true enough to Osamu Tezuka's creations albeit with "Westernized" eyes.

7. Friday the 13th

Based on what I've read this movie seems to be more of mash-up of the first two sequels than a straight remake of the original Friday the 13th. So don't expect a lot of action from Jason's crazy mom. Do expect Jason to be wearing a sack on his head à la Friday the 13th Part II before he dons the iconic hockey mask. I prefer unkillable zombie Jason of the latter films over the deformed brute Jason myself, but I'm open to all interpretations of Mr. Voorhees. I also have an ulterior reason to anticipate this remake. Paramount is using the promotional opportunity to officially release the unedited version of the original Friday the 13th on home video for the first time. Unfortunately they aren't doing this for the sequels, so far.

6. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

A few of the items I've read about G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra make me feel quite positive about the film, such as Larry Hama's supposed heavy involvement. Yet there's a whole lot more about G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra that sounds cringe worthy. It's still early though. We still don't know if Destro will look like anything other than Christopher Eccleston in a business suit. And we don't know anything at all about how Joseph Gordon Levitt will look as Cobra Commander. If we even see his face at all, it'll be a disappointment. (Not to disparage Mr. Levitt.)

5. The Road

I've read the novel by Cormac McCarthy about a father trying to survive with his son in a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland. A film adaptation of The Road has the potential to be quite good. The last movie to be based on a McCarthy novel was quite well received. I do expect the filmmakers to tinker with the story. Charlize Theron has been cast as the wife of the father (Viggo Mortensen) which makes me suspect that they've expanded that character's role.

4. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I had felt like they were rushing into this follow-up to Transformers a little too soon. Now that some time has passed I'm starting to get hooked into the excitement for this sequel. The rumoured cast of new Autobots and Decepticons reads like a countdown of fan favourites including Arcee, Jetfire, Devastator, Prowl, Ravage and a strong possibility of The Fallen. One beloved character who's been confirmed to make an appearance is Soundwave. That's an early look at a movie Soundwave action figure in the picture above.

3. The Wolf Man

Before he'll start directing First Avenger: Captain America Joe Johnston is set to release this update of the Universal Monsters classic. Although images of Rick Baker's makeup for the title character (which looks great) have been available for awhile there's not a whole lot else to assess the film by. Based on what we do know I must say the movie's tone appears closer to Bram Stoker's Dracula than Van Helsing. That can't be bad. As with Friday the 13th I'll be anticipating new DVD releases of the original film that inspired this remake nearly as much as I'm anticipating the new movie itself.

2. Dragonball

I haven't discussed the Dragonball movie in awhile, aside from my passive aggressive MS Paint creations. I was fairly optimistic for quite awhile but the more that I've learned about this movie the more difficult it's been to remain upbeat. Let's take Piccolo as an example. I could accept him wearing a black leather outfit or not having antennae, but to give him white skin? Even I have my limits. Still I must look ahead. I'm simply too much of a Dragonball fan to not be obsessed with this live action adaptation.

1. Watchmen

What else but Watchmen? The trailers and images for Watchmen have been fantastic. Still there's a lot of ways for this movie to disappoint. The graphic novel is already near perfect in its original form. There's no way to adapt it to another medium without losing something in the process. I'm sure fans will find something to complain about. I just hope that the overwhelming majority of the film will be an amazing experience.