Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Lantern

I miss the days when I could just run out and see a movie opening night. Having a baby necessitates that I must reign in such desires, at least until I can get a baby sitter. Well, with a sitter gotten, the wife and I rolled out to see our first movie in awhile, and it was Green Lantern, one of my favorite super heroes. Being a big fanboy for GL, what did I think of this film that seems to be reviled by most? I loved it, of course.

I'm sure my fanaticism for it helps fuel my liking for it, but really, it was actually quite good. Is it going to blow you away? Maybe if you're a big fan. I think if you liked something like Iron Man, you'll enjoy this. There's a lot of material that they try to fit into the movie and I'll admit that distilling the essence of the early Hal Jordan stories, most of which was expanded on over multiple issues, is a daunting task. There's Hal Jordan's history and his friends and family. There's the history of the Corps itself. There's Parallax, the villain of the piece. Can't forget Hector Hammond, a sympathetic villain who is actually used better than in the comics. And more. It's all balanced rather well and we jump from Earth to space and back again and cover quite a lot of territory in the sub-two hour run time. And it's necessary. By getting this out of the way, we are free to frolic in a sequel. But that's the future.

Ryan Reynolds is great as GL. He brings a humanity and humor to Hal Jordan that is missing from the comics, where the character comes off as rather bland. He's a real great in and out of costume and does a fantastic job acting against a green screen and in a mocap suit for most of the movie. Blake Lively is sexy and confident as his boss/friend, Carol Ferris. Mark Strong is suitably tough as Sinestro and Peter Skaarsgard is a sniveling Hector Hammond.

The effects are top notch and I had little complaints about them as they brought to life Oa and multiple members of the Corps in their fights against Parallax. Indeed, any complaint I might have is that we didn't see enough of the Corps. I could just watch as the camera panned from member to member, but that wouldn't have been very exciting for everyone else, but the ones we're left with like Tomar Re and Kilowog are fantastic.

It might not be everyone's cup of tea and maybe a knowledge of the comics would help more people, but I think the movie does a fine job of providing an intro into the world of Green Lantern and sets us up with plenty of places to go in the next installment.

Check it out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy

I make no secret of it. I love men in rubber suits. Not the bondage kind, the monster kind. Godzilla. Gamera. Ultraman. I think the movies and tv shows are fantastic. So you can imagine my glee when I booted up Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy where I got to see just about every Ultraman and a slew of monsters that they face duke it out as the good guys try to stop the evil Ultraman Belial.

Ultraman Belial, the aforementioned villian, once was a hero. He tried to take the light that keeps the planet of the Ultramen alive and was exiled for it. After combining with an evil monster, Belial tried to take it again but this time was imprisoned by Ultra King. Well, it's years later and some enterprising monster decides to free Belial so that he can have his help in conquering the universe. That goes over well as can be expected with an immediate betrayal and Belial succeeds in his quest to steal the light after fighting every Ultraman that gets in his path, plunging the planet into freezing night. It's up to a cadre of humans working with Ultraman, Mebius and Seven as well as the new Ultraman, Zero, to get the light back and rid the universe of the menace of Belial and save the world.

I won't tell you if that happens, but what I will say is that this movie knows how to deliver. It's almost constant action, with fight after fight from the opening minutes to the very end. Single combat. Group battles. Space battles. This movie has it all in spades. I have to say, it was awesome seeing Ultraman and Seven back in action again, as I grew up with them, as well as seeing all the other different Ultras that I have a passing familiarity with. The new monster design is off the chain too. Belial looks like Lord Zedd mixed with Carnage but not hilarious. Instead, he's very sinister and monstrous. The end monster is a fantastic creation that needs to be seen to be believed. Epic is the only word to describe it. And maybe creepy. I could almost throw this under a horror movie tag just for that creature alone.

I wasn't sure if I would like Zero but I think he's pretty badass, if a little overpowered in some of the fights, though he needs to be considering the power level of his opponents. He even has an almost mega-smasher-like finish. That gets cool points. Chest beams are cool. Trust me.

There's a sequel I'll have to check out now. If it's anything like this one, I'll be very entertained. Check it out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wizard World Philly 2011

It was that time of year again. A time when comic fans from all over congregate in the city of Philadelphia for the Wizard World in our neck of the woods. This year was my first in awhile and my buddy's last for a bit. I had no real agenda this time around, having lost my Starman list of remaining issues I need for the whole set of floppies. We basically just rammed around jumping from booth to booth and checking out things that caught our eye.

The first thing we noticed was the largest line for WWP that I've ever seen. I've waited in line to get in there before, but that was usually before they opened, not an hour afterwards. It moved pretty quickly, but it was still annoying, though a larger turnout this year might mean a larger setup next year, which would be key, as it was still a relatively small show compared to past years when it felt like I could wander for hours and not see everything.

There were a bevy of stars there like Bruce Campbell, Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree, Nicholas Brendon, Torrie Wilson (so hot), Kristanna Loken (so hot) and more. I was more interested in the half priced trades and picked up two volumes of Morrison's New X-Men and the Jason vs. Freddy vs. Ash sequel that I trade waited on. I was hoping someone would have the new Commander decks but the few places I saw that might have them were sold out on Friday so I'll have to wait until new shipments come in.

I did pick up some new prints though not all that I wanted. One guy had a sweet Darkhawk print but I couldn't find another one he had that would let me take advantage of his pricing scheme. 15 for one was a little high but 20 for 2 is a little better. I did get three prints of the Doctor (4th, 9th and 10th) and a sweet Greg Horn Power Girl painting. Hopefully he finishes the one with the model train in it so I can get that too. I would have settled for the b&w art but that was not for sale.

It's not the biggest show, but it's a fun one and easy to get to for me since I just take 95 all the way in to the convention center.

Now to save up for NYCC in the fall, which should be a real blast if I can go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War (review)

Well, it finally aired last night so I figured I could post some more in depth thoughts on the episode. I was loathe to do so before it aired in the US as there's always the odd chance someone will stumble upon this little blog and have it spoiled for them and I would hate for that to happen.

Now that that's out of the way.

The episode was fantastic. It's a really good cap off of the first part of the season. Amy is in the hands of a shadowy organization and the Doctor calls in a few favors to raise and army to kick some ass so that they can get her and the baby back. Rory dons the Roman armor again and the first casualty of the war are some Cybermen who might know where the base for the enemy is. Great stuff. Always love to see the metal men getting their asses kicked.

It's a rollicking good time, too. It's fun seeing the different people show up at the Doctor's behest and despite being a fairly serious episode, it still manages to be loaded with a lot of fun. Space pirates. Lesbian Silurians. Headless monks. Exploding Cybermen. Hell, we even find out a bit about River Song, as to exactly who she really is. We're still waiting on who she is to the Doctor and who she killed to get locked up, but it's the little things that keep us hanging on.

I can't wait to watch it again, I enjoyed it so much. Brilliant stuff that reminds me a lot of Eccleston's finale, where he goes balls to the wall to fight off the enemy.

Check it out.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War

SPOILERS!

It's awesome.

Doctor Who: S6E6

After being off for a week due to Memorial Day, we finally got to see the second part of the Doctor Who arc with the Flesh and the acid island. I think it was worth the wait. A little drawn out, I think, for what they wanted to do, but it was fun. We even get a creature out of it, of sorts. And a wall of eyes.

This episode continues the story of clones, called Gangers, that are usually used and disposed of, but this time have come to a life of their own and they intend to fight for it, even if it means killing the Doctor and the other humans. It's a nice tale that explores what it really is to be a person. It's not what your body is made of but what is inside that counts. The Flesh is an interesting concept, functioning a lot like an Auton, but with more sentience. Sorry Rory. I loved the setting too. The old church filled with acid was a nice touch.

Also, the discoveries here lead directly into the next episode, giving us quite the the cliffhanger until next week's half-season finale. Check it out.

Zombie Honeymoon

I remember hearing about Zombie Honeymoon before it came out. Not a review. Just that they filmed in New Jersey, pretty close to where I live. I thought that was cool and made a note to check it out whenever it hit dvd as I was fairly certain I would miss it in the theater. Well, after languishing in my Netflix queue for ages, I picked it up for five bucks at Walmart with the intention of watching it. Then it sat there on the shelf for a year or so until I remembered I had it and checked it out for this week's Friday Night Fright. Was it worth the wait?

Well, no. Not due to any hype I had for the movie. Don't get me wrong, it's a solid little film, but for some reason I have a feeling that it's been done better in another movie I've seen, but for the life of me I can't remember what I'm comparing it to in my head. The movie is about two newlyweds, obviously, who get married and head down to the shore for their honeymoon and lots of sexing. One day, while at the beach, they're chilling when all of a sudden a zombie comes out of the ocean and vomits into the husband's mouth and dies. Of course the husband isn't feeling well so they take him to the hospital where he dies but then comes back ten minutes later, feeling fine and ready to go home. Unfortunately, like most returns from beyond the grave, he has come back wrong and starts to develop a hunger for more than just his wife's love. Slowly, he's turning into the undead and his wife is determined to stand by him in sickness or in health.

The acting is decent, particularly by the wife, who is dressed for the wedding like Lydia in Beetlejuice, red dress and all. She even looks like Winona Ryder at times and best of all, she shows some skin, which is important for these smaller productions. It's nice seeing the shore in a movie, though it looks like they didn't do much filming in Spring Lake, where the flick is set. Not a big problem but I was hoping to see more landmarks from the town. Looks more like Deal, really, though that might have been necessary to get the secluded beach they needed for the initial zombie attack. More importantly, they do deliver on some zombie goodness, with some brutal kills and decent make-up. If you're looking for hordes of the undead, look elsewhere, as the film is about a man's deterioration from infection and spreads by an odd vector, not just biting.

I think the movie is a little confused about what it wants to be. It plays like a straight horror movie, but at times it seems like they want it to be a horror comedy, what with the infusion of psychobilly music and the way some of the attacks happen. It's only a moment or two, so it's a bit out of place.

I would say it's an average movie, done well for its budget and small cast, but not the cult classic ala Evil Dead that some reviews would have you believe. If you're in the mood for a subdued, personal horror film about the things we'll do for love, even if one of us is the undead, this one is for you. Worth a watch, especially to support a homegrown NJ director, but you won't be getting repeat viewings on this one, I wager. I hear that the director wants to make a sequel, too. If so, I hope he sets it at the shore again. Always great to see the state in a movie.

Check it out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Pre-con: Relic Breaker

I got to test out a pre-con that I had for awhile now during my weekly MTG lunch that I have with my friend at work. I've been doing well with the decks I created and since I had this one lying around after my brother gave it to me, I decided to give it a whirl. As you can tell by the name, it has a specific set of skills that the deck relies on to function. Namely, relic (artifact) breaking. Most of the creatures you have in the deck are geared towards this, from the foil rare to several of your beaters. This is great for a relic heavy block like Scars of Mirrodin. Not so much against regular decks.

Today I was matched up against the Knights deck from the Knights vs Dragons duel deck, as it was one of the few Jesse had handy. I had a bad feeling about choosing a red deck against it, since the Knights are geared towards taking down dragons, something my deck was rather light on. To do this, they're pretty aggro oriented and sure enough, I was up against a full board a few times that I had to get creative to beat. The Knights deck hits hard and fast and does it well. That's not to say that Relic Breaker is any slouch. It's just not as light on its feet as I would prefer. Check out a more in depth review over at Ertai's Lament.

The low drops in the deck are the mana myrs and they're not going to do too much against the fast knights. I had none of those in hand, opting to keep two Barrage Ogres and an Sylviok Replica as my creatures. I eventually pulled one, but not until after I had to take down a few knights with spells like Arc Trail and Untamed Might on a chump block. I landed a cudgel troll, who turned out to be the MVP for me, landing the majority of the damage I had until I dropped the Ogres. That wasn't going to help me when Jesse landed a dude with protection from red. I had to play around him, fireballing his troops and then sacrificing my myr to the Ogre to ping another guy for two. I swung for four and brought him into range for a bum rush. He played another creature who could block me and might turn the tide in his favor, with me having been whittled down to four health. Fortunately, I had a panic spellbomb to pop and that cleared the way for me to win.

It's a fun deck, but it clearly needs some low end help. I'll probably be tossing in some Furnace Scamps as a one drop, giving me the ability to hit for four on the ground if the way is clear, giving me some leverage against early attacks. Why swing at me for two if I can return for four if you're using your only blocker? Seems like a plan. I think I need some more burn in there too. I feel the need for some bolts. They're too good not to have and can either clear the board of some troublemakers or finish the opponent off. I shall meddle with it. I was pleased with it though. A solid player for the one game I played. I'll need to get some more in before I can really judge the weaknesses better, though they seem to be as I suspected.