My Favorite Things This Week: Tokusatsu, That 70s Show & Pure Cinema

This week I find myself captivated by a Japanese genre from the 60s, a sitcom set in the 70s and a podcast that spans all decades to bring listeners a variety of must-see films. That’s right, this week I’m obsessed with tokusatsu, That 70s Show and the Pure Cinema Podcast! Continue reading My Favorite Things This Week: Tokusatsu, That 70s Show & Pure Cinema

Preferred Podcasts: The Bloodcast

the bloodcast logo

I actually wrote most of this post last fall, but stopped after hearing that The Bloodcast hosts would be going their separate ways and the show would be put on indefinite hiatus. But, since we’re in the throws of Halloween time, I figured it couldn’t hurt to dust this one off and let people know about a great horror podcast that can just as easily be listened to now as it was when new episodes came out.

Anyway, after discovering Killer P.O.V. I started looking around for new podcasts to check out and didn’t have to look much further than KPOV distributors Geek Nation. They had another show on the network called The Bloodcast hosted by Ryan Turek and Clarke Wolfe from episodes 44 to 97. While P.O.V. tends to feature a guest to go along with the topic, The Bloodcast focused more on the hosts discussing various topics from current films to reviews of franchises and director filmographies.

As with all of the podcasts I listen to, the real hook for me here boils down to the hosts. The dynamic between Turek and Wolfe was fantastic. Both have a love and academic appreciation for the genre, but also have realistic views on what’s going on. Yes, they’re fans, but they’re not the kinds of fans you might see talking garbage about horror movies on internet message boards.

The most unique aspect of the their show, though, came from their different perspectives which at least partially come from a difference in age. Turek, like me, is in his 30s while Wolfe is in her mid-20s. So, while he’s super steeped in the old school slasher franchises of the 80s, she was more raised on the supernatural films of the 90s.

I also personally find it really interesting listening to Wolfe talk about horror as a younger person. I often look at this sprawling genre I love and wonder what movies the upcoming generations will seek out. There were cannon-like movies I was super excited to check off my must see list, but I wondered if they were the same movies for the most part. Hearing Wolfe talk is heartening because it does sound like the classics are still winning over younger viewers.

While listening to the new episodes as they came out, I also went back and gave all of the Turek-Wolfe episodes a listen. A few highlights I recommend checking out are the episodes about Wes Craven, the Phantasm series and the George Romero showcase. I was disappointed to hear about the show being put on hiatus because I liked the dynamic so much, but I’m also glad that the show existed for as long as it did and can still be listened to now.

HDTGM Triple Feature: Jingle All The Way (1996), Street Fighter (1994) & Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

jingle all the way poster One of the highlights of my podcast-listening week is seeing a new episode of How Did This Get Made pop up. I’m a huge fan of this show about wacky movies hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas. Sometimes I watch the movie before the episode goes live, sometimes I’m pretty familiar with them already and other times, I just go along for the ride and check it out later. In the past few weeks, I’ve actually watched a trio of films inspired by the podcast and figured I’d group them all together. I also just realized that these three movies feature three of my favorite action stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone in some of their most bonkers movies ever.

The gang covered the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sinbad holiday comedy Jingle All The Way on their first Christmas episode back in 2011. I watched this one a few weeks back, but thankfully took notes to help jog my memory. The movie finds workaholic dad Schwarzenegger going crazy trying to find an action figure for his son, played by future Anakin Skywalker Jake Lloyd. Sinbad moves in an out of the movie doing the same thing. Meanwhile, it seems like Phil Hartmann is moving in on Arnie’s wife Rita Wilson and this is all leading towards a huge holiday parade in what’s supposed to be a snow-covered town, but is clearly a side street in LA in the spring.

I thought I had this movie figured out for the first 20 minutes or so. That part is basically a movie for kids with over-the-top, cartoony style gags. Heck, there’s all kinds of talk in the first 10 minutes that set up the entire film (toy, parade, snow, etc.). Cool, I got it, let’s roll. And then things start getting weird and dark. The whole Hartman thing was pretty crazy, plus Sinbad is a nutso postal worker (remember when that was a thing?) who actually hands a cop a bomb that explodes! Luckily, he’s okay because he’s apparently facing off against the Road Runner. The whole thing culminates in a big parade where Arnie dresses up as the action figure hero and has a pretty epic fight with Sinbad. I feel like I could use the word “bonkers” to describe roughly everything in this movie. I wound up watching the end with my kid and I’m pretty sure she didn’t pick up on any of the insanity, so maybe you can get away with this one with a tyke if you have one. Maybe just cover their eyes when Arnie punches a reindeer in the face. That might be damaging.

Before moving on, if you’re looking for any kind of message, don’t. The obvious and seemingly intended point is that commercialism is not the point of Christmas, but that being with people is. And yet, the ENTIRE MOVIE is actually about commercialism, getting things, taking them away from other people and keeping them. You can’t just tack on a nice moment from Lloyd at the end and flip the whole script, you know? Ah well, moving on…

street-fighter-the-movie-poster This spring, HDTGM covered one of the greatest bad video game movies around when they did Street Fighter starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen (who’s as wooden here as she is on S.H.I.E.L.D., zing!), Kylie Minogue and Miguel A. Núñez Jr. who was in both Return Of The Living Dead AND Friday The 13th: A New Beginning. I’ve probably only played a Street Fighter game for about an hour in my whole life and know next to nothing about the franchise, but it’s still clear from watching this movie that the writers didn’t really care about any of that as far as plot goes and instead decided to just shoehorn in nods to the games.

Basically, Julia plays a guy who wants to not so much rule the world, but his own country. JCVD isn’t down with that, especially after Julia captures one of his pals. Thankfully, JCVD leads some kind of UN-type military group that wears bright blue camouflage for no reason. I honestly can’t remember many of the details beyond that because every single character in this movie is lying about what they want or why they’re there. So many of them switch sides that you practically need a score card. Actually, that’s an overstatement as the good guys are clearly good and the bad guys, well, usually wear masks, hats or have crazy blades on their hands.

The funny thing about this movie is that, I was pretty sure I’d seen this back in my high school days or maybe when I lived with my buddy Rickey and we watched a ton of JCVD movies. When I went to Netflix to give it watch, I laughed because it asked if I wanted to watch again and the screen capture was of the end credits. Guys, I can’t stay away from a good-bad JCVD movie and this is one of the best-worst. If you do watch this movie, please do yourself a favor and listen to the episode. They point out so many awesome bits of craziness that I kind of want to listen to it again right now.

stop or my mom will shoot I realized yesterday that Netflix Instant is about to cut a ton of titles on January 1st. Turns out there are 25 of those soon-to-be-gone flicks in my queue so I figured I’d watch a few when I can. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot popped out from the batch because of one thing: How Did This Get Made (episode 61 to be exact). Since Lu had laid claim to the big TV, I actually broke out the Kindle Fire and watched that way which worked pretty well.

Sylvester Stallone plays a supercop in this one whose mom — Estelle Getty — comes for a visit only to witness a murder that she teams up with her son to solve. This movie is so all-over-the-place that it’s really hard to get a handle on. It starts off with a solid action scene which eventually leads into an airport scene where a group of stewardesses comment on his physique based on pictures — many of them baby pics — that Estelle showed them. One of them even says something about him being attractive in a diaper which is just so weird and gross that it’s hard to handle. In fact, there’s a lot of awkward sex jokes that leave you off balance.

Keeping you further off balance is a scene where Estelle — who is super annoying in that way that moms of this time were on TV and film — actually washes his gun with soap and water in the sink. Up to that point she was just overbearing, but at this point she’s dumb verging on insane. That gets compounded by the fact that she brought an entire suitcase of canned pineapple as well as another one with cleaning products. That’s obviously pre-intense airline security, but I’m fairly certain you can make something terrible with at least one of those cases.

Oh, I forgot to mention that his house is kind of crazy too. He’s got a ton of random stuff all over the place from a ceramic pumpkin and a rubber ducky to a bunch of board games and a tiny red gumball machine. And there’s a dream sequence where Stallone’s in a diaper. And Estelle Getty shoots a guy. And there’s a henchman thrown out a window. And, and, and. None of this is actually about story so much as the crazytown things thrown in to launch an admittedly silly plot over-the-top into bonkersville.

Again, do yourself the service of listening to this episode if you decided to watch the movie (or even if you don’t, it’s that good). They point out a lot of the elements I noticed but also so many more. And remember, while you’re watching this one, remind yourself that Stallone has an Oscar for writing.

Never Forget: Wonder Woman Is Awesome

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Guys, Wonder Woman is awesome. She’s been holding her own in the DC Universe for decades alongside the likes of Superman, Batman and Green Lantern and even become one of the more iconic heroes of the 70s thanks to her TV series. Unfortunately, aside from some brief (but rad) appearances in Justice League, JLU and the Wonder Woman straight-to-DVD animated feature, she’s been out of the public eye for a while. People all over the internet have been calling for Warner Bros. to get off their butts and bring Princess Diana to the big screen.

We here at Explosions Are Rad fully support the idea as does Fast & Furious 6 and Haywire star Gina Carano. It’s a subject the real life fighter-turned-actress recently talked to ComingSoon.net about:

That’s the ultimate superhero for a woman. No matter what, no matter who ends up being Wonder Woman someday, I just hope it’s something that is done correctly. I know it’s there and that it could definitely be done correctly. It’s just a matter of getting the right people and having the right vision come together. A director and producer and writer have to see the beauty in it and make it real.

For what it’s worth, we fully support the idea of Carano playing Wonder Woman. Someone needs to make that happen.

Meanwhile, for a cool, but different look at the character, check out the three shorts created by Robert Valley (Aeon Flux) for Cartoon Network’s comic-centric DC Nation block of programming.

Finally, if you’re interested in hearing what Grant Morrison has planned for the Amazon in his Earth One graphic novel with Yanick Paquette, download Kevin Smith’s Fat Man On Batman Episode #44 and give it a listen. Sounds like he’s got a great handle on the character, one that might translate well to the big screen, even.

[Via The Mary Sue & The Mary Sue]

Casting Internets

This is from before the season finale, but I think it still holds true. Courtney Enlow over at Pajiba completely nails the problem with How I Met Your Mother: the creators seem as obsessed with Ted and Robin as Ted is. Also, I completely agree with her inability to really let the show go because we both love these characters so much. Sigh.

This is also pretty old at this point, but I finally got around to reading Robin Williams’ tribute to Jonathan Winters from The New York Times is a really great read.

Brian Collins’ Horror Movie A Day review of Rob Zombie’s Lords Of Salem actually makes me kinda want to watch that movie, something I’ve never said in my life.

Do yourself a favor and read my buddy Alex Kropinak‘s look back at the very first What The-?! he did for Marvel.com.

fob perillo

I like Fall Out Boy and I like artist Dave Perillo, so the two coming together in the form of this Perillo-created FOB poster is fun.

While on the subject of FOB, Andy Greene’s Rolling Stone article about what went on between their last album and Save Rock And Roll was pretty fascinating.

Ron Marz is a whole heckuva lot busier than I am and on a completely different level as a writer, but there’s a lot I can relate to in his “day in the life” piece for CBR as a comic writer.

miami-connection-poster

Man, I have got to see Miami Connection. Not sure if I want to buy the film from Drafthouse without seeing it, but these packs are awfully tempting.

Mental Floss took a walk down memory lane by digging up memories of the Nickelodeon time capsule buried back in 1992 supposed to be dug up in 50 years. I wonder what comic book is in there.

I’ve often wondered what the collaboration between Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis would have sounded like. Rolling Stone says Paul McCartney was also possibly going to be involved. That might not sound super exciting, but then think about how Paul’s weirdness would have bounced off and been morphed by those guys. Epic.

Bloody Disgusting says a new Gremlins movie might be in the works. I like this news quite a bit.

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Hey, speaking of Chris Columbus (he wrote Gremlins) has anyone read his House Of Secrets book? He says it’s the thematic cousin of Goonies in this THR interview which definitely sounds intriguing.

I just read that Alton Brown‘s going to have a podcast on Nerdist Network. This is very good news.

Finally, this is pretty heavy, but if you’ve ever felt depressed, you can probably relate to the most recent Hyperbole And A Half post. It’s long, but it’s really well done too.

Preferred Podcasts: Killer P.O.V.

killer pov

Considering how often I write about horror movies here on UnitedMonkee you might think I’ve been listening to or watching a podcast about the genre for years, but that’s not the case. In fact, up until last week, I don’t think the idea even crossed my mind. It seems likely that I checked out a few here and there over the years, but dropped them for the usual reasons (poor audio quality, overly cynical hosts, etc.). I came across Geek Nation‘s Killer P.O.V. recently thanks to following Scream Factory on Twitter. Jeff Nelson, the guy who runs that account and does a lot of work on the home video releases we all love so much, was interviewed (it was episode 8, which you can check out here). I’m actually really interested in the behind the scenes goings-on over at Shout Factory because it just seems like such a rad company, so I gave it a listen. Now, a week later, I’m caught up on all nine episodes.

Hosts Rebekah McKendry (Fangoria), Rob Galluzzo (FEARnet) and Elric Kane (Inside Horror) not only have cool horror pedigrees, but they’re also real fans of the genre. Much like other favorite shows Hear Me Out and Matt and Brett Love Comics, they love their respective topics, but don’t go overboard into the kind of tunnel vision fandom that populates message boards. Basically, McKendry, Galluzzo and Kane understand what works about horror and how it works in a business sense and don’t get too bent out of shape about things like remakes and whatnot while still having strong, well thought out opinions on those topics. Each episode features regular segments like “What are you watching” and news, but also a guest who comes in and talks about a given topic (we’ve heard everything from best/worst remakes to movies that actually scared them). Horror Movie A Day writer Brian Collins was on episode 6 which was really interesting as I’m a big fan of him and his site.

There is one kind of glaring problem with the podcast, though it’s more the fault of GeekNation than the hosts as far as I can tell. That problem? You can’t subscribe to this podcast. You have to go to the GeekNation podcast page, scroll down to the Killer P.O.V. section, select an episode page and then download from there (there is no general Killer P.O.V. page which means you can’t subscribe via RSS). For me, podcasts are an automatic thing. I subscribe and they appear when they’re available. I don’t have to do anything but occasionally look at iTunes. Having to remember every Friday to head over to the site, download the ep and then add it to my iTunes is a relative pain. By the way, the fact that the track imports to iTunes as a song and not a podcast can be a problem if you’re listening to an episode and stop to listen to a song (or hit the wrong button on your keyboard as I often do) because it doesn’t keep track of where you were like it would a podcast. These are all ultra first world problems, but when you’re dealing with a certain medium, it makes sense to get your content out like everyone else.

Still, I downloaded all nine eps and have given them a listen and really enjoy the show. Like with Weekend Confirmed, these guys are way, way more well-versed on horror than I am, but it’s still fun to go along for the ride. Since I have a lot more experience with horror than video games, though, I can relate to and understand a lot of what they’re talking about, even having my own experiences with many of the flicks they talk about. Also, an added bonus that’s a little bit more personal is that all three of the hosts are professional journalists and they often talk about aspects of the job that I can easily relate to — either thanks to current experience or memories from my Wizard and ToyFare days — so that’s a fun. When McKendry started talking about getting into fights over a big list feature in Fangoria, I immediately flashed back to the meetings I sat in on at Wizard, like the greatest single issues of all time. They also make the LA horror scene sound super awesome, like the kind of thing I could get into if I wasn’t on the opposite coast and vaguely terrified of strangers.

Preferred Podcasts: Weekend Confirmed

Weekend Confirmed

As I mentioned when talking about Hear Me Out, now that I’m relatively caught up on most of my podcasts, I’m on the hunt for new ones to add to my weekly listening experience. I don’t usually actively look for new shows to listen to or watch, they tend to come organically from hearing the host on another podcast. That’s how I first heard about Hear Me Out as well as Weekend Confirmed.

Totally Rad Show was one of the first podcasts I ever started watching and it was easily a favorite. In fact, I used to turn it on while my daughter and I ate lunch. She dug it so much that she even learned part of the theme song. Well, as you probably know, TRS is no longer with us, but I did remember hearing one of the hosts Jeff Cannata was also on a video game show called Weekend Confirmed, so I gave it a download and have been enjoying it ever since.

WC is basically a video game radio show where Cannata and fellow regular host Garnett Lee talk about the week’s news and games with a rotating cast of other video game journalists and professionals. While I enjoy video games, I’m far closer to the world of casual gamers than hardcore ones — I’m perfectly content waiting for a game to make it to the $15-25 range used at Game Stop and don’t spend nearly as much time playing these days — but I still like listening to people who are really into this format talking about what they like and why.

Since I’m not a huge game guy, I will admit that a lot of what they talk about goes over my head. But I’m okay with that. There’s a whole world of games out there that I don’t know about, so every now and then I have to look up what a kind of game is. But, I don’t expect them to explain every little thing, I imagine I’m not exactly the audience they’re going for and I get that. I’m learning as I go which is pretty fun and reminds me a little bit of when I first got into comics, just diving in with both feet trying to figure out what’s going on.

While I like listening to smart people intelligently talk about any subject that I’m even remotely interested in, I will admit that Cannata’s presence on the show is what got me there in the first place and probably coming back for the first few listens. Unlike a lot of other podcasts, I decided not to go back as far as I could with episodes, but instead just started with whatever the latest episode was and went on from there. I will admit I was disappointed when I got to a few episodes that Cannata wasn’t on, but by that time I was enjoying the whole of the show enough where I stuck with it and now I can easily say I’m a Weekend Confirmed fan. If you’re into games, give it a listen!