My Favorite Film Experiences Of 2018

I haven’t done a lot of blogging this year, but, don’t worry, I’ve still been watching a ton of movies! I’ve even been keeping track of everything I’ve watched or read in a pair of Composition Note Books that I’ve (not so) cleverly dubbed Pop Notes. Thanks to them, I’m pretty confident looking back at the year and piecing together thoughts on some of my fave film-watching experiences (minus horror, which will get a list or two of their own). This one’s pretty long, so hit that jump and get into it!

Continue reading My Favorite Film Experiences Of 2018

Toy Commercial Tuesday: Iron Man & X-Men

This week’s TCT is a fun little double whammy thanks to YouTuber CraigLeeThomas. As you can see it starts off with an Iron Man spot followed by an X-Men one. I found this particular video because I couldn’t remember if there were actual X-Men toy commercials back in the 90s. I figured there must have been more than that first one I wrote about a while back, especially considering the cartoon was so popular and that Toy Biz line seemed like it was around forever, but couldn’t remember any specifics.

So, we kick off with that Iron Man commercial and, while I don’t remember seeing it, I definitely had all of those toys. Those were the glorious days you could get four figures for a $20, so I added a lot to my collection especially while visiting my grandma in Cleveland. I loved the snap on armors with all the different accessories, but also how the bad guys in this line each had a cool action feature. Oh, plus, MODOK toy, right?

Then you’ve got the X-Men commercial which featured that huge, rad Sentinel toy. I didn’t have him, but I’m sure I wanted it if and when I saw it. Gotta love all those destruction points for a variety of play options. As far as the action figures go, that was definitely my first Wolverine toy and I might have gotten Rogue later on down the line, but I¬†gravitated towards¬†other versions of Gambit, Beast and Cyclops.

Finally, while I find the commercial’s conceit that Rogue would be so easily captured and need saving is problematic, it’s kind of adorable hearing that boy do a Southern accent.

Toy Commercial Tuesday: The Avengers

Over the weekend, I introduced my daughter to a bunch of Avengers toys I was sent years ago as a way of hyping the toy tie-in line from Hasbro. Everything came in a super cool, locker-like box but the toys inside proved to be a lot more interesting three years later. My daughter’s just at the right age to actually play with the smaller scale figures and get a kick out of things like a Hulk mask and Iron Man repulsor ray. We’ve also got that shield-slinging Cap which is fun, but the real highlights are the 3 3/4 inch figures which have made their way with us on various outings.

Personal story aside, I forgot how crazy the rap was in these Avengers toy commercials. Wowzers.

For Your Home Viewing Pleasure: September 24th, 2013

iron man 3 combo packThis week’s biggest release is none other than Iron Man 3 (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy), the latest Marvel Studios film to hit home video complete with all kinds of special features for you to comb through until Thor: The Dark World comes out.The Dark Knight Trilogy Ultimate Collector's Edition

On the other side of the comic book movie side of the fence, Warner Bros. unleashed their The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray] which includes Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises as well as plenty of previously unseen special features.

What are the odds that two Explosions Are Rad favorites not only have straight to video movies debuting on the same day, but also feature the same word in both titles? Apparently pretty good as Jason Statham’s latest Redemption (also known as Hummingbird in the UK) dropped today…

As did Dolph Lundgren’s clunkily titled Blood of Redemption. This one also stars Billie Zane and sometimes-Statham collaborator Vinnie Jones. So many connections!dollman blu-ray

Dollman starring Tim Thomerson and directed by Albert Pyun (Cyborg) isn’t exactly a lost classic, but we’d definitely be interested in checking out the recently released Blu-ray from Full Moon.Movies 4 You - Timeless Military Film Collection

War movie buffs will jazzed to hear that Shout and Timeless Media have Movies 4 You – Timeless Military Film Collection available now. The set includes Hell Raiders, Lost Battalion, Tank Battalion and Go For Broke.

Casting Internets

Goodness, it’s funny how these things get away from me. When I started keeping track of this back of links, Mad Men had just come back out.

First, to toot my own horn, I wrote stories about Youngblood, “Triggergirl 6,” Battle Beasts, Think Tank and The Tower Chronicles.

Meanwhile, over on Marvel.com, I talked to Joe Casey, Tom DeFalco and Roger Stern about their issues of Hulk Smash Avengers as well as an Iron Man movie app comic!

Mad Men returned which meant I wanted to read two posts about it, one from my pal Sean T. Collins, the other by Tom & Lorenzo. Neither disappointed.

I know there’s no details about this Dan Aykroyd/Chevy Chase movie, but I’m cautiously optimistic about it. I hope they don’t disappoint. (via THR)

I haven’t listened to Aziz Ansari‘s new hour called Dangerously Delicious, but I did buy it for $5. I really like this new method of getting stand-up out there, but do wish the video came with a separate audio file as well.

The day Ansari’s new set went on sale, The New York Times did a story on this new model of business that Louis CK started. I am a big fan of this model.

I also bought but haven’t listened to Jim Gaffigan‘s latest special. Jeez, I need to set some me time aside, you know?

I remember Derek Trucks when he was just a young kid blowing my mind with both his skill and the fact that he got to play with the Allman Brothers. This Rolling Stone interview with him was equally interesting.

Also from RS, I had no idea Amazon bought used stuff, let alone the news of them accepting CDs for credit. This could be worth while.

Yes, I kind of want to go to the Summerland Tour, which features Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms and Marcy Playground. 90s Nostalgia! Here’s another old one, this 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Mondo poster already went up for sale and is gone, but it lives on as my wallpaper.

Speaking of Mondo, the gang at /Film interview the brains behind the operation. I still think their desire to keep numbers low on their runs is less about keeping quality up and more about trying to stay cool, but they still do amazing work.

In one more bit of Mondo-related news, they’re opening an Alamo Drafthouse in NYC! I will probably never go there, but I am excited (via Bad Ass Digest)

Chef and food guru Michael Ruhlman wrote a post about the perfect martini, which includes gin if you didn’t know. I made half of one of these after reading this post and was doing quite well. Highly recommended.

Mark Waid’s post about the math that goes into making comics these days was pretty eye opening.

This story from my hometown newspaper The Toledo Blade about a group of dudes who regularly gather to play old school Techmo Bowl made me nostalgic for several reasons. Gizmodo says that Jeffrey Brown is doing a Star Wars book about Darth Vader being a dad. Yes, this will be in Lu’s library when it comes out.

MTV Geek broke the news about a He-Man comic from DC written by James Robinson. Five years ago, this would make me giddy. Today I face it with cautious optimism.

Legend has it that my AP European History teacher from high school wrote some of the backs of action figures, I wonder if he did any on this G.I. Joe Topless Robot list.

I love the idea of Green Day producing three albums in four months. Why not? Might as well put out the music as it comes. (via Rolling Stone)

Finally, this is the coolest Rube Goldberg device I’ve ever seen. (via Wired)

Late To The Xbox Live Party: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

To give you an idea as to how slow I am when it comes to finishing video games, I got Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 for Christmas last year and just finished it last night. There was many-month gap there were I didn’t even both playing it for a few reasons. First off, I had trouble with the save aspect of the game and wound up having to play the same level several times even though I thought I had reached a save point. Even after that I had a little trouble with the save/load menus because they give you two options that seem to be the same thing: load and continue. What’s the damn difference? I never quite figured that out. My other problem was that I loved the original game and this one didn’t come anywhere near that one for several reasons which I’ll get into shortly.

When the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance came out, I was working at Wizard. Though I had gotten there a little late for the epic Halo 2 marathons that I still hear about now from a few folks, the game makers sent a special Xbox 360 to the office and allowed us to play an advanced copy of the game which was such a fun experience. Tons of huge comic book fans all in one room surrounding a TV and cheering on their friends and coworkers beating up on various Marvel minions was so much fun and, of course, jumping in and playing ourselves, was great. That game spanned the breadth and depth of the Marvel Universe and really gave us a lot to have fun with. Eventually we had to send the 360 back, but after the game officially came out, Activision sent a bunch of copies to the office and I got to play through on my own. I had fun with the game even though it was pretty much the same kind of game as X-Men Legacy.

So, as you can tell, I had high hopes for the sequel. I was also hoping to play online with some friends, but I didn’t really push the issue too much (the one time I get a new game around the time it comes out and no one else is playing it!). The story of the game kind of follows the story behind Civil War, but actually has a more sensible ending and wasn’t nearly as meandering as the actual comic book story. That’s about all of the good things I have to say about the game. I mean, it wasn’t bad. I had a good enough time beating up on the never-ending parade of goons to fight, but I had a LOT of problems with it.

First off, video games starring superheroes should start off more powerful right off the bat in games like this. I understand that there need to be elements that can be upgraded as the game goes on, but it felt like if you weren’t playing one group of characters for most of the game, you’d be kind of screwed by the end of the game. Basically what I’m saying is that the Thing should never get killed in four seconds of any battle and that happened to me a number of times later on in the game. Leveling characters up is cool, but having to do so to survive later sections of the game takes a lot of the fun out of the whole endeavor. They give you all these awesome characters to play with, but you’re more rewarded for keeping the same team throughout the game. I got Venom and Green Goblin pretty late in the game and wanted to play with them, but they were so weak that it wasn’t worth it, they also didn’t have all their powers. I will claim ignorance and blame a little of that problem on myself because I forgot about the upgrade mechanics until just before I finished the game, but still, I’d rather just have powers that kick ass and go from there. The characters you’re given to play with also don’t seem powerful enough to play the game. I mean, I love Iron Fist and Gambit, but they’re not the guys I would recruit if I was fighting a supposedly world threatening enemy.

My other big problem with the game was how small it felt compared to the previous one. In MUA you went from Hell to Asgard and just about everywhere in between. This time around you go to Wakanda and Latveria. Woopdeedo. I know it’s hard to top such a huge story but fighting some heroes and villains who have been overtaken by Nanites really isn’t the way to do it. The lack of scope spread to the game’s end too. Anyone who played the first one will remember that, as you went through the game, there were a series of choices you had to make, whether to save this character or that and at the end of the game you were given a big overview as to how your decisions changed the entire Marvel Universe. This time around there was none of that.

All in all, I’m not sure what the point of making this game was as it turned out to be a huge disappointment both because it didn’t live up to expectations but also because, at the end of the day, it’s just another game like a bunch of other games that didn’t improve on anything. I finished and really just thought to myself, “What was the point?”

Self Serving Links

Best LolCat ever. Anyway, I’ve been really bad about posting links lately, so here’s a flood of them.

WTF Star Wars?! continues to be one of the most fun things I’ve written in a long time and the daily work is much appreciated. But that’s not all I’ve been working on for The Goods. I reviewed Superf*ckers and Super Spy The Lost Dossiers and did a series of lists including Iron Man Action Figures and Toys We Want To See, Essential Saturday Night Live Movies and The Best Star Wars Alien Action Figures.

Of course, the fine folks at Marvel have also been keeping me sufficiently busy with stories about Jeff Parker’s new Agents of Atlas series, the best Iron Man video game appearances, my buddy Jim McCann talking about Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Karl Kesel talking about his five favorite Avengers, colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser talking about her exclusive Marvel contract and the many costumes of Captain America.

My 9 Useful Items for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse list went up on Topless Robot. Start shopping now!

And, as always, my Maxim TV column keeps chugging along. Here’s this week’s.

Oh, also, ToyFare #156 is on stands now. I wrote a lot of that bad boy, from the Incoming section to the DC Direct Arkham Asylum and ToyFare Hall of Fame features.