Sam Raimi's Darkman recently got the deluxe Blu-ray treatment from Shout! Factory, and as well it should have. (I wrote about it over at the Village Voice.) Perhaps not so surprisingly, it doesn't look like the film's straight-to-video sequels Darkman II: The Return of Durant and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die will be getting the similar Blu-ray love anytime soon, at least not domestically. But the movies do have their charm, particularly given the diminishing returns of low-budget sequels in those days. (Yeah, you, Robocop 3.)
I should mention that "goofy" is not a pejorative term in this case. We are here to celebrate goofiness, not shun it.
Ian McKellen Whatup, Holmes?
Ian McKellen as a 93 year-old Sherlock Holmes may see long life as a benidiction, but we have to wonder if he still wants to cum a batch. This was but one of the weekend thread stories you might have missed, compiled with the aid of Kyle LeClair, and now it's time for the rest. Tipsters this week include skrag2112, Gallen_Dugall, Citrus King, CobraCommander, NOT.DrAbraxas, brownkidd, Anyone00, scockery, DrAbraxas, SlyDante777, fury_cartoon, donnaryoko,andre_moreloMore >>
One group likes a cartoon about brightly colored ponies with distinctive personalities. The other has a broad interest in animation and comics from Japan. Still, Bronies and anime fans are more similar than you might think. Both occupy relatively small pockets within the greater nerd universe; they may turn up at general events like San Diego Comic-Con, but they have their own conventions and their own way of expressing community. (Those MLP t-shirts that read "20% Cooler" and at least 50% of the costumes at Anime Expo won't make sense to people outside of the scenes.) On top of that, both Bronies and anime fans also face challenges and stereotypes that might not affect other so-called geeks. In fact, sometimes, they're misjudged by their own.More >>
In 1994, as Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers was being released, his producers Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher were looking for the trio's next project. (Hamsher recounts these events in her book, Killer Instinct). Murphy was a lifelong fan of the Planet of the Apes series, and sort of haphazardly threw Stone into a meeting with a roomful of studio executives. As they were eagerly leaning in to see Stone reveal his master plan for Apes, he said, "Oh, I don't know, I watched the original films a couple nights ago and they are awful. I'm only here because of Don Murphy. You should talk to him." A roomful of betrayed executives glared at Murphy. Murphy started floundering and pitching the potential for Happy Meal toys, and was met with embarrassment and dismay. Finally, Stone stepped in and delivered an idea that Hamsher jokes was an acid flashback. "What if time were not linear, but circular, and there was no difference between the past and the future?...And what if there were discovered cryogenically frozen Vedic Apes who held the secret numeric codes to the Bible that foretold the end of civilization?" The execs loved it and cut Stone a check.
Thus begins the tale of the production of Return of the Apes. Jane Hamsher worked with Road Warrior/Beyond Thunderdome screenwriter Terry Hayes, and they were able to produce a screenplay that attracted Arnold Schwarzenegger to star in the leading role. Some bizarre pieces were falling into place, so we tracked down a copy of the script to see just how they would have landed.
Visiting Katsucon two years ago, I was introduced to the Ablegamers Foundation, a group dedicated to bring gaming to people with disabilities through custom controllers and interfaces. Thanks to my son Connor, I immediately felt a personal connection to their mission, and hoped that in the future, there might be something they could do to make video games more accessible to him. Later, an invite appeared in my e-mail inbox, letting me know about Ablegamer's open house on July 5th, where they would open their doors to gamers with disabilities, help evaluate them for custom interfaces, and even go so far as to help them apply for grants to pay for what could be potentially expensive equipment. I decided this would be the perfect time to take Connor out to their headquarters near Washington D.C. and see what options were available to make his gaming experience more fun and rewarding.
By Saturday, Anime Expo had sold out Los Angeles Convention Center, bringing in about 85,000 people. The tightly packed quarters, long lines and July heat didn't deter cosplayers: they made it through the holiday weekend in armor, super high heels, body paint and oversized wigs. They stood for long stretches of time as attendees rushed towards them with camera flashes blazing. Honestly, I don't know how cosplayers hang in there for four days.
With so many people at AX, the cosplayers were a diverse lot. Many chose to represent recent anime series like Kill la Kill and Attack on Titan. Some of the old hits faded away this year, though; I can't remember seeing anyone wearing a Bleach costume and those used to be ubiquitous at anime events. Sailor Moon had a big resurgence, thanks in part to Sailor Moon Crystal, which premiered this weekend. Video games like League of Legends and Assassin's Creed were popular choices. Alternate versions of established characters from anime, U.S. comics and video games were popular too. Here's a rundown of the 20 coolest cosplays we saw at the convention this year.
Once again, the Los Angeles Convention Center in the heart of downtown LA was turned into a cornucopia of mass Japanese Otaku nerdery, and much like last year, I was around to see and hear it all.
Rather than rehash last year's theme, I thought I'd share a little bit more of the specifics that make this particular different than your Comic-Cons and other general-interest conventions. Anime Expo has its own specific vibe; part trade-show for the Anime industry, part Japanese pop-culture convention, Anime Expo is a very much like a niche version of San Diego Comic-Con, except it's actually possible to attend it without either a) spending a million dollars a year in advance, or b) representing some million-dollar movie franchise.
So, let's begin! Here's a look at some of the best, worst and weirdest moments from Anime Expo 2014!More >>
Although the primary purpose of my trip to England was to see family, my wife and I had a special incentive too - as a birthday present, my cousin managed to procure us tickets to the UK Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford, just outside of London. Now, unlike studio tours here in Hollywood, this was a show-and-tell with exactly one topic: Harry Potter. But on that one topic, it had every damn thing you can imagine short of a personal greeting from Alan Rickman. The studio isn't allowed to have anything that be considered a "ride" - that would infringe on Universal Studios' exclusive international rights to same - but it does have as many props, costumes, miniatures, wigs, effects and other doodads as could presumably be secured, and it presents them in a way that puts most collections of far more acclaimed artworks to shame.
You can probably picture some of what's there already. But I'm here to show you the best things you might not have expected...More >>
As a child of the '80s, my television experience was fairly limited. Cartoons were limited to afternoons and Saturday mornings, a VHS tape could cost hundreds of dollars, and until we finally got cable, we had five rather than five hundred channels. Of those five channels, one of them was MPT, our local PBS station. I generally avoided MPT until discovering in the early '90s that they broadcast Doctor Who, preferring instead to spend my afternoon television time with shows like Robotech, Starcom and Transformers. Of course, when my mother decided to return to her career after years of being a housewife and full time Mom, she found us the one neighborhood babysitter who abhorred violence and had banned anything even remotely violent from her home. Video games, toy guns, even Go-Bots were objects non-grata in their home, and in those afternoons spent at their house I discovered educational programming.More >>
If you've never seen Highlander, the TV series inspired by the movie, you should. Even if you spent the bulk of the 1990s watching first-run episodes and repeats on cable, you should watch it again. It's addictive. Queen's theme song, "Princes of the Universe," will get stuck in your head in such bad way that you might start fist-pumping in a quiet room. You may also feel compelled to take up fencing. Highlander has the power to do that.
While Highlander, the show, is derived from Highlander, the movie starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, they aren't really the same thing. The concept is the same. There are Immortals who battle each other. When one Immortal beheads another, a Quickening takes place. That's a lightning bolt/fireworks show of power that overcomes the battle's winner. There's also the understanding that, ultimately, "there can be only one" of the Immortals remaining. The show, though, exists in its own world. You're following a different character, Duncan MacCleod (Adrian Paul), on a different path with a different result. You might as well think of them as two separate entities with a shared title.
There are six seasons and over 100 episodes of Highlander to watch, but if time is limited, here are a few selections to get you started.More >>