Somewhere in its show-tuney middle, Disney's animated musical Frozen throws a bone to the young monster geeks in the audience. Elsa, the magically (and literally) frigid young Queen who can freeze fjords and cause climate change and sculpt ice palaces out of the brisk air with a few waves of her hand, conjures up a personal bodyguard: "Marshmallow," a formidable giant made of snow and ice.
He's cool, no pun intended, but only the latest in a long list of terrifying pop-culture monsters confined either to wintry seasons or chilly climes, or both. Some are just grotesque version of arctic or Antarctic fauna, or aliens comfortable at equivalent temperatures on their own planets. A few are actual snowmen, monstrous supernatural versions of Frosty, as in the low-rent 1997 horror favorite Jack Frost or the even creepier wholesome "family" film of the same title that came out a year later. You may recall that even the slow-witted "Abominable Snowman" that affectionately plagued Bugs Bunny melted when he got below timberline.
But most of what falls into the category of "Abominable Snowmen," sometimes known by their Himalayan name of Yeti, are shaggy, burly giants that haunt the cold places, and are generally quite content to be left the hell alone. They're rarely a danger to humans so long as we're sensible enough to stay where it's warm.
Here are 13 of pop culture's most memorable hyperborean horrors:More >>
The Wolverine: Unleashed Extended Edition - Everyone who's seen it that I know of has great things to say about the longer cut of this loose Chris Claremont/Frank Miller adaptation, with its longer character moments and slightly more graphic violence that needed to be trimmed for PG-13. I can say that despite a fairly pedestrian conclusion, I liked the original studio cut well enough, and certainly appreciate the impetus to make a superhero movie more character-based, even if the constant dreams of Famke Janssen in a nightie seem more like directorial fantasy than plot necessities. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially if you happen to be 14.)
Also out today is a nice box set of every X-Men movie thus far, in a metal case containing a replica of Wolverine's clawed fist. It has an open slot for Days of Future Past - but not one for the recently announced Wolverine sequel. So it's cool and all, but the OCD among us will want to wait until the day Hugh Jackman ages out of the role for the super-duper complete ADAMANTIUM edition (TM), which is what you just know they'll call it.More >>
High School of the Dead Ova: Drifters of the Dead - From what I understand, this is kind of a rip-off by most standards - a $9 Blu-ray that basically contains a single 16-minute episode. For high-school boys in small towns, however, that cover alone is probably worth the investment. Hell, even I know it's a more marketable cover to run here than what's on the box for the week's real biggest release...
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series - For those of you who don't know, here's how married life works: "Hey, everybody's raving about it, so I think maybe I want to start watching Breaking Bad." "Me too." "Okay, when?" "I dunno, sometime." "Now?" "I don't feel like watching something that I need to focus on right now."
That's a roundabout way of saying I have still never watched the show, though I have little doubt that I will like it some day. The complete set comes in a large money barrel, and with a Pollos Hermanos apron.More >>
The World's End/The Cornetto Trilogy - Thematically, Edgar Wright's three action-comedies starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the perfect pics for my generation of nerdity, featuring slightly immature men who get to live out a different geekout childhood fantasy in each film - zombie-slayers in Shaun of the Dead, action heroes in Hot Fuzz and sci-fi saviors in The World's End. Wright and cowriter Pegg maintain a delicate balance throughout, acknowledging that these guys are occasionally quite stupid, but fighting for their rights to be so against stifling (and evil) forces that would bring about a supposedly superior conformity, from the undead to the county council.
Fans of inferior, mass-produced ice cream know full well that there are more than three flavors of Cornetto in existence; the largest one, the Magnifico, has yet to make a cameo in a Wright movie, and is possibly being saved for the inevitable reunion movie a decade or so from now. What I'm saying is, despite the apocalypse in the last film, I wouldn't be surprised to see another one day. In the meantime, go for the three-movie set rather than the individual The World's End - it's not that much more pricey and it also features some exclusive extras.More >>
Hope, according to Emily Dickinson, is the thing with feathers. But for some people, fear can be a thing with feathers, too. Put simply, birds can be scary as crap. Napoleon Dynamite clearly felt it, when he anxiously asked his employer "Do the chickens have large talons?"
This being Turkey Month, so to speak, and with the amusing, imaginatively silly Free Birds now in theaters, it seems like a good time to pay tribute to a few of pop culture's more memorable beastly birds. A pre-emptive note, however: I've chosen to omit The Birds, Hitchcock's near-masterpiece of 1963, not because it isn't a classic, but because its feathered fiends are experienced in the aggregate, as a massive collective menace, and I'm after big-ass birds, preferably with individual personalities. No disrespect intended. Please don't peck my eyes out.
You'd never know from the number of entries in the Man of Steel Blu-ray contest that the movie was controversial with fans. In fact, there were way more entries for this than for an uncontroversial Doctor Who wooden sign.
I asked you to caption the image above - and I can't take credit, because that was what Warner Bros. wanted. You all brought the quips...though some of you did not look at what had come before. There were quite a few close repetitions, and I did my best to honor the first instance every time.
For the best reader-submitted captions for the image above, click onward...More >>
Man of Steel - Presumably your mind is made up as regards the ending at this point, and I get it; back in 1989, I was furious with Batman killing. As time went on, I saw some of the older Bob Kane stuff, accepted that in the formative years a hero might make mistakes, and have moved on from getting worked up about it. I think it's entirely possible that the no-killing code will come as a result of those final actions, but we'll see. Regardless, Man of Steel actually plays better on Blu-ray than the big screen, as director Zack Snyder had no grasp on how to use 3D, and shrinking the action down allows the viewer to appreciate the performances more, especially Diane Lane as Martha Kent, who was rarely singled out in reviews the first time around.
Extras include a pop-up video version of the film with interspersed comments and behind-the-scenes stuff from cast and crew; you'll be left wanting far more Michael Shannon, who adds his two cents while playing with his own action figure. Featurettes about Krypton drop more hints about Lex Luthor and Doomsday, and in an incongruous bit of corporate synergy, there's a short behind-the-scenes look at The Hobbit that mostly includes cast members praising the beauty of New Zealand.
if you are reading this before noon, you still have a chance to win a copy from us. And no, it's not the copy I cracked open to watch.
Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition - A must-have classic of anime involving two juvenile delinquent buddies with the coolest bike in the world in a future Tokyo, this edition differs from previous versions primarily in its preservation of the theatrical aspect ratio, and the fact that it has both English dubs - the movie was re-translated in 2001 in a way that clarified certain unclear plot points, like the film's major WTF of an ending. If you're happy with your older copy, there's not a lot of need to buy it again...but if you've been wanting it, grab this new edition.
Blackfish - If you saw The Cove and are still a fan of Sea World, Blackfish is hear to make you hate them all over again, as it probes the deaths of several trainers at the hands of orcas, and comes to the conclusion that their captivity is not just "bad, m'kay," but a danger to those around them. South Park seems to be particularly fond of this topic, so I imagine they'll find a way to do something in response.
Nosferatu - The original (unauthorized at the time) Dracula feature film from the silent era added one quintessential element to the mythos - vampires catching fire in sunlight. Includes a version with the original German intertitles (with English subtitles) and the English intertitle version, as well as the option to turn off surround-sound for a more classic score feel. Seems a bit like overkill on the cinematic purist tip - If you're watching intertitles anyway, why add subtitles? - but however you choose to watch this formative classic, you should just do it.
Dexter: The Complete Final Season - I didn't see it, but does anybody not think it sucked and had one of the worst endings ever? Because that's all I hear.
Red vs. Blue Season 11 - Halo Spartans get overdubbed with smartass comedic dialogue. Hey, until they do a real movie, why not?
Well, this is ambitious.
Marvel just announced four separate 13-episode shows, centered on Hells Kitchen, NY, unfolding over multiple years, and culminating in a crossover miniseries, The Defenders. I don't remember the Defenders ever having this lineup, but who's complaining - did you ever think we'd get live-action Jessica Jones as the star of anything? (Well, our own Eric Diaz did. He was right.)
All of these will be exclusive to Netflix, as part of its overall deal to be the exclusive subscription TV service for Disney and everything owned by them.
I think we have to say that obligatory thing now...
"Marvel's doing a Jessica Jones show, and DC still won't do Wonder Woman?"
Sweet Christmas, indeed.
(via press release and several readers)
original store image by Kingstonist
Yet another thing your kids won't understand at all - returning a video.
The writing's been on the wall for a long time, frankly - as soon as used DVDs became cheaper to buy there than new ones were to rent, there was just no point. But the concept of buying used movies is probably going the way of the dodo now too.
Blockbuster were in many ways a really terrible company - overpriced, never having what you wanted in stock if it was anything other than a new release, staffed with people who knew nothing. It was also a formative part of my life: though I called it Cockbuster, Schlockbuster and Lackluster, the "Blockbuster Night" was still a tradition.
So even though I absolutely shouldn't, as I look around at the stacks of "3 for $20" used DVDs that fall on me half the time I walk past my shelves, I'll miss it all the same.