NECA's Toy Biz Tribute: Exclusive Keaton Batman Figure Coming With Blu-ray

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:30 am

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Holy...wow. NECA just announced the actual Batman figure I wish I'd gotten in 1989. In almost the same packaging, to boot.

They've found some very clever ways to get around the loopholes that give Mattel most of the rights to DC figures in that scale, and I suspect you can thank the deal that was made to allow DC Direct to do Superman and Batman figures for specialty retailers (remember that they couldn't at first). It seems this figure will only come as part of a deluxe Blu-ray set for the 1989 movie, thereby technically not infringing on Mattel's exclusive mass-retail toy license.

The real tribute, of course, would have been Bob the Goon, the only figure anyone found on the pegs for about a year.

Blu-ray Today: Miyazaki, Romero, Koenig, Campbell...Thomerson?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - This is what happens when you wait too long to make a sequel, even if it's good. Actors die, tastes change, and the artist/writer everyone once loved for being a misanthropic, drunk, misogynist anachronism is now hated...for STILL being a misanthropic, drunk, misogynist anachronism. Never mind that many aspects of this sequel are actually superior to the first - Josh Brolin's Dwight beats Clive Owen's, the 3D is insane, and the city actually feels like more than just a digital backdrop this time around. Audiences by and large weren't into it, and odds are we won't get a part 3.

And as I've said before, I can't really disagree with the reasons why people hate the movie - it's the ultimate power fantasy of emasculated drunken assholes who don't really kick ass but wish they could. But if you ask me, there's nothing wrong with that; I am, at times, one of said assholes, and this is pure escapism for my worst impulses. Bring it on again. As with the original, this disc includes an all-greenscreen version in fast-forward, lasting 16 minutes...sadly, there aren't many other extras, leading one to believe that the usually prolific Robert Rodriguez may be holding out for a double-dip that there won't be sufficient demand to ever make.

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Blu-ray Today: Thundercats, Clones, Pythons (Monty) and Sexy Angela Lansbury

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Thundercats (2011): The Complete Series - "Complete" is a bit of misnomer here, as the show was planned to go another season, but did not last. It's a real shame, too, because in the episodes I managed to catch, it appeared to be the Battlestar Galactica of cartoons - a revisionist take superior to the original in jettisoning most of the cheese and altering canon significantly, but true enough in spirit to win over old fans. My impression is that those people who actually saw it agreed - but there were not enough of them, and Bandai made a mess of the toy line, with resources spread over multiple scales, and an overemphasis on the flimsiest and smallest.

Like the Masters of the Universe 2002 cartoon, it will probably catch on with fans on disc, while frustrating all those who watch that the story can never be allowed to deliver on everything it sets up.

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The 10 Best Things About the Dope New Batman '66 Blu-ray Collection (Besides Its Mere Existence)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 6:00 am

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By the time I was old enough to really appreciate television - I'd say I was maybe 14 or 15 months old - the well-loved Batman '66 TV series was already more than a decade into reruns. But those reruns were a fixture of my youth, and the youth of millions of couch potatoes the world over. The show was fun no matter what: if you were a kid, you loved the colorful heroes and cartoonish fistfights, and if you were a little older, you also appreciated the show's fine sense of the absurd. Consequently, for a good few decades, it was impossible to go more than a week without stumbling across Batman while channel surfing. It was omnipresent.

The thing is, Batman never came out on home video in the DVD age. We got so many other popular shows from that era- Star Trek, The Time Tunnel, Man from UNCLE, and of course, The Dick Van Dyke Show- but Batman never made that leap. There are a few competing theories about why, but they're all generally about the same problem - red tape resulting from the show's complex brew of producers and rights-holders. Who was calling the shots for Batman on home video? DC Comics, who owned the character? ABC, Fox, or Greenway Productions, the three separate television companies who all had a stake in the show during its production? Or Warner Bros, DC's parent company? Somehow or another, the mess got sorted out, and Warner Home Video are poised to unleash the entire, fantastic run of 120 episodes on both DVD and Blu-ray today. I took a look at this tremendous new release - let's see what I've taken away from the experience.


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Blu-ray Today: The Domination of Cumberbatch

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Extended Edition - 25 new minutes in the film, and ten hours more of extra featurettes and documentaries make this release the version for completists, if there still are any at this point. I'm more fond of this second movie than the first, but it's still loaded with unnecessary spectacle - most notably the shield-surfing on molten gold near the end, or the extended barrel escape that feels like a prototype for a Disneyland Splash Mountain makeover.

It's a shame Smaug must inevitably be offed - he's the most interesting character in the movie. On the plus side, at least his inevitable arch-foe Bard is more than just a boring cipher onscreen, as portrayed by Luke Evans.

Now, Peter Jackson, can we maybe get to see a trailer for part 3 that's coming out in like a month?

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Blu-ray Today: A New Nightbreed, and Pony People in the House Get Hyped

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Nightbreed: The Director's Cut - I haven't seen the theatrical cut of Clive Barker's Cabal adaptation since it was first on HBO, but I remember thinking it felt like huge chunks were missing that might have clarified the story some. Now restored with some 20 old minutes taken out and 45 put back in, its point couldn't be clearer - Barker's basically doing a grotesque take on the X-Men, with homophobia/AIDS metaphors cranked to 11. In a new introduction, he says studio executives at the time couldn't understand monsters being the good guys, but I think he's being euphemistic.

Dig: Boone (pretty/dumb Craig Sheffer) has a good job and a nice girlfriend, but he dreams about being a monster and running wild in a crazy underground world. His psychiatrist, the coldly detached Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg, behaving exactly the way you'd hope David Cronenberg would behave), is curious about these fantasies, as he has some of his own about murdering families, which he promptly enacts and pins the blame on self-loathing freak Boone. Boone dies and is reborn among the monsters, who have varying levels of weirdness but all accept each other, as finally the man who walks in both worlds (bisexual, in other words) must defend against an uncaring medical profession and a whole host of dumb redneck gun nuts (in a slight twist, they're Canadian rather than Appalachian).

It's a bit on the nose, and I wish the non-Cronenberg villains weren't quite such caricatures. It's still a ballsy allegory for the late '80s (it was released in 1990 originally) and full of imaginative designs; it may be hard to take fully seriously today, but it remains a defiantly unique vision even if the hair and makeup have not aged well. Hate to say this, but a remake could work. (Note that this is different from the Cabal Cut that played a limited theatrical run with deteriorated elements; the Blu-ray cut is fully restored and not as long.)

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The 14 Coolest Things from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow Rocks DVD Commentary

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

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After brief and rather scattershot theatrical run in late September and early October, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow Rocks is being released in a DVD/Blu-ray combo from Shout! Factory, and for streaming on Amazon Instant and elsewhere. Taking place directly after the events of Friendship Is Magic's fourth season finale "Twilight's Kingdom" while also picking up the threads from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, it's terrific on its own, and even more importantly, the Shout! Factory discs have an entertaining and informative commentary track featuring key members of the production team. Here are some of the highlights of that commentary!

Spoilers abound, of course.


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Blu-ray Today: Pee-wee! Snowpiercer! Vincent Price!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Pee-wee's Playhouse - Before the late teens kicked in and I became pathologically unable to wake up before noon on weekends, Pee-wee Herman was the reason I was always up by 10 a.m. (and Ernest P. Worrell at 11) on Saturday. To this day I can still cite all the lyrics of the theme tune, name every member of the Playhouse gang, and vividly recall the day Paul Reubens essentially self-destructed, masturbating in a porn theater while sporting a hairstyle cribbed from Twin Peaks' killer Bob. As he had already stopped filming new episodes, it feels in hindsight like a deliberate move...though one that has been thankfully reversed over the years, as fans have forgiven and Reubens has re-embraced the role.

There aren't any commentaries on the new Blu-ray set, but there are multiple featurettes, and they even got the now-ultra-serious Laurence Fishburne to come back and discuss his Cowboy Curtis days. Today's secret word is..."BUY!" AAAAHHHHH! HAA-HAA! Heh heh heh.

Now, Pee-wee, make that goddamn Judd Apatow movie already.

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10 Reasons Why VCRs Are Better Than What We Have Now

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 6:00 am

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I am often accused of being a Luddite. This is because I think I am. I have always been - even as a child - largely suspicious of new technologies, especially those that come trumpeted as the "next great thing." If everyone is using it, my prejudiced and backward-thinking mind immediately dismisses it. This is probably why I don't own a smart phone. It's also why I still own numerous VHS tapes and have two working VCRs in my home.


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The 18 Strangest Versions of Dracula

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

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Could Bram Stoker ever have imagined, back in 1897, that the character he created would one day be used for everything from pornography to breakfast cereal? It's hard to imagine that even Bela Lugosi could have guessed that the accent he gave Dracula would still be in use, more than 80 years later, spoofed by George Hamilton, or teaching kids to count, or marketing everything from car insurance to debt-consolidation loans ("because debt sucks!") to throat lozenges. Thus Dracula Untold, the title of the Drac movie that opened this past weekend, seems almost impertinent. Can there be a variation on the Dracula tale left untold?

Here are 18 strong contenders for the most peculiar takes on Count Dracula in popular culture. Note: These aren't just vampires in the Dracula mode; all of them had, at minimum, to have either the title "Count" or the prefix "Drac-" or the suffix "-ula" somewhere in their name.


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