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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TR Readers' Best Stormtrooper Memes (and Stormtrooper/Sharknado Contest Winners)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

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It's time to name some winners. For the Stormtrooper costume, we asked you to create a meme based in some way on a Stormtrooper.

One of the honorable mentions is above; the rest (and the Sharknado winner, chosen by random number generation) follow...

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Blu-ray Today: Days of Future Past, Ways of Making Young Dracula Better

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

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X-Men: Days of Future Past - I admit, I was hoping for more of a mind-trip with this movie, like something more complex than "Hey, we hit the reset button back to the '70s" that would explain discrepancies between First Class and the prior films.

However, I also think I was expecting the impossible. Downsized for appropriate expectations, this is still a fun X-flick, even if the shocking opening sequence does almost instantly retcon the "surprise" deaths. Individual scenes like the one where Mystique becomes Trask can get wonderfully weird (David Lynch, Peter Dinklage - you need each other. Please work together on Twin Peaks). Wew all thought Quicksilver would be a lowlight, but his showcase moment is awesomely playful and fun - why the characters then ignore him for the rest of the movie is a plot weakness they ought to have tried to better fix.

The disc set features a handful of extras, but if you wanbt the deleted Rogue rescue sequence, you're going to have to wait till next year. Can you hold out for the inevitable 2.5 edition?

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Blu-ray Today: Alien Lives, Tom Cruise Dies, Sharknado Repeats

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm

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Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition - All right, reader, level with me. Are you seriously a sci-fi fan who does not already own a version of Alien that has the director's and theatrical cut on the same disc? Does owning a comic book and trading cards make all the difference?

Look, if you genuinely don't have it yet in your collection, this set is the best reason yet to bring it in. But if you don't, why the hell are you reading this? And what will finally persuade you at this point? "Yo, Prometheus fans - this happens next"?



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9 Interesting Ways Edge of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat. Differs from its Source Material

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Today is a day which I fondly refer to as All You Need is Kills-mas, the day that Edge of Tomorrow comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. You know: Edge of Tomorrow, the Tom Cruise-Emily Blount science fiction spectacle that skidded hard at the box office, despite delighting both critics and the audiences who actually got out and saw it. Edge of Tomorrow, which plays like a sadistic Groundhog Day, as Cruise's character dies over and over again, caught in a time loop, trying to somehow win a seemingly impossible battle. Edge of Tomorrow, inexplicably retitled Live Die Repeat after already being inexplicably retitled from its original moniker, the fabulous, can't-forget-it-once-you've-heard-it All You Need is Kill. Edge of Tomorrow is notable for being an adaptation of a Japanese science fiction novel by Hiroshi Sakurazawa - Japanese SF isn't something that's commonly been mined for Hollywood blockbusters.


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GIVEAWAY: Sharknado 2 Blu-ray and Autographed Shark Fin!

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm

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Actually, the headline doesn't tell the whole story, but we can only fit so much into it. This prize package is almost as stuffed with goodness as a mass of swirling air filled with carnivores. One of you lucky suckers will take home:

-An actual shark fin used in the first Sharknado (yes, apparently some of them weren't CGI) signed by Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, Cassie Scerbo, Jaason Simmons and Anthony Ferrante.

-A Sharknado 2 poster signed by the cast.

-A Sharknado T-shirt.

-A Blu-ray of Sharknado 2: Extended Version (I asked - there's no nudity in the added footage. Except maybe nekkid sharks).

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Blu-ray Today: Boxes of Halloween, Saw and The Exorcist

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Halloween: The Complete Collection - Occasionally, very occasionally, a cinematic franchise will come along in which every entry has some merit, enough so that the entire series is worth buying. Almost never is that franchise in the horror genre, as this and some other entries today will show, and it's certainly not true for Halloween, which defined most of what we think of as the rules of slasher movies, only to keep following them by the numbers.

The first Halloween is a classic; the second an adequate sequel, the third a bonkers and unrelated story that makes no sense whatsoever. 4 and 5 are mediocre, 6 is crap, 7 is an adequate sequel and 8 has Busta Rhymes saying "Trick or treat, motherfucker!" People bag on the two Rob Zombie remakes, but they at least tried to do something different. I stand by my position that a Rob Zombie remake of part 1 was preferable to a Part 9 with more Busta Rhymes.

The network TV edits of the first two movies are included, as is the "producers cut" of part 6 that apparently doesn't suck...but it seems this may contain only the unrated versions of the Rob Zombie films. Even if it does have both versions of each, this is hardly a "complete collection" - talks are currently in progress to make yet another installment in the series. Frankly, Season of the Witch is the one that could most benefit from a Rob Zombie remake, but I doubt they'll go that weird way again.

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Blu-ray Today: Eraserhead, Ghostbusters, Godzilla and a Butt-Ton of TV Box Sets of Interest

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Eraserhead (Criterion Collection) - There is a wealth of great stuff available on Blu today; so much so that it was a real challenge to pick a headliner. In the end, I went with the one I figured probably the least of you have seen who need to.

David Lynch's first film is still in many ways his best. It's weird but not indecipherable - even a viewer determined to avoid subtext will know it's about a lonely guy with a vertical hairdo who's forced to care for a mutant worm-baby that may or may not be his, while a woman with bee-stung cheeks sings songs inside the radiator, and a man inside a planet pulls levers that make it rain fetuses. It seems to be a dark fable about the fear of fatherhood, but I'd hesitate to say for a fact what it is, lest I ruin your personal interpretation - suffice it to say it's dark, funny, disturbing and compelling, and this Blu-ray has a whole lot more extras than the DVD Lynch initially made available only online. They're all sorted by year, so you have to click on the timeline to reveal what kind of archival footage you may be getting, from early trailers to interviews (none of which will explain the plot to you; Lynch has also famously never told how the baby was made). There's even a featurette where the director walks you through perfectly calibrating your TV for his film, though you may want to remember your default settings first.

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Blu-ray Today: Captain America, Winter Soldier, Pumpkinhead and Godzilla Are All Here

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier - I don't know if you heard, but Marvel's most recent sequel is exactly like a '70s political thriller! You probably heard that because Marvel coached everybody well to say "'70s political thriller," knowing as they do that critics have a Pavlovian reaction to that favored genre of theirs...the '70s political thriller. Why, it almost feels like a conspiracy...straight out of a '70s political thriller!

I kid. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie just as much as everyone else, despite the fact that unlike in the era and genre to which we compare, there was never any doubt in my mind whatsoever that the important character we thought dead was actually not. Still, easily my favorite of the two Captain America movies, and the decision to totally undermine SHIELD was as ballsy as Marvel movies get (i.e. not the ballsiest thing ever, but still unexpected).

The Blu-ray includes commentary tracks by the directors and the writers. The Blu-ray cover, surprisingly, does not include Anthony Mackie as the Falcon, which seems an odd call given the current comics storyline.

Also out this week is Series 1 of Agents of SHIELD. I've nothing to add there to the volume of stuff we've already said.

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