Anime Expo 2014: 7 Highlights, Lowlights, and a Tour of the Dealer's Room!

Monday, July 7, 2014 at 6:00 am

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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!


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Na Na Na Na Na Na Na November Date Set for Batman '66 Blu-rays

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

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Much will be crammed into this long-awaited, undoctored set, and it seems there'll be an all-out Hall H panel at Comic-Con to promote all the details.

The teaser below doesn't have much else to say, but it looks really good...

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Blu-ray Today: Who Is Your Daddy And What Does He Do?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 11:22 am

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It's somewhat of a light week for new releases, so here's the best of what's coming out.

Kindergarten Cop - Finally. For far too long have fans of Arnold's (arguably) funniest vehicle had to settle with the crappy pan and scan DVD. Now they can enjoy all of his teaching shenanigans the way it was meant to be seen. Other than the theatrical trailer, there are no special features to be found here, which is a damn shame.Okay everybody, all together now : "dere hawrabulllll."

Legend of Korra: Book Two: Spirits - Nickelodeon's unstoppable Avatar: The Last Airbender spin-off continues with another story cycle that hits stores today. Y'all love this one, right?

Cannibal Holocaust - Sure. Why not? This cult horror gem claims to be "the most controversial movie ever made." Clearly, the producers have never seen Empire Records.

The Final Terror - is trying to tell a scary story on a limited budget.


Monster High: Clawesome Double Feature
- Includes the adventures "Fright On!" and "Escape from Skull Shores."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones - DVD only collection of six episodes from the current TMNT series that includes the wonderfully named installment "Fungus Humungous."

As always, be sure to list your favorites and/or picks in the comments.

Blu-ray Today: THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 9:00 am

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Here's my picks for what new and notable Blu-rays you should pick up this week.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 6 - This season has some really great episodes, including "Relics," the goofy "A Fistful of Datas," the "Chain of Command" two-parter (more on that in a moment), "Tapestry," "Second Chances," and more instant classics. It also includes "Aquiel," which I think is actually prescribed to insomniacs, but let's not hold that against this set. Special features include episodic promos, archival interviews, the documentary Beyond the Five Year Mission: The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation, deleted scenes, crew profiles, vintage featurettes and audio commentary on a handful of episodes. Honestly, I can't see any reason not to add this to your collection. Well, unless you loathe the show. Then you are off the hook.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Chain of Command - THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS! Sorry. I just can't help myself. This special release of the two-parter (which was a series highlight) includes audio commentary featuring guest star Ronny Cox and the documentary The Privilege of Rank: The Making of Chain of Command. Wonderful.

300: Rise of an Empire - I liked 300 well enough, but I had zero desire to see this. I'm so fickle sometimes! As always, your mileage may vary. For those of you who saw and dug this, let me know why I need to check it out in the comments.

A Hard Day's Night (Criterion Collection) - I realize this isn't nerdy per se, but who are you to deny the entertainment power of the Fab Four in their finest film.

Dragon Ball Z - Season 5 - This one goes out to all my anime lovers. Aww yeah.

Ranma 1/2: Season 2 - Samsies.

The Coed and the Zombie Stoner - This movie's tagline is "Sex, Drugs and the Walking Dead" and it proudly declares to be "from the dudes who brought you Sharknado." Which is pretty much all you need to know in order to buy it immediately/avoid it forever.

Is there anything I missed that you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!

Blu-ray Today: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. It's the Rule Now.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 8:00 am

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The Lego Movie - Hey, has anybody heard anything about this one? It's based on a kid's toy, right?

And now is the time when everything gets awesome on your Blu-ray player with Lego featurettes, a cast and crew commentary that points out the many tiny details you might have missed the first few times around, and if you buy the "Everything Is Awesome" edition, an exclusive Prologue Vitruvius minifig, before he becomes blinded.

The timing is perfect. With Chris Miller and Phil Lord's latest being an overload of accidental-gayness jokes - albeit one that seems to be catching on - it's nice to be promptly reminded why we love them the rest of the time.


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EXCLUSIVE CLIP: Denis Lawson Tricks a Hot Robo-Babe in THE MACHINE

Monday, June 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

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The former Wedge pushes his way into a relationship in most unwelcome fashion.

In The Machine, a new Cold War with China has started an arms race to beat the enemy to artificial intelligence. When a scientist in an underground government bunker recreates his late assistant as a stunning robot who can learn to think, he wants her to stay innocent, and learn from the technology in order to somehow preserve the spirit of his dead daughter (it's kinda kinky-weird).

But his boss has other ideas, and wants her to learn to kill...

We'll talk about this more in tomorrow's Blu-ray today (bottom line: I've seen it and it's good), but for now here's a special clip.

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New Lego Movie Blu-ray Short: Michelangelo and Lincoln, History Cops

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 10:00 am

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The Lego Movie hits physical media next week, but in advance of its formal release, a bonus short from the Blu-ray has leaked - the grindhouse-style faux trailer for a cop buddy movie featuring Abraham Lincoln and Michelangelo (the artist. The turtle spells his name with an extra "a").

For those of us disappointed that Chris Miller and Phil Lord's other movie this week isn't remotely as good, this is small consolation, but it'll work. And it just happens to be a superior cop-buddy spoof in just a minute and a half.

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Vincent D'Onofrio is Marvel's New Kingpin in Netflix's Daredevil

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm

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Yes, that's an old picture - but I figured we ought to show proof that he can be bald and scary.

Interestingly, Marvel's announcement refers to him only as Wilson Fisk - it's like they're deliberately trying to suss out who knows their comic-book characters and who doesn't.

"We're incredibly proud to have an actor with the gravitas and versatility of Vincent joining 'Marvel's Daredevil' in such an integral role," said Jeph Loeb, Marvel's Head of Television. "Wilson Fisk is an iconic villain whose cunning and power make him the dangerous equal of our hero."
Maybe they just want to avoid uninformed commentary that Michael Clarke Duncan's former role is being whitewashed (note to the knee-jerkers: please note that I said "uninformed").

Fisk was also previously played by John Rhys-Davies in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.


Blu-ray Today: Bushido Boredom, Anime Economics, Liam Neeson and the Cosmos

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Bushido Man - A warrior returns to his master to recount the tale of seven fights he had with seven masters of different fighting styles, all of whom were in possession of valuable scrolls that unlock the secrets of their discipline.

Alas, this is not some lost martial-arts cult classic, but a movie that appears to have been made by martial artists who wanted to be on YouTube. The production value is terrible, the story one that would have been better served in seven non-narrative online shorts (in fact, it can be seen that way, so why even buy the disc?), and only the fight choreography gives the viewer anything to pay attention to. Our "hero" is even kind of a dick, challenging people who weren't giving him any trouble and stealing their prized possessions.

Towards the end, things get slightly more fun as realism goes out the window: wrist guns that fire when you punch are utilized, as are nun-chuks made from a severed arm and tendons. But it's too little, too late, and you find yourself wishing the film itself would commit seppuku and be done with.

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New Japanese Sailor Moon Crystal Trailer

Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 5:45 pm

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I have to admit...

I have never been remotely interested in Sailor Moon. Not as a story, not as fetish material. The artwork, designs and squeaky voices just never appealed in any way.

But I know many of you are, like tipster Brian Stanley, who sent me this link along with the line "MOON PRISM POWER, MOTHERFUCKERS!" So here's a new trailer. It's in Japanese, but there isn't really much plot on display so I don't think it matters - showing off updated animation seems to be the point.

And sorry...I'm still not interested. Just trying to look out for the rest of you. And if I say any more, my wife will probably be mad at me, so I'll stop. Don't worry; once she forces me to watch I'll probably be okay with it.

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