Friday, July 30, 2010

Music: Bottom Ten Concerts

While writing the Top Ten Concerts list, it occurred to me that there are several other shows that deserve recognition, albeit of a different kind. Then I realized that maybe it wasn’t fair to call out a show that was ruined by one band, so I’m just going to point out the worst or most disappointing bands I’ve ever seen live. Indie acts are not included because I don’t believe in shitting on the little guy. Well, most of the time.

This one is in chronological order, not suckological order.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars: AT-AT By Hasbro



Toy good! Me love!

Honestly, that could be the whole review. But then I’d feel like I’d ripped of the fine people who visit my little blog every day, so I think I can come up with a few more things to say.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comic Book Wednesday: Christopher Nolan’s Batman (and later Phantom Troublemaker's Batman)

If Christopher Nolan has truly created a Batman universe that is too realistic to allow for the existence of Clayface, Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, Man-Bat or any of the more fantastic members of the Dark Knight’s Rogues Gallery; then his lauded interpretation of Batman is a failure.
I am not saying that Nolan’s films are not good, and I am also not saying that these characters should or should not be in the third installment. My argument is against the oft-voiced opinion along the lines of:
“Oh, it’s got to be Riddler or Catwoman because Killer Croc just wouldn’t work in a Nolan Batman movie.”
And this opinion will come from somebody that fully supports Batman Begins and The Dark Knight as the greatest interpretations of Batman on film. I say that you cannot rationally claim both. If Nolan’s vision of Batman is truly the definitive film interpretation, then it must allow for the more unreal villains. If not, then his movies have fallen short of being true Batman stories because Croc, Ivy, Clayface, Freeze and all the rest are just as much a part of Batman mythology as Alfred or Commissioner Gordon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars Vintage Collection: 4-LOM & Darth Vader By Hasbro

I was appalled to discover that the new Vintage Collection figures were going to have a $9.99 price point. More appalling was the fact that I knew I would end up buying some of them, despite not feeling entirely sure they were worth it. The most appalling thought of all was that not only would I have to pay that price for a fucking cloud car pilot, but that I would be buying two of the little bastards. Damn you, Haaaasbroooo!

But I’ll have to review those at a later date because I haven’t found any yet. Today I’m talking about a Darth Vader figure that I hadn’t planned to buy and a 4-LOM that I could have gotten for three dollars less if I had jumped on it a year or so ago. To this day I haven’t learned the lesson that if you see a toy you think you want, you had better go ahead and buy it because you may never see it again. I saw the old Legacy Collection 4-LOM one time in a Target and figured (no pun intended!) it could wait. I never saw that little bastard again. So the other day I got to pay ten bucks for him. I say that because it was a buy-1-get-1-half-off sale and I really don’t want to think I paid ten bucks for this Vader. So you can see where this is headed.

“Why the hell did you buy another Darth Vader, anyway?”

Because I didn’t actually have a good Vader. I’ve got the “NOOOOOO!” version on the operating table, a super-beefy “Force-Choke” version that came with the Imperial Briefing box set, the first removable helmet version and various and sundry other non-3 ¾ “ scale Dark Lords of the Sith. I didn’t actually have a definitive standard-scale Vader. And still don’t. Ahem.

Monday, July 26, 2010

SDCC 2010 – The Non-Attendee Wrap-Up

Not that I was there or anything, but I was certainly keeping a close eye on the weekend’s events via my trusty BlackBerry. Comics Alliance, Bleeding Cool, Topless Robot, io9 (actually, io9 ended up being pretty useless as all of their SDCC-related posts were in a non-mobile-friendly format) and Ain’t It Cool kept me updated on all the news while Cool Toy Review, Rebel Scum and Toy News International had amazing photo coverage of all the toy manufacturers. Looking at that list, I’m considering changing the name of this site to Cool Phantom Coolmaker’s Cool Things. What do you think?

Anyway, I need subject matter and Comic-Con had plenty to comment on. Here’s what I thought were the cool… greatest things that happened there, in the order that I came across them:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Toy Review – The Dead: Subject 2221 The Harbinger By Sideshow

As I have often said before, Sideshow Collectibles is the greatest toy company on the planet. Yeah, their stuff is getting a little pricey; but my latest experience with them is just another reason why they are worth it.

Throughout July Sideshow is revealing new products, new preorders and new licenses to hype the impending nerd orgy that is the San Diego Comic Convention. I’ve been keeping up with the announcements, and when I saw they were taking preorders for a new 1/6th scale Momaw Nadon (the Ithorian customer from Chalmun’s Cantina in the Mos Eisley space port on Tatooine. You know, from Star Wars? Fine – Hammerhead. So I’m a big nerd.) I had to check it out. I clicked the link, was taken to the Sideshow page and all of a sudden a little black woman popped up in the corner of my screen (she was not a VirtuaGirl) and asked me if I would like a Sideshow Collectibles gift card. I said, “Yes!”

And then I realized I needed to actually click on her or something because she wasn’t actually a real person talking to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars: Luke Skywalker's Snowspeeder By Hasbro

I wasn’t quite as excited about this new snowspeeder as I was about the cloud car. I would have been hard-pressed to find anything wrong with the last snowspeeder Hasbro did, which I thought was leaps and bounds ahead of the original or even the Power of the Force model. But, fans and Hasbro both insisted it needed to be smaller to be movie-accurate, so I guess I’m in. I can’t say no to some new Hoth stuff. Hell, I generally can’t say no to new Star Wars stuff at all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Music: The Ten Best Concerts

I’ll be attending the Mayhem Festival (or the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Music Festival, if you must) when it comes to Atlanta on August 1st. The only bands I really want to see are Rob Zombie, Korn, Hatebreed and Norma Jean; but for about thirty bucks I think it’s well worth it just for the first two. I’ve never seen Norma Jean or Korn live and it’s been a while since I saw Zombie. I think more than a decade has passed since the time I saw Hatebreed. It was shortly after Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire came out.

So anyway, I’m pretty stoked about it. So stoked, in fact, that I’ve been inspired to rack my not-as-reliable-as-it-once-was brain to reminisce about the very best live concerts I have seen.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another new P.O.O.P.!

Sorry, kids. I just didn't have the amount of time I needed to put the live music article together properly. It's a big one and deserves to be done right just as much as you fine folks deserve big hugs from pretty people. I'll be back on Monday with the Top Ten Concerts I've seen - I promise.

In the meantime, I have discovered yet another friend of mine has more artistic talent in his little finger than I have  - well, maybe not in my whole body, but at least in my left hand, feet and upper portion of my torso.

Please give it up for Bobby Jones, Jr. and his awesome fucking creepy dioramas. This guy is creating whole episodes of The Twilight Zone with one tiny model. It's pretty amazing and is one of those things that is so ingenious it makes you extremely jealous you didn't think of it.

My favorite is 1927. I'm not posting any pictures because a single one won't do them justice. Just go there!

Everybody have a great weekend - I'll see you all Monday.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars: Bespin Cloud Car By Hasbro

Kenner’s classic Twin Pod Cloud Car was always one of my favorite Star Wars toys. I don’t know why. The thing only appeared in the original version of Empire for about twelve seconds and didn’t even shoot or anything. Regardless, I was very excited to find out that Hasbro was producing a new version for Empire’s thirtieth anniversary this year; not to mention new versions of the Rebel snowspeeder and the Imperial AT-AT. We’ll look at whether or not the snowspeeder was necessary later on, and I haven’t found an AT-AT yet. For now, let’s check out our shiny, new, orange Cloud City cruiser.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Comic Book Wednesday: Batman - The Nipples of the Bat Part 2

Welcome back! So Batman Forever sucked donkey balls. Batman & Robin is bound to be a steaming pile of dog turd, right? Let's see...

Comic Book Wednesday: Batman - The Nipples of the Bat Part 1

As good as the Nolan Batman movies are, I still love the Burton ones – Batman and Batman Returns. They are great, but in different ways; I feel the same about the sixties TV show. I think that it’s just about appreciating different aspects of the same thing. Lots of people who read the dark, gritty Batman comics of today still enjoy the wacky stories from the Silver Age.

With all of that in mind, I decided it was time to revisit the Schumacher Batman movies.

I think we probably all agree that Schumacher’s garish, neon-colored, over-the-top, bat-nippled, sassy movies pretty much killed the franchise until Christopher Nolan’s more reality-based vision came along. Batman Forever alienated half of the audience that Burton’s films had built and Batman & Robin destroyed any remaining goodwill the loyal fanbase had left.

Recently, though, I had started to wonder: Were we too harsh? I seemed to recall liking Batman Forever well enough when I saw it in the theater. Well enough to dress like this for Halloween, anyway:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Toy Review – Star Wars Saga Legends: IG-88 & Bossk By Hasbro

I know these two are reissues (as all figures under the Saga Legends banner are) but I have no idea when they were initially released. It must have been more than five years ago, because I’ve been in my current Star Wars collecting mode for at least that long. 

As soon as I saw the lineup for the current Saga Legends and accompanying Vintage Collection (which are mostly new sculpts on different cardbacks and cost $2.50 more because Hasbro knows we are chumps who will pay that for characters we really, really want and sometimes even for characters we only kind of want but really need to go in the cockpit of that new cloud car. Fuckers.) I knew I was buying these two.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Movie Review: Predators

I was super-duper stoked about seeing this movie. I said so in my Summer Movie Preview and I have been repeating it often since then. Ever since I heard Robert Rodriguez was involved in a Predator movie, I was pretty much sold. I have yet to see a Rodriguez film that I don’t absolutely love. Desperado, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Planet Terror and Sin City are all favorites of mine. I even think The Faculty is pretty great. Plus, the guy named his production company after me, so how could I not be down with that?

Okay, not really; but I am definitely a Rodriguez fan. The one thing I should have kept in mind while getting so pumped up about Predators was that Rodriguez did not actually direct it. I’m not saying that’s good or bad; I just would have approached the movie a bit differently if I had given that fact more thought. The movie was directed by Nimrod Antal, who directed Vacancy and Armored. I really liked the former and completely forgot about the latter until right now.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Toy Review – How Ghostbusters Classics Should Have Been

I’ve spent all week complaining about Mattel’s 6” Ghostbusters Classics line, but in the end it is a perfectly acceptable toy line. The only problem I really can’t get past is the pricing. I can deal with the farmed parts and the wonky, sometimes inappropriate accessories; but I honestly feel that twenty bucks apiece is ludicrous. It is at least five dollars over what would be reasonable, especially when you consider that the price point for the larger, MEGO-style figures is also going to be twenty dollars.

But in the end, I’m satisfied with my Ghostbusters and realize things could have been a lot worse. Like McFarlane could have made them.

However – with what I think are a few minor tweaks and more logical decisions, what is a perfectly acceptable toy line could have been fucking awesome. And that’s what I’m going to discuss today.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Toy Review - Ghostbusters Classics: 6" Peter Venkman By Mattel

I was extremely close to not ordering this figure.

I don’t mean that I didn’t want a Peter Venkman to complete my Ghostbusters, just that I wasn’t too sure I wanted this Peter Venkman. As I said before, I wasn’t too thrilled about Egon being a “slimed” variant, but I got over it. I didn’t mind so much that Venkman was slimed, I just wasn’t too sure about his head sculpt and I definitely didn’t need another fucking Slimer. I’ll get into a lot more detail about my ideas of what the Ghostbusters’ accessories should have been in the next article. This time around, I was undecided because I’m pretty sure another Venkman will be offered in the future with no slime, a different head sculpt and likely a different pack-in. The question was whether or not I really wanted to wait.

I still wasn’t sure when I woke up on the morning of the 15th to get online for the sale. What ultimately made up my mind was Cool Toy Review’s freshly posted photo gallery of the actual retail figure. The head sculpt looked way better than the production pieces Matty had shown, and it wasn’t the first time this had happened.

So I got online and went through what I went through and he arrived last Thursday. Was it the right decision? Let’s see…

Toy Review - Ghostbusters Classics: 6" Walter Peck By Mattel

Walter Peck is an out-and-out douchebag. He has no redeeming qualities and gives weasels a bad name. He also works for the Environmental Protection Agency who, while they serve a vital role in our country, tend to have a bit more zeal than is strictly necessary and have time and again impeded our country’s progress with overbearing authority and a tendency to cater to loud special interest groups.

Clearly, Peck is a great villain; and William Atherton played him with a gusto rarely seen outside of old episodes of Doctor Who. Because of this, I broke my vow to only purchase the overpriced actual Ghostbusters and ordered myself a Walter Peck figure when Mattycollector put him up for sale. Was he worth it?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Toy Review - Ghostbusters Classics: 6" Winston Zeddemore By Mattel

And now on to Winston.

This is one of the reviews that I was sitting on that got lost when my old flash drive got murdered, so in the interest of having a complete set of reviews for the Boys in Beige (?) I decided to go ahead and rewrite it. The words are probably a little different, but the score is the same.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker - Toy Review: 6” Ray Stantz

This, too was part of last year's Halloween celebration over on the MySpace blog. I think I was a little too harsh on poor Ray. I guess I give this one a 3 out of 5 now. It would be a 4, but that ghost is still a stupid fucking pack-in. I hate it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vintage Troublemaker - Toy Review: 6” Egon Spengler – SDCC “Slimed” Version

Welcome to Ghostbusters week! I'll be posting reviews of every Ghostbusters toy I've bought from Mattycollector throughout the week. I originally posted this review as part of my month-long Halloween celebration over on the MySpace blog last year.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Independence Day Weekend!

Head on over to Dork Droppings for an exclusive article about amazing movies you can watch with copious amounts of alcohol to celebrate our nation's greatness!

I'll be back next week with some awesome Ghostbusters stuff!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Toy Review – By Mattel

This was originally the opening to my review of the Peter Venkman figure, but it got too long.

After months of ordering’s exclusives relatively trouble-free and reading time and again the horror stories people were posting in toy forums across the internet; the inevitable finally happened.

I got Matty’d.