Category Archives: star wars

Thor The Dark World

Thor The Dark World ~ Any Marvel movie at this point is an event, not just a promised blockbuster, but a legitimate mainstream event. Everyone wants to see the next big Marvel movie, and with the news this past week of Netflix’s picking up five different Marvel Comics projects as live action additions to their streaming own line-up that includes “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Arrested Development,” the next Marvel movie is big, and that movie is Thor The Dark World, a movie so big, it opened alone this weekend.

One thing I was happy to see, that even though the Marvel superheroes are now part of everyday pop culture and even your grandmom is aware of Thor, the powers that be aren’t afraid to mine the source material for ideas rather than going off on a weird Hollywood tangent. One of the best Thor runs in the comics, other than the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby originals, would be the Walt Simonson run in the 1980s. Simonson did so much in his short run. He brought the character back to his roots, removed Don Blake from the equation, turned our hero into a frog, froze the planet, brought on both Surtur and the Midgard Serpent – and he also created Malekith and Kurse.

These two new characters were among the most powerful and dangerous the god of thunder had ever fought in the comics, making them more than adequate fodder for movie villains. I was more than pleased with former Doctor Christopher Eccleston as Malekith and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from HBO’s “Oz” as Kurse, but I just wish they had had more to do and less make-up, as they’re both terrific actors. In both cases, Kurse more so, the make up hindered their performances.

Sadly, what I said about source material goes by the wayside quite quickly. In the comics, Malekith releases Surtur and opens the Cask of Ancient Winters amongst other evils, but here, it is a mysterious aether that is the MacGuffin and magical weapon of choice. I really got the sense, especially when seeing that a different group of folks wrote the screenplay than wrote the story, that this was a plot from something else that had been transplanted into this Thor movie – sort of like how 1987’s Masters of the Universe flick was a rewritten abandoned New Gods script.

Nevertheless, I like Thor The Dark World quite a bit. The cast was back in full force, and Chris Hemsworth seemed more comfortable in the title role this time, Natalie Portman was not as annoying, and as always Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki. I did think Anthony Hopkins looked a bit tired, and I was glad to see Idris Elba getting more screen time as Heimdall. I like Kat Dennings more every time I see her, sigh, I guess I’ll have to break down and watch that “2 Broke Girls” show. I was also delighted to see Chris O’Dowd, as well as (spoilers) Chris Evans.

I really enjoyed the movie, despite it sorta taking a lighter, more Avengers tone than the first Kenneth Branaugh directed film. I liked the new language of the Dark Elves, I liked their spaceships, and their weapons, especially the space warp bombs. It was a bit of a distraction to have guns going ‘pew-pew’ and I freely admit to saying out loud at one point, “Coruscant is under attack, where’re the Jedis?” Now, that said, the first movie made a concerted effort to explain that Asgard was not magic, but technology so advanced it appeared to be magic, so this does fit the Marvel Cinematic continuity.

Thor The Dark World was really cool, I’d see it again, and I’ll definitely get it for home viewing when it comes out. I didn’t think it needed much improvement, but female friends we ran into after the flick, as well as The Bride, all commented on the same thing regarding Chris Hemsworth. More bare chest. And butt, more butt. On that note, don’t forget to stay for the after credits stingers, this time there are two.

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Random Tater Pic of the Day #114

Dumpstas Return Tonight!

The Dumpsta Players Present… “Star Whorez!”

MR. ROBOTO VS. EMPRESS AVIARA! TRELENA 12 SEEKS SANCTUARY! BOOTY JAIL ON DISCO PLANET CARILLON!

Tonight, Wednesday, July 17th, doors open at 10 PM, show time is 11 PM sharp!
…at Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South Street, Philadelphia PA. 215-545-4511
$1.99 to get in, must be age 21 and up!

www.dumpstaplayers.org

Last day, Capricorn 15s, year of the city, 2274, in a galaxy far, far away… hapless Trelena 12 obsesses about uninterested drug smuggling hunk, Starbuck 6. Her foolish attention is lost on him as he has his eyes on Trelena 12’s BFF, Tatiana 8.

Just as Starbuck 6 leaves on a secret mission, mechanical evildoer, Mr. Roboto and his fembot cohorts, R2FU and C3PU, seek the unloved heart and innocence of Trelena 12 for power and galactic domination. Trelena 12 must dodge nefarious attacks while seeking wisdom from Exstacia the Enchanter and Empress Aviara.

But what kinds of trouble await Trelena 12 on the disco planet of Carillon? Will she be sent to Booty Jail or fed to the daggets for being a socialator? And who is behind a deadly attack of meteor showers?

Destroy your life crystal, prepare to energize but beware of mouth sores in – “STAR WHOREZ”!

A portion of proceeds from this event benefit InLiquid.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to creating opportunities and exposure for visual artists.

You can also check out The Dumpsta Players on YouTube and Facebook, as well as on PhillyCAM television.

Corvette Summer

Corvette Summer ~ I guess it’s impossible to relay to those who weren’t there at the time just how huge this dumb little movie was when it came out. Corvette Summer was Mark Hamill’s first film after Star Wars, and his much anticipated non-Luke Skywalker debut.

In the eighth grade, this was the biggest movie of the summer, period, and must see. If you didn’t see it, you just weren’t cool. I guess that’s why I finally saw it on a Friday night on ABC-TV. It is worth noting that as I remember it, no one was really talking about this flick after they saw it. It’s not Shakespeare, but I wouldn’t be as rash to say it was all that bad either.

Other than Mark Hamill as a possibly slow high school shop jock, and Annie Potts in her film debut as a ‘prostitute in training,’ Corvette Summer is pretty much just a pretty typical teenage romp. It had a bit more heart than most, and could have easily been a TV movie of the week, but it wasn’t bad.

Surprisingly it follows the Hero’s Journey template as Luke, I mean Mark, tracks the shop class’ prize Corvette Stingray across country to Las Vegas, where he learns some hard truths.

Annie Potts is fun, and look out for an awkwardly older Danny Bonaduce, there’s also a cast of great 1970s TV and film character actors. Hamill is good, but after all these years I still wonder if his character is just mental because he’s so obsessed with finding the car, or if he’s just mental, period.

Corvette Summer was harmless and enjoyable, and a nice time capsule to high school and the seventies. I dug it then, and I dig it now.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for June 2013

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed (X-Wing Pilot) Evans, Allison (Get Off My Lawn) Eckel, and Glenn (Blue Lantern) Walker, as they discuss the new comics, trends, games, and toys out this month! You can see the show here, or check it out below.

Discussion featured in the special June 2013 episode includes: The Movement by Gail Simone, Green Team, Batman/Superman, Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, Larfleeze by Keith Giffen, Trinity War, Age of Ultron, Avengers/Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Hawkeye, Star Trek comics and games, the original Battlestar Galactica, Ten Grand by JMS and Ben Templesmith, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Free RPG Day, Star Wars from Fantasy Flight, Cherry Hill Comic-Con, and the Legendary Marvel deck-building game.

Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website, and the newly revamped All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics, toys and gaming store – located on Route 73 in West Berlin, NJ.

And don’t forget to visit us at Facebook!

Evolve or Die, A Star Trek Rant

Those Star Trek people infuriate me. You know the ones I mean. Whether they call themselves Trekkers or Trekkies (and yes, I do know the difference), it makes no difference when it comes to the 2009 reboot of the franchise, and its upcoming sequel in just a few weeks.

Let’s be serious now – if Gene Roddenberry had actually gotten his “Star Trek: Phase II” on the air when he wanted to, would we be still talking about Trek now or would the proposed series just be an embarrassing footnote like “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch Hour”? Let’s all be thankful that Star Wars was so successful, and Paramount made Roddenberry move it to the big screen.

And while we’re being thankful, let’s be thankful for J.J. Abrams for finding a way to both be faithful to continuity, and to free himself of it. He paid respect to the fans, and opened up the field for a new generation of fans. It works in the story, and you have the old continuity and the new continuity existing side by side. And come on, it’s not like time paradoxes and parallel universes are foreign territory for the franchise. It’s almost the norm if you look at the original series.

Let’s talk about TOS, as “The Original Series” is called. It may as well stand for The Old Series, because it’s dated. Worse than that, “Next Gen” is even more painful when it comes to looking dated. Special effects and hairstyles weigh down TOS, but man oh man, ST:TNG just screams eighties. It’s so bad, it’s almost embarrassing. And for most of these Trek people, TNG is the gospel canon.

I lost interest in Trek television, when “Deep Space Nine” came along, and once the Captains met in the movies, I was out of there too. “Enterprise” brought me back. The Trek people hate “Enterprise.” I think it was great, it not only brought me back to Trek, it brought The Bride as well. The Trek folks whined about how the Vulcan protagonist behaved, behavior that was rationalized in the context of the series by the way.

These are the same people that don’t have a problem with Klingons not having ridges in TOS, faulty physics, jumbled histories and timelines, and of course the fantasy of a cashless society. But a Vulcan enacting free will, that’s wrong. It’s okay for Spock, but nobody else.

Seems to me that the Trek folks have a problem with the mainstream taking their toys. It was okay when no one else liked Star Trek, but when there’s a blockbuster movie, they get defensive. And I throw the “Doctor Who” latecomers into the same garbage bin.

I loved Abrams’ Star Trek, and can not wait for the sequel. All y’all old Trekkies and Trekkers, feel free to stay home and not see it, just shut up about it. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.

RIP Carmine Infantino

This is rough, losing two of my influences and inspirations in the same day. Artist, innovator, publisher, and legend Carmine Infantino passed away today at the age of 87.

Other than the “Batman” 1966 TV series, Carmine Infantino was my gateway drug into comics through the old issues of Flash my big brother Warren had. I remember one comic specifically, an 80-Page Giant, issue #169, no cover and missing a few pages but I read my brother’s copy ragged. In it was a feature called ‘How I Draw the Flash’ by Carmine Infantino.

I am no artist by any means, but I was entranced by these two pages and they spurred in me an interest at least to try to draw. I learned perspective, anatomy, and of course comic book dynamics from these two pages of Infantino imparting his artistic secrets. To this day, I can’t draw, but I can draw the Silver Age Flash, thanks to Mr. Infantino.

From those days of reading my brother’s comics, the Flash became my favorite character. I grew up with a Flash written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Irv Novick. That was my Flash, but it was always a known fact, Infantino’s Flash was the real Flash. He was among those that created the first of the Silver Age revamps of the heroes of the Golden Age, the Flash in Showcase #4, a more realistic, scientifically based superhero for a new age.

Not only had he drawn the original scarlet speedster back in the Golden Age, he was a collaborator in bringing back those heroes in the legendary groundbreaking “Flash of Two Worlds” story that created both Earth-2 and began DC Comics’ multiverse. Infantino’s ‘Colors of Evil’ from a rejected comic strip of his were the basis for the Flash’s Rogues Gallery, the most unique assortment of baddies this side of Batman.

Speaking of Batman, he also revamped the character for the Silver Age, giving the stories a more realistic detective feel, and also adding the golden circle to the Bat-symbol. His Batman was just as definitive as his Flash. Infantino also left his mark on such characters as Adam Strange (still one of my favorites thanks to a team-up between the hero and the Justice League in a story by Infantino), Black Canary, the Elongated Man, Dial H for Hero, and others in his time at DC. Later he became the publisher, invigorated design, streamlined production, and put together such event comics as the first meeting of Superman and Spider-Man.

Eventually he left DC as publisher and moved on to other projects like the Marvel version of Star Wars and also Spider-Woman and Nova, and returning to DC to draw the Flash once again, and even Batman in a newspaper strip. He has become one of the industry’s living legends. I got to meet him once at a con, and told him silly stories of my brother, the Flash, and my hideous artistic endeavors. He smiled and laughed. He was that kind of guy.

We have lost one of the big ones. Carmine Infantino was a giant in the industry, a legend of the comics field. He will be missed.

The Following: The Poet’s Fire

Most fiction (in any medium, be it books, television, or film) works on the premise of suspension of disbelief. The target, in this case, the viewer has to believe what they are seeing. It’s very important in science fiction and fantasy, because in stuff like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, the boundaries of reality are being stretched. But in a way, it’s easier in those realms.

In something like “The Following,” which is essentially based in the ‘real’ world, albeit a larger than life version, it’s even more important. The viewer has to not just believe it can happen, but they have to believe it could really happen, if you get my understanding.

This episode, “The Poet’s Fire,” opens with a nutjob in an Edgar Allan Poe mask (after just two weeks, an already old and tired gimmick for this EAP fan) sets a man on fire on a crowded city street with witnesses with cellphones and security cameras overhead. Seriously, if such a thing happened in the ‘real’ world, the media would go batshit crazy. I know it, you know it, and quite honestly, showrunner Kevin Williamson should know it too. Here, no one but the Feds and the cops that seem to blink at all.

And that’s just the beginning. The rest of the episode is spent flashbacking and overexplaining motivations we have already guessed. And then there’s the obligatory serial killer follower of the week, whose plot twist I guessed from jump street. The blind followers are getting a bit too convenient as well. Perhaps it’s Williamson’s comment on reality television and sheeple. Or just lazy writing.

“The Following” has ceased to be clever, to be unique, and even – and I’m counting the cast members I like in this statement – be interesting.

Special Boxing Day Edition of The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed (Freaky Friday Fan) Evans, Allison (Superhero Girlfriend Expert) Eckel, and Glenn (The Gray Hulk) Walker, as they discuss the new comics out this week! You can see the show here, or check it out below.

Discussion featured in this week’s Special Spoiler Alert Skip Week episode includes: Happy Boxing Day, Justice League #15 and Aquaman #15, Before Watchmen Nite-Owl #4, Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, The Shadow Special #1, Crossed Badlands #20, Star Wars Omnibus Clone Wars Volume 3, Star Wars The Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games, open *danger* spoiler alert *danger* discussion of the above comics, especially Amazing Spider-Man #700 and the upcoming Superior Spider-Man, superhero girlfriend training, the Throne of Atlantis/Flashpoint connection, and deconstructing and compressing Justice League storytelling.

Be sure to check out the rockin’ All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics, toys and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ. Don’t forget to visit us at Facebook!

The Lego Pirates

I love Lego. It was a toy I didn’t have as a child so I have always had a fascination with as an adult. And now that recently Lego has been putting out Lego versions of superheroes, I love them more. I really groove on having my own Lego versions of the Justice League and the Avengers.

That said, I think having special Batman, Avengers, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and all the other sets for Lego kinda takes some of the imagination play away from the kids. Especially when a set is supposed to be put together a certain way, rather than letting the kid built what he or she wants, ya know?

Soapbox time over. Lego also seems to be a major force in videogames. Heck, one of the first games I reviewed here was a Lego game. Folks seem to like using Lego-ized characters in videogames. This time we have Disney’s Pirate franchise in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. The animatics in the opening of the game are recreations of many moments from the movies done Lego animation style. The game itself however is something else.

The demo I downloaded from the PlayStation Store wouldn’t let me free play until I completed the story mode. That was disappointing. And once I hit start, there were more movie recreations in Lego style. There was more TV watching here than actual game playing.

When finally I was allowed to play, there was more disappointment. Without an instruction manual (good luck finding one online, PS seems dead set against supplying instructions), I was at a loss as to what to do. I collected coins Mario style but then found it impossible to leave the room I started in. I suppose I’ll have to wait for one of my gaming guru friends to come over. At least I can play with my Lego Avengers until then…