Saturday, February 27, 2010

derby mania round 2

hmm, perhaps trying to type this with a buzz isn't quite the best idea.  so with that in mind, this will be short.

and the pictures are still in the camera.

what a blast tonight was, and we won, by a lot of points.  the girls skated really well, and I am feeling like part of the team now.  I have been getting to know the girls more (when they have two names it's not always easy to remember who's who) and they are all just great.

the after party was a lot of fun, and I swear the glass was filled 9/10s full of vodka with the tiniest splash of cranberry ever.

picture tomorrow or Monday, maybe.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the countdown is on...

the 200th post is coming up, and I know what I'll be talking about... but no one else does!

in the mean time, some possibilities:

from the Jonny Quest episode "Turu the Terrible"- my favorite episode.

my beloved Metal Men make their first (but not only) cartoon appearance.  though "Milton" Magnus?  really?
a very cool Marine Boy episode with a lot of menacing plesiosaurs.
the amazing Infra-man using a pose he might have borrowed from someone else...  so in 8 more posts, we'll see who shows up!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monster of the Week- Tentacled Beast!

this guy is from Jack the Giant Killer (1962).  sure, he needs a bit of a better sculpt, as he's not quite scary enough, but I love him.
he's called on to take on the two headed Galligantua near the end of the movie, and it's a pretty spectacular battle.  it's a good contrast between the land animal and the marine monster.
while the movie takes a lot of (mostly proper) riding for being a copy of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1957) it at least has some fun stuff added to it.  I wish the sea monster had a name though.  I want to call him Tentaclor or Tentaclus or something like that.
ain't he just adorable?  I saw this in the early 70s, when the local theater had kiddie matinees.  I had seen parts of 7th Voyage on tv, but this was probably the first stop-motion fantasy movie I saw all the way through.  perhaps it had some kind of affect on me, but it's hard to tell.
or maybe not...

Hulk silent

finally watching this Incredible Hulk (2008) movie, and it is more like a big budget version of the 70s tv show than an adaption of the comic book.  sure, it's got pretty effects, but the Hulk looks like a big cartoon, still.  I never did see the first movie version.

I like it OK, though an hour into it we've had two "hulk outs" which is just like the tv series.  the Hulk hasn't spoken at all, is brutal and violent, far more than his original comic book counterpart.  Edward Norton looks like he is channeling Bill Bixby which isn't a bad thing for the most part.  nice to hear the "Lonely Man" theme though it really underscores the actual tv-ness of the movie.

one of the things that doesn't hold up well either in this movie or the comic books (especially these early ones) is the single mindedness of General "Thunderbolt" Ross.  his mania about the Hulk gets ridiculous after a bit.  anyone with half a brain could see that shooting at the Hulk every time he shows up is just going to make things worse.  and yet he (and JJJ in the Spider-man series) never seem to learn.

Ross is played by William Hurt and he does a great job with the rather one-dimensional  character, though I am sure by now he's been retconned to have other motives.

my main gripe is the villain of the film, the Abomination.  here is what he should look like, and this is great.  what we got in the movie... ugh.  looks like regurgitated Giger based ripoff crap, very common these days.  the original design is far more awesome.

along with knowing who the villain in Iron Man was immediately, being a comic book geek I knew who Emil Blonksy was and what would happen to him.

the Hulk isn't one of my top superheroes, so I don't mind different versions.  this is an OK movie.

Friday, February 19, 2010

there's a choice?

Superman The Animated Series (1996-2000) is a really good show.  it showed that excellent writing can make Superman more than the "boy scout" image he's long had (of course, Alan Moore did the same thing with Supreme, but that's another post).

none of that is what this post is about.  anyone that has known me for any length of time knows of my general mystification of Superman's infatuation with Lois Lane.  granted, a lot of that came from the "How can I trick Superman into an honest loving marriage?" Lois from the 50s and 60s, but to this day I can't quite figure out the character's appeal.

(yeah, it took some doing to get such a lovely screen grab of Lois, but it was worth it!)

the cartoon made her better, as have several reboots in the comics, but if I was Clark Kent there's no way I would choose this woman over the first girl he dated!

this Lana, much like the Byrne version, already knows of Clark's dual life.  see what happens when you live in a small town?  in the comics Lana was always trying to prove Clark was Superboy, but since there is now longer a Superboy (don't get me started on THAT) she's even more likable.

it's just too bad Clark can't see the substance that is Lana for the show that is Lois.  but then, perhaps, that's what makes him a man instead of some demi-god from space.  can any of us say we'd make the right choice?

didn't mean to get all philosophical.  but there it is.  and really, look at this attitude.  I bet Lana is the type who would tug on Superman's cape and have that very same smile as she did it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


remember when we found out there were other "English" Ultra series?  we all knew that Ultra 7 was dubbed in in Hawai'i, and then again for Turner, but suddenly we discovered there were Malaysian dubs of the various series in English.

sort of.  heavily accented English, for sure, but at least it was true to the story and once you got used to the accents you could understand the "English" as spoken.  of course, some of the translations were interesting... "formed a giant do-nut" from Ultraman Taro was one of the funnier lines.

I really enjoyed watching those few tapes that made it over here, sometimes in poor quality- transferring a PAL tape to VHS doesn't always look very good, really. 

Ultraman Ace was the first dubbed show I saw.  I had previously watched the entire series in Japanese, the first complete Ultra I had seen since the original.  he's always been a sentimental favorite for that reason.

the 8 episodes I have in English now are the first for and 25-28, which is a good selection overall.  I believe someone redubbed the English over the then current Japanese VHS tape or possibly a laserdisc copy, though they still have suffered from being several generations away from their original versions.  who knew computers would eventually make quality a lot easier to control?

Ace is zapping the first monster he fights, Verokron.  not one of my favorite Ace monsters, but not as silly as they started getting later on in the show.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sakuya, Slayer of Demons

Sakuya, Slayer of Demons (2000) is a fun Japanese monster/ghost romp with some really nifty effects.

trouble is, I've only ever seen it in the Cantonese dubbed version.  does anyone have the movie in Japanese with English subs?  it's just really weird hearing a Chinese language coming out of Japanese mouths. 

well, weird to me, anyway.

Friday, February 12, 2010

go, go, let's go!

I watched the rest of All Riders vs Dai Shocker last night, and overall, I really liked it.  even thought it could be a bit longer, which is rare for me to say about movies these days.
the three Riders leap!
mostly I loved the end.  look at this stunt!  and look at all the superheroes there, ready to team up to fight the evil forces of Dai Shocker!  I'm just astounded they even thought they had a chance against this many heroes!
great costumes
and they have every Kamen Rider who has had a movie or tv show to his name.  I mean, there's Kamen Rider Shin, for cat's sake.  he threw more punches and kicks in 4 minutes than in his entire movie.
I admit it, I love team ups, which usually work better in theory than ever on paper or other media (Superman vs Spider-man not withstanding).  I also love superhero teams, and this is one of the biggest teams you could have.  it's much better seeing them beat up various kaijin and henchmen than beating on each other.
one of my favorite parts was when Daiki and Natsumi go looking for the second tier Riders and they find two losers, Oja and someone from Blade, maybe, who want to join Dai Shocker.  we never get to see what happens to them, really, which is unfortunate, as it's always good to see Oja get a beating.
and just for my pal Iga Devil!  "ika + beer"... that made me laugh.

thoughts 30 minutes in

I'm nearly halfway through All Riders vs DaiShocker and am really enjoying it, even if seeing my favorite Riders get beat at first isn't that much fun. 

however, seeing the original Riders back, and in their proper forms (someday I will review the new Kamen Rider movies, the First and the Next) is something really cool.  here's Amazon (mentioned last post) looking just as good as he did then.  relatively speaking I suppose!  someone working on this series and movie must really like him, since he got two episodes in the show before the movie came out.  and that's a good thing, I must say.

still, one thing missing (so far) is the theme songs.  it would be really cool to have them playing whenever a Rider shows up.

I mean, V3 makes a dramatic appearance, and it's just some generic dramatic music instead of his theme.  there is probably some reason for this, but come on, they blew it the same way with both Kamen Rider Black and RX's appearances in the show.

the movie is just 66 minutes, and still packs quite a bit of action and even some character development in it.  however, really, did anyone not know who "Tsukikage" was going to turn out to be, other than Tsukasa himself?  nice to see the Satan Sabre make a return though.
I really do like this caption.  too bad it didn't say "pickle" instead of pinch!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Amazon is here!

I'm surprised I haven't talked about my favorite Kamen Rider yet, in the three years I've had this blog.  well, that ends today!

lovingly subtitled by the fine folks at Hi No Tori (who are doing some other cool shows, take a look) is Kamen Rider Amazon.  this is the one Showa Rider not based on a bug, he's a lizard from the Amazon (I know, big surprise) who heads to Japan to stop the evil group Gedon from taking over the world.

it's such a cool costume.    how many superhero costumes actually come with teeth?

what's shown here is Ishinomori's drawing for the commercial breaks, and the funny warning from Hi No Tori not to sell the episodes.  I love the dynamic pose Amazon is taking, leaping down on his adversaries. 

I like the lizard motif, and the relative sleekness of the costume design.  in "real" life the helmet is a little less impressive, but I'm glad that didn't stop them from using the design.

slightly different angle here, and you see more of the whole drawing.

this is possibly the bloodiest show for children one might ever see.  Amazon is as violent as his enemies, biting them in both human and hero form.

OK, sure, he was raised in the Amazon Jungle, so perhaps he's got a decent excuse.  Tarzan crossed with superheroes!  he makes an new appearance in Kamen Rider Decade, which was nice to see.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

seven of my favorite lead guitarists

and now for something completely different.  here are some of my favorite lead guitarists, in no real particular order:
  • Ace Frehley - possibly the guitarist who has influenced me (and countless others) the most.  he may not be Eddie Van Halen, but we could aspire to be Ace.  he just played the way he wanted to, and anyone that thinks he wasn't a good guitarist is nuts. 
  • Billy Zoom - X's excellent guitarist.  while most punk rock guitar players could usually play 3-5 chords (sometimes getting them in the right order) Billy came along and blew them out of the water.
  • Brian Setzer - Stray Cats, of course.  the man can play SO many different styles of music it's just not fair.
  • Ricky Wilson  - late guitarist for the B-52's.  he was incredibly inventive- playing sometimes with four strings on his guitar, tuned in such a way he could be both bass and guitarist.
  • Steve Stevens the guitarist for Billy Idol, who was also really inventive and brought a metal edge to Idol's music.
  • C.C. DeVille- elevating Poison above the glut of hairbands in the 80s, CC was not the typical "shredder" of the day.  instead of mindlessly cloning Eddie's style with no substance, CC played with heart.
  • Elliot Easton- the Cars guitarist.  he added the metallic sound to the Cars, helping to propel the "new wave" band into popularity in the late 70s. without his playing, the weirdo Ocasek lyrics would have probably stopped them from being popular for several more years.
so there's a few of my favorite lead guitarists.  sure, I left out some of the big names (Page, Beck, Clapton, Eddie, etc) but these are the ones I listen to most.

X marks the Monster of the Week

just watched Monster X: Attack the G-8 Summit (2008) which I enjoyed (and would have liked even more had it been about an hour long).

it marks the return of one of my favorite monsters, Guilala.  his early appearances in the movie are mostly stock footage from his first movie (the awesome X From Outer Space (1967), but they look pretty good, considering the age of that movie.

the new movie is not funny enough to be a flat out comedy, but much goofier than the original to be a straight monster movie.  it also sports some of the worst gaijin actors of all time, and useless and rather stupid subplots abound.

I think this is an enhanced shot of Guilala spitting a fireball.  I think in the original movie they were blue-ish, and it doesn't look very blue-ish here.

it's such an endearingly outrageous design for a monster, how can you not love it?  the new suit looks pretty good as well- good enough that the Ladders used Guilala for a major tv ad a few years ago.  and those were some funny spots, I gotta say.  the "out takes" spots are pretty funny as well.

at the end of the movie there's a nice lengthy battle with Guilala fighting Take-Majin.  it's not a serious fight, but it's pretty entertaining overall.  there are some familiar sound effects as Take-Majin shows up, and a definite nod to Ultraman for the end to the fight.

poor Guilala though.

Friday, February 5, 2010

another Flash!

and really, I don't mean Mr. Gordon (he's alive... alive...)

in season 2 of "The Brave and the Bold" we get to see our first glimpse of the JLA.  for the most part, it sure looks like the mid-70s JLA from their comic book (though Red Tornado needs a makeover, what an awful design).

Aquaman is saying "outrageous!" which seems to be his trademark now.  I like this version quite a bit, not the traditional one, but not the one DC has turned into the Sub-mariner these days.  he's fun and funny.

anyway, if you'll notice we see both Superman AND Wonder Woman, sort of.  we also get a glimpse of the Martian Manhunter and right next to Batman, there's a Flash.

one would think it was the Barry Allen Flash, since the kids watching- Robin, Aqualad and golly gosh, Speedy (they went a little overboard on his euphemisms) are shown as very young.  there's no Kid Flash or Wonder Girl (what a surprise there, poor Donna) though.

boy I would like to see an adventure with this lineup.  we've seen everyone in action but the "Big 2" and J'onn.

I mean, even Fire, or Green Flame has had a nice shot on the show.  I like how they use Batman's suit though, as where the timeline is, since it changes as he gets older.

by the way, the "kids" take on Ra's al Ghul (رأس الغول‎) and his daughter Talia and henchmen Ubu.  Talia and Robin have an interesting exchange, for sure.

so just who is this Flash?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

cute babies?

sometimes, monster movies feature the young of the bigger monsters.  Gorgo (1961) is one of those films.  usually it's not a good sign to see young beasts.

in One Million Years, BC (1966, the best dinosaur movie ever) Luana (Raquel Welch) has a bit of a problem with some hungry baby pteranodons.  she actually gets away from them, and they are the ones who come to a rather gruesome end, but still, they aren't that cute!

earlier in the movie, we get a great scene- possibly the best man vs small dinosaur battle ever put to film as our hero Tumak (John Richardson) has to battle a hungry allosaurus.

fortunately for the Shell Tribe, he's good at it.  this was back when ALL dinosaurs just wanted to kill all people, since the critter had already maimed and killed one caveman, and you would think that would fill it's stomach (it's not much bigger than a person).

nope, this one goes after the rest of the tribe, and then spies a little cavegirl perched in a tree (courtesy our hero).  not that she would have been much more than a quick snack for the ravenous reptile, it still makes a beeline for her.

it too meets a rather gruesome end.

if it's all the same, I will go with the cutest baby monster- Minya, pictured here from Destroy All Monsters (1968) as Ghidorah crashes into the Earth.  or maybe it's when Angilas does.

now he's adorable!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the JSA animated!

another fun episode of The Brave and the Bold, this time it featured the first super team- the Justice Society of America.  they had to team up with Batman and the Black Canary (this time the daughter of the original) to stop the time terror of Per Degaton!

Per Degaton is a lot more menacing in this episode than I've ever seen him in the comics, but that's only been a few appearances that I've read.  of course by now he's had 2942 retcons and back stories and such.

anyway, there's some tension between the old guard and the new heroes, as Batman and Black Canary think each other got preferential treatment from the JSA.  it's a nice sampling of the heroes, though I missed Johnny Thunder.  maybe next season!

in the flashbacks we see Batman in his original 1940s costume (the one Owlman wore in that two part episode from Season 1).  notice the cool gloves!

I can't wait to see the Metal Men, and it looks like we get the Doom Patrol (to wash the taste of the Teen Titans cartoon version away) and possibly the Challengers of the Unknown, as Starro seems to be making an appearance in several of the opening sequences.

and they will use Captain Marvel but not Superman?  weird.  we do see Superman and Wonder Woman in a cameo in the sidekicks episode.  what a great show!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

an evil Ultra?

I really enjoy this episode- #18 "Brother from Another Planet" but I always always ALWAYS dislike how these shows always have people quickly turn on their heroes.  couldn't find the English dub, but wow does this look great!

this was the first episode of Ultraman I ever saw on VHS in 1989 or so.