Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Golden Arm!

own this great DVD!
another great Shaw Brothers presentation, this time from Tokyo Shock.  long available from rather sketchy bootleggers pretending to be real companies, this is the authorized edition, complete with both Mandarin language and English language tracks.

The Kid With the Golden Arm (1979) holds the distinction of being the first kung fu movie I ever saw.  well, at least remember seeing. I didn't see the whole movie- that would be the next evening's Avenging Warriors of Shaolin (also 1979) but I saw the last battle of this movie.  Channel 2, KWGN must have been having some kind of "kung fu" week of movies.  my brother had been watching Kid, so we were hooked by the end of it.

now there's this great DVD available of it, though Amazon seems to think it's a fullscreen presentation.  it's not.  once I get done watching it I'll post some screen captures.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Batman Beyond did NOT happen...

thanks to the machinations of Chronos, there's no way that the entire Batman Beyond series could exist.  when Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Batman travel into the future in the JLU episode "The Once and Future Thing," to get ol' Chronos, we meet the new JLA (of a sort).  however, since Batman has saved the day (imagine that) by causing Chronos to never travel to the future, he has effectively changed the events of Batman Beyond from happening.

which is good.  I've only seen about three episodes of the show (not counting the ones in the JLU) and as Bruce himself stated, Terry was really just a Robin in a batsuit.  bleah.  and who wants to really think that nearly the entire JLU was obliterated in some untold disaster.

it's just one of any possible timelines stemming from various events happening in the animated DCU.

though it's still better than "The Batman"...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Astro Boy #14

the robot butler
disasters are happening in the mountains. Prof. Fruitcake is doing experiments. Astro and Elefun head up there to find out what's going on.

Dr. Fruitcake makes giant fruit. some good sight gags here. he also has made some giant snails who become violent if they don't get to go out and "play".  anyone see where this is going to end up?

he also has a million snail eggs to hatch, because everyone would love that.  sadly, when they hatch, the snails turn on Dr. Fruitcake. 

Elefun has to call General Windybag for help. Windybag is very vain about his appearance and rather lazy.

the million snails
of course they don't want to believe Elefun about the snails. until they see them, and then they begin to send missiles at them.

they bomb the snails (who sound really weird as they head toward civilization). nothing works, until they finally send Astro Boy in to try to stop them.  some good scenes of destruction by the snails as Astro begins his final assault on them.

and Astro figures the one way to destroy the snails... the one way EVERYONE has ever used on snails since time began.  I bet the JLA would make him a member due to this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

reptiles from the water

walking through the village
 I've never seen an elasmosaurus look great in a movie.  it's probably an aesthetic thing, I'll admit.  they just never look like I'd want them to.

but there have been a lot in films, and here's one of the first that I ever saw, the one from

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

(1970).  I got this as an 11 minute 8mm comp in the early 70s, from K-Mart.  those were the days, when you actually owned film.  this was in glorious b/w and had three or four of the animated scenes in it.  the elasmosaurus attack was the first one.

time for roast beast!
I've still never been quite sure what the animal was doing.  however it's an exciting sequence with the cave people using some grease and fire to defeat the beast.

the stop-motion animation by Jim Danforth is very good, though I feel sorry for the beast as it's burned to death. it sure is an unusual critter, with claws on it's flippers and being able to walk on land.  at the time, I do believe the conventional wisdom thought all plesiosaurs could do that, as they didn't realize they would give birth live in the ocean.  I sure wish I liked the movie itself more than I do, though.

Monday, June 21, 2010

bat bike

a well decorated bike...
I love Batgirl, and the costume rocks, but this bike really needs to lose the fringe. I mean, the show had some great designs already- best Batmobile ever, and this is all they could come up with for Batgirl?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Return of the Master Killer

is that Monk San Te?
or as it's known these days, Return to the 36th Chamber (1980).  it's not quite a sequel to the original Master Killer (1978) but it sort of is.  it's also not nearly as good as the original one, but it's very enjoyable overall.

once more Manchurians are throwing their rather evil weight around, this time at a cloth factory.  things go from bad to worse when the workers hire conman Choa Jen Cheh (Chia Hui Liu) to impersonate the Master Killer San Te.  when challenged with real martial arts, he fails miserably. he then travels to Shaolin to learn real kung fu, but things don't go as he plans.

Chia Hui Liu shows here he's pretty adept at physical comedy, and quite a good actor.  the movie suffers in comparison to the first one, as there is a lot of comedy and training and not nearly enough fighting.  this was a common thing by this time in Hong Kong cinema (thanks to Jackie Chan).  the final fight is pretty great.

the Dragon Dynasty DVD of this is a nice presentation, and has Mandarin and English dubbed tracks.  there are no extras on this disc at all, which surprises me as their other discs have all had good stuff on them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ultra Galaxy the Movie

this movie is pretty great.
here's Ultraman Zero using Leo's Ultra Kick on the evil Carnage, I mean Venom, I mean the evil Ultra Belial.  there's a lot of wirework in here, but it works since there are superheroes and super villains.  the martial arts look cool because of that, but it would have been fine without so much as well.  there's also a lot of green screen work, which is adequate but no replacement for miniatures.

the ZAP Spacey ship and crew look a lot better than in their tv show, which is what a decent budget will do for you.  and while you get to see lots of Ultras and lots of Ultra Monsters, they tend to amount to cameos rather than actual appearances.  which is sad.

the movie does come across as an elaborate (and very entertaining) introduction to Ultraman Zero.  I think there's a new show starring him headed to tv soon.  nothing new here, really, since the Kamen Rider movie introduced Kamen Rider Double in much the same way. sorta.

this mega monster is much better realized than the ones in the last two movies, as it's not just a cg creation.

all in all, out of the last three Ultra movies this one is by far the most fun.  trying to tell the difference between the various Ultras we know and love and have rarely seen (I know Jonias was there, but I don't remember seeing him) is a lot of fun.  same with the monsters, who do suffer from the revived monster syndrome- pale shadows of their original powerful selves.

I have no idea who they will have Zero fight, as he's SO powerful.  it'll be fun to find out!

RIP Shunsuke Ikeda

Ikeda-san as Ichiro/01
here is a far better tribute than I could write for him. thanks for the great shows!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

best super friends

I'm reading the nice Showcase Presents... Justice League v. 4, and this fine story was presented in it.  no real villain appears, just a misguided idealist, Andrew Helm, who wants the world to have more conscience and eradicate evil.

he builds a machine to do just this very thing.  and it works, for a few minutes.  Andrew spends too much time out of his body in his astral form and his physical form dies.  the machine needs constant tending and he can't do it, so it goes haywire, making things worse instead of better.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


one of my favorite Ultra aliens. he makes a return appearance in Ultra Galaxy Neo (no, I'm not writing out the entire name, this will suffice) to battle Rei and Gomora as the evil Ultraman.

Zarab is not very competent in this show.  which makes for a pretty funny episode all around.  it's episode #8, "Shoot the Infiltrator" which describes exactly what happens to our hapless villain.  a lot.

the subtitles on these HK discs are really something else.  I take it for granted that some translations of the "English" on most of these discs will have to happen, but these are just bad.  witness both subs I present here.  he's trying to fire the Spacium Beam, but the way the subs appear...

I have to watch the rest of the series so I can watch the movie, which looks pretty great.

and then I have one more Dark Knight related post.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the Dark Knight falls

flat on his face into "realism".

I mean, this movie, The Dark Knight is what so many people think is the best superhero movie ever?  it's not. it's a well made movie, but since Batman has now turned into the equivalent of the Silver Age Superman (i.e. he can do anything) it could have been way better.  I mean, Batman flies in this movie.  his "bat tank" transforms into his "bat pod" (and what a stupid name that is).  nothing about that screams "realistic" at all, especially when you consider he's flying in what would almost have to be at least 50 pounds of an armored costume.

did we need car chase scenes? nah.  at least we didn't get them driving backwards, thank goodness.

he can maneuver this pod around like crazy, until he runs into a bus.  what?  there are too many contrivances throughout the whole movie.  all those gallons of gas appearing as if by magic in the city.

as far as the "Joker" goes... liked his performance OK, but had Ledger lived, this movie would not have made nearly the amount of money it did.

Two Face should have been in the third movie.  this movie was too long by at least 30 minutes and far too violent for the rating it got.

the good stuff- Alfred in ALL Batman incarnations always gets the best lines. the fight scenes are slightly better than the last movie (not hard, since those were pathetic), the music was good as well.  there was more humor in this movie than I thought there would be, since the other two Nolan movies I've seen were very dour and humorless.

still the worst bat-voice ever.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Batman Begins again, part 1

I am 35 minutes into this overhyped movie, and it's not bad.  I have very low expectations and so far they have been met.  it's a good cast with a good director, but there's something missing.  it's called heart.  a technically well made movie, but no real warmth in it. I've felt that way about every movie I've seen of Chris Nolan's.

and while Ledger is doing a great job channeling both Jack Nicholson and Jeff Goldblum to play his poor abused psycho, he's not The Joker.

Bale has the worst Batman voice ever.  he makes a good Bruce Wayne, though.  the fight scenes are marginally better than the last movie, there's a good thing I can say about it.

more later.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

coming soon...

haven't watched this in several years...

the first time I saw it I was impressed with the way the inhabitants were created and realized, but I didn't care for the way the movie was set up.  I'll be watching it soon and we'll see if my perception has been changed.  probably for the better, I believe at this point.