Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Clash of the Metal Men

Doc Magnus presents...
I did mention this episode a while back, but finally got around to watching the entire thing. aside from renaming Will "Milton" (really, just a stupid change) it's a lot of fun.

they do present Doc as a very stereotypical  1960s comic book scientist, complete with that attitude, but since the show is comedic (for the most part) it works well.

the beginning battle is against Chemo, who doesn't look exactly like his original comic book counterpart, but acts pretty much like him.  he shoots his deadly acid spray, but the sound effect that accompanies it is very familiar to many of the readers of this blog.  I'm surprised they didn't get sued by Toho...

anyway, Batman has to team up with the Metal Men to defeat the Gas Gang, who in the cartoon were the scientists that got killed in an earlier explosion.  they look pretty similar to  their comic book versions as well.

I loved the episode.  the Metal Men aren't done, as they show up at least two more times in the series.  Tin doesn't stutter, and Mercury isn't nearly as supercilious as he was in the comic (wish he had said he was the only metal liquid at room temperature) but the rest were good.

I do wish Hanna-Barbera would have adapted this into a cartoon in the 60s.  that would have rocked.

Monday, August 30, 2010

future posts

here are some topics I will be posting on in the future:

  • Batman: the Brave and Bold, which is awesome, and just getting better each episode.  and also about
  • Andrea Romano, possibly the best voice casting director ever.
  •  more Japanese Spider-man (I just can't spell it the other way)
  • some great Shaw Brothers movies that have come out on DVD over here, it still makes my mind wobble that this has happened.
  • I might even talk a bit about Doctor Who, which I am quite enjoying.
  • more superheroes
  • more cartoons
  • and of course, giant monsters, including but not limited to: Godzilla, Gamera, Ultra Kaiju, Reptilicus and many more.
8mm Reptilicus
 that should be enough to keep me busy for a few days.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

more Spiderman

what a team up this would have been!
been watching those Japanese Spider-man episodes that Marvel so nicely subtitled for us, and the first five have been really enjoyable.  the use of the narrator to tell us just how Spidey's powers works is pretty well done.  one does have to remember that this was a weekly series and not designed to be watched all at once.

the monsters are pretty well designed, though it would have been cool to get some understanding behind their names.  I can figure a few out, but I am sure most casual watchers wouldn't know there was any special meaning behind their names at all.  but that's just a minor quibble.

the subtitles are pretty well done, at least it appears that way to me.  I think this would be a nice set to release over here at some point, as it's very imaginative in the way it's shot, and has a lot of the Marvel pathos that Spidey is known for.

anyone know if it's actually true the Leopardon costume got stolen after ten episodes?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tai Chi Master (1993)

I can hardly believe this movie is this old.  seemed like I just watched it a few years ago, when it's probably been almost 15 years.

the  DVD cover
 according to the excellent commentary by Bey Logan, this was the first period piece Michelle Yeoh did, and the first team up with Jet Li.  neither of these things did I know!

when I first saw it all those years ago, I was getting very soured on all the "wire fu" and "chi blast" movies that were getting called "martial arts" films.  watching it again, I see there's a lot fewer wires than I remembered.  that's a big plus, as all four main actors didn't even really need to be floating about on wires most of the time.

I never bothered with the first US DVD release titled "Twin Warriors" since I didn't think I cared much for the movie.  the Dragon Dynasty version is the way to go.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Astro reviews

  • 16. Secret Agent Z3- Freezie is plotting to take over the world.  Astro Boy helps King Pudge resist him.
  • 17. The Haunted Ship- after a discussion with his pal "Specs" Astro has Dr. Elefun install an emotion chip.  he then gets scared and has to overcome his fear in a haunted ship.
  •  18. The Time Machine- Pretty Kahn, from 200 years in the future crashes her time machine.  she, Mr. Moustache and Astro travel back in time and have misadventures with cave people and prehistoric animals.  her father has to learn a lesson about time being nice.  there are some cute sight gags with the dinosaur and her babies and with the t rex trying to swat Astro like a fly.
  • 19. The Cosmic Giant- Jollington the Genie returns to Earth for revenge on everyone who tricked him. he sends a giant robot and Slickum, aka Secret Agent GM14 uses him to destroy the world.  can Astro stop him with a clever trick?  the first bit with the genie and the kid is pretty clever.  not exactly sure what it had to do with the rest of the story, but I liked it anyway.
  • 20. Toxor, the Mist Man- Dr. Bolt accidentally brings Toxor, the deadly mist down to Earth. Toxor possesses Bolt and makes his plans to take over the Earth using the other mist men.  that doesn't work on robots, though.

Dance Godzilla, Dance!

nuclear energy
 here's a fun bit of music- a dance CD made up of various Godzilla samples- dialog, music and sound effects.

here's some information about the CD, if you want track listings.  the link to the creator's site appears to be dead though.  the CD I have also has a bunch of dialog and sound effect samples at the end of it, which is pretty cool.  they only last a few seconds, so it doesn't get old.

the songs come from Godzilla vs the Smog Monster, Monster Zero, Godzilla's Revenge, Mothra and Terror of MechaGodzilla.  there are a few other songs, different takes on Gary Numan's "Cars" and the Cars "Candy-O".

I don't care much for most of this type of dance music, but yeah, add giant monsters to it, and it improves a lot.  there is also a cover of BOC's "Godzilla"... sort of.

anyway, it's a fun CD.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Iron Fisted Monk (1977)

The Iron Fisted Monk is Sammo Hung Kam-Bo's directorial debut. 

block that chop!
it's a pretty good movie.  there's lots of action and some rather surprising adult content (the rape scene does last a bit longer than needed) and it's got a bloody final battle.  the story is a pretty generic revenge against the Manchus plot, but Sammo's performance and action are what we are watching, right?

it's based on the real life Miller Six folk hero, which I know nothing about, really.  his uncle gets killed and he goes to Shaolin to learn kung fu for revenge.  there's none of the Buddhist discussion over taking a life (well, perhaps a little, but it certainly doesn't stop the monk Tak from helping Husker in the final battle.

approach, Sammo Grubermann...
James Tien has a cameo as Husker's teacher.  he's billed pretty highly for such a small role, but he does it well.

the DVD looks and sounds great.

except for the lame new English track.  several movies of Jackie's and Sammo's have been redubbed, and they have been uniformly awful sounding.  the original English dubs couldn't be unusable, could they?  I am making the assumption that the movie was dubbed back in the 70s for foreign markets to enjoy (thank goodness, or there would be no fans outside of Asia) but I don't know. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

cool hero information

this is a great site. 
Lucille Martin is the Blue Lady!

I mean, who ever has heard of the Blue Lady?  not me, that's for sure.  but then, I've never heard of 79% of these characters!

all thanks, credit and blame can be directed to Mr. Owari himself!

DAM lobby

this is from the German release of Destroy All Monsters.

"they know who their enemies are."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Southern Knights

when I was young I loved finding new superhero teams.  I remember reading my first Legion of Superheroes comic and seeing all of these new heroes with cool powers.  as I got older, that of course happened less and less as time went on.

then I found this comic book in the mid-80s.  superheroes I had never seen, plus a dragon on the team?  oh yeah, this was right up my alley.  as another plus it was set in Atlanta, GA which was a nice change of pace from all the NYC settings for lots of other books.

it also had a fine sense of humor, and a slight sense of anarchy on occasion (making thieves and hitmen likable characters).  the letters of comment pages were almost as enjoyable as the comics themselves.  wondered what ever happened to "T.M. Maple"?

the book ran for 34 issues initially, a respectable run for a black and white independent comic book. in the early 90s there were two more issues published as a crossover with the League Of Champions which was supposed to be a comeback but didn't quite work out that way.  I read one of the four issues, I think.

now that I wanted to read the comics again, my entire run seems to have disappeared from my one box of comics.  I have no idea what happened to them, but I can imagine they got traded away about 7 years ago.  still, they are not expensive now, so I may seek them back out.

gimme gimme Shock Treatment (1981)

I heard music from this pseudo-sequel to Rocky Horror in about 1981, on the Dr. Demento show (where all great music could be heard).
the good Dr didn't talk too much about the plot of the movie, and as it was presented as a sequel (it does star Brad (a**h*l*) Majors and Janet (sl*t) Weiss) but as such it would sure disappoint fans of Rocky.  however, it's got great music, some would say even better than Rocky.  singing about Denton, Texas, how unusual!
the television satire is rather more pointed today than it was in 1981.  sure predicted some trends!

interesting, Rik Mayall is in this movie!  and nice to see Charles Gray as well.  it's worth a look, that's for sure.

who's idiot idea is it to remake Rocky now?

Pryde of the X-Men

"Brotherhood of Mutant Terrorists"?
one of these villains is NOT a mutant...

what an odd thing to name yourself.  I mean, does any terrorist group ever call itself that?  it wouldn't quite gain sympathy. 

though of course, calling yourself the "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" isn't exactly going to win you a lot of friends in the first place.

these images are from the first X-men pilot cartoon, which apparently aired a few times in 1989, but I never saw it til it was released on VHS back in the very early 90s.  it's a pretty decent story, marred by silly writing, and some poor stock sound effects.  the animation is quite nice overall though.

some X-Men and the Disco Dazzler
this team of X-Men is an amalgam of several versions.  it's OK, though I would never have included Dazzler in anything.  the voice casting is odd as well, I mean really, who would ever think the Canadian born Wolverine would sound good with an Australian accent?  no one will ever buy that.

I like that they didn't use the blue and yellow suit for Logan.  this color scheme say "wolverine" far more than that one.  the rest of the team looks good, even Dazzler in her so late 80s gloves and jacket top. 

it's a wonder this hasn't ever shown up on DVD.  the X-men had some more adventures with Spider-man, earlier in the 80s.  we'll talk about them later.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kamen Rider Great War (2009)

this is the final 12 minutes of the Decade/Double movie mentioned early- the team up bit.
these are great stunts
after watching the Kamen Rider Double movie, I think I'd like to see more of that show, too. it's based in a detective agency, which is a novel idea for the series.  and the scarf just tops it off, giving the show a true Kamen Rider feel.
Double states the obvious
it's a good wrap up to the Decade series, and a good introduction to Double's show.  I recommend it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Decade... ARGH!

I am enjoying this "final" Kamen Rider Decade movie quite a bit, but I swear if I see this again I'll quit watching:
another cliffhanger?
I'm pretty sure it's wrapped up after the Kamen Rider Double part. I hope Double is good, it looks pretty interesting.

Tackle was handled very well, and I also liked Kamen Rider Kiva-la.  but come on, it's the "Crisis Empire" not "Kreiss"!

Ultra Seven

remember the days when we watched our Japanese superheroes on grainy VHS tapes in raw Japanese?

Dan watches Miclas battle Eleking
these days we can see them in great quality and many times with subtitles provided by some talented fans.

we have here Ultra Seven episode #3, "The Secret of the Lake" which is one of the more popular episodes in the series.  it has Eleking as the main monster and it's a great design for this beast.  Eleking was created by the Pitt aliens (two young girls) intent on conquering the Earth.  which most of the aliens in the series were intent upon.

we also get to see Miclas in action, who is the second of Seven's capsule monsters. he's pretty cool looking, sort of like a big ol' monster buffalo.

energy bolts from Eleking
Ultra Seven is a really good series, some fans consider it superior to the original Ultraman.  it's been dubbed into English twice, once in the 70s in Hawai'i.  this dub is not very good, but it is very faithful to the original scripts, as opposed to the Cinar/TNT dub from the 90s which had better actors but didn't do justice to the original tone of the series.

having just seen them these ways, I wouldn't have said it was my favorite Ultra Show.  but now, thanks to the fansubs it's really quite good.  it's a fine combination between superheroes and science fiction, which is not an easy thing to do for the most part.  Eleking did show up later on, in Ultra Fight, Ultraman Taro and Ultraman Mebius.
the battle between Seven and Eleking

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the Coloring Book of Gwangi

I love the movie "The Valley Of Gwangi" (1969) for a variety of reasons, but I think what started me on the path was this:
just an awesome painting

yep, a coloring book for the movie.  it had the entire story, right down to the burning of Gwangi (if I remember correctly).  I don't remember buying it, or having it given to me.  I just always remember having it for a long time (until I gave it to an owner who would love it more than me, even).  I colored in lots of pages, removed some, I am sure, and who knows what else.

all this prepped me very well for my first actual viewing of the movie, sometime in late '73 or early 74 on the late show. even though I knew the plot and what dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals would show up, I was still awed by the experience.

I'd love to find a copy of this again, but it seems pretty rare.

here's a fun viewing experience that was on prime time tv  at one point.  I think the best part was that Colin actually knew the (almost) proper name of the movie!

the Poster from Outer Space

late 70s reissue poster
I never knew this great movie was re-released in the later 70s (probably to cash in on Star Wars).  a shame, as I would love to have seen it in the theaters back then.  to this day I've never seen a 3-D feature in the theater.

what caught my eye about this poster was the tag "xenomorph" on it.  long before the whole "Alien" thing tried to take the title!

a very cool poster, certainly eye catching and not a little misleading!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Avengers*JLA #2

the battle begins
the second book in the greatest comic story ever told begins with the first battle of the teams.  and the battle lasts through the entire book almost!  we get to see Wonder Woman fight both Hercules and Wonder Man, Batman vs Captain America and finally, Thor takes on Superman.

yeah, and the plot moves along with the exact amount of humor and flawless characterizations.  we see what effect the "chaos" magic of the DCU has on the Scarlet Witch, the differences in the speed of the Flash vs the speed of Quicksilver and who the better archer is, Hawkeye or Green Arrow.

oh wait, we really don't get to see that battle.  there are some fun cameos as well which just let Perez go to town with his artwork.

apparently the outcome of Thor v. Superman wasn't to everybody's liking, but I think it pretty much had to end that way.  and it wasn't like the result was how it would go in another round.  and the ending is a REAL cliffhanger!

Happy Birthday, Julie Newmar

the first and still best Catwoman, Julie Newmar was born today.
I hope she has a lovely day, thanks for the memories, Julie.
in a slightly related note, today is also my late father's birthday.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

18 Jade Arhats (widerscreen)

that's not the right title!
here's a couple screen shots from the widescreen version of "18 Jade Arhats" I reviewed a few days ago.  looks like it was sourced from a Euroversion.  though I'll never know!

The Mysterians (1957)

saw this movie a few times growing up, and it was one of the first VHS tapes I bought (ah, Star Classics (I think), you had the best tapes). 
ultra cool poster!

of course, it was the original US dub that was aired.  the first time I could have seen this movie was as a kid over Christmas in WV, where it was given a prime 8 PM slot on WDCA Channel 20 in the evening.  however, family plans and poor aerial reception deep in the boonies meant I had to have fun but not watching tv for two hours that evening.

probably better off, because as good as this movie is, I might have been bored til the final battle.  I can appreciate the philosophy and speculation a lot more now that I am a wee bit older.  it takes it's time telling it's story and that's a good thing.  there is a lot of talk at the beginning, so it's also nice to see a giant robot show up here and there!  good ol Mogera, just nothing like it anywhere.

the new DVD is nice, but I miss the original dub.  and the awesome trailer!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Guyver

basic title, huh
the first time I heard about this movie was via Markalite.  the reviewer was not kind to the movie, but he also got a few facts wrong (one of them was the movie broke the fourth wall in the middle, which it clearly does not).  so I had very low expectations.

it's not a horrible movie, really, especially when compared to all the sci-fi level stuff that's been aimed in our direction in the last 20 years. the costumes are great, but it suffers from a dearth of superheroic action (which is one of my common laments about various movies of this genre).  what's there is good, there's just not enough of it.

the comedy is kind of lame, but could be worse.  however, the sequel is a better movie.  I'll watch it later. I've only ever seen about 15 minutes of any of the cartoon versions.
good looking costume

Thursday, August 12, 2010

best comic book ever

the big 6, plus the small 2
yes, there is no question about it, this is the greatest series of comic books ever, the greatest team up ever and just period the greatest.

OK, I may be a bit biased.  a lot biased. as I've told just about anyone that has ever asked, the Avengers and the JLA were the first two comics I ever remember reading, and oddly enough, Avengers #70 was essentially Avengers vs JLA, but I was not old enough to know it.

anyway, after an ill-fated early 80s attempt was canceled (oh, the pain, the pain of it all, I remember it well) 20 years later I finally got my dream crossover. 

and thankfully, it was in the hands of the best Avengers writer there could have been, Kurt Busiek, and the BEST Avengers artist ever, George Perez.  George did the art on the first book as well.  there are other writers who could have done a good job, but Busiek brought the right amount of humor and action and drama needed to the story.  Perez was amazing in every way.  I see new things in the panels even now.

so this is issue #1, and it starts out with Krona entering the Marvel Universe and encountering the Grandmaster (also present in Avengers #70, yes that makes me ever so happy). Terminus shows up in the DCU, and Starro appears in Marvelverse. both teams realize that something is wrong.  each one ends up visiting the others world.  Batman beats up the Punisher (sadly, unseen) and Hawkeye gets to say the funniest thing ever about the JLA.

then the battle is on!  but what game is the Grandmaster actually playing?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bill and Coo (1948)

ever wonder what a 61 minute movie about a bunch of parakeets, lovebirds and other fowl would look like?
try this-
"Bill and Coo" is a very cornball little movie showcasing trained birds. the clip on youtube is better than the one I just watched on DVD.  I had seen a movie about birds when I was very young, and thought this may be it, but it doesn't quite seem to be the one I remember.  not sure how many there could be out there though!

denpa nage!

Electric Wave Human Tackle
I haven't watched the new Kamen Rider Decade/Double movie yet, but this should make it all worthwhile.  the first female Kamen Rider, Tackle reappears after many years.  lots of other Riders return from the dead (the Double Riders somehow survived a nuclear blast) but never Tackle.  it'll be nice to see her again.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Powered-ful thoughts

Ultra Float!
Ultraman Powered (Ultraman: the Ultimate Hero, 1993) has gotten a rep as the worst Ultra series ever. Aside from Foxkids adaption of Ultraman Tiga, this probably does deserve the title of not best Ultra show.

it's too bad, as it mostly fails in the Ultra Action scenes.  the costumes, actors and miniatures all look pretty good, and the effects are quite nice.  the costumes look almost TOO detailed, which led to the stunt team being ever so careful with them.  hence Powered's basic fighting were the "Ultra Shove" and the "Ultra Push" (thank you, Andre Dubois for coining those terms way back when).  even Ultraman Great had better fight scenes!
Powered appears!

Powered himself does look great.  it's a great transformation sequence as well.

another problem was remaking classic episodes of the first series.  this was not a good idea, overall.  the monsters didn't quite live up to their original incarnations, though Kemlar (Kemular, Kemura) looks quite good in episode 2 ("Attack Kemular From Behind").

so I don't hate the show.  it's sad, as it had a lot of potential, but by making the fights boring, they really blew it.  for years, both Powered and Great weren't considered canon for the Ultra Brothers, but they both appeared in Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie  (along with almost every other Ultra ever!) which I quite enjoyed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

"only trouble is...

gee whiz, I'm dreaming my life away!"

just saw the movie Inception (2010) which was a good movie.  it could have been a lot better if it had been thirty minutes shorter.  does Christopher Nolan get paid by the minute? I suppose when you do "everything" (write, direct and produce) no one is going to tell you you have gone overboard in your film.

the movie deals in dreams, guilt and redemption.  the acting is good all around, though I am starting to think Leonardo DiCaprio is not nearly the great actor some people think he is. he's good, but like Jack Nicholson, you always see Leo acting as someone else. I thought Ellen Page was quite effective.

it was also very predictable.  not a single surprise or plot twist wasn't clearly foretold, right down to the ending.  and there was like, three instances of humor in this one, which is also about on the level for Nolan's movies.  I truly don't get all the fanboys going gaga over him like they do.


OK, sure, the Japanese name is actually "Spiderman" with no hyphen, but I just can't spell it that way.
spider string!

notice anything about this picture? yep, those are subtitles. marvel.com had subtitled all the episodes a while back, but I didn't get around to watching them.  I watched four or five episodes, but it's not always easy watching something on the computer like that.

anyway, now I'll be watching the series again, for the first time.  it's loads of fun, just what a superhero show should be.  I'm still surprised Marvel never released it over here to cash in on the Spider-man movies of recent times. 

but that's their loss!  I'll report more on the episodes as I watch them, I am sure.  I bet you all can't wait!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

one armed destruction

original poster
holy poo.  just about 70 minutes into this excellent sequel to the The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) and it's even better than I remembered.

it's action packed.  our hero, Fang Kang (Yu Wang) has to take on EIGHT evil thieve-lords, who are all masters of the blade themselves.  there is a lot of blood letting in here, and Fang is really unstoppable.  at least so far, he's seen through the enemy before they even get started, and has traps planned for them.

it's a nice twist, as usually the enemy is the one planning ahead.  with eight villains to wipe out, he's made short work of three of them already.

the new Dragon Dynasty DVD looks and sounds great.  the English dub sounds weird to me, though, even though I know it's the original one.  perhaps I am more used to the 70s voices than I thought I was!  there are no extras on here, aside from the overabundance of trailers for other DD movies.  thank goodness the menu button precludes having to watch them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

amazing armor

the Golden Avenger
this is a fun read, and it proves that early Marvel continuity was nearly non-existent (another civilization in the middle of the Earth, this time the survivors of Atlantis- what would the Sub-Mariner say about that?).

and it's quite the rah rah go USA bunch of stories, as the Commies are the villains in most of the stories.  we get introduced to many mainstays of the Marvel Universe, and that's really the cool thing.

I'd never seen the first appearances of Hawkeye and the Black Widow.  Hawkeye got younger as he made more appearances in the comic, and Madame Natasha got her first (and most hideous) costume.  those are some fun stories, and knowing that Hawkeye became an Avenger is pretty cool.

there's also the Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, Jack Frost and of course, both Pepper Pots and Happy Hogan, who end up looking quite different by the end of the book.  Happy especially got a dramatic makeover. 

there some fine artwork in here, from Jack Kirby to Steve Ditko, but the bulk of it is done by Dashing Don Heck, who is quite underrated in my book.  one of the cool things is that the 1960s Gantry-Lawrence "animated" cartoons use most of this run as their templates. look here to see some of the stories!

I am somewhat surprised these cartoons haven't been released on DVD, especially due to the movies successes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

homage to...

thanks to Mr. Owari for pointing this cover out to me:
Catman has a crisis!
this is the old Holyoke Comics Cat-man, with his partner, Kitten.  anyone see familiarities between (at least) two other famous comic book covers?