Friday, October 24, 2014

Transformers G1: Action Master Kick-Off

Kick-Off photo IMG_0954_zps4b418c75.jpg

To open or not to open. That is today's question. It's rare these days that I acquire a G1 TF, let alone one with it's packaging. Finding a sealed G1 TF is down right rare for me. However Action Masters can come fairly cheap on the secondary market if you look in the right places.

I picked up this MOSC Kick-Off sometime last year for less than $20. I almost immediately hung this in my closet in my collection room and went on about things. It wasn't until recently that I pulled it out again.

Kick-Off photo IMG_0955_zps3d65abbe.jpg

I've run into a few hardcore G1 collectors that don't care for Action Masters. Period. I for one don't mind them. Then again I grew up w/ G.I. Joe so I'm kind of partial to the 3 3/4" scale action figure. I will say that I've always gravitated to the new, original Action Master characters over the pre-existing characters such as Prowl.

I also prefer the characters that had weapons or accessories that transformed versus the animal partners that transformed. By the time their hand gun was placed on the transformed animal partner, the combined weapon would be bigger than the figure! Kick-Off comes with the Turbo-Pack - a jet pack that also converts into an extra weapon. To me this just seems more functional and makes for a better play patter in my opinion.

Kick-Off photo IMG_0956_zps01a19ad2.jpg

Kick-Off looks great. First of all I love the orange, black and white colors. I don't mind the red as it helps break up the white and black, but part of me wishes Hasbro would have used more orange instead of red.

Now the story behind the Action Masters is that they ingested a type of Energon, Nucleon, that effectively froze them in robot mode. With their alternate forms locked, these action figures only have a few hints at what that alternate form was. Looking at Kick-Off's chest you can see the slop of a car, headlights and a front bumper. His legs also show signs of car wheels. I've always been under the impression that his alt mode was a Porsche of some type. Perhaps a 911 like Jazz?

Kick-Off photo IMG_0959_zps00e4c300.jpg

Kick-Off's accessory is the Turbo-Pack. It transforms by simply deploying wings on each side with an optional spring loaded cannon that can extend up and over Kick-Off's shoulder. He also comes with his orange Sonic Blaster hand gun. This gun can also be attached to the shoulder cannon to give him more firepower.

In the end I was glad I decided to open up this guy as I had a lot of fun with the toy. The best thing about buying a brand new Action Master is that you don't have to worry about flopping joints! The construction of the Action Master shares a lot with a common G.I. Joe figure - the rubber O-Ring in the waist. For a non-transforming Transformer I think the guy is pretty cool and he puts me one figure closer to finishing off my complete G1 collection.

Month of Horror continues with Frozen (2010)

I've never actually been skiing or snow boarding before and I can tell you after watching this movie I never will!  More of a survival horror this moving is probably more terrifying than all of the other slasher and zombie flicks combined.

Three friends bride the ski lift operator for a lift ticket on a Sunday afternoon. Wanting to get in one last run for the night the three friends hop in the ski lift and make their way to the mountain's peak. All the while back at the ski resort there is some miscommunication and the worker stops the lift...stranding the three. What happens next is the survival of the three and their attempts to get off the lift and back down the mountain.  One of the quotes on the poster is "Terrifying. Will do for skiing what Jaws did for swimming.". I couldn't agree more.

My wife has often said she won't watch horror movies with me that could really happen. I blame it on taking her to see the uncut version of the original Exorcist when it was re-released to theaters. She will not watch this movie. Period. I guess the most frightening part of the movie is it's realism. The cast is really good, Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Emma Bell (The Walking Dead)The film is directed by Adam Green (Hatchet) and the stunts are coordinated by Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th). It's a very intense and fun ride once the terror sets in.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Month of Horror continues with The Strangers

Dating couple (Liv Tyler & Scott Speedman) stop off at the family's remote summer home after attending a wedding only to be terrorized by 3 individuals.

I don't know about you, but these movies where the events could really happen in real life freak me out just a little. I originally saw this one in theaters and I can still see and hear all the women jump and scream. It seemed at the time of it's release in 2008 there weren't many of these "home invasion" type horror movies. Even with some competition out there with the likes of You're Next, the Strangers still holds up very well to date.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Month of Horror continues with The Descent

I hate this movie poster, but I love the film.  This is a keep you on your edge of the seat and bite your nails until your fingers hurt kind of movie.  If you are claustrophobic then I highly suggest you don't watch this movie!

The movie takes place one year after a woman vacationing with her family suffers a horrible traffic accident.  Her friends encourage her to go on a caving expedition in the mountains of North Carolina.  During their adventure they suffer one horrible thing after another.  Trapped inside a dark cave with no real sense of direction and running low on supplies should be enough to scare you.  Throw in some sort of cave dwelling underground predators and you've got the perfect mix of fear to make an excellent movie.

From the opening traffic accident scene I knew I was in for a good ride (no pun intended).  Most of this movie takes place in a dark cave and the lack of lighting really helps the overall creepy atmosphere of this movie.  I've never been much of an outdoors adventurous type of person and after seeing this movie I don't ever intend to be.  I found this movie a refreshing change of pace from the typical horror movie.  You may classify this as more of a thriller, but either way its a great movie.

Toys R Us, Breaking Bad and an Parent's Ignorance

Most of my posts here are review related, sharing my thoughts and opinions on toys, comics, video games, etc. I rarely use this outlet to share my opinion on current events, but I had to say something here.

A Florida mom has recently taken to and launched a petition after seeing Breaking Bad action figures for sale at her local Toys 'R Us. She claims the toys are unfit for children and thinks they have no place in the store.

Toys 'R Us told NBC News that "the product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up" and "are located in the adult action figure area of our stores."

Now as an avid shopper of TRU I can say that I've seen these Breaking Bad figures. I thought nothing of them as they are usually displayed alongside of horror movie, video game and other collectibles that are aimed at adults. Being a parent myself of course I'd never buy these for my children. If my daughters are with me shopping at TRU, this is usually the one aisle that I skip. Even if I'm shopping alone I usually skip this aisle as most of these types of figures I don't collect.

What really gets me is (some) parents as well as the media in general just can't accept that some adults actually collect action figures and such. They don't understand that adults without kids shop at TRU just as much (if not more) than parents with kids.

The Today Show recently had a short discussion on this topic and as much as I love Matt, Al and the rest of the cast, they too seem blind to the fact that these aren't marketed towards kids! Hoda's comment about seeing the figures, excuse me dolls, alongside "Thomas the truck" just shows her ignorance.

I know parents are trying to safeguard their children from certain things in this world, and I applaud those parents. There are just as many parents on the opposite end of the spectrum that don't seem to give a rip about what their children partake. However the ignorance I'm referring to is the thought that just because something is called or labeled a toy or an action figure then its meant for kids.

I see this same parental ignorance movies, television, music, books (manga, comics) and especially video games. Just because it's animated or looks cartoon-ish doesn't mean its for kids or marketed for kids people!

So what is TRU supposed to do now? Pull everything that a certain segment of the parental population disagrees with? What about all of the Mature rated video games TRU sells? Why isn't this Florida mom up in arms that her children saw a M rated video game alongside the newest Mario Bros. game?

Walmart stores also carry these Breaking Bad figures. Is Walmart going to follow suit and remove them? Or is Walmart too big to worry about a few thousand signatures?

TRU is already hurting thanks to kids not having that traditional play pattern that you or I may have had growing up. Toy companies are having to compete with technology and gadgets now. It also seems that kids just don't have the same level of imagination as kids once did. I believe this is one of the reasons why toy companies are started marketing certain items towards adults. These companies understand there is a whole market of adult collectors and they are more than willing to open up their wallets and spend money on collectibles such as Breaking Bad figures.

I'm not making an argument for these Breaking Bad figures. I'm not saying that a figure with a bag of Crystal Meth is cool. I'm just saying these figures along with plenty of others have every right to be on retail shelves as do Transformers and Barbies. Parents, if you don't like it or think it's appropriate for your children, then keep on walking.

So to counter balance this petition to have TRU stores remove these adult collectibles, here is a petition to keep them on shelves...or at least bring them back as it appears some stores have already started to remove them.

As a toy collecting, video game playing, comic book reading parent I try to be as level headed as possible. While the majority of my interests aren't controversial, I do make sure that my children aren't reading (or watching) The Walking Dead or that I'm playing a shooter like Halo when they are around. I try to practice something called Common Sense. More parents ought to try it.

Month of Horror continues with Zombieland

Zombieland...the last movie I saw in the theaters before I became a dad!  For several reasons I'll always love this movie.  Finding the perfect match of humor and gore can be hard to find, but every once in awhile that perfect marriage comes along in the form of a great movie such as Zombieland.

(Red ban trailer - NSFW?)

I'm not a big fan of Woody Harrelson or Jesse Eisenberg, but the two of them have great chemistry in the movie. I've mentioned before that mixing humor with horror is hard to do, and it's something that I don't always like. However as with Shaun of the Dead, this is the perfect blend of the two elements. Track this one down as it's a very fun and enjoyable ride.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Month of Horror continues with Poltergeist

"They're here!"

Need I say more?  This is the movie that I'm sure scared the crap out of a lot of people in 1982...especially if you had children.

If the movie isn't frighting enough as is, then maybe all of the real world things that took place to the cast and crew after the movie was filmed is enough to effectively creep you out. This is an absolute must see for any horror fan.

Month of Horror continues with Day of the Dead (1985)

Yes, another movie I had to put the year in parenthesis after the name.  This was George A. Romero's last movie in his original trilogy following Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.  This is probably my least favorite of the 3, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a good movie.

Just about the entire movie takes place in an old underground military bunker somewhere in Florida.  A small group of scientists and military are the country's last hope at finding a cure.  One of the scientist makes a break through discovery with a captured zombie he affectionately calls "Bub".

Being "trapped" in one place for the entire movie really slows down the movie a lot as there isn't a lot of variety in the scenery.  Again, the movie isn't bad - it just wasn't as entertaining for me as the 2 movies that proceeded it.  The special effects are quite good as you can see below...

fast forward to about the 2:25 mark for the gore!

...but the dialog is atrocious.  I can't remember a movie where I've heard the "f-bomb" dropped so many times!  If you've already seen Night and Dawn then you at least have to finish off the trilogy and watch Day of the Dead.  I'll let you form your own opinion.

I wonder what ever happened to Bud?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Month of Horror continues with My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Long before I heard of the awful 3D remake I discovered this 80's slasher gem online.  I originally had a hard time tracking down the DVD.  Apparently this movie originally was given an X rating by the MPAA.  That didn't sit too well so the movie had to be heavily edited for it to get an R rating.  I've seen still images of the cut scenes and they aren't any more graphic than other movies released around the same time.

You probably wouldn't recognize any of the names attached to this film...I know I didn't, but it doesn't matter.  The film takes place in the fictional town of Valentines Bluff in Novia Scotia about a killer that took the lives off several miners and couples on Valentine's Day several years ago.  You see there was an accident at the local mine 20 years ago and a miner by the name of Harry Warden was the only survivor.  The man in charge of the mine that fateful night was off at a Valentine's Day party.

Fast forward to the "current" time and the killer is now more of a urban legend.  That is until a box of chocolates containing a bloody heart shows up in town.  It's been 20 years since Valentine's Day was celebrated and the young people are eager to throw a big party.  Much to the chagrin of the sheriff the party goes on as planned.  That is when the bodies start to hit the floor.

This is one of those movies that deserves being watched.  Most people probably didn't know when the 3D remake was released a few years ago that it was a remake.  Sometimes well known actors and slick special effects just can't top an original classic.

Month of Horror continues with Cold Creek Manor

OK, technically this is a thriller or suspense and not a horror flick...but it gets you to the edge of your seat.

As the trailer says, have you ever wondered what went on in your house before you lived there?  I saw this movie in the theater in 2003 and I loved it.  The premise of the movie is simple.  After a couple's son has a close call while living in the big city the family moves out to a rural part of town and falls in love with this old estate house.  As they move in and start to renovate the old house the father (Dennis Quaid) discovers pictures and information about the former family living in the house.  As they try to research the history of the family and the house they start to get weird vibes from the locals.  The more he discovers the more things start to get intense.  This was a well written and well acted movie in my opinion.  Worth a rental.