Saturday, October 3, 2015

Month of Horror: Pernicious

For the last 2 years I've sprinkled in horror movie reviews as part of the month long celebration of Halloween in the month of October. This year I won't be posting a review every day, but I'd like to get in as many as time allows. 

To kick things off we'll browse through Netflix's current Horror movie selection and see if we can find something new. Hmm. Pernicious. Looks interesting. Kinda. Well let's give it a try.

  1. having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.

Growing up if I wanted to watch a "new" horror movie we had to drive down to the video store and rent a movie. Now all I have to do is fire up Netflix and I have plenty of low budget, never heard of before, horrible, yet entertaining horror movies to choose from. Trying to find a decent horror movie on Netflix isn't easy. I'll randomly choose a movie based on the thumb nail image and short description, but usually the end result is I chose poorly. Will this movie, Pernicious, change my streak of choosing sub-par horror movies?

This movie was released earlier this year in February, I'm assuming straight to video on demand and is classified as supernatural horror. Now I usually don't go for this sub-genre of horror, opting for zombie, slasher or B level movies. However I was tired of cycling through the Netflix stream and this is the movie I ended up choosing.

Set in Thailand (at least the setting is different), 3 American girls travel there for a summer of teaching English to under privileged Thai children. Arriving about a week before their work with the children would begin, the girls decide to see the sights and discover what the night life will bring. Hooking up w/ 3 British guys at a bar, they go back to girls summer home only to wake up after having some very vivid, brutal and bloody dreams.

Not knowing what happened to them or where the guys disappeared to the next morning, the girls stumble across a very dark secret about the house they are staying in, and what happened in the house long before their arrival.

This movie and it's plot reminded me a lot of The Ring in a few ways. First of all the both movies involve some old folklore, a dead little girl haunting people and revenge. This isn't a bad thing as I really enjoyed The Ring. However this movie can't hold a candle to the latter. 

The story, script and acting are just average. For a supernatural horror movie, there are a few really gory scenes that were great. They are kind of in the Hostel vein. Pernicious isn't bad though. Netflix viewers had given this movie at the time 1 1/2 stars. I'd at least give it 2 stars. I can think of worse movies to waste 1 1/2 hours of your life watching. 

If you are a fan of Japanese horror, supernatural horror or just want to watch a horror movie that takes place in Thailand, then give Pernicious a try.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Daughters' Request

As my daughters have grown up (I started this blog a little before my first daughter was born) they have noticed more and more my love of toys. While I can't say they are a fan of Transformers like I am, they do love to come into my toy room and marvel over everything I have.

In the recent past my oldest daughter, Olivia, came into my room as I was finishing photographing some toys. She had just been given a new Frozen doll and asked if I'd take pictures of it like I do of my own toys. How could I turn her down?

Like most young girls, mine too have been fascinated by the Disney juggernaut know as Frozen. I believe this particular doll of Anna was released prior to the new Frozen animated short that was attached to the beginning of the live action Cinderella movie that was in theaters earlier this year.

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Olivia particularly liked her new Sunflower dress and absolutely loved the long ribbon in her hair. Much like many of her dolls however, the hair piece, accessories and clothes were quickly removed during playtime. Why they do this is beyond me.

And just in case you are wondering, no, this isn't the new direction of Random Toy Reviews! However I'm a daddy, a proud daddy at that and I found there to be nothing wrong with sharing one of my daughter's favorite toys with my readers. We'll get back to more manly actions figures with the next post!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

KO Korner: Metamorphs Jack SL-SS01A (Transformers G1 Action Master Rad)

I had such a great response from my last Transformers G1 KO review (thanks to Maz for all his Tweets!) that I couldn't wait to share the next piece from my personal collection. However due to other projects going on in the background it'll take me a little longer than I would like to get the photo shoot ready and completed. However while digging through the 1.5K pictures I already have just waiting to be edited, I ran across another G1 KO to share. Not quite as exciting as some of the others I own, but nonetheless worth sharing.

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Ah, Action Masters. The Transformers that don't transform! I know these toys created a lot of division within the TF fandom, but I always liked them. While I never owned any as a kid in the 80's, I guess I can appreciate them as I've always been a fan of 3 3/4" action figures like G.I. Joe. Not saying that Action Masters are my favorite G1 TFs, I don't loathe them like some fans do.

I've seen these KO Action Masters before on eBay before I started to collect G1 KOs, but of course when I was ready to make the purchase it took me awhile to track one down. The thing about a lot of these KOs is they are almost always found overseas, particularly in Italy or Australia. This means I pay more for shipping than what I pay for the actual toy at times!

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You may recall the original Hasbro G1 Action Masters figures came packaged on blister cards, so I find this box packaging to be a little appealing. Unlike many packaged G1 KOs I own, this box doesn't really borrow any aspects from the original packaging, opting to go with dare I say an original design?

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Now you may be wondering what Jazz is doing on one end of the box Jack comes packaged in. It appears the same style box was used for that release as well and perhaps Jack and Boa were released at the same time?

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One top of the box you can also see the shared packaging design with Boa's turbo skate board. Hopefully one day I can track down this other Metamorph Action Master release.

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Inside the box you'll find a very then and flimsy plastic tray housing the figure, it's Targetmaster like sidekick and his weapon. No sticker sheet or instructions were inside and my specimen was sealed when I purchased it.

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I always did like Rad's sculpting and his partner, Lionizer was in my opinion one of the better Targetmaster like partners for the Action Masters. Rad, er, Jack traded his red for orange. To me he looks like he should hiding inside Groundbreaker's Pretender shell with these new colors. His unnamed partner wasn't changed much from his G1 predecessor.

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I should mention that the spring has been removed from "Lionizer" so now when you disengage the animal head it just drops. However when you put him in Targetmaster mode he does clip together and hold his gun form just fine. By the way, Rad's gun is the same as Jack's, just a shade darker.

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Orange or red, what's your favorite color? Looking over both figures in hand I really can't find any changes to the mold itself, however as you can see the KO figure is slightly shorter. The quality of the plastic used for this KO release is actually quite nice. It seems to have a glossy shine that the original doesn't have, but it doesn't feel cheap and the joints are tight...then again I purchased it sealed.

G1 KOs aren't for everyone, as Action Masters aren't "real" Transformers for a lot of fans. However I found this release to be have some charm, got it for cheap and looks good alongside my other G1 KO Autobots.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Transformers Adventure: EZ Collection Toys 'R' Us Prime

I've seen a lot of wild Transformers decos in my days of collecting, but I think this one has to be at the top of the list for the craziest idea. Part of a promo in Japan at, you guessed it, Toys 'R Us stores; spending 3,000 yen or more in new Transformers Adventure product in July of 2015 and you got to take this guy home with you for free.

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A redeco of the earlier released Legends figure from Hasbro's Transformers Robots in Disguise (2015), this figure may not be for all collectors. I can get that. However there was just something about this oddly colored figure that called my name.

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Bundled inside Prime's clear baggie was a folded sheet of instructions and a small card with his colored Autobot symbol. I immediately pulled out my iPhone and launched the Robots in Disguise app so I could scan the Autobot symbol, hoping that I could add Geoffrey Prime to my ranks...but alas it wasn't compatible with the app. Bummer. Who knew these things were region locked?!

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In vehicle mode there isn't much to look at. Prime's iconic red has been replaced with orange. There are bits of red poking through. You can see here that one side is red while the other side is green. These form Prime's shoulders in robot mode and you'll see more of that in a bit. 

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Once you get him transformed into robot mode you get a better idea of just why he is called Toys 'R' Us Prime! If the star spotted legs weren't enough to give away the Geoffrey mascot homage, then check out those colored shoulders. Initially I thought the designs on his shoulders were tampographed on, but sadly they are just stickers. Blah.

I'm not sure why I enjoy this deco so much. Perhaps its because it's a fun mold? Or perhaps its just because its weird and straight outta left field? No matter the reason this is one little toy that I was glad to jump on and import before the prices started to climb. I paid about as much as you had to buy in Japan to get him for free, but shortly after I purchased mine it seemed as if the asking price started to rise to $50+ on the secondary market. I don't know how many of these identity crisis Prime figures were made, but I can see how this one may only be fore the hardcore collector.

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What good is a review of a repainted toy without some comparison pictures against the source material? No mold changes, just a new paint design and the addition of the two TRU stickers in robot mode.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Transformers Legends: Arcee LG-10

When it was announced that Takara Tomy would be using the new Transformers Legends series in Japan to release some of the then current Generations figures from Hasbro, many were hoping that Arcee would be included in the series.

Takara Tomy has a knack of taking a good figure and making look great. Premium paint apps or just slight tweaks and collector's have that dilemma of whether to settle for the average Hasbro version or too import the better Japanese version.

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If you aren't familiar, the Arcee on the left is what Hasbro gave the fans; while the version on the right is Takara Tomy's. How long have we been waiting for a proper non-motorcycle version of G1 Arcee? Forever. That's how long. When I first saw the mold I was really excited...except those black areas killed a lot of that excitement. To this day I can't figure out why someone at Hasbro thought the use of black was acceptable. Thankfully Takara Tomy came to our rescue.

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This is my first Transformers Legends figure...that is until Nightbird and Blackarachnia are released later this year. I'm a sucker for packaging and I think that Takara Tomy did a great job here. On the right we have the classic G1 grid look while on the left you have the now widely used Transformers logo. The large window allows you to get a good feel for the figure before you even remove it from the box.

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Throw in large vibrant images of the toy's vehicle and robot modes with some great anime style artwork in the back and you've got a very nice back to the packaging. It appears Arcee has a mini bio too, but since I can't read Japanese I'm just guessing.

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The sides of the box give you a better look at the art work and the toy itself, even if it's only half of the figure!

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When I first saw a similar image as above for Optimus Primal, the first figure released in the Legends line I thought for sure it was a trading card sized tech specs. After all, outside of Masterpiece releases not many of Takara Tomy's Transformers have come with cards lately. 

This wasn't the case however as this is really just the instruction booklet. However someone really needs to make a trading card using this design! It lends itself perfectly for a trading card set.

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The back features a bio of the character along with their individual tech spec rankings. No artwork is included here, but when the figure looks this good who needs art?!

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The inside of the instruction booklet also contains a comic. I recognize T-AI from Car Robots, but I really have no clue as to what is happening in this mini story.

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Arcee comes with two pistols and a set of translucent blue weapons. I think they look like knives, but others seem to use them as guns as well. 

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Whomever designed this toy needs some kind of medal or trophy. I haven't been buying many of the modern updates of G1 characters, but Arcee was a no brainer. I mean just look at the alt. mode here. It looks so close to the animation model of herself.

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There are 5 mm peg holes on the side of the vehicle that allow her blue weapons to attach to the sides. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure there are some that like this weaponized look.

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I didn't have many Generations figures handy at the time for a scale comparison so I just grabbed Hoist. I know Hoist has one of the smaller alt modes, but I think you can see she fits in good with the rest of the Generations cast...or Classics...or whatever people are calling these series these days.

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As much as I enjoy the alt mode of Arcee, I truly feel as if this is where this figure really shines. The figure's head sculpt captures her G1 animation model look and lends itself well to the feminine body sculpt. I know some people have an issue of a robot having a sex in the first place. I get it. It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. However if you are going to have both male and female robots, the females should...well look like females. While in the past there have been a few decent attempts at female Transformers figures, I feel this mold nailed the overall femininity.

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Arcee does have a little backpack kibble, but surprisingly the figure stands up well on her own without needing additional assistance. The view from the side or from the rear makes the backpack look rather large and unattractive, but when you look at her head on it doesn't look so bad.

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I know Arcee is being portrayed in a whole different light in the current series of IDW comics, but I never pictured her as carrying much firepower, however with this figure you can easily equip her with all 4 of her included weapons.

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You would expect a modern day Transformer to be articulated and Arcee doesn't disappoint. I'm not good at posing my figures so this is about the best you'll get out of me, but hopefully you can get the picture that one more creative than myself can really pull of some great poses with this figure.

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Surprisingly she even has neck articulation. Arcee isn't the biggest of the Transformers so I guess it makes sense that she can look up as that is the direction she'll be looking when she is near Springer or Ultra Magnus.

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Just a few comparison pictures with a few 3rd Party items I happened to have handy. I don't know about you, but I think Arcee is a tad undersized compared to ToyWorld's Orion figure.

Arcee is a great figure hands down. From the alt mode to the robot, you can't go wrong. They nailed her classic G1 look for once. Takara Tomy just took this figure a step further by painting the black areas and making the figure look more uniform. I can't afford to import many figures that end up being released by Hasbro, but sometimes there are some that deserve to be imported. Arcee is one of those cases where the extra dollars are justified.

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