Monthly Archives: August 2012
Like most of the gaming world, I completely overlooked the original Darksiders when it released in 2010, playing through it only after my girlfriend ran across a $10 copy and said “Hey, this looks like something you’d like”. That ended up being something of an understatement. The game centered around War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, being stripped of his powers and wrongfully accused of bringing about the end of mankind. The play mechanics borrowed liberally from such diverse sources as the Zelda franchise and Portal, and what should have been a poor hodgepodge of clashing elements, or at best a mid-card God of War clone, ended up being one of my favorite games of this console cycle. So when a sequel was announced despite the original’s middling sales performance, I (along with a substantially greater number of other gamers this time around) was incredibly excited.
A few nights ago I kicked off a new running feature for A Nerd Occurrence, in which I will attempt to make a noticeable dent in my out-of-control Netflix instant queue, and at the same time provide our readers with reviews on a wide variety of random films. Sometimes, like when I watched The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, these articles will provide a valuable public service by pointing out gems that people may have overlooked. Other times, well… sometimes I just add movies because I like the cover. This is one of those.
Designed by DC Comics’ Geoff Johns, the 4th figure in the MOTUC 30th Anniversary line is Sir Laser-Lot. As with The Mighty Spector, this was the character Johns submitted to the 80s Create-a-Character contest. This is another one that didn’t go over well when it was revealed, but personally I am digging it. It looks like something straight out of the Filmation cartoon or vintage toyline. (It also reminds me of the Axe Lord Armor from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which amuses me.)
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You know you have a problem when you’re browsing instantwatcher.com at four in the morning, and you see the message “added to queue at position 339”. That is not a typo, my Netflix queue contains three hundred and thirty-nine entries. This is on top of a rapidly growing Blu-Ray library, and frankly the backlog is getting out of hand. So in an effort to whittle it down slightly, I’m going to start watching random selections from the queue and reviewing them here at A Nerd Occurrence, good or bad. I will write a review for every single film I watch via Netflix, in an attempt to add some sort of endgame and motivation to the mix. My first selection is a film I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. To clarify for the younger crowd (thanks, Hollywood, for constantly making me do this), this is the original 1974 version, not the John Travolta/Denzel Washington remake…or the 1998 version with Edward James Olmos and Vincent D’Onofrio.
This summer has been packed with great action heroes, but as is increasingly the case, they were all in masks and plucked from the pages of comic books. That’s all well and good, but as all the adaptations pile up I find myself growing nostalgic for those bygone days when the movie stars themselves were the superheroes. Growing up, most of the cast of The Expendables 2 were just as iconic to me as any member of The Avengers. As a kid, I wouldn’t have wanted to see Sylvester Stallone playing a character in a Batman movie, I wanted to see a movie where Batman enlists the aid of Stallone himself to take out some bad guys. For the last fifteen years or so, the cinematic landscape has been missing so many crucial elements. Air strikes set to classic rock songs. Characters pausing momentarily to stitch themselves up or cauterize a stab wound with gunpowder. Arm wrestling. Slow motion jumping roundhouse kicks. Helicopters getting destroyed via improbable means. When the 80’s action film gave way to the independent wave of the 90’s, an unmistakable void was left in American cinema, and the modern action genre often feels weak and sterile. Sometimes, if you want something done right, a bunch of 60-year-old dudes just have to get back in the gym and do it themselves. Read the rest of this entry
In a pitch for what would become the original Masters of the Universe toyline, Mattel designer Roger Sweet created 3 prototypes out of Big Jim figures. These were to show that the generically named “He-Man” could be put into any situation. They were a barbarian, which became the He-Man that we know, a space man, which borrowed his helmet from a Boba Fett figure, and a military man, which was some sort of bizarre tank guy. This year’s MOTUC San Diego Comic Con exclusive is Vykron, who can become any of these 3 figure concepts by swapping outfits.
As a music nerd, one topic of conversation that comes up frequently in addition to discussions of favorite band, favorite album, favorite song, and favorite [music variable such as band/album/song] by [another interval such as time/genre/country] is: vinyl vs digital.
I’ve always been in the CD/digital camp because I’ve never been able to sit down to hear vinyl at length. Yesterday, I decided to change that by listening to one of my favorite songs from my favorite album on vinyl. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the differences in these format, and even more so, what these formats mean to the people that listen to them.
Okay, hear me out here…this is definitely not my normal review fare, but I’m writing this for a reason. Every time I start a movie collection on a particular format, it seems to take a different shape. Sure, some movies will always get repurchased, but I try to do something different with the overall collection. My VHS library was a catalog of 70’s and 80’s horror, along with a lot of obscure cartoons. When DVD came around, well…honestly my DVD collection was kind of a mess. I’ve easily owned over a thousand, and I just kind of bought whatever. Right now though DVD is my 80’s and 90’s cartoon library, the only thing keeping the format alive in this house. With Blu-Ray, the intent is to purchase the best films in a wide variety of genres, the titles one would need to teach a film class or render educated services as a critic. When it comes to Disney movies, everybody’s got a favorite, usually Aladdin or The Lion King. The thing is though, a lot of Disney’s animated features are a time capsule of their era, representing a timeline of innovation for animation. Knowing this, I have recently become all panicky regarding Disney’s ridiculous “vault” policy for their classics, and well…I’ve sort of started just getting all of them. And you know which one really surprised me? Yeah, that’s right.
What follows is a brief analysis of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark, written for my American Cinema class. As with my previous installments, the cited quotes are taken from the textbook American Cinema, American Culture, by John Belton. For a textbook it’s not a bad read, I’d recommend it for anyone interested in a history of Hollywood and the different genres of American film. This paper was hindered by a maximum page count for the assignment, so it is by no means a complete analysis. And as always with these assignments, if you haven’t seen the movie (really??), here there be spoilers.
I’ve been a religious listener of Doug Loves Movies for well over two years. Doug Benson (@DougBenson on Twitter) the host and namesake of this show graciously “plops” a new, hilarious, and free episode early each Friday morning. Doug Loves Movies is a comedy podcast in which Doug and several guests (usually comedians or actors) talk about movies and play a few movie related games, including A,B,C,Deez Nuts, Build-a-title, and the centerpiece, The Leonard Maltin Game. In this time, I’ve played at least a hundred rounds of The Leonard Maltin Game while listening along to the podcast. On Sunday August 5th 2-Oceans-12, I got a shot at The Leonard Maltin Game for real.