Saturday, April 30, 2016

Is a Reboot of The Fly Actually Happening?

It's amazing what you can find when you're just buzzing around the Internet.

I'm currently working on a review of Curse of the Fly for a book called Unsung Horrors, which is being assembled by the same people who published 70s Monster Memories. I've been assembling my thoughts about the movie and looking around the web (no pun intended) to see if I can find any little-known factoids about the second sequel to the original The Fly. During my searches, I found a graphic arts company called Stormbrush, which is owned and operated by illustrator Calvin Chua, which has a design page titled "Project Fly Reboot".

Based on the information and pictures provided on the page, I'm guessing that this artwork is for a proposed remake/reboot of David Cronenberg's The Fly, which itself was a remake. The page includes some interesting designs, such as what the new telepod and teleportation process would be like, but the best part is the artwork for the new man-fly monster. As you can see below, plenty of thought has gone into the seven-stage mutation process:

According to the page, the new monster will "use the basic structure and poses of an insect, but with distorted and infected flesh, cross(ed) over with insect patterns, hairs and leg parts. The middle legs (are) only revealed at the end of the transformation, which affects the pose and walk cycle, making it completely non-human." I think Stormbrush's man-fly monster design is delightfully repulsive and vastly more impressive than the monsters seen in IDW's misguided The Fly: Outbreak comic book miniseries.

The reboot images are almost a year old and the site doesn't confirm if this project really has wings (pun fully intended). However, if Stormbrush's designs are any indication, this revisit to the world of grotesque human-insect hybrids could be worth the wait.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Machine Robo Returns with Revenge of Cronos Action Figures

If you're a transforming robot toy fan who thinks that the Machine Robo line gets overlooked way too often, you're in luck. Action Toys is taking pre-orders for the first two action figures it is producing for its new Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos line.

As the toy line's name suggests, the new designs bring these figures closer to how they appeared in the Revenge of Cronos anime series. The first two figures are re-designs of MR-01 Bike Robo (a.k.a. "Cy-Kill", as it was renamed for Tonka's Gobots line) and MR-17 Drill Robo (a.k.a. "Screw Head"). The second two figures will be re-designs of MR-02 Battle Robo (a.k.a. "Tank") and MR-25 Eagle Robo (a.k.a. "Leader-1").

Like the original Machine Robo MR-600 series line in the '80s, each figure features die-cast metal parts. However, even though the new figures are slightly larger than their original counterparts--measuring between 4.5" to 5" in height--the price is significantly higher at $45.99 per figure. Still, with the amount of detail and points of articulation provided for each figure, I can see why they cost as much as they do. Click below to see more pictures of these impressive new Machine Robo figures.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Play with the DC Universe in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

None of the recent hype for Batman vs. Superman made me want to go to the movie theater, but it did convince me to finally pick up a copy of TT Games' Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham video game for the Wii U. What can I say? I was in the mood for some superhero fun, and Lego Batman 3 is vastly more fun than the irritable, bloated and grumpy BvS.

As the number in the title suggests, Lego Batman 3 follows two previous games in the series. The first game was strictly a stand-alone Lego Batman game, and the second game introduced Lego Superman during the game and the rest of the Lego Justice League in its conclusion. This third entry begins with Batman and the Justice League, and the game expands from there to all sorts of characters and locations within the DC universe. So how does the third entry fare as a video game? In a nutshell, Lego Batman 3 has both too much--and not enough--Batman. Read on for my complete review.

Monday, April 18, 2016

FOUND: The (Fake) Loch Ness Monster

The search for the Loch Ness Monster continues ... and they really found something this time!

A Norwegian company named Kongsberg Maritime recently deployed a marine drone on a two-week mission to examine and map the bottom of Scotland's Loch Ness. The drone hasn't found anything to prove the existence of the legendary Loch Ness Monster, but it did find a 30-foot version of the monster that was built for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes movie in 1970. The fake monster sank into Loch Ness during shooting and no one knew where it finally rested until now.

The monster prop from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, before it sank under the waters of Loch Ness.

While this news may disappoint some cryptozoology buffs, I think this is hilarious. It's like launching an intensive expedition to search for the Holy Grail but only finding the Holy Grail prop that was used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. How meta can you get?

In a perfect world, someone would salvage the fake Nessie, refurbish it, and either put in on display in a museum somewhere of find a way to work it into Busch Gardens' Loch Ness Monster roller coaster in Williamsburg, VA. Such treatment would befit the only monster that was ever found in Loch Ness.

You fools! That's not Nessie--you found her stunt double!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Coming in June: The Jaws Sequels on Blu-ray

At last, Universal does something right with the Jaws franchise (sort of).

This June, the three Jaws sequels--Jaws 2, Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge--will be released on Blu-ray. These sequels arrive four years after the first film received a deluxe Blu-ray treatment in 2012. I've heard from friends over the years that the Jaws sequels have been available as high-definition digital rentals, so this will mark the first time that the HD versions of the sequels will be available as hard copies.

Unfortunately, even though these sequels will look great on HD televisions, the Blu-rays will be slim on extras. As far as I can tell, the only new extra we'll be getting out of these sequels is a 3D Blu-ray version of Jaws 3--which is great news for 3D aficionados like me but not so great for Jaws fans who could care less about 3D. The Jaws 2 Blu-ray will have the same extras as the 2001 DVD release, and Jaws: The Revenge won't have anything extra but the theatrical trailer. I don't even know which ending will be included on the Revenge Blu-ray: the original mechanical-shark-impaled-on-a-boat-bow ending or the alternative toy-shark-in-bathtub-suddenly-exploding ending.

So, for Jaws completists who are hoping for new outtakes, deleted scenes, stills, production features and/or commentary tracks for the sequels, forget about it. (Fun trivia fact: Both Jaws 3 and Revenge had half-hour specials that aired on primetime TV to promote them, but neither of them will be included on the Blu-ray releases.) Jaws 2 fans can always pick up Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel book by Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith to go with their Blu-ray. As for me, I plan on picking up Jaws 3 and Bait so I can finally have a double feature night with 3D monster sharks.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How to Watch 3D Videos on a Kindle Fire

Ever since I learned of its existence, I've done everything that I can afford to do to partake in 3D entertainment. I've picked up anaglyph 3D books, comics and DVDs; I purchased the Virtual FX 3D converter for my cathode ray tube (CRT) TV set so I could watch field sequential 3D DVDs; and I bought two 3D-capable flat screen TVs (one with active glasses, the other passive) so I could watch 3D Blu-rays and access 3D rentals from on demand services such as 3DGO. With such an obsessive pattern of behavior in place, it was only a matter of time before I found a way to watch 3D content on my Kindle Fire. After weeks of searching, that's exactly what I did through the OWL Stereoscopic Viewer, a lightweight and affordable tool that turned my Kindle Fire into a portable 3D video player. Read on ...

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Nerd Rant: Superheroes Movies vs. Blockbuster Fatigue

I have a confession to make. In a recent post, I mentioned how I had no interest in watching the new Batman v. Superman movie because I wasn't excited about it. What I did not mention was the movie-going math I did in my head as part of this decision. This year marks the release of two high-profile movies about superheroes fighting superheroes: BvS by Warner Bros. and DC and Captain America: Civil War by Disney and Marvel, which is slated for release on May 6th. In light of these two films, I had to ask myself this question: Which movie will feature a story that is worth enduring almost two hours of explosive CGI effects and eardrum-shattering surround-sound noises?

Making such a decision may not sound like much, but this is a big deal for a movie geek like me. For as long as I can remember, watching as many high-profile special-effects driven movies as possible had become an annual tradition. This was largely due to growing up in the late '70 and the '80s, when filmmakers like Spielberg, Lucas, Dante and Zemeckis used all sorts of practical effect techniques in their summer films. Now, in an age when high-definition digital effects have become universal, I feel like I have to pace myself so I don't get overwhelmed with the sensory overloads that modern blockbusters have become. I want to be entertained by imaginative movies, not beaten over the head repeatedly by them.

I'm particularly concerned about how this will impact 3D cinema in the years to come. Of the recent releases, I generally prefer CGI animated movies for 3D entertainment over live-action 3D movies. This is because animated movies rarely rely on series of jump cuts to propel the action forward, and jump cuts are antithetical to maintaining the 3D illusion. For example, I love the big 'bot epic Pacific Rim but watching it in 3D is a chore for me because my eyes have to keep adjusting to each new cut during the action scenes. Compare the live-action 3D films of previous eras to the live-action 3D films of today and you'll notice that classics like Creature from the Black Lagoon and House of Wax are much, much easier on the eyes than many of the modern films.