Tuesday, January 28, 2014

King of the Monsters

While still on the subject of Kaiju and giant monsters, I ran across a documentary on Youtube.  It's from the BBC and called Godzilla, King of the Monsters.  

Last night I found an old SF film on YT  that I had seen long ago, back when my brother and I were living together in Odessa.  We had HBO or Showtime (I forget which one) in the late 70's.  Ever so often you'd turn it on and get captivated by some odd movie.  I ran into the movie, Damnation Alley that way.  Make no mistake, it's a pretty cheesy B post apocalypse movie.  It stars George Peppard and Jan Michael Vincent.  After bombs blow up most of the world they get in this weird ass all-terrain military vehicle and set out to find more people.  Some of the effects are pretty decent.  George Peppard mimics this pretty bad Texan or southern accent, and overall it's written in sort of a comic book style, but aside from the negatives, I  found it still entertaining on some level.  I've certainly seen worse.

The other night I also rented the new Superman movie, Man of Steel.  I didn't have huge expectations for it going in, as I did not enjoy the previous Superman Returns.  I found it pretty boring, plus the Man of Steel had gotten such mixed reviews, but I actually I enjoyed Man of Steel.  I enjoyed the art direction in it quite a bit, and when the movie begins on Krypton, it reminded me a lot of the Superman comic from the 80's when John Byrne had relaunched the title for DC.  I really enjoyed that run of the character back then and it brought back some nostalgia.   I could see where it  would have been a blast to see  Man of Steel on the big screen.  Did they overdo some of the fight scenes with General Zod, well maybe, but it didn't bother me.  A lot of the critics mentioned all the destruction to human lives, etc. and yes, I can see that argument, but it was basically all out war with some aliens that want to conquer earth, so what are you gonna do?  Fight back or be exterminated.  That's the only way out of that unless  you want to totally re-write the whole film or take the fight scenes out to the Sahara desert somehow.  I enjoyed it well enough for a superhero movie, and if they could come up with a good enough sequel for a second movie, I'd enjoy seeing it.

I picked up the new Archie horror title, Afterlife With Archie.  If you've ever read one of the Archie comics throughout the years, you'll instantly remember and recognize the old gang and settings pretty quickly.  
   Not much ever changes within the Riverdale universe, and it's been that way pretty much since its origins. They are only updated to fit more inside the current timeframe when the stories are written.  In fact they have Best of the Archie Americana trades from the '40s, '50s,'60s, and so forth if one is ever in the mood for some of the older stories.  
   In this new comic series though we get to experience a bit of that nostalgia through horror and zombie tropes, and it's an awful lot of fun. It's Halloween, and Riverdale High is having a Halloween Dance. Archie has made plans to attend with Betty, and yes, Bettie and Veronica are still rivals over the attentions of Archie.  
   As the story opens Jughead is distraught over the death of his dog. Out of despair he takes his pet to a friend, Sabrina. She was a newer character to me, but you figure out quickly she's a teenage witch.  
   She brings the dog back to life for Jughead, but in doing so breaks the laws of the witch covenant.  This sets in motion the zombie infestation in the series. Things heat up at the Halloween dance. To give away any more story or plot would be a spoiler and you'd miss out on too much fun from reading the series.
   Afterlife With Archie is a romp down memory lane for those of us that have ever read Archie comics in the past. It's also a homage to the horror genre with different characters discussing which movie horror characters are better, Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees and so forth.  
   The story is written well by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also penned the story Archie Meets Glee, with some terrific artwork by Francesco Francavilla. I also have to say the coloring of the book goes a long way to create mood and atmosphere.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kaiju Madness

I got a new toy, so to speak, the other day.  I went and bought a wi fi router.  It took me a while to figure out how to install it as the directions, like with a lot of electronic devices these days, wasn't written very well or detailed.  I didn't have much trouble connecting it to my computer, but once I did that, I tried to figure out how to configure it with my TV.  You can also configure it with cell phones, iPads, etc. as well.  I don't work in the high tech field, nor have close friends that know diddly squat about such things, so I headed over to Youtube to see if I could find a video that might be informative on the subject.  I watched a few things, and it finally sunk in what I needed to do.  I tinkered around with it a bit more, and yahoo, it finally worked.  Youtube is a good tool to have for other topics as well, if you are trying to figure out things about your car, plumbing, how to fix things, and so forth.

I thought I would buy the router as it would allow me to stream movies from my Netflix subscription.  I have one already that allows me to rent two physical disc at a time, but I thought streaming might be an option I might want to try out.  Plus, it and my TV, allows me to stream content from Youtube, Vudu, Hulu Plus and some other places.   At any rate, I thought I'd put this sucker to the test once the weekend gets here, and I did that just last night.  It was pretty fun.

Last night I watched the first part of the Carl Sagan documentary, Cosmos.  It's a great documentary.  I remember watching it, and taping it on VHS at the time.  When I got the urge to rewatch this series, I looked through some of my old VHS tapes, but I guess it dawned on me that I probably taped that to Betamax long ago, and was also thrown away long ago as well.

They've since come back and remastered the disc, and updated some of the science on them as well.  I was so moved by watching the first disc that I thought I might want to buy a copy of this series, and looked to see if they had it on blu-ray.  They don't, and come to find out, they many not put it on blu-ray format either.  From what I could read online, it seems that parts of the program were shot on video, so adding it to blu-ray may not make any difference in the look of the series, plus some of the science is a bit outdated.  That's what I read anyway, I personally would not know about that.  I think much of what is on the series about the history of scientist and so forth is still valid.  I assume what they are referring to deals with the astronomy portions of the series.  With the remastered DVDs though I noticed where Sagan has noted some of those updates.  I think it's still a great series, however, and may have to buy a copy.

I also noticed that this spring 2014 Neil deGrasse Tyson is reviving the Cosmos television series called,  Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.  I'm already looking forward to that.  I'm hoping with the renewed interest in it, they'll perhaps renew the older Cosmos as well.  I was up one night and watched an interview between Bill Moyers and Tyson.  It was pretty interesting as well.  Here is Part One of that interview, and here is Part Two of that interview.


At any rate, back to Kaiju madness.  While I was looking around on Youtube I ran onto a video where two fans are discussing what their Top 15 Favorite Kaiju movies were, and it was fun to listen too, so I thought I'd share that here.