Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trailer: New Thundercats Animated Series




First came the official announcement that got everyone excited.  Then came the “leaked” images that were highly scrutinized by overzealous fans.  The final reveal (as far the marketing goes) came earlier today.  Cartoon Network finally gave the public its first real glimpse of the new Thundercats series with a minute long trailer.  By “real” glimpse I mean that we get to see actual moving images instead of posters and stills.   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Music Video Review: Rick Ross-Ashes to Ashes



Rick Ross’s dedication to conspicuous consumption remains steadfast.  As his taste in beats becomes more varied and refined, his materialism becomes more unapologetic.  The frustration that his critics feel seems to be a driving force behind his music.  Nothing delights a true player more than knowing that his consistent success infuriates haters.  With the video for “Ashes to Ashes”, Ross continues to thumb his nose at his detractors while enjoying all the indulgences his riches can provide.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Colombia Pictures Unveils “The Amazing Spider-Man”




The previous images of the new Spider-Man costume from the upcoming reboot left me unmoved.  The first official image, which showed Andrew Garfield standing pensively in a tattered Spider-man costume, felt anticlimactic aside from some subtle alterations.  I found the additions of mechanical web shooters to be inconsequential.  Then, behind-the-scenes photos from the films Los Angeles set threatened to turn my apathy toward the project into an active disdain for it.  They showed a brightly colored Spidey engaged in some truly unspeakable poses with a random thug.  All of the aforementioned had me convinced that this film would be an outright disaster.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thundercats Surface in Test Footage for a CG Reboot That Never Was



Test footage for a CG Thundercats movie recently surfaced online courtesy of Flixist. The footage shows a brief scrap between Lion-O and Slithe. The events depicted are strikingly close to those in a series of development shots posted by artist Dave Bullock over at Deviant Art. Bullock said he worked on them in conjunction with Digital Domain for a proposed CG Thundercats film, but the project was indefinitely put on hold. According to a 2007 story from Variety, it was set to be directed by video game art director Jerry O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty worked on such popular titles as Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pop Culture Obsessions: How “Extreme Prejudice” Taught Me What an Action Film Should Be



Twenty three years ago on this very day, I saw what I thought at the time to be the grittiest and most violent action film ever made.  I also thought it to be the first of its kind in terms of tone and style.  Age, maturity and a growing knowledge of film would eventually prove me wrong.  However, I still hold a special place in my heart for that film.  While it might not be as monumental as it first appeared to me at the tender age of eleven, it is a solid example of 80’s action.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Music Video Review: Raekwon-Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang



The release date for Raekwon’s Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang is almost upon us (Click here to read my review of the album).  The title song has been circulating for some time now.  In the Wu’s heyday, one might have expected a somewhat polished video for it to be put into heavy rotation on Rap City.  In today’s world of viral marketing, smaller scale productions premiere on the web instead of on television.  It is through these means that the video for “Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang” makes its debut.  This unceremonious unveiling is actually very much in keeping with the video itself.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Album Review: Saigon-The Greatest Story Never Told


After many delays, Saigon’s debut LP The Greatest Story Never Told finally arrives.  As previously and repeatedly announced, Just Blaze handles the bulk of the production.  When judged on its own merits (sans unrealistic expectations or cynicism), supporters and detractors alike may find themselves surprisingly in agreement.  If nothing else, The Greatest Story Never Told is consistent in both theme and execution.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

EP Review: Kool G Rap-Offer You Can’t Refuse



Kool G Rap’s latest EP, Offer You Can’t Refuse, plays herald to the upcoming full length LP Riches, Royalty and Respect.  It consists of eight brand new songs.  The Alchemist is the biggest name on the production roster.  The rest of the line-up is filled out by hungry up and comers.  This possibly served G Rap better from a creative standpoint, as bigger names come with hefty price tags and big egos.  Talented unknowns who are eager to prove themselves sometimes make for a more cohesive collection of songs.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Teaser Trailer Review: Captain America: The First Avenger




After the glorious summer movie season of 2008 gave us four comic book adaptations that ranged from very good to great (Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Wanted, The Incredible Hulk), 2009 stumbled out of the gate with the ambitious yet ultimately disappointing Watchmen.  Then, the summer movie season of 2009 opened with the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Together, both productions seemed to be signaling the death knell.  Just like any other genre, superheroes need rejuvenation and retooling from time to time.  If the genre is to last, it needs to constantly reinvent itself. The modern superhero film is still relatively young, and not out of the experimental stages as of yet.  For it to die a premature death would truly suck. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"The Killer" Returns...in 3D?!



Two of the most troublesome trends in current Hollywood are the proliferation of remakes and the careless application of the 3D conversion process.  The former has actually been a factor for quite a while now, affecting mostly slasher and splatter films via studios like Platinum Dunes.  The latter, kicked into high gear by the unprecedented success of Avatar, is seemingly being applied to any and everything that has even the slightest blockbuster potential.  As much griping as movie buffs and casual fans make about such trends, both continue to score big at the worldwide box office.  Money talks, and now even filmmakers in foreign markets are beginning to learn the language.

Ye Olde Grindhouse: The Bastard Swordsman



In the days before the DVD revolution, fans of classic Shaw Brothers films had to settle for bootlegged VHS copies sold in mom and pop video stores.  These “dubs” were often panned and scanned versions rife with tracking problems, grainy images, and profusely bleeding colors.  Those who sought out the more obscure titles faced an even bigger dilemma.  They were often completely unavailable, and when they did surface it was usually sans English dubbing or subtitles.   When Celestial Pictures began restoring and releasing titles from it's extensive library of 760 Shaw Brothers films, the final remnants of the aforementioned underground market became a relic of the past. 

Movie Review: The Mechanic


Arthur Bishop is the very best at what he does for a living, which is kill people.  He is what’s known as a “mechanic,” the most thorough of assassins.  He performs untraceable hits for substantial sums of money.  He leads a solitary life that doesn’t allow for any friends save for Harry Mckenna (Donald Sutherland), who is aware of Arthur’s occupation and is at ease with it.  When Arthur is murdered, his estranged son Steve (Ben Foster) wants payback.  He wishes to become a mechanic and demands that Arthur school him in the trade.  Arthur is initially reluctant, but Steve’s persistence wears him down, as does a sense of obligation to Harry.  Arthur trains the junior Mckenna, and the two soon find themselves in the crosshairs of those behind Harry’s murder.  As the truth begins to unravel, the relationship between Arthur and Steve becomes more complicated than either of them could ever have anticipated.