New Reviews: Simpsons Movie, Monster Squad DVD, Two Coreys & Flash Gordon Series and 52 Comic

Greetings true believers – it has been a while since I have been really busy with school work and all. I have seen a few movies, tv specials and have been reading some comics – and I’d like to share their reviews with you now. I do not have enough time or space to go on and on with my rants since I have a lot to cover in a little time: The Simpson’s Movie: This is nothing more than a 90 minute episode. What happened to the good ol’ days when films based on animated series went ABOVE and beyond what they could typically do in an episode? The whole time this movie was playing, I kept recounting the awesomeness of Transformers: The Movie (the animated version) over and over in my head. That film went waaay above and beyond their animation standards, touched on things the show could never do (killing off entire series to make room for new toys…I mean characters) and took the script length to expand the mythos from the series that it was based on. What I was hoping for from the Simpsons was: something over the top – something to answer some fans questions that they have been dying to find out for the past eighteen years, or possibly pay homage/tie things up from all of the four hundred or so episodes. Instead, the film continues to play around with it’s well written theatrics (satirical views of the Government, poking fun at Fox, not stating where Springfield is and discussing how filthy and corrupt their town is.) I felt like the only lil nod we got to previous episodes is when Homer and Bart jump Springfield Gorge and landing near a crashed ambulance (both of which refer back to an early episode of Bart the Daredevil.) The only other thing they do is feature nearly every character in the series thus far. The animation is just the same – nothing too outdone. It does feature some cell shaded scenes that would normally be a little out of the current episodes’ budgets and there is some dramatic lighting/shadows on nearly every character of the show. I guess we also need to consider the film takes us quite a few places, and different set ups – from a destroyed town ofSpringfield, the White House to Alaska and back. Now let’s just see if the continuity seen in the Simpsons Movie will have any effect on it’s next season. MY ADVICE: Wait for it to be premiered on Fox in a few years The Monster Squad: MAN! Was I sooo excited to get this film on DVD! I have been searching for this film (and any retired VHS copies) for years now. This dvd is chop full of extras, including two feature length commentaries, trailers/tv spots, stills gallery, hi def digital transfer and a five part documentary on the making of and legacy of this cult classic. It was one of those cheesy 80’s films that I grew up with, and I have been so desperate to be back in touch with it for so long. The plot – whether as convoluted and confusing at times as possible – is pretty much What if the Little Rascals met the Universal Monsters of the 30’s and 40’s? Although most people of the time in the 80’s could have pretty much saw it as, “It’s like the Goonies but with Monsters.” And that is what most people think about this is when I ask them if they remember it or not, “Doesn’t’ that have Corey Feldman in it?” Although the Feldman will be brought up later in this article. No, the story of Monster Squad is that every one hundred years, a portal will open up that could allow evil or good to rule supreme. Van Helsingand some other local villagers tried to do it in 1887, but they fucked up. SOnow the diary of Van Helsing ends up in the lap of some pre-teen kids that are obsessed with monsters and horror films – in fact they even have a little tree house where they discuss such things – isn’t that sooo cool? So, the kids are able to translate Van Helsing’s diary and find out that the chance to rid of all evil will be disposed of within twenty-four hours. CUE TRAINING MONTAGE: With an awesomely bad 80’s song to boot, the kids spend all day making up stakes, silver bullets and business cards to join the Monster Squad (yes, business cards – I am serious.) In the mean time, Dracula is amassing his own little army of evil to vanquish the Monster Squad. Dracula has an amulet that can open up the portal, but he doesn’t have the book (which the kids do). SO he ends up sending out the likes of The Wolf man, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon (called just Gilman to avoid copyright issues) and Frankenstein. Unfortunately, too much of Frankenstein’s good characteristics come through and he ends up befriending the Squad, and most importantly, their youngest sibling Phoebe. – Bo-Gus. Well, I don’t want to say much more – but basically there is a showdown at the end of the world between good and evil. This film is A LOT OF FUN, although it features certain material that is politically incorrect when it comes to the manner of pre-teen children. In this film you may object to such things as: Dad has a heart to heart with his son while lighting up a cigarette, a ten year old boy kills a monster with a shotgun, a six year old girl says, “Don’t be such chicken shits,” etc. etc. Relive your youths with this awesome 80’s flick (especially if you are a lover of the original black and white Universal Monsters) and be prepared to find out that: “Wolf man does have nards!” Oh yeah, back to Corey Feldman – “The Two Coreys,” is a new awesome reality show that you can find on A & E on Sundays. Now, I have never truly been one for the support of reality television – but I do enjoy the occasional one that highlights superstars passed their heyday (just about any piece of crap that VH-1 plays) but the concept is this: Corey Feldman is still a working actor and has a pretty hot wife. Corey Haim is an unemployed slob that acts like a spoiled twelve year old hopped up with sugar and is without a girlfriend and moves in with Feldman and his wife. Whew – that’s a mouthful. But this show is so ultimately dramatic – especially when Haim is all about writing a sequel to The Lost Boys only to find out Hollywood didn’t want him in it. But the two Coreys are so in love with one another (and themselves) that it is just SO HILARIOUS to see what these guys could do next. Def check it out! And on the huge down side of television is the new television series ofFlash Gordon on the Sci-Fi channel. This show is getting a decent boost, since the FOREVER shelved 1980 cult classic Flash Gordon has been released on a special edition DVD (although the U.S. version doesn’t pack as much oompf for special features as the European version does – but the U.S. does have an interview with comic book legend – Alex Ross) anyway – I’m stuck on my flash film rant – not discussing the series. This show sucks and it was SUCH A LET DOWN! Ever since I was exposed to the Flash film, and knowing how much Flash Gordon influenced George Lucas – I have been on a quest to know anything and everything possible about the character and his universe. I have seen the original thirteen serials from the 30’s, bought some of the older comic strips – hell I even shelled out 20 bucks to view that piece of shit DVD set – The Defenders of the Earth just because Flash was in it (and if you want to see how much the Defenders truly sucked, catch the third season premiere of Robot Chicken and how even though they are the defenders of the Earth – they can’t defend the planet from a huge asteroid coming to crash on it. The series is yet another update to a sci-fi classic, and with the Sci-Fi channel envisioning the Wizard of Oz with their show Tin Man, I almost have a bad feeling on what else this group can kick up. At first glance, I felt thatEric Johnson has the resemblance of Flash Gordon but he doesn’t seem to have that heroics side to him that a quarterback for the NY Jets would possess. In fact, this Flash is an athlete, and so far shows no signs of being knowledgeable with flight and travel as the older flashes had. The pilot episode is kinda like the film in a nutshell, where we are introduced to the characters and the world of Mongo – but to much chagrin, we are DENIED any sorta campy cheesiness. Whatever Sci-Fi exec said, “Man, I envision a new version of Flash Gordon – but we gotta totally play it straight and stiffer than Ming’s cock for his daughter-” was totally wrong. These characters performances are so tight and rigid, there is totally no fun or appeal to any of them. And WORSE OF ALL WOULD BE THE PORTRAYAL OF MING THE MERCILESS BY JOHN RALSTON! Man, if you are ever a fan of the original film, will you be disappointed that this Ming is hardly intimidating, psychotic or tyrannical. He is kinda like a Lex Luthor business man trying to maintain control over the people of Mongo. But the original Alex Raymond look had him with a definite Asian influence of the time, this guy is just kinda like a wimpy extra from Robocop’s CEO’s of OCP. Who knows if we will also have the storyline of how Ming took over the city of Mongo by overthrowing it’s rightful heir of Baron – but who knows what piece of crap we will be dealt with. It seems 11 episodes have been filmed so far, and I can only hope it gets cheesier along the way and not a watered down dramatic version from it’s other successes from Stargate orBattlestar Galactica. On a final side note and something I hardly ever review, would be the comic series of 52. Yeah I know, I am far behind the comic continuity train – but I have thus been collecting 52 in it’s two recently released volumes one and two which capture the first half of the saga. If you know anything of what is going on in the DC Universe, I have been collecting nearly every trade paperback from Identity Crisis up to this (except for the Rann/Thanagar War). 52 fills in the gaps that happen from the very end of Infinite Crisis up to One Year Later. It was initially put out as a weekly comic series that would unfold all of the events from the huge cataclysmic battles from Infinite Crisis. I will not go on and on about this book – but I must warn you that: 52 is more addictive than crack sprinkled with crystal meth. I can’t put these stories down once I get immersed in them. And the great thing is, if you don’t know all too much about the DCU, these books are a great opportunity to be exposed to a lot of their harder working supporting characters. Trust me, because I am currently the same way as I am being exposed to such colorful characters as The Question, the Black Adam Family, Renee Montoya, The Sivanna Family, The Metal Men, The Elongated Man, Mad Scientists, Booster Gold and a whole lot more. These books are freaking awesome and once you start to read them – you will not stop. I can only hope that DC continues to put out continuing trade paperbacks based within the whole Infinite Crisis storyline.NOTE: 52 Volume 3 will be out September 19th 52: the companion will be out October 3rd, (full of reprints of many of these supporting characters stories) 52 Volume 4 will be out November 7th

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