Friday, April 27, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 210 – Precious Things

On today’s episode of the Needless Things Podcast Dave is flying solo to address various happenings in the Phantom Zone!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

April 26, 2018 is #AlienDay

By Jerry Chandler

From time to time, the timeline of cinema history has giant red lines etched into it that separate eras. There are the way things were or were expected to be before that point in time/event and then the way things were or were expected to be after that point in time/event. For science fiction cinema, the 1970s had two huge red lines etched into its timeline that changed the way we expected big budget science fiction to look on screen.

One of those lines came in 1977 with Star Wars. Star Wars brought on entire new expectations with regards to what science fiction on the big screen would look like. But, for as much as some people talk about the dirty, used, lived in look of the technology in Star Wars, the real impact Star Wars had was the work ILM did with both the FX work and in how some of that FX work was shot. The world of Star Wars may have been dirtier and more dog-eared than the world of 2001: A Space Odyssey just shy of a decade before it, but many of the visuals of the one could have easily felt at home in the other. Then the other red line in cinema’s timeline came along in 1979, and that red line, the movie Alien, changed the way we expected science fiction on the big screen to look in more ways than one.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Movie Review - A Quiet Place

by Beth

It sure is a good spring for movies. While I missed out on Strangers: Prey at Night (or maybe not missed if the reviews are anything to judge by), I did get to see Ready Player One and A Quiet Place. There's also Super Troopers 2 (I know it won't be as good as the original, but I still want to see it), and Infinity War coming up. I'm sure I'll see Rampage at some point too, but as much as I love disaster and monster movies it didn't look like one I needed to see in the theater. But today I'm mainly hear to talk about A Quiet Place.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Our Evening With Al

By Dave

If I was going to make a list of my top 5 heroes or people that were most influential to me – post probably not coming soon – Weird Al would be on it. Probably top 3.

Last year when tickets went on sale for The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour I didn’t really know what it was going to be. I just knew that there was a VIP package and that I had to take the opportunity to meet an entertainer that has had a lasting and powerful impact on my life. I also knew that I wanted to bring Phantom, Jr. with me.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 209 – Evil Dead (2013) Needless Commentary

Part of an ongoing series – the Needless Things Irregulars gather in the Phantom Zone to provide their own unique commentary on classic genre films!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It Was Rambo, Just with Starbuck- Ruckus (1980)

By Jerry Chandler

The Vietnam War had an interesting effect on the Hollywood and smaller studio systems of the 1970s and 1980s. War movies had been a staple of American cinema for about as long as there had been an American cinema, and most of the mainstream war movies had for the longest time a large “Rah, Rah, Sis-Boom-Bah” factor about them. They would occasionally try to slip a ‘look at the horrors of war’ moment into some of them- typically with the death of a beloved character played by a major name actor –but they were largely focused on looking at war as a heroic endeavor that turned men into heroes and heroes into legends. They were the types of films that made young kids want to go out and play soldier with their friends and “die” in a blaze of glory and honor.

Then the Vietnam War hit and a lot of that got turned upside down. America was coming off a war it hadn’t won. Two wars actually, because right before Vietnam there was Korea. Technically, America didn’t really lose either war, but creating films around a war where the ultimate best chant for audiences coming out of theaters could be “We Didn’t Lose” didn’t have the same vibe as being able to declare victory and a world saved from evil by the end of the film. There were no films like The Fighting Seabees to be made where a lead character played by a popular actor could die and it was still okay in the end because he sacrificed himself for the ultimate greater good of the winning war effort.

In the wake of Vietnam, the nature of the American war film changed. Even films being made about WWII started changing how they portrayed war and the effects of war on soldiers. But when Hollywood starting making films about Vietnam? Gone were films like Mister Roberts or To Hell and Back, because Hollywood was now making films like Coming Home and The Deer Hunter. For a time, the war film became the intensely haunting examination of how war destroys man in more ways and more places than just on the battlefield. Even when larger studios geared a film to be more action oriented, there was still a strong focus on the toll the war took on the men who fought it. It’s gotten lost on many thanks to the sequels, but even First Blood was largely centered around how the war had changed and destroyed John Rambo and crew. Some smaller studios might still go the exploitation route, but many still tried to do films with the themes these other films had. Some of them actually worked fairly well. Then there were the films like Ruckus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Midnight in the Desert Will Never Be the Same- RIP Art Bell

By Jerry Chandler

The news started trickling out Saturday morning that Art Bell had passed away at the age of 72. By later in the morning, the sad news had been confirmed. A lot of people out there likely don’t know who Art Bell was; although they still may have heard him on the radio or seen him on TV more than a few times. However, for those of us who knew the man’s work well the news hit like a ton of bricks even though he’s largely been off the airwaves for some time now. That impact is not even dependent on you being a believer in any of the subject matter Art used to discuss on his show.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 208 – Sam K. Hale – Yamasong: March of the Hollows

On today’s episode of the Needless Things Podcast Dave talks to Sam Koji Hale, director and creative force behind the new feature film Yamasong: March of the Hollows

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

By Jerry Chandler

On April 16, 1988 in Japan, 30 years ago now, an animated film, an early film for the just shy of three-year-old Studio Ghibli, opened in movie theaters in Japan. The film itself was based on a 1967 semi-autobiographical short story, Hotaru no Haka, from writer Akiyuki Nosaka. The story itself had become well known in Japan, and Akiyuki Nosaka had reportedly turned down several offers to turn his story into a live action movie or television film believing that live action would not capture the intended spirit of the story. He had never considered animation, but first the pitch from Studio Ghibli and then the early storyboards convinced him that the story could not be properly told at that time in any medium other than animation. There are probably a lot of people all around the world who are glad he came to that conclusion, because had he not done so we would never have seen Grave of the Fireflies. Of course, that’s as much a blessing as a curse for some.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spy Con 2018 Recap

by Beth

Atlanta’s first Spy Con was held at the Alpharetta Marriott on March 30th-April 1st. As it was a first I didn’t really know what to expect. I assumed that it would be on the smaller side, but was just slightly concerned about my own high standards and expectations. I tried to keep them lower so that I wouldn’t be disappointed, but it turned out to be better than I had hoped for. I'm not gonna lie - I am loving these smaller conventions. After two cons in a row that only took place on one floor of one hotel I don't know how I'll survive Dragon Con this year. If you didn’t make it to Spy Con then read on to find out what you missed, and why you should go if they do it again next year.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Needless Things Podcast 207 – Wrestling Mania!

We’re on the Road to WrestleMania and it’s time to call the Needless Things Irregulars out to the ring to cut promos on their favorite – and most despised – wrestling memories!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

It’s Time for WrestleMania 34

By Jerry Chandler

It’s April, April Fools is now nicely behind us, and, for wrestling fans at least, the real reason April as a month has a special place on the calendar is about to happen this coming weekend. The entire company that is the World Wrestling Entertainment has been building towards this weekend since the Monday Night Raw of April 3, 2017, and some fans have been making their plans for this weekend for almost as long. Welcome to the craziness that is the WrestleMania Weekend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews April 2018: “A Marvelous Month”

By Dave

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for.

It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in June.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!

Monday, April 2, 2018

What I Did for Spring Break - Universal Orlando Part 2

By Dave

The Troublemakers visited the Universal theme parks in Orlando for an early Spring Break a few weeks ago. My son had never been and it had been around thirteen years since me and the missus were there. Obviously a lot had changed in the intervening years.

Now Universal’s side of Orlando boasts two Harry Potter themed areas, a new King Kong ride, new resort hotels, and plenty more to fill an entire trip. There’s even a whole new water park called Volcano Bay, which I’ll address in just a bit. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have dreamed of a vacation in the area that didn’t include Walt Disney World, but it looked like Universal had stepped up their game enough to earn a few solid days of our time.

We had more fun than not and I’m satisfied with our decision to just visit Universal. Barring a weekend for Halloween Horror Nights I can’t imagine going back in the next several years, but I definitely feel better about the parks than I did after our last visit.

Here are a few more of the highs and lows of our trip!