Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Transformers the Movie

It was Summer of 2001. I was about to enter my senior year of high school and was going out with a girl named Lisa who had absolutely no idea what to make of my goofy geeky-interests which consisted of comic books, pro wrestling, and toys. But front and center that summer was a trip to Raleigh/Durham in North Carolina for the annual Transformers convention, Botcon. I was a HUGE Transformers fan, so naturally the convention was a must-attend destination for me. I had attended the 1997 show, so I kinda knew what to expect.


Ahhhh Botcon. What a time! The convention consisted of everything a Transformers fan could ever want. A dealers room with practically every piece of Transformers merchandise ever, voice actors and writers from many series, a trivia show, a "MST3K" type show featuring many prominent faces in the fandom providing good comments over bad Transformers episodes and of course a huge draw: a 15th anniversary theatrical screening of Transformers the Movie!!!! This was huge! A very rare opportunity to see the movie as it was meant to be seen! And I had a darn good seat to view this beauty! I kept saying "oh man, it can't get better than this!" as I saw Unicron slowly move across the screen int he beginning...


Oh, I was wrong...


See, I've had literally every release or a copy of every release of the movie, and I can honestly say Shout Factory's release is the very best to date.



Let's take a look at the restoration process, courtesy of Shout! themselves...



As someone who's watched the bluray itself, I can attest that the 4K transfer brings out the best in the colors int he characters and backgrounds of this movie. Especially anytime you see Unicron floating around or a transforming scene. Considering the amount of colors and elaborate fight scenes, the transfer actually makes it much clearer to see what's going on. Whereas previously release, specifically a vhs release from FHE and Rhino, it was easy for the prints to be a little sloppy. Shout!'s release actually comes from a 35mm print and thanks to the aforementioned 4k transfer process, looks as pristine and clear as you can get. So Transformers fans, when you're watching Optimus Prime die, you'll be brought to tears even more. Maybe tears of joy over how good at looks too.


Extras:

  •  "NEW 'Til All Are One – The Comprehensive Documentary Looking Back At The Transformers: The Movie With Members Of The Cast And Crew, Including Story Consultant Flint Dille, Cast Members Gregg Berger, Susan Blu, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, Singer/Songwriter Stan Bush, Composer Vince DiCola And Others!
  •  NEW Transformers: The Restoration Featurette
  •  NEW Rolling Out The New Cover Featurette
  •  Audio Commentary With Director Nelson Shin, Story Consultant Flint Dille And Star Susan Blu
  •  Archival Featurettes – "The Death Of Optimus Prime," "The Cast & Characters," And "Transformers Q&A"
  •  Animated Storyboards
  •  Original Theatrical Trailers
  •  TV Spots"



Ok, so Scream usually gives us some sweet extras. Past releases from Sony and Rhino have had some ok features, including a few making of brief entertaining featurettes on a few parts of the movie, but nothing too amazing. What I really was excited to see was the documentary of the entire movie. Featuring writers, cast and even the musicians, it's a solid documentary that is worth the price tag!

The commentary is a lot of fun to listen to if you wanna pick up some knowledge from the visionary director, Nelson Shin, who made sure to make this movie as big of a spectacle as he could. Indeed, I never noticed before how he designated certain colors to both Autobots and Decepticons as a way to distinguish their behavior and moods. A lot of great stuff is hidden in this commentary and as fans, should be listened too!

The trailers and TV spots are also a great feature, as well as throwback/archival featurettes features from the Sony release. The extras alone should make you want to pick this up!


Cover:

Ok, I've heard a lot of fans voice their displeasure of the cover of this(pictured at the beginning of this writeup). Fair enough. I think it's because a lot of fans weren't too keen on Hot Rod as a replacement for Optimus. I get it. But if that's the case, Shout! understands and provide an alternate/reversible cover:



Oh come on! If you're not a fan of the main cover, you've gotta love this one! Sweet deal!



For the 24.93 price tag, you're getting a sweet deal. Trust me. I can't suggest this movie to you any higher if I wanted to. As a Transformers fan, nothing makes me happier than seeing this finally hit US soil, after being only available on bluray via imports for years. But it's here. Order from Shout! today and enjoy the beauty of this movie!

And remember...you got the Touch!




Now, time to roll out, Autobots! Till All Are One!



-Chad

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Halloween Treat Preview

It's that time, folks...we're almost there. What am I talking about? Oh come now, let's not be coy here. It's almost time for bonfires, pumpkin candles, hoodies and jeans. It's almost time for...HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEENNN!!!!!!!

Oh I'm excited. I look forward to Halloween/Fall so much. I mean, I don't hate the other seasons, but I just feel the best stuff of the year happens in the last quarter of the year. The weather, the smells, the feel of opening the windows of my apartment and letting the wind blow in while hiding under blankets and sipping apple cider and watching movies. Doesn't that sound great?

It's also a great time to feel youthful. Just something about Halloween that makes even the most stressed out adult feel young and carefree again. Don't agree? Go into a department store, go straight to the Halloween section and tell me you won't be trying on every mask and push the buttons of every single Halloween decoration. It's just a perfect time to be alive! Now, of course, in addition to all the previously mentioned activities and feelings, everything suddenly turns orange, brown, black and purple. Toys, clothes, and even better: food. YES!!!!! Of course the true champions of Halloween treats are Monster Cereals, ice cream, Oreos, even burgers, as tested last year!

So what's going on this year? Well, a simple trip to Wegmans for groceries revealed quite a few fun treats in store for me this coming season. No Monster Cereals...YET...but there were a few things that caught my eye that maybe you will need to run out and grab to get in the Halloween mood!

Keebler Pumpkin Spice Cookies!




Ok, not a bad way of starting off. Now, I love me some Pumpkin Spice flavored ANYTHING and the last few years have been great for fans. Now, alright, I admit it. Nothing truly tastes like Pumpkin Spice. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to find two things that taste identical. But that's ok, because much like gingerbread, it just works perfectly for the season.

Keebler offers us their Fudge Stripes cookies in the fall favorite flavor. From what I'm told, these were offered last year as well. I don't remember even buying them, but I have a hard time believing they won't be tasty. Keebler always delivers so I'm totally down for picking these up this year!



Lunchables!




What kid doesn't have great memories of Lunchables? I mean, sure, it's probably about as healthy to this entire thing as it is a Big Mac but when you're a kid and you find these in your lunchbox, you're good as gold. Almost like a Kids Cuisine for lunch and not requiring to be microwaving(doesn't hurt though!), Lunchables are not a bad way to spend your afternoon.

That said, it seems every year, Lunchables offers fun holiday themed items. Usually, containing the normal meal fare along with a Halloween treat and sometimes a Ghoul Aid(the Halloween KoolAid flavor!) with some awesome packaging. Now, while they don't have Ghoul Aid this year, they do give us a sweet little chocolate witch! I mean, I'd totally eat that cheap pizza for that sweet little witch!



Gotta love that bat and haunted house too. I feel like saving this and framing it. It's classic Halloween! Kinda reminds me of something from the late 80s/early 90s. Pretty solid, huh?


Pop-Tarts!





An annual classic. Always welcomed in my household and most likely yours. PopTarts always offers a lot of great seasonal flavors but none too greater than Pumpkin Pie and Spookylicious Fudge! Ok, the fudge flavor is around all year, but not in orange colored frosting with tiny Halloween themed sprinkles! Check it out:




The Pumpkin Pie PopTart(I did not pick it up on this trip) is always a home run. The simple taste of pumpkin (no spice!) is just absolutely delicious. There's not a lot of pumpkin offerings that are on the level of this, I mean, it's just so addicting. I've gone through one box in two days. Not proud but I've done it. Pace yourself, my friends. It'll be worth it when you're toasting these in January!


Kelloggs Spooky Cereals!




After dealing with the success of Monster Cereals every Halloween, Kellogg's finally threw their name in the Halloween game last year and seems to be at it again. Look at those boxes. Look at them! A little spookier, a little crazier but definitely in the vein of the season. Gotta love that Frosted Flakes especially. It's about time Tony was able to stretch his advertising chops. After all these years, he finally gets some spooky props to play with. And boy oh boy is he taking full advantage of it!



To add to the theme of Halloween Cereals(again, ruled by Monster Cereals), every Kellogg's cereal is given extra marshmallows. Which is odd, because Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops are perfect on their own, but it's almost like the cereal itself is dressing up for the season too. Which is nice. It's hard enough to compete with Count Chocula and the Boys, but hey, you gotta do everything you can! Kudos to you Kelloggs, a great offering!


So, let the festivities begin! Halloween is almost here and these treats are a perfect way of getting hyped!


-Chad

What I've Been Watching Vol. 2975492

We've got movie sign!!!!!







Ahhhh the American Ninja series...Cannon's amazing mixture of military and karate, action films starring Michael Dudikoff.. What really should have been the launch of Dudikoff's potential career, was really Dudikoff's one and only hit. Which is the greatest tragedy because he's very captivating on screen and could've gone on to a lot more had he not stuck with Cannon, who promised him roles after roles that just never came to fruition. 

The American Ninja series lasted 5 movies. While the 5th isn't being released on Bluray from Olive Films, you can still hunt it down. The best part of these 4 releases are the extras. The trailers, commentary even a documentary on each film detailing the production and behind the scenes stories. If you've wanted the scoop on each movie, they're a real fun way to learn. Highly suggested purchases. Yes, including part 3 and 4...






Back int he early 80's a bunch of a young kids set out to create an scene for scene recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark, relying on memory, photos from magazines and books and whatever else they could get their hands on. It took them years to film the almost completed film, in fact, you'll notice them visibly aging throughout the fanfilm. After filming everything except the famous airplane scene, they decided to move on and accept it was just a pipe dream to complete their version.

Until a filmmaker came to the original cast and offered them a chance to complete their childhood project...

What followed was quite inspiring. Three friends who worked so hard on something that became a cult favorite in Hollywood, including Eli Roth who spoke very highly of the film, finally got to complete their dream. We all would be so lucky. 

The features are also quite entertaining:

Special features include more than four hours on bonus content

-Two audio commentary tracks (with Skousen & Coon as well as Strompolos & Zala)
-Deleted scenes from the documentary
-Outtakes from the Adaptation 
-Q&A footage from the Adaptation's 2003 premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX
-A photo booklet featuring storyboard art from the Adaptation 
-Free HD digital copy of the film.



I'd say if you love a good documentary, this is for you. It's a feel good story, which is what we need more of!





Mill Creek has been putting out William Castle movies for a while now and quite frankly, these two may be two of my favorites. Homicidal has one of the most shocking endings, that even found a way to make me gasp! And I thought I had seen it all! And Mr. Sardonicus, the tale of the disfigured Baron Sardonicus is just as fun, as it balances torture and the bizarre all in one movie. 

William Castle movies always felt like a Hitchcock movie meets an EC Comic. I always love William Castles goofy gimmicks and endings. They always deliver. And this collection is no different. No extra features, but hey, when it's a William Castle movie, you don't need no stinkin' features! 





Wow. My only regret in watching this movie is that I hadn't seen it before. I love me some post apocalyptic movies from the 80s(boy were there a lot!) but this one may be my new favorite. Sorry, World Gone Wild!

The story is about a group of wild teens who are trapped in an abandoned drive in by the government. They're forced live there until the government says differently. Problem is, it doesn't look like the government is going to let them go anytime soon. 

I honestly can't say how much I love this movie enough. Everything about it is fantastic. My biggest regret is not seeing before I did and quite frankly, if you've never seen it, you should really fix that. If you're a fan of outlandish 1980s movies, you'll no doubt love this!

And the extras. Oh man, Arrow packed a lot of great stuff into this release:



  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
  • High Definition (1080p) Presentation
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith
  • The Stuntmen, Trenchard Smith’s classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers
  • Hospitals Don’t Burn Down, Trenchard-Smith’s 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion
  • Behind the scenes gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon



Definitely a must own. Pick it up, via Arrow, today!


See ya next time at the movies! 


-Chad

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Graham and Chad Talk Rasslin' Episode 1: SummerSlam 1991

I recently got together with my buddy Graham of The History of WWE.com to discuss one of our favorite WWF PPV's, Summerslam 1991! We also discuss our where we were at that time, my first kiss, Graham's Virgil Adventure, and much much more!

Please leave feedback, as it is our first episode together and we hope to perfect our podcasting. We hope you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoyed putting it together!



Sunday, August 7, 2016

CRYSTAL PEPSI IS BACK, BABY!

Holy crap, we've seen a LOT of drinks of the past make their epic returns this summer. Surge, Mountain Dew Pitch Black and Baja Blast, and of course the king of the childhood drinks, Ecto Cooler. 

During all these major events, one question remained: will Pepsi have the balls to rerelease Crystal Pepsi? I mean, all these companies are going back in the corporate time machine and giving new life to these cherished drinks. But Pepsi? Would they give Crystal Pepsi another go? I mean, it was a huge failure the first time around. Let's face facts, as cool as it was, there's a darn good reason it hasn't been readily available for 23 years. As a kid, I was less than impressed and just thought it as a fizzy piss flavored drink. I just wasn't blown away. I would've rather drank anti freeze.

And no, it has nothing to do with that rad Van Halen commercial.


And I'm a lifelong Van Halen fan so I totally dig it to this day. Hagar-haters to the left...


Late last year, there were rumors flying around that maybe...just maybe Crystal Pepsi would come back. Could it be? Really? I mean, the internet sees unsubstantial rumors flying everyday. I personally had my doubts. Come on...there's absolutely no way Pepsi would even consider rereleasing this embarrassment. But that's when a teaser video hit...


Oh wow. It's officially happening.

Well, kinda. Pepsi released it by doing a giveaway via their Pepsi Pass app in January. Which meant, only a certain amount of people were given 6 packs of Crystal Pepsi. Of course people who didn't win complained that it was rigged and unfair. But uh...that's how contests work, boo.

So finally it was announced Crystal Pepsi would be released in August across the country. Canada got them first a month or so before. Which is great considering, they didn't get Ecto Cooler so ya know, fair is fair. So finally, Pepsi is giving their loyalists the drink they've been waiting for.



There it is! I still don't believe it bu it's back. This may be a bit more shocking than Ecto Cooler just because it was so universally hated. But, be that as it may, it's here alright. Live and in living...well...clearness?

I needed a little assistance. Just as I had for Mountain Dew and Ecto Cooler, I had to enlist the help of someone who could give it the proper unbiased opinion.


Ooooooooh yeah! I had to call on my buddy Circa 1992 Randy Savage to test this out! Randy's ready for any challenge, but this could be his greatest challenge! Andre The Giant, Bam Bam Bigelow, Big John Studd? All easy compared to taking on the new Crystal Pepsi. But, he stepped up and ready to rep the 90s!

So let's begin shall we?

Randy suggested I use an old Pepsi glass to get the right feel. Hey, I'm not one to turn down advice from the man who brought popularity to Slim Jim. He knows his stuff about junk food.

So there it is. Let's discuss the bottle. 

Look familiar? Pretty spot on, I'd say. Not 100% accurate to the original, but a perfect blend of new and old to satisfy even the most loyal Pepsi fan. The new logo isn't my favorite Pepsi logo but combining it with the old Crystal Pepsi look is a perfect combo. It works for me. We're already starting off right.

Ok, time to end this riff raff. The packaging is fine, but it's time to taste it! In the tradition of Ecto Cooler and Surge, I was expecting it to taste exactly the same taste, which if I recall properly, was like drinking straight up seltzer water. 



Before I continue, I gotta break kayfabe for a second and pull back the proverbial blogging curtain. The pic above? Shortly after this was taken, some pollen fell inside it. I actually had to throw the rest of the glass out and in the process, I accidentally knocked over the rest of the contents in the bottle. Thankfully there wasn't a lot in the bottle but that's the way the ball bounces, g.


Now, thanks to my buddy Jay of the Sexy Armpit who sent me a photo of an old bottle, I was able to see the old recipe:




And the new one:


As you can tell, there's a big difference between the original and the new offerings. Whereas the original had a very fizzy plain taste with nothing close to a taste of Pepsi, this one delivered more of what, I assume, they were going for. It tasted more like Pepsi, yes. Not 100% Pepsi but more like a fizzier Pepsi with a slight twist of lemon thrown in. Which isn't bad, really. It's a pretty good offering if you ask me.

I also gotta throw out there that it's a good time to put it out as well. As fun as it is to head down to the pool with a delicious Ecto Cooler, something about a clear soda screams "summer drink" to me. I don't know why but it does. Call me crazy.


So the verdict on this new Crystal Pepsi? I think I'm in the middle here. I don't think it's terrible. I don't. I think it's good, but it's not really Crystal Pepsi as you once knew it.. I mean it is, but only if you're going by the label. 

 I can't honestly say this makes me love Crystal Pepsi and it's history but I can appreciate this new idea of taking old drinks and putting a new twist on them. If that's the case, maybe Pepsi Holiday Spice will get a new life. If it's the original Crystal Pepsi you're truly after, there are ways to make the original I'm sure. If you want to give Crystal Pepsi 2.0 a chance, you may enjoy it. I just wasn't blown away. But I really don't see this being a flop. I think it'll be a big success. People will enjoy it for what it is. And I refuse to tell people they shouldn't enjoy it. That wouldn't be prudent.


So there it is. The somewhat return of Crystal Pepsi, if only by name. I'm sure Pepsi will be raking in that clear dough and have zero qualms about the differences between the 92 offering and now. But hey,that's the soda game. 

In closing, I do have to say if you're gonna give it a go, try it with a sandwich and chips! 






Much thanks to Jay of the SexyArmpit for the photo of the old Crystal Pepsi label. Please visit his site at Sexy Armpit for so much awesomeness!


-Chad