The Death of Captain America

Death of Captain America

The Death of Captain America is a wonderful Marvel comics storyline from Ed Brubaker. His run on Captain America was incredibly well-written. For non-comics fans, Brubaker wrote the stories that led to The Winter Soldier, which Marvel made into one of their best movies.

Captain America

Captain America (1979)

A recipient of an experimental body enhancement chemical retaliates against his would be killers as a star spangled superhero.”

The American ideal. It’s a little tough to find these days, isn’t it?” – “Not if you know where to look” – “Right on”

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)

The star spangled hero must battle a villain’s plan to poison America with a chemical that horrifically accelerates the aging process.”

I want your number when you get out of jail pal! The old people in this town are my friends. And if I hear they’re having problems again, I’m comin’ after you! You got that!”

This is not about that death. I recently purchased the above DVD double feature from Amazon for $3.74. That is just $1.87 per film! It was so not worth it.

These movies are just awful. Clearly intended to capitalize on the success of The Incredible Hulk (itself a ripoff of The Fugitive but at least it was well done), the Captain America movies are just goofy.

First, they are a complete ripoff of, believe it or not, The Six Million Dollar Man. Whenever Steve Rogers/Captain America lifts something, we get the Steve Austin bionic man sound complete with slow motion video. His powers also seem to be nearly the same – fast running, heavy lifting, great eyesight, and super hearing, the last borrowed from The Bionic Woman. Strangely, star Reb Brown had two small parts on The Six Million Dollar Man.

By the way, Steve Rogers is the son of Captain America, though he does don the persona once he too gets super powers. The donning is also part of the problem. Here is Captain America in all his glory:

Captain America

His shield is a painted clear plastic frisbee:

Captain America

I had to watch this at some point because the second film features Christopher Lee as the villain, Miguel. I have now scratched that one off his filmography. I guess I should be thankful that this never made it to series.

Reb Brown did get another shot at stardom. He was Yor in Yor, The Hunter from the Future.

Do yourself a favor and spend the extra bucks to get one of the Chris Evans movies. Your time is too valuable to waste on this bargain bin enterprise.

Friday This ‘n’ That – Alien edition

I have an Alien problem.

Alien

I first saw Alien at the theater in 1979. I was fifteen years old and my friend John Gervais and I were waiting in line at the Dadeland theater. We were a little nervous about sneaking in but talked a young couple into purchasing our tickets. Not only did Alien scare the pants off me and warp my fragile little mind but it made a lifelong impression.

Alien and Aliens are my two of my three favorite horror movies of all time (John Carpenter’s The Thing being the third). Alien 3 is a terrible mess (though the ‘director’s cut’ fixes quite a few issues) with some nice visuals. Ditto Alien Resurrection (love the underwater scene). Alien vs. Predator is stupid, short, and PG-13. No Alien film should be PG-13. The sequel Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was just a slasher movie dressed up with Aliens. Prometheus was a well-meaning misfire that tried to shoehorn in an Alien at the end.

I watch all of these films periodically because I just love the Aliens. I’ll also gladly fork out my money to see Prometheus 2 and Alien 5 in theaters. Recently I picked up Alien Isolation for my Xbox (though I haven’t found time to play it yet). I’ve previously shared photos of Alien figures and the Alien quilt my wife made.

Recently she bought me an Alien Buddha off of Etsy:

Alien Buddha

I haven’t decided where to put it as yet.

Alien game

I also couldn’t resist this expensive card game, simply because it features Alien.

Own the first ever Alien Deck Building Game! Use Legendary moves from battling Super Villains to battling chest-bursting, face-hugging, acid-for-blood-having Aliens. This game features some of Alien’s greatest protagonists, including Ripley, Dallas, Bishop and Private Hicks, as they go to battle against some of the most terrifying creatures in the universe. Players must work with each other to defeat the terrifying Xenomorphs!”

I haven’t found the time to play it either. Like I said I have a problem.

Now when oh when am I going to get to see Alien 5?

 

 

Friday This ‘n’ That – Vudu

I am lazy. I don’t mind admitting it.

Vudu

While blu-ray picture and sound quality are unsurpassed (at least until 4K becomes established), if I’m going to put on a random movie to watch, I’ll turn on Vudu (or Netflix or Amazon or Hulu) rather than get my lazy butt up and find the blu-ray. This is made easier by having most new movies come with digital copies that work on Vudu.

Wal-Mart has a program where some percentage of the films they sell will automatically come with a copy if you enter your receipt into their savings catcher. This has never worked for me personally but perhaps I’m not purchasing the right films.

What does work is that you can download VUDU togo on your computer and convert DVDs and Blu-Rays (if you have a drive). They charge $2 per movie for blu-ray to HD or DVD to standard. They charge $5 for DVD to HD. This is fine for a movie or two but gets pricy if you have more.

Thankfully, Wal-Mart will give you half-price if you convert ten or more titles. Conversion is easy if a bit time consuming. The time consuming portion is that there are a ton of titles not supported. Still it is a nice tool when it works.

Vudu also makes it easier to watch a marathon without getting up.

Alien

Pardon me but I’m queueing up the first Alien movie.

Going Outback for Some Wild Ginger

Obviously I normally just blog about movie, it’s my reason for being. On Sunday I ate so well that I just felt like sharing my the yumminess I savored.

Wild Ginger

 

For lunch, we went to Wild Ginger, a VietNamese restaurant in Arden. They primarily serve Pho. to which I’m addicted. One of the reasons I love it is because it is so customizable.

“PHO is a Vietnamese Noodle Soup which is generally served with a choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian. The soup includes rice noodles and is often served with fresh basil or mint leaves, fresh lime and bean sprouts.”

The Pho, which is delicious by itself, is served with a bowl of fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime wedges, and jalapeno slices so you can adjust the flavor of the soup to perfection. They also have chili sauce, sriracha, peanut sauce, and hoisin sauce.

The picture above is of the ridiculously diabetic-coma-inducing dessert Halo Halo. It consists of sweet beans, sugar palm, flan, corn flakes, and ice cream. If you have a Pho restaurant in your town, you should try some Pho but share the Halo Halo.

Outback Steakhouse

 

I typically despise chain restaurants for much the same reasons as I despise buffets: You invariably get lowest common denominator food. Is there any more generic, anti-Italian Italian restaurant than Olive Garden? Can you make seafood any blander than Red Lobster (yes, the biscuits are good but they are easily made at home)?

The exception for me though is Outback steakhouse. The benefit and deficit to a chain restaurant is that whatever you order is pretty much the same no matter which restaurant you order it in. The steaks at Outback are consistently cooked the way I like them (medium rare) and even their cheap steak is fairly decent.

I’d love to say that we went for steaks but my wife needed a drink. Neither my wife nor I are big drinkers (more than one a month, less than one a week). We both love the Wallaby Darned, basically Outback’s version of a Peach Bellini. Although it isn’t usually on the menu, we order it Down Under, which is Outback speak for ‘with an extra shot’.

I can’t speak for your Outback of course but the Hendersonville one is filled with the friendliest staff from the manager on down. We’re always seated promptly and taken very good care of. I normally take care of everyone so it’s nice to be pampered every once in a while and that’s the way I feel at my Hendersonville Outback.

Anyway back to movies tomorrow. Pardon the digression.

 

True Confessions – Star Wars & Peter Cushing

I went to see Star Wars for my thirteenth birthday

Star Wars

 

Obviously, I was enthralled and had seen nothing like it before. I already loved science fiction, having seen mostly the Heston ones on television (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man). However, none of that is why I went to see Star Wars.

Growing up, my first real love wasn’t science fiction or fantasy but horror. I took every opportunity to watch horror movies at home. I loved the Universal classics but my favorite were the relatively new Hammer horror movies. Peter Cushing was my absolute favorite actor with Christopher Lee running a close second. My mom would often watch these with me on weekend afternoons.

One fantastic day, I saw that a new Peter Cushing had come to our local theater and it was rated PG. I had never seen a Peter Cushing movie at the theater before. I was thrilled and asked my mother if we could go see it. She told me no – which she rarely ever did. I can only think the title put her off. That movie was “From Beyond the Grave” and I did not get to see it until I was an adult.

Just before my thirteenth birthday, another new Peter Cushing movie opened at our local theater. That movie was Star Wars. My mom, sister, two of my best friends, and I had a wonderful time. The Empire Strikes Back was even better, even though the Miami Herald spoiled the important plot twist ON THE MORNING THE MOVIE OPENED.

When Phantom Menace was coming out, my wife and father-in-law waited in a line overnight to get tickets. Obviously, crushing disappointment followed that decision. I think that was the last time we ever waited in a serious line for movie tickets.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Still my fifty-year-old self is much the same as my fifteen-year-old self and I am eagerly awaiting Episode VII. Anyway, what reminded me of all of this was the cover of a book I saw in Barnes & Noble. To wit:

Tarkin

 

Yes, that is Peter Cushing’s likeness on a book jacket some twenty years after his passing. By the way, I was lucky enough to catch a few of his movies on the big screen besides Star Wars, though their quality was uneven. I have seen Sword of the Valiant, Top Secret, Arabian Adventure, Shock Waves, and The House of the Long Shadows (w/ Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, and John Carradine) in the theater.

I also got to see Christopher Lee (92) in The Hobbit movies. Yay Me!

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Well, we were at Wal-Mart again the other day. I saw a new multi-pack display that made me laugh.

Wayne Bullock

 

First they had a nice five movie collection for John Wayne and Sandra Bullock (above)

Gibson Murphy

 

Next to it was a five film collection for Eddie Murphy and one for “Antiheroes”. Apparently Mel Gibson is now persona non grata enough to be removed from the title. I wholeheartedly support actual consequences for bad behavior and this certainly gave me a good laugh at Gibson’s expense.

Mind you, the fact police will have some words over this. Payback absolutely features an antihero. The Road Warrior is also pretty much an antihero movie. Conspiracy Theory features a protagonist who is insane but not an antihero. Edge of Darkness features a grieving father searching for justice. Finally, We Were Soldiers is a fairly standard war picture. So honestly only 40% of the collection is about antiheroes.

JSalvador, LootCrate, Jason, Etc.

Recently, thanks to LootCrate, I was introduced to the work of a pop artist known as JSalvador who does a line called Super Emo. Here is a framed Jason missing his mommy:

Jason

 

And here is my latest T-Shirt that I wore to The Hobbit marathon

T-Shirt

 

And here is The Walking Dead print I gave to my daughter:

Walking Dead

FREE Movie Tickets – Dracula Untold, Fury, Penguins of Madagascar

Yay! After quite a dry spell, it looks like the FREE movie offers are coming back.

Dracula Untold

At Wal-Mart, they have an endcap of Universal horror DVDs and Blu-Rays that have $7.50 movie money for Dracula Untold. This includes classic titles such as The Complete Frankenstein Legacy Collection as well as more modern fare such as the Brendan Fraser Mummy series. It is Fandango movie money so caveat emptor.

Fury

Fandango is offering a Buy One, Get One FREE deal on Fury. You have to go to one of the theaters that supports Fandango ticketing and pay their pesky fee but still a nice deal. AMC Stubs members have the ticket fee waived.

Penguins of Madagascar

Fox is re-releasing a bunch of its animated titles on October 21st. These will have movie money for the new Penguins of Madagascar film. Titles include: Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2, Madagascar 1 & 2, Shrek, Rise of the Guardians, and Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron.

* AMC Theaters have a coupon for a $1 large popcorn if you sign up on their Facebook page.

* Closer to Christmas, Warner will be rereleasing all of their Tolkien titles with movie money for the final Hobbit movie.

Wal-Mart for the Win – Dracula Untold & Kiefer Sutherland

I was at Wal-Mart the other day, perusing the movie section while my wife was shopping elsewhere.

Dracula Untold

 

They had an endcap of old and new Universal horror movies. There were single copies of classics like Dracula and Frankenstein as well as multi-packs of more modern fare such as the Tremors series. Most of them had stickers for $7.50 off a movie ticket for the new Dracula Untold movie.

Off in their new release section, I also found the newly released Universal Frankenstein Legacy Collection and Dracula Collection. Each were $19.99 with Dracula Untold tickets. If you own the old versions of these, you might consider upgrading as The Frankenstein Legacy old version contained: Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein. The new version contains all of those as well as Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The only difference in title is, instead of The Legacy Collection, it is The Complete Legacy Collection.

Kiefer 24

 

Hilarity ensued when I got to this option. For a mere five dollars, you can have a 24 hour movie binge with Kiefer Sutherland. This is a brilliant repackaging of two of Echo Bridge’s previous action movie collections. Out of the whopping 17 movies in the two collections, I believe only one of them actually stars Kiefer Sutherland. That would be the better forgotten Brotherhood of Justice from 1986 where Kiefer looks like this:

Brotherhood of Justice

I wonder how many people will buy this thinking that they are getting 24 for $5.

Fun Friday – Hulu, Best Buy, Netflix

I was at Best Buy and happened to spot this:

Horror

 

I was lucky enough to dodge the Bieber bullet (lower right). My daughters are too old and my granddaughter too young. Still, I am not sure he belongs in the horror section.

Hulu

 

I spotted this on Hulu the other night. I understand service in the Middle East must be very difficult but, honestly, I would work on defusing (removing the part of an explosive that makes it explode) rather than diffusing (spreading over a large area) bombs. It would seem diffusing is something only the bomber would desire.

Netflix

 

 

I appreciate that Netflix wants to integrate with social media. They keep (visually) pushing me to recommend films to my friends. I understand that and would whole-heartedly recommend The Grand Budapest Hotel if that was what I had watched instead of the latest Asylum atrocity. /sigh

They have also revamped the search engine interface for the computer. Instead of an open search box in the upper right, you now have a search button. I’m not sure why one would add another layer to a commonly used function. Typing text in the box that opens up begins locating movies on the fly. The new search seems to be geared toward watching movies on the computer whereas I use mine to put stuff in the queue for viewing on the TV later.

Their search engine gets better with each iteration. It used to be just titles then titles and actors. Now you can search on titles, actors, directors, and genres. What would be really neat would be full imdb integration.