There has been much debate over what actually qualifies a movie as a true blue “Christmas Movie”. The more strict of Christmas nerds insist that a film that takes place during this beloved time of the year is not enough to classify it as such. That it needs to be “about” the holiday. But I think the idea of Christmas is just abstract enough to applied to any manner of story. DIE HARD is a famously ambiguous holiday pick. An office Christmas party is interrupted by terrorists trying to steal money, but it’s really about an estranged couple looking deep into how they really feel for each other, and reuniting because of Christmas. Christmas is a crucial part of the story. GREMLINS is another one. A kid gets a weird muppet as a Christmas gift and soon enough, he has to deal with a bunch of mischievous frogs who start wrecking the town. It all starts as a Christmas gift gone wrong. And his would be girlfriend has to deal with her dark Christmas past (which mirrors the tone of the film) in order to help him fight off these frogs who make pop culture references despite being only a few hours old. Even Christmas horror films count, because as some of us know, sometimes tragedy doesn’t wait until January to happen. I’m sure we’ve all had to deal with awful things on holidays. Maybe not as bad as an axe wielding maniac, sure. But recently. we watched A CHRISTMAS STORY in a theater, and after a few years of being cool little Fonzies about how loose we were about Christmas movie interpretation, it was an intense experience to get back to the core values of the Christmas season. Being a kid. Wanting that one dream present. Navigating the folly of youth. So we understand wanting to keep it pure as well. But we can literally have it all. That’s the point of Christmas. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t judge. And it’s just a little bit better than you’d expect.
The coming of Doctor Strange is Marvel Studios’ latest movie to change the definition of the super hero genre and set new precedent for everything that will come after it. It also is a triumphant in the way it uses IMAX 3D to change the audience’s perception of space and time. It’s as close to an acid trip as you can get without actually breaking any laws. The visuals propel the concept so well that even some of the short comings of character and story melt away, literally, as the mix of special effects and performance and classic Doctor Strange mythology blend together to form a crowd pleasing spectacle on an epic scale. As always, we are excited for newbies to discover the character for the first time and be intrigued enough to delve into the books and see for themselves where the character has been and where the charater can go. It’s a pretty textbook success for Marvel and fans themselves.
The life of a geek has many opportunities to make strange and elaborate costumes based off of our favorite characters, properties or even some sort of imaginative mash up of multiple things. Or maybe even an original idea entirely. We have so many cons now that happen all year long and so many midnight screenings giving us a chance to dress to the nines with our custom duds. But Halloween is the Super Bowl of cosplay. Chances are, you’ll be in a room in October with either a bunch of family, friends, co-workers or even complete strangers and they will all have some sort of disguise on in varying degrees of quality. You COULD be the person who just slaps together a towel cape or jumps in a garbage bag and declares themselves a California Raisin. But really this is a chance to show off the skills you’ve been honing all year long. This is the time to get a little fancy with yourselves. Try things you’ve never tried before. Maybe get a little professional help in on the deal. Never tried make up before? Time to get Rick Baker with it. Never made your own props? Time to get some how to youtube videos up and make a special trip to the Home Depot for raw supplies. Of course if you’re already a cosplayer extraordinaire then this is a chance to assert your own dominance and crush all opposition. Of course, there is (fake) blood in the water on All Hallow’s Eve and there WILL be people gunning for your crown. So let’s do our best out there because competition breeds the best in us and will be fun for everyone.
This past weekend, we had a chance to watch all three LORD OF THE RINGS extended editions in a theater, back to back to back, at the historic Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen them and this blogger has never partaken in the extended editions of the films before. There is so much more nuance and character in these versions, that it was like watching them for the first time. Twelve hours flew by like the Great Eagles into the siege of Gondor! Each film, nearing the four hour mark with a food truck outside the theater, nearly the entire audience stayed the entire time. They cheered the appearances of the main heroes and actually HISSED at the appearances of such treacherous villains such as Wormtongue. This audience was primed and their excitement fueled everyone else’s. Classic moments were punctuated by hoots and hollers and sad moments were so quiet that you could hear a pin drop with the occasional soft sobs. Everyone was so engrossed the entire time, except for the girl who played candy crush in the 4th row for nearly 3 HOURS during THE TWO TOWERS. One of my favorite audience moments is when the hipster guy in front of me who was sitting alone and had been pretty silent for nearly ten hours screamed “YES!!!!” when Eowyn dropped some science on the Witch King with a “I am no man” right before she stabbed him in the FACE. I loved him for that. We all rubbed our eyes in the light of the pale moon as we emerged well past one in the morning. Our blood boiling and simmering like the firey lavas of Mount Doom. So moved from this experience that the residual feelings lasted well into the next day as I debated watching the entire HOBBIT trilogy that day. I couldn’t put those blu-ray’s in the player fast enough. Even after nine hours of that, I was still feeling as though my heart was full but still yearning for Middle-Earth. After a quick trip to Game Stop, some LORD OF THE RINGS video games are now left to satiate our Ring fever. We’ll let you know when we calm down a bit.
Nostalgia has reached a fever pitch in our current geek climate. Fans often have to raise an eyebrow in suspicion at the latest attempt the entertainment industry makes at making us feel 12 again. A lot of the time, even the masters of yesteryear have a hard time reclaiming the glory and the magic they once instilled in our hearts. Then along came the Duffer Brothers and Netflix and their new show STRANGER THINGS and all the cynicism fades away. For it feels genuine and sincere. The show takes place in 1983, and is basically what if The Goonies found ET in the John Hughes town of Shermer, Illinois that has the sheriff from Jaws. So many wonderful things are thrown in here like a expertly cultivated mixtape. Cast so wonderfully and written so precisely that it doesn’t feel like a TV show built in a writer’s room, it feels like an eight hour long film. I think any fan of the greatest entertainment decade of all time, the 1980’s would fall in love with the show and it seems to be reaching a mainstream appeal already. Like previously stated, many stabs at the nostalgic look on Spielberg or Carpenter have been made to varying degrees of quality but STRANGER THINGS ranks amongst the very best so far.
Well, the chutes are empty, the halls are bare and another Comic Con has come and gone. We at Blast From The Past had ourselves a banner year getting to see many of the great Hall H panels and getting many of the exclusive surprise goodies as well. After much waiting in line, our Saturday morning started off with executive producer of the new2017 CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY handing out coffee and donuts in the wee hours of the morning to all those waiting to attend the STAR TREK: 50 YEARS panel. When we were finally let in, the first panel was Warner Bros. Pictures moderated by Conan O’Brien. The walls of Hall H were stretched back making the screens surround the audience, enveloping our vision with new logos and imagery from the upcoming Warner Bros. movies they were showing us first look footage of the new DC Comics films. For the FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM portion, Eddie Redmayne himself handed out wands to the audience of 6000 and everyone got their own. The next panel was retrospective of the last 50 years of Star Trek with a panel of cast members from the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise. After that, the 30 year reunion panel for ALIENS attended by Director James Cameron, and cast members Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Hendrickson, Bill Paxton and Paul Reiser. The day ended with massively cool Marvel Studios panel showing us brand new footage from THOR: RAGNAROK, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, DOCTOR STRANGE and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2. Plus a first look at the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MISSION – BREAKOUT! ride coming to Disney’s California Adventure next summer. It was an overwhelming wave of cool stuff, which every Comic Con ends up being, and we’re all gonna need a few days to recover but we can’t wait for next year to do it all over again!
If you haven’t seen Captain America 3: Civil War yet, cancel your dinner plans.
When the Russo brothers took up the reins for the latest Marvel masterpiece, they had some big shoes to fill. Age of Ultron was the Avengers 2 we got, but Civil War was the Avengers 2 we deserved. The ensemble cast eclipsed the good Captain and really showed off how a superhero movie can be more than the sum of its parts.
Black Panther was woven seamlessly into the movie’s subplots; the new Peter Parker was practically perfect; Ant Man’s cameo was larger than life. There’s something for everyone to be excited about. (And it’s not all doom and gloom and emotional scarring! It’s got comedy! Just ask Spidey.)
One cannot be objective about this movie. It’s amazing. Go see it. See it a second time. Come back. Discuss it with us. Please. We can’t keep our excitement in any longer.
Monsterpalooza is just around the corner and we’re excited as ever about it.
Horror fans don’t wait ’til it’s October to revel in gory goodness or keep the vibe tense and creepy. We want opportunities all year ’round to be able to keep it weird.
Horror is a genre we’ve always respected and admired here at Blast From The Past because it comes in so many flavors, spans decades, and can come from anywhere. From big studios or from your neighbor’s backyard, it’s a genre that has inspired more amateur filmmakers and novelists to tell their stories than any other. And we are lucky there is so much out there, because we fans can never get enough.
Some of the most iconic characters in literature and film come from horror and they stay with us because of how they make us feel. Pure unadulterated fear. We love the rush of just narrowly escaping certain death and we want to risk it again and again. We love the macabre, the strange and unusual. The otherworldly. And we love nothing better than sharing that experience with likeminded nuts like us! So we can’t wait to see you there.
What kind of horror are you into? Classic? Slasher? Italian? Ghosts? A little bit of everything? We want to know!
It feels like they’ve been threatening to release BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE on us forever, and ready or not, it’s finally here. Fans of Marvel and DC have been more divided than ever over this first-time cinematic showdown between two of the biggest icons of comic book history. Marvel fans have been enjoying a nice 8-year stint of popular, ground-breaking motion pictures featuring their favorite characters, most of which hadn’t seen the silver screen until now. Batman and Superman, on the other hand, have been around movie theaters for decades, and even their most devoted fans are left wondering if they can expect something new and fresh.
The reviews are in, and while they are not kind to the Caped Crusader or the Man of Steel, the fans have voted with their wallets and brought in record-breaking box office numbers. This blogger has been left in the in-between, struggling to reconcile love for the characters and desire for fun and exciting cinema.
You may have argued as a kid about which hero would win in a fight, but director Zack Snyder’s vision is much more complicated than that — giving us a star-studded lineup of actors each delving into a new role with one purpose: setting up sequels. Will each individual franchise stand on its own? Could a Wonder Woman origin movie be as successful as Captain America? Would Aquaman perform as swimmingly as Thor?
Let’s give it some time and see if Batman V Superman hasn’t planted the seeds for some great movies in the future. What are your thoughts?
Happy birthday to two of the most influential monsters of all time! 198 years ago, Mary Shelley published the novel that spawned both Victor Frankenstein and his infamous creature.
The subject of many a nerdy debate, is “Frankenstein” the name of the monster or the name of the man? And if it’s really the man, does one pronounce it “Fronkensteen,” as Mel Brooks would have you believe?
Whether you approach Shelley’s great work as a serious novel, respect Boris Karloff’s performance for setting the standard for an entire genre, or if you’re simply fond of the creature’s transformation into the caricature of Herman Munster, there is one point that cannot be argued. Pop culture was forever changed on that dark and stormy night. Here’s to another two centuries!