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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Toysday: Nonnef Productions

     Nonnef Productions: if you know the name, chances are your transformers already have some neat accessories. If you don't...well, you want to. They seem to be garage kits, limited runs of parts and accessories intended to enhance your collection. They are out of South Carolina and seem to be pretty nice folks.

     I first encountered them while bemoaning the floppy, saggy rubber antennae that my Superion came with. I was looking at 3-d printed parts when a forum post sent me racing to EBay for these:
Perfect fit, good match for color

     Since then I picked up parts for Menasor, others for Superion, a fix for Blitzwing's shoulder issue, and guns and fixes for the Titans Return figures.
This adapts blackjack to point up and down instead of side to side
there is also a piece that lets the axe hang up and down

This simple block pushes the base of the shoulder out a little,
 causing it to make a more solid connection

A replacement Gun for Blurr, more like his G1 rifle

Guns, and brainstorms infamous time case

Replacement guns for Chromedome, closer to his G1 gun

replacement wrists and hands that add a swivel to his wrists

     Yesterday I got a set for Broadside with his Gun, Axe and some gap fillers.
     I appreciate all his work, and I'm sure you would too. Maybe it's time your transformers made Nonnef's acquaintance...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Movie Musings: Fantastic Muggle

     Not every movie that you see will make you feel good, not every movie you see will make you comfortable. Sam and I saw Detroit yesterday. It's a movie based on an event from american history, The Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots. How true the film is is still open to debate, but I will say this...

     You know that feeling you get watching a horror film, when all the normal rules of life are suspended and the most innocuous of actions is enough to get the character killed in the most horrific fashion possible? Watching Detroit felt like that. Like at any moment, the hockey-masked machete wielding killer was going to reveal himself...but there were no hockey masks, no machetes...just fear, and guns, and makeshift weapons, and itchy trigger fingers.

     This seems like a pretty decent starting point as to the truth vs supposition or opinion in the incident- I am speaking of it only from the standpoint of viewing the film, and the film left me disquieted. There is a reason why I value all films but tend to choose lighter fare.

     In cheerier news, I re-viewed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

     When I first saw this in theater, and on DVD, I knew it meant more to me than any of the eight Harry Potter movies, but I really couldn't put my finger on why. I settled on..."It's it's own work, not based on a book, so this is the complete story. no scenes missing"

     I think that's important, but not the whole of things. In Harry Potter, we are given a character who is somewhat relatable (Harry) but not so much, and not for long. Harry goes from horrific abuse to fame and glory in the space of his eleventh birthday. He is the chosen one, the boy who lived, the child of prophecy. He is given his place in the wizard world and it's wonders quickly become routine.

     Fantastic Beasts gives us a window into a segregated world, wizard folk divided from no-maj. We are given a window in the form of Jacob Kowalski. Jacob is a totally relatable character-exposed by an accident involving a chance encounter and a switched suitcase to a hidden world denied him, full of danger, but full of wonder. He never for a moment loses that wonder. He proves brave, resourceful, and adaptable. His final moment of sacrifice, when he steps into the rain to lose his memory and protect the wizarding world from exposure is heart-breaking, and I weep with the loss each viewing.

     I never really wanted to be Harry Potter, but I'd be Jacob Kowalski, just like that.

Jacob Kowalski: [about to lose his memory] Hey. This is for the best. Yeah. I-I was... I was never even supposed to be here. I was never supposed to know... a-any of this. Everybody knows Newt only kept me around because... Hey, Newt, why did you keep me around?
Newt Scamander: Because I like you. Because you're my friend. And I'll never forget how you helped me, Jacob.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Movie Musings: There and Back Again

     I found myself immersed in the Hobbit this week when other things were not in ascendance. There are a lot of things to appreciate about those three films. There is a lot of humor in the subtle stuff and the overt stuff that the dwarves are involved in. The scene with the trolls, where Bilbo is stalling for time by spinning a yard about the dwarves being full of parasites, while the dwarves, full of pride and stubbornness are yelling back "We don't have parasites! YOU HAVE PARASITES!" ...It's Thorin's sigh and eyeroll that gets me. it's the look of a man who says I love these people, they are my family, but sometimes...

     The appearance in the third fil of Dain Ironfoot, played by Billy Connolly was especially nice- I love Billy Connolly in anything he does- see my post about Fido, here

his initial speech had me rolling:

Dain: Good morning. How are we all? I have a wee proposition, if you don't mind giving me a few moments of your time. Would you consider... JUST SODDING OFF! All ye, right now! 
Bard: Stand fast! 
Gandalf: Come now, Lord Dain. 
Dain: Gandalf the Grey. Tell this rabble to leave or I'll water the ground with their blood. 
Gandalf: There is no need for war between Dwarves, Men, and Elves. A legion of Orcs march on the mountain. Stand your army down. 
Dain: I will not stand down before any elf! Not least this faithless Woodland sprite! He wishes nothing but ill upon my people! If he chooses to stand between me and my kin, I'll split his pretty head open! See if he's still smirking then! 
Thranduil: He's clearly mad like his cousin. 
Dain: Ya hear that, lads? We're on! Let's give these bastards a good hammering! 

     Plus, add to that the varied and innovative elements of the dwarven war machine, and you have what should be a victory for the elves looking suddenly far less certain. The arrow catchers were incredible. And when the orcs arrive and the elves and dwarves join forces against the common foe...if you can ever say battle is beautiful, this battle is just that. 

     I know there are a lot of complaints from Tolkien purists that a lot got added that was not in the book...and they are right. But in my opinion, none of it is too out of place- all of the casting is superb, and not much I would change- Tolkien's books are a bit dry for my taste, and don't lend themselves to my casual reading. The movies are a bit more my speed

     I say this- if you go to watch the three movies that comprise the Hobbit and the three of the Lord of the Rings...invest the time to watch the wealth of cinematic gold that is the extended editions. I think you will be happy you did. Also...I challenge you to watch them in real time. that way once you watch the Hobbit trilogy, you only have to wait 60 years until you can pop in Fellowship...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Movie Musings: Who Watches the Watchmen

     Yesterday Sam and I took in Atomic Blonde, Starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy. It's an excellent spy-trhiller that kept me guessing until the end, and finding out at the end I guessed wrong. Not going to spoil anything, it would literally be like telling you Vader is Luke's Father, or revealing the disguise of Verbal Kint. You need to go into this one unspoiled, unsullied and innocent.

     Apart from the well crafted plot, there are two things that stand out. Maybe three.

  • The trailer makes the protagonist look super-dangerous, but also superhuman. She is definitely not. The fight sequences are bloody, exhausting, and brutal. they appear to take a physical toll not only on the characters, but the actors and audience as well. what you have is human beings, desperately trying to survive and win, and the extreme lengths they will go to. The main character, Lorraine does have an excellent spur-of-the-moment planning ability, and it's why she usually comes out on top. 
  • The soundtrack- memories from the Heyday of MTV, like Der Kommisar, 99 LuftBallons, often in highly ironic spots  in the movie put this one up there with Guardians of the Galaxy V1 and 2, as well as my next subject here, following this bludgeon of a transition. 

     Not my first watch, not my last. Amazing soundtrack, with evocative mood-setters by Simon and Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix, Bob, Dylan and many more. I think that this is probably the best movie you could make out of the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It didn't get Alan Moore's blessing, but what ever has? He refused to even see it. This film is Zach Snyder at his very best, his most faithful to the panels of the comic and the characters who live within them. 

     I once thought of Adrian Veidt as Lex Luthor as a superhero, and there is that element, but when I watched it this time I was looking for Justice League analogs, and I found them...and unfortunately, they were all Batman...

     Yep. Three characters, three different interpretations of Batman. 

     Nite Owl (Daniel Dreiberg): Also compared to Ted Kord(AKA the Blue Beetle) He reminded me of the idealistic 1960's Batman- the Adam West Batman- thrust into a violent and terrible world and dealing with it with his gadgets, and his belief in the right course.

    Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt): The cold, chessmaster Batman who is always moves ahead of everyone else, and who plans(for instance) for the day his friends will go bad by figuring out how to kill or incapacitate them. For him the end always justifies the means. 

    Rorschach(Walter Kovacs): is the grim, uncompromising Frank Miller-esque Batman, with a running Internal Monologue providing a soundtrack to his mental state, which can either be utterly insane or frighteningly sane depending on which angle you view him from. He is the Batman for whom Bruce Wayne is the mask, and the Dark Knight is the true face. I happen to think he is the most interesting and complex character in the movie. 

     As always, the film's ending leaves me wanting, yet dreading more, with Rorchach's war journal about to be published with all his observations and secrets. If you haven't seen this one, watch the director's cut. If you have, but it's been a while, give it another watch. 

     One final thing. Zach Snyder KNOWS what superheroes should look like when they fight. The greatest triumph of Batman V. Superman is someone finally captured Batman really fighting and why he is able to hold his own among the strongest that world has to offer.