The Toy Fair’s Not Back In Town

Action figures are good, but they can be better! All you have to do is become a customizer! Toys are like drugs except you need to find a place to keep them after the high wears off.

NY Toy Fair has been cancelled for 2021. In lieu of the big press show, many companies are doing smaller virtual conventions through the year. The most hyped was last week’s Hasbro Pulse Fest Fan Fest. Rather than spacing things out, Mattel, Diamond Select, & NECA decided to post similar events around the same time with less fanfare. They were all underwhelming to various degrees. I would’ve made more impulse pre-orders had Hasbro not suddenly jacked up the price of all their 6″ lines by $3. It doesn’t sound that steep on an individual basis, but it adds up when they encourage you to buy entire series of Marvel Legends to complete BAFs. With customers’ budgets already stretched thin by the terrible 2020, this feels like a precarious time to raise prices on non-essentials.

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“Ach, I’m not some nouveau riche piker! I employ people to burn my money for me!”

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Godzilla Vs. Kong: Dawn Of Kaiju Combat!

 There are only two kinds of people in the world: Are you Team Lizerd or Team Monke? A clash of Titans reunited The Wages Of Cinema for an unusually animated collaboreview! Godzilla was declared King Of The Monsters in the last movie. King Kong is just Kong in the Monsterverse so he’s gotta do a regicide to earn his title.

This movie is exactly what it says on the tin, so that should decide for you if it’s your bag. It’s the sort of movie where there both is & isn’t that much to write about. None of this rumble takes place in the jungle, but let’s burrow straight into the Pellucidar Skartaris Hollow Earth of Godzilla Vs. Kong SPOILERS!

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Legends Of Tomorrow In The Time Of Coronavirus

Well that escalated quickly! Isn’t this how The Last Last Man On Earth began? The one with Kristen Schaal not Vincent Price, although a vampire virus would be much cooler. (Everybody go read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson! Novel coronavirus is spread through literacy.) I am sadly very highly trained in social distancing. Panic buying groceries was less terrible than expected, but I forgot to buy Worcestershire sauce even though it was on my list!

In times of crisis, people especially need escapism. I’m usually bad at scheduling blog topics, but I get a jump on writing about the year’s blockbusters. Never mind! They’re all getting postponed! Delaying The New Mutants is the key part of a spell to cancel The Apocalypse. When the global quarantine is lifted, cinemas are going to be backed up with leftovers. At least there’s plenty of television left to keep us from going stir crazy. Oh wait, production on all the network series shut down before they could get their season finales in the bag! Well Black Lightning featuring Grunkle Gravedigger & (Green) Arrow wrapped up, but most will leave viewers hanging. If ABC could air the completed  final season of Agents of SHIELD early, that’d be lovely. All the media that’s been delayed should just be chucked in a bonfire. So go binge Lodge 49 on Hulu!

Unlike venues you enjoy visiting, Matt The Catania intends to stay open during this crisis. Sorry! Weekly coverage will probably revert to esoteric mishmashes with headlines that aren’t SEO friendly. Maybe I’ll finally get back to writing my second novel? (I wrote a key scene set in the basement of a library without checking if the real location has one. The uncertainty was contributing to my writer’s block. Then I found it does. Phew!) With luck, we’ll all be alive when this epidemic fizzles out as its curve flattens.

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Stranger Things Is A Misnomer In Season Three

Netflix released Stranger Things season three on July 4, which coincides with this year’s narrative. It also competed against the Mysterio movie (Now that it & Aquaman are rolling in dough from embracing outlandish comic book costumes, can the era of grounded superhero aesthetics finally be dead?), much like how it pitted She-Ra against Avengers: Endgame. Unlike CAOS part two & She-Ra season three, this is definitely a discrete season unto itself. Holiday socializing pushed back my viewing schedule, so brace yourself for another cold take. I’d warn you about SPOILERS, but Netflix admitted that everyone already saw it.

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Cloak & Dagger Plus Darkwing Duck Get Happy!

So a lot of television happened. Here’s some assorted season two SPOILERS for Cloak & Dagger, DuckTales, & Happy! (I had to shuffle the order around to ensure the punctuated title is last.) Those are all things you should watch. Then I talk more about Return of the King of the Monsters because SKREE-ONK!!!!

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All Hail Godzilla: King Of The Monsters!

Last week I was fortunate to attend an advance screening of Godzilla: King of the Monsters in IMAX! I haven’t seen the 2014 American Godzilla, but I have seen Kong: Skull Island. (Let’s consider Deep Rising as sequel to that!) I’ve also seen an assortment of Toho’s Godzilla oeuvre including Shin Gojira, but those are not required viewing to understand this installment. Here’s the collaboreview for Godzilla 2: Titan Boogaloo with with Jack Gattanella & guest star Alex Valderana for The Wages of Cinema! (Sorry, Andrew & Korey aficionados!)

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No News November!

At this point, my core purpose for blogging is so I have ready typed anecdotes on nerdy esoterica prepped to go in the off chance they’re tangentially relevant to online discourse. (Apparently I’ve done over 200 of these, & I still don’t know what I’m doing?) Nothing exciting happens in November, so I guess this entry will be filled up with long delayed ramblings. (Scheduling Giving Tuesday after Cyberman Monday, the international holiday of Mondas, was a bad idea.) Some of them are Marvelous. And I thought no installment this month would be less appealing than a repainted Ronan! Continue reading

SDCC Struck Again!

San Diego Comic Con 2018 just happened. (As expected, nobody cared about “Fiction & Felines!” while it was occurring.) I have opinions. Armchair coverage & the possible spoilers associated therewith happen below.

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The biggest news out of this year’s SDCC is … Cutthroat Island is finally getting toys!  Thanks to Blitzway, you can own a Hot Toys-style replica from the film that sunk pirate movies until until Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl surprised everyone! Congratulations, Geena Davis!

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Second Anniversary On Skull Island!

 Apparently Matt The Catania recently had another birthday. So I did what anybody who forgets an important milestone does & fled to Skull Island with The Wages of Cinema! Andrew was back this week so my presence was superfluous! Listen to us geek out over kaiju films after the halfway mark!

This is a movie that really surprised me. Since the dolorous adventure of King Kong has been told by Hollywood thrice (& once in a book illustrated by Anthony Browne), there’s no reason for another remake. Even if WB made this movie just to segue into King Kong v. Godzilla: Dawn of Destroy All Monsters, Kong doesn’t have that much context that he needs a whole introductory movie. Despite my initial thoughts, I left Kong: Skull Island hungry for more ape awesomeness! This should appease anyone upset by the budgetary restrictions of the CW’s jaunt to Gorilla City. I skipped their attempt at Gojira, but now sign me for the Legendary Monsterverse! I guess we should call it the Kaijuverse or MONARCHverse to distinguish this from the resurrection of the Universal Monsterverse.

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Bureaucracy Kicks Godzilla In Shin

Shin Gojira a.k.a. Shin Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence is the first Godzilla film I’ve actually seen in a cinema. It wasn’t what I expected from a kaiju movie, but it turned out to be a welcome palate cleanser. Thankfully only a few brief scenes are found footage, which is somehow a revolutionary notion to Hollywood.

I was wary about the film since the title monster is uncharacteristically grotesque. Much like how the MCU’s Abomination looks less like the comic character than a roided out zombie (or DC’s Doomsday), J-Horror Gojira is made of melty broccoli. (Young Justice’s Kobra-Venom infused Mammoth is another apt visual comparison.) It will randomly drown you in its own blood before blasting you with the atomic rave rays randomly shooting out of its dorsal spines. I actually preferred its debut form as gawky amphibian that instinctively smashes its googly-eyed face through buildings like my cat opening doors with her mind. Instead of being a separate appetizer kaiju, this “evolves” itself into a slightly more traditional yet icky Godzilla. (Actually it acclimates or mutates, as evolution applies to species not individuals.) So this Gojira could probably be defeated by a Pokeball.

There’s some attempt at biological realism, mostly via a hoopy frood who really knows where is pink towel is, that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There’s a giant origami to explain how Gojira somehow metabolizes energy from the atmosphere, making its entire mouth superfluous. Luckily the largest Gojira thus far (the film acknowledges that its feet shouldn’t be able to support it, then ignores this structural improbability) goes into torpor long enough for the plucky misfit GULF committee to devise a scientific strategy to stop it. Despite being made by the man that brought you Neon Genesis Evangelion, the solution doesn’t even involve giant mech suits piloted by neurotic teens!

This is both the least & most complicated Godzilla movie I’ve seen. It’s a hard reboot where the entire plot is vanquishing Godzilla & there’s no other kaiju. What makes it complex is the level of bureaucracy involved in accomplishing this. (What ever happened to the good old days of green ape aliens trying to conquer the world by framing Gojira with a robot duplicate that can only be defeated by partnering with an ancient magical monster?) A Gojira film suffused with red tape is something I never realized I needed until I saw it. Somehow it escalates from dull obligation to Gilliamesque satire to bureaucracy inspiration porn. In addition to subtitled dialogue, every scene contains onscreen captions for character names, their official ranks, & the scene location down to the room & floor. It’s the greatest love letter to unnecessary OCD labeling since Batman ’66. This has walk & talk’s too! GO TEAM BUREAUCRACY!

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