Ultraman Review Part 6: Episodes 14 & 15

Ultra Man - American Version OpeningAfter a couple months off it’s time to get Ultra once again! As always here are links to the previous installments if you need a refresher: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

This month’s pair of titanic tales gives us sea monster shenanigans, the subversive power of kids’ imaginations, Ultraman’s new face, the show’s most cheekily meta conversation yet, ULTRAMAN SPEAKS, and more! This show keeps getting radder and radder, so chow on a fistful of pearls, finish your chalk drawings, and click on through to get UIltra as hell, buddy.

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I bet The Amazing Colossal Man has Amazing Colossal Glands

The_Amazing_Colossal_ManJapanese films (and TV shows!) dominate this genre that I love so goddamn much, but it started here in the good ol’ US of A with King Kong, and filmmakers around the world have chipped in with their own unique contributions (like Norway’s excellent Troll Hunter!). But before Godzilla’s classic sequels and cross-over films rightfully solidified him as King of the Monsters, Hollyweird was cranking out all kinds of mega-monster movies! 1957’s The Amazing Colossal Man is one of ’em!

It doesn’t have Eiji Tsuburaya‘s sprawling, meticulously crafted monster suits or miniatures, nor does it have Ray Harryhausen‘s astonishingly lifelike stop-motion animation.  So what’s it got?  Bert I. Gordon’s low budget ingenuity and a whole lotta elbow grease! Mr. B.I.G. (his actual nickname) never birthed the next Kong, Godzilla, Gamera, or even Them! but his oeuvre still left a mark on the 50’s monster moviescape. Nobody really talks that much about The Amazing Colossal Man, but it undoubtedly paved the way for the much more famous/beloved Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, was spoofed by Honey I Blew up the Kid, and was lovingly homaged (along with other atomic horror classics like The Fly) in the forgettable Monsters vs. Aliens. 

All that, plus no director has been MST3k’d as much as he has!  So uh… go him? AND it was his birthday last week!  Dude’s still alive!  Slap on your adjustable sarong and we’ll talk about his movie!

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Get out of your Gamera the Cave, it’s time for Gamera the Brave!

gamera-the-brave1The on-going experiment of reviewing the entire original Ultraman series has been an awesome ride, but it also has the weird side effect of pushing everything else back.  I didn’t even review a Godzilla movie until we were halfway through the year! When Godzilla gets pushed back, of course Gamera also gets pushed back.

But no more!  This month I’m checkin’ in with everybody’s favorite turtle titan by reviewing 2006’s overlooked Gamera the Brave.  It’s an incredibly heartfelt little monster movie that sidesteps the continuity of Shusuke Kaneko’s prior, terrific Gamera trilogy (I’ve reviewed parts 1 and 2!)… while still kind of paying homage to it!  It’s a fresh take on the character… that also feels like a spiritual successor to old school Gamera too!

We’ll dig into all that, plus GMK Godzilla’s secret presence in the film, Optimus Prime’s audio-only sorta-cameo, how it inadvertently spawned some obnoxious clickbait, and a whole bunch of other shit!  I hope you’re feeling (the) Brave friend, because it’s gonna be A BANG UP WORK (62)!

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Haruo Nakajima, 1929-2017

20663700_674725719385595_4713927030550513171_n.pngHaruo Nakajima, the man inside the original Godzilla (and many other classic monsters like Mothra, RodanKing Kong, and various Ultraman baddies) passed away on Monday August 7th, 2017. He was one of the best and bravest performers in film history, bringing to life one of the most iconic and beloved characters of the last century.

Nakajima was a founding figure in the genre, having played Godzilla for the first twelve consecutive films.  Nakajima imbued rubber suit monsters with an impossible amount of emotion, personality, and humanity.  He didn’t just endure the hellish conditions inside the kaiju suits (more often than not at risk of drowning, asphyxiation, and/or burns from pyrotechnics), he thrived, using his expertise to coach his fellow suit actors and choreograph the creature brawls that have thrilled audiences all over the world.  He was The Man of a Thousand Monsters, and he’s directly responsible for some of the coolest shit to ever happen in cinema.

Fans from all over the world have stepped up and shared their favorite Nakajima stories, pictures, and tributes online, so I’ve collected some personal favorites here. Click through to check them out!

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Ultraman Review Part 5: Episodes 11-13

tumblr_oiki9vLrt81vki3xpo8_500Let’s get Ultra, fools! I have no concept of how long it’s gonna take, but I’m determined to review every last episode of this show and after a couple months off I’m jazzed to dive back in.

If you haven’t checked out the previous installments or want a refresher, hit up Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4!

This month we get some of the (intentionally) funniest monster action I’ve ever seen, our creepiest antagonist since Baltan, and a fresh, funky formula shake-up! Pour yourself a nice tall glass of oil because shit’s gettin’ ULTRA in here!

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Kaijuly Video Game Meltdown!

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Happy Kaijuly everybody!  If you’re wondering what the fuck Kaijuly is, wonder no longer! (or do, it’s a free country)

Kaijuly is one of those weird internet holidays like May the Fourth or Zelda Month, except you know, about kaiju instead of space aliens or forest-dwelling adventurers.

Obviously The Legend of Zelda (above left) is about eerie interplanetary beings, and Star Wars (above right) revolves around cute woodland dwellers.

From what I can tell, Kaijuly got its start over on Tumblr as an art challenge: create and share an original kaiju (or fan-art of an existing one) for every day in July! It’s been broadening every year since, including month-long discussion challenges (I’m doing one! Just posted for days 1-3!), and El Rey Network (the coolest channel almost no one gets) has run a “Kaijuly Roarth” Godzilla marathon for the last couple years!

G-Fest is in July too!  So yeah!  I’m ready to call Kaijuly “A Whole Thing”.  So much so that my Twitch channel, Super Apartment Friends, is going to celebrate by playing kaiju-themed video games all month!

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Even if it kills me! Which it might!

Keep reading for the full (insane) list of games that are under consideration!

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M-11 the Movie! Also I guess Godzilla and King Ghidorah are in it too

61LgFKw0+ML._SY300_So here we are, already halfway through 2017, and somehow I’ve managed to not review a single Godzilla film.  What the fuck?!  Godzilla’s my mutated, radioactive bread and butter! How did this happen?

OH YEAH

Let’s correct that right now! Between Ultraman and Mothra I’ve been living and breathing 60s golden age kaiju action, so this month I’m reviewing 1991’s Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.  Gimmick CGI! Time travel! Evil white people (which stirred up enough controversy to temporarily kill the series Stateside!)! This was almost a Mothra movie (co-starring fan-favorite “lost” monster Bagan!), a King Kong movie, and a Mechanikong movie! Back to the Future II directly inspired this flick (writer/director Kazuki Omori even said so!)! Ghidorah like you’ve never seen him before (or since!)!

And that’s still just a sample of the delightful (if ultimately pretty uneven) madness in this very 90s entry in the Godzilla series.  We’ll talk about all that, plus the most direct (and pulpy!) Godzilla origin ever filmed, and maybe most importantly: M-11’s off-brand Terminator shenanigans.  Fire up the Delorean, shit’s about to go bonkers.

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Happy Mothra’s Day!

mothra-410-x-611How the fart have I not reviewed the original 1961 Mothra yet? I’m correcting the fuck out of that oversight in honor of “Mothra’s” Day last Sunday.  Mothra is easily Toho’s biggest mon-star other than Godzilla himself, and that’s got a ton to do with how awesome and original this movie is.

This isn’t just another big bug movie, it’s a groundbreaking genre film that brought wild fantasy and colorful adventure to the kaiju formula and put the monster’s motivation and personality front and center.

It’s alsobeautifully shot, well acted, tightly plotted, fun, funny piece of classic kaiju fiction with some eye-popping action setpieces and visuals.  I’ll talk about all that, plus the scrapped (heh) plane crash ending (and the suicide scare it caused!), the serialized novel the movie is based on (sort of???), the fact that it’s a stealth King Kong remix, and MOOOOORRRRE!!!

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Ultraman Review Part 4 of ∞ Episodes 8-10

ultraman-logoMy in-depth review of the entire Ultraman series continues this month with some Ultra-tasty Ultra-selections! (If you haven’t already, check out Parts 1, 2, and 3!)

With this batch of episodes we get the introduction of three iconic Ultra monsters, a poignant visit from a VERY familiar face, and  Ultraman’s goriest kaiju kills yet! …Though they’re pretty tame compared to what will come later in the franchise! (big thanks to desro’saur 3300 for finding the clip!)

Grab your beta capsule, a pink ballon and hop into your monster-face shaped car because shit’s about to get ULTRA!

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Don’t be a schlong, check out Kong!

kong-skull-island-poster-2After spending the last few months digging into the kaiju TV classic Ultraman, it’s time to shake things up again!  And look, there just happens to be a brand new King Kong movie out this month!  That by itself is more than enough to get me all riled up, but Kong: Skull Island is also the integral next step in Legendary’s shared movie “MonsterVerse“! This movie paves the way for 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and… (deep breaths, Matt, stay cool, Matt) my most anticipated film of all time, 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, what’s the scoop on this movie? Directed by some indie dramedy guy? Starring Loki, Jules Winnfield, Dr. Steve Brule, and Walter Sobchak? No T-Rex? No Empire State Building? Vietnam War? Is it even a Kong movie at this point? Shit yeah it is, read on to find out how!

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