Ever thought about checking out what is in those monthly surprise boxes that have become more and more popular in the past few years? Some of our friends have been buying Loot Crate and Nerd Block for several months, and when our friends at Wizard World dropped us a note about their new Comic Con Box we decided it was time to check these out. We got in on the first three Wizard World Comic Con Boxes and three boxes from Loot Crate (we haven’t checked out any other companies’ boxes yet). So what did we learn?
Loot Crates run about $20 including shipping per month per box, and Comic Con Boxes roughly $37 including shipping. Each contain coupon opportunities, some with downloads, app opportunities, and similar items in addition to the main draw of the boxes–the shirts, comics, and collectibles. You can sign up for one or multiple months and can terminate membership so long as you do so before the next box ships. Customer service for these is very easy-going and helpful to explain if you think you messed up your ordering. Themes are pre-announced, so you can skip months with themes that don’t interest you.
The companies each insert random bonus items in boxes and have a deluxe box opportunity worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars that some lucky subscriber will get. And if you film your “unboxing” and upload it to YouTube you can be eligible for other prizes, and other contests are also available throughout the year. We didn’t get the big prize pack in our three months of boxes but did get a good bonus item in one box and in another we got a 1 of 2 variant that ended up being a rare insert. The bonus item came with a Comic Con Box, and it was an authenticated, personally autographed photo of actress Karen Gillan in her Nebula garb from Guardians of the Galaxy. Her autograph can sell for $70-$85 so this was the big win of all the boxes. A close second was a Greg Horn rare variant cover for the recent issue of Wolverine #1 also in a Comic Con Box. It also was selling online for around $70-$85.
Of the regular boxes we were most impressed with Loot Crate’s “Cyber” theme box. The exclusive Terminator Genisys half-scale skull was just dead-on for our love of sci-fi and borg tech. And that’s the thing about these boxes: The broader your interest in pop culture, the more value you’ll get for your dollar because each company varies the licenses/franchises in each box. You can easily add up the price of each item and tally more than the price of the box but ultimately it is your own taste that will be the judge of value. If you have a spouse or friends or kids to share with or friends to trade items with, or if you’re accustomed to selling on eBay, then it can be easy to make these boxes a “win”. Expect to see plenty of “trinkets” and the kind of swag you might find at San Diego Comic-Con plus a few higher valued items in each box.
So what exactly can you expect to find in the boxes?
Review by C.J. Bunce
Good movies often ride on the backs of their earlier incarnations. The Incredible Shrinking Man. The Greatest American Hero. Beetlejuice. Innerspace. Memoirs of the Invisible Man. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The classic original Tron. Sources you might not first think of like Wallace & Gromit’s The Wrong Trousers. Even Thoreau’s Walden (who hasn’t marveled at the coordinated work of ants, or fantasized about being very small?). Marvel’s new hit Ant-Man borrows bits and pieces from all of these and more. Yet it also adds something new to those, such as improved special effects, including make-up, CGI, and many action sequences. It mirrors our place in the big world. Throw in a hero battling a giant spider with a nail for a sword and I’m sold.
Ant-Man is a rollercoaster ride. All fun and not too serious like the steadfast captain America arguing with the cocky Tony Stark over the roll of the disinterested Bruce Banner that we all have now seen too many times on screen. Paul Rudd’s heroic Scott Lang has one motivation, yet he lacks the typical superhero ingeniousness to accomplish his goal. That element endears the character to everyone and is the gateway to an ensemble cast effort that pushes the story forward. You just know Lang is like Rudd, that same guy we cheer along with at Kansas City Royals games.
Equal to Rudd’s role is a surprisingly strong performance by Michael Douglas. Looking like the twin of his father Kirk these days, as Dr. Hank Pym he anchors the film with gravitas. His role in the story is substantial and should require sharing top billing as co-lead. His work here rivals all his prior best work in The Game, The Ghost and the Darkness, The American President, Falling Down, Wall Street, Romancing the Stone, The China Syndrome, and Coma. An Academy Award nod is warranted for both Douglas as well as the CGI team that provided the single best use of facial modification to replicate his younger self (done in part by firm Lola VFX who made skinny Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger). Tron: Legacy made a good attempt at what Ant-Man has perfected in its opening scene–we’re now ready for an entire film using this approach, an entire film starring a 40-year-old Wall Street era Douglas, for example, relying on the acting prowess of the veteran actor today.
Evangeline Lilly’s role as Pym’s daughter is secondary, yet her role supports enough of the backstory that it makes us anxious for Ant-Man 2, previewed in two of the film’s end-credit codas. Michael Peña portrays what could be an over-used stock Latino criminal by bringing some humanity and humor to the role. Even the villain, played by Law & Order: LA’s Corey Stoll, is interesting although more loathsome than needed for the part.
The Renaissance of movie and TV tie-in action figures arrived in 2013 with Funko’s classic Kenner-style ReAction figure line. Other companies focus on single licensed figures and getting the likenesses spot-on, but Funko’s diversification of lines meant everyone could find something that fit their personal niche at an affordable price point. A true throwback series, one of the overlooked features of the line is the incredible variety of no-names-taken, classic kick-ass heroines represented.
In fact you can find here the top of the world’s best, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners, genre heroines. Buy them for yourself, for your friends, or get your favorite as a totem to inspire you each day from your desktop. And where the early sculpts in Funko’s line admittedly looked nothing like the actresses that made the roles famous, the new lines have only improved. And nobody has better packaging designs than the ReAction line.
Who would you add to the Funko roster of heroines? Compare your list to our more than 85 suggestions for future kick-ass women action figures below.
First, check out this Baker’s Dozen of our favorites in the current Funko pantheon:
I was 11 in the Summer of ’82. And yet I remember that summer vividly. Rare has there been a year since that I saw so many awesome movies in the theater. Many have commented on what was the best year in movies over the years, with the classic answer from critics usually being 1939 because of stellar films like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Princess, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Drums Along the Mohawk.
So what do you think is the best year of movies? If you whittle it down to the best summer of movies, I’ve got a real contender here.
I remember standing in line at a new theater on my side of town, with my mom and sister, getting a sticker advertising a new brown and orange candy somehow tied to one of the movies. I saw an unexpectedly powerful sci-fi franchise entry with my brother at the S.E. 14th Street Drive-In Theater (pictured above before they tore it down a decade later) on a really hot day one Friday night. And he and his RadioShack computer tinkering friends took me to see a new Disney film that had its setting inside a computer at a Saturday matinée. The preview for one of the movies gave me nightmares. Two of the movies I wouldn’t truly appreciate for another 20 years. It all happened during the summer 33 years ago.
Check out this summer movie sneak preview from the YouTube archives and recall where you were during the Summer of ’82:
Last night Production Weekly announced the new title for the third Tron movie has been chosen: Tron: Ascension. Tron: Ascension will begin filming in Vancouver this October. Oh, yeah!
Video game movies are back. What conjures up more retro fun than 1980s arcade games? Who didn’t have at least a few of these on their Atari 2600? Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Galaga, Centipede… This summer aliens have sent these animated pixilated weapons to cause Earth’s destruction in Pixels, a new 3D movie from Sony Pictures and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. Think of the comedy and fantasy elements of Ghostbusters mashed up with the annihilation of the world’s landmarks, Independence Day style. All the makings of a summer comedy blockbuster.
It’s like the reverse of Tron–instead of shrinking down to the pixel size of arcade game character Tron and playing in the Grid, the arcade video game stars are now becoming larger than life, entering our world.
It stars Adam Sandler (when was the last time Adam Sandler had a hit anyway? 50 First Dates?). He joins Kevin James (King of Queens), Michelle Monaghan (Source Code, The Bourne Supremacy), and Peter Dinklage (Elf, The Station Agent, Game of Thrones) as they defend the world against… video games from space.
It’ll all make sense when you watch the first trailer for Pixels, after the break:
The defining film of the 1980s attempt to reignite the 3D medium, the 1982 sequel Friday the 13th, Part 3, represents both the best and the worst in the 3D genre. It’s a film completely unapologetic about its three-ring circus of 3D gimmicks, yet in providing a hundred ways to throw something at the audience it stands by itself for trying things no other movie has tried. Want to see an eyeball pop out of someone’s head and come right at you? This is your movie. If that doesn’t sound all that appealing, never fear, this is 1980s horror, so there is more to laugh at than truly be grossed out.
But let’s talk about the current options first. You can watch Friday the 13th, Part 3 a few different ways. As part of its October Halloween schedule (previewed at borg.com here) AMC is featuring a few showings of the Friday the 13th movie series October 20-22, 2014, including showings of Part 3. You can also pick up a DVD Deluxe Edition version here or updated Blu-ray with features here from Amazon.com. It’s not available on streaming but is a rental option from Netflix. Certain versions, like the Deluxe Edition, come with a blue-red 3D glasses and the standard 2D version. For this review we chose the standard version with the 3D TV upconvert option with Extreme 3D.
For some perspective, the film came out in the year of classic hits like E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Tron, Poltergeist, The Dark Crystal, Blade Runner, The Thing, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Friday the 13th, Part 3 begins with a complete recap of the climax of the prior sequel. The disfigured Jason Voorhees, who we actually get to see in this film, returns to Crystal Lake, to torment young camp counselor Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell), one of his targets who slipped away years ago.
Hey, how did Sark end up in Guardians of the Galaxy?
Spoiler Alert on Maximum–After the Break only.
The latest trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, released in the UK, with a pared down version airing on television in the U.S., reveals a ton of great scenes from the August release. So much so that readers who hate to see too much in a trailer (you know who you are) will want to skip this one. But those of you that just can’t wait for every new leaked image and official bit of info about this new flick, check out this latest and greatest of trailers after the break. And no, that doesn’t look exactly like David Warner’s Sark in the original Tron, but we got a similar vibe here. It’s actually Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Wonderfalls) as Ronan the Accuser.
Any excuse is a good excuse to post a photo of David Warner as the awesome villain Sark in the original Tron.
A big plus for those die-hard fans of superhero films that think the earlier trailers showed the team as too comical for their tastes may like this one better. Full of outer space action and interaction of the crew in their ship, this is shaping up to look like both a real superhero film and a real sci-fi film.
But first, in the Non-Spoiler variety, first up after the break is a nice quality, fan-made, retro-trailer on YouTube for the original Star Wars trilogy, using the style of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer already released (and posted at borg.com earlier here), edited like the trailer with music from the trailer, too. Thanks to Dan Madsen for finding this YouTube video.
So here’s the fan-made trailer for Star Wars, Guardians style:
It’s time to pull your vintage Kenner Star Wars and Indiana Jones figures and spaceships out of the closet. Remember wanting to pit your vintage Boba Fett action figure against the alien from the movie Alien, but there was no Alien figure out there of the correct scale? Did you ever want to set Han Solo and Firefly’s Mal on a mission to the Outer Rim in the Millennium Falcon? Have you ever considered teaming up Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Bill and Ted to take on Ahnold’s Terminator? Or stage the ultimate face-off between Snake Plissken and the alien from Predator? Funko toy company is going to make your dreams come true.
With the December 2013 release of a retro 3 ¾-inch line of action figures with 5 points of articulation from the movie Alien, Funko is beginning a series of more than a dozen licensed properties that will get the vintage Kenner-style, retro action figure treatment under a vintage Kenner font “ReAction” brand. Based on drawings and prototypes of a halted 1979 line of Alien movie action figures intended to add to the Star Wars action figure toy market, Funko is releasing its first line of five Alien action figures to whet collectors’ appetites.
Art designers or aspiring art design students will want to pick up Mark Salisbury’s new look at creating sets, costumes and props for a world of the future in Elysium: The Art of the Film. Incorporating commentary from the up-and-coming science fiction director of the geo-political sci-fi thriller District 9, Neill Blomkamp, this new large format hardcover delves into the creative process from early ponderings to the imagery that made it to the final film cut.
Like listening to the first demo tapes of your favorite band or scanning the rough sketches of your favorite artist, taking a peek at the development of Hollywood magic through various aspects of a film can teach you a lot about a designer. Watching the development of a cyborg exo-skeletal costume from inception to final crafted piece challenges the reader to agree or disagree with what is cut and what isn’t. What physical elements, like utilitarian tubes and pipes, plastics or metals, make us think of the visual “future”?
How can you get any cooler than Jeff Bridges’ hacker/video game mogul character of Flynn in Tron? As The Dude in The Big Lebowski? Two new trailers will no doubt elevate even diehard Jeff Bridges fans’ views of this singularly awesome genre actor.
We already previewed the first trailer for next week’s release R.I.P.D. here at borg.com. R.I.P.D. adapts the Dark Horse Comics paranormal cops series and stars Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker and Bridges as Roy Pulsipher, a gun-toting badass that makes Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn from the True Grit remake look like a wimp. This new trailer for R.I.P.D. relies heavily in its attraction on the coolness that is Mr. Bridges. Add to it that mammoth revolver and this movie looks like a guaranteed summer blast.
Just check out Bridges in this cool new trailer for R.I.P.D.: