By Tyler Hodg
WWE Story Time, a collection of tales from former and current WWE wrestlers set to cartoon depictions, has proved itself to be a decent source of humor and entertainment within its two installments. The issues I had with the debut episode, such as the poorly rendered animation, subdued subject matter, and short length, have not been rectified; however, the stories themselves make the second episode better than its predecessor. For this reason, it’s best to examine the anecdotes individually, and to continue using this format with reviews of future episodes.
By Tyler Hodg
Shocking: WWE wrestlers have gotten themselves into some crazy situations on the road, and are fantastic at telling their tales. This is why WWE Story Time, a brand-new show on the WWE Network, is a brilliant concept; it features legendary Superstars sharing personal anecdotes over a cartoon reenactment. But despite the appropriate marriage of spoken word and visualization, there are too many minor issues with the show to want to “mark” out about it.
By Tyler Hodg
Beloved video game series Ratchet and Clank has made its way to the big screen, and much to fans’ delight, embodies the unique attributes that turned the franchise into something of substance in the first place. While the CGI film is bumpy at times, it never feels like a forced project developed strictly for monetary reasons, and celebrates the classic story that many have grown up with.
By Tyler Hodg
Never has so much nostalgia been so perfectly packed into a five-song, seven-minute EP. Then again, how often does a compilation of re-recorded anime theme songs get released?
Any ‘90s child (or geek) will be delighted to hear the fresh air breathed into some of his or her favorite TV themes. Send thanks to Andrew Conroy and his punk-rock “supergroup,” consisting of Tom Thacker (Sum 41, Gob), Anthony Bleed (Die Mannequin), and Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger), for creating this amusing celebration of the golden age of anime shows. The themes for Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, Digimon, and Sailor Moon are some of the catchiest songs to ever grace TV intros, so it comes as no surprise that Rain City Rockers’ Anime EP is delightfully mirthful.
Fans of The Venture Bros. are a diverse bunch, but at least two things unite us: a love of all things Venture, and patience. Though the show’s been around for 12 years now, it has yet to begin its sixth season. But unlike a lot of other animated television, particularly those in its Adult Swim family, The Venture Bros. has always displayed a high degree of polish in everything from the writing, voice acting, animation, and score.
Another year of FanExpo Canada has come and gone. As usual, the four-day event was jam-packed with people and panels, photo ops and paraphernalia. With so many things happening and so many attendees, there are bound to be a multiplicity of experiences. Here are mine.
The doors opened at 2:00 p.m. and as usual, there was already a line-up. I don’t like to brag, but I enjoy being able to go through the Media entrance and not wait in the lines outside. Although, never fear, non-media folks: I still have to wait in a line to get onto the exhibition floor like the rest of you. (I do think it would be nice if media got to go in about an hour before the show opens, just to prepare for photos and video shoots.)
This year, due to the addition of the Sports segment and the expected increase in attendance, FanExpo took up multiple floors in both the South and North buildings. This meant a bit more walking across the bridge between buildings, but it also made for less cramped conditions (at least on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday; I didn’t attend Saturday).
The Cybertronic Spree
Photo © Paul Hillier Photography
FanExpo Canada 2013 runs from Thursday, August 22 through Sunday, August 25 this year. The annual four-day event is crammed with stuff to do and see across multiple fandoms, like anime, comics, gaming, horror, science fiction, and now, sports. It can be a little overwhelming to plan out your days.
My favorite part of FanExpo is always Rue Morgue’s Festival of Fear, but with so much to choose from, there’s always a bit of crossover. I’ve come up with my Top Ten Picks of this year’s FanExpo, which I think will satisfy all of your fandom-related urges.
New this week on Popshifter: Lisa calls The Conjuring one of the best movies of the year; Brad takes a look at Antiviral, My Amityville Horror, Swamp Thing, and The Incredible Melting Man, all out now on home video; Ricky wants to go to a strip club in Hell if they’re going to play Demon Queen’s Exorcise Tape; Jemiah is impressed with Into The White with Rupert Grint; Chelsea hopes The Hot Flashes does better on home video than it did in theaters and suggests Los Nuggetz for garage rock fans who are looking for something they haven’t yet heard; Melissa calls Intoxicated Man 1958 – 1962 a tantalizing glimpse into the early work of Serge Gainsbourg; and I am touched by the music documentary A Band Called Death and amused by the new video from Big Black Delta, “Money Rain Down.”
Interviewed by Less Lee Moore
When you’re a Venture Bros. fan, you see things through Venture-colored glasses and everything looks so much better. There is nothing not to love about this show: incredible characters, an overabundance of wit, numerous pop culture references, clever visuals, and a narrative arc that puts most live action TV shows to shame. In anticipation of the show’s Season 5 premiere on June 2, I chatted with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, the show’s creators, writers, voice actors, and just about everything else. We started discussing how they work and what drives them and eventually got into the important stuff: Kajagoogoo concerts, whether or not Trent Reznor is a poseur, and Gary Numan. When I got on the phone, Doc and Jackson were already there, chatting with each other.
Jackson: Yesterday there was fake harpsichord hold music.
Doc: I think it was fake guitar.
Jackson: I think it was trying to be fake harspsichord.
The Venture Bros., image courtesy of Jackson Publick
So much good television is on offer for 2013. Given that I didn’t write an arbitrary best-of list for 2012, I thought I’d start out this year with an arbitrary list of things I’m really looking forward to watching in the next year. In no particular order, here are five things to get excited about for 2013 on your screen, be it television or computer or tablet.
1. Hemlock Grove. While the trailer is a little cheesy, the cast and concept are sound. Masks, hidden things, and danger lurking underneath ordinary faces? I’m in. I’ve also been waiting to see Aaron Douglas again since his role on Battlestar Galactica ended. No one can play crazy waiting to burst through a placid exterior like Aaron Douglas. I keep waiting for the role that will let him rip someone’s head off. I hope this show gathers loads of momentum from Netflix watchers, but I’m worried that actual ratings (measured by clicks and views on Netflix) will look small when compared to the made-up Nielsen ratings we’re used to as a metric. Here’s hoping Hemlock Grove delivers the horror and fandom goods and thrives as a show independent of any network.