Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Independence Day: Resurgence

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the movies I own because I have no social life whatsoever.  Today, we go after my biggest letdown of last year, Independence Day: Resurgence.  I originally watched it and wrote this on November 13, 2016.




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Star Trek Beyond

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the movies I own.  The #1 blog on the Internet, according to my cousin whom I just saw at the last family reunion and admitted to reading it.  So...hi, Shane!  Anyway, today it's the better-than-expected Star Trek Beyond.  This is in my notes at November 13, 2016.




Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Confering With Yoda

Sunday night, I got a text from one of my dearest friends.  He's now an animator.  He says, "Hey, remember that little side project you put together when you were in broadcast school?  I think I'd like to animate it.  Do you still have the audio?"

Well, I couldn't find the audio, but I did find this.  I remember scrapping the side project and turning this in for that assignment.

This was for production class.  The assignment was, as I recall, "Go nuts and do whatever you want.  You just need to hit these three criteria to show that you've picked up this particular set of skills."  And we were off.

Now, we had a guest speaker recently who referred to our production instructor as "the Yoda of production," so we were giving him a hard time about that.  This was also around the same time that the original trilogy had finally hit DVD for the first time, and so I was watching it quite a bit.

And then it hit me:  I would me and some Yoda clips together and set it up like I was asking my instructor for help with the project.

We didn't have the tech to rip audio from DVDs, so I grabbed the audio the old-fashioned way.  I checked out a portable audio recorder from our equipment stores, took it home for the weekend, ran the audio outputs from my DVD player into the portable audio recorder and grabbed the clips that way.  I grabbed the Yoda clips I wanted to use.  I also grabbed the ambient sound from several establishing shots.  I figured it would be easier to use that to fill in the gaps, rather than try to build my own Dagobah soundscape.

For the first half -- where I try to record something and it comes out all messed up -- I just took my voice over and threw about a dozen different effects on it to get it as messed up as possible.  The creepy "seven days" was voiced by one of my classmates who I grabbed in the hallway.

Piece it all together in CoolEdit (the forerunner to Adobe Audition) and voila!  Assignment done!




The class got a charge out of it.  The instructor loved it.  At the end of class, he pulls me aside and says, "Do you mind if I play that for future classes?  Because you do illustrate some common problems, and I think it would be useful."  I said, "Sure, why not?"

I reached out to that instructor about two or three years ago for a little help, and he said, "Oh, by the way, I still play that Yoda thing for the class."  So if you came up through NAIT's RTA program in the last 10-12 years and you heard that...yeah, that was me. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Ghostbusters (2016)

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about I movie I own.  Today, we get to the surprisingly controversial Ghostbusters reboot.  This is in my notes at October 30, 2016.




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Rockin' and rollin' again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I blog about one of the movies I've recently re-watched in a desperate attempt to give my life purpose.  Today, we roll out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the ShadowsThis is in my notes at October 10, 2016.





Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin -- X-Men: Apocalypse

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my blog about movies I own.  Today, we tackle the latest chapter in the X-Men franchise, X-Men Apocalypse.  This originally appeared in my notes at October 6, 2016.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Catch-Up Info Dump

Well, I've been mostly separated from my computer as I've been off on vacation over the past week.  Well, not completely separated...I maxed out my data plan on Friday night, thus not allowing me to share all the cool stuff that was popping up online over the weekend.  So rather than flood my Twitter feed with a bunch of day-old news, I figured I'd just make a big list of everything here at the blog!

Of course, most of the news was coming out of D23, the official Disney convention that Disney puts on, as they went over their upcoming slates.  Things kicked off on Friday night with the most anticipated trailer of the evening that wasn't Star Wars or Marvel...the first trailer for A Wrinkle in Time.




Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay brings the legendary YA sci-fi novel to the big screen, with an all-star cast.  Young Meg Murray's father unlocks the secrets of the tesseract (not the Marvel McGuffin) to traverse time and space, but gets captured by something evil along the way.  Now, Meg must go on a quest to save her father, and is guided along the way by three celestial beings:  Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kailing).

I'm not too familiar with the book...all I really know was a friend in college cited it as one of her favourites growing up, and the last time they attempted an adaptation was a really crappy TV movie in 2003.  But this trailer has me intrigued.  It comes out March 9, so lots of time to check out the book at my local library.

Also on the live-action side that caught my eye was Disney has officially begun production on their live-action remake of Dumbo, from director Tim Burton.  How are they bringing it to live action?  More humans, of course!  Humans barely figured into the original, but now we've got Colin Farrell as Dumbo's trainer, Danny DeVito as the circus owner, and Michael Keaton and Eva Green as the ones who teach Dumbo how to fly.

I was about to give this a pass until I saw Keaton in the cast.  Tim Burton and Michael Keaton, together again since Batman Returns in 1992.  If they bring the wacky like they did in Beetlejuice, this just might be worth a watch.  Disney's aiming this one for a Spring 2019 release.

Over on the animated side, not much new.  Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and Frozen 2 are all on track.  One of the show-stoppers was the first footage from Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.  The plot:  when Sugar Crush, Vanellope's game, starts crashing, threatening Vanellope and all the denizens of Sugar Crush, it's up to Ralph and Vanellope to venture onto the Internet to get the parts to fix the game (i.e. download a patch).

The sequence shown was a very meta one, where Ralph and Vanellope stumble upon the Disney website and we get cameos by every Disney princess ever.  And yes, every Disney princess has their original voice actress, because that's how Disney rolls.  Wreck-It Ralph 2 comes November 2018.

Meanwhile, over at my beloved Pixar, they gave updates on Coco (this November), Incredibles 2 (next summer) and Toy Story 4 (Summer 2019).  And then...what comes next.

What comes next is a very personal story from Monsters University director Dan Scanlon.  Scanlon opened his presentation by explaining that his father died when he was very young, and as such, he never knew his father.  He only knows his father's voice thanks to a cassette tape of a family gathering that a relative gave him, in which his father utters just two words:  "Hi" and "Bye."  From that inspiration, Scanlon came up with this.

Set in a world populated with magical creatures -- fairies, elves, trolls, "anything painted on the side of a van in the 1970s" according to Scanlon -- these creatures actually abandoned magic long ago and embraced technology.  Two elf children who lost their father when they were very young decide to gather up what magic remains in the world to see if they can use it to spend one last day with their father.  Sounds like it could be an emotional gut punch.  No release date as of yet.

Meanwhile, over on the Star Wars side, we got a new behind-the-scenes glimpse for The Last Jedi.



Nothing really to add...still looking awesome. Still can't wait.  The other big news was the Star Wars Land now under construction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World has an official name:  Star Wars:  Galaxy's Edge.

And on the Marvel side, they showed the first footage from Avengers: Infinity War, and apparently, it's amaze-balls.  Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to literally pull down the heavens upon our heroes.  Nothing official has shown up online yet....just wait until after this weekend and the San Diego Comic Con.

And that's everything that caught my eye from D23.


Over in non-Disney news, we have the Thirteenth Doctor on Doctor Who!




Jodie Whittaker is playing #13, and we have our first female Doctor.

I won't get into all the hate going on right now about how women can't be Doctors.  Let's be honest, they've been toying with doing this since the show's heyday in the 1980s, and with the phenomenal response to Missy (the Doctor's arch-enemy the Master, regenerated into a woman, in case you haven't been watching lately), you knew this was happening.

If anything, the comments I'm reading online are saying that a lot of people wandered away from the show during the Peter Capaldi era, and that this is the creative shot-in-the-arm to bring them back to the franchise.

And don't forget, we're getting a whole new creative team behind the scenes when #13 takes the stage next year.  I think there are very interesting times ahead, and it's going to be good.

We'll get our first look at #13 in action in the Christmas special, airing on Christmas!


So where was I the past week that I've got to play catch-up like this?  I was on vacation! 

I started things off by watching Spider-Man Homecoming.  Loved it!  The core theme was definitely people in suits, and whether it's the suit that makes the hero or not.  We've got Iron Man, who's Spider-Man's idol, and he's constantly trying to impress.  I loved that they turned the Vulture into a kind of "dark Tony Stark," and rather than just a pair of wings, his costume is his own Iron Man-esque suit that he's made from scavenged parts...a very literal reworking of his name and gimmick.  And in the centre of it all is Peter Parker, with a hi-tech Spider-Man suit that he's been given, trying to find his place as a hero. 

Tom Holland is great.  He brings the youthful exuberance that a high school aged Spider-Man needs.  And it's just nice to see Spider-Man in the Marvel universe where he belongs.

I'll write an official review on the main site in the days ahead.  But...3.5 Nibs.

And then I was off to the family reunion, down south, just outside of Red Deer.  It was a lot of fun, and good seeing so many family members again. 

The drive home was nice.  Normally, to get from the Red Deer area to Westlock, I just head straight north on Highway 2, using the Anthony Henday Drive to circle around Edmonton.  Normally, I go around the west side.  But, now that the Henday is complete, I decided to mix things up and go around the east side.

The east side of Edmonton is where Edmonton's oil refineries are, and it was quite the site.  Storm clouds were rolling through, so things were dark.  I don't know if it was smoke from the fires in BC, or just the exhaust from the refineries, but there was this orange haze in the air.  And it was dark enough that all the refineries were lit up.  I find a strange beauty in industrial sites at night...just these metal frames, all aglow with their safety lights.  And all enshrouded in an orange haze...it was like being on Cybertron. 

I was tempted to pull over and take a picture, but probably not a good idea on a busy freeway like the Henday. 

Anyway, I'm about rambled out and I'm getting tired of writing.  Time to head back to work! 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Transformers: The Movie

Fishing in the Discount Bin time, where I blog about a movie I own and have recently re-watched.  A frequent problem is how do I tackle a film I have loved since childhood, have constantly blogged about over the years, and don't know what more to say?  It's a problem I ran into on September 18, 2016, when I watched and wrote about The Transformers: The Movie.





Thursday, July 06, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Captain America: Civil War

We just keep rolling along on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my testament to how little a life I have by watching a lot of movies AND blogging about them!  Today, we get to Marvel's biggest movie of last year, Captain America: Civil War.  I put this in my notes at September 18, 2016.

Captain America: Civil War Poster



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Titan A.E.

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, as I blog about one of the many DVDs I own.  I'm now picking apart the 2000 animated film Titan A.E..  This is in my notes at September 10, 2016.




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cars 3

I went to see Cars 3.

Cars 3 Movie Poster


Yup, that's pretty much all that's in this blog post.  No other grand adventures in the city.  It's starting to be the busy time of year for us radio folk, with every weekend full of festivals and fairs that we're live on location from.  So, no time for lollygagging on my day off!  It was just go see the movie I wanted to see then come back home!

Although, I really haven't done a true lollygagging day in a while, all the way down to West Edmonton Mall.  Last one was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 back at the start of May.  I think I'll have to make the effort for Spider-Man: Homecoming, though.  I've seen every Spider-Man film at the Scotiabank Theatre in West Edmonton Mall.  Hell, I've been watching Spider-Man films there back when it was Silver City.  So I must maintain the tradition!

But until then, Cars 3.  I love Pixar.  Always try to make it out to their films.  But the Cars franchise has always felt a little...phoned in to me.  It lacks that trademark heart that's made Pixar famous.  I put down Cars as "good, but not great."  Cars 2 was the first film that made me say, "No thank you," to a Pixar film.  Skipped it in theatres, but I still bought the Blu-Ray because I couldn't have a gap in my collection.  Watched it and...yeah.  It was worth skipping.

But that first teaser for Cars 3 where our hero, Lightening McQueen, gets trashed in an accident had me go, "Ooo.  Interesting."  And so I went to see Cars 3.



Cars 3 has something in common with another Pixar sequel, Monsters University.  They both get into the topic of the death of dreams.  I liked Monsters University because it captures that melancholy moment in our lives when we realize that, no matter how hard we work or how much effort we put in, we just may not achieve our dreams.  Cars 3 tackles the question, "Where do we go once we've peaked?  What do we do when the dream starts coming to an end?" 

Lightening McQueen has been the king of the raceway for about a decade now.  But one by one, he sees his compatriots begin to retire as the next generation of racers begin nipping at their bumpers.  When McQueen attempts a desperate move to defeat a cocky upstart named Jackson Storm, it leads to the wreck that we see in the teaser.  

After spending the off-season sulking, McQueen decides he'll retire on his own terms, and sets out to get his mojo back.  His new sponsor sets him up in one of the most state-of-the-art training centres in the league, and McQueen gets to work with his new trainer, Cruz Ramirez.  Frustrated at his slow progress under Cruz's statistics-based training regime, McQueen decides to hit the road for some old school training.  With Cruz in tow, and the first race of the season coming up quick, can McQueen and Cruz get McQueen back in fighting shape to take down Storm? 

This has got to be one of Pixar's most photo-realistic films.  I swear, some of the backgrounds look just like live-action pictures.  But, Pixar always brings it in the animation game.  Voice acting is solid, as usual.  Cristela Alonzo voices Cruz Ramirez, and brings enough joy to the role to show that she's passionate about the sport, and just not another Queen of Numbers.  Nathan Fillion is good, too, using his natural charm for a slightly darker purpose as Sterling, McQueen's new sponsor. 

And for those who didn't like Larry the Cable Guy's Mater the Tow Truck, and really didn't like Mater taking centre stage in Cars 2, will be relieved to know that Mater is back to being the comedic sidekick.  In fact, his role is so reduced, I'd almost call it an extended cameo. 

But...it's still Cars.  The plot is rather predictable, and as I did see the big twist coming, I like the fact that at least they tried.

Cars 3 finally has some of that heart that Pixar is known for.  Not much, but there's a little peaking through.  I liked it.  3 Nibs.  Full review at the website.

Lou, peaking out from his lost and found box


Oh, and as is the Pixar way, it started with a short film.  Lou is about a sentient lost and found box at a school playground, and his efforts to make sure everything gets back to their rightful owners.  And then Lou has to do battle with a bully who steals stuff.  It's really cute, and honestly, has a lot more heart than Cars 3

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Iron Giant: Signature Series

Here we go again on Fishing in  the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about my recent re-watching of one of my DVDs.  Or Blu-Rays.  Or VHS tapes.  Pretty much any movie I own.  Anyway, this time, we're taking a look at the newer director's cut of The Iron Giant.  This is in my notes at September 10, 2016.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Wonder Woman and the Rest of Summer

Alright!  Last week, I went to the city to see Wonder Woman.  I've been putting off all week sitting down and writing my usual "I went to the city and saw a movie and did stuff!" blog entry.  But now, I've got some time set aside on Sunday night, so let's do this.

Wonder Woman is awesome and you should go see it.

The end.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -- Theatrical Edition

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, as I ramble about one of the many movies I own on Blu-Ray.  Gotta revisit the classics with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  This is in my notes at September 8, 2016.




Thursday, June 08, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Pokemon 3 The Movie

Fishing in the Discount Bin just keeps rolling along, as I blog about one of the many DVDs, Blu-Rays, and the odd VHS that I still own.  We round out in the initial Pokemon trilogy with Pokemon 3 The Movie.  This is in my notes at September 7, 2016.




Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Thoughts Drifting Off to Sleep

Just some random thoughts I had as I was drifting off to sleep last night, and they're a little too long to tweet.

Firstly, I can't believe how excited I'm getting for Spider-Man Homecoming.  The film's composer, Michael Giacchino, posted this to his Twitter feed a few weeks ago.  I've listened to it hundreds of times, and it always makes me smile.



Have you ever heard the classic Spider-Man theme sound so grand and epic?

Some 20 years ago, when I first discovered the Internet on a late night in Augustana's computer lab, the first thing I typed into a search engine was "Spider-Man Movie," and I just started reading every bit of news I could.  For those who don't know the history, back in the 1990s, the movie rights to Spider-Man were stuck in a legal quagmire.  It looked like a film that would never be made.  But finally, in the year 2000, the complainants were whittled down to just Sony and Marvel, who settled out-of-court, thus paving the way for Spider-Man to hit theatres in 2002.

So, yeah.  I'll never not get excited for a Spider-Man film, because I'll never forget those days where it seemed like a legal impossibility.

That being said, it always easy to look back with disappointment.  With my excitement building, I popped The Amazing Spider-Man into my Blu-Ray player last night and watched a bit of it.  After five minutes, my frustration started boiling to the surface again.  The Amazing Spider-Man films represent everything that's wrong with Hollywood's "gotta build a franchise" mentality.  Those films are just so overstuffed.  The entire attitude is, "Let's throw everything at the wall and see what pays off later."

When The Amazing Spider-Man was first announced, reaction was, "We'll be fine with it, as long as you don't rehash the origin story."  And what did they do?  They rehashed the origin story.  If they skipped the origin story...if they cut out that "mystery of Peter Parker's parents" BS...if they cut all that out and just focused on a proper "Spider-Man vs. the Lizard" story, it probably would have been a much more decent Spider-Man movie.

Same with its sequel.  For some reason, they decided to resurrect "the mystery of Peter Parker's parents" and tried again to make that work.  They awkwardly shoehorned in the Green Goblin just so they could work in the death of Gwen Stacey.  If they cut all that out and just focused on a proper "Spider-Man vs. Electro" story, it would have been a much more decent Spider-Man movie.

Which makes me wonder why Sony is pushing ahead with their "Spider-Verse" cinematic universe plans.  The Venom film has been resurrected, with Tom Hardy playing Eddie Brock.  The film about a to-be-decided-later female character from the Spider-Man universe is going ahead, with the female characters being Silver Sable and Black Cat.  And there's an animated Spider-Man film in the works, focusing on Miles Morales.

For what seemed like an impossibility for so long, we really are lucky to have so much to complain about.




The Mummy hits theatres this Friday, and with it, we get the launch of Universal's "Dark Universe," their attempt to create a new cinematic universe out of their classic monsters.  I'm on the fence about going to see The Mummy, as the Universal Monsters are a franchise I've always been indifferent towards.  Plus, I'm not so sure if I can commit myself to another cinematic universe.  I'll probably give it a few weeks, see what the reviews are like, and then check it out.
 
But, with that cinematic universe, things seem to be progressing nicely.  It was announced a few weeks ago that the second film will be a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein, from director Bill Condon, who just gave us Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.  That's slated for Valentine's Day 2019.  With that came the announcement that Johnny Depp has joined the Dark Universe as the Invisible Man, and Javier Bardem is on board as Frankenstein's Monster.

And then yesterday was the announcement that, along with the best-known monsters like the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, and Dracula, they're going with some of their deeper cuts like the Phantom of the Opera and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one where people are scratching their heads, as the Hunchback has never been portrayed as a monster.  But then, as I was drifting off to sleep last night, I had a thought.  Igor, Dr. Frankenstein's long-suffering assistant, has long been portrayed as a hunchback.  What if they're turning The Hunchback of Notre Dame into Igor's tragic backstory?   I mean, the original novel ends with the Hunchback being buried alive next to his beloved Esmeralda.  What if Dr. Frankenstein rescued Igor during one of his grave-robbing expeditions to get parts for his Monster, and took him in?  I guess we'll know for sure if/when we get to that chapter in the cinematic universe.

And then there's the Phantom of the Opera.  I don't know...I've got a little bit of bitterness towards the Phantom.  Back when I was a kid, the Broadway musical of The Phantom of the Opera was still new and a very big deal.  The Canadian touring show had just launched, and it's only Alberta stop was going to be in Calgary.

Now, back in Entwistle School, the Grade 9 class always gets to go on a massive year-end class trip called the Grade 9 Farewell.  When I was in Grade 8, the Grade 9 Farewell was going to be down to Calgary to see The Phantom of the Opera.  A few students pulled out, so the teacher in charge, Mr. Twerdoclib, decided to hold an essay contest among the Grade 8 students to fill those empty seats.

I entered.  I lost.

Don't get me wrong.  I deserved to lose.  I wrote the whole thing in the backseat of my family's car coming back from a weekend trip in Red Deer.  My bitterness stems from how Mr. Twerdoclib informed me as to how I lost.  One day, he pulls me out of my nice, comfy science class, brings me into his Grade 9 English class, puts me at the front of the room, and proceeds to dress me down as to how lame my essay was.  It was the kind of public humiliation that my 13-year old self never really got over.

I learned two things from that incident.  Firstly, the winning essay was about comparing various branches of the federal government to positions on a baseball team.  I thought to myself, "Huh.  Teachers really like this 'comparison' thing."  So I used that as the formula in every essay I wrote for the rest of my academic career and aced everything.

The second:  Mr. Twerdoclib is a dick.

Anyway, I see the latest touring show for The Phantom of the Opera hits Edmonton next month.  Maybe I'll go.  Get some closure.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Pokemon the Movie 2000

Still boppin' along on Fishing in the Discount Bin, watching movies and blogging about them.  I seem to have hit a run of Pokemon movies, as I'm looking at Pokemon the Movie 2000 this week.  This is in my notes at September 4, 2016.




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Funeral for a Friend

Here's an old thing I made while cleaning out my hard drive, so I thought I'd share it with the world.

A few years back, one of my dearest friends was nearing her 30th birthday.  She had read the statistic that, if a woman is unmarried by the age of 30, she may as well be dead, because that's how sharply her marriage prospects drop off.  With that in mind, for her 30th birthday party, she decided to throw herself a funeral.  She asked all her friends to submit eulogies, and her boyfriend was going to read them.  (And if you're worried about her marital status, her boyfriend put a ring on it a few months later.)

I was sad that I couldn't be there, because, at the time, she was in the magical, faraway land of Scotland, and I was a broke young man at his very first radio gig in the equally magical, but not as faraway, land of Athabasca.  As I sat down one afternoon to write it, it occurred to me:  I work in radio.  I have the set-up to record stuff.  Why don't I record myself saying it, and send her boyfriend the MP3?

And, as a firm believer in the power of production, I decided to raid my collection of film scores and put in some appropriate music.

I didn't get her reaction until a year later.  She was back in the country when my 30th birthday rolled around, and decided to pop in for the party.  According to her, my eulogy was definitely the highlight.  It was getting a little monotonous, as most of her friends just jotted down a sentence or two that boiled down to, "She's my friend and now she's dead and I'm sad."  Then her boyfriend stood up and said, "And we've got one last one here, that comes to us all the way from Canada," and he hit play, and the room was enraptured.  She even says that one of her friends instantly fell in love with me, and is waiting to greet me with a kiss should I ever find myself in Edinburgh.  (In my dreams, it's Karen Gillan.)

Anyway, I found it gathering dust on my hard drive, so I thought I'd dust it off and post it online.



For those curious, the music:
  • "Leaving Home" from Superman, composed by John Williams
  • "To the Stars" from Dragonheart, composed by Randy Edelman
  • "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jolity," from The Planets, composed by Gustav Holst
  • "Augustus Gloop" from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, composed by Danny Elfman
  • "Happy Birthday," written and performed by "Weird Al" Yankovic
  • "Remains of the Day" from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, composed by Danny Elfman

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Pokemon the First Movie

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly rant about one of the movies I own.  It's time we touched upon one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, the Pokemon animation franchise.  We kick things off with Pokemon: The First Movie.  This is in my notes at September 3, 2016.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Daredevil: Director's Cut

Here we go with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the many movies I own.  I'm taking a look at Daredevil again, because I just got the director's cut out of a discount bin.  This was originally in my notes at August 27, 2016.





Saturday, May 13, 2017

Grown Up Stuff

A couple of weeks ago, I was out driving my car to work, when I rounded a corner, and it made a strange grinding noise.  It sounded a lot like when my car scrapes the bottom on an unplowed, and since we'd had a late April snowstorm, I wrote it off as the snow.  But as the days went by, and the snow melted, the grinding noise didn't go away with the snow.  I started to get worried.  So, I finally sucked it up and got my car into the shop.  According to the mechanic, my front brake pads had completely worn away, and the grinding noise was the brakes grinding into the rotors.  $600 to get the brakes done.  But, it was very important that I had to get it done by May 6.

I needed my car in tip-top shape to hit the city and see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Guaridans of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Poster

*sigh*  It's becoming more and more important to see these Marvel movies on opening weekend, because by Monday morning, the Internet is full of spoiler-filled articles dissecting every Easter egg and explaining the post-credit sequences.  In case you haven't heard yet, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has a record-setting five post-credit sequences, so be sure to stick around for all of them.


I quite enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  Just like the first film, what blew my mind the most was the music choices.  I mean, we're so conditioned to hearing the Jerry Goldsmith trumpets whenever a spaceship pulls into orbit around a planet.  But here, we hear My Sweet Lord and damn it, it works.

I also like that this one is a lot more character-based.  There's not as many big action sequences as it instead focuses on Peter Quill/Star-Lord as he meets his long lost father Ego, Gamora heading towards a reckoning of sorts with her sister Nebula, Drax opening up to Ego's consort Mantis, and Rocket and Yondu just being badasses.  And Baby Groot occasionally popping up to be adorable.

I also liked that Guardians of the Galaxy is still set in a remote corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, far removed from Earth.  That means it gets to be more of a direct sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy rather than having to worry about acknowledging Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, and whatever else came out since that last one that I seem to be forgetting.

If I have to dig up one quibble, it would have to be your standard sequelitis.  Being the second film, it lacks the freshness that made the first one such an unexpected treat.

All in all, a great kickoff to the start of summer blockbuster season.  I give it 3.5 out of 4 nibs.  Full review over on the full website.

And then, heading home, I decided to break out of my culinary norm.  Some folks around the office were asking about a new fast casual place popping up in power centres across the land called Mucho Burrito, and if anyone had tried it yet.  Since I knew of a power centre that contained one on my drive home, I decided to try Mucho Burrito for supper.

My initial impression of Mucho Burrito is that it's very much like Taco del Mar, just a touch more upscale.  (i.e., fancier decor, more topping options, they serve booze.)  But it's pretty much the same.  You place your order the clerk, they make it all right in front of you, asking what toppings you'd like as you go along.  As has become my way in these new franchises that I try, I asked the clerk what I should try for my first time.  She recommended I go with their standard beef burrito.

Honestly, I found it a bit bland, but I blame myself.  This being my first time, I decided to take it easy on the options.  But next time, I'll probably go for the medium salsa instead of the mild, and maybe not drown it in every sauce because I want to try everything.  I do like shrimp, and I see one of their meat options is Cajun shrimp.  So I'll probably keep heading back to try a few more options before making a final judgement.

And that was my trip into the city last week.  As I headed home, I went back to fretting about my car, and what more needed to be done.  While my car was up on the hoist, the mechanic did say my tires are on their last legs, and that it's time to get some new ones.  I've been worried about the tires and pricing out a new set for about a year now, so it's finally time to pull the trigger.  I think I've found a set I like that works within my budget, and if the Fates are with me, I'll be getting them next week.  And as for the budget, it turns out paying for things is easy if you don't mind going back in debt.  Finally paid off my car in 2015, and I've had this lovely two year streak of being debt-free.  Oh, well.  Desperate times and all that.

For the most part, I think I'm doing a good job of this being a grown-up.  And it means I can go see my silly superhero movies whenever I want.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Roxanne

Time to go Fishing in the Discount Bin again, as I watch and reflect upon one of the many movies I own.  This time up, it's Steve Martin's classic 1980s romantic comedy Roxanne.  This is in my notes at August 22, 2016.




Thursday, May 04, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It's Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly rambling about one of the many movies I own.  Time to bust out one of the most talked-about movies of this time last year (but not in a good way), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  This is in my notes at August 14, 2016.





Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Scarecrow Goes to Popeyes Chicken

I was in the city last week for some meetings at head office.  While there, I turned to some of my co-workers, and talk soon turned to Popeyes Chicken.  Popeyes Chicken -- officially known as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen -- is an American fried chicken chain.  They've made the news recently as they were just bought up by Restaurant Brands International -- the consortium that now owns Burger King and Tim Hortons.  But before that, back in the fall, they announced that they were finally beginning an aggressive expansion into Western Canada.  One of my co-workers from Toronto says they've had them in the Golden Horseshoe region forever, but they've never ventured further west than Ontario.  That all changed when, with much hype and ballyhoo, they opened their first Western Canadian location in Edmonton in November.

And being obsessed with fast food, I knew I had to try it.

Now, they're first location in Edmonton was down on the south side...kind of where the east leg of the Whitemud Freeway meets the Anthony Henday.  It was a long drive from head office, but doable.  But after chatting with some of my Edmonton colleagues, they revealed that the second location had just opened up...just north of the Yellowhead on 97 Street.  That was a lot closer.  So, when the meetings were done, we were off to Popeyes Chicken!

We made it to the restaurant OK, thanks to every phone having GPS navigation these days.  We arrived, and people were lined up out the door.  I hadn't seen that since my very first trip to Wendy's when I was a kid.  Maybe it was the first Wendy's in Red Deer, and that's why it was so crowded.  Huh... I never thought of that.  Anyway.  Half of our group went and grabbed a table, the other half stood in the line to place the orders.  I was in the order group, which gave me lots of time to ponder the menu.

Like most chicken fast food places, they've got your usual assortment of chicken dinners, chicken fingers (they call theirs tenders), chicken nuggets, and chicken burgers.  They've also got some seafood options, but chicken is what they're known for, so that's what I was getting.  What got me was the variety of side dishes.  Let's be honest, fast food, generally your side dish options are fries, poutine (because Canada), and maybe onion rings.  But in addition to those, Popeyes also has mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and so many others.

Popeyes has two kinds of combos:  the combo and the platter.  Essentially, the combo has one side dish and the platter has two.  Since it was my first time, I decided to go with the platter to sample more sides.  I went with the three tender platter, with corn on the cob and red beans and rice for my sides.

Oh, and I should mention you get the chicken in spicy and mild.  I went with spicy, with buttermilk ranch for my dipping sauce.

Alright.  Once my meal came, I tied into it.  My thoughts:

The chicken - It had just the right amount of spice.  I find, sometimes, the fast food places can overdo it.  But there's just enough to give it a kick without overwhelming the taste buds.  The batter had a nice crunch to it.  And I found it to be less greasy than the rest of the fried chicken choices out there.

Red beans and rice - I actually found it kind of bland, but given the spicy chicken, it was a nice way to cool things down.

Corn on the cob - Wow, this was really juicy.  Like, dribbling down your chin juicy.  But yeah.  Nothing really special about it.  Just good ol' corn on the cob.

Biscuit - Every combo and platter at Popeyes comes with one of their signature buttermilk biscuits.  Nice and fluffy.  I don't know if the warmth came from being oven-fresh or under a heat lamp, but it didn't have they drying-out that comes with the heat lamp.  So it was good.

All in all, I was quite pleased with my Popeyes Chicken experience.  I found the chicken quite good, and was tickled with the variety of side dishes.  I'll probably be heading back...once more locations open and it's not such a journey to get to one.

And now, the scene from Little Nicky we were all quoting on the drive down.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Scarecrow Goes to IKEA

When last we left our intrepid hero, he came home from work on Thursday afternoon, ready to enjoy the Easter weekend, when he met tragedy in his living room.  The tempered glass top shelf of his entertainment centre had shattered, leaving broken glass all over his floor and one upside down TV.  Here's the pics, in our "pics or it didn't happen" world.  Once I got the glass cleaned up and verified that the TV was still functional, the question turned to needing a new entertainment centre.  So as one does in this day and age, I hopped on line and went to the IKEA website.  I found one I liked that was within my budget, asked my parents to meet me there (because things like "size" confuse me so I wanted to borrow my Dad's truck in case it was needed), and plans were made for a road trip!

Rolling into Edmonton, I was pondering the last time I went to IKEA.  It had to be when I was a kid...way back when IKEA was still in West Edmonton Mall.  Yes, Edmonton's IKEA was originally in West Edmonton Mall, way back when the Mall first opened in the mid-1980s.  The Mall has always prided itself on bringing in many retailers to Alberta for the first time, and I'm pretty sure the West Edmonton Mall IKEA was the first one in Alberta, if not Western Canada.  In the late-1990s, as the South Edmonton Common became a thing, they moved down there.  For those who don't know their West Edmonton Mall geography, IKEA was originally where the Sport Check and Bed, Bath, and Beyond currently are.

But no, they moved to South Edmonton Common, reviled by many in Edmonton for being the very definition of urban sprawl.  The massive, sprawling power centre, taking up a good portion of Edmonton's south side.  At least it's really easy to get to, now that the Anthony Henday Drive is complete.  Take the Henday all the way around to Gateway Boulevard, head north into the city, and BOOM!  It's your first exit.  I entered the Common and was instantly lost, as rather than the massive parking lot that most power centre have, it has built up its own maze of streets and avenues.  Luckily, IKEA is massive, so I just set my sights on the massive blue and yellow building on the horizon and drove towards it.

I arrived about a half-hour before my parents, and decided to browse the showroom while I waited.  As it was Saturday, it was understandably crowded.  The showroom was as I remembered from my youth, a winding maze taking you through many model rooms, showing you what the furniture looks like all assembled.  I spent a lot of time in the living room section.  I'm also in dire need of a new sofa, but even IKEA sofas are pretty pricey on a small market radioman's salary.  Hell, the only reason why I could afford the new TV stand was, in one of those strange karmic things that runs the universe, my tax refund arrived on the same day as the shattering.

I wandered over to the living room storage section, where I found the TV stand I had my eye on.  Looked like it would have fit in my trunk with no problem, so looks like I didn't need to invite my parents along.  Speaking of, that's when I got the text message from my mother that they had arrived.  Now came the most stressful part of my trip to IKEA...going against the flow of the people going through their showroom so I could get back out to the entrance.  Once I got back out to the front, took a moment to calm down, and met with my parents, it was back into the showroom, because they wanted to check out some stuff.

Seriously, though, I don't know if it was the legendarily high stress environment of IKEA on a Saturday, or me, because I was feeling pretty stressed out in IKEA.  Sometimes I think I should see a doctor about anxiety issues because I've never done well in big crowds, but it's getting worse as I get older.

Saw more great stuff in the showroom.  There was a nice glass display cabinet that would be prefect for my action figure collections, should I ever get a bigger place or more money.  They had bookshelves on sale, and I've considered getting a third one as my current DVD shelves are full and spilling out into little piles all over my floor.  Mom took down the number for that one in case I changed my mind by the time we got down to the warehouse.  And some mattresses as well, as my original IKEA mattress is starting to get pretty worn out.

Even thought I haven't been to IKEA in 30 years or so, a lot of my furniture is IKEA.  My armchair, my dining room set, my bed, my dresser, and my computer desk.  I have my parents to thank for that.  The standard housewarming gift that my parents settled on when me and my siblings all got our first places was $1000 worth of flatpacked furniture.  So within a week of being at my first apartment at my first radio gig, my parents and my brother showed up with all these IKEA boxes and we spent the day setting it all up.  I still use pretty much all of it because, well, I'm cheap and it works, so why not?  But the mattress on my bed is starting to wear out.  and IKEA's got some comfy ones.

We finished up in the showroom, the codes for my TV stand in hand, and it was time for lunch.  So we dined in the famous IKEA restaurant.  It really was a cafeteria, though, as you grabbed your tray and got in line.  I grabbed a glass to hit up the soda fountain, but while looking through the cooler full of bottled juices, I saw a juice box of an IKEA exclusive called "Elder Flower Juice."  Intrigued, and no doubt thinking of the classic insult from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I decided to grab it.  For lunch, I dined upon the IKEA specialty of Swedish meatballs with gravy and mashed potatoes.  It suffered from the standard cafeteria problem:  it had been sitting in the steam trays a little too long and had dried out.  But still, pretty good.  The Elder Flower Juice had a sweet, slightly tart flavour.  It tasted vaguely familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

With out bellies full, we went downstairs.  Here, IKEA turned into a more conventional store, as the shelves were lined with all kinds of housewares and other knick-nacks for your home.  As Mom remarked afterwards, she wound up spending more money there than I did, as she got some new lamps for the guest rooms, some new towels, and various other sundry items for the home.  It a situation where I'm definitely going to have to go back someday, and check out all the other neat stuff.  Especially the lamps.  Lots of neat lamps.

Now that Mom's shopping cart was full, it was into the warehouse to pick up my entertainment centre.  With their cutesy mock-Swedish names, my TV stand was the Besta.  But it turns out, the Besta is a modular system, with dozens of different variants.  Took us a while to go up and down the aisles, getting all the parts for the particular Besta I had seen in the showroom.  But we found them.  With those precariously placed atop our shopping cart, my mother said, "So...is there anything else we're getting?" as she pulled her notepad from her purse, with the numbers for the bookshelf I was eyeing.  I frightened my mother by responding with a Rick and Morty quote:  "Nobody exists on purpose.  Nobody belongs anywhere.  Everyone's going to die.  Let's get the bookshelves."

We got everything into the back of Dad's truck, and made our way out of the city and back to Westlock.  Mom and Dad volunteered to stick around for a bit and help with the assembly.  Dad and I got the Besta put together OK.  I did get a little worried when Mom told me to take a break and she and Dad got to work on the bookshelves.  There was a viral story not too long ago about a certain IKEA cabinet that a marriage councilor had dubbed "the divorce-maker" because of all the arguments it started as couples put it together. Luckily, my parents got through it unscathed.

As my parents left, my mother did have a few surprises.  Some of the new towels she bought were for me, and she also found a bottle of Elder Flower Juice concentrate so I could brew some at home.  As I was getting ready to mix up a pitcher, I had an inspiration.  I fired up my SodaStream, ran the Elder Flower Juice concentrate through it, and made my own Elder Flower Soda.

Guess what?

With bubbles, it tasted just like ginger ale.  That was the vaguely familiar flavour.  It was flat ginger ale.

This whole adventure happened to me about a week ago.  I've been enjoying my TV on my nice new Besta stand, and drinking up the last of the Elder Flower Juice.  Needless to say, IKEA was quite the journey.  And like many other stores, I think I'll be going back someday when I have more money.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Zootopia

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I sit and blog about one of the movies I own and have just recently watched.  This time out, we get to the most recent Oscar winner for Best Animated Film, Zootopia.  This is in my notes at August 13, 2016.





Sunday, April 23, 2017

April Showers bring the Targ!



Well, it’s that time.  I’ve got an itch.  I’ve got an inspiration.  And it can only be satiated by sitting behind the mic and pumping out a podcast!  You probably know what the inspiration was:
  • Fist on deck, we’ve got to talk about that first trailer for The Last Jedi, as we continue counting down to the newest Star Wars movie.
  • And since we’re at it, may as well talk about the other trailer:  Thor Ragnarok, which broke records for being the biggest trailer launch in Disney’s history.  And that naturally leads into a bunch of Marvel news.
  • And, a tale of buried treasure from the UK, which I find just fascinating.
And I’m going to try something.  Real Life has gotten a little too busy to pump one out weekly, so at the very least, I’m going to try and pump one out monthly.  Hopefully, this’ll be the start.
So enjoy April Special:  April Snowstorms.

Head to the main site to check it out!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Spaceballs

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, rambling and blogging about one of the many movies I own.  This time out, we go with Mel Brooks' classic Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs.  This is in my notes at July 17, 2016.





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Last Jedi Trailer! (And some other Star Wars ramblings.)

Good Friday.  The start of the long weekend.  Also, the start of a massive snowfall that would not let up until Easter Sunday morning.  But, I told my family I'd be coming home for Easter, so I gassed up ol' Bessie Lou (what I call my car) and set out down the road.  I knew I had to brave the snowy highways to get to a place with good WiFi, because something special was coming down from Orlando.

This past weekend, Orlando was host to Star Wars Celebration, the official Star Wars con.  Good Friday morning was the panel for the latest Star Wars movie, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.  Rumours abounded that we were going to get our first trailer at that panel.  And sure enough, as soon as I left Westlock town limits, the Star Wars app dinged with the notification:  the trailer was online.

With steady hands, I made it though the snow and slush until I was back comfortable in Entwistle.  I went inside, exchanged pleasantries with my parents, then went into the living room, commandeered the smart TV, brought up the YouTube app and took in...the trailer.





Much like the first Force Awakens trailer, we're not getting much of a sense of the plot yet.  We're just getting teases...glimpses of what's next for hour character.  Of course, the most anticipated part of this trailer was finally seeing what Luke had to say.  His closing line that, "It's time for the Jedi to end," has so many mysteries behind it.  Is he like Baron Mordo at the end of Doctor Strange now?  Has come to the realization that the only way to bring balance to the Force is by eliminating all Force users?  Or, as a friend of mine pointed out, is he just being dramatic because he's in some kind of funk and it takes Rey to pull him out of it?

Of course, in this day and age, and especially with a franchise like Star Wars, each new information must be picked apart with a fine-toothed comb.  I picked up on all the hushed dialogue in the sound mix, and used the production studio in some down time at work today to have a closer listen to it.  When Rey mentions "the Light," and we see the back of Leia, we hear Leia's iconic, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi...."  When she mentions "the Dark," and we see Kylo Ren's crushed helmet, we hear Obi-Wan's, "He was seduced by the Dark Side...."  And when she mentions "the Balance," and we see that book, we hear Yoda's, "Surrounds us...binds us...."  What does it all mean?  Is Rey the child of Obi-Wan?  Will we see the spirit of Yoda?

Right now, all we have our images.  Until then, it's all speculation.

And speaking of images, holy moly, that teaser poster.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser poster

Seriously, I'm more excited for this poster than I am for the teaser.  Add my voice to the lamentations that movies posters are no longer works of art, but just crowded Photoshop collages of the film's stars.  But this poster, my friends, is a work of art.  It's been a long time since I've seen a movie poster and thought, "I want that hanging on my wall."  And I want that hanging on my wall.

Sadly, though, we didn't quite get all the announcements we wanted out of Star Wars Celebration.  As this is year is the 40th anniversary of the franchise, we were hoping there'd be an announcement about the original theatrical versions coming to Blu-Ray, but there was no announcement.  It was hoped that they'd reveal what the third Star Wars story is going to be, or the title of the young Han Solo movie, but no announcements on those fronts.  And it's the young Han Solo movie that's led me to another rambling I want to make tonight.

So a few weeks ago, the CEO of Disney was talking about the Han Solo movie, and said one of the things we'll see is "how Han Solo got his name."  Of course, the Internet went abuzz.  "You mean...Han Solo isn't his name?  How can that be?  Why does it have to be a name he adopts?" everyone asked.  I don't know.  But I found it intriguing.

When I was home, I went digging through the boxes of stuff I have yet to remove from my parents' house, and I brought home this:


A post shared by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

My very first Star Wars merch.  Scholastic's storybook adaptation of Return of the Jedi.  I got this at the Grade 1 book fair. 

As I was leafing through it, I came upon this passage.  It actually describes one of Return of the Jedi's deleted scenes.  If you have the big 9-disc Blu-Ray set, it's among the bonus features.  After our heroes rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt, they go to their ships in a blinding sandstorm.  Before Han gets on the Millennium Falcon, he and Luke have a brief conversation.  Han gets all, "Thank you...for saving my life," but he's a little more emotional than the cavalier Han Solo we know and love.  This passage is Luke's internal reaction to that.

"Luke felt the change in Han, and he knew the he and everything the others had risked had been worth it.  'Solo' means 'alone,' he thought.  He had often wondered if that was Han's real name.  Maybe it was an alias Han had chosen -- one that Han felt described him better than his real name.  But now Han knew he didn't have to be a loner anymore." 

So.  Is "Han Solo" not being Han's real name something that George Lucas had been toying with from the very beginning?  Is this one of the first seeds we saw planted of that, way back in 1983?  Or is it just the author, literalizing the symbolism of Han's name for younger readers? 

Sadly, now I know it's probably the last one, because as I was about to hit publish, I spotted this interview with Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy in which she says that Han Solo has always been his name, and the Disney CEO misspoke when he said that.  But still, I though the coincidence was neat and felt like sharing it. 

Ya know, i don't think I ever read that storybook from beginning to end.  I just read passages here and there, and leafed through it a lot, taking in all the pictures.  I should finally read it. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin -- Independence Day: Special Edition

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I blog about one of my favourite movies.  I'm doing Independence Day for a second time, but this time out, I'm doing it's 15-minute longer Special Edition.  This is in my notes at June 11, 2016.




Sunday, April 09, 2017

I Want Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere....

I need pants.

Woke up Friday morning to see that I'd worn a whole in my favourite pair of jeans.  Going though my closet and taking inventory, I discovered that a lot of my favourite pairs of pants had holes worn in them.  And in a rather embarrassing place.  A man can't have no pants.  Last time I had no pants, I was asked politely to never return to that restaurant.  So, my Saturday plans were set:  go get some pants.

Luckily, pants were easy to find.  My size is usually difficult to come by, but this time, I managed to find three pairs in my size, so I snapped them all up.  Didn't have much else to do in the city, anyway, as this past Tuesday, I made a whirlwind trip into to the city to pick up Rogue One on Blu-Ray.  One of the benefits of being back on the morning show.  If, on a sunny Tuesday, I'm able to get out of the office by noon like I'm supposed to, I can make the quick drive down into Edmonton to snatch up the hottest new movies.

And, as I went about browsing, I noticed that the release of Rogue One seems to have brought out the newest round of Star Wars merchandise.  It looks like the third and final wave of Rogue One action figures is out.  Finally, the Death Trooper (those Stormtroopers in funky black armor) are finally available single-packed.  When they first came out in the fall, they were only available in a two-pack with some funky alien Rebel commando.  And the one Jyn Erso figure I wanted was finally out.  That's the one where she's wearing the black armor from that awesome shot in the trailer.  You know, the awesome shot that, like 90% of the awesome trailer shots for Rogue One, wasn't in the movie.

Jyn Erso in the awesome trailer shot.  Wearing the black armor of an Imperial trooper, staring into the camera, as the hallway illuminate behind her.

Actually, I read an interview with Rogue One director Gareth Edwards about the genesis of that shot.  It happened by accident as they were setting up one day.  He liked it so much, he made them do it again so he could get it on film.  He never intended to put it in the movie...he just liked it so much he had to get it on film.  And the marketing department liked it so much, they put it in the trailer.

Anyway, I passed on those figures, as I think I'm pretty much done when it comes to Rogue One figures.  Besides, with 2017 marking the 40th anniversary of the franchise, I saw that the 40th anniversary figures are out.  I passed on those, because they're currently marked at $30 each, and when I started collecting action figures back in my teen years, I vowed I'd never spend more than $20 on a figure.  I'm amazed at how I've been able to stick to that self-imposed budget over the years.

The closest I came to snatching up some Star Wars figures was over at the Disney Store.  The Disney Store's exclusive line of Star Wars figures is called the "Elite Series."  They're made of die cast metal.  Regular price $35.  On sale for $12 each!  I passed on those because I just couldn't decide which ones to get.  The Death Trooper?  Kylo Ren?  Jyn Erso?  Rey?  Because of JJ Abrams' obsessive secrecy with The Force Awakens, the Elite Series Rey is pretty much the only Rey that actually comes with a lightsaber.  Or how about the Riot Control Stormtrooper?  That's the one that stole the show in The Force Awakens by screaming out "Traitor!" and then unleashing the beast on Finn.  If they're still on sale next time I'm at the Mall, maybe, just maybe, I'll buy one.  Or two.

But then it was time for lunch.  And I had resolved to try something I had stumble across the last time I was in the city two weeks ago.  Harvey's, the legendary Canadian burger chain, the birthplace of Frings, now does rice bowls.  The rice bowl is a staple of Japanese fast food.  The name pretty much says it all.  It's a bowl of rice, with some tasty toppings.  The most common of which is the beef bowl, a bowl of rice topped with some thinly-sliced fried beef, a dash of onions, and a sweet sauce.  So I had to try a Harvey's rice bowl.

So the entire Harvey's bowl gimmick is currently known as the Build-a-Bowl.  Step one, you decide what you want it to be a bowl of:  rice, fries, or salad.  I went with rice.  Step two:  you add your meat:  beef or chicken.  I went with beef.  Then they asked me if I wanted regular or Angus.  I went with Angus.  All they do is take a burger paddy, chop it up, and add it to the bowl.  And for the final step, you add the rest of your toppings.  Just like good ol' regular Harvey's, you go over to their toppings station and tell the clerk what you want on it.  I went with lettuce, tomato, and the Asian sesame dressing.

And voila, a Harvey's rice bowl.


A post shared by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on


All in all, not too bad.  Not sure it'll be a regular fast food dining experience for me, but it may have inspired me to try making one at home.  I've never attempted to make my own beef bowls at home.

But anyway, with lunch in my belly, it was time to do what I always do when I hit the city:  movie time!  And I had one last March blockbuster on my wish list:  Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast Movie Poster

Beauty and the Beast was poised to become the monster hit it now is.  Not only are Disney's live-action remakes of their animated hits proving to be a steady franchise in its own right, but we're starting to hit the sweet spot for 1990s nostalgia.  Everyone who saw the original when they were a kid is now grown up with kids of their own and ready to share this definitive moment in their developmental years with their families.  It was something that was proven when the trailer set a new record for most viewed YouTube trailer.  It's been out for almost a month now, so the the theatre was only about half-full when I saw it.

I like some of the new additions they made.  They flesh out the backstories a little more.  We find out what happened to Belle's mother, we found out what the palace staff did to get cursed alongside the Beast and turned into household objects, and we get to see a little more villainy on the part of Gaston.  Some of the new additions seemed excessive, though.  I mean, Belle was already enough of an outcast for burying her nose in books instead of engaging in a provincial life...did she really need to be publicly shamed for committing the crime of sharing that love of reading with others?

But the performances are good, the visuals are spectacular, it's a real struggle to not sing along to your favourite songs, and I'll be damned if that Alan Menken score still doesn't give me goosebumps.




All in all,I found it to be a fun nostalgic trip.  I give it 3 out of 4 Nibs.  Full review on the website.

Actually, going through the reviews over on the main site, I'm mildly disturbed.  Reviewing my reviews for the past few years, usually by this point in the year, I've only seen 2 films, 3 max.  But so far this year, I've seen seven.  I don't know if I'll be able to sustain this rate financially.

But then, looking ahead, I see a lot of that had to do with how unusually loaded this March has been.  Logan, Kong, Power Rangers, Beauty and the Beast....  In fact, looking ahead to this summer, it almost seems like it's going to be a light summer for me.  Alien, Planet of the Apes, Pirates of the Caribbean...these are all franchises I'm pretty indifferent towards.  Yeah, there's a new Transformers, but I'm thinking I'm done with Transformers.  They've just done nothing new since the first one.  We've got a new King Arthur.  Maybe I'll take Mom to that one, because Mom always liked the Arthurian legends.  So, yeah.  Outside of the superhero films coming up -- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man: Homecoming -- it looks like it might be a pretty light summer for me.

And also, thanks to all of the gift cards I got for Christmas, I have yet to actually pay for a movie this year with my own money.   

And thanks to the money I'm saving due to all these gift cards, I'll be able to do it all in stylish new pants. 

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Jungle Book

Here we are again, on Fishing in the Discount Bin, blogging about one of the many movies I own.  Taking a look at some classic Disney animation this time out with The Jungle Book.  This is in my notes at June 4, 2016.




Saturday, April 01, 2017

As I've Blogged Before....

When last I blogged, I was talking about how March this year is shaping up to be a really good month for movies.  I mean, it's like a summer blockbuster month.  After I was reveling in Power Rangers and recapping Logan, I remembered that I also wanted to watch Kong: Skull Island.  .  I saw I had enough Scene points for a free movie.  Dare I see a second movie in two days?  Do I turned around and head back into the city to watch Kong: Skull Island?  Why not?

Well, as I've blogged before, I try not to head into the city on Sundays.  Nothing really opens until noon, so for an early riser like myself, there's really nothing to see or do.  And Sunday tends to bring out more crazies.  I'll never forget the time some guy in Best Buy completely lost his mind at DVDs being just $5 in the discount bin.  "THESE MOVIES ARE CHEAPER THAN WHORES IN THAILAND!" he screamed loud enough for the whole store to hear.  But to just dart in, catch a movie, and dart out?  Yeah, I could do that.

As I was just heading in to catch the movie, I was off to the North Edmonton Commons power centre.  Now, as I've blogged before, I'm not a big fan of power centres.  They're not very pedestrian-friendly, so if you're early for your movie -- like I was -- there's really not much you can do in the way of wandering around and browsing in the other shops.  And besides, it was Sunday.  About the only thing open was Golf Town.  So I went browsing in Golf Town.

I've only been out golfing a handful of times in my adult life, but I occasionally think I could really get into it.  It involves a lot walking.  I like to walk.  As stores like Golf Town prove, golf is a sport where you can collect a lot of stuff.  And as my collections of action figures and DVDs prove, I like to collect stuff.  All the pieces are in place.  But, as a store like Golf Town proves, golf gear is an expensive collection to collect.  So when it comes to golf, I think I will stick to the mini variety.

Which reminds me.  A couple of weeks ago when I was at West Edmonton Mall, to see Logan I think, I snapped this pictures of Professor Wem's Adventure Golf.


A post shared by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

I was kind of stunned at how this quickly became one of the most-liked photos I ever posted to Instagram.  I just snapped it because I've long looked out at Professor Wem's Adventure Golf in amazement.  I've been going to West Edmonton Mall ever since it was built, but the mini-golf is the one attraction I've never partook. 

Well, that's not quite true.  I've also never been skating at the Ice Palace, and I've never spent a night in the Fantasyland Hotel.  But as I don't skate, and the rooms at the Fantasyland  Hotel can get pretty steep, Professor Wem's Adventure Golf is the only attraction within my grasp that I've never done.  But yet I've walked by it countless times and never ventured in. 

I've been walking past it long enough that I remember its history.  When the Mall first opened in the 1980s, the mini-golf course was called Pebble Beach, and it was meant to be a mini-golf re-creation of the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Club in California.  But they changed it in the mid-1990s, around the same time Fantasyland became Galaxyland.  Did their licensing agreement with Pebble Beach expire?  Did their lawsuit with Disney over the name "Fantasyland" make them gun shy, and they changed the name to avoid future lawsuits?  Either way, the Professor Wem mascot was invented, and Professor Wem's adventure golf was born. 

Maybe this'll be the year.  It's the big 4-0 this year, so maybe a mini-golf party at West Edmonton Mall.  Or maybe I'll just do what I always do on my birthday and catch a movie.  And speaking of movies....

*pats self on back for awesome segue*

Kong:  Skull Island!

Kong: Skull Island Poster


As I've blogged before, as much as I love giant monster movies, my biggest complaint is they can never find anything interesting for the humans to do.  They just kind of stand around, waiting for the giant monster to show up so they can react to it.  So I really liked Kong: Skull Island for giving us some cool characters, and I found myself actually intrigued by them. 

First we have Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Col. Preston Packard.  He leads the military escort to Skull Island.  As most of his troops are taken down by Kong as soon as they land, he decides to take down Kong to avenge his troops.  And as they days on the island go on, he grows more and more obsessed with taking down Kong. 

Next up there's John C. Reilly as Lt. Hank Marlow.  He was a World War II fighter pilot who crashed on the island and has been trapped there for almost 30 years.  (The film takes place in the early 1970s, by the way.)  Needless to say, his time on the island has made him a little bit loopy, but he's got the most experience with dealing with Kong and the other beasties on the island. 

And there are some really good giant monster fights in the film as well.  And, for those who haven't heard, this is in the same cinematic universe as 2014's Godzilla reboot, so there's a nice post-credits stinger setting that up. 

Yes, for those who haven't heard, next in the cinematic universe is Godzilla 2 in 2019, now officially titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters.  After that, Kong vs Godzilla in 2020. 

But I quite enjoyed it.  I give it a solid 3 Nibs.  Full review on the website. 

And then I went home.  The end.  Yeah, I know.  I suck it endings. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Deadpool

Time to roll again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about a movie I own on DVD or Blu-Ray, or even VHS in a few rare occasions.  I'm done with every Batman movie, so I think Deadpool would be a good palette-cleanser.  This is in my notes at May 29, 2016.





Sunday, March 26, 2017

Movie Time Catch-Up

I find I haven't blogged about my last three or four trips to the city.  Mainly, because, well, they're getting kind of repetitive.  "I went to HMV during it's dying days and it made me sad."  "I went to the Apple Store and I still can't afford an iPad and that made me sad."  "I went to the Disney Store and I can't afford any of the high end collectables and that made me sad."  About the only thing in the city that doesn't make me sad these days is going to the movies, so let's run down the last four I've seen and have neglected to blog about! 

First up, this past weekend, Power Rangers.



I can't believe how excited I'd been getting for Power Rangers.  I mean, I did love the original show back in the day.  It was so cheezy and delightful.  Ever since the first trailers, I'd been joking that I haven't seen Power Rangers taken this seriously since the fanfic I wrote in high school.

So imagine my delight that there is a scene that's ripped straight from the fanfic I wrote in high school. 

Man o man, it's kind of fun seeing Power Rangers being taken all gritty and serious.  Although, I am tiring of that washed-out colour scheme that we've seen in, well, ever DC film.  And sometimes it gets a little too serious.  I mean, they took that "teenagers with attitude" line from the original show's opening narration and ran with it.  These kids have got some pretty serious issues. 

And the problem with that is it takes far too long for our heroes to get going and suit up for the first time.  My fanfic back in the day dealt with stuff we never saw, like the training montages, explaining what exactly their powers are and how to use them, and all that.  But sadly, the first two acts are dedicated to that, and they don't morph until the start of the third act.

But out of all the Easter eggs, I love that the third act follows the same basic formula as a typical episode of the original show.

There's lots of good.  Man, Elizabeth Banks is such a delight as Rita Repulsa.  I wish we had more of her in the film.  With the drive on these days to make villains into sympathetic characters, we don't get a lot of...deliciously evil villains anymore.  Banks' Rita is deliciously evil. 

Long story short:  it's all talk talk talk and franchise set-up until an action-filled third act.  Much like the first Transformers film, my nostalgia for the property is making me love this cliche-filled superhero origin story a lot more than I should.

3 Nibs.  Full review on website.

A couple weeks ago, it was that time of year again.  Time to take some time off to burn off some unused vacation time from last year.  So of course, I went to a weekday matinee of Logan



Needless to say, going into Logan with a twinge of sadness.  Hugh Jackman has long said this is his swan song as Wolverine, and he definitely goes out on a high note.  We finally get the R-rated Wolverine we've wanted because, let's be honest, his most famous superpower is knives coming out of his hands and his go-to move is stabbing people.  So there's gratuitous head-stabbings and decapitations throughout. 

After 17 years, it's like Hugh Jackman has finally gotten grizzled enough to be Wolverine.  And we've never seen a Wolverine like this.  He's near the end.  He knows he doesn't have much time left.  He's moving a little slower.  His healing factor moves a little slower, leaving him with scars.  But he's still the best there is at what he does.

Along for the ride, for one last outing as Professor Charles Xavier, is Patrick Stewart.  Wolverine has been caring for him, as the Professor is starting to lose control of his powers in his old age.  However, it is he who encourages Wolverine to go on one last ride to get the silent Laura to safety. 

Laura, of course, is a young girl with powers just like Wolverine's, and protecting her is just enough to get Wolverine moving once again.

If I have a quibble, it has to be that our villain really doesn't make himself and his motivations known until the literal final minutes of the film.  Would have been nice to, you know, actually get to know the villain.

But it was a remarkable send off to everyone's favourite mutant, and I may have gotten a little misty-eyed at the end.  3.5 Nibs.  Full review on website.

Going back a little further than that, to the end of February, it was The Lego Batman Movie



We've been so, so ready for a light-hearted Batman movie, and The Lego Batman Movie delivers in spades.  The weird thing is, this is the first-ever Batman movie that really delves into the psychology of why Batman prefers to work alone.  It's fun watching as Batman slowly learns to open his heart and work with Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred. 

And dear God, when this movie comes out on Blu-Ray, I'm going to have to watch it frame-by-frame to get all the Batman in-jokes and references.  The director, Chris McKay, cut his teeth on Robot Chicken, and it shows, as that brand of humour runs throughout the entire film. "British robots.  Ask your nerd friends." 

It is so much fun, you guys.  3.5 Nibs.  Full review on the website. 

And we conclude this trip all the way back on Family Day, with A Dog's Purpose.



Yeah, I know, this isn't the typical kind of movie I go see.   Hell, it's the only one on this list that doesn't have a superhero in it.  But it was Family Day, and I was hanging out with sister and her family, so my nieces got to pick the movie.  And of course they picked the one with the cute puppies. 

It's a fairly typical "boy and his dog" kind of movie, but with this one, we get to see the dog get reincarnated and live again.  So it's several "boy and his dog" movies all rolled into one.  But the dogs are cute and the performances are pretty good, so it was fun for the whole family. 

Plus, in the lobby, I managed to win each of nieces a teddy bear in the claw machine!  I'm not some kind of claw machine pro...this one just let you keep going and going and going until you won something. 

But yeah.  A Dog's Purpose was cute.  3 Nibs.  Full review on the website.

So there ya go.  That's how I've been spending my free time over the past month.  And I'm still not done yet.  Man, March sure is crowded with blockbusters.  I still want to get out there and see Kong: Skull Island and Beauty and the Beast.  So I'll do my best to keep you updated going forward.