Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm A Grown Man And I Bought This: Doctor Who Rory Williams Action Figure

Last year you'll no doubt remember me voicing my shock and disbelief that Character Options/Underground Toys-- the makers of fine Doctor Who action figures, which I rabidly collect-- made a freaking Winston Churchill action figure before they made one of major character Rory Williams. Because what kid wouldn't enjoy playing with an action figure of a 400 pound Prime Minister?

Thanks to the power of my powerful and highly influential blog, Character Options/Underground Toys announced late last year that they were finally making a Rory figure. It's about damn time! Let that be a lesson to you other corporations out there. You do not want to be the subject of one of my stinging exposés.

The Good News:  
Our long national nightmare is finally over. The Rory action figure's been released!

You may be wondering why I'm all atwitter this toy. After all it's just a figure of a guy in his street clothes. There's nothing unique or exciting about it. But it's Rory! The Boy Who Waited! The guy who was killed several times on the show, reincarnated as a robotic Roman Centurion and waited 2,000 years to see his true love again! Half of the first married couple to ever travel in the TARDIS!

He's a major character and part of the team. Would a company make figures of the Two Musketeers? The Six Dwarves? Of course not! So I don't get why fans had to practically threaten Character Options/Underground Toys before they grudgingly doled out a Rory.

So now that he's finally here, how does the Rory figure look? Pretty good! That's definitely Arthur Darvill's likeness immortalized there in plastic. He's got the sleepy eyes, the prominent nose (well, he does) and the usual unkempt hair.

Bear in mind here that he's blown up way more than actual size here, so things like the big seam in the side of his neck aren't as apparent in person.

He's wearing his trademark down vest, which has a lot of detail sculpted into it. They used a dry-brush paint job on his jeans that does a pretty good job of simulating denim.

One minor complaint: I don't ever remember Rory wearing a maroon shirt on the show. He wore a brown shirt in quite a few episodes and is wearing it in a lot of promotional materials. It's possible he did wear a maroon one and I just don't remember it, or maybe it's one of those deals where something looks one color on TV and another in reality, like Han Solo's Hoth jacket in The Empire Strikes Back. Other than that I think he came out very well.

Anywho (see what I did there?), I took the liberty of Photoshopping his shirt to its proper brown color, and I think it's a big improvement. Maybe one of these days when I have some spare time (HAW!) I'll paint his shirt for reals.

Rory's got the standard articulation for Doctor Who figures these days, including cut joints at the bicep and hip, which greatly increases his flexibility. His untucked shirt kind of limits the range of motion of his hips though, preventing him from sitting down. One thing that's missing: ball joints at the shoulders. Poor Rory can only raise his arms straight out in front of him; he can't raise them at his sides, so he won't be doing any jumping jacks.

At long last, Team TARDIS is finally complete!

Now for the Bad News
Sadly, Rory is the last figure in the 5" Doctor Who action figure line. Yep, you heard right. According to Character Options/Underground Toys, high production costs have forced them to discontinue the 5" line and introduce a new smaller scale. From this point forward all new Doctor Who toys will be 3 3/4" scale, the same size as Star Wars action figures (which has inexplicably become the dominant scale in the toy aisle these days). That's a shot of Rory with one of his 3.5" scale brethren above (Willrow Hood, the Greatest Star Wars Action Figure Ever Made). As you can see they're going to shrink them almost by half!

I have to admit I'm not happy with this boneheaded move. I've spent literally thousands of dollars on these toys and it's frustrating and disappointing to see the line end so abruptly. I've not yet decided if I'm going to collect the new smaller line. I really don't want to start over from square one and I don't have the space to store or display yet a second line of figures. 

But the main reason I'm on the fence about them is that thanks to my rapidly aging eyeballs, I can barely see action figures of this size anymore! I'll have to break out the magnifying glass if I ever want to look at them.

Ah well. All good things come to a stupid and ill-conceived end. The Doctor Who figures have had a good run. Time to spend my hard earned money on more important things. Like $4 a gallon gas.

Strangely enough, the Doctor Who Classic line of toys (encompassing figures from the First through Eighth Doctor's tenures) will remain at the 5" scale. That means when the day comes that we get a Twelfth Doctor figure, he won't be in scale with the previous eleven. Brilliant move, Character Options/Underground Toys.

"Come on Doctor, let me in! Doctor! Amy! Amy, I'm you're husband, now open the door! Guys, this isn't funny! Let me in, NOW! We're in the year 5,000,000! I don't want to stay here! Let me in!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Twelth Of Oscar

I didn't get a chance to watch any of the Oscars™ last Sunday. As you know I'm much too busy with my duties here as CEO of Bob Canada's BlogWorld to watch a 3+ hour broadcast.

I did think it was nice to see Donny Osmond getting some work though. I thought he did a fine job as host.

The Amazing Spider-Meh 2

This week director Mark Webb (is that supposed to be a pun?) unveiled the new costume for The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Even Amazinger.

It would appear that after I savagely mocked the previous suit on my highly influential blog (which reportedly made Webb sob during the Golden Globe awards), it's been completely redesigned. I'm glad to see Hollywood's finally come to its senses and is listening to me.

Gone are the odd gold colored eye-pieces and the odder basketball-like texture that plagued the previous costume.

This "new" suit looks suspiciously like the old one from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. In fact it looks pretty much identical to my eyes. So tell me again: What was the point of rebooting this series already? Didn't the filmmakers say they were trying to distance themselves from the first trilogy and give us a "fresh, new take" on the character? And they do that by digging the first suit out of mothballs

You know, I'm beginning to think that people in Hollywood will say just about anything to sell a movie ticket.

Department Of BlogWorld Security

Just a heads up to the legions of readers of Bob Canada's BlogWorld worldwide-- from now on I'm implementing the dreaded captchas in the comments. I know, I know, I hear you groaning. I hate them as much as you do, but it's become a necessary evil.

Since I started my blog I've done my best to avoid using captchas, but lately things are getting way out of hand. The past few months the number of anonymous spam posts has increased exponentially, to the point where every single post is just lousy with them. I'm tired of seeing comments like this one:
Congratulations! Very excellent post. Rarely have I ever seen the point crystallized so clearly. It's great to come across a blog like this that isn't the same outdated rehashed material. Excellent read! I've bookmarked your site and am including your RSS feeds to my Google account.
I hope you'll please visit my site as well, at
See? We can't have nice things! So I'm increasing the security around here. Just be glad all I'm doing is adding captchas and not going all TSA on you. 

I hope this won't deter any legitimate readers from commenting on my posts, as I enjoy getting feedback from you. Well, almost all of you.

Also, if you do comment on a post, please include your name. Even a screen name is fine with me. Just don't post a reply as "Anonymous." A while back a Mr. Anonymous ripped into me for making a joke about Indiana being the meth capital of the world. If you want to disagree with me I'm up for it, but I'm not gonna have a public argument with someone who can't be bothered to sign their own name. My name's out there on the banner for everyone to see, so I expect the same from commenters.

OK, then. Lecture over. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 11: I Ain't A Judas


• So who's the Judas in the title? I assumed it referred to Merle or that he'd say it at some point during the episode, but I don't think he did. Was it Andrea? Milton? Tyreese? I guess you could argue in favor of all of them.

 • Wow, Merle's living in the prison now. I'll say one thing for these people, they're a forgiving lot. Just a few episodes ago they were all trying to kill Merle after he tried to kill them and now they're all living under one roof. I think if I were Glenn or Michonne I'd be a bit less willing to extend the olive branch.

• When the others argue about how to solve a problem like Merle, Herschel sticks up for him, saying he's got military training that they may need. Then a few minutes later he hobbles into Merle's cell and they have a nice conversation and get to know one another. Did the editors mix up these two scenes? Shouldn't they have been the other way around?

Whether they mixed up the order or not, I quite enjoyed Herschel and Merle's little chat. It added some more welcome depth to Merle, proving he's not just a one-note villain. In fact he's fast becoming the most interesting character on the show. Here's to hoping he stays around for a few more seasons.
• It was fun (and extremely gross) to see TV Andrea making her own zombie decoy, ala Michonne and her "pets." I have to admit I cringed when she kicked out the zombie's teeth though. I can't stand watching someone's teeth get knocked out in a film, even though I know it's all fake.

• Kudos to the writers for having Herschel mention they shouldn't burn through their ammo cleaning out the prison yard (again). Rick and Co. shouldn't have infinite bullets.

• When the Gov was staring into the mirror, I was uncomfortably sure he was going to try and cauterize his seeping eye-hole with that match. Maybe he would have if he hadn't been interrupted by TV Andrea.

• Oh, TV Andrea, I wish I could introduce you to your cousin Comic Book Andrea. She's so much more useful, well-written, and sane.

OK, I can kind of see how TV Andrea could be taken in by the Governor at first. He gave her food and shelter and was genuinely charming. Fair enough. But as time passes, literal mountains of evidence that he's evil and unhinged pile up before her and she's still on his side. Let's examine the evidence, shall we?

The Governor takes her to his organized gladiatorial zombie fights. She's appalled, but a few smooth words from him and she forgets all about it.

She finds out he has a secret room in his apartment in which he keeps his zombified daughter. Again, she's appalled but quickly forgets about it.

She also sees his secret room was filled with fish tanks containing the undead heads of his enemies. Appalled, forgets.

The Governor sends his right hand man out to kill Michonne, nearly rapes Maggie and has Glenn beaten to within an inch of his life. She's a bit put out by this, but gets over it.

Now she finds out that he's attacked her friends at the prison, killing one pf them. And he plans to attack them again. Once again she's appalled, but seemingly forgets all about it by the time she gets back to Woodbury. She even has the chance to kill the Governor, but doesn't go through with it.

Just what the hell does it take to get through to this broad? The only conclusion I can come to is that TV Andrea has the memory of a goldfish. She sees terrible things that horrify her, but she forgets them before she has a chance to act.

• Another problem I have with TV Andrea and her Woodbury storyline-- she's always bleating about how "there's good people there." Really? I'm afraid I'm not seeing it. You've got the Governor of course, who's a certified psychopath, then you've got his inner circle consisting of semi-sane creeps and ne'er-do-wells, and then there's the general population. You know, the people who hoot and cheer at zombie gladiator fights. If these are "good people" I'd hate to get caught in the bad part of town.
 • Rick's sanity seems to be slowly creeping back in this episode (after Carl and Herschel both tell him to get his sh*t together).

• Michonne actually said a few more complete sentences this week, instead of her usual animal growling. See writers? Your characters are ever so much more interesting when they have the power of speech.

• When Beth started singing I was terrified that somehow someone was going get killed. Usually every time there's a nice moment on this show someone gets their head blown off ten seconds later.

• So I guess Tyreese and his crew really did leave the prison last week! And now they've been taken in by the Governor and are inadvertently siding against Team Rick. I have to admit I didn't see that coming! Interesting, and very, very different from Tyreese's storyline in the comic.

• When TV Andrea asks Michonne what she told Rick and Co. about Woodbury, she replies, "Nothing." Well, I certainly can't argue with that!

• I had to laugh when Carol told TV Andrea to sleep with the Governor and then kill him afterward. Carol's come a long way this season and is infinitely more interesting than she was in Season 2, when all she did was wring her hands and look worried about Sophia.

• So TV Andrea took Carol's advice, slept with the Gov, stood over him with a knife and could have ended the whole conflict. But of course she didn't because there are still five more episodes left in the season. I don't think I've ever yelled so loudly at a fictional character in my life...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It Came From The Cineplex: Mama, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Warm Bodies

As always, beware of SPOILERS!

A Spanish-Canadian ghost story directed by Andres Muschietti. Don't be fooled by the movie poster which boldly displays Guillermo Del Toro's name across the top. If you're a fan of Del Toro's movies, prepare to be disappointed, as the film is only "presented by" him. He served as executive producer and had absolutely nothing to do with the writing and directing of the film. 

The "Presented By" credit is an old Hollywood marketing trick to misdirect the rubes and try to lure them into the theater. Don't fall for it.

It's also pretty bold of the filmmakers to put Jessica Chastain's name above the title. She's been in a couple high profile movies lately (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) but she's far from a household name yet, no doubt making the majority of the audience scratch their heads in puzzlement as to who the hell she is.

Director Andres Muschietti says he's so pleased with the film he's already planning a sequel, hoping to start up a Mama franchise. Oy. Bold talk, considering there was barely enough story for one film.

The Plot:
Two young girls are abandoned in a cabin in the woods for reasons. Five years later they're found alive, but feral. Unknown to anyone else they've been cared for all this time by a jealous ghost they call "Mama."

• The two girls who play the kids in the movie are incredible little actresses. They were totally believable as feral children, which I'm sure wasn't easy to pull off for ones so young.

• "Mama" had an interesting look to her, different from any cinematic ghost we've seen before.

• The cabin in which the little girls survive is decorated in a really cool 1970s style. I wish my own house looked like that (minus the years of dirt and grime. And the malevolent psychotic ghost, of course). Wow. I'm so ambivalent about this film that I'm down to praising the set design. 

• Although they try to hang some interesting decorations onto the tale, like the feral children idea and a punk rock surrogate mother, in the end it's a pretty standard and familiar ghost story that we've seen a hundred times before. A thousand, even.

• After the kids are abandoned in the cabin, Mama starts taking care of them, bringing them cherries to live on. It's implied that that's all they ate for five years. I find that hard to swallow (I see what I did there).

• There are a few moments of tension, particularly when Annabel (the girls' surrogate mom) comes close to opening the "forbidden" closet in which Mama resides, but ultimately it's just not very scary.

I give it a C+.

Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters
Yes, it's a ridiculous concept (I can hear the pitch now: It's Hansel and Gretel all grown up, and they're badass action heroes!), it's stupid, it's loud and it's dumb. But it's also a lot of fun. Despite of the drubbing it's taken by the majority of critics, I was entertained from start to finish, and loved every minute of it. It's a big dumb movie that knows it's a big dumb movie and revels in it.

I wouldn't mind seeing a whole series of H&G films, but the poor critical response and less than stellar box office will probably prevent that from ever happening. Too bad. We can't have nice things around here!

The Plot:

It's Hansel and Gretel all grown up, and they're badass action heroes!


• The movie has a cool Hammer Studios kind of look to it (that's a good thing, kids).

• Although there are a few CGI effects throughout the movie, the filmmakers insisted on using practical effects wherever possible, something I greatly appreciated. Yeah, you can do pretty much anything these days with CGI, but nothing beats real, on-set monsters and explosions.

• I was especially impressed with the Edward the Troll character, who was realized through the use of a large animatronic suit rather than CGI. He looked to be at least 7 feet tall, possibly more, and was every bit as animated (or more) as the typical CGI character. Best of all he was actually there; on set along with the actors so they could see him and relate to him in a way they couldn't with a character that would be added in post production. I wish more films would realize this and use animatronics more often.

• The movie takes place in some undefined pseudo-Medieval age in a vaguely European setting. Lots of anachronisms abound, especially in regards to Hansel and Gretel's weaponry. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Just part of the overall insanity and charm of the movie.

Universal Horror films of the 1930s and 1940s seemed to exist in this same kind of weird alternate universe as well. They'd have characters living in castles and villagers attacking with torches and pitchforks, but then everyone had telephones and drove around in cars. 

• There were a lot of fun little touches, like milk bottles with drawings of missing kids on them (said kids having been stolen by witches), Hansel's diabetes (!) that he got from the witch forcing him to eat so much candy as a youth, and the fact that Hansel and Gretel have obsessive fans. 

• Lots of over-the-top gore, which is always a plus in a horror film. I was impressed that the filmmakers went for an R rating, rather than today's typical watered-down PG-13.

• Breasts! Honest-to-god naked breasts! That's something you just don't see much in movies anymore. How is it that in the 1970s and 1980s you couldn't swing a dead cat in a film without hitting some naked breasts, but here in the 21st century they're taboo? We seem to be moving backwards rather than forwards.


• Honestly, I got nothing. I liked pretty much everything about this film.

A totally ridiculous but fun action/horror film. I give it a

Warm Bodies
It's like Twilight but with zombies that don't sparkle.

Based on the teen paranormal romance novel by Isaac Marion. Seriously, have you been in a bookstore lately? There's an entire section devoted to teens getting busy with monsters. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself:

Look at all that crap! Teen girls falling in love with vampires, ghosts, werewolves, mummies-- you name the monster, there's a girl in these books who'll French it. No doubt fueled by the aforementioned Twilight novels, this is a bubble that's got to be perilously close to bursting.

The Plot:
After the zombie apocalypse, a young zombie known as "R" (he can't remember his former name) wanders aimlessly, wishing there was something more to his dull, undead existance. He meets Julie, a human from a nearby walled city, and begins falling in love with her. Eventually the power of love (or something) restores his humanity.

• Interesting take on the zombie genre.

• Great performances by Nicholas Hoult as R and Rob Corddry as M. It's probably not easy to emote when you can't speak.

• R and Julie = Romeo and Juliet. I don't mind the "star-crossed lovers" story parallel, but the cutesy name thing makes me want to punch the writer in the throat.

• The Boneys are realized through the magic of 1997 era CGI. It doesn't look like the film had a very lavish budget so I suppose they did the best they could with the money they had. They definitely could have been better though.

I'm also at a loss as to how they could see, as it appeared they all had empty eye sockets.

• At one point the other zombies catch a whiff of Julie's human scent and start hunting for her. R smears some of his own blood on Julie's face (how romantic!), which completely masks her delicious human scent. Bear in mind that he covers an area of her face about an inch wide and maybe three inches long. That seems like a shockingly insufficient amount of blood to hide the scent of a person's entire body, but what do I know?

• When R confesses to Julie that he killed Perry (her boyfriend) and ate his brain, she seems to get over it mighty quickly. Way too quickly if you ask me. One would think her reaction would be to recoil from him in revulsion, then crush his head with a shovel the first chance she got, but instead she says something like, "I guess I already knew that," then rolls over and goes to sleep.

• R experiences one of Perry's memories  (because he ate his brain, dontcha know) in which he and Julie used a secret passageway to sneak out of the walled city without going through the front gate. Later in the movie R uses this memory of the route to sneak into the city. The movie very helpfully replays the scenes of Perry and Julie traveling this route in order to explain to the dimmer members of the audience how R knows where to go.

Was replaying those scenes really necessary? I get it, movie. R has Perry's memories. Eating his brain somehow transferred his thoughts into his head, just like those experiments with planarians and mazes. He knows what Perry knew, including secret passages. 

You just told us that twenty minutes ago. This isn't the first movie to over explain a plot point like this; I see it practically on a weekly basis and it bugs me every time. I'm not an idiot who needs to be spoon fed every tiny plot detail. Has the national attention span really sunk this low? Or is the audience too busy diddling with their phones to pay attention?

• The movie is very careful to explain at the end that R is now (somehow) fully human again. They do this or course so he and Julie can get together without, you know, necrophilia and all that.

• Speaking of R's new-found humanity, at the end of the film all of his facial scars have magically disappeared! I get that zombie characteristics like the weird eye color and the unsightly veins would go away, but the scars shouldn't. Those were injuries, not zombie traits. Did he get some plastic surgery while he was being treated for his gunshot wound? What about all the other bullet and knife wounds he sustained during the film? Did those disappear as well?

Now that I think about it, why did he have scars as a zombie to begin with? He was dead. If a dead guy gets a laceration to the face, wouldn't the wound stay open forever? Why would it heal up? So many questions...

• Why is it that R is seemingly the only zombie who becomes fully human again? There's a scene at the end in which M is having trouble opening an umbrella because he has "zombie fingers." It's heavily implied that he's still a zombie, but one with self-awareness and human emotions. So why is R the only one who gets to become human? Because of his epic love for Julie?

• In the final scene R and Julie sit and watch the protective walls of the city come down, now that the zombie threat is no more. Is it really? Yes, the Boneys are gone and the zombies have all seemingly reverted to (kind of) humans, but will it last? Who knows? They turned to zombies once, who's to say it can't happen again? 

And what about all the other zombies in the world? The zombies in this city reverted after being exposed to R's humanity. It seems like a localized event. Zombies in other cities shouldn't have been affected. What's to stop them from attacking this now defenseless city? I think I might have waited a while before knocking down my protective wall.

A good-natured zombie love story that unfortunately raises more questions than it answers. I give it a C+

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rockabilly Vampire

He's the coolest cat in the crypt, Drac-Y-O! He's the heppest! He's the mostest! He's the undeadest!

Hey, at least he ain't sparkling.

I wanted his look to be as authentic as possible so I did a lot of research on his clothing. I exaggerated the collar of his bowling shirt quite a bit to echo the look of a traditional vampire cape's collar. His shoes are some style (whose name I have conveniently forgotten) that's supposedly quite  popular amongst the rockabilly set.

I also had to google the switchblade comb. You think you know what one looks like until you sit down to draw one.

I spent a lot of time on the glossy highlights in his hair before I finally figured out a way to draw it that satisfied me.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

 Here's the original pen and ink sketch of Rockabilly Vampire.

And here's the tighter, more detailed digital sketch I did.

Friday, February 22, 2013

World's Greatest Police Sketch Part 2

This week law enforcement agents in Normal, Illinois released this actual police artist sketch of a suspect they believe committed two armed robberies in the area. 

The suspect is described as male, between 5-foot-9 and 6-feet tall with a thin to medium build and between 25 and 35 years old.

Additionally the suspect appears to be a smooth, half-formed, nearly featureless simulacrum of a human being, perhaps the result of some sort of forbidden genetic or alien experiment. He is devoid of hair of any kind, with crudely sketched eyebrows that appear to have been drawn on with a Sharpie. He also has beady, rat-like eyes, a lipless gash of a mouth, a disturbingly small chin and an unsettling neck wattle. Or perhaps it's a ghastly neck wound; it's really kind of hard to tell. Something's going on with his neck, that's for sure. There's probably even some sort of exposed pulsating brain throbbing just underneath that hoodie too.

If you see this suspect, police officials ask that you please do all you can to suppress the normal human urge to kill it with fire and stove its head in with a shovel and instead contact their office immediately.

Although the alleged perpetrator acted alone, police have reason to believe he may be working in conjunction with this suspect.

Normal police have also released these startling surveillance photos of the suspect, in the hope they'll help the public recognize the perpetrator..

Jesus Jetskiing Christ, are you kidding me? 99% of the population is walking around with phones in their hands that can take 10 megapixel photos, and we're using cameras like these for security?

Mack Sennet used better quality cameras when he filmed the Keystone Cops in the 1910s. I've seen clearer photos of UFOs and Bigfoot!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's In A Name?

This week office supply chain Office Depot announced they're buying rival office supply chain Office Max, sending shockwaves throughout the industry.

This merger will have far-reaching consequences nationwide and I'll no doubt even feel the repercussions right in my own home. With Office Max out of the picture, where am I supposed to purchase my office supplies? I'll only have Office Depot, Staples, Target, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts and all the various grocery and independently owned stationery stores left in the area. Oh, and the internet. This merger is going to severely limit everyone's office supply choices.

Many are wondering what this newly merged entity will be called. I've taken the liberty of piecing together a few of the most likely choices:

The easiest path would be to keep the current Office Depot name intact, but cobble it together from the existing corporate logos. The Office Depot management might not appreciate the Office Max half of the logo appearing first though... 

Let's try it the other way around. Advantage: the Office Depot half of the logo now appears first. Disadvantage: Eh, it's now the name of the losing team. Probably not gonna fly with the suits upstairs.

Now we're talking! This design keeps elements of both logos (for legacy purposes) and there'll be no doubt as to what kind of store it is! No CEO on either side could argue with that logic!

This one's my personal favorite. It's got a kind of film noir-ish quality, like the name of a hard-boiled, take no guff detective. Of course it doesn't tell you anything about what they sell, but since when has the name of a store ever had to indicate what's sold inside (I'm looking at you, "Best Buy").

I have a gut feeling though that you'll be seeing this sign in front of all Office Depots come this time next year...
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