Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band


No other band in the history of rock and roll has had more influence on music and popular culture than The Beatles.  From their early days of performing in small 'dungeon' clubs throughout Europe to their final days as a studio band with Apple Records, The Beatles Rock Band for PS3 from EA and Harmonix delivers The Fab Four to Beatles fans worldwide.
Jam with the band or sing along with up to three singers-no matter which your choose, you'll  live, breath and perform as only The Beatles could. 
I grew up watching The Beatles.  I remember seeing them when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show as mop top teenyboppers during the early 1960’s.  I watched as they progressed to Nehru jackets, experimented with drugs, embraced Eastern religion, joined Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, walked on Abbey Road, split up and went their own creative ways. 

I remember when John Lennon was murdered and George Harrison died of cancer.  Thank God we still have Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The Beatles: Rock Band has captured the sheer exuberance and joy of watching the band perform.  Clever animation and background sequences emulate the periods when the performed their hits.  I got a real kick out of watching the psychedelic sequences and the Abbey Road studio period.
The video game starts off with a clever sequential animated short that takes viewers through the entire experience of The Beatles, from teeny bopper to longhair to socially conscious commentators.
Hidden jewels let you see actual footage of The Beatles at play, in public and at work.  They really give you a connection to the band members-not as iconic trendsetters, but as real human beings caught up in a cultural phenomenon.  The Beatles changed the face of society, from the way dressed to their very public opinions, use of drugs and free spirits.
The Beatles: Rock Band allows players to experience what it must have been like performing as a Beatle-both in front of live audiences and in the studio.
Unlike other Rock Band games, The Beatles game lets you play selected greatest hits as they were performed.  No additional band members can be added-although you can add some extra vocals and there are no audiences except when The Beatles performed live.
All-in-all The Beatles: Rock Band is a killer video game with great graphics, and  an entertaining and well-executed format (I love the historical accuracy) and lots of fun to play or sing along with.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Steelers: The Story Of Six Championships


Football is definitely America's Game and the Steelers are an important part of that game.  They were the fist team to win four Super Bowls and the six Lombardi trophies.
Warner Home Video present six of the Pittsburgh Steelers most memorable games starting in 1974 to their recent Super Bowl win in 2008. 
Look for interviews with past and present Steelers superstars including Joe Greene and Troy Polamahu.  Join NFL films and watch the Steelers pile drive their way to Super Bowl wins straight from the mouth of those that were there.  Six-discs make up this impressive set of Steelers magic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WWE 2009


Are you ready to rumble!?  Get set for the roughest, toughest back-busting Set of wrestling cards to come down on the mat in years.
Topps Trading Cards presents WWE 2009 that throws in so many extras you'll think you won the world wrestling championship!
Seven Cards come per Foil Pack with 24 Packs per Box.  Ninety Cards make up the Base Set (I got a full Set) and every Pack comes with a special Legends OF The Ring Card.  Every sixth Pack contains a Reign Of Honor Card and randomly inserted throughout the Packs are Ringside Relics (I got a piece of The Miz' shirt), Autograph Cards (make mine Ricky Steamboat), Dual Legacy Autographs (rats!) and Signed Mat relics (rats again!).
The cards have great collation, brilliant color photographs, crisp, clean trim edges and lots of cool inside info and facts. Look for coded Cards that let you go online for special Virtual Cards.
Topps graciously provided an unopened Box as a giveaway.  For a chance to win, send me your email at bamcomics@juno.com.  A winner's name will be drawn at random.  The winner's name will be announced here next month.

Up

From Disney/Pixar comes a delightful tale of an old man's love for his deceased wife and his promise to go on one last adventure.
Seventy eight year old balloon salesman Carl Fredrickson has lived a long and peaceful life with the love of his life, Ellie.  For over 50 years they lived together in a cute little bungalow content to share in their love for one another despite being childless and living a rather 'dull' life.
All that changed when Ellie passed away, leaving Carl lonely, somewhat bitter and determined to fulfill his wife's last wish to move to and explore the wilds of South America.
Carl hatches a plan.  When an old folks' home comes to take him away, he launches his home into the wild blue yonder held aloft by thousands of balloons.  He plans to fly to South America and live out his last days in the place his beloved wife always wanted to visit.
When he picks up an unwanted passenger-Russell, a local Wilderness Explorer who happened to be under his porch looking for a Snipe.   Carl had sent Russell on a fool's errand to find the fictional beast in order to get him out of his hair.
Together they arrive in South America and bump into a large native bird-a bird the unscrupulous explorer Muntz wants for his very own and he'll stop at nothing to get it.  Even if it means killing Carl and Russell and anyone else who gets in his way.
Carl and Russell and their new ally, a talking dog (Dug) owned by the explorer, who defects, set out to save the large bird, its family and stop the explorer in his tracks.  It's thrills, spills, chills and lots of sentimentality in Up-an uplifting film about love and family.
A DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Copy come in the DVD set.  Look for lots of extras like story concepts, art, featurettes, games and more-so much more! 

Up In Flames


Are you ready to put a little sizzle in your saddle?  How about some flame in your fanny?  A little butane in your behind?  Then get ready for Greenlight's Limited Edition 1:64 diecast, Up In Flames, Muscle Car Garage vehicles.  Now that's a mouthful!
Six revved up mean machines on four wheels come packaged in attractive bubble packs that include full vehicle stats on the back inset panel and they're rugged enough to take some serious punishment-just like the vehicles they contain.
Each vehicle: five cars and one truck, feature killer paint jobs from flame burst front hoods decorations to full side and body checkerboard flame decor.   Hot, hot, hot!
Vehicles include Compresso 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T painted in a bright blue with white hot flames, large chrome wheels and full interior details, Chain 1969 Buick GS 400 convertible in deep orange (including the interior) and oversize chrome bumpers and wheels and Traditional 1971 Chevrolet C-10 truck painted black with yellow front flames, red wheels and silver trimmed cabin.
Tribal Hatchet 1970 Plymouth Road Runner is a bright metallic purple with chrome wheels and trim, black interior and full window details, the 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 Swiss Cheese painted a bright red with yellow side flames, white walls and a huge interior and Serpentine 1967 Chevrolet Corvette painted a deep red with wraparound front and side flames, chrome running boards and oversize chrome wheels.
Each and every vehicle is tightly crafted, boast clean, crisp paint application precise chrome accents and incredible interior details.

Domo


Domo, that lovable fuzzy body, gaping mouth, sharp teeth cutie is a big hit in the U.S. after its introduction from Japan.  Dark Horse Deluxe and Qee present their 2" Qee Collectible Figure that also includes a Limited Edition Mystery Domo Qee carefully hidden in a box along side the visible Qee in the set.  What's mine?  Aww, that would be telling.  Let's just say it's awesome!
The Qee Domo brown figure is a short, partially articulated plastic figure with a large gaping, tooth-filled mouth, rectangular body with rounded corners and short stubby legs and slightly longer arms with two-digit hands.  It's so Qee-ute! 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist

Exactly what is illusion?  How does one go about creating illusions?  Illusion and the art of perfecting the use of illusion is Japanese director Satoshi Kon’s expertise.
Considered one of the most innovative and daring animation directors in the world, Kon’s influence can be seen in not only Japan’s movie industry but in movie making all around the world.
Beginning his career as a manga artist, Kon developed an eye for pushing the envelope of visual story-telling and soon made the transition to animated film or Anime.  Teaming with visionary animator Katshiro Otomo, the creative team produced such notable and ground-breaking anime as Perfect Blue, Paranoia and others.
Each film examined individual characters, their aspirations, motivations and most of all their tenuous hold on reality and illusion.  Writer Andrew Osmond and Stone Bridge Press examine the long and illustrious career of Satoshi Kon from his humble beginning as a young manga artist to his phenomenal success as a director.
Part of Stone Bridge’s Visual Media Masters series, Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist is an in-depth look at Kon, illusions, anime and the human condition.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Batman Vault

With the resounding success of the recent Batman movies, the animated series, the comic book series and the current Blackest Night storyline, Batman is more popular than ever.
In Running Press’ new book, The Batman Vault, by Robert Greenberger and Matthew K. Manning, readers learn everything there is to learn about the Dark Knight.
Follow along as the writers examine the Caped Crusader's roller coaster ride through the decades, starting with his first appearance in Detective Comics.
Through archive reproduction of art, text and collectibles, you’ll thrill to the exploits of Batman beginning with his dark and vigilante days to the introduction of the Joker and Robin, his wartime team up with Superman, the frivolous 1950’s fantasy and science fiction adventures, his television show phenomena, retuning to his dark roots and to his current rank as the #1 fan favorite superhero-without super powers!
Not bad for a man traumatized by his parents’ death, who dresses up as a bat, lies in cave, has all the latest high tech toys and who has even gone one-on-one with Superman and won!
This is a phenomenal book packed with artifacts, rare photos and art, interviews, observation and so much more.  It’s enough to drive you batty!

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron

Rated T for Teen, the new Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron video game for PSP delivers upfront Empire/Rebel action and adventure as only LucasArts can deliver.
Elite Squadron allows the player to go it alone, team up with other gamers, battle on the ground or in the air.  On ground and in air battle affect one another so the dynamics of the game shifts depending on what events are happening on either level.
You can design and outfit your own character, choose weapons and species and search for and obtain items and bonuses.  Each of the classic movie battles can be recreated from Hoth to Endor.  Choose you mode of transportation form ships to ground vehicles, choose Modes such as Heroes and Villains (to play classic Jedi or Sith characters), track stats and battle your way through 12 campaign levels, multi-layer battlefronts.
Elite Squadron also presents new characters form battlefront, Renegade Squadron and The Force Unleashed.  Play is full 360 degree with full detailed environments, excellent character vectoring and textures and sound effects and sound track that makes you feel as if you're deep in the action as portrayed in each  movie.
Take Star Wars around in your pocket.  you never know when you might meet up with aliens, Sith or the Empire.