Boing Boing leads me over to Boing Boing Gadgets with a headline about LEGO Business Cards. That leads me over to The Guardian where they had ten pictures in a small gallery and a long article about the company and the product. In other news My Little Pony gets a Hollywood Makeover.
I stopped in at Target this am and found that some of the smaller $10 LEGO sets were on sale for $8. Most of them I wasn't interested in but I did buy an Agents set. #8631 Mission 1: Jetpack Pursuit. It came out last year in May but I never picked one up. It just didn't appeal to me much. Hardly any of the Agents sets were that interesting, especially at full price. A few of the sets had some interesting parts. The dark green alligators in the Swamp pursuit set and the great new shark in the boat pursuit were really welcome. I lucked out and got a couple of the Shark sets marked down last Christmas. I kind of wanted the minifig with the metal arm and a chainsaw for a hand. His name is Saw Fist. I know. It's one of the many poor things about this set. Saw Fist has a snowmobile and Agent Chase has a Jetpack. It's a jetpack the size of a small fridge. I've seen James Bond, and let me tell you, that's no Jetpack. There is some Pursuit going on, so the title of the set at least makes some partial sense. LEGO used to have a great Jetpack that were in some of the Space Port sets. They should have used that in a new color.
I hardly ever build any of the sets I buy. Mostly I take the parts and sort them out and pack them away in bags and tubs. Since I was going to the TwinLUG meeting I thought I would build one and bring it along. Maybe someone hasn't seen one. I put the whole thing together while watching something on the tube this morning. I sure didn't care for it once it was done. As I said the Jetpack, which is really a helicopter, is huge. It's ugly too. Nothing elegant about it. Agent Chase has a two sided face and some nice hair. Saw Fist has a half cyborg face. Or something like that. Might come in handy. The snowmobile is kind of large for the minifig. The motorcycle in the Swamp chase set was pretty big too. There was a nice sized snowmobile in one of the arctic sets. The Agents snowmobile is an akward vehicle to push with your hand. There's not a good grab point. The single tread does move well. That single tread works well here but it's still only one tread when you are tired of that model. There a cool painted tile with some electronics looking stuff. A few other odds and ends fill out the box with 88 parts. Not your best bargain let me tell you.
Another month come and gone. We were in the smaller of the two large meeting rooms at the Rondo Library. It's just right for a group that large. Besides me most of the regulars were there. Nathan, Roy, Alice, Max, Matt, Erik, Gary and Tom were joined by two new guys, Jeremy and ______. I knew Jeremy from the days I worked with him at DreamHaven, so I remembered his name. The other guy's name I have sadly forgotten. Can someone fill in the blank spot. I should have written it down but did not.
There was some talk of LEGO, some snacks eaten, new modules displayed, parts traded and sold. Roy is pushing for a big Micropolis display at BrickFest in Chicago in June. Since I doubt I can go this year I will have to have someone take a few modules to put out. I'll have to make due with photos sucked from the internet. If you are going, and might like to build a module, check out the Micropolis Standard from the TwinLUG website. It's the smart way of building. Right now the main module is up on the site. More complicated module ideas are being batted about for the bluff and water areas. Gary built a module that has an island and a hotel on the island. Very cool. Jeremy brought a cool urban movie theater. I'm sure many of us have favorite theaters in our towns, no matter where we live. The local favorite of me and many of my friends is The Riverview. It's got a great interior. It's a family run, second run theater that shows many different films every day. And it's only 3 bucks. A pretty good place, even if it has no LEGO in it. The meeting was over and some went to Pizza Luce and some did not.
Joe signed up for Netflix. He picked The Incredible Hulk and brought that. None of us had seen it but we were hoping it would be better than the Ang Lee film from 2003. I didn't care for that film very much and I like all sorts of crap. There were too many dads in that movie and way too much melodrama. Hulk SMASH! is why I want to see a Hulk movie. This new movie has half the dads but the one they do have is a major prick. There was some good smashing but there's still too much melodrama. Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner. He's hiding from the US military. Looking for him is William Hurt, who's also the dad of Liv Tyler, who is also Bruce's old girlfriend. Fun family dinners, huh. Hurt wants to put Banner to the chop chop to see what makes him tick. At one point we all agreed that we'd like to see The Tick leaping out over the roof tops. Too bad they never followed up with the third season of the cartoon on dvd. I never did pick up the second season dvd. Our minds were wondering. Hurt has a secret super soldier program going for the army. Really, who doesn't. He finds Bruce and the chase is on. There's a fair bit of chasing going on. There's some pretty scenery and good locations. The fight near the beginning of the movie starts with a run over the roof tops of Rocinha and ends in a bottling plant. Near the end of the movie there's a big fight with the Abomination. There's a lot of collateral damage and the fight was pretty good. There were some other bits of action, accompanied by some dramatic lulls, between the two. I did like Tim Blake Nelson as the helpful professor guy. There's talk of a sequel but not until after the 2012 Avengers movie. The Hulk was in the original Avengers. I don't know that I would pick one up now that I've seen it. It would have to be rather cheap. It is some better than the Ang Lee movie. Half the dads too.
Our second feature was Malibu High. I reviewed it a while ago. It's one of the films in the 1st Drive-In Cult Classics box.
That's Crimso Giger talkin' from France, where they are rioting and burning tires today over bonus payouts to the managers of their financial institutions. Way to go France! There's no rioting but there might be some "burning rubber" at the "Moby Dick" Spaceport. It's a pleasure destination and there's plenty of places for fun. The big ship would be the equivilent of an ocean liner. At least that's what I'm thinkin'. I'm also thinkin' it would be a naughty ocean liner. The kind Vikings would like. Bloody Vikings!
That's two of Luke Watkin's creations. The one on the left is Village Elder's Cottage and the other is Lord Diwrnach's Hunting Lodge. Yeah, I can't pronounce it either. Probably sounds like Jones. He's only got four works up on MOCpages, and one of them is just a teaser so far, but they are all real nice. You can see the other two here. There are many really nice details all over the place. Too many to list. Lots of minifig action too. Well worth a gander.
When I was at the WalMart they had this big display of $5 movies. The dvd cases were arranged on shelves. So it was easy to see the titles. Some WalMart's often have these cheap movies in a huge trough and you have to root around like a pig looking for truffles. And they aren't the good chocolately kind. Some stores treat their customers better I guess. I poked about and picked up the fatest dvd on the shelves. 20 Billy the Kid movies for $5. They were from the early 1940's. Billy the Kid was played by Buster Crabbe and Bob Steele in this series of films. This often happened and for many reasons. I like Crabbe from the Flash Gordon serials and I was interested in Bob Steele.
Buster Crabbe made 3 dozen Billy The Kid films from 1941 to 1946. They put 17 of them on this set. It's a good sampling from the beginning to the end of his run. Some of you might have seen the old serials for Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. If you haven't, you should see them, they are fun to watch. Buster Crabbe played Flash in three serials and Buck just the single time. Those are pretty much the only movies I have with Crabbe in them. He isn't in much that I really want to see, or see again. That's Al Fuzzy St John on the right. He's Billy's sidekick and comic relief machine. He does a lot of physical comedy and mugging at the camera. He's pretty good to have around but slightly annoying at times. Al plays the same character though all the series as far as I can tell. The stories are pretty much formula westerns. Some bad guys trying to take over a town or a ranch. Billy and Fuzzy ride in, clean up the bad guys, and ride out, often narrowly escaping such civilized horrors as getting married or having to go to work at a regular job.
Bob Steele played Billy from 1940 to 1941. Steele had a long and interesting 53 year career. His list of movies starts in 1920 and there are 232 more titles listed on the IMDb. One of my favorites is his portrail of Lash Canino in The Big Sleep. He's such an amazing cold evil man. I think the scene where he scares some info out of Elisha Cook Jr's Harry Jones, then makes him drink poison, is one of the most chilling scenes I have ever seen. That's what's really scary. The powerless man up against cold murderous evil. I can't wait to see Lash get gunned down by Marlowe. It was a good fight. Steele did a lot of westerns, including F Troop where he played Trooper Duffy. He was also in National Velvet, The Longest Day and The Atomic Submarine. The quality of these Billy The Kid movies is not up to that standard but they are watchable enough. The video isn't too great but what I would expect from a cheap dvd release. I doubt anyone is spending much money trying to restore these movies or trying to find the best prints to work from. Certainly well worth the $5 I paid, especially since it's going on Amazon for $15. Either way it's 18 hours and 26 minutes. Not too bad.
As someone who builds miniatures I enjoy what other people do. Train people can produce wonderful scenes with trains and houses and cars and people. Spotted around the world are big train layouts. Most big cities have one or two. You might have to look for it. Here's one that the builders claim is the largest train layout in the world. Wow. It's Miniatur Wunderland and it's pretty amazing. What lead me to their site was this video post on Bits & Pieces. That lead me over to Gizmodo where Jesus Diaz has some pictures and a link to the MW site. Diaz often writes about LEGO. Last year he had a great series of videos about his trip to the LEGO HQ and factory. MW is a huge layout at 900 square meters. Here are some numbers. Impresive, huh. The site has some video of the layout and the staff. Fun stuff to look at and watching the videos saves me a trip to Hamburg Germany and the 10 Euros to get in. Good economic sense these days.
I got the second box set watched and boy, I sure can't recommend much about it. It's really only 7 movies. I'll explain as I go along. This was also $11.49 at Amazon. I think it's $9.95 at Best Buy but I'd have to pay tax so it's only about 80 cents I'm out. Since it came in the mail I didn't have to go anywhere to pick it up. It also turns out to be the box with the most movies I already have. Half of them are in one or another of those 50 movie packs that I bought a couple of years ago. Even in the 50 movie packs there is some duplication.
I watched They Saved Hitler's Brain. It's the reason I said there are only 7 movies here. It's Madmen of Mandoras, which I watched second, with some extra footage thrown in to pad it out for TV. MoM came out in 1963 and is only 74 minutes. TSHB came out later, sometime into the 70's, and is 91 minutes. The re-title is a lie, they don't just save Hitler's brain, they save his whole head. It mugs at you during the film. That's it in the middle picture. It's in a round glass container with no top. There's some liquid in there and the whole thing sits on a device (old radio)to keep it alive. The head in the jar looks very much like the heads in jars in Futurama. The main story has a doctor being kidnapped and his daughter coming to look for him. A group of Nazi's hiding on the island of Mandoras have kidnapped the doctor to keep Hitler's head alive. The want to revive the Nazi Party and take over the world. And with all that potential the movie makers spoil it and turn in a piece of boring crap. The longer version adds some footage about a pair of secret agents which doesn't add much of anything. MoM only scores a 1.9 at the IMDb. Much deserved, though the mugging of the Hitler head is kind of funny. TSHB scores a 2.0 and it actually might be more than 5% better. Still the movies are sort of interesting from a "Look at that!" kind of POV and Hitler's head in a jar is fun.
Bloodlust! I already had. It's The Most Dangerous Game story filmed again in 1963. Some bored rich guy holes up on an island with some wild animals and a creepy servant. A boat gets stranded near the island and a pair of couples seeks shelter. Little do they know that shelter comes with a price. Before too long the truth comes out and the couples are running for their lives. Hunter guy likes to skin and mount his kills. Even the human ones. He's got a trophey room for the four legged kind and a secret cave below his house where he keeps the two legged variety. It's scores a 2.2 on the IMDb. Much better than the previous two. It's at least watchable.
Terrified was one I hadn't seen before. It's also from 1963 but a whole lot better than the previous group. A college guy is writing a paper on terror and the human mind when he's caught up in some real life terror. Some masked guy is scaring and killing people. That's pretty much it. There's a lot of talking and not too much else. Some running about in a ghost town near the end got a bit exciting. Like a good strong cup of tea. There's a bit of a twist at the end when the masked man is exposed. It gets a 4.8 on the IMDb.
The Creeping Terror was another title that's included in a couple of the 50 movie packs. It's not a bad film, it's an awful film. MST3K used it in the 6th season and it's often called one of the worst films of all time. It gets a nice 1.7 on the IMDb. An alien spaceship lands. An alien gets out and slowly crawls around eating people until it is killed. The monster is a poorly made puppet with 2 or 3 guys inside moving it around. Victims have to literally crawl into it to be eaten. There is nearly no dialog, and what there is, is poorly done. There's a lot of narration. It's just a poorly made film. There isn't any reason to watch it. No good actors, no good creatures, no good story. Just a no good movie. I think I have 5 copies of it. That's fucked up.
I hadn't seen Land of the Minotaur. It's a 1976 movie with Donald Pleasence and Peter Cushing that was also called The Devil's Men. The second title kind of sums it up. Devil cultists who sacrifice young men and women. Mostly they prey on tourists who come to Greece. Who really misses those people? Relatives in other countries that's who. Some of them come looking for a missing person or two. The strangers throw a monkey wrench into the cult's plans and things fall apart. Most everyone gets killed and in what seems much longer than 88 minutes the movie is over. There's a longer version that has more nudity and gore. There is also original music by Brian Eno. I can't remember much about it. It gets a 4.0 on the IMDb.
The Hearse is a haunting story from 1980. It's on one of those 50 movie packs. I still watched it again. This was a better print than the copy I had. It doesn't help much. A young woman moves from the city to a small town when she inherits her Aunt's house. The people in the town think the house is haunted and the aunt was a witch who worshipped the Devil. The young woman doesn't believe them so you know it's true. The witch has left her evil spirit behind and the young woman gets that stuck inside her. Yucck! Joseph Cotton plays a bastard lawyer. I think he gets run over by the hearse of the title. He was a jerk. He needed getting run over. The Hearse is kind of slow movin' and borin' at times. Not anything happening, uninteresting conversation. Some rare startle or creepy bit thrown in. The hearse turning up to scare our heroine. The end kind of poops out and the movie is over. It scores a 3.4 on the IMDb.
The Devil's Hand was also on one of those 50 movie packs. Might be the best of this lot, but I still don't need two. It gets a 4.3 on the IMDb. Some guy takes his girlfriend for a walk and they see dolls in a doll store that look just like them. The guy joins a devil cult. It seemed to happen just that fast. I'm stayin' out of doll stores. He has to fight his way out of the cult and rescue his girl. Not a great movie by any reconing, it's watchable and occasionally creepy. Shot in the late 50's the movie was released in 1962, so it's rather tame compared to todays fare. You can see a review and some pictures here. You can see the whole movie here after a commercial.