Wednesday, April 27, 2005

L.O.T.R.: Return of the King - Aragorn doll

To someone who hasn’t seen the Lord of the Rings films it might be hard to understand all of the fanaticism associated with the immensely popular series.  I’ve seen the movies and absolutely loved them.  With the exception of the DVD releases, and a calendar, I’ve stayed away from the merchandising frenzy.  But, when browsing through the aisles at the local Target store, I stumbled upon this gem on clearance.

Aragorn, and as it proudly states many times, is in “authentically styled fabric outfit”.  This isn’t your standard action figure, and there’s a slew available.  This is a doll, for all intents and purposes, complete with accessories and a ridiculously detailed costume.  Hell, this toy is better dressed than me!

Although not my favorite character in the films, Aragorn is undoubtedly one of the most important in the entire story.  Plus, the chicks dig him, too.  This picture shows Toy Biz’s recreation of his ruggedly handsome exterior.

Posed amidst the wilderness, this doll continues to look even more lifelike when modeled in natural environments.

I decided to let the doll be free, and just like Aragorn’s roots in adventure would suggest, he begin a trek across my backyard.

He finally tired and decided to take a breather at the rock garden.  A few moments later a little girl wearing suspenders walked up.

Little Girl: Excuse me, could you point be in the direction of Payless Shoes?

Aragorn: What do I look like, little one?  I know of no such a place, and of this much I am certain.

Little Girl: What are you doing?

Aragorn: I, my little friend, am on an adventure of unparalleled proportions.

Little Girl: Whatever.

Overall Grade: B+ 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mystique – Vol. #2 – Tinker, Tailor, Mutant, Spy

A lot of people got introduced to the character of Mystique for the first time in the hit film X-Men, but comic fans have been familiar with her for quite sometime.  This graphic novel contains issues #7 through #13 of Mystique, written by Brian K. Vaughn.  The series as a whole reminds me a lot of the Marvel Knights series Elektra, as far as pacing and the feel.  Mystique, a blue shape-shifting femme fatale, does it all… from tracking down an apocalyptic bioweapon, to teasing romantic possibilities, to a handful of exciting chases and fights.  This book is fast and fun; the writing and artwork aren’t breathtaking, but they’re not bad either.  If you’re looking into giving a new comic series a shot, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse.

Overall Grade: B 

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mistic Sparkling - Raspberry Boysenberry

The name Mistic Sparkling itself is a little mysterious, and I'm certain I am not the only one who has never heard of a boysenberry.  Regardless, for fifty cents I thought I could do a lot worse than procuring myself a beverage for the evening, so I threw down some pocket change and took the precious liquid back to my lair.

Upon closer examination the description still read "Boysenberry".  Yes, indeed.  I'm guessing the boysenberry is that brownish object in the center, a close relative to the New Jersey native "Dingleberry".

But, all of that aside it was finally time to put my assumptions to the side and get down to business.  I opened up the bottle and started chugging.  And check this out; I actually liked what I was drinking!  Now, as a writer for this website, I've often been asked to write reviews on some pretty ridiculous and downright horrible food items.  So, when I got this drink for a couple measly quarters I wasn't expecting bottled utopia.  Fuck the lost city of Atlantis, just point me in the direction of the boysenberries and I'll be on my way.

Would you believe it?  Even a cartoon caricature of me enjoys drinking this stuff.

Believe it or not, I'm going to stick by my grade on this one.  The drink sort of reminded me of the new Sprite Remix, and for a fraction of the price it's a veritable steal.  I kept the drink alongside me while I was working on some other stuff related to the site, and it was refreshing until the final drop.  The bottom line, it's a bargain and I'll be searching for more Mistic Sparkling flavors to try.

Overall Grade: A 

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Peanuts - Spooky Mask & Tart Candy Necklace

So, I was sitting around the other day reflecting on Halloween and pondering October in general.  What a great time.  But, like a glum elf, I wasn't quite in the spirit.  So, I pooled my resources and came upon something that just might stir that ghostly aura.

Here it is!  I've grown quite fond of the Peanuts family the past two years, going back and re-watching some of the original cartoons made me realize the true genius behind them.  Now I was set to see if their merchandise did the original source material justice.

On the left you'll see the spooky mask.  I'm not really spooked at this point.  First off, we've got Snoopy whose dressed like a pirate whose smiling at us from inside a castle.  Shouldn't he be on a pirate ship, or wearing a vampire get-up to go with the scenery?  And while we're at it, shouldn't he be trying to look frightening and nefarious, instead of cheerful?  Plus, we've got a few bats that look more like bowling shoes than anything.

On the right is the tart candy necklace.  Actually, you get two, which is pretty swell.  Although not the tastiest treat, it's not particularly bad either.  I don't think I'll finish eating these, though.  Wait, that gives me an idea!

Now we're talking!  That's right, motherfuckers!  Halloween fashion!  Ta-da!  Look at me, now I'm feeling the spooky sensations tingling through my body, coursing through my veins like heroin through Courtney Love.  But, suddenly my enthusiasm faltered when I started feeling insanely ghastly.  After wearing the mask for a few mere seconds, it altered my molecular structure and I became something akin to a vampire..

Stupid fangs.

What the hell? I love Peanuts, but this isn't really that special.  I like the mask, I'm keeping it around, although as I stated above it's heavy on the flaws.  I'll donate the candy necklaces to the local street bums, not as food, but as cool styling accessory pieces.

Overall Grade: C+ 

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Golden Bowl - Fortune Cookies

Today I’m going to take a look at Golden Bowl fortune cookies.  Released by Wonton Food, Inc. out of Brooklyn, New York.

Now, I have no idea where this came from, nor why it has laid around my room uneaten for months.  Regardless, I felt it was my duty to delve deeper and report my findings.  Here you see the cookie itself, appearing harmlessly enough.  I’ve always thought fortune cookies had a cool design, sort of like a half-moon or a seashell.

This thing was unfortunately too stale to still be edible.  However, I did learn something. “Liu-yue” is Chinese for “June”.  Let’s see if I can incorporate that in the proper context.  My brother was born in Liu-yue.  Let’s try another one.  I ate the corpse of a prostitute in Pittsburgh last Liu-yue.  That’s got a nice ring to it.

Overall Grade: C- 

Friday, April 22, 2005

Spike Lee by Alex Patterson

This book isn’t good.  Let me air my major complaint first and foremost.  This guy, Alex Patterson, who wrote this crud, couldn’t get Spike to grant him an interview.  In the prologue, he says there will be “no armchair-psychologist blather” in the book.  Now, those things being said, this entire book is nothing but general information about Spike and his films, mixed with, you guessed it… armchair-psychologist blather!  Although he’ll throw in the occasional compliment and praise, the writer spends a lot of time questioning Spike’s artistic choices and personal behavior.  If you’re genuinely interested in learning about Spike, whom I feel is a brilliant director, look elsewhere because this unauthorized book isn’t balanced whatsoever and isn’t worth the time.

Overall Grade: D- 

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Lone Star Steakhouse (Franklin, OH)

I need to say right off the bat this placed sucked.  I would have saved money dining at the local cemetery.  That outrageous bashing out of the way let me tell you exactly why this experience wasn’t that enjoyable.  We never intended on eating here; after getting lost the restaurant we were supposed to be eating dinner at had already closed so I figured… a steakhouse has got to be an easy B+, right?  Wrong!

Hands down this was the worst and most incompetent service I had eating all year.  After being seated, nobody helped us for almost one hour.  Once we ordered the staff again disappeared, and I noticed an odd trend of waiters apologizing to patrons at several nearby tables.  The bread was average, but the salad was real good… one of the better house salads I’ve had.  That about does it in the compliment department.  Our waiter screwed up both of our orders.  My girlfriend wanted a bowl of soup, they gave her a cup; and I wanted my steak well done, but it was pinker than the inside of a… well, I’ll stop there.  The place reeked, too… I don’t mind saying.

The bottom line… we waited almost two hours to eat crappy food.  Don’t make the same mistake!

Overall Grade: D- 

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Robocop: The Series – Pudface

Pudface?  That name will forever be cemented in my skull… and somebody deserves thanks for that.  When I saw this lonely little guy sitting in a toy store that was going out of business, I decided I must bring him to a new home… my home.  Make yourself at home; Pudface… there’s sandwiches in the fridge and fresh towels in the restroom.

I guess Robocop: The Series aired on TV starting in 1994, not that I ever bothered watching it.  Don’t lie… you didn’t either.  No hard feelings though, even devout fans of the movies thought the show was lame.  Pudface, dubbed Robocop’s “arch nemesis” on his package, looks like a pretty tough guy. I mean, who’d want to mess with a guy with a pistol tucked in his pants, and a red tie with white polka dots adorned proudly?

This man’s face is… gross, and his yellow shirt doesn’t help matters much.  I’d like to talk about his weapons, too.  We’ve got a sniper rifle, which seems like general villain fare.  Next, his weapon of choice is a missile launcher… wait, a missile launcher?  Damn!  What does he need that for?  Is he fighting an entire army?  I mean, how can he even get in close proximity to an enemy to fire that monstrosity, and how does he move it around?  Pudface, dude… come on, don’t tell me you’ve got wheels attached to your missile launcher?

In closing, there’s something about this nasty little gangster that I find oddly charming.  Perhaps it’s the fedora, or fingerless gloves, but regardless he’s won my heart.  Pudface, you revoltingly disgusting public menace… next time I shoot a missile launcher I’ll be thinking of you.

Overall Grade: A 

TMNT: Battle Nexus – Ultimate Daimyo

First off, let me just state… Ultimate Daimyo rocks balls.  In the cartoon, Daimyo, close friend of Splinter, is a centuries old victor of ancient battles, and now oversees the famed Battle Nexus fighting tournaments.  His son, Ultimate Ninja, is a disgraceful little shit, and we’ll leave it at that.

This character and his subsequent action figure… where do I begin?  Let’s look at his accessories, shall we?  First off, let’s talk about his War Staff of Ultimate Power… not just any power, my friends; ultimate power bitch!  Any dude able to carry a staff of that magnitude is a hero in my book.  The back of the package points at other nice points; such as his ceremonial cape, setta (sandals), battle kimono, warrior’s waist belt, and my personal favorite… his mystical mane!  How cool is that?  Even his hair has power!  Lastly, you’ve got to mention the three Mempo Masks from the Ancient Gallery.  Kids, forget your papier-mâché Halloween masks… if you really want to scare someone, pop on one of those bad boys!  Booyah.

To sum all of this up… I love this figure.  He’s not very mobile; in fact, the toy is pretty stiff and basic.  The accessories really make it, though, especially the masks and the goofy hair.  This character, admittedly not the most popular or well known is actually an integral piece of the storyline on the cartoon, and I was glad to see a figure be produced.  I love you Ultimate Daimyo.

Do not make any Don King jokes… unless you want kicked in the throat.

Overall Grade: A+ 

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Review the World Opening Party!

(If my memory serves me correct, this article and these pictures are originally from October of 2003.  When Review the World 1.0 was released, my then partner and co-creator Nick and I baked a cake to celebrate the grand occasion.  I dusted off this piece, and thought you’d all enjoy it.)

Brian: So, whilst walking around a dilapidated dollar store Nick shot out the idea we bake a cake in true celebratory fashion of the website finally starting.  He bought the cake mix and I assured him I had icing at my house.  Well, I didn't.  So I went to my Grandmother's house and she gave me not one, not two, but three separate ridiculously expired and molded cans of sweet death.  So, we ended up being crafty and whipping up our own tasty blend of icing, which unlike popular rumor did not include any types of animal semen whatsoever, so you can call off the Internet poll.

Nick: In celebration of the start of the website, Brian and I decided to bake a cake. In true fashion to ourselves, we added our own touch to the cake. The icing was homemade, and more sweet than anything I've ever had in my life.

Nick: We couldn't help but add a couple of little figurines to mix things up a bit.

Brian: We sent out invites to several popular media outlets but absolutely nobody came to our little shindig.  So, instead we lined our cake with some toys for aesthetic purposes and to make us feel a little less lonely inside.

Nick: E.T. looks as if he just escaped from being held captive at a Justin Timberlake concert.

Brian: Either that, or Superman behind him was shooting him with a little of his patented “heat vision” on that alien ass.

Nick: Qui-Gon Jin was so scared of us, he pissed himself right on the cake. That's really uncool. Especially for a Jedi.

Brian: Hey, I made a funny.  “Qui-Gon Jinn’s got nut on his chin!  Qui-Gon Jinn’s got nut on his chin!”  Haha!

Nick: You don't get the greatest view of him, but Superman is on there over-seeing all the details. He was the easiest one to get to stay on the cake.

Brian: We all know Kal-El from the planet Krypton can get lonesome sometimes.  You would too if not only your family, but your entire planet exploded into dust particles floating through space.  We figured we’d cheer him up and serenade him with a couple impromptu Tina Turner songs and a big piece of cake.  Let’s just say it did the trick..

Brian: Here Nick exhibits his mastery with the knife while I search for a diaper for Qui-Gon.

Nick: You can't tell me that you wouldn't love to have a piece of this cake. It was quite delectable.

Nick: Here you can see me getting ready to have my first bite while wearing my newewst Halloween hat.

Brian: At this point I was hungry enough to eat your swank new hat.

Brian: And, here I am indulging myself in the sugary goodness that was our inaugural attempt at making a dessert.  On the second picture I got a little reckless, and started cramming the cake into my mouth Wedding cake style.  Maybe the reference would have gone off a little smoother if I were wearing a white dress.

Nick: What else can I say, welcome to Review the World!

Brian: Yes, I’m even going to review our party.  Although the attendance was low, the energy was up.  After a few drinks of vodka E.T. was telling us of some of his sexual exploits from yesteryear.  I hear bootleg copies of his drunken rant are now making their way across flea markets and Internet auctions.  The creation of the cake wasn’t necessarily easy, but the end product was solid and to our chagrin and pure surprise it actually tasted rather pleasant.  The party was thrown together at the absolute last minute, but with more time I know we’d have gone the extra mile and really took it over the top.  For what it was I can’t complain, and think maybe Nick should take a break from writing for this website to pursue a career in the culinary arts because his cooking was astonishing.

Overall Grade: A-