Steampunk Connection (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Director Annie Deniel’s “Steampunk Connection” will likely be admired in the same vein as “Trekkies,” in that it examines a strong fan movement that allows people to connect through a broad scope of science fiction. It’s also been integrated in to their everyday lives and for many of them, the art form of Steampunk has allowed them to grow as people, and realize their potential in mediums like mechanics, engineering, and fashion. If there is anything that may push audiences away is that director Deniel digs so deep in to the following that it’s almost too niche for a broader audience.

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Five Favorite Spider-Man Costumes

Not many younger comic book fans know this today, but back in the eighties and nineties, Spider-Man was basically Marvel’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. He was their mascot who often showed up just about everywhere and had a wider appeal with younger fans than most of the Marvel gallery. He was in “The Electric Company,” had his own TV crime thriller, and even adorned the logo for Marvel Productions in the 1980’s. With all the issues of trademarks and rights that kept him in limbo for a long time, Spider-Man is as popular as ever once again. He’s even winning Oscars! While I’m not a hardcore fan, I respect the character a great deal.

In honor of Spider Man Day, I list five of my favorite alternate costumes for the character. And that was no small feat, as Spider-Man has donned almost a hundred different costumes.

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Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997) [Blu-Ray]

By 1997 the “Power Rangers” had reached the nadir of their popularity and with the appeal of the franchise dying down as fans grew older, “Turbo” was a last gasp cash grab. It didn’t just bring the old and new Rangers (for the most part, anyway) to the big screen, but it also rebooted the Power Rangers in to a auto-centric kind of Power Rangers team that would do nothing but go downhill from here.

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Riot Girls (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

I wasn’t too interested in the premise of “Riot Girls” upon first glance, but it inevitably won me over with its execution and I came to appreciate (and kind of love) how fun and unique it was. The whole idea of high school cliques becoming the tribes of the post-apocalypse is rife for satire, and Jovanka Vuckovic has a great time with her concept. “Riot Girls” is both a teen drama comedy, and a fun bit of post apocalyptic fodder that you could easily digest right down to the last bite. I loved the whole punk rock, pulp comic book aesthetic, and the way it embraces its fantasy trappings like “The Warriors” did long ago.

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Lake Michigan Monster (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Some indie films are like inside jokes that you almost have to have some knowledge about to get. I get “Lake Michigan Monster.” I do. It has the best of intentions, it’s a home grown bare bones budgeted action monster movie, and it pays tribute to Michigan the best that it can. But in the end I was happier that “Lake Michigan Monster” was barely eighty minutes in length than I was watching the movie altogether.

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Critters Attack! (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

It’s been slim pickings for fans of “Critters” and it’s a shame that even after this film, there’s still not a lot of options for us. We’re either stuck with “The New Binge” which was nigh unwatchable, or “Critters Attack!” which is quite boring and defeats the whole idea of a sequel by dodging everything that makes these movies so fun. It even wastes the idea of a friendly Crite named Bianca by making the monster some aimless prop. Let’s just say Gizmo is in no threat of being dethroned as cutest monster ever.

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Five Fun Ways to Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of “Plan 9 From Outer Space”

On July 22nd, the 60th anniversary of “Plan 9 from Outer Space” will be celebrated by horror fans and movie buffs alike, and it’s a celebration I hope you partake in. Ed Wood’s science fiction horror film is notorious for being branded “the worst film ever made,” but through and through it’s proven to be a film that’s so bad it’s quite great. With the Ed Wood classic hitting its 60th, I recommend five ways you can celebrate the anniversary and honor the auteur we once knew we Edward Wood Jr.

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Shazam! (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

One of the most family friendly and outright entertaining superhero features of the year, “Shazam!” is a movie that will appeal to children of all walks of life. It’s a movie that promotes the power of family, promotes the appeal of adopted families, and explores the effects of bullying and toxic masculinity. “Shazam!” is one of the bigger surprises of 2019 as the DCEU keeps delivering on entertaining and bright action features that spotlight the lesser explored and rarely discovered characters from the DC Comics stable.

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