The Great Wall – The Official Movie Novelization

One of the “Wonders of the World” is the Great Wall in China.  Why was this gigantic wall built?  It was to keep out evil monsters that appear every 60 years.  This is the big budget East/West production by Legendary Pictures directed by award-winning Zhang Yimou.  “The Great Wall” stars Matt Damon as the mercenary William Garin.

In search for fame and riches, mercenary William Garin and his men find themselves in remote China.  His remaining men are tired and hungry after days of being hunted down by bandits in the region.  As they rest for the night, they encounter a mysterious creature.  William is able to fend off the beast by cutting its talon off.  William and fellow survivor Pero Tovar stumble upon the amazing gigantic structure – the Great Wall.

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The Assignment Vol. #1

From the Hard Case Crime imprint, this collects the 3 issues of Walter Hill’s The Assignment.  With the upcoming movie starring Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this trade paperback.

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A Look into the Weta Workshop

One of the things New Zealand is known for is the Weta Workshop.  They world’s premiere movie making special effects and design studio.  Adam Savage from Tested got a taste of their magic for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie with the Major’s iconic thermal silicone suit.

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The Great Wall – The Art of the Film

thegreatwallbookThis weekend Legendary Pictures releases one of their big films of the year into the multiplexes – The Great Wall starring Matt Damon.  Suppose the Great Wall in China was not just built to defend from the human element but also “monsters.”  Actor Matt Damon and the all-star Chinese cast look to defend the Great Wall and humanity from these evil beasts.  Titan Books official companion guide The Great Wall – The Art of the Film takes a behind-the-scenes at the epic production.

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Viral Video Friday: Seis Manos

seismanosThis animated trailer looks intriguing.  This takes place on the border town of San Simon, Mexico late 1970s.  A Chinese immigrant Chiu Lee Man takes in 3 orphan kids who he mentors and trains in way of martial arts.  When he is murdered, the 3 kids: Silencio, Isabela, and Jesus team up with a DEA Agent and Federale officer to seek revenge against the cartel.

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xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xandercage“You know how I came up with the idea of the Triple-X program?  Skateboards and swimming pools.”  (Augustus Gibbons)

I remember watching the first Triple-X in theaters and I had to say, I enjoyed watching the Vin Diesel popcorn flick.  Bypassing Ice Cube’s xXx sequel, like Brett Ratner’s X-Men 3, Vin Diesel reprises his role as super punk-rock agent Xander Cage.  I now find myself reading xXx:  Return of Xander Cage – The Official Movie Novelization and just maybe watching this Fast and the Furious wannabe at the multiplexes.

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Mondo’s Marvel Netflix Vinyl Soundtracks

mon03mon04Call me an old fart, but I love my compact discs and vinyl records!  I miss going to the various Tower Records in SF and exploring the import section at the Virgin Megastore on Market Street.  Specialty retailer Mondo known for their movie tribute posters and vinyl OSTs will sell vinyl LP soundtracks from the popular Marvel Netflix shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.  The Mondo releases feature awesome artwork and packaging.

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Frankie’s Garage: Hot Wheels Ford Fiesta Drift Short

snowkhana5legohotwheelsIt’s Snowkhana 5!  This fun stop-motion short film has the Hot Wheels 1/64 scale die-cast car drifting around toy town.

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Viral Video Friday: Hulkbuster vs Hulk Animated Fan Short

animatedhulkbusterDo you want to watch Iron Man duke it out Hulk?  This reminds me of a Tekken-like animated battle.  This animated fan short Iron Man Gamma Protocol is by Anthony McGrath.  Iron Man puts on the Hulkbuster suit to battle Hulk at a deserted gas station in a small town.  The animation looks awesome.

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Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series

batmanclassictvseriesI remember watching the 1960s Batman TV show with my grandfather in our living room.  We would have a blast watching these reruns.  Now to celebrate this iconic TV program, Titan Books has released Batman – A Celebration of the Classic TV Series.

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Frankie’s Garage: The Nissan Rogue One X-Wing SUV

starwarsrogueonenissan

Photo: Invision for Nissan

Like the Hot Wheels X-Wing Carship, at the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story red carpet event, Nissan also had their Rogue SUV outfitted to look like a X-Wing fighter.  The Nissan Rogue SUV was painted to look like the iconic X-Wing with jet engines and laser blasters fitted onto the sides of the car.  And to top it off, an R2 Droid sat on top.

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Star Trek: 50 Artists 50 Years

startrek50I remember watching this “old” Star Trek TV series as a kid.  “Trek” didn’t really resonate with me until Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager TV series.  Over time I went back to watch this original Star Trek series and films with the original cast.  This year mark the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series and this poster size hardbound title Star Trek 50 Artists 50 Years celebrates the iconic sci-fi TV program.

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Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur’s Cookbook by Janice Poon

hanniballcoverI’ve stated many times before when I watch K-Dramas, I get Korean cuisine cravings.  Watching a cute petite actress eat Jjangmyun (black bean sauce noodles), Mandu (meat dumplings), Bulgogi (BBQ beef) or Dukbokki (spicy rice cakes) just makes me hungry to munch on something.  Now back to the topic at hand, the NBC psycho-drama Hannibal.  Question, have you seen the past 3 seasons of Hannibal?  If not, go stream it somewhere!  Besides the incredible acting and visual images, it was also about the deadly appetizing food on the show.

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The Art and Making of The Flash

flashtvshowWith season 3 of The Flash under way on the CW Network, fans will enjoy the companion guide, The Art and Making of The Flash by Abbie Bernstein.  Critics and fans alike may nick pick here and there, but for me it’s an enjoyable escapism.  I’m a huge fan of the CW DC superhero universe and make it an appointment television to watch.  One of my favorite shows is of course The Flash and The Art and Making of The Flash takes fans behind-the-scenes.

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Black Ranger Actor Walter Jones

dsc_0068Actor Walter Jones played Zack Taylor aka Black Ranger during the 1990s run of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on TV.  Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews Walter on being part of the Power Rangers history and advice for the new Power Rangers.

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Fans Owning A Superhero Production Company

dsc_0068With social media bringing fans and Hollywood closer together.  Super fans have diehard ideas and stories.  Legion M gives fans ownership and involvement with TV/movie production.  Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews Legion M’s Terri Lubaroff about the company and crowdfunding process.

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Flash Gordon Actor Sam Jones

dsc_0068Actor Sam Jones is known for playing the iconic fictional character Flash Gordon.  Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews Sam Jones about his career and Seth MacFarlane’s TED film appearances.

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Pokemon Theme Song Singer Jason Paige

dsc_0068“Got to catch them all!”  You probably heard this song in your lifetime.  The voice behind the song is actor/singer Jason Paige.  Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews the Pokemon Theme song singer Jason about the song, his other commercial jingles and upcoming projects from Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con.

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Kenan & Kel – Actor Kel Mitchell

dsc_0068Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews Nickelodeon actor Kel Mitchell at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con.  Kel talks about his past television work and upcoming projects.

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Beast Boy Voice Actor Greg Cipes

dsc_0068If you remember watching Teen Titans and the popular character Beast Boy, he was voiced by actor Greg Cipes.  Ramen host Eddie Ballar interviews Greg at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con.

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The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition

sk002One of most iconic filmmaker in our generation was director Stanley Kubrick.  His films stood out for being strange, weird and visually artistic.  He did not make mainstream flicks like director Steven Spielberg or summer popcorn fluff like Michael Bay, Stanley Kubrick was unique.  This was the last week of “The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, so being cinema fans here at Retrenders, we stopped by the museum.

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Cinema Alchemist, A Memoir – Roger Christian

cinemaalcoverImagine yourself in 1970s Hollywood and you’re on set meeting a nobody director at the time George Lucas, who is wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and sneakers.  He talks to you about this secret script named Star Wars.  What would do?  This was before so-called “Hollywood blockbusters”, before movie franchises, before green screens, and before SFX studios like ILM.  Roger Christian accepted the gig and of course, the rest is history.  Cinema Alchemist, Designing Star Wars & Alien is a memoir by Oscar-winning Roger Christian.

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Stranger Things Eleven Action Figure

specialedtoys11boxIf you have not watch Netflix’s Stranger Things, I suggest you do.  Get a Netflix account and then binge watch Stranger Things!  I was hoping Super 7 or something would do a ReAction line, but for now – Special Ed Toys and toy artist George Gaspar aka couchgrouch produced this cool Eleven action figure.  The action figure also comes with that 1980s-style toy packaging.

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Arrow: Oliver Queen’s Dossier

arrowcoverJust in time for Arrow Season 5 on the CW Network.  This companion book is Oliver Queen’s Dossier, it is Oliver’s notes and clippings on his battle to fight crime in Starling City.

img_1667Oliver gathers up newspaper clippings, government documents, images, blueprints and maps while writing down his notes and opinions on post-its.  The dossier profiles allies, friends and enemies.  The book also provides information on weapons and vehicles used on the show.

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Dance Photography by Al Morales

al-morales-photography-11Al Morales has been focused on the art of dance photography these past two years.  Al has gravitated to doing most of his photography with professional dancers. He didn’t think twice about the idea, because he himself was a former dancer the last two decades. Here is a glimpse of his passion for dance photography with Rachel Winter from San Jose CA, a Studio Company Dancer at The New Ballet School.

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