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2011 News Archive


12/31/11 - 2011: The Year in Review
As 2011 comes to an end, it's time to take a look back at all the Hollywood car-happenings that took place throughout the year.  As we already discussed (below) it was a great year for car movies, with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Fast Five and Drive enjoying varying levels of commercial and/or critical success.  In toy stores, Johnny Lightning continued releasing "unofficial" star cars, GreenLight gave us dioramas and TWO new Hollywood series, Mattel's Cars line disappeared from shelves to make room for Cars 2 product, and Mattel continued to give us entertainment-related cars in its Hot Wheels main line.  All this and much, much more as we take a stroll down memory lane and look back at the the year 2011.  CLICK HERE


12/29/11 - KITT Confirmed for 2012
Photos of KITT from Knight Rider have surfaced on a website called www.t-hunted.com, confirming that it will be included as part of Mattel's Hot Wheels main line in 2012.  It was rumored to have been included in 2011, but was replaced by the van from The A-Team.  Unfortunately, the wheels aren't very accurate.  For accurate wheels you'll have to pick up Johnny Lightning's 1984 Pontiac Firebird. 



2011 Hallmark Ornament - 1966 Batmobile

12/24/11 - Merry Christmas from Hollywood Die-Cast!
Before I head off to spend the holiday with family, I just want to wish everyone who visits this website Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!  May your stocking runneth over with toy cars and goodies!  As the new year approaches, we'll take a look back at all that's happened in the world of Hollywood cars and toys in 2011. 


12/22/11 - An Homage to Director John Lasseter
I know I've neglected my duties in reporting new Cars 2 news, but frankly, there hasn't been much to report.  Mattel really hasn't bombarded the toy aisles with new product since the release of the first few waves, unlike the FIRST movie, when it seemed like new releases hit stores almost every month.  Since the initial frenzy back in May, the only new characters to hit stores were found in gift sets and multi-packs, which was a little frustrating.  Not many parents want to buy a gift set that includes many characters they've already bought, only to get one new character.  However, stopping into a K-Mart store near work, I found something I just couldn't pass up.  Pictured above, left, is a two-pack I've never seen before.  The two-pack includes Jeff Gorvette and John Lassetire.  That's right.  Mattel has FINALLY paid tribute to the director of the Cars movies, John Lasseter, with his own character.  Very cool.  I also picked up the Francesco Bernoulli two-pack, which includes his crew chief decked out in Italy's red, green and white colors, since K-Mart was holding a Buy One, Get the Second Half Off sale.


12/19/11 - A Very Hot Wheels Christmas
Waaaaay back in April Mattel solicited orders from Red Line Club Members for a retro version of Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters.  Well, today I got an early Christmas present in the mail.  Complete with "chrome-plated chassis, newly formulated Spectraflame color and Neo-Classics wheels" this thing is jaw-dropping.  It'll go nicely with the RLC retro Batmobile that shipped in October of 2008 (below.)


12/17/11 - Top Grossing Car Movies of 2011
Well, as 2011 winds down it's time to start looking back at the year that was.  2011 was a pretty great year for car movies.  Which ones came out on top at the box office and which ones sputtered?  Let's take a look at the domestic grosses for car movies that came out during the year:

2.

$352 million

Released in July, Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the second-highest grossing film of 2011, behind the final Harry Potter film.  In my opinion, (and most seem to agree) it was the best entry in the Transformers series.  Surprisingly, it ranks second in the series, behind Revenge of the Fallen, which topped $400 million in 2009.

6.

$209 million

Fast Five opened HUGE in April with an $86 million weekend, thanks, in part, to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson joining the cast.  And like the movie mentioned above, most agree it was the best in the franchise so far.  It went on to gross over $200 million to become the highest earner, passing 2009's Fast & Furious.

7.

$191 million

The long-awaited sequel to Pixar's Cars finally hit theaters in June and was greeted by fair to poor reviews.  Most called it Pixar's weakest effort and although it ranks #7 for 2011, it ranks #11 among Pixar's top-grossing films, surpassing only A Bug's Life.  Personally, I thought it was very entertaining.

10.

$176 million

Although some would argue Captain America isn't a "car" movie, it did feature some great action sequences, including a James Bond-like motorcycle chase.  It ranked #10 for the year, which surprises me, because it was, by far, my favorite movie of the year.  It was topped by Thor, but fared better than X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern.

30.

$98 million

On January 14, Seth Rogen's version of The Green Hornet arrived in theaters to generally poor reviews.  It was great to see The Black Beauty on the big screen, but let's face it, Seth Rogen is no Van Williams.

82.

$34 million

My SECOND favorite movie of the year didn't fare too well at the box office.  Drive only nabbed $34 million to rank #82 for the year, despite positive reviews.  Ryan Gosling was terrific as the mechanic by day, getaway driver by night.  Although a little too ultra-violent for some people's tastes, it was one of the most stylish movies of the year, and featured a hypnotic soundtrack. 

89. $29 million

What would a Top Car Movies list be without an appearance by Jason Statham?  Statham is one of my favorite action heroes, but unfortunately, his movies don't fare too well at the box office.  Released way back in January, The Mechanic only brought in $29 million to finish at #89.  Statham's top-grossing movie so far was 2003's The Italian Job ($106 million.)

130. $10.7 million

And finally, Nicholas Cage's Drive Angry 3D just flat out tanked at the box office, netting just under $11 million following its release in February.  I have to admit, although not a great movie, it did have some campy appeal.  Give it a chance on DVD if you haven't seen it yet.

Again, 2011 was a pretty great year for car movies, featuring some very entertaining and high-grossing movies.  How is 2012 shaping up?  Well, the most anticipated film of 2012 appears to be the final Batman installment The Dark Knight Rises, which I'm sure will be the highest grossing film of the year.  Among those battling to come in second to Batman will be:  The Ghost Rider sequel (2/17); another Bourne movie, The Bourne Legacy (8/3) will surely feature some amazing car chases; Expendables 2 boasts a cast that makes this installment look even better than the first one; and finally, Liam Neeson returns for the sequel to 2008's surprise hit Taken which will arrive in theaters in October of 2012.  See you at the movies!  (Thanks to www.boxofficemojo.com for the information used above.)


12/4/11 - "California, Here We Come!"
My thanks goes out to Bruce who brought this to my attention.  Since I started collecting Hollywood die-cast cars, my Wish List has dwindled down to a handful of cars.  One of those near the top of my Wish List is the '55 Pontiac Star Chief featured in TV show I Love Lucy, driven across country by the Ricardos and Mertzes on their way to Los Angeles.  It seems my wish has come true, at least in 1:18 scale.  Sun Star has released a beautiful die-cast version of the car in Nautilus Blue/White Mist, complete with removable figures of the Ricardos and Mertzes.  It's a little pricey at around $100, but this is a MUST-HAVE for my collection.  The episodes where Lucy and the gang visit Los Angeles are my favorites, and are the reason I have such a love for Hollywood.


11/27/11 - Holy Multipack, Batman!
I haven't had much luck finding Mattel's DC die-cast cars in my area, and now I find out there's yet another thing I haven't found.  Arturo Garcia of San Antonio sent me images of a Batman 4-pack he found at his local WalMart.  It includes die-cast vehicles sporting artwork of Batman, Robin, Penguin & Catwoman.  This is DEFINITELY on my Christmas Wish List!


11/27/11 - Cars Director's Edition
If you're looking for that perfect gift for the Cars fan in your family, look no further than this incredible collection of DVDs that includes Cars, Cars 2 & Mater's Tall Tales.  As an added bonus, you'll also get a die-cast version of John Lassetire, named after director John Lasseter and member of Jeff Gorvette's pit crew.


11/8/11 - GreenLight Hollywood:  The Sequel
Stopping into a local Meijer store, I stumbled onto 5 of the 6 vehicles that make up the second release of GreenLight's Hollywood series.  Pictured above, from left, is Reggie's Pontiac GTO from the 1977 film Slap Shot, Kevin's Pontiac GTO Judge and Benny's Chevrolet Cheyenne from the 1993 movie Dazed & Confused, Rio Police Dodge Charger from Fast Five, and Gibb's Dodge Challenger from NCIS.  Missing from the pegs was Bandit's Trans-Am from Smokey & The Bandit II.  It's an interesting assortment of cars, with Bandit's Trans-Am probably proving the most popular of this assortment, even though the second installment of the Bandit series is mediocre at best.  Slap Shot ranks among the greatest sports comedies ever made, so I don't mind the inclusion of Reggie's (Paul Newman) Pontiac GTO, although I don't remember the car from the movie (it's been a while since I've seen it.)  The Dazed & Confused vehicles are well done and will be popular with collectors.  There are several others cars from Fast Five I would like to have seen before the Rio Police car, but hopefully they'll get around to them.  The Dodge Challenger from NCIS is a great-looking car, but c'mon.  This ranks down there with the Charger from CSI: Miami.  Is anybody really clamoring for cars from these procedural cop dramas?  I don't think so.

11/09/11 UPDATE:  I found the sixth and final member of the series when I stopped into my local Toys R Us.  The 1980 Pontiac Trans-Am from Smokey & The Bandit II was hanging on the pegs with the other cars.  It's a great-looking car, and although the FIRST movie is one of my all-time favorite movies, I'm just not a fan of the sequel.  I'm sure it will be popular with collectors, however.


11/3/11 - Cars That Never Were
A couple of years ago I wrote an article for this website on The Cars That Never Were, listing all the Hollywood die-cast car prototypes and concepts that never went into production.  Among those listed was a rumored 1:64 scale version of The Car.  Way back in 2003, Diamond Distributors had announced that The Car would be included in RC2's entertainment series.  But when cases shipped, The Car wasn't included.  Eventually, The Car would be released in 1:18 scale, but never in 1:64 scale.  I asked Johnny Lightning's Tom Zahorsky if he could provide any info on this, and he insisted that he had a 1:64 scale die-cast prototype somewhere in his collection, but just couldn't find it.  The story fell into the category of "Urban Legend" until NOW!  Tom Z. finally dug up the one-of-a-kind prototype and posted a photo of it on his blog at JohnnyLightning.com.  (He gave me permission to repost it above.)  When I saw it, my jaw fell open.  It is a thing of beauty!  If only we collectors could've added this to our collection!  Who knows, maybe someday...but for now, we'll just have to stare in awe at this amazing and incredibly rare prototype!



10/31/11 - Happy Halloween!
I wouldn't mind finding THESE in my Trick-or-Treat bag!  Fellow collector Patrick Mallette sent me an e-mail telling me he found these at his local Walmart for $4.50 apiece.  What amazing artwork.  These are definitely meant to be displayed in package.  I hope I find them in my area soon!  Thanks for the photos Patrick.


10/25/11 - Welcome Eddie Munster!
On October 21 & 22, Michigan's historic Redford Theatre scared up Munster, Go Home (1966) to show on the big screen.  Special guest Butch "Eddie Munster" Patrick was on hand to sign autographs and pose for photos.  Greeting Butch at the entrance of the theatre was a fantastic replica of the Drag-U-La featured in the film.  It was made by talented local car customizer "Michael Knight" who also made Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters.  Butch took the time to scrawl his signature on the car to create the ultimate collectible!  Nice work Mike, and thanks for the photos.



10/22/11 - Happy K-Day!
K-Mart's Cars Collectors Event took place for the second time this year on Saturday.  To say it was lackluster would be an understatement.  First of all, my local K-Mart moved the event from the toy department to the electronics department.  I missed the start while wandering around the store looking for it, but it didn't matter.  There was only one other person there.  An employee had already opened up some cases and laid out the contents on a table.  I picked up one of each and checked out.  Offered with Synthetic Rubber Tires were:  Lightning McQueen, Jeff Gorvette, Raoul Caroule, Miguel Camino, Max Schnell, Lewis Hamilton and Carla Veloso.  Francesco Bernoulli, Nigel Gearsley & Shu Todoroki were released in June to give us a total of 10 World Grand Prix racers with rubber tires.  Apparently, the only World Grand Prix racer yet to be released is Rip Clutchgoneski. 


10/19/11 - Rev Up for K-Day!
Here's a heads-up that the Cars K-Mart Collector's Event is back this Saturday, October 22 at 11am.  If rubber tires are your thing, then you won't want to miss this since more of the World Grand Prix racers will be offered with rubber tires:  Lightning McQueen,  Jeff Gorvette, Lewis Hamilton,  Miguel Camino, Carla Veloso, Max Schnell, and Raoul CaRoule.  Just show up before 11am and you'll be handed a ticket.  When your number is called you are handed a case from which you can pull your favorite cars.  THEY'RE NOT FREE, you just get to experience the joy of getting cars before they're hung on the pegs.  Don'tcha just love that new car smell?

 


10/11/11 - Batman Returns in 2012!
The 25th Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention was held in Los Angeles October 5-9.  A slide presentation revealed what collectors can expect throughout 2012.  During the presentation it was announced that the 1:50 scale Batman line will RETURN IN 2012 in anticipation of The Dark Knight Rises.  Sneak peeks were shown of the Penguin's Duckmobile from Batman Returns and the 1966 Batcopter!  That's right!  The long-awaited Batcopter FINALLY arrives in die-cast form in 2012!  This is HUGE news.  I can't wait to see what else Mattel has on tap for this line. To date, 20 Bat-Vehicles have been released as singles, and Batgirl's cycle was released as part of a Comic-Con exclusive boxed set, but none were released in 2011.


10/9/11 - Robots in Disguise
While out and about on Saturday, I stopped into a few stores, including a Meijer store.  I happened to be passing the Transformers toys when some new die-cast cars caught my eye.  It seems Hasbro is continuing the Transformers Speed Stars line and has introduced some new series (which caught me by surprise since I haven't been able to complete previous series.)  I grabbed just a few for now, including Topspin and Bumblebee from the Stealth Force Series, and Crumplezone and Bumblebee from the Night Attack Series.  Notice Topspin (above, left) is sporting Jimmy Johnson's NASCAR colors, just as he did in the summer blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  I've add the above pics to the Transformers Movie Gallery.  More to come.


10/8/11 - "Do you like scary movies?"
While visiting a nearby Spirit Halloween store I spotted this cool little Ghost Face Racer from the Scream movies.  It's plastic, not die-cast metal, but I couldn't resist picking it up.  As the car rolls, Ghost Face performs a stabbing motion with his knife.  Creepy, but cool.


10/6/11 - Welcome Back!
I'm happy to announce that a former sponsor has returned to help support this website!  Please welcome back the Volo Auto Museum.  The museum is located about 50 miles north of Chicago in Volo, Illinois.  Check out their amazing collection of cars from TV and film.  Some are even available to buy or rent!  For more information call (815) 385-3644 or visit their website by clicking on the image above.


10/6/11 - "We're Andy's toys."
Mattel has released two more characters to add to the Hot Wheels Toy Story line.  Found at Target were Zurg GT and Jammin' Jessie.  This brings the total to 14 single releases.  To see all 14 releases visit the Toy Story Gallery.


10/6/11 - It's a Bird!  It's a Plane!...
After a slight delay, Mattel's DC line will be hitting stores soon.  Originally, the line was supposed to be released before the General Mills line (seen below) but were swapped to get the cereal cars into grocery stores sooner.  I'm told we can expect to find these in stores starting October 15.  I'm also told there will be a total of 4 different Batman cars!  Click on the link below to check out some additional pics.

http://www.hotwheelscollectors...2011-Garage&sid=3290


10/1/11 - Cereal Killers!
It's October!  My favorite time of the year!  I couldn't think of a better way to kick off the spookiest month of the year than to show you these new die-cast cars from the Hot Wheels line.  Pictured above, from left to right, are Franken Berry (Custom '77 Dodge Van), Boo Berry ('29 Ford Pickup) and Count Chocula ('70 Chevelle SS Wagon.)  They're a little pricey at around $5 apiece, but they have metal bodies, metal bases and Real Riders tires.  These are part of the General Mills line that features popular cereals we all grew up with (9 in total), but these three are my favorites and you can be sure I'll be stocking these in my cupboards and enjoying a sweet, spooky breakfast throughout October!


9/25/11 - The Dark Knight Rises: Behind-the-Scenes
My buddy Marv, who is working in L.A., looked out of his hotel window to see Batman's Tumbler roaming up and down the street. I asked him to snap a few photos, which you can see above.  Apparently, Batman has gone back to the camouflaged prototype from Batman Begins, since his black version was destroyed in the previous film.  How cool to be able to look out your window to watch the Tumbler driving around?  The Dark Knight Rises is scheduled to be released in July of 2012.


9/19/11 - Variation or Error?
While visiting the Hot Wheels Collectors Forum I spotted a thread discussing The A-Team Van.  It seems many people have found a variation, or possibly an error, during the K-Day Event.  Upon checking the five that I have, I discovered that three have a red paint application on the front of the van, and two don't.  Since it seems to be common, I'm going to call this one a variation. I think errors occur less frequently.  I'm not an error collector, but I am interested in variations.


9/17/11 - Drive:  My Review
Over the past two years I've really immersed myself into the world of classic films from the 30's, 40's & 50's.  As they say, "They don't make 'em like that anymore."  I've especially enjoyed watching classic film noir like This Gun for Hire (1942), Dark Passage (1947) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955).  Drive fits nicely into the film noir genre.  Ryan Gosling is "Driver," a Hollywood stuntman, garage mechanic and getaway driver.  He doesn't say much, but it's apparent he's struggling to keep his inner demons subdued.  Early in the film, during a post-robbery escape, Driver takes us on a unique car chase with his felon passengers in the back seat.  A chase in which he's monitoring the police band, thereby allowing him to stay one step ahead of the law.  He knows when he's been spotted and uses his driving skills to evade the cops, even a police helicopter!

Soon, Driver meets and falls for his lovely neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) whose husband will soon be released from prison.  There's tension when the husband and Driver come face to face, but Driver knows his place.  Although  hoping for a fresh start, the husband's past catches up to him and Driver offers to help.  The two partner up on one last caper:  the simple robbery of a pawn shop.  Unfortunately, things quickly spiral out of control and as in all good noir films, our hero finds himself in over his head as the situation gets worse and worse.  When confronted, Driver finally allows his inner demons to surface and it's at this point the film becomes shockingly violent and bloody. 

Ryan Gosling is subdued throughout most of the movie.  His character comes across as brooding, almost shy.  He's given minimal dialogue but his character displays animalistic rage when he's in protector or revenge mode.  Carey Mulligan was amazing.  She could've easily been a silent  film star.  At times, without saying a word, she looked like she could burst with joy or collapse with grief.  She has an amazingly expressive face. 

The dialogue was punctuated by long moments of silence allowing the actors to convey convincing emotion.  But between the silence, I thoroughly enjoyed the hypnotic music soundtrack.  At times the music felt like a throwback to films of the 80's and at other times felt ultra modern.  If they release the CD, I'll pick it up.

Of course, in a movie called Drive you'd expect a car chase or two, and there are some fine car moments.  The best of which involve Driver's stolen 2011 Mustang.  In the moments following the botched pawn shop robbery, Driver is pursued by a 2005 Chrysler 300 with tinted windows.  During the nail-biting chase, Driver displays his amazing talent as a ...um...driver.  Drive is an intense thriller that caps off an incredible year of car movies (Drive Angry, Fast 5, Transformers 3, Cars 2, etc.) just be wary of the bloody violence. 


9/17/11 - Happy K-Day to You!
I just got back from the most recent K-Mart Hot Wheels Collector Event.  There were about 25 people waiting near the toy department when the event started at 9am.  Pictured, above, from left, an employee brings out the cases and prepares the tickets; a line forms and each person was handed a ticket; numbers were called and collectors grabbed an inner-case; people wait for their number to be called; my number is called and I get what I came for:  The A-Team Van;  leftover Hot Wheels neatly lined up on a table.  I actually pulled a Treasure Hunt from my case, too, but I gave it to a nice couple who handed me several A-Team Vans.  After another fun, friendly K-Mart Day I walked away with five Vans.  It's shocking to think that just a week or two ago, people paid $45-$66 on eBay to get a Hot Wheels The A-Team Van!


9/14/11 - Sneaky Like Boss Hogg
Once again, Johnny Lightning has sneakily inserted a Hollywood car into its Forever 64 line, although this one is pretty obscure.  I probably wouldn't have even noticed this one if someone didn't point it out to me.  Included in Release 16 is a 1981 Chevy Malibu sporting the number 13.  Compare the car pictured above, left, to a still from an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard.  The episode is called Happy Birthday, General Lee from the seventh and final season of the series.  The episode tells the story in flashback of how the Duke boys come into possession of the General Lee.  I'm glad to be able to add this one to my Dukes of Hazzard collection.


9/12/11 - Hollywood Transporters?
Once is a fluke, but twice is a trend.  A while back, I saw that Johnny Lightning had released a VW Transporter with Starsky & Hutch graphics, even sporting a police light on top.  I thought, "Okay, well that's interesting."  Then, over the past weekend, I was browsing eBay when I stumbled across another JL VW Transporter, this time decorated in a familiar lightning bolt from the movie Grease.  I fired off an e-mail to JL's Tom Zahorsky and he told me "We're working on a few others, too!" 

So what can we expect?  General Lee?  Herbie the Love Bug?  The A-Team?  I guess we'll have to wait and see.  Visit the Hollywood Die-Cast Facebook page to let me know what you think and whether or not you plan to collect them.


9/10/11 - It's beginning to look a lot like... HALLOWEEN?
Jeez, Labor Day is still fresh in my memory and stores are already putting out their Halloween merchandise.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE Halloween, but it just seems too soon.   Still, I couldn't help but check out the Halloween section at Target where I found the Hot Wheels 2011 exclusive Halloween 5-Pack.  Pictured above, from left, are Ettorium, Cloak & Dagger, Fangster, Rigor Motor and Double Demon.  The glow-in-the-dark Cloak & Dagger really stands out as the best of the bunch, although Rigor Motor is so appropriate for this set.  Ettorium has a cool skull deco on it, but the other two are strictly kids' stuff. 


9/10/11 - 1:25 Death Proof Charger
I don't recall when I first heard about this, but I've never actually seen this in stores... UNTIL TODAY!   While out and about, I stopped into an out-of-the-way hobby store that sells die-cast cars.  I was surprised to find this 1:25 scale Death Proof '69 Charger by Ertl Collectibles.  It didn't come in a box.  I found it loose as you see it above.  The tag on the bottom is dated 2010.  I don't normally collect 1:25 scale cars, but at $13 I just couldn't pass this up.  Death Proof features, in my opinion, one of the greatest movie car chases of all-time.


8/29/11 - "We're on a mission from God."
Today I FINALLY discovered the Bluesmobile and Chicago PD Monaco from The Blues Brothers hanging on the pegs of my local Toys R Us.  I found the four other cars from GreenLight's Hollywood series about a week ago, but had a tough time finding these two.  These are, by far, my favorites of series one.  I read in one of the forums that the Bluesmobile is supposed to be missing the rear windshield to represent the car after the window is shot out in the movie.  This is the third time collectors have been offered the Bluesmobile from the original movie in 1:64 scale.  The first was way back in 1980 from Ertl (below, left.)  Next, came Johnny Lightning's version in 1998 as part of the first Hollywood on Wheels series, followed by GreenLight's version.  I also read we'll be getting various forms of the Bluesmobile in the future, including a version with a loudspeaker mounted on top. 


logo

8/25/11 - 2011 Induction Ceremony
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inducted seven new members into the hall on Wednesday, August 24th.  The new inductees included Donnie Allison, Roger McCluskey, Ed Winfield, Augie Pabst, Ed "The Ace" McCulloch and Bruce Penhall.  NASCAR's Kurt Busch was the honorary Chairman of the event.  Below are photos of me with some of the legends who were in attendance.

Bobby Unser Donnie & Bobby
Allison
Linda Vaughn David Hobbs Kurt Busch

Of course, I brought a couple of die-cast cars to get autographed.  Below, left, is a CHiPs police car signed by Bruce Penhall, who appeared on the final season of CHiPs.  Below, right, Bobby Allison signed his '69 Dodge Daytona by Johnny Lightning.  They've been added to my collection of Auto-Graphs.



8/20/11 - Happy Dream Cruise Day!
Anyone who is anyone was in Michigan today for the 17th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.  I had just a few moments to grab a bite and hang out with my Hollywood car friends.  As you can see above, the usual suspects were on display.  The Monkeemobile is always popular with pedestrians.  You can see Mel, the car's owner, posing above, far right.  Also on hand were the Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch, K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, General Lee, Ecto-1 and Black Beauty from The Green Hornet TV series.  Not too long after I left a nasty storm blew through, taking down trees and knocking out traffic signals.  I hope everyone had a safe and fun Dream Cruise!


8/20/11 - Shiny Gorvette
While out and about I stopped into an out-of-the-way Toys R Us store.  I didn't find much, but I did spot this TRU Exclusive Jeff Gorvette with Metallic Finish.  It's one of the FEW new things that have hit stores since the initial Cars 2 assortment.


8/20/11 - "I pity the fool."
Mattel has revealed a sneak peek of The A-Team Van that will be included as part of the Hot Wheels mainline on its Hot Wheels Collectors website.  It looks pretty cool, although it appears to be all black when the actual van was partly dark gray.  It arrives in early September and I'm sure it's going to be popular with collectors.  I know I can't wait to add it to my collection.  Click HERE for more pics and info.



Three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna

8/19/11 - Senna:  My Review
The terrific documentary Senna opens in wide release today.  It tells the story of Brazilian Ayrton Senna's brief but spectacular career racing in Formula One. I had the opportunity to see the film earlier this week.  It has all the drama, twists and turns of a fictional racing movie, but it's all archival footage.  I wrote a review for the website cinemanerdz.com.  Check it out by clicking HERE.


8/9/11 - Like an Orange Bolt of Lightning
Johnny Lightning has included the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard in its 2.0 line Release 8.  This version boasts die-cast metal base & body, real rubber tires and an opening hood.  Unfortunately, they are way off on the rims.  General Lee just doesn't look like General Lee without American Racing Vector rims.  This pic was found on Mini-Motors, Inc. website.


8/7/11 - New from GreenLight
The good news is, GreenLight's new Hollywood series has shown up on eBay, meaning they've hit stores.  The bad news is, none of the stores in my area have gotten them in yet.  Only a few chains are selling them, including Toys R Us and Meijer, but I've checked every TRU and Meijer in my area with no luck.  The offerings are getting mixed reviews in the forums.  Personally, I think the two vehicles from The Blues Brothers are awesome, despite the fact that the Bluesmobile has already been offered by Ertl and Johnny Lightning in the past.  (By the way, the back window is SUPPOSED to be missing to represent a specific scene from the film.)  I'm sure the Bandit Trans-Am will be a big seller, unfortunately it's not exactly movie-accurate.  I'm excited we're getting a car from the hit movie Fast Five, but the Challenger from 2 Fast 2 Furious is a bit of a head-scratcher.  And finally, I can't quite figure out the logic behind the decision to offer a car from CSI: Miami.  That's not exactly a property that's high up on people's wish lists. 

In other GreenLight Hollywood news, the website Die-Cast Alley has a pic of the next series from GreenLight, and again, there are a few head-scratchers in the mix.  Dazed & Confused?, um... okay, I can see that.  Smokey & The Bandit 2, a few fans might pick that one up.  The rest of the cars?  Wow, I don't quite get it.  Well, at least SOMEONE is giving us Hollywood cars since the demise of the beloved Hollywood on Wheels series from Johnny Lightning.


7/31/11 - Holy Hoarder, Batman!
I stopped into another Hallmark store in my area, only to discover the same individual has hit that store as well, snatching up every single '66 Batmobile ornament in my area.  ONE SINGLE INDIVIDUAL is responsible for buying every Batmobile ornament within a several-mile-radius of my home!  What a dastardly FIEND!  Thankfully, my sister visited a Hallmark store near her work and managed to snag one for me.  She brought it by today and it's pictured at left.  I installed the batteries and pushed the button to hear the Batman theme and it put a big smile on my face.  If, for some reason, you've missed out on one of these, don't worry, old chum.  Contact your local Hallmark store and ask them to order more.  Unfortunately, they won't arrive until October. 


7/22/11 - Captain America:  My Review
The biggest challenge facing the producers of a Captain America movie is to instill patriotism in an era of cynicism, in a country whose citizenship is divided and the motives of its leadership are always questioned.  The solution?  Set the movie in the World War II era, when patriotism ran rampant and people bought war bonds to support the troops.  The result?  Absolutely brilliant!  Captain America: The First Avenger is a near-perfect movie.  It has everything!  The movie starts off with a meek and scrawny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, using startling realistic CGI to shrink him down) desperately wanting to do his part in the war in Europe.  Even before his transformation, you care about the character.  You root for him.  You can't help but like him.  Then, as the subject of a military experiment, Rogers is transformed into a super soldier.  Unfortunately for Rogers, his potential isn't fully realized initially, setting up his origin story.  The way our hero gets his identity, his colors, and his name, are so creatively and so brilliantly told, well, it's just perfect; so absolutely fitting and believable.  Eventually, Captain America is embraced by his fellow soldiers and the movie shifts into high gear, providing the sort of popcorn-munching-summer-movie-fun you expect this time of the year.  There are fights, explosions, stunts, and even a motorcycle chase sequence that rivals anything you've seen in a James Bond movie.  There's even romance.  Just enough to move the story along without bogging things down.  As I said earlier, this movie has everything a movie buff could want in a movie. 

In this re-imaging of world history, Hitler's threat pales in comparison to the motives of the Red Skull, portrayed brilliantly by the always-great Hugo Weaving.  His army of faceless drones and arsenal of high-tech weapons and vehicles become the target of the US Military and Captain America, himself.  His goal isn't just Europe, he wants to take over the world.  Leading the US Troops is Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones in a scene-stealing, thoroughly enjoyable role.)  Every line, every moment, every special effect, every reference to other Marvel titles, is so meticulously and carefully crafted, you can only walk away proud to be an American, ESPECIALLY after the incredible end credits, which were even more striking in 3D.  Oh, and by the way, be sure to stay until the credits finish for a sneak peek of The Avengers movie, coming to theaters in 2012.


7/16/11 - Christmas in July!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least in Hallmark stores across the country.  Today was the official premiere of Hallmark's 2011 ornaments.  Among them, a beautiful rendition of the 1966 Batmobile that plays the Batman theme at the push of a button!  It retails for $17.95.  I went to my local Hallmark store to pick up one (or a few) only to discover they were already SOLD OUT!  I had an employee call several different stores in the area only to find out they're SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE!  I was stunned.  Luckily, the employee ordered several more and will contact me when they arrive.  I was told one customer ordered 50 more!  These things are in HUGE demand.  I tried to buy the loose sample that was hanging on the peg, but they wouldn't allow it.  So I got permission to photograph it for this site.  If you find one at your local Hallmark store, consider yourself lucky!


7/16/11 - Challenging Challenger
I haven't had any luck finding this in stores, so I went the eBay route to get one.  It's the Hot Wheels Garage version of Hal Jordan's '71 Challenger from Green Lantern.  It's far more detailed than the mainline version.  I haven't seen the movie yet.  Based on the reviews, I might wait until the DVD release to watch it.  Click HERE to view the Green Lantern Gallery.


7/9/11 - Great Scott!
Mattel has revealed what they will be offering at this year's San Diego Comic Con:  The Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine will come in a spectacular diorama with clock tower backdrop.  It looks amazing, but I'm a little disappointed they're not using the wheels that were used on the Charawheels version.  Still, I'm hoping I can get someone to bring one of these back to me from Comic Con in two weeks.  Click HERE for more information. 


6/30/11 - Transformers 3 is EPIC!
The plot of Transformers: Dark of the Moon can be described in one sentence...AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!  If someone asked me to describe the story of the last two movies, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  They were so convoluted and confusing.  In the third installment of the franchise, humans fight alongside Autobots to keep the Decepticons from enslaving the human race.  That's it!  It's beautiful in its simplicity.  They say the third time's the charm and Dark of the Moon more than makes up for the mistakes of the past two movies.  The movie starts off by reimagining history and reveals that the moon landings were actually covert missions to investigate the crash landing of Autobot technology on the dark side of the moon.  Fast forward to the present and we see the Autobots are working with the U.S. government to maintain world peace.  But then, Optimus Prime finds out about the secret technology and pays the moon a visit.  He finds and retrieves Sentinel Prime, the leader of the Autobots before Optimus took command.  Eventually, the Decepticons use the technology to wage war with the people of Earth and that's when the movie becomes a good old fashion war epic.  There are so many great moments in this movie, and I don't just mean the special effects, even though they're spectacular.  The casting choices are grin-inducing, from Frances McDormand to Patrick Dempsey to John Malkovich to Leonard Nimoy as the voice of Sentinel Prime.  We get to see the humans actually kick some Decepticon butt, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) included.  And Rose Huntington-Whiteley will have most fanboys saying, "Megan who?"  And we finally, FINALLY, get to see Optimus Prime demonstrate why he's the leader of the Autobots.  When he enters berserker mode, destroying enemies in his path with ease, the moment enters my list of all-time great movie moments.  Optimus Prime KICKS ASS in this movie!  My only regret is that I didn't see the movie in 3D.  There were quite a few moments when I thought, "I bet this would look AMAZING in 3D!"   I plan on getting back to the movie theater to see it again, this time in 3D. 


6/27/11 - Cars:  Rarest of the Rare?
In the weeks (and months) leading up to the release of Cars 2 merchandise, most retailers pulled practically all Cars product from the toy aisles, leaving them barren until May 16, when Cars 2 stuff hit stores.  Unfortunately for collectors, some items that were released at the tail end of the Cars line never made it into most stores.  It makes me wonder if these will ever appear, or will they go on to become the rarest of the rare Cars items?  The pieces that immediately come to mind are the FINAL Final Lap Cars (above, left) and Chase Guido & Luigi (above, right.)  When others were reporting finding the Final Lap Cars, the Cars section at my local Target stores were empty for weeks.  As for Guido & Luigi, the ones I see on eBay are being found in other countries.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see, but as with most toy lines, it's usually the stuff that comes out at the end of the line that ends up becoming most valuable.



6/25/11 - Happy K-Day!
Another K-Mart Cars Collectors Event has come and gone (the first of 2011) and there wasn't too much to get excited about.  Included in today's cases were rubber-tired versions of McQueen, The King and Chick Hicks, to give us 35 of the 36 racers included in the Speedway of the South set (only #84 Apple iCar remains absent.)  Also offered at this year's event were the first three rubber-tired racers from the World Grand Prix:  Francesco Bernoulli, Nigel Gearsley, and Shu Todoroki.  And finally, to round things out, "new to market" Hydraulic Ramone was found in cases (left.)  Following the excitement of last October's event, this June event was definitely underwhelming.  I was one of only four people who showed up to go through multiple cases.  No chase cars.  Nothing exciting.  Oh well, maybe in October.


6/24/11 - Cars 2 Puts the Pedal to the Metal!
Cars 2 gets off to action-packed start!  James Bond-like Finn McMissile (above) is searching for a missing agent in the middle of the ocean.  He stumbles onto the bad guys who unveil some sort of deadly secret weapon.  He's discovered!  During his daring escape, he reveals more gadgets than all the Bond cars in all the Bond movies COMBINED!  Just minutes into the movie and I'm already having a blast!   Cut to Radiator Springs, where we're reunited with all the characters we loved from the first film, except for Doc Hudson, who seems to have passed away since the last movie.  (Paul Newman, who provided the voice of Doc in the first film, passed away in 2008.)  Lightning McQueen wants to relax after a successful racing season, but Mater convinces him to take on open-wheeled racer Francesco Bernouli in the World Grand Prix.  McQueen gathers up his race team, including Mater, and heads off to Tokyo for the first leg of the three-race competition.  It's in Tokyo where Mater accidentally gets caught up in spy business when he's mistaken for a master spy by both the good guys and the bad guys.  Everyone thinks his bumbling rusty tow truck persona is just a clever disguise.  During all the confusion, Mater distracts McQueen during the race, causing him to lose the first leg of the Grand Prix and McQueen lashes out at Mater.  Mater vows to return home, but then gets tangled up in the spy intrigue even further.  As the bad guys target the racers, eventually it's up to Mater to save his friend Lightning McQueen. 

Cars 2 is a frantically paced, roller coaster ride of a movie, hardly pausing to let its audience take a breath.  It's the polar opposite of the first film, whose message was to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.  There's not much room for character or plot development, just a whole lot of speed, action, explosions and laugh-out-loud jokes.  The pacing and feel of the film had more in common with Pixar's terrific Mater's Tall Tales short films, probably because the majority of the film revolved around Mater, forcing Lightning McQueen to play second fiddle.  Much of the movie also features Finn McMissile and his lovely "Bond Girl" Holley Shiftwell.  They were, by far, my favorite things about this movie and I wouldn't mind a few shorts showcasing their further exploits as international spies. 

At times, I couldn't help but become distracted by the beauty and detail of the backgrounds, especially in 3D.  Tokyo was electric.  Italy was beautiful.  And the muted palette of an overcast London was breathtaking.  The animation was a marvel.  The details and in-jokes were so jam-packed (anyone else notice that the song You Might Think was originally performed by The Cars?)  I'll have to see the movie again to pick up on anything I missed. 

In conclusion, if your little ones liked Cars and Mater's Tall Tales, then they'll love Cars 2, but be forewarned, there is a lot of gunplay and explosions.  Some cars are put in danger, some are actually "killed" throughout the movie, so be sure your little one can handle the excitement. 


6/14/11 - Trunkov & Axlerod
Trunkov & Axlerod.  Sounds like the title of an 80's buddy cop show.  Actually, these are the two newest characters hitting stores as part of the new Cars 2 line from Mattel.  I have no idea what role these two play in the  movie, but we'll find out in less than two weeks!  Cars 2 hits theaters on June 24th!  I can't wait! 


6/8/11 - Green with Envy
I finally found Green Lantern's '71 Challenger at Walmart, and it looks like there's much more on the way.  Check out this Hot Wheels ad I found online that shows a few of the Green Lantern products that will be hitting stores soon.  Among them, a Color Shifters Dodge Challenger that turns GREEN, of course.  I also found a TV commercial online that shows a clip from the upcoming movie in which Green Lantern seems to make a life size Hot Wheels track!  Click HERE to see it.


5/29/11 - And then there were 15.
I was a bit surprised during the official launch of Cars 2 toys (May 16) when I couldn't find all 15 characters listed on the back of the package.  I was only able to find 9 single-carded characters.  Today, while driving around from store to store, I spotted the remaining 6 characters to round out the initial wave.  Lightning McQueen's Race Team is complete with the addition of Fillmore, Sarge, Guido & Luigi.  Also found were Holley Shiftwell, Rod Torque Redline, and Grem.  I've created a Cars 2 page with all 15 singles and a few exclusives.  I haven't gotten around to picking up all the boxed sets, launchers, Megas, etc.  I read in a forum you can expect to pay around $250 to get one of each new character in the Cars 2 line.  YIKES!


5/28/11 - Green, Orange, Whatever.
Green Lantern will hit theaters in just a few short weeks (June 17th).  It seems Mattel has worked out a product placement deal with the filmmakers.  Not only will Hot Wheels be featured in the movie, but Hot Wheels cars are now hitting stores sporting Green Lantern graphics.  But Mattel went one step further.  In the movie, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) drives a 1971 Dodge Challenger.  Mattel has officially released the same car in its mainline!  Check it out at right.  I'm told it's being found at K-Mart.  I went to my local K-Mart but had no luck finding it.  I'll keep searching!  In brightest day! In blackest night!


5/28/11 - Holy Variation, Batman!
Apparently, Mattel has made a running change on the Arkham Asylum Batmobile's cardback.  I found the variation at K-Mart today (above, right.)  The new card features the Batman: Arkham Asylum logo on the top left, and additional text on the yellow stripe.  Which one will be more scarce down the road?  I'm guessing the non-logo version, since the revision is hitting stores now.


5/26/11 - Cars That Never Were
A few days ago, Lars Groeneveld sent me an E-Mail with the above image attached.  He told me it was recently auctioned off in London for 140 pounds ($228).  I was curious about the history of this piece, so I posted the image in the Matchbox Forums.  The experts really came through.  Matchbox expert Chuck Wiersma tells me they are painted resin prototypes from the Viper TV series that were never made available to the public.  (You can tell they're resin by the painted windows.)  If you look closely at the Viper above left, it matches the car pictured  below, left.  It's the "battle damaged" version of the morphed Viper produced in 1994.

Matchbox also produced a Dodge Stealth in resin (painted windows) and die-cast metal (above, right.) Unfortunately, the metal Stealth wasn't approved by Chrysler and never reached production. 

Matchbox Forum Senior Member 1000.vipers posted images of the proposed packaging artwork, that, again, never saw the light of day.  My thanks go out to the Matchbox experts that cleared this up.  It's a shame the TV series was canceled before these die-cast cars were able to be produced. 


5/22/11 - Cars 2 Exclusives Galore!
In my area, Walmart was the last major retail store to load up on Cars 2 merchandise.  Dropping into a nearby Walmart I spotted some Walmart-Exclusive 2-packs, including Finn McMissile & Grem and Mater & Acer.  At K-Mart I saw an exclusive Mater with Headphone.  I began to wonder if all the stores had exclusives.  As luck would have it, a complete list of store exclusives was posted at the Cars the Toys Forums and as you can see below, there's quite a bit out there.  Happy hunting!


Walmart Kmart Target ToysRUs
Finn w/weapon/Grem Carla & Crew Chief Racing Rivalry 7 pack 10 pack with dancers/Miles/Mater
Yellow Acer/Holley Francesco/Crew Chief Carla 4 pack Porto Corsa 5 pack
Mater w/spy glasses/Acer Lightning/Fillmore with headphone Raoul 4 pack Tokyo Race Party 5 pack
Red Grem/Prof Z Mater with Headphone Francesco 4 pack Paris Espionage 5 pack
Lights and sounds Spy Mater
 
McQueen Fan 4 pk
 
Chaos in London 5 pack
Stephenson Spy Train playset
 

 
McQueen with Metallic Paint

5/19/11 - Mad Max MFP Chevelle?
Johnny Lightning has followed up its AMC AMX in MFP colors with a 1971 Chevelle SS in MFP colors as part of Forever 64 Release 14.  Once again, this particular make and model of car never appeared in Mad Max, but it's still pretty cool.  The cars in the movie were primarily Ford Falcons of various years. 


5/16/11 - START YOUR ENGINES!
Today was the official launch of Cars 2 merchandise at all the major retail stores.  Walking into a nearby Target I was almost overwhelmed.  There was so much stuff on the shelves I almost started hyperventilating.  I only wish I had the money to buy everything!  Instead, I just snapped a few pics in the store.  


Hanging on the pegs at Target were singles, 2-packs, deluxe characters and characters that light up and talk!  On the shelves were exclusive 4-car and 7-car boxed sets.  And that's just DIE-CAST.  There were also RC cars and more.  Wow.  What an onslaught!

Toys R Us was a little less impressive.  There were only a few singles on the pegs and a LOT of empty space.  Either collectors stripped the pegs, or the store didn't put out a lot of product.  There were several exclusive boxed sets which were nice.  And one thing caught my eye:  a TRU exclusive Lightning McQueen with Metallic Finish (above, right.)  That piece came home with me.


5/14/11 - Bad News, Good News
Fellow collector Phil Santo sent me an e-mail with some interesting news.  It seems the 2011 Hot Wheels Mainline List has been updated.  The bad news is KITT from Knight Rider is no longer on the list.  But check out what's listed at #39 above.  The freakin' A-Team Van?  How cool is that?  If I get more information I'll pass it along.


5/13/11 - Motor City Comic Con 2011
Friday the 13th was turned out to be a pretty lucky day for me!  Taking the day off from work I spent the afternoon at the 2011 Motor City Comic Con.  I was surrounded by so many stars from my childhood I felt like I was channel surfing!  The nice thing about hanging out on Friday afternoon was that the crowds hadn't arrived yet, giving me time to chat with the stars.

The biggest thrill for me personally was meeting Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland (Bobby & Cindy Brady from The Brady Bunch.)  I brought along Johnny Lightning's The Brady Bunch Barracuda for them to sign.  I jokingly told Mike he was getting around nicely after that race car accident (Mike's character, Bobby, was paralyzed from a racing accident in 1990's The Bradys TV series.)  He laughed and told me people ask him if he still races, despite having never been behind the wheel of a racecar!  Susan Olsen was an absolute sweetheart.  She told me although she has fond memories of being on the set of The Brady Bunch, she has never visited the home used for exterior shots on the show.  Even as a kid, she realized the interior of the home we saw on TV didn't quite match the layout of the house from the outside.  I totally agree!  The house we saw from the outside didn't even have a second floor!  Producers just mounted a fake window to the outside wall to create the illusion of a second floor.  We chatted for quite a while and it was an absolute pleasure.

Other "Auto-Graphs" I added to my collection were from Dirk Benedict (The A-Team) and Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley.)  Dirk Benedict signed my RC2 Van from The A-Team and Cindy Williams signed my Matchbox Shotz Brewery Truck.  Both were very gracious and it was an honor to chat with them in person.  To see my modest collection of Auto-Graphs, click HERE.

Other celebrity sightings included Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Peter Mayhew (Star Wars), Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) and The Soup Nazi himself, Larry Thomas, of Seinfeld fame!  The Comic Con continues through the weekend in Novi, Michigan.  Click on the banner above for more information!



5/12/11 - Cars 2 Found!
Following the advice of my fellow collectors I did an online search for Family Dollar Stores near me and headed out this morning.  At the first location I visited I hit PAYDIRT!  Pictured above are eight characters from Mattel's new Cars 2 line!  I found Lightning McQueen with Racing Tires, Race Team Mater, Finn McMissile, Acer, Carla Veloso, Francesco Bernoulli, Jeff Gorvette, and Raoul Caroul.  Listed on the back of the package are Holley Shiftwell, Professor Z, Guido & Luigi, Grem, Race Team Fillmore, Race Team Sarge and Red Torque Redline.  I believe singles and multipacks will start hitting major retail stores next week.  My favorite of the bunch is Finn McMissile.  His body style is inspired by James Bond's Aston Martin DB5.  Check out the loose pics below.  Cars 2 races into theaters June 24, 2011.


5/10/11 - Motor City Comic Con!
The Motor City Comic Con is just DAYS away!  For fans of pop culture, this is probably the most exciting weekend of the year here in the Metro Detroit Area.  The guest list is quite spectacular this year and I'm hoping to add to my "Auto-Graph" collection this weekend.  Click on the image above for more information. I hope to see you there!


5/9/11 - Mission Accomplished
Fellow collector Patrick Mallette tipped me off to this way back in early April, but I had no luck finding it in my area.  Today I stopped into Target and was surprised to find Bucket O' Speed hanging on the pegs.  It's the latest addition to the Toy Story 3 line from Mattel.  This brings the number of releases to 12.  Visit the Toy Story Gallery to see all the releases to-date.


5/6/11 - THREE MILLION VISITORS!!!
Launched eight years ago Hollywood Die-Cast reached an major milestone today.  This website received its THREE MILLIONTH visitor this afternoon.  The visitor was from Massachusetts and was searching for information about The Cannonball Run.  I'm astounded that something I created has generated this kind of interest from people all over the world.  Because of this site, I've had so many wonderful experiences and I've met many terrific people, including many of my idols from TV and films.  Thanks for your continued support!


5/5/11 - Great Scott!
Check out this AMAZING set of 1:18 scale accessories from all three of the Back to the Future movies.  These were produced by Gregg Lacarte with jaw-dropping attention to detail.  The set includes movie-accurate license plates, newspapers, photos and more. You'll need a magnifying glass to really appreciate these.   I'm just blown away.  The movie posters are not included, but 1:18 scale posters from a wide variety of movies will be offered at a later date.  If you'd like to get a set for yourself, click HERE.  (The sets required some cutting and folding on your part to achieve the results you see above.)


5/2/11 - Fast Five Soars!
Fast Five raked in over $86 million during its initial weekend according to the website Box Office Mojo, breaking the record for biggest April opening weekend ever.  #5 topped #4's opening weekend take of $71 in 2009.  The previous installment went on to gross over $155 million.  I'm betting Fast Five will move past that mark. It's great to see the franchise is keeping the car-chase genre alive and well and I'm already looking forward to #6.


4/29/11 - Fast Five:  My Review
The fifth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise picks up right where the last one ended, with Dom (Vin Diesel) getting liberated from his prison bus by Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) although we never actually see Dom escape.  Cut to Rio De Janeiro where our anti-heroes go to lay low, for about two seconds, before getting caught up in a good-old-fashioned train robbery.  The scheme is ingenious and the action is thrilling as the group tries to steal spectacular cars from a moving train.  Of course, things don't go quite as planned and our main characters find themselves in even worse trouble than when the movie started.  Enter The Rock, oh, um, excuse me, I mean Dwayne Johnson, whose squad of commandos fly down to Rio to capture the fugitives.  Then an unexpected thing happens.  The car chase movie I was expecting somehow morphed into a bank heist movie.  Well, it's not exactly a bank, but a vault holding millions of dollars that belongs to a crime lord.  At this point, you could've called the movie The Italian Job II:  The Rio Job.  Unfortunately, there's a long period of INACTION as a team (comprised of characters from previous installments) is assembled to pull off the heist.  When Dom and Brian decide they need some fast cars for the job they show up at a street racing event, complete with awesome cars and beautiful women in incredibly short shorts.  Dom puts up his 1970 Charger against a Porsche.  "Alright!  Here we go!" I thought.  Then...AN EDIT...and we're back at the hideout with the Porsche!  "WHAT?  Where's the street race???  Is a reel missing?  What a gyp!"  Okay, the audience is denied a race and the inaction continues.  Be patient.  Eventually, your patience pays off.  The Rock and Toretto are on opposite sides of the law, right?  You expect a confrontation, right?  Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?  When the two finally go toe-to-toe the fight alone is worth the price of admission.  Heck, I would've paid to see this bout on Pay-Per-View.  BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!  There's still a heist to pull off.  And, well, the plan defies physics in eye-rolling fashion.  Can two modern Dodge Chargers, using steel cables attached to a large vault, not only pull it out of a building, but then proceed to elude the corrupt police department on a high speed chase?  That's a question best left answered by The Mythbusters.  For now, suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.  Fast Five forgoes the adrenalin rush of high speed racing scenes made popular in the previous films, and instead revels in a lengthy scene of utter mayhem and destruction, as the Chargers drag the vault down the busy city streets of Rio, destroying everything in its path.  As incredibly unbelievable as the scene is, it's also enormously entertaining.  The unabashed destruction conjured up memories of classic movies like the original Gone in 60 Seconds and The Blues Brothers.  It seemed like everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, the actors, the filmmakers, the stunt people and yes, the audience, were having an absolute blast.  At times the crowd in my movie theater cheered, reminding me of why it can be so very special to see a movie like this in a theater with a live audience.  There are moments throughout the film that I won't ruin by describing here, only to say that at various times I had goosebumps while uttering "Wow."   And I, for one, am already looking forward to the NEXT installment.  How do I know there will be another chapter?  Well, don't leave the theater too early, or you'll miss the CLIFFHANGER that will leave you smiling!


4/29/11 - Royal Wedding Car!
Apparently, a wedding took place today and I'm told it was a big deal.  I didn't get to see any of it, but I did look at photos online later in the day and was pleasantly surprised by the couple's vehicle of choice after the wedding:  Prince Charles's car — a 42-year-old Aston Martin DB6 Volante MkII.  I read online the car has been converted to run on bioethanol made from "English wine wastage."  Will we see a die-cast version of this beautiful car?  I would not be surprised.


4/29/11 - 2011 SDCC Exclusive!
My buddy Tim sent me an e-mail alerting me to the news that some San Diego Comic Con exclusives were announced today!  What's in the case pictured above?  Well, it's not plutonium.  Like last year's Ecto-1, Mattel will be offering a highly-detailed version of the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future. Will it have movie-accurate wheels?  Who knows?  Unfortunately, photos of the actual car haven't been revealed as of yet, but the case alone is enough to get me excited!


4/25/11 - That 70's Show?
It seems like everyone is getting in on the "unofficial" fun.  Over the past year or so it seems a lot of official and UNOFFICIAL cars from TV and movies have been showing up in stores from Johnny Lightning and in Mattel's Hot Wheels line.  Is Mattel doing the same thing with its Matchbox line?  Thanks to a heads-up from Jason Caudillo, I found this '71 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser in the same color scheme as the wagon featured in the TV series That 70's Show.  I know collectors have been hoping for this car for quite a while and I guess this unofficial version will have to do for now.  It was also pointed out by James Simpson that the Griswold Family (from National Lampoon's Vacation) owned a similar car, until it was crushed by the car dealership, forcing Clark to buy the Family Truckster. 


4/23/11 - "Who ya gonna call?"
Well, if you missed out on the San Diego Comic Con version of the Hot Wheels Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, you now have a chance to get something just as good.  Hotwheelscollectors.com has announced a chance to get a beautiful version of Ecto-1 with special pearl finish, Neo-Classics Redline Wheels, and an Ecto-1 NY license plate.   It will be available to Red Line Club members for 24 hours, then open to Hot Wheels Collectors for a week.

5/5/11 UPDATE:  The offer has expired.  I hope you got yours.


4/21/11 - Chasing Cars
Today I had a strong urge to visit Toys R Us, so I did, and I'm glad I did.  I found not one, BUT TWO Chase Cars hanging on the pegs at the same time.  Pictured above, left is Dinoco McQueen with what could be my all-time favorite accessory:  His tire prints and signature in cement!  That's pretty cool.  I also found Chase Yeti with Snow Cones. (I wish Mattel would release Yeti as a Deluxe character.)  I've added these two new finds to the Chase Cars page. 


4/17/11 - "Up your nose with a rubber hose!"
Every once in a while I stumble onto an amazing find on eBay.  Pictured above is a VERY rare unproduced prototype from the Matchbox Star Cars line.  Among several vehicles that never saw the light of day was this school bus from Welcome Back KotterYou can see it in the catalog photo at right.  I'm not sure how many were produced but at least several exist because my friend Dennis bought one several years ago.  Here's a description from the auction:

THIS WAS MADE BEFORE THE "FEP" (Final Evaluation Phase)
SOME OF DESIGN IS HAND PAINTED, EX. THE ROOF DESIGN, HEADLIGHTS, ETC
( YOU CAN SEE THE BRUSH STOKES, AND FEEL THE PAINT)
ALSO THIS BUS HAS BLACK INTERIOR, THE FEP HAS A BLUE INTERIOR
THIS WAS CREATED FOR ORIGINAL DESIGN, 
ADVERTISING PHOTOS AND TOY SHOW
THIS IS NOT RIVETED, IT HAS WHAT LOOKS LIKE LIGHT GLUE APPLIED TO FRONT RIVET AND HAS VELCRO FOR PLACEMENT FOR PHOTOS AND TOY FAIR DISPLAY
ALSO DOES NOT HAVE THE WARNER BROS. LICENSING ON BASE

What an amazing piece.  If you're interested in making an offer, click HERE to view the auction.  Check out the article I wrote a year or so ago on the Cars That Never Were.


4/16/11 - Cars 2 Stuff is Revving Up!
Packaged products from Cars 2 have shown up on eBay over the past week or so, even though some are pre-sells.  The image at left is from one such eBay auction.  It looks like 14 characters will make up the first wave, in addition to 4 Deluxe characters.  They're not supposed to be OFFICIALLY released until May, but reports are coming in they're being found at some retail stores.  Cars 2 will be in theaters on June 24, 2011. 


4/15/11 - Finally!  Arkham Asylum Batmobile Found!
Decided to take a chance on a K-Mart store a little out of the way, but not TOO far, specifically looking for the Hot Wheels Arkham Asylum Batmobile.  I didn't find any in the die-cast aisle, but then I remembered they usually have a Hot Wheels carousel by the registers.  And BAM!  There was one hanging on a peg.  After photographing it in package, I ripped it open and added it to my Hot Wheels Batman display (above, right.)  For those of you who may not know, this particular version is based on the Batmobile featured in the Arkham Asylum video game. 


4/15/11 - "Going Once! Going Twice!  SOLD!"
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm forced to sell off part of my collection.  The first of several auctions have been posted on eBay with more to come.  It breaks my heart, but I'm selling off a large portion of my Cars collection, which includes many rare and hard-to-find items.  Click on the image above to see all my auctions and if anything catches your eye, bid early and bid often!  Thanks for looking.

UPDATE:  Even more auctions added, including an auction for 31 Final Lap Cars characters!!!


4/8/11 - "Thank you Sir!  May I have another?"
While out and about on Friday I stopped into a Meijer store and found both Hollywood dioramas from GreenLight.  Pictured above, left, is the diorama from Animal House featuring a '65 Corvette.  Pictured above, right, is the diorama from Apollo 13, featuring a '66 Shelby GT 350 and a '70 Corvette Stingray.  Although the cars are cool, Apollo 13 is a surprising choice for a car diorama.  You'd think a more logical choice would be, oh, I don't know ... A SPACE CAPSULE or something.  As for the Animal House diorama, I'm surprised it only includes one car, yet retails for the same price as GreenLight's other TWO-CAR dioramas.  I don't quite get that.  It would've been nice to have the Deathmobile included in the diorama.  Look for more Hollywood cars coming from GreenLight later this year.



4/6/11 - Cars at the Mall!
I found out just days ago that life-size characters from Cars 2 would be appearing at my local mall on April 6th as part of the Agents on a Mission World Tour.  During my dinner break I headed to Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills, MI, to find an enormous crowd gathered around Lightning McQueen, Mater and new character Finn McMissile.  They were pretty amazing to see in person and judging by the crowd reaction, Cars 2 is going to be a HUGE hit.  Click HERE to find out if these characters will be coming to a city near you!


4/5/11 - Tron Tuesday!
Both Tron Legacy and the original Tron have arrived in stores today on DVD.  If you head over to Walmart you'll find an exclusive version of Tron Legacy on Blu-Ray that includes a green die-cast Light Cycle.  It retails for $25.  Patrick Mallette sent me a pic of the green Light Cycle displayed loose with his other Light Cycles (below.)  Looks great!


4/5/11 - A Few New Toons
I'm assuming my local retail stores have been putting off restocking Cars product in anticipation of receiving new product from the upcoming sequel.  How else can you explain the total lack of new stuff over the past few months?  All I see on the pegs are Color Changers and a few Lightning McQueens, well, at least until today.  I stopped into a Walmart store and was stunned to find a couple of Deluxe Cars Toon characters I hadn't seen in stores yet:  Music Video Mater (from Heavy Metal Mater) and Padre (from El Materdor.)  There are still a few Toon characters I haven't seen yet, as well as the most recent Final Lap wave at Target.  I hope these remnants show up at stores the same time new product from Cars 2 hits stores.  We shall see.


4/2/11 - Hooray for Hollywood!
Although my trip to California ended a week ago, I haven't been able to upload my photos until yesterday (I left my camera's USB cable behind.)  But, needless to say, I had a great time during my visit.  I toured movie studios, visited historic and famous locations, and as you can see from the pics above, saw dozens of awesome Hollywood cars!  So without further delay click HERE to experience my trip to California!


4/2/11 - Death Proof Charger
Stopping into my nearby Walmart late Friday night I stumbled onto the latest movie car to be sneakily inserted into Johnny Lightning's mainline.  Release 13 includes this '69 Charger R/T sporting the skull and lightning bolts as seen in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.  It's not exactly movie-accurate, but it does seem like something that would've been driven by Stuntman Mike.


3/30/11 - Greenlight Hollywood Series!
Finally, some new news to report!  I've gotten several e-mails alerting me to the fact that Greenlight will be releasing a Hollywood series in October!  Unfortunately, the line-up is a little underwhelming.  Included in Release 1 will be a '70 Dodge Challenger from 2 Fast 2 Furious, 1970 Dodge Charger from Fast 5, '74 Dodge Monaco from The Blues Brothers, a Chicago PD cruiser from The Blues Brothers, the Smokey & The Bandit Trans-Am and a 2008 Dodge Charger from CSI: Miami.  The lineup is okay, but three of these have been previously produced by other manufacturers.  I like the idea of a Chicago PD cop car to chase the Blues Brothers, but a car from CSI: Miami?  Really?  Still, I like the idea of Greenlight producing a Hollywood series.  Maybe they'll fill in the gap that was left when Johnny Lightning stopped their Hollywood on Wheels series.


 

3/19/11 - California Here I Come!
There sure hasn't been much to report lately from the world of die-cast cars.  Stores' toy aisles have been barren.  I'm still hitting every store multiple times per week and finding nothing new. Maybe I'll have better luck in California!  I'm flying out today and I'll return next weekend hopefully with some great photos and stories.  See you then!


3/07/11 - I found her! Repeat, I found her!
During my dinner break on Monday night I happen to be driving past a K-Mart store when I decided to pop in.  A dad and son were looking at the Cars toys, so I looked around elsewhere until they left.  I could NOT believe what they left behind.  After months and months of searching, there, hanging on a peg, was Bessie from the Deluxe Cars line.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I hit all the major retail stores multiple times per week looking for new die-cast toys, but I have NEVER come across Bessie until today.  I've even visited Big Lots, Kohl's and Burlington Coat Factory after hearing stories of Bessie showing up at those stores, but I had no luck.  I've tried bidding on eBay, only to be outbid every single time (Bessie regularly sells for $35-$50 at auction).  I've tried trading in the forums, but always hit a dead end.  I can't believe I actually found her at retail price.  Wow.

In other news, I also found a few new entries to the Transformers Speed Stars line, including Optimus Prime (Cyber Hunt Series 02 of 04), Bumblebee (Revealers Series 02 of 03), and Bluestreak (Road Assault Series 02 of 04.)  Visit the Transformers Movie Gallery for the complete breakdown to-date.


2/27/11 - And the Winners are...
Voting has ended.  The winners of the 2011 Bandit Awards have been determined!  Some of the categories resulted in blow-outs, while others were determined by just one or two votes.  And it looks like we have an official dynasty in the "Best Die-Cast Car Line" category with a repeat winner.  Overall, it was a fairly weak year for car movies.  With all the car movies slated for release in 2011, I think the  Bandit Awards will be far more exciting exciting next year.  Without further adieu, here are the results:

Best Movie of 2011 - The results of this race surprised me a bit.  Yes, Iron Man 2 had its moments, but best movie of 2010?   The public has spoken and Iron Man 2 received 29% of the votes for a first place finish.  My vote went toward The Expendables, which came in second with 26% of the votes.

Best Race/Chase - While The Expendables didn't win the Best Movie category, it did fare well in two other categories.  With 27% of the votes the winner of Best  Race/Chase went to the scene in which Stallone dodges Dolph Lundgren in an automotive rematch of Rocky IVTron Legacy's Light Cycles battle came in second with 22% of the votes.

Best Movie Car - The 1955 Ford F-100 from The Expendables was named best movie car of 2011 by fans with 28% of the vote.  The pickup truck barely beat out the van from The A-Team, which came in second with 25% of the vote. 

Best Actor - In the biggest blowout of the voting, Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man 2) was named Best Actor by fans with 39% of the vote.  To give you an idea of how large the margin was, Liam Neeson (The A-Team) came in second with only 18% of the vote.  Neeson was named Best Actor in 2010 for his role in Taken.

Best TV Car - Since Knight Rider got canceled in 2010, KITT couldn't continue its reign in this category. (KITT won two years in a row.)  The new champion comes from one of my favorite TV series from 2010:  The Walking Dead.  This race was so close, it was tied until the very last moment.  The 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T won by ONE VOTE over the 1967 Chevrolet Impala from Supernatural!

Best Die-Cast Car Line - No surprise here.  For the THIRD year in a row fans named Mattel's 1:55 scale Batman line the best die-cast car line with 23% of the vote.  Ten new vehicles were released in 2010 including the Batmobiles from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  Factory Entertainment's The Green Hornet line fared well with 18% of the vote.

Best Single Die-Cast Car - Voting was all over the place in this category with 20 different cars to chose from, but when the smoke finally cleared, it was Mattel's Ghostbusters Ecto-1 from the Hot Wheels line that reigned supreme with a mere 17% of the vote.  Released in January of 2010 it was the very first time collectors were offered Ecto-1 (from the FIRST movie) in 1:64 scale.  The SDCC version came in second.  I guess collectors resented the price and unavailability of the Comic Con version.

Thanks so much for voting in this year's contest!


2/25/11 - Holy Color Shifters, Batman!
My thanks goes out to Patrick Mallette of Maryland who, through a random act of kindness, sent me the Hot Wheels Color Shifters Batmobile pictured at left.  Following the Dark Knight Batmobile that came out in 2010, Mattel has released this version from the 1989 Batman movie, except that when you add water, red flames appear.  I have yet to see this at any stores near me, but I hear they're being found at Walmart in other parts of the country.  Thanks again Patrick!


2/25/11 - Drive Angry 3D - My Review
Drive Angry 3D
is a strange, strange ride.  Minutes into the movie I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into.  Terrible acting and dialogue; physics-defying stunts and Nicolas Cage mimicking Clint Eastwood’s gritty, minimalist delivery had me expecting the worst.  Cage is Milton, a man searching for his infant granddaughter, taken by an evil Satanic cult.  Amber Heard is Piper, who is lovely to look at but difficult to watch as she poorly delivers f-bomb-laden dialogue.  By the time Milton and Piper cross paths, I was ready to declare Drive Angry a misogynistic, silly, mess of a movie, SHOT IN 3D.  But I stuck with it.  Soon, Milton and Piper are on the road in a black 1969 Charger (the same make and model featured in the second half of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.)  Slowly, I began to pick up on the intended tone of the movie, especially during the scene in which Milton blows away cult members while having sex with a naked barmaid, IN SLOW MOTION!  When Milton gets tasered, she gets tasered, too, because they’re, um, well, you get the idea.  It was at this moment I almost said out loud, “Ooooooh, I get it.”  Drive Angry, not unlike Tarantino’s Death Proof, is a throwback to the grind house films of the 70’s.  The dialogue and acting are SUPPOSED to be bad.  The stunts and the premise are SUPPOSED to defy believability.  The bad guys are SUPPOSED to be over-the-top bad and the violence is SUPPOSED to be over-the-top violent.  Once I came to terms with that, I actually began to enjoy Drive Angry.  Then the movie begins to reveal a supernatural element, one piece at a time, along the lines of Cage’s Ghost Rider, and that’s when the movie becomes fun.  At this point, you realize there are no rules.  Anything could, and did, happen.  I even began to appreciate the cheesy dialogue.  Some lines made me smile, such as:  

Piper:  “Give me one reason I shouldn’t blow your head off.”
Milton:  “I’m driving.”

Almost stealing the movie was William Fichtner as the mysterious Accountant, who pursues Milton through the movie.  The character delivered some of the movie’s best lines while dispatching anyone who got in his way.  Eventually, the pieces fall into place, that is if you suspend your disbelief and buy into the supernatural premise. And like many 3D movies from the past year or so, the 3D effects were okay at times, but unnecessary.

On a final note:  I would’ve found the movie much more satisfying if it didn’t have this underlying misogynistic tone throughout.  Many of the women in the movie, Piper included, were the victims of severe beatings, violence and gunfire, some while nude.  For me, these moments were almost unbearable and had me wondering if the writers had some serious women issues to work out.


2/23/11 - Toy Story 3 - Series 2
While shopping at Target, I finally found the two remaining characters that make up Series 2 of Mattel's Toy Story line.  I've already introduced you to RC (above, left.)  Joining him are Rocky Road and Land Speed Lenny.  All three characters have been added to the Toy Story Gallery.


2/13/11 - 2011 Bandit Awards!
With the Academy Awards just two weeks away, I thought it was time to start the voting on our own version of the Oscars:  The Bandit Awards (named after the Patron Saint of Car Chase Movies: Mr. Burt Reynolds.)  When you click on the logo at left, please cast one vote in each of the following categories:  Best Movie, Best Car Chase, Best Movie Car, Best Actor, Best TV Car, Best Die-Cast Car Line and Best Single Die-Cast Car of 2010.   Winners will be announced on Feb. 27th.

IMPORTANT:  Cast Your Vote, submit it, then hit the BACK button to vote in the next category!


2/12/11 - Gotta Get Back in Time!
My thanks goes out to Scott Winnagle, who on the Hollywood Die-Cast Facebook Page posted that he attended the K-Mart Hot Wheels Collectors Event on Saturday morning and found the Back to the Future Time Machine.  Following his lead, I went to my local K-Mart and found FOUR, count 'em FOUR Time Machines hanging on the pegs.  Although not as accurate as the Charawheels version from a few years back, it's so cool to see this car as part of the Hot Wheels main line.  And the OUTATIME license plate is such a nice touch.  So if you're looking for it, check your local K-Mart.


2/5/11 - News from Nuremberg.
I got an e-mail today from Gregg Lacarte.  The e-mail included the pics above from the 2011 Nuremberg International Toy Fair found online.  Above, left, is the first photo I've seen of Mattel's 1:18 GMC Van from The A-Team.  Online retailers have been soliciting advanced orders for a few months now, but we finally have official confirmation from Mattel.  The A-Team Van in 1:18 scale has been at the top of most collectors' wish lists, including mine, and I can't wait to finally add it to my collection.  It looks spectacular.  In the middle we have a prototype of a 1:18 scale Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters.  RC2 released Ecto-1 in 2004 under the Joy Ride brand, but it has since skyrocketed in value.  Collectors who missed it in '04 will be happy to know they can get it from Mattel in 2011.  And the Lamborghini Countach pictured above, right, is made by Kyosho in 1:18 scale.  Although I don't think it's officially licensed, it sure resembles the car featured in The Cannonball Run.  When I get more information about the release dates of these vehicles, I'll post the info right here.


2/4/11 - Toy Story 3 ... Continued
I recently found out another wave of characters from Mattel's Toy Story 3 line of die-cast cars started showing up in stores.  Today I found RC (left) at Target.  I thought it might be a re-release of the car that was included in the 1998 Hot Wheels Toy Story Action Pack, but comparing them I can see this is a brand new casting.  Apparently, there are two other characters that I didn't see at Target:  Rocky Road and Landspeed Lenny (binoculars.)  The hunt continues.


2/4/11 - End of Drought?
After a month-long drought in my area I'm finally starting to find a few new things in stores, even though the two vehicles pictured above aren't exactly new.  From the Cars Toon short Monster Truck Mater I found Tormentor's Biggest Fan and I-Screamer's Biggest Fan, but I'm still FAR from being caught up.  I'm still missing Tokyo Mater with Oil Stains, Patokaa (police car), and Bye Bye Kar.  And I still haven't seen any trace of the latest Final Lap series that includes Hooman, Swift Alternator, Derek "Decals" Dobbs, & Coriander Widetrack.  I sure hope I can get caught up before Cars 2 product starts arriving on the pegs.


2/2/11 - It's News to Me!
I don't know how I missed this when it was first announced way back in July of 2010, but it seems Hallmark will be releasing the 1966 Batmobile as an ornament in 2011.  The sneak peek was revealed at the San Diego Comic Con last summer.  Traditionally, Hallmark stores begin selling ornaments in July, with additional ornaments arriving in October.  I'm sure this is one ornament collectors will stock up on!


2/1/11 - Hollywood Die-Cast Turns 8
Today marks the the eighth year of existence of this website.  It all started way back in 2003 when I realized there were no websites dedicated to die-cast cars from TV and movies.  I bought a domain name, found a host, bought some software, took a bunch of photos of die-cast cars with the help of my buddy Dennis, and BAM, Hollywood Die-Cast was born.  Since then this site has changed my life.  I've met so many great people and had many amazing experiences over the past eight years.  The site averages about 1200 visitors per day and I should be getting my three MILLIONTH visitor sometime this year.  Thanks to Rodney at Movie Car Mania for being a sponsor for such a long time and to everyone who contributes news and photos to help make this site what it is today. 


1/30/11 - Holy Hot Wheels Poster, Batman!
Mattel's 2011 Hot Wheels poster has been revealed online.  One of the things that caught my eye was this picture of the Arkham Asylum Batmobile.  This casting appears to be based on the videogame and not a re-release of the Batmobile that was included with the Arkham Asylum playset a few years ago. 


I searched the poster for an image of KITT from Knight Rider, but it seems Mattel isn't quite ready to reveal it yet.


1/25/11 - Death Proof Charger
Being a fan of Johnny Lightning on Facebook has its perks.  I saw a post that gives us a sneak peek of Forever 64 - Release 13.  At first glance, I thought JL was re-releasing the Death Proof Nova, but then I looked closer and noticed it was actually a '69 Charger.  Now, the Charger featured in the second half of Death Proof didn't have the skull emblem on its hood, but it's still a cool idea.


1/23/11 - "I never joke about my work, 007."
This has got to be the most amazing things I've ever seen since I started collecting die-cast cars.  Rob Cassidy of the U.K. sent me an e-mail alerting me to this.  From EON Productions and Aston Martin comes this spectacular 1:8 scale die-cast replica of the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger.  Incredibly, it's a die-cast model kit and with a subscription, you'll get it piece by piece over the course of 85 weeks!  When completed, it will have all the working gadgets as seen in Goldfinger.  Unfortunately, it's only available in the U.K., but if you submit your name and contact info, they may consider releasing it in the U.S.  Click on the image above for more information and detailed photos.


1/23/11 - Smokey & The Bandit Ride Again
I've gotten several e-mails from fellow collectors about this news tidbit.  Although I'm not a fan of the sequel to Smokey & The Bandit, I'll pass it along anyways.  Apparently, GreenLight will be producing a 1:18 scale version of the 1980 Pontiac Trans-Am from Smokey & The Bandit II.  It should be available in February and retail for $40-50.


1/14/11 - The Green Hornet - My Review
I got to see a sneak preview of The Green Hornet on Thursday night.  What was my reaction?  Read my review on the website www.movieretriever.com.


1/12/11 - "Toga!  Toga!"
I heard news that GreenLight was going to release more Hollywood dioramas, but I  just got confirmation that includes photos.  Pictured above, left, is a diorama from Animal House that includes a '59 Chevy Corvette.  Ya gotta love the Delta House backdrop!  A little more obscure is the diorama from the movie Apollo 13 (There were cars in the movie?)  Apparently, this diorama depicts a racing scene from the film and includes a 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350 and a 1970 Chevy Corvette Stingray.  I guess I'll have to pop in the DVD and watch it again.  For more information, visit Action Figure Insider.


1/12/11 - "I'm gonna fix up Christine!"
Okay, this is an interesting coincidence.  Occasionally, I exchange e-mails with Tom Z. from Johnny Lightning and sometimes I offer suggestions on possible Hollywood cars.  Well, just a couple of weeks ago I suggested JL release a rusty version of their Plymouth Fury (or Belvedere) casting as an unofficial rusty Christine.  Tom seemed to like the idea, but it looks like M2 beat them to it.  I just got an e-mail from a fellow collector that had the above pic attached.  Pretty cool, huh?


1/6/11 - The Punisher has arrived!
This arrived in the mail today.  It's yet another entry in Johnny Lightning's unofficial Hollywood cars series.  This time we have a 1969 Pontiac GTO as seen in the 2004 movie The Punisher.  The bullet holes along the fender are a nice touch!  Okay, so the car in the movie didn't have a rear spoiler, but so what.  I've created a new entry in the movie gallery:  The Punisher.


1/3/11 - Tron Legacy:  Series 2
The first post of 2011.  On my day off I headed to the movie theater, but instead of seeing Tron Legacy, I chose to see True Grit, which I liked a lot. Afterward, I stopped into a nearby Target store and was surprised to find a new Tron vehicle hanging on a peg.  Pictured at right is a One Man Light Jet.  Checking the back of the package, I realized Series 2 is now hitting stores.  Other vehicles pictured include 3 Man Jet and Grid Limo.  And notice in the bottom right corner of the pictured above, Spin Master announces "Wave 3 Coming Soon."

1/23 UPDATE:  I found two more vehicles at Meijer.  The pics have been added to the Tron Legacy Gallery.