Saturday, November 30, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #5

When Fishface attacks a cruise ship looking to get his hands on his former partner-in-crime Victor Sousa, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello show up to save the day. For the first time the Turtles find themselves fighting the fish-mutant in water, and Fishface turns out to be far more trouble in his natural habitat.

Raphael questions putting their own lives on the line to save a gangster (which turns out to be prophetic as Victor eventually turns on his would-be rescuers). Although the ship is sunk, the Turtles eventually are able to stop Fishface and turn Victor over to the police allowing Leo to show his brother that saving a criminal doesn't mean letting him go free.

Of the characters created for the new animated show, Fishface is one of the oddest. I haven't been the biggest fan of his, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #5 uses the setting to the character's advantage, making him a credible threat given the circumstances the Turtles find themselves in. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Batman '66 #5

The latest adventure set in the world of the 60's Batman television show pits Batman and Robin against The Sandman who puts all of Gotham City into a highly suggestive sleep to complete the largest robbery the city has ever seen. After catching the Dynamic Duo in his trap as well the villain attempts to pry the location out the Batcave out of them by controlling Batman's dreams (which include a couple of really cool panels by artist Ruben Procopio).

Despite nearly giving away the secret location of the Batcave (and with it his secret identity), Batman eventually realizes and takes control of the dream allow the heroes to wake-up and put the villain to sleep (so to speak). The Sandman falls very much into the D-list category of Bat-villains, but the tale is fun and certainly fits the style of the comic.

The issue also includes the first appearance of Batgirl in a back-up story, featuring some fun art by Colleen Ann Coover, when she takes on the Eartha Kitt Catwoman who attempts to rob the Gotham Museum of the priceless Tiger Topaz. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

Blue is the Warmest Color

Adapted from the graphic novel by Julie Maroh by writer/director Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color examines the sexual awakening of a French secondary-school student and the journey her first lesbian relationship will lead her on over the next few years.

In its best moments Keciche's film captures the perfect mix of emotions between the young Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and the more experienced Emma (Léa Seydoux) creating a completely believable and natural love story where passions run extremely high but whose differences lead to problems down the line.

The film doesn't immediately start with Adèle and Emma. Instead we get Adèle's attempt at a heterosexual relationship with a cute young classmate (Salim Kechiouche). Feeling something missing, Adèle journeys into a gay bar with friends where she meets Emma for the first time.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Glee - Puppet Master

Control issues are the common theme of "Puppet Master" as the School Board shows up for an inspection to judge Sue‘s (Jane Lynch) performance as principal and both Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer)  have trouble getting the other members of their respective muscial families to listen to their "brilliant" ideas. Blaine's psychotic break (caused by a gas leak in the choir room which leads him to daydream living puppets of the Glee Club are singing and talking to him) leads to a performance of Queen's "You're My Best Friend" and leads to the creation of his own Kurt puppet (which Sue quickly confiscates).

Black Cat by Mad Mel Madigan

Daredevil #33

Daredevil's unusual adventure in the South continues as he finds himself shot by locals who take him for one of the monsters and then saved by the Legion of Monsters, repaying his earlier attempt to save them from a lynch mob in the last issue. However, the hero finds himself in a stand-off with the group who attack him again once they realize the dangerous information he's after.

After coming to an understanding with the group, and finally armed with the knowledge of what the Darkhold is, Daredevil sets out to confront Lucien Sinclair, a local wizard of the Sons of the Serpent with pages from the magical totem which could cause serious problems for everyone involved (and which it appears Daredevil has his own plans).

Like the last issue, Daredevil #33 is weird and goofy adventure but I thought the humor worked better this time around. Daredevil's right of passage to get to Sinclair works well, as does the panel showing the pissed off hero finally confronting the wizard. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $2.99]

Batman and Two-Face #25

"The Big Burn" continues as Two-Face prepares to go to war with the entire city to get his hands on Erin McKillen for the murder of his wife and the acid facial that changed Harvey Dent's life forever. Both the current storyline and the flashbacks deal with McKillen's escape from custody, although this time around she's got the help of Matches Malone.

The layout of the issue as it jumps willy-nilly from current to past events (all which concern the same characters and situations) isn't as well-handled as I like. More than once while reading the issue I mistook panels for one part of the story which were actually related an entirely different series of events. That's a problem.

On the plus-side we do get an appearance by Matches (which means the character, and Batman's use of his identity, is part of the New 52). Despite the promise the issue will have big revelations about Carrie Kelley (which I believe I've already guessed) the character fails to make even a cameo here. Given the false advertising and confusing storytelling this one is very much Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $3.99]

The Shadow #19

Although I'm not the biggest fan of Andrea Mutti's art in the issue, The Shadow #19 marks a good opportunity for those looking for a place to jump in on the title. The issue not only begins a new story arc involving the mysterious past of the man known to the world as Lamont Cranston but also reintroduces Margo Lane, The Shadow's network of spies around New York City, and his ability to coerce information out of unwitting allies (such as the police commissioner) as The Shadow searches for a connection between the Russian mob and a series of kidnappings of young women from wealthy local families.

Putting both his network and the intimidation tactics of his alter-ego to good use, Cranston manages to locate and save every single victim but what he finds at the scene will force The Shadow to leave New York City and journey halfway around the world to understand what the box containing a severed finger wearing a ring very much like his own signifies. The issue sets up the larger mystery with a single-issue tale that works well all on its own. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster follows the life of Ip Man (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), who the film suggests may have been the greatest Chinese martial artist of his generation. From an early challenge from a Northern Chinese Grandmaster (Qingxiang Wang) through teaching in his own school in Hong Kong decades later to pass on his teaching to the next generation (including a young Bruce Lee), the script by director Kar Wai Wong and fellow screenwriters Jingzhi Zou and Haofeng Xu examines the major events and relationships of Ip Man's life.

There are three different cuts of the film in existence. Sadly neither this Blu-ray nor DVD release include the original cut of the film released in Asia (which earned more critical acclaim than the versions made for U.S. audiences). As I haven't seen the original cut I can't compare the two, but I will note that some of the editing in this version, especially for the kind of philosophical and slow wide-sweeping tale the film strives to be, at times seems rushed and a bit muddled.

Person of Interest - The Devil's Share

Following the death of Carter (Taraji P. Henson) both Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and an injured Reese (Jim Caviezel) separately scour the city for any trace of Simmons (Robert John Burke). Unable to find or stop Reese, Finch (Michael Emerson) and Fusco (Kevin Chapman) convince Shaw to help them find Simmons first which begins with tracking down Quinn (Clarke Peters) who is being guarded by Federal Marshals and about to be indicted as the head of HR. But to accomplish this Finch will have to find a way to trust Root (Amy Acker).

Red Sonja #5

Writer Gail Simone's opening arc continues as Red Sonja returns down the mountainside with her bodyguards Ayla and Nias to receive the rest of the cure for the plague slowly destroying her body and exact vengeance on her former friend Annisa for killing the king who freed them both from the pit while leaving his kingdom to die of plague.

Dealing mostly with Red Sonja returning from her exile and slowly regaining her strength and fire at witnessing the atrocities of a woman she once loved as a sister, Red Sonja #5 spends most of its time setting up next month's final issue to the opening arc as the two warriors step into the arena to battle one more time.

The issue does end with a bit of a twist as both women come face-to-face with a common foe from their past suggesting that the epic final battle between the two warriors that the storyline has been leading to may not occur in the arc's final issue (or perhaps at all if both don't survive the attack of their former slave master). Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Repairs

As Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) decide Skye (Chloe Bennet) missed out on the proper rights of hazing and pranks by not going through S.H.I.E.L.D.'s academy, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) talk with a woman blamed for a series of accidents in a small town which appear to have been triggered by telekentic powers. However, Hanna (Laura Seay) refuses to accept responsibility for the odd occurrences believing she is being haunted which is actually far closer to the truth as one of her co-workers (Robert Baker), caught in the explosion that trapped him between dimensions, has been stalking her both before and after the accident he is responsible for.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #1

Okay, there are two things you should know about me before we begin. 1) I love me some classic Batman. And 2) I love me some classic Sco

. What happens when you throw these two things together for the first issue of Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #1? You get the most fun Batman comic I've read in more than two years!

While checking out rumors of an man-sized bat-creature in the area, Scooby-Doo and Mystery, Inc. run into Batman and Robin who are chasing down scientist Kurt Langstrom who has transformed into Man-Bat. Fans of Scooby-Doo Meets Batman will enjoy the lighthearted tone and fun of the all-age comic that delivers plenty of action as the Scooby Gang help the Dynamic Duo take down a group of masked robbers as well as the creature himself. And I can't tell you how much I love seeing Batman back in his classic costume (although with better art than in those Scooby episodes).

Sleepy Hollow - Sanctuary

The search for a missing billionaire leads Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) to a haunted house with ties to both Crane's past and that of his wife Katrina (Katia Winter). Crane and Abbie are able to free Lena Gilbert (Erin Cahill) from the living vines trapping her inside one the rundown colonial home's many rooms but soon find themselves trapped in the house as well.

The Blacklist - Anslo Garrick, Part 1

The Blacklist's two-part fall finale begins here with the FBI being tricked to bring Reddington (James Spader) back into the compound by the infamous Anslo Garrick (Ritchie Coster) who lays siege to the black site, cutting off communication or any hope of rescue from the outside world. Unable to evacuate, the FBI try to hold their position, including Agent Keen (Megan Boone) who is stuck in the elevator when the mercenaries cut the facility's power and a severely-wounded Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) who locks himself and Reddington in the specially designed cell deep within the compound.


Disney's latest animated feature Frozen is an odd mix of old school Disney style and modern sensibilities that works better than expected. Loosely adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's tale of The Snow Queen, the script by Jennifer Lee certainly fits in the pantheon of Disney Princess fairy tale films but with one major difference in terms of story that it apart from movies like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and others. Although it has romantic subplots, the main love story in the film isn't romantic love but sororal love.

Set in a port kingdom near the icy fjords of Norway, we first meet young Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) as children playing in their father's castle. Elsa has been gifted with the power to create and control snow and ice which she uses to please her sister's love of snow. However, a tragic accident causes Elsa to hide her powers from everyone and seclude herself from even her sister's affections.


There are several interesting choices that went into making Nebraska. Written by Bob Nelson, it's the film to be directed by Alexander Payne where Payne didn't have some input into the screenplay. And, against Paramount Vantage's wishes, Payne chose not only to film in black and white but cast the actors he wanted rather than the big stars the studio was pushing for. Given his clout, the two-time Oscar winner got his way and the results certainly justify each of those decisions and Payne delivers a family drama, road trip, and slice-of-life take of middle America that is a joy to watch.

We first meet the Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) attempting to walk from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska. Confused after receiving a sweepstakes form in the mail, Woody is certain he has won $1,000,000 and will not be talked out his trip by either his overbearing and long-suffering wife (June Squibb) or either of his two sons David (Will Forte) and Ross (Bob Odenkirk). Despite being dragged back home several times, Woody consistently sets out again on his treck believing he is perfectly able to walk 800 miles to collect his reward.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Castle - The Good, the Bad, and the Baby

While investigating a murdered limo driver whose last act was to bequeath a three-month-old baby to priest, Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) take in the infant. Not finding any connection between the murder victim and the baby Beckett talks with the man's girlfriend (Christie Burson) while hunt down a recently released convict (Matt Gerald) who was seen threatening the victim days before his death. Although the ex-con isn't their killer, finding him clues the team into the fact while not driving limousines, their victims was a getaway driver actively planning an escape route for the latest score.

Uncanny X-Men #14

With Battle for the Atom finally over, thing get back to normal for Cyclops and his students. Realizing Cyclops' hard-love approach is not working on Benjamin Deeds, Emma Frost decides a more delicate approach is needed to find out the just how much the transmorph can actually do.

As Emma correctly surmises, Deeds not only can transform his own form to closer resemble those nearer to him but he also produces a chemical reaction (when not screwing up) which gives him an unexpected level of trust with those he has just met. A little trip to Atlantic City puts the kid to the test, and when he finally gets the hang of it Summers even sends the blissfully-ignorant young man directly into a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility with what amounts to a declaration of war.

Uncanny X-Men #14 thankfully jumps right back into a new story while not spending too much time on the latest X-Men crossover and it gives us a look at Deeds unique power-set that the comic takes from an odd curiosity to incredibly useful in the span of a single issue. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Samurai Jack #2

Samurai Jack's quest to gather the remaining Threads of Time leads him to a small village ruled by a pair of perfectly synchronized warriors known as Dis and Dat whose twin attack is too much for our hero.

After facing defeat, Jack discovers the source of the twins perfect synchranicity: Threads of Time woven into both of their tunics allowing the pair to act as one. Challenging Dis and Dat to a rematch, Samurai Jack severs the link and quickly dispatches the two ruffians and freeing the local people from constant fear.

Given that Jack has to construct a rope there's probably many more stands to gather, but the characters of Dis and Dat work well both on their own (giving the samurai one of his toughest tests) and continuing the thread (so to speak) of the ongoing story.

Once again the art by Andy Suriano and dialogue from writer Jim Zub capture the feel of the original cartoon while continuing their adventure. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

The Mentalist - Red John

With the CBI shut down by the FBI and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and her team all under investigation by Agent Abbot (Rockmond Dunbar) after Patrick Jane's (Simon Baker) revelation to the press that Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston) is Red John, Jane stays out of his sight waiting for Bertam's call. Thanks to the help of Lisbon, Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), Cho (Harry Groener), and Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) who get themselves all arrested, Jane is free to keep his meeting with Red John who, as I suspected, is not Gale Bertram (which Jane knew as well).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Doctor Who - The Day of The Doctor

Fifty years in the making, "The Day of The Doctor" offers surprises not only for what it chooses to show but also for what it doesn't. It offers three Doctors in an adventure spanning three time periods, several nods to the classic series (including the return of the original design of the TARDIS, a classic villain in the Zygons, and the extremely well-kept secret of one very special cameo) and our first real look at the final day of the Time War. Those tuning in for Matt Smith's final episode as The Doctor certainly got more than they expected, and although the episode does offer us one regeneration sequence it is not the regeneration of The Eleventh Doctor into The Twelfth (Peter Capaldi) as Smith's Doctor survives to adventure on.

Hawaii Five-0 - Ha'uoli La Ho'omoaika'i

While trying to find a way to celebrate Thanksgiving with both friends and family, McGarrett's (Alex O’Loughlin) plans go awry thanks to the murder of an agent of the Secret Service by an assassin less than 12 hours before the arrival of the President on the island, Mary's (Taryn Manning) poor cooking skills, and the arrival of his Aunt Doris (Carol Burnett) who is carrying sad tidings and gets herself arrested for attempting to buy marijuana from an undercover cop on Thanksgiving.

Atomic Robo and The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #3

As Tesladyne prepares to repel soldiers coming after both the company and Atomic Robo after Majestic 12 has done a solid job framing them as nuclear terrorists, the company's leader has his own troubles in Venezuela trying to stay alive and stop the crazed Dr. Dinosaur from detonating his nuclear-powered time bomb.

Most of Atomic Robo's story concerns the robot trying to keep himself, and his human companions, alive from the attacks of the odd creatures under the crazy dinosaur's control while Dr. Dinosaur calls on the help of a few of his rock soldiers to put the bomb that Robo tricked him into disassembling back together. Because of this we don't get any more great banter between the pair, but both provide their own fun separately deep under the jungles of Venezuela.

Next issue I'd expect to see more of Jenkins leading the group to repel the soldiers who have finally arrived and, hopefully, more back-and-forth between Atomic Robo and Dr. Dinosaur. Worth a look.

[Red 5, $3.50]

Nikita - Wanted

100 days after being framed for the murder of President Spencer (Michelle Nolden) and abandoning her team and going on the run alone, Nikita (Maggie Q) returns to the United States in the first episode of the show's final season. Her friends haven't been idle in her absence as Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca)and Sonya (Lyndie Greenwood) have been working in India to shutdown the human trafficking rings feeding The Shop with living guinea pigs for their experiments. Meanwhile Michael (Shane West) has been busy scrounging every piece of information for a lead on his missing fiance as Ryan (Noah Bean) and Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) have been trying to discover how the very few pieces of the puzzle the have discovered fit together in Amanda's (Melinda Clarke) latest grand scheme.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Atlantis - The Earth Bull

In much the same tone of the recent television updating of Sinbad, the BBC's latest is a re-imagining of the Greek hero Jason (Jack Donnelly) as a child born in Atlantis but raised in America who finds himself washed-up on the shores of a city he knew only about in legends while searching the oceans for his lost father. Befriended by Hercules (Mark Addy) and the scientist Pythagoras (Robert Emms), Jason arrives in city on an auspicious day when seven citizens are chosen to be fed to the Minotaur to appease the gods.

Noir #1

Written by Victor Gischler, whose run on The Shadow I quite enjoyed, the new five-issue mini-series from Dynamite Comics stars the Black Sparrow (a character introduced by Gischler in his run) and Miss Fury (who only appears in the final panels of this first issue).

Noir #1 sets up the storyline of the mini-series (a lost Templar treasure many are willing to kill to find) and we'll as offering the reunion between The Shadow and the Black Sparrow who pick-up right where they left off with threats, innuendos, flirting, double-crosses, and danger.

After having a precious Moonstone stolen from her (which she rightly stole all on her own for a client she then decided to double-cross), the Black Sparrow shows up in Lamont Cranston's home with an unusual proposition. Although he knows he can't trust her, The Shadow agrees as the pair delve into the mystery of the stone and how it is linked to a small tower in Newport which some believe was constructed by the Knights Templar.

Glee - Movin' Out

As Blaine (Darren Criss) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) travel to New York for opportunities after graduation , Mr. Shue (Matthew Morrison) responds to the lack on representation of careers in the art at Sue's (Jane Lynch) hastily arranged McKinley High career fair to offer his students a lesson the the music and unlikely success story of Billy Joel. Of the single artist episodes Glee has done, "Movin' Out" offers several strong musical performances as character in both Lima and New York belt out hits by the Piano Man.

Elementary - On the Line

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) investigate a skillfully managed suicide by a young woman attempting to frame the man (Troy Garity) she believes mutilated and killed her sister (but who never seriously considered a suspect in the case) for her own staged murder. Although Holmes' quick deductions at the scene prove the man's innocence for the previous night's killing, the consulting detective suspects that the suspect may have indeed killed the young woman's sister (and possibly several others).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Covert Affairs - Trompe Le Monde

Annie's (Piper Perabo) season-long hunt ends in the Fourth Season finale as all the sacrifices she's made over the course of the year, including going dark and faking her own death, lead her face-to-face with Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin). The episode may begin with Annie as Wilcox's prisoner, but, after quite a few twists and turns, the episode (and season) comes to a close with Ms. Walker finishing her mission and returning home with hopes of slowly putting her life back together.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - Who's Alice

While Jafar (Naveen Andrews) travels to London with the White Rabbit (John Lithgow) to find out more about Alice (Sophie Lowe) and her stay in Bethlem Asylum from Dr. Lydgate (Jonny Coyne), Alice journeys into the Dark Forest where she meets the Carpenter (John Prowse) while loosing her bearings and memory in the Boro Grove unaware that both Cyrus (Peter Gadiot) is free of Jafar's dungeon or that the Red Queen (Emma Rigby) used the hard-won magic dust to restore the Knave (Michael Socha) back to the land of the living.

The Crazy Ones - Sixteen-Inch Softball

After loosing an account Simon (Robin Williams) squares off against his partner Gordon (Brad Garrett) in a game of 16-inch softball to determine whether the creative or accounting division of the firm fires an employee to make up the cost. While not wanting to loose anyone from his side of the company, Simon is mostly scared that his legendary role as the greatest softball player the company has ever seen will be lost if he steps back on the field (given that he was high as a kite during his remarkable performance 10 years ago and hasn't shown an once of athleticism before or since).

The Big Bang Theory - The Thanksgiving Decoupling

Thanksgiving proves to be a challenge as the entire gang heads to Mrs. Wolowitz's home for Thanksgiving dinner. Although her booming voice is heard throughout the episode, Howard's (Simon Helberg) mother isn't seen in the episode but he does have to deal with Bernadette's (Melissa Rauchfather (Casey Sander) who has never taken a shine to his son-in-law.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Selena Gomez Flaunts her short hair and short film

Selena Gomez shows off a short-hairdo and a short film for her cover story in the latest issue of Flaunt. In her interview Gomez discusses her own ghost story, her love of Southern food, auditioning for Spring Breakers, keeping aspects of herself private for her family, Lorde's negative comments about her video for "Come & Get It," and her future acting plans. You can find pics from her cover shoot, along with the short film and photos from the magazine's release party, inside.

Nikita - The Complete Third Season

The Third Season changes the set-up of the show as Nikita (Maggie Q), Michael (Shane West), and Ryan (Noah Bean) take over Division and try to use its resources to take down rogue former operatives including Amanda (Melinda Clarke). Given a short leash by President Spencer (Michelle Nolden), Nikita and her team have to work behind-the-scenes with no footprint as any discovery of Division means a death sentence for everyone.

Several of the cast will have their own struggles as well as Nikita and Michael will get engaged, Michael will have to cope with loosing one of his hands, Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) will try discover Sonya (Lyndie Greenwood) is Amanda's mole and work to free the woman he loves from Amanda's control, Owen's (Devon Sawa) past and true nature will be revealed, and Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) will face problems with addiction, her relationship with Sean (Dillon Casey), and having her mind messed with by Amanda causing her to betray her friends.

Muppets Most Wanted trailer

We now have our first full-length trailer for Muppets Most Wanted which finds Kermit replaced with an evil doppelganger who uses the Muppets European tour as cover for a planned jewel heist. The sequel stars the Muppets, Ricky GervaisTina FeyTy BurrellDanny TrejoDebby Ryan, Lady GagaZach GalifianakisChristoph Waltz, and Salma Hayek. Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters on March 21st.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is very much a typical sequel with the same inherent strengths and weaknesses of the first film. Those who enjoyed The Hunger Games (based on a series of teen fiction) are likely to enjoy this one as well. And those, like me, who found the first film wanting will have a similar reaction to the sequel.

Picking up a year after the events of The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) leave their separate lives to reconnect for a celebratory tour on the anniversary of their win. Despite little contact over the past year, the pair play up the lovers angle at the command of President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who hopes it may help quell the glimmer of insurrection Katniss' victory began.

When Katniss proves unable to give Snow what he wants, and he realizes killing her would only create a martyr, the president reaches out to new game master Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to design a scenario to end both her popularity and her life.

Dallas Buyers Club

When we first meet Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) the southern redneck might, in some circles, be described best as an ignorant sumbitch. Coasting through life with no cares deeper or more involved than rodeo, fucking, betting, drinking and drugs, Woodroof certainly isn't ready to discover he has HIV which he and everyone around him still consider a gay disease.

Based on a true story, the tale could have gone as one might imagine. Given a prognosis of 30 days to live, and ostracized by his friends, you might expect a downward spiral into oblivion or a last-minute feel-good redemption tale. Thankfully for the audience, Dallas Buyers Club has far higher aspirations and Ray Woodroof led a far more interesting life after being diagnosed.

Although ignorant, Woodroof isn't dumb. Possessed with a keen mind and driven by both greed and his own continued survival, the film follows the unusual path his life takes after researching not only the disease but also various medical treatments all over the world for the treatment of HIV and AIDS.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Arrow - State v. Queen

Oliver (Stephen Amell) finds his attention pulled in two directions with the beginning of Moira‘s (Susanna Thompson) murder trial and several people in the city, including Diggle (David Ramsey) and the Assistant District Attorney (Dylan Bruce) trying Moira's case, falling ill to a disease caused by Vertigo-tainted flu shots created by The Count (Seth Gabel) who escaped prison during the chaos caused by the quake. The Count has resurfaced to blackmail those infected with the cure for the disease: the original version of the mad man's own highly-addictive drug.

Codename: Action #3

The world is becoming a very strange and dangerous place. Black Venus has refused orders she know will plunge France into war and Operative 1001 finds himself on his own when Operator 5 is kidnapped and whisked away to an undisclosed location in the South Pacific at the mercy of the mad scientist who created the doppelgangers trying to push the world to the brink of war.

Each following their own leads Operative 1001 and Black Venus finally meet and, after a brief misunderstanding, discover they have been investigating the same strange mystery. Meanwhile, the forces behind the plot also capture The Spider while targeting various masked vigilantes who they are willing to take down, dead or alive.

Codename: Action #3, as a middle issue in a six-issue mini-series, works in continuing to push the storyline forward. The lethal combination of Black Venus and Operative 1001 should cause some problems for the mysterious enemy organization known as Hexagon. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

The Last Day (Doctor Who Minisode)

We now have a second mini-episode penned by Steven Moffat leading into the events of this weekend's Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special "Day of the Doctor." No big surprise performance or cameo this time, but it does seem to confirm the Time War will be the focus of the special.

Person of Interest - The Crossing

As Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Carter (Taraji P. Henson) attempt to escort a wounded Quinn (Clarke Peters) into FBI custody, Finch (Michael Emerson) receives Reese's number from The Machine who every criminal and killer in the city are hunting to claim the bounty put on his head from HR. Before Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and Fusco (Kevin Chapman) can arrive as back-up, Finch looses contact with Reese forcing Finch to consider doing the impossible and asking Root (Amy Acker) for help as Fusco and Shaw split up to cover both routes Carter and Reese could use to get into Manhattan.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Well

Following the events of Thor: The Dark World, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team arrive in London to clean-up the mess caused by Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) battle with Maleketh (Christopher Eccleston), but the real trouble in in Norway where two Norse paganists (Michael GraziadeiErin Way) cut a piece of a mystical Asgardian staff out of a tree in a forest reserve which grants the wielder both uncontrollable rage and power. Consulting an expert in Spain (Peter MacNicol) who identifies it as one-third of the Berserker Staff (and whose interference looses the team the second piece of the staff) the team tries to gather the remaining piece before it too falls into the wrong hands.

Star Wars #11

Although Han and Chewie are still off on their own trying to procure weapons for the Rebellion, most of the other individual storylines converge as the Star Destroyer Devastator catches up to the Rebel Fleet.

Leia returns just as the fighting begins, and Luke and Wedge aren't far behind flying T.I.E. Interceptors as part of the squadron attacking the Rebel's carriers and supply ships. With some nifty flying and a bit of luck the pair manage to make it on-board without any of their friends accidentally killing them. The real surprise, however, is the other Imperial T.I.E. Fighter Pilot who surrenders to the Rebels who turns their almost sure defeat into news of disaster that will enrage Darth Vader to ignore his orders to oversee the Second Death Star and continue his search for young Skywalker.

Fans of space battles, X-Wings, and Interceptors should enjoy this issue as much of it has to deal with in space that our main characters (not surprisingly) manage to survive. With all but Han Solo's story wrapping up it will be interesting to see what direction the series takes from here. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

Sleepy Hollow - Necromancer

With the Headless Horsesman (Richard Cetrone) trapped and contained in an underground Masonic cell designed by Thomas Jefferson, Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) reaches out to the recently-released psychiatric patient Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) to help with the Hessians working to free the Horseman while Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) try and convince Andy Brooks (John Cho) to help them communicate with their prisoner.

Astro City #6

Astro City #6 returns to the storyline introduced in the new series' first issue as mid-level mobster Thatcher Jones, who has had a knack all his life for realizing when to take advantage of an open door, decides on his own to make the acquaintance of Telseth whose giant door is sitting in the middle of his port.

Originally planning to shake the alien ambassador down for whatever Telseth may be inclined to give, Thatcher finds himself invited into an entirely new world as he literally walks through the latest door open to him and strikes up a friendship with alien telling Telseth much about his own life and agreeing to supply him with all kinds of Earth curiosities the ambassador has been learning about.

Thatcher also takes something from the unaware Telseth which turns his brother-in-law into a super-villain. With too much to loose of his own comfortable life, Thatcher refuses to use one of canisters on himself but holds onto them for a rainy day not knowing when another door might open.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Castle - Disciple

Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) investigate an odd case of murder involving a former hooker who someone went out of the way to make a spitting image of Lanie (Tamala Jones) down to cheek implants and her three-month-old hip tattoo. As Beckett and Castle hit a dead end talking to the woman's plastic surgeon (Annie Wersching), Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) run down a lead Tory Ellis (Maya Stojan) was able to pull from the dead woman's camera only to discover a second victim hung with fishing line who was taking lessons from a speech therapist (Jim Holmes) to sound, as well as look, exactly like Esposito.

G.I. JOE #10

"Threat Matrix" comes to an end as Duke confronts the Mad Monk, the Special Missions team hunts down the JOE leader who Cover Girl believes may be Cobra's mole, and the Baroness is forced to make a choice between Cobra and Destro when Cobra Commander and his troops invade the arm seller's home.

By the end of the issue the JOEs will stop the Mad Monk's plan and save Duke's comatose wife whose chest the villain's wife and daughter strapped the bomb to. It's not a complete win as Monk gets away and questions linger about Duke's unexplained wealth (which we learn about in the issue's final flashback).

The split between Destro and Cobra opens up new possibilities for the character and I'm happy to see the series sticking with the relationship between the Baroness and her silver-headed boyfriend. The flashbacks certainly give Duke a feet of clay which I have mixed feelings about as I do with Monk getting away to cause more trouble for the JOEs in the future. For fans.

[IDW, $3.99]

Superman/Wonder Woman #2

The second issue of Superman/Wonder Woman is equal parts entertaining and frustrating. The tease in last month's issue about a big throwdown between Superman and Wonder Woman vs. Doomsday is over in just a handful of panels before it ever really begins. And the way it ends is also odd as Doomsday simply stops beating Diana half-to-death to disappear as Superman saves the freighter from the storm. Consider of the unstoppable killing machine, I guess?

From there the two heroes spend time in both the Fortress of Solitude to discuss Doomsday who Kal-El fears may have found a way to temporarily escape the Phantom Zone and to the halls of Hephaestus who Diana beseeches to build a suit of armor for her love. The issue also teases the *sigh* arrival of another Kryptonian on Earth.

Although I'm against Superman needing magic god armor to take on anyone, the series of events does get the Man of Steel bitch slapped by Apollo whose second move is nowhere near as intelligent and leaves the god at the mercy of Superman. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $3.99]

The Mentalist - The Great Red Dragon

With Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond), Sheriff Thomas McAllister (Xander Berkeley), and Bret Styles (Malcolm McDowell) confirmed dead, and Patrick Jane (Simon Baker)  unconscious following the explosion in his home, Lisbon leads the CBI after a wounded Reede Smith (Drew Powell) who she believes to be Red John due to catching a glimpse of the three dots on his left shoulder unaware that her boss Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston), who also survived the explosion, shares the same tattoo.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Once Upon a Time - Think Lovely Thoughts

Now fully reunited, the rescue party turns on Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) after Neal (Michael Raymond-James) fills them in on the prophecy and what he believes are his father's true motives concerning Henry (Jared Gilmore). The group comes to a temporary agreement in which Rumpelstiltskin agrees to turn over the Pandora's Box and not use any magic until Henry is safe, but by the time they reach the Lost Boys camp both Peter Pan and Henry are gone. Making matters worse, Wendy Darling (Freya Tingley) lets the group in on Pan's plan to steal Henry's heart to achieve immortality.

The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction #3

The third issue of The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction #3 moves the investigation back to Central City where Cliff follows Betty after she is given her first big break as a television star but, sadly, not by someone who actually has her best interests at heart.

Along with offering the opportunity for The Spirit to play host to The Rocketeer (and scare the hell out of Cliff when he discovers just who and what The Spirit really is) the third issue of the mini-series also gives us a look at how the villains plan to use television not just to broadcast signals but people and objects across great distances.

Of course there is still a problem with the teleporting power of the signal. Although Betty's insides aren't scrambled like those of the poor victim who found himself in California, her mind is emptied allowing her to be the perfect pawn of and the Octopus and Trask who turn poor Betty into another of The Spirit's femme fatales and set her loose on the hero. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]