Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Agent X - Fidelity

Agent X ends its First Season with Volker's (Andrew Howard) plans revealed. The finale takes John (Jeff Hephner) and Olga (Olga Fonda) to Paris, masquerading as the pair of hitmen Volker sent to finish John off. Their orders lead them to the theater where a ridiculous number of world leaders are gathered together with a pitiful amount of security (so bad no one notices when Volker's men take off the theater and the guards outside loose all communication to their own men).

Batgirl #46

Despite the issue's cover Batgirl #46 doesn't quite give us the Batgirl and Spoiler team-up we were hoping for. In fact Stephanie Brown doesn't even appear until halfway through the issue when Babs sets out to save the Spoiler who has gotten in over her head with the local gangs. Still, for at least a few panels we get to see the woman who should be Batgirl fight along side of the woman who is Batgirl.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Adapting her own novel, writer Jesse Andrews offers us a look into a year of life of lonely high school senior Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) who has spent his entire high school experience with the sole goal of not pissing anyone off. Acquaintances with several of his classmates, but friend to none, Greg's only outlet outside the carefully constructed web of calm (that happens to be the exact opposite of his home life) are the movies he makes with Earl (RJ Cyler), a longtime friend (even if Greg refuses to refer to him that way).

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Darth Vader Annual #1

For its first annual Marvel's Darth Vader series sends Darth Vader to the planet Shu-torun where the grip of the Empire is loosening following the Rebellion's destruction of the first Death Star. Sent to make it clear to the planet's king that their continued loyalty is required, the Dark Lord of the Sith is betrayed as the King prepares to sacrifice his own daughter to free his planet from the control of the Empire.

The Librarians and the Final Curtain

The Second Season of The Librarians comes to a close with an amusing time travel storyline as Flynn (Noah Wyle) and Eve (Rebecca Romijn) travel back to the age of Shakespeare to stop Prospero (Richard Cox). Since his introduction in the season premiere Prospero has been an ill-defined, and largely absent, villain. "And the Final Curtain" helps explain the character's creation and true motivations, although it doesn't sell the character or help him look better compared to the much more intriguing Moriarty (David S. Lee), a character who is sadly cast aside like so much rubbish.


Meru documents not one but two attempts by experienced climbers (Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk) to scale the "anti-Everest" of Meru Peak in the Himalayan Mountains using the never-before completed "Shark's Fin" route known by climbers as one of the hardest routes in the world given the complexities and challenges of the mountain.

With a mix of footage from both the failed 2008 attempt and the successful 2011 climb, the movie also documents the period in-between concerning Ozturk's near-fatal accident and Chin being caught in an avalanche, neither of which deter either the men's resolve to return to the mountain. The film also documents Anker's loss of an earlier climbing partner and his struggle to return to his passion afterwards. Filled with breathtaking photography and first-account interviews taken before, during, and after the climbs, Meru captures the beauty and danger of mountain climbing while allowing the climbers themselves to explain their drive to do what they do.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Agent X - Penultimatum

John's (Jeff Hephner) decision to resign from the Agent X program is shortlived after he discovers Volker (Andrew Howard) has kidnapped Pamela (Carolyn Stotesbery). Forced to steal the Geryon, John is sent on a mission guaranteed to end in either the spy's death or capture. Thankfully for John, even if he's walked away from Agent X, he still has valuable friends in the right places.

Hot Girls Wanted

Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, Hot Girls Wanted takes a look at the growing online amateur porn industry by taking us into the house of a small group of Internet porn newbies (few of whom will still be working in the industry by the end of the documentary). The directors succeed in getting a firsthand experience of the industry which tosses out young women at a rate, even once introduced into the industry, our starlets don't comprehend.

Meant to be a shocking tell-all, Hot Girls Wanted is only partially successful (mainly because of how willing the young women all are to agree to and rationalize away any dehumanizing activity as long as it is 1. on camera and 2. pays the bills). The complicity to their actions undercuts the documentary's message just as strongly as the documentarians taking further advantage of each of the women profiled for the purpose of their movie.

However, money is only half of the equation. A better film would dive deeper into the yearning for celebrity each girl is willing to go down an increasingly dark and fetishized path to achieve.

Doctor Who - The Husbands of River Song

River Song (Alex Kingston) returns for the latest Doctor Who Christmas special in a story than connects to the events of "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" (her character's first appearance) with what is likely the character's final appearance on the show. The set-up of River having not yet met the The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) allows "The Husbands of River Song" to use a running gag of allowing the pair to travel together without River knowing the identity of the man she's mistaken for a surgeon whose help she needs to remove a diamond from the head of her cyborg husband (Greg Davies). Allowing The Doctor to see his wife in an entirely new light, the episode stretches the gag well past its breaking point but does allow for an enjoyable payoff before all is said and done.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Writer/director Paolo Sorrentino's Youth is the kind of ensemble dramedy you will either buy into immediately or struggle to make any connection to throughout its two-hour running time. My experience with the film falls into the later category. Sorrentino's script gives us an odd collection of characters at an otherworldly resort in the Swiss Alps. The main storylines revolve around retired composer Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and his relationships to his best friend filmmaker Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) and Fred's daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz).


Adapting Jeanne Marie Laskas' 2009 GQ article, Concussion delivers the film the NFL doesn't want you to see this Christmas. Beginning with Nigerian-American forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu's (Will Smith) autopsy of former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster (David Morse) which will create a new category of degenerative disease known as CTE, writer/director Peter Landesman's film focuses more on the effect of Omalu's work as the work itself.

The Danish Girl

Adapted from the novel of the same name by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl is a movie that is constantly telling the audience it is an important movie without ever showing us why. The movie gives us the story of artist husband and wife Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) and Einar's struggle with his own sexual identity leading him to take on the identity of Lili Elbe.


Written and directed by David O. Russell, Joy gives us the story of a New York single mother and her miraculous invention that changed her life. Jennifer Lawrence stars as the title character Joy Mangano in a role that allows her to showcase far more of her talents than the Hunger Games franchise. The movie is completely built around Lawrence's performance, and on her back it succeeds.


Much like Brooklyn, Carol is a beautifully rendered period piece about a young woman's awakening highlighted by the performance of its lead actress. Sadly, much like Brooklyn, Carol also has the same deficiencies and the performances overshadow, but don't obscure, the script's weaknesses.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Longmire - The Calling Back

Walt (Robert Taylor) runs into all kinds of complications while looking into the rape of a young Native American woman (Julia Jones) by local oil workers. First, because the crime took place on the reservation but by American citizens the prosecution of any case falls into a legal quagmire a Federal prosecutor would need to untangle and neither Walt nor Mathias (Zahn McClarnon) have the jurisdiction to investigate the case on their own. Also standing in the way of the truth is a traumatized victim who is hiding facts from Walt about that night, the girl's ball-busting mother (Irene Bedard) who is more concerned about how the tragedy effects her than her daughter, and the lack of a proper rape kit and DNA evidence to match up to the perpetrators if they can even be found and brought to trial.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

All-New X-Men #2

The newest volume of All-New X-Men continues to focus on the time-displaced X-Men from the past and the friends they have made in the present. Issue #2 gives us more of X-23 (renamed Wolverine now) and Angel's romance, but it's primary focus is to catch up on the younger Cyclops who feels trapped following the death of his older self.

The Big Short

Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Michael Lewis, The Big Short chronicles a small group of individuals who made money betting against the housing market after recognizing a basic flaw in the mortgage system that would inevitably cause the bubble to eventually burst.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #13

Curious as to why the ghosts of the DCU have been disappearing, the Phantom Stranger and Deadman pay Mystery, Inc. a visit choosing to hire the group to get to the bottom of the mystery which leads to a deserted town in Nevada where an old enemy Tannarak is collecting ghosts to gain their power.

The Librarians and the Happily Ever Afters

Setting up next week's season finale, Flynn (Noah Wyle) returns to the Library after collecting the last of the missing artifacts only to find things amiss. Not only are Eve (Rebecca Romijn) and the rest of the Librarians missing in action but Jenkins (John Larroquette) has no memory of any member of the group.

Star Wars #13

The "Vader Down" crossover continues with both Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader stranded on the desolate planet of Vrogas Vas with others searching for them both. While Luke falls victim to Aphra and her droids, leaving Han and Chewbacca to ride to the rescue, the Dark Lord of the Sith fights his way through every obstacle the Rebellion throws his way letting nothing deter him from finding young Skywalker.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Elementary - The Cost of Doing Business

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is drawn into his father's world when Morland Holmes (John Noble) shows up on his doorstep asking for Sherlock's help to look into a sniper attack that left four dead and five wounded that the elder Holmes believes was committed by an acquaintance (Jakob Von Eichel) of his. It's not long into the investigation before the younger Holmes summizes that the attack was far from random and the other injuries and deaths were all used to carefully cover up the specific murder of a single victim.

Green Lantern #47

The latest issue of Green Lantern takes a break from Hal Jordan's space adventures and his investigation into the disappearance of the Green Lantern Corps as Hal returns home for some momentary rest and relaxation with his family. That isn't the only surprise in the issue as writer Robert Venditti not only provides some local trouble for Jordan to solve but also reveals the identity of the villain lurking just behind-the-scenes.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Wrecking Crew

Filled with interviews, classic clips, stills, and tunes, the documentary from director Denny Tedesco (whose father was part of the group now known as "The Wrecking Crew") takes a look back at the Los Angeles studio and session musicians that played anonymously on many records in the 1960s for The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Frank Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, Bing Crosby, Elvis, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Vee, the Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Jan & Dean, the Mamas & the Papas, the 5th Dimension, the Association, the Carpenters, Glen Campbell, Cher, John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel, the Grass Roots, and Nat King Cole.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Selena Gomez bares all for Renata Raksha

For the art of her new album Revival, Selena Gomez took part in this photo shoot with Renata Raksha. You can find the pics inside.

The Big Bang Theory - The Opening Night Excitation

In the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory Sheldon (Jim Parsons) struggles with a pair of decisions concerning Amy's (Mayim Bialik) birthday and the opening night of the new Star Wars film. Choosing his girlfriend over his beloved franchise, Sheldon also shocks Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) in his choice of present as the scientist announces his willingness to sleep with Amy for the first time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It is a dark time for the Rebellion (even if they aren't called the Rebellion anymore). The rise of a military force known as the First Order, built on the wreckage of the old Empire, is making the galaxy a very dangerous place for everyone's favorite galactic heroes in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Celebration 2015 Cosplay Music Video

Darth Vader #13

After crash landing both himself and Darth Vader on the desolate planet of Vrogas Vas, Luke Skywalker begins to examine a long abandoned Jedi Temple. As for the Dark Lord of the Sith, Leia sends everything the Rebellion can spare to take him out before he can either escape or get his hands on Luke. It's not enough. Not even close.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Supergirl - Hostile Takeover

Supergirl flies into its winter break with an episode that highlights Kara's (Melissa Benoist) relationships with the women in her life. In one storyline she works with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and Superman's black friend James "Don't Call Me Jimmy" Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) to solve a hacking scandal that comes close to forcing Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) to step down as the head of the company she built. In the other Kara confronts her aunt Astra (Laura Benanti) whose true motivations continue to be ill-defined.

Blizzcon 2015 - Epic Cosplay

Jessica Jones - AKA 99 Friends

While using Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) to find others who Kilgrave (David Tennant) has used in hopes of finding a lead to the villain's location Jessica (Krysten Ritter) takes on a new client (Jessica Hecht) who has ulterior motives for hiring the super-powered detective. It becomes official when her client tries to lure Jessica into a trap to kill her (and the crazy woman isn't even under Kilgrave's influence), Jessica Jones has the worst luck with clients. The speech a wounded Ms. Jones gives to her would-be killers is where the episode gets it's name, although it's unclear whether the number she comes up with is real or an exaggeration meant to frighten her client into leaving town.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hawaii Five-0 - Ka Makau Kaa Kaua

Boxing takes up a large portion of the latest episode of Hawaii Five-0, the primary purpose of which is to continue to build up Gabriel Waincroft (Christopher Sean) as the season's criminal mastermind. On the eve of a middleweight prize fight, Five-0 is called in to investigate the murder of the local underdog's (Lewis Tan) brother who was beaten to death only hours after sucker punching the champion on live television.

Will Eisner's The Spirit #5

The fifth issue of Dynamite Entertainment's twelve-issue maxi-series Will Eisner's The Spirit opens with Ebony White and Sammy Strunk caught in the Octupus' death trap while the Spirit searches for both his missing friends and answers about his own disappearance as he continues to let his friends (and enemies) believe the masked vigilante is dead.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Librarians and the Point of Salvation

DARPA's use of an Atlantean stone to boost their quantum computer's power creates a "quantum overload thing" turning those trapped in the secret lab into "rage people." The situation also gets Eve (Rebecca Romijn), Cassandra (Lindy Booth), Ezekiel (John Harlan Kim) and Stone (Christian Kane) all trapped with a time-loop where only Ezekiel is aware of the group's previous missteps. Knowing what is happening forces the slacker to take the lead for once and prove himself worthy of the name Librarian (even if by the end of the episode he won't remember any of it).

The Big Bang Theory - The Earworm Reverberation

In an episode that will culminate in the return of Shamy, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) begins going crazy after getting a song stuck in his head his eidetic memory is incapable of recognizing. Driving both Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) crazy as well, Sheldon will eventually not only remember the name of the song but realize its meaning to him. There's plenty of fun frantic Sheldon moments throughout before Sheldon admits his feelings for Amy first to himself (and Leonard and Penny) and later to his girlfriend.

Elementary - The Games Underfoot

Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) help the NYPD investigate the murder of an archaeologist who was digging up a former landfill searching for vintage copies of an old video game collectors are willing to pay $10,000 for. Although the video games were the reason for his excavation, they weren't the cause of his murder. What the victim found while searching for his treasure wasn't worth killing for but, for the murderer, it was worth killing to keep quiet.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Arrow - Dark Waters

Following the cross-over with The Flash, Arrow closes the first-half of its Fourth Season by turning its attention back on Oliver Queen's (Stephen Amell) mayoral campaign and his battle with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). His choice to out Darhk as the leader of the Ghosts to the Star City press has consequences not for Oliver but for his loved ones as Darhk's men kidnap both Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Thea (Willa Holland). It will be all-hands on deck to get them back, including having Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) clad in Green Arrow's costume while Oliver attempts to trade himself for his loved ones.


Your opinion of Amy Winehouse and her place in modern music is likely to color your view of Amy. The documentary unearths an amazing amount of personal footage of the troubled singer-songwriter while also featuring interviews from those who knew her best. Chronicling her rise to stardom, her drug and alcohol abuse, her struggles with bulimia, and her inability to deal with fame, the movie isn't always a pleasant look back. Although its story of an insecure self-destructive artist is sadly far too familiar, the documentary deals with its subject matter responsibly.

The tone of the documentary isn't to point fingers and assign blame (although it certainly suggests certain individuals shoulder more of that burden that others such as Winehouse's husband and father and the paparazzi), but instead to give audiences a look at the woman behind the celebrity. Presented from the view of those that loved her, the documentary is occasionally too reverential about its star.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Daredevil #1

For the third time in five years Daredevil relaunches in a new title. Since the last time I checked in on the character a lot has changed. Matt Murdoch has relocated back to New York from San Francisco, he's somehow made the entire world (with the exception of Foggy Nelson) forget that he's Daredevil, he's taken on a protege in Blindspot, he's altered his trademark red costume, and he has forsaken his role as a defense attorney to accept a position with the District Attorney's office. That's a lot of change (not all of it good).

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Maveth

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ends the first-half of the show's Third Season with the least shocking reveal ever, as expected Will (Dillon Casey) is the creature, and the death (sort of) of a major character. Lost halfway across the galaxy Ward's (Brett Dalton) team searches for Hydra's mythical monster but only finds Will in the desolate landscape. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) continues to search for ways to escape, something Will proves adept at, although discovering the truth about the stranded astronaut forces the scientist to make extremely hard choices.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Star Wars Rebels - Legacy

The Empire's invasion of Garel forces the Rebellion to flee their base. Separating from the rest of the group, Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Ezra (Taylor Gray) return to Lothal, led their by the padawan's visions of his his parents who he believes may still be alive. The run from Garel provides plenty of action both on the ground, where Ezra shows off his growing abilities with Force against the Inquisitors, and in the air where Hera (Vanessa Marshall) uses the Ghost in a risky manuever to free the Rebellion's flag ship form a Star Destroyer's tractor beam.


In a true ensemble Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James star as The Boston Globe investigative group (bolstered by characters played by John Slattery and Liev Schreiber) that pulled on the thread of a single story involving a Catholic priest's sexual abuse of a child to uncover a story with staggering ramifications for the entire Boston community. Based on true events, writer/director Tom McCarthy's film follows the investigation as it uncovers a conspiracy of silence involving dozens of priests and hundreds of victims in the Boston area alone.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wander Over Yonder - The Black Cube

It ain't easy being a black cube of darkness. Following its recent failures and its inability to acquire the Ring of Invincibility, the Black Cube of Darkness, one of the show's most ridiculous characters, decides to give up its life of evil and turn over a new leaf. However, folks aren't all that willing to accept such a change from a soul-sucking black cube of evil.

LEGO Scooby-Doo! - Knight Time Terror

Mystery, Inc. heads to the re-opening of Grimsley Mansion in this animated special. Rumored to house a long lost treasure, the mansion is also haunted by a Black Knight who has been scaring off treasure seekers. A merging of LEGO style and classic Scooby-Doo! mystery, "Knight Time Terror" proves to be fun time offering a mystery to solve, a villain to catch, a treasure to find, and some particularly good voice acting featuring Frank Welker as both Scooby and Fred, Grey Griffin as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, and Kate Micucci as Velma.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race - Book One

You know what they say about a tree falling in the forest? Well, can you truly have a Batman comic without Batman? And if it you could, would it make a sound? Taking place an indeterminate amount of time following DK2, Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello team-up with artist Andy Kubert for the first issue of... well, something. Far removed from The Dark Knight Returns, Dark Knight III: The Master Race may play in the expanded universe created by Frank Miller's original mini-series but the magic of the original (at least from what we see in this first issue) is nowhere to be found.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Flash - Running to Stand Still

Following the two-part cross-over with Arrow, The Flash ends the first-half of its Second Season with a trio of returning villains. The Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre) returns to Central City to break both Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and the original Trickster (Mark Hamill) out of jail in hopes of a team-up to take down the Scarlet Speedster once and for all. While Cold bows out, but not before warning Barry (Grant Gustin) of what's coming, the other two villains use the Christmas holiday to their advantage and are nearly able to defeat the Flash.

Agent X - Sacrifice

The Vice President's (Sharon Stone) attempt to broker peace between a Mexican terrorist (Hemky Madera) and the country's President (Rene Rivera) leads the VP and John (Jeff Hephner) into Mexico where the entire group is shot down by Nicolas Volker (Andrew Howard). The radio silence from the pair leads President Eckhart (John Shea) to step back into his former duties leading the Agent X program in a B-story that involves Malcolm (Gerald McRaney) searching for the leak which allowed Volker to find his friends.

Ant-Man Honest Trailer

Supergirl - Human for a Day

After blowing out her powers fighting Red Tornado, an occurrence the show could have done a better job explaining, Kara (Melissa Benoist) struggles with living a human life. Not only must she deal with a case of the sniffles and a broken arm but when the city is hit by an earthquake the guilt of not being able to help save National City proves to be nearly paralyzing. Of course eventually her body absorbs enough solar energy and with the added jump of adrenaline from the near-death of Superman's black friend James "Don't Call Me Jimmy" Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), our heroine's powers return in the nick of time to do some good. (As to why the DEO didn't simply bombard her with solar radiation, drastically reducing the amount of time it would have taken her to recover, is a pretty large plot point the show decides to ignore).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Swan Song

"Swan Song" brings every previous Dark One to Storybooke in hopes of trading their place in the Underworld with that of the town's inhabitants. The only way Emma (Jennifer Morrison) knows to stop them is to sacrifice herself, but Miss Swan won't be the one who makes the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to vaquish evil from the world. That honor, and the episode's flashbacks, go to Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) who despite his recent dark turn will reconnect with the hero within to save Emma and her loved ones.

Astro City #29

Known for taking a different perspective on the super-hero concept, the latest issue of Astro City is presented not from the view of a hero, villain, or even civilian of the planet Earth. Instead the entire issue takes place on the planet Zirros, throneworld of the Zirr Empire, from the perspective of a young dreamer named Zozat who grows up hating the alien invaders known as humans.

The Librarians and the Image of Image

After witnessing a bizarre magical event involving showing all the signs of being hit by a car without the accident occurring and connecting a group of others all involving victims facing consequences for someone else's excesses and mistakes, Eve (Rebecca Romijn), Cassandra (Lindy Booth), Ezekiel (John Harlan Kim) and Stone (Christian Kane) check out a nearby dance club which seems to be the epicenter for the calamity. "And the Image of Image" casts Luke Cook as an updated version of Dorian Gray who has left his painting in the past and moved on to 21st Century technology to keep his youthful looks and lifestyle at the cost of his ever-growing list of victims.