Friday, December 14, 2018

The Favourite

Set during the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), The Favourite is a sly period dramedy focused on the rivalry between two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) over position and the affection of the Queen. Filled with backstabbing, political maneuvering, and deception, the story begins with the arrival of Abigail (Stone), a former lady now forced into the role of a servant. Abigail is given a position in the palace by Lady Sarah (Weisz) who underestimates just how far her cousin will go to increase her station.

Set between the two women, and also the two political factions fighting over the war in France, at the heart of the film is Anne herself. Presented as a broken woman, who may not have been all that smart to begin with, Coleman infuses her with unexpected depths as we begin to wonder just how much of the manipulation she suspects. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, the look of The Favourite offers sharp contrast to the more vile machinations under the surface (not unlike its lead characters). Although there are men present, mostly in Parliament, the script views them as largely superfluous and spends little effort to hide where the true power in England lies.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Other Side of the Wind

It may have taken an extra 40 years, but the last film from Orson Welles is finally available to be seen. While it is nearly impossible to separate the film from its history (covered in detail in the new documentary They'll Love Me When I'm Dead), The Other Side of the Wind has the benefit of working despite this potential limitation and delivering a fitting last chapter to Welles' career with a biting satire and visual smorgasbord finally pieced together more than three decades after the director's death.

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead

For more than a decade before his death, Orson Welles worked on a film that was never finished. The new documentary by Morgan Neville, featuring plenty of clips from The Other Side of the Wind and interviews with cast and crew, takes audiences back into Welles' struggle with the experimental film about an aging director and his tumultuous relationship with Hollywood. Although Welles repeatedly denied any autobiographical nature to the film, as the documentary points out, it's hard to not see the parallels to his own life.

With The Other Side of the Wind finally finished and released almost five decades after Welles began the project, They'll Love Me When I'm Dead is timely both in explaining the project's history and enticing viewers to seek out the movie itself. The documentary doesn't shy away from the rougher edges of Welles' nature whose bullying hardheadedness led to strained relationships. Like many documentaries in the same vein, the main takeaway from They'll Love Me When I'm Dead is how hard it is to get a film made. Whether a fan of Welles or just movies in general, the documentary is definitely worth your time.


Re-imaging a twelve-hour mini-series into a two-hour film, Steve McQueen delivers an action-drama featuring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki as the widows of an armed robbery team who are forced by the gangster (Brian Tyree Henry) turned political figure their husbands robbed to pay back what they owe.

There's an awful lot of plot and superfluous characters here, most likely because they appeared in the mini-series. A tighter focus on Viola Davis' character and the robbery itself could have helped shore up the script a bit more, which gets lost in the weeds a bit when dealing with the political aspirations of a criminal and the criminality of the son (Colin Farrell) running for his father's (Robert Duvall) office, as it seems to need at least one additional rewrite. The also the trouble with Debicki's arc, while her new-found self-confidence makes sense as part of the robbery I'm not sure how it makes her twice as intelligent by the movie's end (seriously, I was starting to expect a Keyser Söze twist). And the film isn't without twists, although none are particularly necessary to the overall plot or natural conclusion of the story. (And one actually wraps up things a bit too neatly.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Supergirl - Elseworlds (Part 3)

Although apparently it will be the last we see of him for awhile, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) gets quite a bit of screentime in the the "Elseworlds" finale as Hoechlin does double duty as both the Man of Steel and the new form of John Deegan (Jeremy Davies). As with the previous two episodes, Part 3 gives us more nods and winks at both Crisis of Infinite Earths (which apparently will be next year's big crossover) and other famous moments of our heroes climaxing in the Flash (Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) circling the globe (Superman: The Movie) so quickly they begin to burn themselves out of existence (Crisis of Infinite Earths). The visuals work quite well, even if the logic of the entire segment seems pretty shaky on multiple levels.

Arrow - Elseworlds (Part 2)

"Elseworlds" continues as Barry (Grant Gustin), Oliver (Stephen Amell), and Kara (Melissa Benoist) head to Gotham City in search of the person responsible for the changes to reality. Who they find is Batwoman (Ruby Rose). As with Part 1, this episode has plenty of Easter Eggs for DC Comics fans including John Wesley Shipp in his classic Flash costume appearing in a vision (not unlike the Flash did in Crisis on Infinite Earths). The episode also cements a couple of points that, up until now, the Arrowverse has been coy about discussing: Batman exists on both Earths, although he's been absent from the Gotham City of Earth-1 for quite some time.

The Flash - Elseworlds (Part 1)

The CW begins its latest crossover event on The Flash with Part 1 of "Elseworlds" as Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) awake to a reality where they have each other's powers and skills and everyone treats Barry as Oliver and vice-versa. The goofy Freaky Friday set-up provides some humorous moments such as Oliver struggling to deal with the affections of Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry getting some long-waited payback. There are nagging issues here in how quickly both are able to get up to speed, but the episode's idea that the abilities/skills are inherent to them and just need to be tapped into does the bare minimum to gloss over the plot hole. Also troubling is Team Flash's reaction to the pair. While throwing them into the pipeline allows for a nice escape sequence, and offering a reason to tie-in appearances from both Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), you would think that Barry and Oliver (who still have their own knowledge) should have been able to prove who was who simply by talking things through.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Rudyard Kipling's work has been adapted to film numerous times over the years. While some enjoyed Disney's 2016 live-action version of their earlier animated film, the mix of a realistic look with Disney sensibilities (animals that both sang and danced and then brutally murdered) didn't work for me.

Delayed because of the Disney release, Andy Serkis' version feels a bit more on point (and far more tonally consistent). The actor, who made a name for himself as one of the most famous CGI performers over the years, delivers a vibrant film making the most out of continued advancements of motion capture techniques. The film doesn't run from the dangers of the jungle, or try to make the animals into cute sidekicks to sell toys and merchandise to younger viewers.

The story follows Kipling's basic plot of a human baby raised by wolves. After brief set-up introducing Mowgli (Rohan Chand) to the tribe, the film jumps forward several years catching up with the man-cub when he's old enough to begin questioning his world and his place in it.

At Eternity's Gate

The latest from director Julian Schnabel takes us on a journey with Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) during the painter's final years. Shot in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône and Auvers-sur-Oise, France, where van Gogh lived during his final years, the film offers beautiful shots of the French countryside, countless close-ups of Dafoe's face and paintings, and a somewhat unfocused narrative on the artist's eccentric nature, loneliness, and view of the world.

The strength of Schnabel's film is the look and style and its more silent moments centered around van Gogh where some of the magic of the artistic's work is shown, but when the film moves from this to longer dialogues, often oddly filmed in extreme closeups, in attempts to explain van Gogh, the sequences are more hit-and-miss. Oscar Isaac as Paul Gauguin and Rupert Friend as Vincent's brother lead a supporting cast of those moving in and out of the artist's troubled life. Their scenes with Dafoe, and those involving a schoolteacher and unruly students, turn out to be the best of the sequences featuring Vincent interacting with others. But at its best, At Eternity's Gate focuses on van Gogh's interaction with nature and art, which to him were much the same thing.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018


While Asher doesn't offer much in the way of surprise or suspense, there's something magnetic about Ron Perlman as the career fixer whose age has finally started to catch up to him. Perlman captures Asher's weary professionalism that is only ever disrupted by the chance meeting of a ballet teacher (Famke Janssen) whose life he literally falls into.

The script from first-time feature screenwriter Jay Zaretsky is pretty standard fare about an aging hitman whose life is about to get complicated by a new love and a past come back to haunt him. Perlman and Janssen help elevate the subject manner while director Michael Caton-Jones and cinematographer Denis Crossan combine to provide the film a visual style that highlights its stars and the world where Asher lives.

Filling out the story, the script throws in subplots involving Jacqueline Bisset the ballet teacher's mother suffering from Alzheimer's and troubles involving Richard Dreyfuss and Peter Facinelli as a honored boss and celebrity protege. Neither story offers easy answers, but, when force comes to bear, Asher will deal with all obstacles as best he can.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy stars as writer Lee Israel who resorted to forging documents from deceased authors and playwrights when her own career hit rock bottom. Can You Ever Forgive Me? has a couple of things going for it, the first being McCarthy. The dramatic role is quite a departure from McCarthy's usual loud and obnoxious comedies. Although neither McCarthy nor the script (based on Israel's own autobiography) can ever make the protagonist sympathetic, it is nice to see the actress take on a more serious role.

The second thing the film has going for it is Israel's story. While forgery is quite common, hers was an unique tale showcasing the author's hidden talent in crafting plausible fakes from literary's best. Forgery by typewriter, however, does have a downside in that it isn't very cinematic. Unlike movies about art forgery, Can You Ever Forgive Me? lacks great visuals to help sell the suckers (and the audience) on the con.

A common theme in films like this is the charming forger, who the audience begins to root for to succeed. That's never an option here as McCarthy's ball-busting portrayal is anything but sympathetic.

MCM London Comic Con October 2018 - Cosplay Music Video Part 2

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Justice League Action - Party Animal

The holiday-themed "Party Animals" gives us a look at the Justice League at Green Arrow's (Chris Diamantopoulos) Christmas party. Even Batman (Kevin Conroy) makes an appearance, when the Flash (Charlie Schlatter) learns that the Dark Knight's attendance is all the Emerald Archer wants for the holiday and decides to kidnap Batman at super-speed. The party is interrupted by the appearance of Plastic Man (Dana Snyder) who brings the tranked-out Solomon Grundy (Fred Tatasciore), captured earlier in the episode, as his guest. Grundy's outburst, and the sequence of events which follow offer the true meaning of the holiday. Green Arrow's insistence on letting the events play out even earns him some appreciation from Batman (and what more could Ollie ask for?).

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Green Book

Unlikely friendships are a well-mined trope in feature film. Just such a relationship is at the heart of Green Book starring Viggo Mortensen as an Italian thug and driver hired by a talented African-American pianist (Mahershala Ali) for a musical tour through the South. Getting its name from the book of hotels who will rent rooms to Blacks, Green Book offers the expected lessons in culture clash and gradual respect between its lead characters who learn from each other during their time on the road.

Although based on real events, the story follows the expected Hollywood script as Tony (Mortensen) and Dr. Shirley (Ali) bond on the road over their, mostly cute and/or innocuous, arguments and disagreements. Despite dealing racism, both blatant and subtle, Green Book never dives too deeply into the subject as to upset its crowd-pleasing dynamic. The result is a safe and predictable film that still delivers a solid story blustered by its two lead performances as Mortensen and Ali play well off one another. The film includes a large cast of those met on the road, but Linda Cardellini (as Tony's wife back home) proves to be the only stand-out, and even her inclusion feels plot-driven as a necessary witness to the effect Dr. Shirley has on her husband.

Daredevil - A New Napkin

Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) has won. With the charges against him wiped away, anyone who could do damage to him has been killed or discredited. And with the FBI firmly under his thumb, the Kingpin prepares for his wedding. With Fisk's victory all but complete, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) plans on attacking the Kingpin on his wedding day and putting down the villain for good. To do so means on relying on the help of Poindexter (Wilson Bethel) who Daredevil has just the right leverage to push over the edge and aim straight towards Fisk. Meanwhile, one last chance at taking Fisk down legally falls directly into the laps of Foggy (Elden Henson) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) with a dying confession by Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali) that can unravel the Kingpin's entire operation.

Monday, December 3, 2018

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - System Failure

"System Failure" introduces my favorite of all of the princess supporting characters showcased in the First Season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Unlike the other princesses, Princess Entrapta (Christine Woods) exhibits no special powers (unless you count her wild hair acting as an extra pair of hands when needed). Instead, the manic Entrapta offers a character thoroughly invested in technology, experimentation, and robots, which gets her in trouble here when some incompatibility between her robots and First Ones' technology leads to all the robots in her maze-like kingdom going berserk. When the virus infects She-Ra (Aimee Carrero) as well, it falls on her friends to save the day. Entrapta's experiments here, and later in the series, show us that the line between magic and technology is blurry on Etheria which relies on both for its very survival.

Friday, November 30, 2018


Presented from the perspective of a 4 year-old boy named Kun (Moka Kamishiraishi), Mirai examines the emotions of a young boy dealing with the sudden arrival of a baby sister into his family and the unexpected upheaval her arrival causes to his normal routine. Through Kun's fantasies and tantrums he also comes into contact with the teenage version of his baby sister (Haru Kuroki) who requests his help on an important mission.

Interesting without ever becoming compelling, writer/director Mamoru Hosoda's film feels very much like a personal tale centered around the family dynamic. Along with Kun's various fantasies, the story also examines the roles of a working mother, a stay-at-home father, and a helpful grandmother. However, much like Kun's disinterest in his inactive baby sister, the film (even with its more fantastical elements) never journeys far from what is expected. As a result, Mirai (which gets its name from Kun's baby sister) never really blossoms into the magical journey we want from it. Despite this limitation, the anime is still a beautifully-rendered story that hits home on its lead character's raw emotions.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman marks the first time DC's animated division has remade a straight-to-video movie (the events from the Death of Superman storyline were originally covered in Superman Doomsday). Even though it unfortunately takes place in the New 52 version of the DCU, The Death of Superman is an improvement over the previous efforts focusing on the events leading up to Superman's (Jerry O'Connell) battle with Doomsday, his relationship with Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn), and the death of the hero. The other Supermen (who will appear in the sequel) are foreshadowed here as well.

The best of the New 52 Justice League movies (likely because the story came decades before this version of the DCU that DC Comics has already decided to distance themselves from), The Death of Superman feels a bit incomplete with only half the story told, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I'm not a fan of either the design nor performance of Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, but he's a marginal player here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Front Runner

30 years later, The Front Runner takes a look back at the fall of Senator Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) who in the space of three weeks went from the presumptive Democratic nominee for the President of the United States to a cautionary tale. After some initial set-up laying the groundwork for the stranglehold Hart had on his party's nomination in 1988, the script by Matt Bai, Jay Carson, and director Jason Reitman dives into Hart's relationship with the media covering his campaign and his extra-marital indiscretion which, when brought to light, would be the end of his political career.

Monday, November 26, 2018

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero - Silent Option #2

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero - Silent Option #2 continues the search for the Helix as the team of Dawn Moreno, Alpine, Throwdown, Topredo, and Bombstrike continue to follow the path of bodies the missing Helix leaves in her wake while targeting human traffickers.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Creed II

Part Rocky III and part Rocky IV, Creed II offers the highs and lows of boxer Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) who wins the title but is then faced with a ghost from the past in the return of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and the introduction of his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu).

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ralph Breaks the Internet

2012's Wreck-It Ralph introduced movie viewers to old school video game villain Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his journey to become a hero (leading to quite a bit of chaos for everyone involved). The sequel opens in much the same way with Ralph's attempt to help his best friend leading to disaster and a trip to the Internet for Ralph and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) in search of a steering wheel for her video game which is the only thing that can stop the machine from officially being retired from the arcade.

Screenwriters Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon have fun introducing the two characters to the wider world of the Internet including E-bay, Internet videos and memes, a Grand Theft Auto style video game called Slaughter Race, and a chance for Vanellope to learn about a special talent of princesses from those who know it best. The later provides some of the film's best scenes including a musical number I hope gets Oscar consideration. While the story meanders a bit more than the original, there are plenty of big laughs while still delivering a nice message about friendship for a younger audience (and Ralph).

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Firefly #1

Taking place prior to the events of Serenity, BOOM! Studios new comic takes us back to the 'verse where Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew aim to misbehave. Opening with Serenity in bad shape, the first issue offers new troubles for the crew in the form of ghosts from Mal and Zoe's past. Marooned on a moon in the Outer Rim with a bounty on their heads and in need of repairs they can't pay for, it will take some work to get the crew of Serenity flying once again.

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians offers your basic going home to meet the parents tale, notable for two things. First, the romantic comedy features a talented all Asian cast. And second, it contains far better writing an acting than most romcoms. Our couple in love is Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding). Despite being nearly ready to propose, Nick hasn't come clean with his girlfriend that his family is crazy rich (and also just plain crazy). Rachel discovers this for herself while accompanying Nick to Singapore for a friend's wedding.

The film features what you'd expect. Nick tries to balance love and family obligations. Rachel struggles to fit in with his family and deal with his disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) before learning to stand-up for herself and teach the Youngs a few lessons of their own. The supporting cast includes the over-the-top Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Jimmy O. Yang, and Nico Santos, and the more understated Gemma Chan who bonds with Rachel over her own marital troubles.

Supergirl - Call to Action

The Agents of Liberty grow more bold, first by dumping their manifesto on the city and later by organizing groups of thugs in masks to attack the homes of aliens under the guise of protecting human rights. While ordered to leave the non-alien domestic terrorist group to other government agencies, Alex (Chyler Leigh) keeps Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) on the case allowing Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) to swoop in and prevent any bloodshed on Thanksgiving night. Despite earning another victory, the war for the hearts and minds of the city continues. And with Colonel Haley (April Parker Jones) apparently in league with the group, or at least sympathetic to their cause, it appears things will get no easier for life at the DEO (although the woman is at least smart enough not to make an enemy of the most powerful hero on the planet... at least not yet).

This is BLIZZCON 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - The Sword

Originally introduced as a spin-off to a television series created for the sole purpose of selling Masters of the Universe toys, She-Ra gets a reboot in the new series from DreamWorks Animation and Netflix. With more of an anime feel, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power introduces us to the orphaned Adora (Aimee Carrero) as the most naive solider in history whose eyes are opened to the Horde's evils when she ventures out beyond the Fright Zone and meets her first princess. Although Hordak is present in cameo roles, the main villains for Adora are her former friend Catra (AJ Michalka) who remains with the Horde and the evil sorceress Shadow Weaver (Lorraine Toussaint) who hopes to bring Adora back where she belongs. After discovering the Sword of Protection and seeing the Horde's rampant destruction, Adora is forced to leave behind her best friend and set out on a new path as the protector of Etheria.

Free Solo

The documentary from Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi follows climber Alex Honnold and his preparations to become the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan. While diving into the Honnold's closest relationships and his makeup, the film focuses primarily on the dangers of the climber's quest and the ambition and drive which he cannot ignore. Featuring interviews with fellow climbers and Honnold's mother and girlfriend, we learn a bit of what makes the climber tick as he attempts to accomplish the improbable feat of climbing the sheer granite face of a 3,000-foot mountain without any climbing gear or any kind of safety net.

Because Chin and his cameramen are friends of Honnold, the documentary also adds an unexpected undercurrent to the story of Honnold not wanting to let his friends down while they are equally fearful of the very real possibility they might be enabling the climber to film his death during an outrageously dangerous feat. The result is an engaging documentary ending in Honnold's historic attempt.

James Bond 007 #1

The first issue of Dynamite Entertainment's new series James Bond 007 sends the the British secret agent to Singapore to snatch an important package headed for the terrorist organization ORU. The issue starts out with an extended action sequence involving trouble with the exchange, none of which involves Bond, before finding our hero at the casino ready to jump on the survivor of the altercation.

Legacies - Hope is Not the Goal

When two students from the rival high school go missing, Alaric (Matthew Davis) sends a team of students to investigate. Paired together on their undercover investigation, distrust continues to be an issue between Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell) and Landon (Aria Shahghasemi). When initial evidence points to a vampire, MG (Quincy Fouse) is forced to make a difficult choice and comes clean about Kaleb's (Chris De'Sean Lee) nocturnal habits, however the real threat is revealed to be a giant arachnid feeding on the students of the school while searching for the mystical dagger. The arachnid turns out to be a formidable threat, but nothing a trio of witches can't deal with, but another mystical disturbance and the revelation of Kaleb feeding on local girls raises tensions between the school and local law enforcement.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Old Man and the Gun

Based on the life of career criminal Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), who in his 60s (after escaping from prison yet again) put together dozens of bank heists across the country until finally being captured by the FBI, writer/director David Lowery's film offers a look at the criminal's "last hurrah" (although he would commit one more crime spree at the ripe old age of 79) and the Dallas Police Detective (Casey Affleck) instrumental in capturing him.

Redford is put to good use here as the gentlemen robber who never fires a shot (in fact, in every bank robbery sequence he alludes to, but never draws, a gun). The actor easily captures the charm of the man who robbed more for the thrill than the money, always with a smile on his face. Over the course of the film we watch Tucker rob several banks, sometimes by himself and sometimes with the help of two other elderly gentlemen (Danny Glover and Tom Waits) who gain notoriety for the four-year bank robbing spree. The movie also includes a subplot involving Tucker's interest in a widow (Sissy Spacek) who, like the previous loves of Tucker's life, never knew or believed what Tucker did for a living.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them spends most of the first half-hour getting the previous film's major characters together once again. Mixing in a younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and introducing, but failing to develop, Johnny Depp as the villain Grindelwald, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald then attempts to steal a bit of the magic from the Harry Potter films.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Flash - All Doll'd Up

Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) work together on a series of crimes committed by a new meta-human Cisco (Carlos Valdes) names Rag Doll (Troy James and voiced by Phil LaMarr). Although he lacks the dark humor and talkative nature from Gail Simone's Secret Six run, Rag Doll definitely succeeds as one creepy ass villain. The episode also offers a couple of humorous scenes involving Ralph's (Hartley Sawyer) help with the threat once Barry is captured by Rag Doll. (Elongated Man, Elongated Man, does whatever a Spider-Man can.) This leaves the rest of Team Flash to work on other mysteries as Ralph, "Sherloque" Wells (Tom Cavanagh), and Cisco all help in Caitlin's (Danielle Panabaker) search for answers about her missing father. The B-story also provides a chance for Caitlin to help Cisco rediscover his use to the team now that his powers have been fried by Cicada (Chris Klein).

Arrow - The Demon

The season's theme of unexpected alliances continues as Oliver (Stephen Amell) finds an old frenemy on Level 2, and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) enlists the help of both Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) to discover what off-the-books experiments Dr. Jarrett Parker (Jason E. Kelley) is doing with inmates on a facility the prison doesn't even admit exists. Although the show has really short-changed the character, the return of Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig) offers some nice prison escape fight sequences and helps give closure to Talia's storyline (and continue to tease a Batman connection to the Arrowverse that The CW has shown no actual interest in ever exploring). The torture Oliver endures also opens a new possible legal recourse to get him out of prison.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Archie Meets Batman '66 #4

The Bat-villains reign of terror in Riverdale continues as the Joker attempts to brainwash Jughead (a process that turns out to be harder than the Clown Prince of Crime expected), and Catwoman, under the guise of Miss Kitka (in a nice nod to 1966's Batman: The Movie), wins the hearts of the high school boys (although she is startled by the sudden appearance of Batgirl and Robin). Now the pair will just to have to fight their way through the rest of the school to get their hands on the felonious feline.

Supergirl - Parasite Lost

"Parasite Lost" presents two threats for Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and the DEO. The first, involving the Jensen (Anthony Konechny) reborn as the new Parasite with the ability to drain the life force of humans and powers of aliens, offers too much danger for Supergirl to fight and becomes the responsibility of Alex (Chyler Leigh) and the DEO. The new Parasite works well, and I'm a bit sad to see the character knocked-off so quickly (although there's always room for a new Parasite down the road). With Kara uninvolved here, at least until the two storylines converge in the final act, "Parasite Lost" allows more time for Kara Danvers than Supergirl as she works on a story about an alien healer and then deals with the fallout with the help of J'onn (David Harewood) who it seems has found a new purpose.

Isle of Dogs

Writer/director Wes Anderson's return to stop-motion may not measure up to Fantastic Mr. Fox, but the quirky tale of an injured boy searching a quarantined island for his lost dog hits most of the right notes. When the dog population becomes infested with Dog Flu, all the dog's in Japan are quarantined to an island of trash where the nephew (Koyu Rankin) of the mayor crash lands in search of his loyal dog.

The story is presented mostly from the point-of-view of the dogs (voiced by Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Murray), who are unable to communicate with the the boy but instinctively set-out to help find his lost dog. Even the reluctant stray (voiced by Cranston) discovers why young boys are a dog's best friend.

The plot gets a bit over-complicated by a conspiracy within the Japanese government, drones and robotic hunting dogs sent to bring back the boy, an exchange student (Greta Gerwig) at a school newspaper's search for the truth, and a romantic subplot between a couple of the dogs.

Monday, November 12, 2018

LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars - From Trenches to Wrenches

The new LEGO Star Wars offers a more open-ended universe for characters across all eras. The show's first episode ties together several shorts previously released online with the premise of R0-GR (Matthew Wood) sharing adventures from his new autobiography to various characters. The stories range from his inglorious days as part of the Droid Army and adventures on various worlds over the years including Endor, Naboo, Jakku, Takodana, and Tatooine. Various characters show up both in the flashbacks and as R0-GR's captive audience in the present including Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, Cassian, the Freemakers, Maz, Rose, and Admiral Ackbar. While lightweight, and mostly forgettable, the first episode of LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars still proves to be more fun that the mostly disappointing Star Wars Resistance.

Heidi Mae's PennyQuinn Makeup Tutorial

The Good Cop - What is the Supermodel's Secret?

While Tony Jr. (Josh Groban) investigates a murder for hire, he (and everyone else) is confused by the sudden interest a supermodel (Emma Ishta) has shown in Tony Sr. (Tony Danza). As the model pushes the elder Tony Caruso to find his missing phone it becomes obvious to the audience, if not a single character on the show, what she is truly after. The reveal of incriminating evidence that ties the model to the murder Junior is investigating is hardly surprising once the phone is discovered. Although the shock that Tony and the supermodel together creates in the rest of the cast is good for a couple of chuckles, the mystery is rather bland. The only big change in the show's second episode is to promote Cora (Monica Barbaro) from Tony's parole officer to a detective on the force with his son.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Good Place - The Worst Possible Use of Free Will

"The Worst Possible Use of Free Will" takes us back to the Neighborhood as Michael (Ted Danson) restores some of Eleanor (Kristen Bell) memories in an attempt to convince his friend that she can indeed love. The result is the best episode of the show's Third Season so far with revelations (Sam the Eagle, Elanor? Really?) as the show takes the characters back to the show's original set-up. There's certainly some character development for both Michael and Eleanor as well as the process helps her come to grip with her insecurities while showcasing just how far Michael has come as well. Great moments include Eleanor getting her head fried, Mirror Centaur, the return of the more philosophical Eleanor, the coolest thing Michael has ever done, and the purple space bubble of pain.

Super-Heroes Card Trader - Harley Quinn Awesome Pack 7

For more super-heroes check out Super-Hero Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Pack 7, Pack 8, Pack 9, Pack 10, Team-Up Pack 1, Wonder Woman Pack 1, Green Lantern Pack 1, Black Cat Pack 1, Lara Croft Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Spidey Pack 1, Pack 2, Deadpool Pack 1, Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Birds of Prey Pack 1, Pack 2, Memorial Day Pack 1, X-Men Pack 1, and the X-Mas Mega Pack 1 and Mega Pack 2.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Wild Storm #18

With open war between Skywatch and I.O. all but certain at this point, tensions continue to rise and sides will be chosen. For John Lynch that means another throwdown with an enhanced human. For Henry Bendix that means readying himself to put his weapons into action and slave them to his commands. And for Angela Spica that means accepting an offer from Jenny Mei Sparks and helping to form the backbone of an Authority. It looks like Angie's former pals will have to get along without her.


Honest Trailers - Incredibles 2

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Arrow - Level Two

Like many of his previous plans, Oliver (Stephen Amell) getting thrown into Level Two of Slabside Maximum Security Prison doesn't go exactly according to plan as he spends the episode in a battle of wills with Dr. Jarrett Parker (Jason E. Kelley) who uses a variety of methods including starvation, sound torture, drugs, and shock therapy in an attempt to break the prisoner's will. It sounds like the good doctor hasn't done his research about just who he's dealing with (didn't he watch the first six seasons of the show?). While presenting himself as someone trying to help Oliver, there's more than a little of Dr. Hugo Strange in Dr. Parker's methods.

Supergirl - Ahimsa

For the second straight episode, Supergirl offers little of the show's trademark hero while still providing a strong episode centered around the show's supporting cast. With Kara (Melissa Benoist) locked in a suit which is keeping her alive but limiting her usefulness in the Kryptonite-infused atmosphere, it falls on Alex (Chyler Leigh) to lead the DEO without its biggest weapon (even going so far as to bench Kara for her own good). And there's plenty to fight here in an episode that wraps up the Mercy (Rhona Mitra) storyline as the Graves break into the DEO to grab a couple of aliens they plan to unleash on an unsuspecting public, but still leaves plenty of trouble for the group as Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer) slinks back into the shadows to continue driving the anti-alien agenda. Oh, we also get a tease for a new Parasite (Anthony Konechny) and more foreshadowing of the Russian Supergirl's preparations for an inevitable clash.

Zombae's Darling in the Franxx cosplay music video

Monday, November 5, 2018

Nancy Drew #5

"The Case of the Cold Case" concludes in Nancy Drew #5 as Nancy and her friends search for the kidnapped Bess and solve both the city of Bayport's drug problem and a series of murders, including the unsolved case which brought Nancy Drew back home.

HeidiMaetrix & BrosephDavid - Rampage (Shallow Parody)

Hawaii Five-0 - Aia i Hi'ikua; i Hi'ialo

When one of McGarrett's (Alex O'Loughlin) old Navy SEAL buddies turns up dead with a stolen baby in a Cessna that makes an emergency landing on a Naval Air Craft Carrier, Steve is notified by NCIS and politely told to leave the investigation to the Navy. (Haven't they ever watched the show?) The episode introduces Nazneen Contractor as NCIS Agent Emma Warren who orders McGarrett to stand down multiple times over the course of the episode (even going so far to arrest him at one point) before deciding it would be easier to work with Five-0 than against them. Working together, Five-0 and NCIS discover the reason behind the death of McGarret's friend and reunite the child with its mother (Sarah Dumont).

MCM London Comic Con October 2018 - Cosplay Music Video

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Legacies - This is the Part Where You Run / Some People Just Want To Watch The World Burn

The first two episodes of Legacies, a spin-off of The Originals (which was a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries), takes us to the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted whose students include witches, werewolves, and vampires struggling with their powers and place in the world. The episode reintroduces fans to tribrid Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell) and twins Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie Saltzman (Kaylee Bryant) along with several new characters. The school, and characters, are introduced to viewers through a pair of new arrivals in new werewolf Rafael (Peyton Alex Smith) and his friend Landon (Aria Shahghasemi). The episodes play on expectations presenting Landon as a possible friend for the isolated Hope, then a thief and enemy, and back again as a potential friend doesn't stick around to see if Hope forgives him for his deplorable behavior.

Daredevil - The Perfect Game / The Devil You Know

Despite still being under house arrest by the FBI, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) goes on the offensive. When his plan to have Matt Murdock's (Charlie Cox) killed fails, the Kingpin tries a different tack by attempting to slime the missing attorney's reputation by alleging Murdock worked for Fisk as a fixer. Despite offering no proof to back up his claims, other than a single case that Nelson & Murdock worked for one of the Kingpin's shell companies back in Season One, the FBI runs with the story and begins to hunt Matt Murdock. At the same time, using information gathered about Benjamin Poindexter (Wilson Bethel), the Kingpin goes to work on the man's thin support system, slowly bending Dex to his will ending in the agent dressed in Daredevil's costume murdering an entire newsroom under Fisk's orders.

Honest Trailers - Batman: The Animated Series

FBI - Family Man

When a United States Senator's (Eion Bailey) daughter is kidnapped Agents Maggie Bell (Missy Peregrym) and OA (Zeeko Zaki) lead the FBI in search of the kidnappers who are demanding an $100 million ransom. The investigation isn't helped by the Senator's unwillingness to disclose information about an old affair or enemies from his past with grudges. And after a reporter breaks the news, the chance of finding the baby alive drops even more.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann's short story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," The Nutcracker and the Four Realms offers big budget Disney family entertainment filled to the brim with special effects and lessons about believing in yourself and sticking by family in tough times. While it incorporates much of the ballet's music into its score (and adds a couple of notable ballet sequence as well), The Nutcracker and the Four Realms goes for a more straightforward Wizard of Oz-style tale with a young female protagonist lost in a magical world.