Monday, November 18, 2019

Mean Tweets - Music Edition #6

Aniara

With Aniara the writing and directing team of Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja deliver an increasingly depressing sci-fi odyssey of the show breakdown of human civilization aboard a transport ship that becomes lost on its way from Earth to Mars. The ship itself is a combination of a cruise ship and giant mall where the crew's main purpose, even before the mechanical issue that forces it further and further from their destination, seems mainly to distract the passengers from what is actually happening to them.

Inspired by the poem of the same name, the bleak tale centers mostly on a holodeck operator (Emelie Jonsson) and the events she witnesses when the three-week journey extends indefinitely.

Super Heroes Card Trader - Awesome Pack 14


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, Pack 11, Pack 12, Pack 13, Team-Up Pack 1, Wonder Woman Pack 1, Green Lantern Pack 1, Black Cat Pack 1, Pack 2, Lara Croft Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Spidey Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Deadpool Pack 1, Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, SHAZAM! Pack 1, 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.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Irishman


Director Martin Scorsese assembles several familiar faces in examining the life of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (Robert De Niro). While the structure of the film is a tad odd, flashbacks within flashbacks, the story (adapted from Charles Brandt's book) slowly peels the onion of Sheeran's life and his close connection to both Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

Scandalous: The True Story of the National Enquirer

Scandalous: The True Story of the National Enquirer examines the creation of and the highs and lows of the National Enquirer over the years starting with the paper's purchase and relaunch under owner Generoso Pope Jr. in 1952. It's a fascinating look at the paper's turn from gore to celebrity-based stories to its more recent entry to politics and how it played a role in public perception of Arnold Schwarzenegger's run for Governor of California to Donald Trump's presidential bid in 2016 (the later being something many are still quite conflicted about).

The documentary contains interviews with several former editors and reporters for the paper who all seem to have a mix of pride and shame for their association with the magazine. Neither they nor the documentary shies away from the stories of the paper pushing limits of good taste and legality in exploring news stories. The film also includes anecdotes of the magazine extorting subjects of their exposées and making deals shelf stories for a profitable ongoing relationship (such as ignoring several reports of Bill Cosby and Bob Hope's behavior towards women in favor of puff pieces with the celebrities).

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Ford v Ferrari

While I'm not much of a fan of racing, I do love a good racing movie. Based on true events, Ford v Ferrari centers around the friendship of a pair of outcasts who went to work for Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts). Looking to liven-up his brand, and after being embarrassed by failing to buy Ferrari, Ford greenlit plans to develop a Ford racing car capable of beating the dominant Ferrari racing team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (an event which Ferrari had won four out of the previous five years).

Built on the backs of performances by Matt Damon as former racer turned car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as race car driver and mechanic Ken Miles, Ford v Ferrari is a little different than many racing films as the main characters aren't rivals but friends (who, admittedly, occasionally attack each other in public). Despite their disagreements and spats, the screenplay works by selling the audience fairly early on how similar the two men were in their love of cars and racing. Although it relies on a familiar formula, Ford v Ferrari does offer some unpredictable moments, including an ending those unfamiliar with the story may be surprised by.

Jack Ryan - Orinoco


A couple of storylines converge in "Orinoco" as Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) and Greer (Wendell Pierce) join-up with Matice's (John Hoogenakker) team to investigate the cargo containers transported from the docks to a secret facility in the Venezuelan jungle. Not finding the evidence in the first container, Jack risks the operation to continue looking which leads to a reunion with a familiar face (Arnold Vosloo) and one member (Jovan Adepo) of the expedition getting left behind. His actions in the episode further underline Jack's personal stake in the mission and possibly foreshadow more trouble in his path if his reckless behavior continues.

Young Justice #10


Young Justice #10 concludes the comic's multiverse-jumping arc with our intrepid heroes kicking the butts of the not-so-heroic-heroes of Earth-3 before finally making it home. While I enjoyed the arc, and will miss this version of Stephanie Brown stepping up to take on the role of the main Bat-character in the alternate world as Batwoman, I do have to agree with Impulse that the storyline peaked with the team meeting the Zoo Crew.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Us

Us is a creepy horror flick featuring evil doppelgangers rising up from the sewers hoping to kill off and replace the human race. The film is primarily centered around the Wilson family (Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex), but opens the story broader as the scope of the attacks become realized. Writer/director Jordan Peele succeeds in creating a bizarre experience as each member of the family comes face-to-face with more murderous version of themselves (the tie-in to a carnival house of mirrors is a nice touch). While disturbing at times, and at times bordering on unintentionally funny, the film doesn't have the payoff to elevate the film past a good genre film (and the late reveal was far from shocking).

Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K, extras include outtakes, deleted scenes, and short featurettes on the main characters, shooting sequences from different perspectives, the actors, and the movie's dancing scene. Horror fans should enjoy themselves here, although the film began to lose me the moment it tried to explain the existence of the red-jumpsuited evil clones.

Black Cat #6


Black Cat #6 moves away from the previous issues as it doesn't involve Felicia Hardy breaking into a well-known location within the Marvel Universe. However, it does continue to follow-up on various threads introduced in previous issues. One of these includes Odessa Drake and the Thieves Guild going after the Black Fox.

Missing Link

Missing Link is one of two animated films focused on returning a mythical creature home this year. While it lacks the heart of Abominable, the latest movie from LAIKA is a fun romp.

The story centers around self-absorbed adventurer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) who discovers a Sasquatch (Zach Galifianakis) in the Pacific Northwest and agrees to see it to the Himalays, dressed-up as Frost's assistant, where its distant cousins live. The villains of the peace are the members of and exclusive club that has barred Frost from entry for his ridiculous beliefs (which he hasn't been able to prove... until now). Along for the ride is Frost's ex-girlfriend (Zoe Saldana).

Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include commentary by writer/director Chris Butler, the film's trailer, a photo gallery, and various short featurettes on the making of the film. You can certainly do better than Missing Link but there's fun to be had on Frost's adventure across the world.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Supergirl - Confidence Women


The Leviathan plot takes a step forward with a flashback episode that delves into the friendship of Lena (Katie McGrath) and Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo). "Confidence Women" is overdue in helping to explain why Kara's (Melissa Benoist) deception hurt Lena so profoundly given what happened with Andrea years before. While the magical medallion (which isn't magical?) is a bit goofy, it's existence helps both Supergirl and Lena separately uncover the existence of Leviathan (although neither yet knows anything more than the name). The flashbacks also offer the return of iZombie's Rahul Kohli as Lena's ex-boyfriend Jack Spheer.

Rick and Morty - Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat


Things get pretty messed up the the season premiere of Rick and Morty as the pair's adventure to retrieve death crystals leaves Rick (Justin Roiland) dead and Morty (Roiland) following the path of the crystal to a death he believes will involve growing old with Jessica (Kari Wahlgren). Meanwhile, after Mortry refuses to listen to Holograph Rick and clone his grandfather, back-up clones of Rick pop-up in other dimensions. "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" has fun with the running gag of continually rebooting Rick in various forms, but nearly all of them being fascist realities (with the last, non-fascist reality, being somehow even more terrifying). Meanwhile, Morty takes things a bit too far (killing dozens and even ignoring a tempting offer from Jessica) in order to pursue his elusive best death.

Batwoman - I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury


When the Executioner starts targeting city officials both Kate (Ruby Rose) and the Crows will scour the city, but while Jacob Kane's (Dougray Scott) men are more than willing to pin the activities on a recently-paroled convict Kate suspects there is far more going on. "I'll Be Judge, I'll Be Jury" features what we've come to expect from the series with Ruby Rose getting more comfortable in her Bat-gear and continuing to be the one standout of the show. While the Executioner works fine as a one-off baddie, his elaborate death traps (including the opening scene where the victim could have simply run to either the left or the right instead of trying to climb a metal fence to avoid electrocution) still leave something to be desired.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hawaii Five-0 - Ka 'i'o


"Ka 'i'o" is the obligatory send McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) off on an impossible mission episode. This time around it's to Columbia and Mexico in search of Doris (Christine Lahti) who the CIA believes has been turned and is now working against American interest. The episode is a bit odd, with several gaps in the story, making me wonder if a two-part episode got truncated into something that would fit in the show's normal hour-long framework. Other cast members make cameos here, but aside from Junior (Beulah Koale) who goes in with a team to assist Steve when he gets stuck, the rest of Five-0 is mostly here to stand around headquarters and await news. As is usually the case with these episodes, the action is quite good even if the plot struggles to remain credible. The episode marks the final appearance of Lahti's character (except perhaps in flashbacks) as the show does surprise me in allowing Doris to be a traitor and meet her end. It's a nice send off for a recurring character, and I'll be curious to see if the show simply moves on from this or if Doris' death lingers in the coming weeks.

Legacies - Since When Do You Speak Japanese?


"Since When Do You Speak Japanese?" offers more Malivore drama when a samurai with a demon inside him is expelled only to have the demon jump bodies and begin to infect others around town. Eventually it makes its way to Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) forcing a tough choice for Josie (Kaylee Bryant) who saves her sister at the cost of taking another step down a dangerous path where Professor Vardemus (Alexis Denisof) is all-too-happy to lead her. In terms of season-long storylines, the most intriguing piece of the episode is Lizzy regaining her memories of Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) at the end of the episode begging the question just what will she do with that knowledge and how may it affect Hope's eventual return to the Salvatore School?

MCM London Comic Con October 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019

Midway


Roland Emmerich turns his attention from disaster flicks in favor of one of the worst war films in recent memory. Midway makes Pearl Harbor look good. Theoretically, Midway is about decisive WWII naval battle that turned the tide in the Pacific. In reality, only about half the film deals with the battle as it struggles in fits and starts while failing at offering a broader context leading into the Battle of Midway.
Wes Tooke's script is over-brimming with forgettable characters, bad dialogue, and dramatic interludes where history seems to all but stop. The result is a bland film filled with unremarkable actors giving unremarkable performances during what we're told, but not shown, is an important historical event (that is never really properly put in context).

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Knives Out


Rian Johnson delivers a devilishly good time in this fantastically entertaining whodunit set around the apparent suicide of the patriarch (Christopher Plummer) of a wealthy family. Set almost entirely in the Thrombey home, the writer/director makes excellent use of both setting and a talented cast featuring Daniel Craig as private investigator Benoit Blanc who has reason to believe murder has been committed. Part Hercule Poirot and part Columbo, Craig is in good form as the smartest man in the room.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

James Bond 007 #12


James Bond 007 #12 brings the comic series to a close with Bond, Lee, and Agent K taking on Goldfinger in the series finale. Goldfinger's plan is finally revealed. Much like his movie counterpart, the plan involves destabilizing the world economy to increase the wealth of his own considerable gold supply.

The Flash - Kiss Kiss Breach Breach


With Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) heading off on a weekend getaway (likely the last before her husband disappears from all existence), "Kiss Kiss Breach Breach" leaves the other characters free to pursue their own adventures. The main storyline features Cisco (Carlos Valdes) investigating the death of his ex Gypsy by a notorious criminal known only as Echo. All evidence points to Cisco, enough that even Cisco begins to question himself, but in the multiverse there's almost always an alternate explanation. For an episode without the Flash, and really the first of the season not to be strongly influenced by the impending Crisis, it works fairly well as the show continues to prepare the supporting characters for life after the Flash.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Supergirl - Dangerous Liaisons


While there is more family and relationship drama involved, "Dangerous Liaisons" is notable mostly for Lena (Katie McGrath) bartering a partnership with Malefic (Phil LaMarr) in order to move her mind-control work forward and the show finally coming back around to pick up the lose thread of Leviathan. The main threat of the week, the Doctor-Octopusish Rip Roar (Nick Sagar), will pull in both William Day (Staz Nair) and Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo) into the Leviathan plot which has been on the back-burner since being teased in the final scene of Season Four. Although his attempts to flood the world would seem to clear Andrea of any connection to the secret organization, the final scene confirms she is indeed involved.

Batwoman - Mine Is a Long And a Sad Tale


The awkward placement and timing of events, something the show has struggled more with than any of the other super-hero series on The CW, bites Batwoman again in the odd episode of Kate (Ruby Rose) easily capturing Alice (Rachel Skarsten) but not turning her in. Instead we get the beginning of the story of what happened to Beth Kane years ago, halfway through Alice gets the upper-hand and lures her father into yet another trap. Despite the creepy opening, the story turns out to be rather bland (with some questionable plot choices such as Alice returning her sister and father to the house where they could have rescued her years before... but didn't because of Beth's own inaction?). I know she's a sociopath, but blaming her family for these events is crazy, even for a crazy person (who is remarkably sane when the script needs her to be).

Tuesday with Alexis Ren

Monday, November 4, 2019

Hawaii Five-0 - A'ohe pau ka 'ike i ka halau ho'okahi


McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) investigate a computer-controlled car involved in a hit-and-run which uncovers the use of the new technology by a savvy drug ring. In the episode's B-story, Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Quinn (Katrina Law) investigate the murder of an apartment complex's most hated tenant which babysitting a pair of YouTubers (Tom Allen and John Parr) who are along for the ride while helping the state with a recruitment video. Other than Danny's Knight Rider references, neither story is all that memorable in this standalone episode. The return of Caan also allows for the return of the Steve-Danny dynamic, but there's not much action in the latest episode (and what little there is, in the opening chase sequence and the technician using the car to save her father at the end, doesn't involve Five-0). The pay-off on the B-story is rather weak as well, as the video made by the stoners (like the rest of the episode) lacks any punch.

Batman in Animation - Super-Villains

Pennywise Card Trader Awesome Pack


Welcome to Derry. They all float down here.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Motherless Brooklyn

With Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton stars, directs, and adapted the novel of the same name. It's in his choices, and likely his performance, where you will decide what you think of the film. Moving the events back in time allows the story to be reframed as a noir fitting our detective's narration and the style of a gumshoe tale.

Motherless Brooklyn is shown from the perspective of private detective Lionel Essrog (Norton). Despite being burdened with tics he cannot control, Lionel is the star of Frank Minna's (Bruce Willis) P.I. business (and car service). But when something goes wrong on a case it falls to Lionel to step-up and unravel a web of criminal conspiracy and murder.

If you can accept Norton's showcasing Lionel's tics the film will likely work for you, as it did for me. The character is fascinating and we do see how his nature helps him in other aspects of his job, while admittedly leading to some problems dealing with people. Norton builds on his performance and the strengths of a novel to create a smart and entertaining film (even if it isn't quite as clever as it thinks it is).

Jojo Rabbit

An irreverent comedy centered around a Nazi 10 year-old (Roman Griffin Davis) whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler isn't going to appeal to everyone. Writer/director Taika Waititi (who also stars as the Fuhrer) crafts an odd little film about a devout, although not very good, Nazi who completely believes in the propaganda he's been fed since birth about Jews and the military dominance of the father land despite those around him seeing the writing on the wall that the end of the war is vast approaching.

Waititi, who adapted the story from Christine Leunens' novel Caging Skies, gets the most out of his young star while surrounding him with an impressive supporting cast who understand the vibe the director is going for in the film. Scarlett Johansson is terrific as JoJo's mother who is hiding more than a few secrets from her young Nazi son. Sam Rockwell, as a demoted Nazi officer now forced to work with children, sets the tone of the film early on in his presentation to a Hitler Youth training camp. Jojo's misadventures at the camp do nothing to make him question his belief in the Nazi Party but meeting a girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) leads to several questions.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Harriet

While watching director Kasi Lemmons' take on the story of Harriet Tubman (played by Cynthia Erivo) I was constantly reminded of Walt Disney's old tall tale cartoons exploring characters such as Paul Bunyan. While Erivo is terrific in the leading role, Harriet's main struggle is the director and screenwriters (Gregory Allen Howard and Kasi Lemmons) stalwart refusal to simply tell the fascinating life of a slave turned abolitionist in favor of building up Tubman's legacy to mythic proportions by spending so much time focusing on her visions from God and refusing to acknowledge (even after showing on-screen) those who helped Harriet escape the South be immediately rewriting events in favor of a single-handed narrative.

Lemmons' style of filmmaking also adds very little to the film's production leading to a rather bland cinematic experience any moment where the camera isn't on Erivo. The choice of visually representing Harriet's "spells" comes off rather amateurish as well. Because the legend of Harriet Tumban smothers every frame of film, it leaves little air for any of the actors who come across mostly as cliched slave owners or unremarkable side no

tes to history.

Jack Ryan - Cargo


Set an indeterminate length after the the show's First Season, "Cargo" opens with Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) and Greer (Wendell Pierce) both investigating the same case from different angles. In Moscow, Greer struggles to uncover intelligence about a secret satellite launched from a ship in the China Sea. In Washington, Ryan links the same ship to Russian weapons smuggling and a secret government facility in the politically-unstable Venezuela where the two will meet up once more. Benito Martinez guest-stars as Jack's longtime friend Senator Moreno who, along with Jack, confronts the Venezuelan President (Benito Martinez) who denies any knowledge of the ship, the secret compound, or any smuggling into the country.

Hellmouth #1


Hellmouth #1 officially begins the five-issue crossover event that has been building in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Drusilla has the key and the Hellmouth is open. Get ready, 'cause Hell is literally set to break loose. And if you missed anything, Cordelia is here to sum up things for you.

The Flash - There Will Be Blood


The looming Crisis continues to loom large in "There Will Be Blood" as Barry (Grant Gustin) enlists the help of Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Harrison Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) in an attempt to save Dr. Ramsey Rosso (Sendhil Ramamurthy) by stealing an alien cure. Even before learning that the scientist is a crazed killer whose victims turn into zombies, Cisco makes a choice putting Barry's life before the mad scientist's that creates some friction between the pair for most of the episode. Don't worry, they'll work things out before the credits roll. The cure (itself a call back to an earlier crossover) isn't successful as goes full on murdery confirming the character's role as the season's main villain pre-Crisis (begging the question, what happened to the serum... and will we be seeing it again?).

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Arrow - Leap of Faith


Oliver Queen's (Stephen Amell) this is your life tour takes him to Nanda Parbat and a reunion with Thea (Willa Holland) where the pair will race both Taila al Ghul (Lexa Doig) and Athena (Kyra Zagorsky) to an ancient tomb. While Talia and Athena are both after a sword each believes can be used as a symbol to reform the League of Assassins, Oliver is after the League's knowledge of the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) in order to confirm he is backing the right side in the coming Crisis. After some fun (but really not all that difficult) tomb raiding, Oliver doesn't get the clarity he hoped (although the show does offer the first mention of the Anti-Monitor - even if the reference is lost on the Queen children).

Villains Cosplay Cinematic

Ghost-Spider #3


The third issue of Ghost-Spider could be called "The Jackal of Two Worlds" as it showcases not one but two versions of Miles Warren obsessed with young Miss Stacy. There's not much action here, although we do see Gwen break-up a robbery at one point and we do get to see a little web-slinging as well. Instead writer Seanan McGuire and artist Takeshi Miyazawa focus more of our heroine fitting in on a new world and in a new school. In whatever world he exists, it appears the Jackal is obsessed with Gwen Stacy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Secret Life of Pets 2

A sequel to the 2016 film that showcased what pets get up to when their owners aren't around, The Secret Life of Pets 2 offers three separate storylines featuring the characters from the first film along with a few new faces. The neurotic Max (Patton Oswalt) learns to relax about the child of his owner, the would-be hero Snowball (Kevin Hart) goes on a mission to save a tiger from the circus, and the flighty Gidget (Jenny Slate) enlists the help of Chloe (Lake Bell) to recover a toy from a cat woman's home. Each provides some humorous moments here and there, but the stories are only loosely connected (as if a trio of TV-specials were combined into a single film).

Batwoman - Who Are You?


Kate (Ruby Rose) learns that vigilante work is Kryptonite to burgeoning relationship in "Who Are You?" This likely means we've seen the last of Reagan (Brianne Howey) as a love interest for Kate, which is too bad as Howey and Rose have good chemistry on-screen and the character's bubbly optimism was a nice (albeit short) addition to the show. For the villain of the week, the show brings in Rachel Matthews as the jewel thief Magpie who steals, among other things, Martha Wayne's pearl necklace. The pearls mark another instance where the show works twice as hard to set-up an over-complicated series of events rather than Kate simply choose to use the pearls and lure Magpie into a trap.

Titans - Jericho


Another flashback episode, "Jericho" finally reveals the events surrounding the Titans befriending and using Jericho Wilson (Chella Man) in order to find Deathstroke (Esai Morales). Long alluded to, fans finally see the sequences of events which led to the end of the Titans. There does seem to be a disconnect between Dick's (Brenton Thwaites) admission to Jason Todd (Curran Walters) at the end of the previous episode (saying "non one" knows the truth) and the events shown here (where all of the Titans are aware of what happened). That rather clumsy inconsistency aside (which has shown up before, I'm guessing because the show's writers didn't make a definitive decision until this episode), "Jericho" does more than any other episode of the season to frame Deathstroke as a legitimate threat to the team as he is able to take down both Robin and Donna (Conor Leslie) separately.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Hawaii Five-0 - He 'oi'o kuhihewa; he kaka ola i 'ike 'ia e ka makaula


Halloween comes to Hawaii Five-0 with its usually odd events. This year's episode includes two strange cases. The first, involves a home robbery, murder, and the escape of a man living in a locked vault for the better part of three decades. While offering a bizarre situation for the team to bicker about, the truth behind the events turns out to be far less interesting than their initial theories. The other case involves the theft of the corpse of a recently-recovered murder victim from the morgue by a killer who wants to prevent an autopsy. The case seems personal to Noelani (Kimee Balmilero), but there's no set-up to events here (although the episode kinda, sorta, but not really hints at this being more than just a normal case to her), and (other than the body being stolen from her morgue) no apparent motive for the medical examiner to take events so personally. Although it's unusual to have an episode without Danny (Scott Caan), Hawaii Five-0 does bring back Masi Oka to allow for Max Bergman's Keanu-themed Halloween costume (and to make use of his adopted son to wrap-up on of the two cases).

Once and Future #3


Zombie Arthur has arisen and it's now up to Duncan, his grandmother, and his recent blind date (you remember? the one that ended disastrously in the comic's first issue?), to save the world. No pressure.

Legacies - You Remind Me of Someone I Used to Know


"You Remind Me of Someone I Used to Know" works as a callback to last season's "Some People Just Want To Watch The World Burn" as once again the Salvatore School prepares for its annual game against Mystic Falls High, although the new headmaster (Alexis Denisof) has a far more open mind towards his students using their powers, in moderation, to compete (which won't turn out well for one Mystic Falls student). The episode continues reversal of fortunes between the Saltzman sisters as Josie (Kaylee Bryant) continues down a darker path and Lizzie's (Jenny Boyd) bright outlook continues as she searches for clues about the mysterious Sebastian (Thomas Doherty).

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Nancy Drew - The Curse of the Dark Storm


In a (literally) stormy episode, Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) and Nick (Tunji Kasim) will lay their cards on table and do some sleuthing while Nancy mulls over the offer of throwing Nick to the police in order to have her own pending criminal charges expunged. Two more characters get haunted by Dark Alice (Stephanie Van Dyck) in the episode while George (Leah Lewis) gets a visitation of another kind as the "curse" foreshadowed at the end of the previous episode appears to be asserting itself. While the show acknowledges Nancy knowing her father got rid of the old bloody dress (which, why the fuck was he keeping it anyway), it skirts the issue of the older murder for now instead concentrating on more recent events.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Lighthouse

The was a moment a little more than halfway through The Lighthouse where I was forced to look at the movie from an entirely different perspective and reconsider what I was watching. More than anything else, the nebulous nature of the proceedings provide the greatest strength of the latest film from writer/director Robert Eggers.

The script, penned by Robert Eggers and Max Eggers offers a simple premise of two strangers assigned to a lighthouse for a period of weeks. Cut-off from the world, the grizzly veteran (Willem Dafoe) and newbie (Robert Pattinson) struggle with the solitude of the remote outpost far from any other living souls.

The Lighthouse is a tense psychological drama presented mostly from the view of Pattinson's character as we see one, or possibly both, men descend into madness. Set in the late 19th Century, there's no outside communication of any kind as the pair are completely isolated. As odd things begin to happen, who do we believe? Are any of the bizarre hallucinatory sequences real? Or is it nothing more than fevered madness?

Thursday, October 24, 2019

This is Colosalcon 2019 Cosplay Music Video

Arrow - Welcome to Hong Kong


The second episode of Arrow's final season works better than last week's premiere as it becomes obvious that the common theme of these early weeks will be putting Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) on a road trip of hitting up various locales important to the show over the years. "Welcome to Hong Kong" takes Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey), and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) back to Earth-1 on a search for a scientist who fits into the larger plans of the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett. The return to Hong Kong (where most of the flashbacks from Season Three occurred) offers a call-back to the Alpha-Omega virus and the return of both Tatsu Yamashiro (Rila Fukushima) and China White (Kelly Hu). Following this theme, next week offers a return to Nanda Parbat and more familiar faces.

Treadstone - The Cicada Protocol / The Kwon Conspiracy


USA Network's new series breathes some new live into the Jason Bourne series with a TV series that acts both as a prequel and sequel to the events of the films starring Matt Damon as a highly-skilled assassin trained by a secret government program known as Treadstone. The events in the present revolve around sleeper Treadstone agents being reactivated by an unknown organization. These include Alaskan oil rigger Doug McKenna (Brian J. Smith) and North Korean music teacher SoYun Pak (Hyo-Joo Han). The events in the past follow CIA Agent J. Randolf Bentley (Jeremy Irvine) who escaped a KGB lab where a mad scientist planned to make him the first super-spy. The two storylines are joined in the present by a North Korean defector, a disgraced former journalist (Tracy Ifeachor), and the female agent (played by both Emilia Schüle and Gabrielle Scharnitzky) who lost Bentley years ago and is now babysitting a nuclear missile for Mother Russia.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Current War

The Current War is a neutered look at the race for control of electricity between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his Direct Current model and Alternating Current favored by both George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult). Refusing to pick a horse in the race, but definitely setting aside more screentime for Edison, the film sands off the rough edges of all three men in an attempt to make all likable. The result is a mostly harmless, but ultimately not very informative, film that sat on the shelf for two full years before its release.

Of the main characters, Edison obviously captured screenwriter Michael Mitnick's attention. While the film shows off the less than pleasant side of the inventor at times, including his vanity and harsh business practices, it goes out of its way to excuse and explain away those behaviors and turn Edison into a cliched misunderstood genius and family man. Westinghouse and his wife (Katherine Waterston) are allowed to steal more scenes in the second-half of the film, although they are really not much more than supporting players to Edison's story. Meanwhile, far less time is devoted to Tesla (whose inclusion feels like an afterthought).

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

New York Comic Con 2019 - Cosplayers Invade New York (Part 2)

Supergirl - Blurred Lines


"Blurred Lines" continues the plot thread of J'onn (David Harewood) discovering more about his brother, this week with the help of Nia (Nicole Maines) who helps uncover the reason for the gaps in J'onn's memory and the hatred of Malefic. Malefic also takes the opportunity to use humanity's latest invention to his advantage and recover the use of his full powers as the episodes cements the character as the major pre-Crisis threat for our heroes. The episode is also notable for Lena (Katie McGrath) using her friendship, and Kara's (Melissa Benoist) guilt, to play on favor that looks like its quickly leading her down a dark path well traveled by her brother.

Firefly #9


Things aren't going great for Malcolm Reynolds or the crew of Serenity. Mal is in custody of those who would like to see him hanged for war crimes. Meanwhile, Zoe has pulled together several of the surviving Browncoats to fight to get Mal back. While the cause used to rally them was Mal's capture, the Browncoats are just itching for a fight (which is also the view of the Unificators who have played both sides bringing forces together in a familiar spot for one more battle).

Batwoman - Down Down Down


While Kate (Ruby Rose) buys a temporary truce with Alice (Rachel Skarsten), Batwoman introduces another Bat-character in Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann). Like most of Gotham, Elliot is obsessed with the news of the return of Batman. Unlike most of Gotham, Elliot's obsession is to kill Batman (who he knows is actually Bruce Wayne). To that end, he's stolen Wayne technology capable of cracking the Bat-suit and is holding hostages demanding his childhood friend make an appearance. Elliot's obsession to Batman makes Kate realize more than just giving Gotham City hope, putting on the suit is also an announcement to Batman's old enemies that the Dark Knight has returned.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Titans - Bruce Wayne


Iain Glen makes another appearance as Bruce Wayne in the latest episode of Titans, but only inside of Dick's (Brenton Thwaites) conflicted mind. As tensions at the Tower continue to raise, it becomes obvious that someone is gaslighting various Titans. Although many are quick to point the blame at Jason Todd (Curran Walters), though not for being tortured and possibly mind-fucked by Deathstroke (Esai Morales), it is notable that not one member of the tower suggests an obvious alternative. Meanwhile, Dick goes in search of Deathstroke while ignoring the vision of Batman talking to him throughout the episode offering the simplest advice on how to begin repairing the damage being done to the team. Dick's admission to Jason in the final moment should finally set-up the story of what happened between the Titans and Deathstroke five years ago, and reveal how Deathstroke's son died.

Legacies - This Year Will Be Different


While some of the episode deals with relationship struggles between Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) and Josie (Kaylee Bryant), and MG's (Quincy Fouse) chances of wooing Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) getting shot down again with the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Thomas Doherty), much of "I'll Never Give Up Hope" focuses on the girl that time forgot. While hunting a troll, Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) unexpectedly runs into Alaric (Matthew Davis) now the principal of Mystic Falls High School. While adamant about not putting a student in danger, something allows Alaric to trust Hope to help in taking out troll (which leads to Hope's second-first meeting with another important person in her former life).

The Addams Family Card Trader Awesome Pack 2


Also check out Pack 1.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Lucy in the Sky (Without Diamonds)

Lucy in the Sky offers little for audiences while struggling mightily to bring the life of astronaut Lisa Nowak to the big screen. Director Noah Hawley's film offers a plum role for Natalie Portman and some interesting visuals but lacks a clear purpose. I was also perplexed by a constantly changing camera frame. At first, I thought it was Hawley's attempt to differentiate the parts of Lisa's life that worked at NASA versus those she struggled with at home. However, it soon became apparent that there was no rhyme or reason other than, I suspect, to try and keep the audience's interest through a tedious series of events.

The project has a star, intriguing subject matter in the astronaut's deteriorating mental state after her return to Earth and failure to earn another trip to space, a supporting cast including Jon Hamm, and plenty of budget (the scenes of NASA training being the best of the film). So what went wrong? For starters, the script by Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi is mind-numbing slog that turns on a dime just in time for a bizarre final act featuring Portman's character running far off the rails (and keeps on running) in a series of events that aren't earned or properly established.