Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Aftermath

Set in post-WWII Germany where Allied Forces are attempting to restore order, The Aftermath is half a good movie punctuated by the performance of Keira Knightley as a military wife who is uprooted from London to Hamburg where her husband (Jason Clarke) is stationed. While many Germans are homeless and sheltered into camps, the Morgans find themselves housed in the lush estate of a German architect (Alexander Skarsgård) who moves into the attic with his teenage daughter (Flora Thiemann).

As a period drama much of The Aftermath works well. There's an interesting story to tell here about the role of the winners asserting control over the locals, hunting out Nazi sympathizers, and working to try and help rebuild the broken city. Sadly, much of the story instead is focused on the couple's troubled marriage and her growing involvement with their host. The film was adapted from Rhidian Brook's novel of the same name. I wonder if the affair comes off as tawdry on the printed page. That's not to say this storyline doesn't offer moments, such as a terrific scene involving Knightley breaking down while discussing the loss of their child during the war.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Green Lantern #6


Hal Jordan's undercover operation to infiltrate the Darkstars comes to an end, although what happens to the universe's greatest Green Lantern is something that is left unexplained. Opening with an old fashioned duel between Hal and Adam Strange, the Darkstar recruit manages to fake Strange's death (in the kind of old school hero misdirection that is never adequately explained) and earn himself an audience with his new team's Controller Mu.

Amber Blake #1


Amber Blake #1 brings the French comic from writer and Jade Lagardère artist Jackson Butch Guice to American audiences. The stuff of pulp fiction, the comic jumps around quite a bit introducing us to the title character as we go from her being dropped off at an orphanage to her enrollment in a prestigious school through her graduation to the awful night that ends that relationship.

How Bumblebee Should Have Ended

Monday, April 15, 2019

Game of Thrones - Winterfell


Cersei's (Lena Headey) machinations continue, old acquaintances are renewed, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) rides a dragon, and the Mother of Dragons arrives in Winterfell. The final season premiere of Game of Thrones also drops last season's bombshell on Jon as Sam (John Bradley) explains the truth about his best friend's lineage. Eventually accepting the truth, it's still unclear how the news changes Jon's plans or his new love (which is all too easy for his sister to see). What is mentioned, but doesn't make it on-screen, is the army of the Night King continuing to move south. While Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon manage the entire voyage North, and Circe's army arrives from across the sea, in the time between last season's finale and now, apparently the army of the dead are taking the scenic route south.

Bumblebee

Look at that, a Transformers movie that doesn't completely suck. While throwing caution to the wind and creating plenty of continuity errors with the current Transformers movie franchise, Bumblebee is a mix of old school Transformers and the suckage known as the Michael Bay films that forces a human story into the center of each film. Easily the best of the franchise, that's still not saying all that much. Still, for what it is, Bumblebee provides some fun.

Opening on Cybertron, the story shoehorns in several fan-favorite cameos, while explaining Bumblebee's arrival on Earth and the loss of his voice. Taking place before the events of the first Bay Transformers movie, Bumblebee is centered around a tomboy named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) who discovers her clunker of a VW Bug is actually a robot from space. Sent to Earth to prepare it for the Autobots arrival (something he actually doesn't do), Bumblebee is followed by Decepticons searching for Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the rest of the Autobots. The film also throws in John Cena as a soldier in a secret government organization conned by the Decepticons into locating their prey.

It's Katsucon 2019 Cosplayers Paradise (Part 4)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hellboy

Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy was a flawed film whose biggest asset was the casting of Ron Perlman as the gruff Hell-spawn destined to end the world, but in the meantime work to fight off monsters and things that go bump in the night for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, originally created by comic writer-artist Mike Mignola. Fixing some of the mistakes from his original film, the director went back the drawing board delivering the superior Hellboy II: The Golden Army four years later, but for more than a decade the character has been confined to the comic page (and some straight-to-DVD animated releases).

Director Neil Marshall's reboot is a joyless exercise, despite some impressive (and almost always gory) visuals. David Harbour, now cast as the hard-drinking big red hero out to save the world, lacks Perlman's charm that helped cut through the character's dickish behavior. What's so sad about the finished project is that there was obvious understanding and love for the character and universe Mignola created as screenwriter Andrew Cosby squeezes several well-known characters into the story including Nimue (Milla Jovovich), Baba Yaga (Troy James), and Benjamin Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), among others.

Friday, April 12, 2019

First Look - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Here's our first look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which will hit theaters on December 20th.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Whiskey Cavalier - Spain, Trains, and Automobiles


Will (Scott Foley) and Frankie (Lauren Cohan) head to Spain to prevent Will's old enemy (Dash Mihok) from selling stolen plutonium on the black market. Amazed to discover that there is someone on the planet who Will actually hates, Fankie does what she can to keep the mission alive (even after securing the plutonium) to give Will closure allowing them to complete the mission with the added bonus of taking down a fellow soldier who attempted to kill Will in the field years ago for not going along with his smuggling side business. The B-story somewhat ties in as Standish (Tyler James Williams) gets a nemesis of his own and struggles with a new relationship (just like Will).

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Uncanny X-Men #15


Uncanny X-Men #15 is most notable for a single change to one of the brand's oldest characters, but we'll get to that in a second. The comic also features an impromptu pow-wow between Cyclops and Captain America when the Avenger offers his off-the-books help in dealing with the prisoners Scott Summers' rag-tag band of X-Men has been accumulating. The comic also shows us just what the Dark Beast has been up to while the X-Men have had their focus elsewhere. And... yes, there's Hope shooting her grandfather in the head (and Logan shish-kabobing the young woman).

Wondercon 2019 Cosplay Music Video

Shadowhunters - Heavenly Fire


Hoping to discover just what the Clave is doing the the Downworlders, and find a mystical artifact to break the connection between Clary (Katherine McNamara) and Jonathan (Luke Baines), Simon (Alberto Rosende) agrees to Isabelle's (Emeraude Toubia) plan of sending the vampire into the secret prison as a prisoner to discover the truth. Along the way he'll meet a new friend (Sydney Meyer), come across an old one (David Castro), and discover how Victor Aldertree (Nick Sagar) plans to save the world from Downworlders by turning them into mundanes. Foiling Aldertree's scheme and saving a portion of his concoction for Clary, thanks in large part to some inside help, once again the show teases us with the possibility of throwing Isabelle (who looks great in that dress by the way) and Simon together (Isamon? Simabelle?). C'mon, isn't it time to throw these wacky kids together?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Action Comics #1009


Action Comics #1009 picks up directly where the previous issue left off, with Amanda Waller revealing she knows Superman's secret identity and asking for help now that a number of secret government agencies have become the target of Leviathan. While Waller's version of events seems to point Talia al Ghul, Superman finds little corroboration of this (and an angry Lois makes it a little difficult for Waller to provide further information).

Aquaman

Jason Momoa stars as the title character in this origin tale about how the son of a human father (Temuera Morrison) and an Atlatean mother (Nicole Kidman) would grow up to become the hero needed to unite the two realms. While at first feigning no interest in Atlantis, Aquaman is convinced to help by Mera (Amber Heard) and the actions of his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) who is preparing for a war against the surface world.

The script by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall is burdened by an abundance of narrative that doesn't fit all that neatly into a single film. Along with the origin and hero's journey, the movie also features a love story, an adventure to the inner Earth, politics and war among the various Atlantean tribes, brotherly jealousy over the crown, and an odd sequence where the film becomes National Treasure for about 20 minutes. Oh, and there's Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who is included for some reason.

Atomic Robo & the Dawn of a New Era #4


In the penultimate issue of the mini-series events come to a head. First, Jenkins return proves a challenge for Robo finding a role for his new friend within the new Tesladyne that doesn't involve him putting the new recruits in the infirmary or scaring them half to death. Hacking into the computer system to learn more about their mysterious instructor does nothing to elevate the new recruits' fears.

This is C2E2 2019 Cosplay Music Video

Thursday, April 4, 2019

With One Magic Word... SHAZAM!


One thing people forget about DC's Captain Marvel is just how big of a super-hero he was in the Golden Age of comics (arguably more popular than Superman for a time). Fast-forward several decades and the character's name has changed, although I give credit to Henry Gayden's screenplay in purposely obscuring what he should be called in clever way to get around using a name the character can never utter aloud to introduce himself, but the core of the character remains the same (even if he's a little rougher around the edges on-screen).

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

SHAZAM! #4


King Kid's reaction to seeing Billy and his friends turn into adults when summoning the powers of Shazam have consequences for the group which he scatters across the different realms. Billy and Mary remain in the Funlands but are forced to work with other adults to keep the amusement park running as we discover just what happens to all the happy children once they grow up.

Star Wars Adventures #19


The latest issue of IDW's family-friendly all-ages comic series takes fans back to the days of the Old Republic. "Roger Roger" is a somewhat goofy tale about a damaged Battle Droid, B1-0516, who decides to help Obi-Wan Kenobi and Rex who are outnumbered and outgunned by an entire legion of Battle Droids during the Battle of Horain. Star Wars: The Clone Wars fans will no doubt enjoy seeing Kenobi and Rex thrown together for the story, while the droid (who earns the nickname Bats by helping the duo) offers some comic relief (and unexpected back-up for our heroes).

It's C2E2 10th Anniversary

Legends of Tomorrow - Lucha de Apuestas


Legends of Tomorrow returns from hiatus with an episode that gets too serious for its own good (forgetting that the show is best when in joyously embraces the absurdity of its premise). There's certainly some fun to be had as the Legends travel to 1961 to Mexico in search of the fugitive Konane (Darien Martin) who is working as a Mexican wrestler, but the episode bogs down at times with the relationship drama between Sara (Caity Lotz) and Ava (Jes Macallan) who work at cross purposes for much of the episode, secret conspiracies inside the Time Bureau that foreshadow future heartache and betrayal, and tragic love. Even the closing twist involving Moana (Ramona Young) is depressing as there are certainly no happy endings for anyone this week.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Transformers #2



Other than the introduction of a few more Generation One Transformers, not much happens in Transformers #2. Bumblebee continues showing Rubble around Cybertron, while also briefly discussing the current political situation. Their journey takes them to Wheeljack who lightens their day once more.

Supergirl - All About Eve


Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) may not appear in "All About Eve," but the episode deals primarily with the fallout from his escape. Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) enlists the help of Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Lena (Katie McGrath) in a hunt for Eve (Andrea Brooks) who they believe can lead them to Lex. The trouble for Supergirl is Lex has already thought of that and uses Eve as bait to lure Supergirl to the time and place of his choosing to enact the next part of his plan. Despite the discovery of Lena's secret experiments, the episode doesn't further the rift between Lena and the Maid of Might as the two find common ground (which is a good thing because Supergirl is going to need all the help she can get). Has Lena's villainous turn been shelved for good this time? Hopefully.

Mortal Engines

Based on the sci-fi novel of the same name by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines is yet another post-apocalyptic teen flick with class warfare themes. Years after war devastated the Earth, people now live in traveling cities which are often the prey for even larger traveling cities which consume materials to keep them moving. It's in the largest of these where we meet museum curator Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) who saves the life of the city's leader (Hugo Weaving) only to find himself expelled on the run with the would-be assassin (Hera Hilmar) while questioning everything he knows about the world.

The visual of the traveling predatory cities certainly works on film, but the story is often a mess spending far too long with Tom's life in London and racing through Hester's (Hilmar) backstory involving a cyborg killing machine (whose own existence is never adequately explained). There's also the war between the traveling city and the lone surviving human colony which both Tom and Hester will ultimately become swept up in.

Detective Comics #1000


Much like Action Comics #1000, the one-thousandth issue of Detective Comics offers a wide variety of stories featuring Batman (with the notable exception of Bruce Timm, but I'll correct that oversight that here) including a final story setting up the comic's next arc from writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Doug Mahnke involving a new vigilante in Gotham City. While I understand the idea in having both Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams work on their own stories, I think putting one of the most famous Batman creative teams back together to craft a new tale would have been a nice nod to fans of their run.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Legacies - There's Always a Loophole


The First Season finale of Legacies features an invasion of the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted by Triad Industries, which could only have been executed by the safeguard plans already put in place by Alaric (Matthew Davis) and a big hero moment for Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) in leaving the school's protection to her friends and rescuing Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) from Malivore. Both look to have large implications on the show's sophomore season.

Whiskey Cavalier - The English Job


Ophelia Lovibond guest-stars as a member of MI5 when Will (Scott Foley) and Frankie (Lauren Cohan) head to England with the team. The case involves a string of high-end robberies and murder, the true motives for Will and Frankie only discover after going undercover as part of the crew. However, when someone betrays them Frankie is all to eager to point to the doe-eyed Emma (Lovibond) whose chemistry with her partner Frankie has trouble processing.

Anime Card Trader - Awesome Pack 2


Also check out Anime Pack 1.