Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Star Wars - Attack of the Clones

When ranking the nine movies of the "Skywalker Saga" there is never a question of which film comes in last. 2002's follow up to Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace jumps forward a decade when a Separatist movement threatens the stability of the Republic. Standing against allowing the rising tensions to turn to war, now Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman) returns to Coruscant. An attack on the Senator's life will bring her back into contact with Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his padawan Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), and bring Anakin one step closer to his dark destiny.

Star Wars - The Phantom Menace

Now that the "Skywalker Saga" is complete, it seems like a reasonable time to go back and look through the various Star Wars films. Unlike some, I come not to condemn The Phantom Menace. Despite its flaws, the film has genuinely great moments, strong new characters, and vivid new worlds all while doing more world building than any Star Wars property other than the original Star Wars. Does it measure up to Lucas' original? No, certainly not. But it's far from the weakest Star Wars film.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Even for a guy who hasn't had an original idea in a decade, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is incredibly lazy. Writer/director/star Kevin Smith reunites familiar faces with a sequel of sorts to one of his lazier projects, but still infinitely more entertaining, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Not much has changed for the drug-dealing pair of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) who take a road trip to Hollywood to prevent another movie about the comic characters they inspired from being made.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is a tired film that makes the likes of Cannonball Run II and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 look inspired by comparison. Along the way the pair will run into several familiar faces reprising their roles from various Smith films. Some of these play a marginal role in the plot such as Shannon Elizabeth who introduces Jay to his illigetimate daughter Milly (Smith's real-life daughter Harley Quinn Smith), many are completely superfluous, and some don't make any sense whatsoever (such as Matt Damon's bizarre cameo). There are also new cameos from the likes of Fred Armisen, Melissa Benoist, Chris Jericho, Chris Hemsworth, and others.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Auralnauts - Star Wars Coronavirus PSA

Star Wars Adventures #31

Star Wars Adventures #31 gives us a Rey and Poe Dameron team-up as Rey lives out a long fantasy of spending time flying a working X-Wing and gets some piloting pointers from the Resistance's best pilot in this all-ages adventure.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #104

I loved this issue. After keeping the Turtles separate following the death of their father, they reunite in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #104 not to face some imminent threat but to finally share their grief with their loved ones. Donnie's trip to Mutant Town proves to be the catalyst needed to push Raphael and Donnie to returning to Leonardo and Michelangelo and tap into the strong family dynamic at the core of the title.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Usagi Yojimbo #9

The two-part "Tatami" story concludes as the Neko Ninja attack the caravan carrying the ceremonial mats, destroying them and disrupting Lord Gifue's tea ceremony with the Shogun. Despite the considerable efforts of Miyamoto Usagi and Chizu helping out to defend the mats against the ninja, the encounter ends with the mats destroyed and the villains triumphant.

Prodigal Son - Stranger Beside You

More than the murder of the week, which involves the dead husband of a mommy blogger (Heather Lind), "Stranger Beside You" is notable for revealing the truth about Eve Blanchard (Molly Griggs) and her connection to the Whitly family. The episode identifies the woman in the box as Eve's sister (Anna Eilinsfeld), concluding that she is both dead and the 24th victim of Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen). The reveal would have more impact if it hadn't been proceeded by Eve's creepy fascination with the box last week, but it does clear the air between her and Malcolm and open the door for more investigation into her sister's murder (which the show has hinted forebodes bad consequences for poor Malcolm Bright).

Wednesday with Anna

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Supergirl - Alex in Wonderland

For the second week in a row Supergirl offers a Kara-lite (Melissa Benoist) episode as the titular character is pushed aside once again. Following last week's Dreamer (Nicole Maines) episode, this time it's Alex's (Chyler Leigh) turn. With far more groundwork laid prior to the episode's events, "Alex in Wonderland" works more successfully than "Reality Bytes" while also being tied more directly on ongoing season plotlines. Following a season stressful events punctuated by the death of her father, Alex pushes away friends and family and looks for comfort in VR, unaware that Obsidian North still hasn't patched various issues shown throughout the season. The season-long theme of something being too good to be true continues as Alex loses herself in a fantasy playing Supergirl.

The Lord of the Rings with Lightsabers

Batwoman - Through the Looking-Glass

Let's start on a positive note. "Through the Looking-Glass" does include the series best action sequence to date, with Kate (Ruby Rose) out of the Bat-suit kicking the ass of several security guards while helping Alice Rachel Skarsten) break into Arkham Aylumn. The episode also marks the return of Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe) who has been one of the few bright spots for the series outside of its star. The rest of the episode? Pretty much the same shitshow we've come to expect from Batwoman on a weekly basis although the episode does earn points for hitting emotional marks better than it has at times this season and letting Alice come off more human (and less cartoonish) than we've seen.

Hendo Art's How To: Fat Gum Cosplay

Monday, March 23, 2020

Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular

Celebrating the character's 80 years in comics, the Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular offers stories throughout Robin's run featuring those who have worn the costume over the years. "Robin in A Little Nudge" features Dick Grayson's final day as Robin, "Aftershocks" features Nightwing in a broken Gotham City during the events of Batman: Cataclysm, Nightwing infiltrates H.I.V.E. in "Team Building," and we get an adventure with Dick Grayson from his spy days in "The Lesson Plan."

Legacies - Life Was So Much Easier When I Only Cared About Myself

There's an awful lot happening in "Life Was So Much Easier When I Only Cared About Myself" as Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) banishes Alaric (Matthew Davis) and Kaleb (Chris Lee) into the simulated fictional reality to keep them both out of the way as the evil Josie (Kaylee Bryant) returns to the school on her birthday threatening to force the Merge early meaning either she or Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) will die. Part of Josie's party includes the Necromancer (Ben Geurens) announcing his return to the entire student body and setting up a duel between sisters which the Tribrid hopes to find a way to stop (or at least prevent one of the sisters from dying).

How Frozen 2 Should Have Ended

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Flash - The Exorcism of Nash Wells

Discovering all the versions of Harrison Wells from the collapsed Multiverse are living inside Nash (Tom Cavanagh), Team Flash races to stop Eobard Thawne from taking control of Nash's body permanently and regaining his speed powers. With much of the episode taking place within Nash's mind, the episode offers the opportunity to explore his past including his relationship with the Maya (Briana Tedesco) from his Earth while also teasing the return of the series most memorable villain. Unfortunately, the storyline falls back on the show's tired trope of Barry (Grant Gustin), now with limited speed thanks to the destruction of the Speed Force, acting like a jerk for about half the episode before coming around and being the swell guy his friends and family know him to be.

It's Anime North Texas 2020

Darth Vader #2

The unexpected appearance of a familiar face rocks the Dark Lord of the Sith as Darth Vader #2 picks up from the first-issue cliffhanger of Darth Vader coming face-to-face with Padme Amidala. As expected, the woman is revealed to be Sabé (the former Queen of Naboo's doppelganger and bodyguard). Although, in my opinion, artist Raff Ienco could have made her look a little more like Keira Knightley.

How Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Should Have Ended

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Batman & the Outsiders #11

The Outsiders battle the minions of Ra's al Ghul in Batman & the Outsiders #11 as the sudden arrival of Katana, Signal and Orphan helps Black Lightning and Lady Shiva even the odds against Ra's soldiers. There's a fair bit of action here involving several members of the team battling various villains including Kaliber and Karma but there are also some nice smaller moments between mother and daughter as Shiva's plan to get closer to her daughter appears to be working.

Doctor Sleep

Set decades after the events of The Shining, Doctor Sleep catches up with the troubled Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) years after his visit to the Overlook Hotel. Director Mike Flanagan is smart in letting the story stand on its own without feeling the need to offer too many flashbacks or recreations to the Stanley Kubrick film, at least until the film's final act which is where Doctor Sleep begins to struggle a bit matching its own style to that of Kubrick.

Both movies were adapted from novels by Stephen King. Whether its simply the script treatments or the original source material, Doctor Sleep is much more straight-forward and linear in its plot progression (even while showcasing events from different group perspectives within the film).

After finally putting his life back together, Dan is made aware of a cult led by Rebecca Ferguson hunting down and stealing the "steam" of those with psychic abilities and the teenage girl (Kyliegh Curran) who is their next target. To save both their lives, Dan will be forced to confront the ghosts of his past.

Supergirl - Reality Bytes

In "Reality Bites" Supergirl shifts focus away from the Maid of Might to feature two separate storylines on supporting characters who have faded into the background a bit this season. Continuing the thread of dangerous technology, the approaching roll-out of Obsidian North Platinum offers an alarming example of how the technology could be misused as a computer programmer has found a way to hack the virtual reality world and torture his wife's AI lover which leads Alex (Chyler Leigh) inside the shared simulation. The story offers yet another way Obsidian North may be dangerous to people, aside from Leviathan or the Luthors using it to control minds, while alerting both Alex and that the company isn't taking issues with the technology seriously. Judging by the trailer for next week's episode, it looks like this is a theme isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Batwoman - Off With Her Head

Hate and revenge play large roles in "Off With Her Head" which sees characters continue to make odd choices, the writers randomly insert characters, and and the show continue to play on the dynamic between sisters. In a move that makes no sense, other than to set-up the episode's obvious ending, Alice Rachel Skarsten) gives up August Cartwright (John Emmet Tracy) to Batwoman (Ruby Rose) just prior into falling into the madman's trap. As events play out, Cartwright reveals details about Alice's confinement to Kate and Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) and an insane Mouse (Sam Littlefield) attempts to drive the last remaining bit of sanity out of Alice's head through the use of Fear Gas from a classic Bat-villain whose name I won't sully here by connecting him the show.

Young Justice #14

Things are getting a bit crowded. Foreshadowed at the end of the previous issue, Young Justice #14 catches up with Impulse recruiting other young heroes for Young Justice's fight against. S.T.A.R. Labs. Looking to include as many characters from various versions of the team as possible, the latest issue features panels of Impulse recruiting the likes of Aqualad, Spoiler, Arrowette, and Sideways to go along with the current team, Naomi, the Wonder Twins, and Dial H for Hero.

It's Katsucon 2020 Cosplayers Paradise (Part 1)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Legacies - There's a Place Where the Lost Things Go

Having obviously never watched a Holodeck episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Emma (Karen David) gathers a group of students together to deal with their issues in a combined simulated fictional reality. Each waking up in a black-and-white film noir world as a characters of that world, the idea is that the storyline will allow them to confront their issues before being sent back to the real world. Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) becomes a bar owner, MG (Quincy Fouse) a private detective, Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) a fading starlet with Josie (Kaylee Bryant) as her manager, Rafael (Peyton 'Alex' Smith) a photographer, and Jade (Giorgia Whigham) a reporter. Things start going wrong when a someone begins killing off the other characters one by one, jumping them back into the real world.

The Jedi Went Down to Tattooine

Star Wars Card Trader Awesome Pack 21

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Red Sonja #14

Red Sonja's victory over the conqueror Dragan The Magnificent didn't come without a cost. Hyrkania is in ruins, it's people starving, and Sonja is forced to look to an old enemy for help. Leaving the remains of her kingdom in the hands of her trusted adviser, Sonja travels to Khitai to bargain with King Jo'Khan who killed her mentor on his rise to power.

FBI - Broken Promises

The FBI initially believes a shooting at a climate change rally to be politically motivated, or potentially the work of a jealous ex-boyfriend, until a second seemingly unrelated shooting leaves another victim shot by the same gun. The case gets personal for OA (Zeeko Zaki) when his girlfriend (Yasmine Aker) becomes the shooter's next target. It also exposes some sharp differences in how each of them view the world. Maggie's (Missy Peregrym) attention over the episode is split between the case and a career opportunity she's uncertain about pursuing. A connection between all three shootings leads the FBI to look at a recently-paroled young man with a grudge against all three targets, but the real shooter turns out someone deeply affected by what happened to the boy in prison (which the show attempts to reveal in dramatic fashion although the reveal instead feels awkwardly drawn-out).

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

C2E2 2020 Cosplay Music Video

This is C2E2 Chicago Comic Con 2020 Best Cosplay Music Video

Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1

Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1 kicks off a series of comics from Marvel highlighting various X-Men characters and artists. Russell Dauterman does the art for this mostly silent tale involving the interesting team-up of Jean Grey and Emma Frost traveling inside Storm's mind to rescue their fellow X-Men who has been attacked by the Children of the Vault. Although there are cameos from other characters, the issue is devoted to Frost and Grey to stop the attack by a machine virus threatening to kill Storm in the next 30 days.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Supergirl - The Bodyguard

The roll-out of Obsidian North Platinum brings with it attacks on Andrea Rojas' (Julie Gonzalo) life and a chance for Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) to ingretiate himself with Leviathan by offering Supergirl's (Melissa Benoist) services as bodyguard. Both Lex and Brainy (Jesse Rath) take steps to increase the likelihood of of such a union, although each of their choices may lead to serious consequences. Even with a power-deficiency fighting an alien fueled by vengeance and power-stealing gauntlets, Supergirl manages to get to the heart of the issue and diffuse the situation to prevent a city-wide catastrophe that her boss was perfectly willing to allow to happen (as the show reminds us just how far Lex will go to get his way).

Batwoman - Grinning From Ear to Ear

"Grinning From Ear to Ear" introduces the character of Duela Dent (Alessandra Torresani), a scarred young woman targeting social media stars, but it's Duela's connect to Dr. Ethan Campbell (Sebastian Roché) that earns the interest of Alice Rachel Skarsten). Batwoman (Ruby Rose) is able to take down the troubled young woman before she adds another victim, although before the police arrive Duela also makes a new friend. The comic character is far from a favorite, and this version isn't much better, but I am curious whether or not her appearance here was simply a one-off or if we'll see more of her in the future.

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Friday, March 6, 2020

Extra Ordinary

Extra Ordinary has the advantages and disadvantages one would expect from a writing and directing team working on their first feature. There's certainly style and out-of-box thinking on display here, although the film is still quite rough around the edges.

We're offered two stories that will eventual intertwine. The first, and more successful, involves lonely Irish driving instructor Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) whose paranormal powers she has been afraid to use since childhood. Meeting a likable-enough bloke (Barry Ward), who has troubles both with a home haunted by his deceased wife and a daughter (Claudia O'Doherty) under possession, forces Rose to dig back into her childhood skills (and pull out the old VCR tapes of her father's paranormal infomercials).

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Way Back

The simplest way to describe The Way Back would be if a Hallmark movie and a sports movie had a baby. Pulling from two separate genres, the film from director Gavin O'Connor doesn't have to strain too hard as it uses the basic tropes of each as a crutch for much of its running time. The film introduces us to former star basketball player Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) who is lured out of his alcoholic haze by his old Catholic high school in need of an emergency replacement for their down-on-their-luck basketball team. Apparently the need for a coach was dire enough that Cunningham being well-known as the local slush wasn't enough to immediately eliminate him from contention.

At first reluctant to take the job, Cunningham accepts the added responsibility and stress while dealing with a serious drinking problem, a broken marriage, and recent tragedy in his family. If Affleck's character was a song, it would be a country song. As for his team, it's the expected motley group of kids smaller and less athletically gifted than most of their competition, but when both the coach and players buy-in and put their noses to the grindstone... well, you know the rest.

Angel + Spike #9

Following the events of the Hellmouth crossover, a soulless Spike has taken up residence with Angel Investigations and proven himself a worthy ally (if not a trustworthy one). Angel's return leads to some conflict among the group who stands up for Spike against their boss' reservations leading to Angel begrudging accepting Spike's inclusion and a brand-new title for the comic.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Onward, But Not Necessarily Upward

Written and directed by Dan Scanlon (Monsters University), the latest entry to the Pixar universe is one of the weakest in the company's catalog. Set around broader and more generic characters than we've come to expect from Pixar, Onward is a story-driven tale that doesn't hit the emotional beats nearly as well as many of the studio's previous films. Don't get me wrong, it's still a passable animated feature, it's just not... magical.

Onward has the ingredients which should hit home for me personally, yet it does not. It focuses on an introverted character finding his path and involves Dungeons & Dragons role playing adventure. Maybe such themes have just been mined too long by film and TV in recent years to leave much new ground to cover.

The wacky road trip movie stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as a pair of brothers living in a fantasy world that has lost most of its magic. Given the opportunity to spend one day with the father they lost as children, the pair race to complete a spell that has only resurrected the lower-half of their dad.

Falcon & Winter Soldier #1

Falcon & Winter Soldier #1 unites two former Captain America stand-ins as an attempt on Bucky Barnes' life and a separate investigation by the Falcon put the heroes on the same path investigating why someone attacked an entire office of covert American agents and also tried to assassinate both the Winter Solider and his cat.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Addams Family

While the look of the animated remake of the 60s television show offers some intriguing designs, too much of the script flounders. After an introduction which offers up both the marriage of Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) and the establishment of the family ni an abandomed insane asylum, The Addams Family jumps forward years to when a cookie-cutter suburban development moves in down the hill run by the maniacal Margaux Needler (Allison Janney).

Expected events unfold without much excitement or surprise as Needler riles up the community against its neighbors only to later be revealed to be the true monster. The tale offers some stand-out moments, almost all of which feature Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) while her poor brother gets stuck in an extraneous subplot. The best of these could have all been done as shorts saving audiences from the drudgery of the rest of the film.

Every LEGO Star Wars Christmas Minifigure

Monday, March 2, 2020

Leviathan Dawn #1

The next chapter of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev's Leviathan tale begins here. The are two stories taking place in Leviathan Dawn #1. The first involves new character Kingley Jacobs taking a look at the destruction which Leviathan has wrought and putting together a team from the ashes of the various spy agencies Mark Shaw left in his wake.

Doctor Who - The Timeless Children

As has been the tendency of writer and producer Chris Chibnall over the course of this season, the finale of "The Timeless Children" thumbs its nose at Doctor Who canon. Pulling on the thread from the classic Doctor Who serial "The Brain of Morbius," "The Timeless Children" confirms that William Hartnell was not the first incarnation of The Doctor. Although this contradicts several episodes of Who canon, it's an idea that has been suggested before. If that was the only change Chibnall had made in "The Timeless Children" it would have been groundbreaking enough. Instead, that's just one piece of the story. And while that can be, somewhat grudgingly, accepted... the rest... Well, it plays like fan fiction. And not even good fan fiction.

Adam Savage's Captain America Stealth Suit

Friday, February 28, 2020

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound

Director Midge Costin's documentary on the importance and evolution of sound in movies offers a peak back at the progression of sound in film over the decades and the artists and movies which propelled the artistry forward. Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound features interviews from a number of directors (who include George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, Robert Redford, Ang Lee, and Sofia Coppola) and sound editors (Walter Murch, Ben Burtt, Gary Rydstrom, Lora Hirschberg, Cece Hall, and others) who speak about both specific films and the use of sound in general.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Ghost-Spider #7

Ghost Spider takes a break from both the Miles Warren storyline and Gwen's sabbatical in the regular Marvel Universe to offer a look at familiar characters whose lives are quite different in Spider-Gwen's dimension. In Gwen's world, Johnny Storm and Sue Storm were social media celebrities rather than fantastical heroes. They disappeared four years ago only to show up suddenly when no memories of where they've been all this time.

This is Katsucon 2020 Best Cosplay Music Video

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #103

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #103 takes an unexpected hard right turn after foreshadowing the dangerous mutant weasels unleashed on Mutant Town. Although the trio do cause some havoc, they are revealed to be mostly-harmless kids.

The Flash - Grodd Friended Me

The theme of "Grodd Friended Me" is letting go of the past and accepting change, whether you're ready for it or not. After a post-Crisis check-in which suggest there are an unimaginable number of changes to the timeline such as Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) being a meta-criminal, an experiment goes awry leaving Barry (Grant Gustin) trapped in Grodd's (David Sobolov) mind. However, revenge isn't what the super gorilla is after, instead a remorseful Grodd wants the Flash's help to escape the mindscape prison A.R.G.U.S. has constructed for him before it crumbles under the weight of both minds. The combined force of Barry and Grodd merging their consciousness, resulting in one fast gorilla, is just what is needed for the pair to get past a familiar gatekeeper and return to the real world.

Hawkman #21

After being exposed to the energy of the Dark Multiverse, Hawkman has become lost as the persona of Sky Tyrant (the Earth 3 equivalent of Hawkman) is now in control (although Carter Hall's consciousness still exists) and apparently picking fights with giant Hawkpeople guarding dangerous power that should not be unleashed. Follow that?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Supergirl - It's a Super Life

Supergirl celebrates its 100th episode with the return of Mr. Mxyzptlk as Thomas Lennon takes over the role and offers Kara (Melissa Benoist) the opportunity to fix her relationship with Lena (Katie McGrath) by revealing her secret to her friend turned enemy earlier in their relationship. Rather than one version of a different life shown, the It's a Wonderful Life themed episode offers multiple alternate realities where Kara watches how events may have played out differently had she revealed herself to Lena earlier and earlier in their friendship.

Batwoman - Drink Me

While Gotham believes her dead, Alice Rachel Skarsten) fumes over Kate (Ruby Rose) choosing to let her die while also spending quite a bit of time trampsing around Gotham searching for the missing Mouse (Sam Littlefield). Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) returns to work, although it's not clear on how exactly he was acquitted, which is a problem for Sophie (Meagan Tandy) when her boss discovers his number two is a bit too chummy with Batwoman, completely oblivious to the fact that the vigilante is his daughter or that having someone with a good working relationship with Batwoman would be a far greater asset than a liability to the Crows whose recent setbacks have them hemorrhaging clients all over the city.

21 Iconic Movie Scenes in LEGO

Monday, February 24, 2020

Batman & the Outsiders #10

With Bruce Wayne reaching out to resources in attempts to discover what Ra's al Ghul's endgame might be, and how it is related to both Kaliber and a Markovian scientist, the team he put together is in shambles. Black Lightning is now working with Lady Shiva who believes she can trade on this relationship and get closer to her daughter by helping the grieving hero in his search for revenge.

Hunters - In the Belly of the Whale

The first episode of Amazon's Hunters starts off with an exciting scene involving a party guest discovering that her host (Dylan Baker) in a Nazi. After that, "In the Belly of the Whale" gets a bit bogged down in introducing us to young American Jew, and part-time drug dealer, Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman). Before diving back into the Nazi storyline, the show spends time with Logan and his nerdy friends and sees him getting beaten up by the poster boy for cliched bullies. The murder of Jonah's grandmother, however, proves to be the catalyst to put both Jonah and the episode back on track as it introduces Jonah to his grandmother's friend Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino). That meeting, and Logan uncovering some documents in his grandmother's things, leads Logan to discover three decades after loosing World War II, Nazis have taken root in America. Offerman and his friends are a small independent group dedicated to finding and rooting out the Nazis.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild, adapted from the Jack London novel of the same name, follows the journey of a St. Bernard/Scotch Collie named Buck who ends up in the Yukon as a sled dog after being stolen from his owner (Bradley Whitford) and sold north. The CGI-enhanced mutt is the main character of the film, while making friends (Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Cara Gee) and enemies (Dan Stevens) along the way with both men and dogs. CGI is used on Buck to enhance the pooch's emotions. The effect works in most cases, but there are scenes where it does feel a little disturbing.

Adapted by screenwriter Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, Green Lantern), the straightforward tale of a heroic dog offers an earnest family-friendly film. I will admit I found both Buck and his journey more enjoyable than I expected. Buck is easy to root while the rest of the film's characters are mostly cast in simple terms as good, evil, or indifferent. Released by the rebranded 20th Century Studios (renamed after Disney acquired Fox), the movie will no doubt play for years on Disney+ making a suitable companion piece to something like Eight Below or any one of the various Benji films.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Top End Wedding

Director Wayne Blair's Top End Wedding may be a tad formulaic, but it's not without its charms. The Australian film stars Miranda Tapsell and Gwilym Lee as a couple in a rush to get married only to discover the mother of the bride (Ursula Yovich) has gone missing with less than 10 days until the ceremony. As the happy couple head off on a road trip in search of the missing matriarch, which showcases both the strengths and weaknesses of their relationship, the ceremony is left in the hands of the heart-broken father of the bride (Huw Higginson), bridesmaids, and the bride's workaholic boss (Kerry Fox).

The script by Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler plays on some predictable romcom cliches, although it also dedicates substantial time to building the relationship of the core characters making the hijinx a bit easier to swallow. The likability of the two stars and the beautiful shots of Northern Australia certainly don't hurt either. There may be few surprises, but the journey that touches on generations of relationships is smarter than many romantic comedies.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Flash - A Girl Named Sue

"A Girl Named Sue" picks up from last week's cliffhanger with Iris (Candice Patton) trapped in a mirror dimension while a doppelganger has assumed her life while playing on Barry's (Grant Gustin) emotions to get her hands on Mirror Master's gun. Meanwhile, the episode's title comes from long-running B-story of Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) finally catching up with the elusive Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss) who offers the private investigator a story about being on the run from an arms dealer ex-boyfriend since discovering how he made his fortune. As Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) points out, the pair are a perfect match (although Sue turns out to be a little too alike with the old Ralph as she double-crosses him to get what she's really after - a giant diamond).

Wonder Woman #751

A new chapter for Wonder Woman begins as her attempt to create a new life for herself in Boston leads to an arrest and probation by her friend and neighbor Agent Nora Nunes who apparently is the sole judge and jury to decide whether having an Amazon living there does potentially more harm than good.

Cosplay Love Cosplay Music Video

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #1

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #1 offers a contemplative Harley Quinn sharing her troubles to Power Girl (who immediately regrets stopping by). Not only has Harley alienated Poison Ivy after their failed island getaway, but her friends' hotel have been torched by a loan shark forcing Harley to contemplate leaving the relative safety of Coney Island and returning to Gotham.