Monday, January 20, 2020

The Mandalorian - The Gunslinger

Forced to land on Tatooine after a space battle with a bounty hunter after the Child, the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) picks up so local work to pay for the repairs by partnering with inexperienced bounty hunter Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale) in tracking down the assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Toro needs the credit for such a capture to earn his way into the Bounty Hunters' Guild and is less interested in the money tied to the bounty which the Mandalorian desperately needs. It seems like a good job, though there will be complications.

Young Justice #12

While Superboy literally cries over being stranded in Skartaris, the rest of Young Justice calls in some reinforcements as Impulse and Wonder Girl (but mostly Bart) are able to convince the Wonder Twins to help their friends, and "borrow" one of Wonder Woman's possessions (although the need for it is a little unclear).

Legacies - I Couldn't Have Done This Without You

"I Couldn't Have Done This Without You" offers three separate storylines. One focuses on Hope's (Danielle Rose Russell) return to the Salvatore School and the awkwardness of trying to find a bit of normal with Josie (Kaylee Bryant), Landon (Aria Shahghasemi), and others. The awkwardness with Josie is helped through the use of magic in dealing with the hourglass Josie has been pouring dark magic into for most of the year. That object is also noticed by the Necromancer (Ben Geurens) who sees it as a way to restore and embolden his own powers. While things may not be back to normal by the end of the episode, perhaps the Josie, Landon, and Hope have found the start of a new normal heading into the second-half of the season.

This is Anime NYC 2019 Best Cosplay Rewind

Friday, January 17, 2020

Disturbing the Peace

I think the story of how Guy Pearce got snookered into making Disturbing the Peace would be far more interesting than the movie itself. The story centers around a biker gang taking over a town (whose populace apparently nearly all took a field trip on the same day, making it easy for the criminals to round-up the leftover dozen or so hostages). Along with hitting the bank, the gang is also targeting an armored car carrying millions in cash... to a town where apparently very few people live? What do they need with the money? Well... that's just one of many questions the movie has no answer for.

Taking steps to limit response by authorities outside of town, the gang must deal with the local Marshall (Pearce), a former Texas Ranger haunted by his past. The script by Chuck Hustmyre (whose only credits include straight-to-video flicks starring the likes of Steven Seagal and Dave Bautista) offers some astonishing bad writing at times (to go with some questionable acting). There's an interesting idea buried deep, deep, deep at the heart of of the film but better hands than those of director York Alec Shackleton are called for to find it.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Mediocre Sequel, Mediocre Sequel. Whatcha Gonna Do?

Hitting theaters 16 years after Bad Boys II, and 25 years after the original film, Bad Boys for Life feels about as tired as its two stars at times. The film reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the latest attempt of movie studios to reboot, relaunch, or recycle any franchise they can find. There's no real reason for the film to exist, but Smith and Lawrence provide some entertaining moments bouncing off one another to keep you mildly interested between explosions and gun fights (which, sadly, fail to reach insanity of Michael Bay at his best).

Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons - Part One

The new animated web series offers a retelling of Slade Wilson's (Michael Chiklis) origins, a vendetta against the terrorist organization known as H.I.V.E., and his fucked-up family life. "Part One" is a bloody affair offering flashbacks explaining the source of Deathstroke's powers while in the present his son is kidnapped by H.I.V.E. in an attempt to force the mercenary to work for them (this part of the story stays fairly faithful to the comics). While their plan fails, it does destroy Wilson's marriage, estrange him from his son, and offer a follow-up tale a decade later when H.I.V.E. goes after the boy once more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #101

Despite their recent victory, there is little for the Turtles to celebrate. It's been months since the events of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100. Manhattan has been cordoned off from the outside world renamed Mutant Town by its inhabitants. The Turtles has gone their separate ways with Leonardo looking inward, Michelangelo pulling back from the world, Raphael hitting the rooftops on a nightly basis, and Donatello (who narrates the issue) contemplating what might be next for the characters.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Legends of Tomorrow - Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Five

If the climax of Crisis turned out to be a bit underwhelming the epilogue brings back some fun. The first episode of the Fifth Season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow introduces us to a new world. Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and the Paragons didn't rebirth the entire Multiverse, only a single universe with one Earth where all our heroes live. Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is doubly surprised to find out she shares her Earth with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and that Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) had one last move up his sleeve in resetting his role on the new Earth as a beloved benefactor rather than sociopathic villain. Only the Paragons remember the events of Crisis, although J'onn (David Harewood) is able to remedy the siutation fairly quickly to clue in the rest of the heroes as to what is happening, including a final appearance of the Anti-Monitor.

Arrow - Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Four

After a month hiatus, the Crisis crossover continues. More than any episode of the crossover, "Part Four" does feel the limits of a television budget as the big climactic moments feel a bit rushed and underwhelming. The return of Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), now revealed to be the Spectre (although not looking any different), helps free the Paragons from Vanishing Point on a two-pronged attempt to stop the Anti-Monitor. While Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), Ryan Choi (Osric Chau), and Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) attempt to prevent the the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) from opening the rift that allowed the Anti-Monitor into our universe 10,000 years ago (a plotline that ultimately never leads anywhere), the rest of the heroes head for the Anti-Matter Universe with a stopover in the Speed Force that offers a few scenes from the past and one more cameo from another alternate version of one of our heroes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Batman #86

A new creative team takes over following the events of City of Bane. Batman has taken back Gotham City, but in his absence things have gotten worse. The Dark Knight Detective is also down a few allies given the death of Alfred no appearance from any of the other members of the Bat-Family here (other than Catwoman).

It's Holiday Matsuri 2019 Cosplay Christmas Part 2

Peter Poker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1

The first issue of the five-issue mini-series starring everyone's favorite spider-powered super-hero pig, offers a quick recap of the hero's origins before plunging him into a new adventure. It seems his time in the Spider-Verse hasn't helped Spider-Ham make friends with the other heroes of his world. Holding his accomplishments over the other heroes, Spider-Ham's ego has gotten to be too much for many of the other heroes to bear (even when they might need his help).

Monday, January 13, 2020

Jack Ryan - Blue Gold / Persona Non Grata

"Blue Gold" and "Persona Non Grata" provide a turning point in the Second Season of Jack Ryan with the deaths of a couple of key figures and Reyes (Jordi Mollà) taking advantage of the CIA's investigation to paint Greer (Wendell Pierce) and others as agents of the United States Government attempting to steal the election for Gloria Bonalde (Cristina Umaña). Before returning to Caracas, Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) concludes his business in London ending in the death of Max Schenkel (Tom Wlaschiha) at the hands of Harriet Baumann (Noomi Rapace) who manages to survive multiple face-to-face confrontations with Max (although he did leave several holes in her body in their final encounter). The following episode doesn't deal with the fallout of Ryan's actions as he has plenty of new problems to deal with once leaving London.

Hawaii Five-0 - Loa'a pono ka 'iole i ka punana

"Loa'a pono ka 'iole i ka punana" centers around Grover's (Chi McBride) investigation into murder at the prestiguous golf club he's been attempting to get into since he first arrived on the island. Working with the club's head-of-security (Alon Aboutboul), Grover leads a quiet investigation which uncovers both money laundering and millions in counterfeit currency. Tani (Meaghan Rath) provide nominally support from Five-0 headquarters while processing the news that Junior (Beulah Koale) has been been recalled by the United States Navy. Looks like Five-0 is down another man for the foreseeable future.

Harley Quinn & The Birds of Prey Awesome Pack

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, Pack 14, 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, January 10, 2020

Just Mercy

Based on true experiences of defense attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton delivers a straightforward biopic that is more about one lawyer's struggle against a broken legal system than the legal maneuverings of a crafty lawyer. After a brief introduction to the character, the film begins in earnest with Stevenson taking his Harvard education to Alabama to defend those on death row who never received a fair trial.

The film primarily deals with Stevenson's attempts to earn a new trial for Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) who was convicted of murder on the testimony of one unreliable witness (Tim Blake Nelson) and no physical evidence thanks in large part to the pressure and intimidation of a local sheriff (Michael Harding) whose motives the film never really examines.

Just Mercy is a solid film filled with actors who have given more memorable roles in other movies. Along with Foxx and Jordan we also get Brie Larson as another member of the defense team who helped Stevenson set-up the Equal Justice Initiative offices in Montgomery, Alabama.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Harley Quinn #69

Harley Quinn #69 offers a bizarre single-issue story centered around 70s McDonald's nostalgia featuring loose knock-offs of characters like Grimace, Mayor McCheese, and the Hamburglar. The comic starts with the release from prison of the Hambezzler who has completed his 30 year prison sentence after being framed for a crime he didn't commit (which doesn't prevent his old pals getting together to get some payback). Luckily, he's made a new friend in Harley Quinn who coincidentally needs her taxes done.

The Mandalorian - Sanctuary

In one of the weaker episodes of The Mandalorian's First Season, and oddly enough the only one that got its own LEGO set, the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and the Child attempt to hide out on Sorgan from those hunting them after breaking his contract with the Imperials and rescuing the 50 year-old infant from their secret laboratory. "Sanctuary" features a truncated Seven Samurai plot of the Mandalorian and his new pal former Rebel Alliance Shock trooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano) take too little money to protect an isolated village from bandits with an AT-ST. The army the pair put together is laughable, but the fight sequence at the end still works well enough.

Star Wars #1

Marvel Comics launches a new Star Wars title with Star Wars #1 set immediately after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and the Millennium Falcon's escape from Cloud City on Bespin. Much of the issue focuses on the internal struggle with Luke Skywalker following his defeat at the hands of Darth Vader and the realization that the Vader is his father. The comic breaks with tradition a bit here by hinting at Luke embracing some darker aspects at the Force (perhaps unintentionally... or at least not fully aware of what he was doing).

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

MCM Birmingham Comic Con November 2019


SHAZAM! #9 reveals the final choice of champions as Billy Batson shares his power with... his father? I'll admit to being disappointed that the comic didn't seize on the opportunity for Billy to offer his power to one of the creatures from the other lands the family has visited over the past eight issues (like say a bunny).

Los Angeles Comic Con 2019 Cosplay Music Video Part 3

The Mandalorian - Main Theme Song (80s Retro Synthwave Cover)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Magnum P.I. - Desperate Measures

The second-half of the crossover gets off to an awkward start with most of Five-0 being taken into custody (off-camera) leaving Tani (Meaghan Rath) and Quinn (Katrina Law) heading to ask Magnum Jay Hernandez and Higgins (Perdita Weeks) for help. Junior (Beulah Koale) has been taken by a group willing to exchange him for the CIA list that our heroes now have in their possession. Magnum calls in his pals, Higgins does some computer work, and Quinn and Tani spend most of the time hiding out at Robin's Nest (or in the back of the car) while leaving Junior's life in the hands of their new friends.

Hawaii Five-0 - Ihea 'oe i ka wa a ka ua e loku ana?

When CBS decided to add a second remake set in Hawaii it was only a matter of time before we saw a Hawaii Five-0 crossover with Magnum P.I. Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Higgins (Perdita Weeks) cross paths with Five-0 while searching for a philandering husband on case that involves stolen government secrets being brokered to China. With Magnum offering some back-and-forth with McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), as the stand-in for the missing Danny (Scott Caan), it's Higgins connections which prove to have the real payoff for Five-0 in retrieving the list of undercover CIA assets in China.

This is Oni-Con 2019