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.

Harry Potter Card Trader - Awesome Pack 8

For more Harry Potter cosplay, check out Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, and Pack 7.

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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Doctor Who - The Haunting of Villa Diodati

In the final episode prior to the two-part finale, Doctor Who offers up a horror story featuring a haunted house Mary Shelley (Lili Miller), Byron (Jacob Collins-Levy), and maybe the least-frightening Cyberman ever seen on-screen. The episode makes use of several common Doctor Who tropes including loops, mazes, odd ghost-like apparitions that turn out to be anything but, and historical figures not being at all what the companions expected. The episode starts off with some fun bits of horror (the crawling skeleton hand and glimpses of shadowy apparitions), but the reveal of the Cyberman and the explanation of the Cyberium is, at best, a mixed success (especially given it is supposed to kick-off the final two episodes of the year). For better or worse, it looks like Cybermen are on the menu for the finale (although there's still that pesky "Timeless Child" paradox to deal with as well).

Hellmouth #5

The big finale of the first Buffy & Angel crossover of the rebooted universe is (like much of the crossover) a bit underwhelming with specific panels and moments that never-the-less stick out. In the conclusion, Buffy goes toe-to-toe with the Hellmother who is gathering her forces to rise out of the Hellmouth and invade the Earth (while sadly lacking any of the style of the Master).

Supergirl - Back From the Future (Part Two)

"Back From the Future (Part One)" was a fun episode, but there's really no reason why it needed to be stretched into two episodes. "Part One" brought back Jeremy Jordan to deal with an alternate Earth doppelganger. In "Part Two" the vanquised Toyman is found in digital form uploaded to the DEO's intranet taking control of various weapons and computers as it tries to break out into the world. The episode offers Winn a nice hero moment both for the actor and character, even if that ground had already been covered in the previous episode.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Batwoman - Take Your Choice

"Take Your Choice" offered a chance for a reset of sorts for The CW's most troubled super-hero show. While it wouldn't have solved all of the show's issues, bringing an end to Batwoman's failed big bad by replacing her with a sane version of the character from a parallel Earth could have been the first step to moving away from a storyline that has failed far more often than it has succeeded. "Take Your Choice" offers the appearance of change by allowing Kate (Ruby Rose) to save either Beth Kane (Rachel Skarsten) or Alice (Skarsten) as the dimension isn't large enough for both of them. I'll give the episode credit for waiting until the end to make its choice, although there is absolutely no surprise that the writers, cast, and crew doubled-down on giving disappointed viewers more of the same rather than embrace the necessity of change.

Legacies - You Can't Save Them All

"You Can't Save Them All" wraps up the Kai Parker (Chris Wood) storyline far quicker than expected, while also returning the characters trapped in the prison world back to reality (well, most of them anyway). While Dark Josie (Kaylee Bryant) works on a way to get them out of the prison world, Kai shows up at the school under the pretense of being an old friend of Alaric's (Matthew Davis here to help. By the time Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) sees the villain for who he is, Kai has managed to put both those in the prison world in jeopardy as well as leading Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) into a trap, forcing Hope to choose who to save.

Nightwing vs. Winter Soldier / Black Widow vs. Black Canary

Check out this pair of short features from Bat in the Sun offering some hero on hero action as Black Widow (Tatiana Neva) battles Black Canary (Tess Kielhamer) and the Winter Soldier (John Hennigan) takes on Nightwing (Aaron Schoenke). Both feature appearances by Amanda Lynne as Barbara Gordon.

Friday, February 14, 2020

It’s All Downhill From Here

It's surprising to me that a film co-written and co-directed by Jim Rash could turn out to be such a joyless exercise in futility. Along with Nat Faxon, Rash attempts to remake the Swedish dramedy Force Majeure for American audiences. Something obviously got lost in the translation.

Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star as Pete and Billie, a married spending a ski vacation in the Alps with their two sons. The family witnesses a controlled avalanche that terrifies them, but actually never put the members of the family in any real danger. Pete running away to save himself creates tension among the group, especially when he fails to acknowledge or apologize for his actions.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Flash - Love is a Battlefield

Valentine's Day in Central City brings new problems for Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) both in the Flash's overprotective nature to his wife and in the return of Amunet Black (Katee Sackhoff) and Goldface (Damion Poitier) whose failed romance has started a competition between the former couple. Amunet's knowledge of the Flash's true identity, and here threats to broadcast his secret to the city, keeps the hero in check for most of the episode while both criminals race to get their hands on a rare flower with telepathic properties. While goofy, the end of the episode (using the flower to bring the pair back together) works to solve the immediate problem of the escalation, but still leaves the issue of Amunet's blackmail over Team Flash to be resolved.

Young Justice #13

Young Justice #13 spends most of its time in Skartaris where a traumatized Superboy is comforted by the Warlord. Those unfamiliar with the history of Mike Grell's character, or the strange subterranean land filled with magic and monsters hidden at the center of the Earth, are given a primer here (including panels drawn by Grell himself). Featuring the work of three different artists, the comic has a less cohesive look than the previous issues of the volume but fans of the Warlord aren't likely to mind as he steals the best moments here.

Darth Vader #1

Just as the current volume of Star Wars takes place immediately after the events of The Empire Strikes back so does Marvel's new Darth Vader series. Darth Vader #1 centers around the Dark Lord of the Sith seeking both answers and revenge against those who kept his son hidden. Even going so far as to ignore the Emperor's call, Darth Vader gathers a small collection of troops and scours the galaxy from Tatooine to Coruscant in search of answers.

Primal - River of Snakes

The second episode of Primal examines the difficulty of man and dinosaur attempting to coexist together, no easy feat for Spear as Fang continually beats out the caveman in hunting. The two mismatched travelers make an odd pair which allows both for the episode's humor and the rising tension of the two coming to blows before stumbling on new threat. It's only when the pair are forced to work together to survive a flood filled with killer snakes that each manages to better understand and respect the other. It's the selfish Fang who offers the first olive branch by returning the caveman's broken spear thereby mending fences before the next obstacle comes over the horizon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Black Cat #9

I have no idea what is going on any any of the X-Men books right now so I'm not sure if the events of this issue conflict with what's happening elsewhere, but Black Cat #9 takes Felicia to Madripoor for an unlikely team-up. Looking for another item on the list necessary for Black Fox's big score leads Felicia in search of a man named Patch (who the Marvel Universe isn't helpful in identifying and turns out to be anything but what she expected to find).

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #270

Although the captured Throwdown (who Cobra still mistakenly believe is the original Snake Eyes) does make a cameo, the focus of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #270 is elsewhere.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hawaii Five-0 - He waha kou o ka he'e

Adam's (Ian Anthony Dale) recent decisions play a large role in "He waha kou o ka he'e" when Grover's (Chi McBride) niece Siobhan (Nia Holloway) discovers her boyfriend (John Harlan Kim) at the Police Academy is working with the Yakuza. Not only does Adam need to work quickly to save the woman's life, after her confused boyfriend kidnaps her and hands her over to the Yakuza to be killed, but he must also keep his connection to the Yakuza from coming out to his already suspicious colleagues.

Usagi Yojimbo #8

Tatami plays a large role in Usagi Yojimbo #8 as writer/artist Stan Sakai offers some history to the ceremonial mats grown and crafted together over the course of two years. It's the transport of these handwoven mats that garners attention of both Miyamoto Usagi, bandits, and ninja with the rabbit ronin's travels lead him back to the Northern Provinces of his homeland.

Briarpatch - First Time in Saint Disgrace

We've seen this story before about a successful protagonist forced to return home to investigate something tragic in the hometown they abandoned years before. Andy Greenwald's Briarpatch casts Rosario Dawson in the role of Senate Investigator Allegra Dill who returns to the Texas town of San Bonifacio after a car bombing takes the life of her sister Police Detective Felicity Dill in the series' opening scene. Complicating Allegra's return is a Senate investigation and a need to interview an old friend (Jay R. Ferguson) about questionable dealings involving his time working for the U.S. Government.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Legacies - What Cupid Problem? / Kai Parker Screwed Us

"What Cupid Problem" and "Kai Parker Screwed Us" take place simultaneously. "Kai Parker" focuses on events inside the prison world where Alyssa Chang (Olivia Liang) banished Josie (Kaylee Bryant), Alaric (Matthew Davis) and Lizzie (Jenny Boyd). Sebastian (Thomas Doherty) isn't the only familiar face the family comes across as the episode explores how Alaric dealt with problem students in the past as well as offering the first appearance on the show of the girls' uncle Kai Parker (Chris Wood) who apparently will be sticking around to cause more trouble throughout the season. Several mind games later, one character manages to escape the prison, although it will be up to a suped-up evil Josie to get the rest of the characters home.

Doctor Who - Spyfall

The two-part opening to Series 12 of Doctor Who is notable for introducing Sacha Dhawa as The Master. In a move that's becoming something of a thing for show runner Chris Chibnall and the show this season, Doctor Who makes no attempt to fit the latest version of the character into the show's long-running continuity (troubling given The Master's closed timeloop) or explain the paradox of Gallifrey's destruction long before the events of "Hell Bent." One thing I will give Chibnall credit for is attempting to capture a bit more of The Master from classic Doctor Who both in demeanor and in the return of the villain's shrinking ray. As has been the custom of Doctor Who, the premiere opens a mystery to be solved by the season end, this time being the hidden knowledge which led to the premature destruction of Gallifrey.

Monday with Jessakidding

Jessakidding is a California cosplayer. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can support her on Patreon. Photo by Kiyo.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Harley Quinn #70

Harley Quinn #70 kicks off a new arc with a fun issue that will turn serious in its final pages. The issue catches up with Harley Quinn working as a wrestler, tag-teaming with her roommate Alicia. The concept provides several amusing panels to open the issue, joining the pair in mid-match against Rosie from Demolition Team and Crux. There's also some nice moments of Harley at home interacting with Alicia and her daughter.

Friday with Andrasta

Katy Keene - Pilot

The sunnier and less-murdery Rivendale spin-off is also features modern interpretations of several classic Archie Comics characters starting with personal shopper and aspiring fashion designer Katy Keene (Lucy Hale). The show's pilot episode features the arrival of Katy's friend Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) in New York which helps our titular character reexamine the state of her life working for a bitchy boss (Katherine LaNasa) instead of perusing her own dreams (and pursuing one's dreams seems to be the show's not-so-subtle primary theme). The other Archie character's filling out the foursome are aspiring Broadway performer Jorge "Ginger" Lopez (Jonny Beauchamp) and the less developed "it girl" Pepper Smith (Julia Chan).

Thursday, February 6, 2020

This is PAX South 2020 Cosplay Music Video

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #102

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #102 continues the themes of the last issue with the Turtles further fracturing after the death of Splinter. The latest issue sees Donatello leave the family, searching for his own path. While we look in at the Turtles and other characters such as April, the primary focus of the issue deals with life in the quarantined Mutant Town which is now run by Old Hob and his Mutanimals, not all of whom are playing nice with the newly-mutated populace.

The issue introduces us to to the human-porcupine mutant with a mean-streak Diamond who gets on the bad side of both Old Hob and Sally Pride only to cause even further trouble in spoiling Hob's deal with Koya that accidentally lets loose three weasel warriors on the unsuspecting populace of Mutant Town.

Thursday with Effy Harvard

Star Wars #2

Set shortly after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars #2 continues the story of Luke Skywalker reeling from the revelation that Darth Vader was once his father Anakin Skywalker, and a fractured Rebellion struggling to continue the fight against the Galactic Empire.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 Custom Cosplay Covers

Here are a few custom cosplay variant covers for Guardians of the Galaxy #1.