Friday, July 31, 2020

The Old Guard

In the first three minutes The Old Guard introduces not one but two action movie cliches. They will not be the last. We're introduced to the movie through the voice of a grizzled veteran (Charlize Theron) who in the movie's first scene is offered a mission she knows better than to accept. The leader of the elite covert squad made up of Marwan Kenzari, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Luca Marinelli takes the foursome to the South Sudan where they are promptly betrayed, ambushed, and riddled with bullets allowing the film to reveal its big twist.

The four characters are immortals who have walked the Earth for hundreds of years. Borrowing more than a little from the original Highlander, it doesn't attempt to explain the immortals' existence while offering a circumstance where they can die (along with flashbacks to lives throughout history). On the run from an evil pharmaceutical executive (Harry Melling), did I mention the script really loves cliches, who wants to use them as lab rats, the four attempt to keep their existence secret and deal with the birth of a new immortal (KiKi Layne) not ready to leave her old life behind.

6 Underground

Even for a Michael Bay film, 6 Underground is a dumb action flick which isn't much more than problematic story used to tie together a series of impressive action sequences. Despite these limitations, the film offers some basic dumb fun largely due to a cast better than its source material and several lengthy stunts including parkour, magnets, car chases, guns, explosions, and lots of dead bodies.

Our heroes are a no-name team brought together by billionaire turned would-be savior (Ryan Reynolds) who operates a private group hoping to do good in the world by performing coup d'etat (apparently under the nose of every intelligence organization on the planet). His team includes a spy (Mélanie Laurent), hitman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), acrobatic thief (Ben Hardy), doctor (Adria Arjona), driver (Dave Franco), and sniper (Corey Hawkins).

Thursday, July 30, 2020


Billy Batson is forced to face some hard truths and choices in SHAZAM! #13 as the Monster Society of Evil has been unleashed on the world and Mr. Mind reveals he's been controlling the actions of Billy's estranged father all this time (and now has the power of one of Shazam's champions).

Green Hornet #1

What immediately drew my attention to Green Hornet #1 was the art of Anthony Marques which popped right off the page in beautiful black and white. I'm a fan of the character of the Green Hornet, but honestly I wasn't planning on spending much time with yet another series featuring a new take on the character (I've lost count how many different comics Dynamite Entertainment has put out over the years). The look of the comic made me take notice.

Guardians of the Peace n' Justice

San Diego Comic-Con 2017 2018 2019 Cosplay Remix

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Witcher - The End's Beginning / Four Marks

As one who never read the fantasy series on which the series is based or played the various video games inspired by the novels, I found the first episode of The Witcher perplexing. "The End's Beginning" offers two disconnected tales. The first involves the introduction of the title character, a wandering nomad and monster killer Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) who is a Witcher. Just what a Witcher is the episode doesn't take much effort to explain. The other story involves a princess named Ciri (Freya Allan) and the fall of her kingdom. Both characters are touched by magic, the Witcher being stronger and faster than mortal men and Ciri holding a hidden power only glimpsed at as she flees the burning remains of her home. While touching on both these tales, the second episode introduces an entirely separate thread involving a woman with a twisted spine but hidden gifts for magic as well who is purchased for a meager sum by a witch (MyAnna Buring) with plans for Yennefer (Anya Chalotra).

Usagi Yojimbo #10

Miyamoto Usagi's return to his native province offers nothing but pain in this single-issue tale named for the mon which Usagi wears so proudly. In a town under the control of Lord Hikiji, the crest of Lord Mifune is something to be scorned or attacked.

Spenser Confidential

Spenser Confidential is loosely based on Robert B. Parker's novels about a smart-ass Boston private investigator. And when I say loosely, I mean screenwriters Sean O'Keefe and Brian Helgeland may have glanced at the spine of one of the dozens of Spenser novels written by Robert B. Parker over the decades. The film re-imagines Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) as a recently-paroled cop who spent five years in prison after beating up his superior officer (Michael Gaston) on his front lawn after the police captain buried evidence on the brutal murder of a protester (Avery Grant).

With dreams of being a truck driver, Spenser is pulled back into the muck when the police captain and another officer are murdered on the day Spenser is released from prison. Although only a suspect for about five seconds, Spenser decides to look into the situation on his own. Hawk (Winston Duke) is re-imagined as a young kickboxer rather than the world-class hitman with a shared boxing past with Spenser. Alan Arkin co-stars as gym owner Henry Cimoli who, along with training Hawk and giving Spenser a place to stay, helps Spenser and Hawk on the case.

Locke & Key - Welcome to Matheson

Adapted from the comic of the same name, the opening episode of Locke & Key introduces us to the Locke family who relocates to Matheson, Massachusetts. Following the murder of her husband Randall (Bill Heck), Nina (Darby Stanchfield) takes the kids to the family's ancestral home known as Keyhouse Manor. After a quick tour from their uncle (Aaron Ashmore), Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott), settle into their new home. Bode is the first to recognize that there is something unusual with the house, first in the form of an Echo (Laysla De Oliveira) speaking to him from a well and later in finding magical keys around the house (each which holds a different power).

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Live Reading

Transformers '84 #1

Taking place just prior to the events of Marvel's classic Transformers comic, the four-issue mini-series begins here with the growing discension within the Decepticons ranks as Megatron's obsession with Optimus Prime continues to disrupt larger plans. One Decepticon who was far more interesting in the comics than the original Transformers cartoon gets center stage here. Presented from the perspective of Punch (the lone Transformer who has both an Autobot and Decepticon transformation), the story begins to unfold in Transformers '84 #1 which explores how the logical Shockwave plots how to best use a situation to his own advantage.

Tuesday with Chloé

Chloé Margaux Avenaim is a Los Angeles based model. You can follow her on Instagram.

Stargirl - Shining Knight

Following the death of Henry (Jake Austin Walker), Courtney (Brec Bassinger) receives another gut punch with the arrival of her biological father, a drifter named Sam Curtis (Geoff Stults) who is very much not Starman. Shattering her illusion she was a legacy fulfilling a destiny of picking up her father's staff in the war against the ISA, the arrival of Sam, neither hero nor villain but simply a selfish absentee father, is a blow as strong as any that left her in the hospital earlier in the season.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Too Long A Sacrifice #1

Set during the time of the Dominion War, after Worf's appointment to the station but prior to the death of Jadzia Dax, the first issue of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Too Long A Sacrifice gives us an explosion in the promenade and rising tensions aboard a station already at war. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has largely been ignored by comics (this marks the first new comic featuring the series in a decade).

Warrior Nun - Psalm 46:5

Adapted from the comic book Warrior Nun Areala, the opening episode of Warrior Nun introduces us to a world where a legion of heavily armed nuns fight battles against an unknown foe. The field leader of the group (Melina Matthews) is injured in an attack and unable to be saved by the medical nuns (guess they have every type of nun in this series) with the yet-to-be-named enemy at the door. The opening episode of Warrior Nun could use a bit more world building as we're left largely as clueless as to how the nuns operate (are they known? work in the shadows? vigilantes? some kind of official law enforcement?) although Father Vincent's (Tristán Ulloa) musings to a bartender near the end of the episode seem to point to most people being unaware of their existence and at least explain what the group is fighting against: demons on Earth.

Batman: The Adventures Continue #8

The two part "Darker Knight" story concludes as Batman and Azrael discover who stole the Shawl of Magdalene from the Order of St. Dumas.

Altered Carbon - Phantom Lady

One of the most intriguing aspects of both the show's premise and the open-ended Season One finale, is that Altered Carbon can be reset with a new actor and new story whenever necessary (not unlike Doctor Who). 30 years after the events of last season's finale, "Phantom Lady" opens with Takeshi Kovacs living in the body of a lounge singer waiting for payment. The arrival of a bounty hunter (Simone Missick) working for Horace Axley (Michael Shanks) forces Kovacs back to Harlan's World in the body of a new sleeve (Anthony Mackie) with a new mystery to solve and a new lead to the whereabouts of Quellcrist Falconer (Renée Elise Goldsberry). The circumstances of Kovacs being reborn in Mackie's body make sense (even if it leaves questions unanswered about the sleeve he ended Season One in), and the set-up will offer a new mystery to solve, although I'm mixed on the choice to make the new mystery as personal (involving the love of his life) at the outset as last season (which involved his sister).

Friday, July 24, 2020

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

Although the provocative photographer passed away more than a decade ago, Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful showcases the work Helmut Newton left behind as it views his life and career through the lens of models, editors, publishers, and family who knew him best. The documentary by Gero von Boehm may not offer many surprises, but it does celebrate the decades of work from Newton and make good use of interview footage of the man prior to his death in 2004.

Without making any attempt to offer a linear structure, Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful examines the roots of Newton who came of age in Germany during the rise of Nazism and the early influences in his life as a student for Yva and, in stark contrast, the work of Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl whose strong blond female subjects would become a staple of Newton's portfolio. The film also addresses the charges of misogyny against Newton painting him as a naughty boy who loved and respected women while still wishing to push boundaries as a provocateur.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday with Lindsay

Lindsay Marie Brewer is a professional race driver and popular Instagram model. You can follow her on Instagram and support her on her website.


... believes you.

Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1

Written and drawn by Rob Liefeld, Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1 is an odd comic that brings an unexpected mysticism into the G.I. JOE world. The story begins with Snake Eyes, Roadblock, and Tripwire sent to investigate the unexplained use of an old Joe code where they find a captured Joe Colton and a reborn legendary warrior known as Kirigun, an Arashikage boogeyman who lives up to the legend fighting Snake Eyes to a draw before departing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Once and Future #9

Picking up from the end of last issue, Once and Future #9 opens with Duncan and his Gran taking on Beowulf. The pair survive (which is more than can be said for Duncan's car) thanks to some quick thinking and a holy landmine. Once and Future #9 continues the theme of strong action and sly humor as despite dispatching Beowulf things are not going to get any easier for our young hero.

Avatar Card Trader Awesome Pack 1

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

SHAZAM!: Lightning Strikes #1

Despite the digital cover by Doc Shaner paying homage to the classic Captain Marvel style with a modern twist, SHAZAM!: Lightning Strikes #1 is very much a modern take on the hero with Billy Batson bringing forth his alter-ego in order to put a school bully in his place.

Pirates of the Caribbean with Lightsabers

Catwoman #23

In the first half of a two-part story, Catwoman #23 takes Selina Kyle to Isla Nevada, an island filled with diamonds and violent criminals. And cats. Very large cats. The island's inhabitants also include a very 80s associate of Selina's holding a black market auction who needs help as several of his men have gone missing with locals believing a local legend is responsible.

Stargirl - Brainwave Jr.

Family is a big theme in "Brainwave Jr." as Henry (Jake Austin Walker) goes to Courtney (Brec Bassinger) in hopes of saving his father from Icicle (Neil Jackson) and the ISA's plans. The series continues with its subtle misdirections as Henry assumes from his father's tapes that Icicle killed his mother, only to learn at the end what really happened as Henry's heroic turn ends just as quickly as it began. Barbara (Amy Smart) learning the truth of what Courtney and Pat (Luke Wilson) have been up to behind her back causes a family split as well as Barbara plans to move her daughter out of town as quickly as possible, until she discovers just enough truth in Courtney's bizarre story to begin to question everything around her.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Avengers #34

Avengers #34 opens with a flashback to explain the recent actions of Moon Knight in targeting allies to draw power from them to feed his god Khonshu in an attempt to prevent something far worse from happening. The powers taken have allowed Khonshu to remake the world, but is it truly for the benefit of mankind or is the god, yet again, playing with Marc Spector's mind for his own ends?

Monday with Jean Watts

Jean Watts is an American singer, actress, and dancer. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also check out her official site.

Harley Quinn #74

In the penultimate issue of the series, Harley Quinn finally catches up to Wittleson and solves the murder of her friend Alicia which has been the driving force behind the last several issues of the series. However, the woman behind Wittleson has her own plans for Earth as Harley Quinn comes face-to-face with Granny Goodness.

Super Dinosaur - BFFs

"BFFs" gets its name by the introduction of the Earthcore robot Kal (Vincent Tong) out to prove he would make a far better partner and friend to Derek (Valin Shinyei) than Super Dinosaur (Mac Heywood). The other half of the episode deals with the arrival of Ms. Finkle (Lisa Bunting) determined to force Derek into taking the test he's been putting off for a month. The episode offers a moral for kids about balancing school versus play (even if Derek's play is really saving lives, making Finkle's hard-line stance come off short-sighted and a little cruel). This is the first episode to reveal Derek, Erin (Shannon Chan-Kent), and Erika (Shannon Chan-Kent) all have the same teacher (whose authority over her students trumps even General Casey). When a situation arises, SD and Kal are forced into the field without Derek but Kal's attempts to prove his superiority on exacerbate the problem the two were sent to solve and force Derek into some chicanery to save his friend from the the unstable robot transformed into Erupticus by the lava flow he was unable to stop.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Psych 2: Lassie Come Home

The follow-up to Psych: The Movie brings all the characters back to Santa Barbera to help the injured Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) recuperating, after being shot, in a luxurious hospital where odd things keep happening. It's good to see Omundson back as he was only able to manage a cameo in Psych: The Movie while recovering from a stroke. The script writes in a stroke as part of his character's recovery, and even if this Lassiter is more mellow than usual (at least one the Lassiter abrasiveness scale), his addition helps make Psych 2: Lassie Come Home feel like a more complete experience.

Caturday with Kawaii_QueenTsun

Kawaii_QueenTsun is a California cosplayer. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also support her on Patreon.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Wonder Woman #758

Wonder Woman #758 offers a battle of wills between Diana, Princess of the Amazons, and one of the DC Universe's most mysterious mystical figures as Wonder Woman squares off against the Phantom Stranger in battle for the soul of Paula von Gunther.

Alexis Ren - inbetween

Here's Alexis Ren performing Clair's "inbetween" with the help of Kevin Paris on guitar.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #1

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #1 catches up to Willow Rosenberg following the events of the Hellmouth crossover as she leaves Sunnydale behind. When the overseas stay in London fails to break her out of her malaise, she can't find it in herself to return to a Sunnydale without Xander and instead hits the road in an attempt to deal with what she has lost and to find herself.

Batman & the Outsiders #14

It's taken a year, but Batman & the Outsiders #14 finally puts Batman in the field with the team (or at least some of them) as Batman takes the super-powered Black Lightning, Katana, and Sofia Ramos into the field for a sneak attack on one of Ra's al Ghul's base in hopes of both blooding the nose of the Demon's Head and finding a clue to the location of his doomsday weapon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Darth Talon Takes Over St. Paul

Lady Maul is a cosplayer. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #2

Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew #2 picks up immediately following the first issue's cliffhanger ending which revealed the not-so-surprising twist that Nancy Drew is still alive. While the first issue of the series was presented from Joe Hardy's point of view, issue two shifts to Nancy as she explains the circumstances behind her "death."

Tuesday with Zombae

Zobmae (formerly Zombie Bit Me) is a Canadian model and cosplayer. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also check out her official site. You can support her on Onlyfans and IWantFanClub.

Stargirl - Brainwave

Henry (Jake Austin Walker) is the focus of "Brainwave" as the super-villain's son discovers his powers and the video journals left by his father explaining the experiments that led to them and their effects. The tapes provide a nice cheat to get Henry up to speed on his condition as well as make him feel closer to his father (despite the confessions Brainwave makes in those entries). While Courtney (Brec Bassinger) sees Henry as a potential ally, the rest of the team is far less certain, especially Yolanda (Yvette Monreal). Beth (Anjelika Washington) and Rick (Cameron Gellman) don't have as large roles this week, although the pair do make an important discovery explaining the tunnels underneath the city and why the Injustice Society chose Blue Valley as their base of operations. The introduction of the Seven Soldiers of Victory also provides clues to the janitor's true identity as well as other potential allies for Courtney and company.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Young Justice #16

With everyone back on Earth and safe, and the S.T.A.R. Labs scientists who sent Superboy to Gemworld in custody, the Boy of Steel turns his attention to Impulse who has had quite a journey getting Young Justice back together (although at first he's a tad reluctant to go into details).

Indiana Jones Trilogy Honest Trailer

Super Dinosaur - The Great Race

"The Great Race" gets its name from Super Dinosaur (Mac Heywood) living out a fantasy of turning the Dynamo Dome into an obstacle course for Derek (Valin Shinyei) and Erin (Shannon Chan-Kent) to race through the facility putting Pixie (the robot Derek built Erin) to the test. The other half of the story, which interrupts the race, involves the return of Squidious (Brian Drummond) who unwittingly becomes a pawn of Max Maximus' (Marco Soriano) latest scheme which involves the sea creature absorbing liquid Dynore to become a kaiju-sized threat (only to be taken over by Maximus). Emboldened by her racing skills, Erin decides to join Derek and SD in the field where she proves herself (but also gets grounded for her recklessness). As for Squidious, after being saved by Derek and SD he leaves peacefully but warns them he still views all surface-dwellers as his enemies.

Batman: The Adventures Continue #7

With the Deathstroke story concluded, and Jason Todd still lurking in the shadows not yet ready to reveal himself, a new arc begins in Batman: The Adventures Continue #7 with the arrival of Azrael in Gotham City. The soldier of the Sacred Order of Saint Dumas has arrived in Gotham City seeking a shroud recently stolen. Unfortunately for Catwoman, she's the one who stole it.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is a borderline kid's film likely too juvenile for those who grew up with the SEGA games and relying a bit too much on nostalgia to connect with younger viewers who may not know who Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is. James Marsden stars in a role not dissimilar to the human he played in 2011's Hop who befriends, and has his life turned upside down by, an animated character. After fleeing his home dimension, Sonic has been hiding in the woods outside of the small town where Tom (Marsden) works as sheriff while dreaming of being a big city lawman.

We're told Sonic has managed to stay hidden for years (incredibly unlikely from what we see here). A power burst by the hedgehog brings in Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to hunt down Sonic who the mad scientist believes can power his various machines. Carey is completely over-the-top here and the script offers him plenty of opportunities to gorge himself on as much scenery as his appetite allows.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Red Sonja #16

Red Sonja starts to discover the cost of her bargain with King Jo'Khan, which she made to prevent the people of Hyrkania from starving after their hard-won victory over Dragan The Magnificent, when her new lord introduces his master of war to a child army ready to die at her command.

Superman: Red Son

Based on the comic mini-series of the same name, Superman: Red Son re-imagines a world where Superman's (Jason Isaacs) rocket crashed in the Soviet Union rather than Kansas. As with Mark Millar's comic, the film's greatest strength is the set-up and the juxtaposition of seeing Superman grow up under a Communist regime rather than learning to fight for truth, justice, and the American way.

The script by J.M. DeMatteis makes changes from the original comic which are most evident in in the character of our protagonist who is far darker than as presented in the comic. DeMatteis certainly take's the nurture over nature view as this Superman has far less respect for life than any we know (with the exception of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel). A common conceit is that Lex Luthor (Diedrich Bader) would have been a great hero if not for Superman. While still a flawed human being, the version of Lex is certainly less gray than even the Red Son mini-series portrayed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Hendo Art How-To: Rainbow Potion of Resistance

Hendo Art is a cosplayer from California. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram (and her second account), Vero, and Twitter. Check out her official store as well. You can also support her on Patreon.

5 Movie Characters Whose Job Made No Freaking Sense

Stargirl - Shiv (Part Two)

With Courtney (Brec Bassinger) sidelined given her injuries at the hands of Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy), it falls on the rest of the team to pick up the slack in "Shiv Part Two." Pat (Luke Wilson) takes steps to explain Courtney's injuries while her friends look to uncover the truth about who Cindy's parents really are. The later ends up in an undercover mission for the unusual pairing of Pat and Beth (Anjelika Washington) as father and daughter (when forced to create a cover story on the spot). It also leaves Courtney alone when Cindy comes calling. The last two episodes have turned me around on the mean girl with far more going on than most realize, although her father's disapproval of her recent actions makes you wonder how much of Cindy we'll see in the near future.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105

Before throwing the Turtles into the next big arc, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105 offers an interlude for our heroes to grow, relax, reflect, and build on what they've learned since reuniting in New York. This quiet issue is full of wonderful small moments for several characters. While evil lurks on the periphery, it doesn't intrude.

Super Dinosaur - Temple of Secrets

When Earthcore discovers a temple which might lead into Inner Earth the call on Dr. Dynamo (Alessandro Juliani) for assistance not realizing that Max Maximus (Marco Soriano) is orchestrating events behind the scenes. "Temple of Secrets" features several instances of Derek (Valin Shinyei) and his father solving traps and puzzles to move through the temple. Maximus eventually appears and, in classic super-villain fashion, lets his ego take control as he refuses to listen to the experts he took pains to arrange for to work through the obstacles he couldn't solve on his own. The episode is also notable for showcasing Super Dinosaur's (Mac Heywood) skateboard chops which he uses to get the Dynamos out of the temple before it collapses.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Super Heroes Card Trader - Awesome Pack 15

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, Teen Titans 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, Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey Pack 1, 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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Angel + Spike #11

Angel + Spike #11 features multiple characters searching for answers but not many finding them. Lilith offers Angel some cryptic advice concerning Kate Lockley. Kate looks for understanding after Fred and Gunn save her life. Fred seeks to better understand the power within her and how to fight the Feeder demon, even turning to Lilah for direction.

Jessica Nigri's Mercy Cosplay Tutorial

Reason #101 Why I Love DS9 - "Dax"

There are many reasons why I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and why it remains my favorite of the Star Trek franchise.

Reason #101: "Dax"

The NeverEnding Story Honest Trailer

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #2

With so many different versions of Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey recently released, it took me a minute to remember which version this one was. The first issue left off with Harley returning to Gotham. Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #2 focuses the first several pages on Renee Montoya attempting, unsuccessfully, to convince Harley to leave Gotham. Harley has other plans which involve ratting out the Joker's favorite hideouts to the cops (and getting her puddin' arrested) all as a diversion that allows Harley to hit the Joker's vaults.