Friday, April 29, 2022

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is insane, in mostly good ways. I'm not sure it's the most Nicolas Cage movie ever, but it's not from lack of trying. Nicolas Cage stars as himself in a ridiculous adventure comedy that finds the actor during a downturn in his career accepting $1 million to attend a fan's (Pedro Pascal) birthday party only to become pulled into a kidnapping case by the CIA.

Cage, playing a larger-than-life version of himself selfishly driven to be a movie star at the cost of his marriage to his ex-wife (Sharon Horgan) and his strained relationship with his estranged daughter (Lily Mo Sheen), is terrific here. Pascal is an inspired choice for the super-fan who, despite the warnings from the CIA, quickly becomes Cage's best-friend as his undercover mission becomes all the more complicated. A celebration of Cage's career and eccentricities with nods to numerous films, one could argue it's the most professional fan film ever produced.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Endgame - Beauty and the Beast

The plans of Elena Federova (Morena Baccarin) have serious repercussions in "Beauty and the Beast" as the CIA search for the missing gold (whose real location is teased in a connection to the prison), Val (Ryan Michelle Bathe) searches for evidence implicating Federova's latest target, and the Secret Service take control of Fort Totten allowing President Andrew Wright (Sasha Roiz) to torture Federova for information. The penultimate episode of the show's first (perhaps only?) season doesn't provide much movement on Sergey (Costa Ronin) and Owen Turner's (Kamal Angelo Bolden) escape plans leaving quite a few loose ends to dealt with in the season finale.

Moon Knight - Asylum

The appropriately titled "Asylum" offers a lookin inside the mind of Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) and Steven Grant who find themselves in an undead construct of a psychiatric hospital on their way to the underworld by way of their guide Taweret (Antonia Salib). While putting recent events and their consequences on hold, the episode delves into connection between Marc and Steven and definitively explores which is the original personality of the man who would eventually become Moon Knight. Speaking of the hero, we don't get to see him in action here, but we do get a flashback to Marc's first encounter with Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham) and his acceptance of his new role.

Justice League #75

Leading into the next Crisis event, this volume of Justice League comes to a close with the core members of the Justice League all killed by Pariah (remember him?) who is under the control of the Great Darkness which wants to destroy everything and give birth to a new Multiverse.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Released 26 years after the original Scream, the confusingly-titled fifth film in the horror franchise that had devolved into a parody of itself captures a bit of the old magic with a "requel" introducing a new cast of potential victims and/or killers (Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Sonia Ammar, and Jack Quaid) while returning the familiar faces of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Dewey Riley (David Arquette), and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) back to Woodsboro.

The new Scream is certainly derivative, but (like the original) it plays with the characters' understanding of both horror movies and experiences with previous attacks. The results are better than expected, although for me things fall apart in the final act with the reveal who is under the Ghostface mask and the reasons why (to be fair, not all that dissimilar to problems I had with the original Scream).

Rookie Season

The documentary Rookie Season takes us behind-the-scenes of Rebel Rock Racing fighting to establish its prescience on the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. With cameras in the car, on the track, and in the pits, along with behind-the-scenes interviews with drivers and pit crew, director Adrian Bonvento's film takes us along for the highs and lows of the team's first season on the ten-race circuit which began with multiple wrecks to start the season and ends in glory.

The highlights of the film are putting the audience in the car with the driver, especially late during a race in rainy conditions and limited visibility where you get a feel for just how challenging the races are. While I think the documentary could get more in depth with its subjects, there's certainly enough here to warrant a look for anyone interested in the sport.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

It's Katsucon 2022 Cosplayers Paradise (Part 1)

The Blacklist - El Conejo

Although the murder of Elizabeth continues to be the focus of Reddington (James Spader), who will find a big clue behind his recent troubles foreshadowing the return of an important supporting character, the main story of "El Conejo" focuses on Aram (Amir Arison) whose security software has been weaponized to attack a cartel. After rescuing Aram, he's forced to realize the dangerous implications of what he's created and make some tough decisions. As for Reddington, a name he never expected to hear again has popped up in his investigation. But how exactly is Mr. Kaplan involved in what happened to Elizabeth Keen?

Catwoman: Hunted

The straight-to-video animated movie Catwoman: Hunted is a bit of a mixed bag. Elizabeth Gillies stars as Catwoman as the Bat-Family-adjacent character get sucked into a fight against Leviathan after Batwoman (Stephanie Beatriz) prevents her from stealing a priceless jewel. There's some fun here, such as Selina Kyle dressing in a classic Catwoman costume to crash a costume ball and working in the character's cat Isis as a supporting character.

Sadly, aside from Catwoman's dialogue and character, much of the rest of the film is lifeless with characters being merely pieces to advance the plot, obstacles, or dialogue dumps to move Catwoman on her journey from some of the blandest characters to ever grace a DC animated movie.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Batman • Superman – World’s Finest #2

The Justice League is under attack. With the help of the Doom Patrol, Batman is able to save Superman from the Kryptonite poisoning he was infected with in the series' first issue. However, that's just a start as the pair jump back into action to start saving the rest of the heroes beginning with Felix Faust's attack on a defenseless Billy Batson (although the evil magician doesn't know the true reason why he's hunting a small child he has prevented from speaking).

Alyson Tabbitha Jinx (Arcane) Cosplay Tutorial

Alyson Tabbitha is a cosplayer and costume maker. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr. You can also support her on Patreon.

Peacemaker - A Whole New Whirled

Set five months after the events of The Suicide Squad, a recovered Peacemaker (John Cena) is pulled back into Task Force X albeit a few steps down from his previous position involving the fate of the world overseas. The opening episode of the series, written and directed by James Gunn, fits the tone and humor of the film while exploring the character in more detail. Cena is certainly having fun here as the clueless would-be-hero who loves peace so much he'll kill everyone to achieve it, and the opener has some nice moments (my favorite being the reunion between Peacemaker and his sidekick Eagly).

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Wheel of Time - Shadow's Waiting

"Shadow's Waiting" finds our characters on the road running from the Trolloc army on the journey to the White Tower. The episode is notable for the characters taking brief respite in the dead city of Shadar Logoth. Spending less than a night there at least one character will be deeply affected and all will be forced to flee as the band is broken into pairs each forced to find their own way to Tar Valon over the next few episodes. The design of Shadar Logoth is easily my favorite locale of the first-half of the season and I'm sad to see the characters flee so quickly from its, admittedly evil, clutches. We also get the introduction to the Children of the Light who will cross paths with some of our characters again.

Moon Knight - The Tomb

The appropriately titled fourth episode of the series gives us a Mummy-lite excavation into the tomb of Alexander the Great. There's not much in the way of deciphering clues as Steven (Oscar Isaac) and Layla (May Calamawy) fight a creepy monster and then simply stumble around until the find what they came for. And, as foreshadowed, the truth about Layla's father is revealed at an inopportune time as they also lead Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) straight to the prize.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Delta Space Mission

The trippy 80s film, Delta Space Mission, was the first Romanian animated film. Certainly a product of its time, you can feel the film from directors Calin Cazan and Mircea Toia drawing on pop culture of the time to create this journey into the far future where the universe's most powerful artificial intelligence, created to communicate with intergalactic civilizations, does the unexpected and falls in love with an alien journalist.

With it's electronic score and design inspired from video games and animation of the day, the 1984 film has been restored and is now available on VOD for American audiences. The story, whether pieces get lost in translation or if it simply jumps around a bit too much, does feel a bit choppy early on. However, Delta Space Mission is the kind of film you sit back and experience. Something of a time capsule, the movie harkens to both the future and our past.

NCIS: Hawai'i - Nurture

A mauled body in the jungle leads NCIS into a Fish & Wildlife case involving a shipwreck full of exotic animals including an apex predator now loose on the island along with a smuggler's (Bronson Pinchot) missing crew and a taxedermist looking to collect the escaped animals including one in particular. Alisa Allapach and Charley Koontz guest-star as agents from Fish & Wildlife, one of whom catches Kai's (Alex Tarrant) eye. The episode's B-story involves a sports-related injury to Tennant's (Vanessa Lachey) son Alex happening at the same time her ex-husband's new wife gives birth to their first child.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Easter Bunnies

Here's some collected Easter Bunny cosplay for you from some lovely and talented cosplayers.

Legacies - Everything That Can Be Lost May Also Be Found

Legacies pulls in several familiar faces from The Originals as Hope's (Danielle Rose Russell) family makes a concerted effort to reach her humanity. Rebekah (Claire Holt), Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic), and Freya (Riley Voelkel) are all brought back as is the Michaelson family home in New Orleans where the distribution of her father's ashes becomes the key to giving Hope's humanity a fighting chance at retaking her body. Fans of The Originals should enjoy the reunions, although I was half-expecting them to find a way to work in the characters who didn't make it through the show in one form or another. While the episode ends with her humanity restored, her darker self isn't gone completely suggesting a new status quo for the character moving forward.

Monday, April 18, 2022

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1

After getting shot down by some Nazi spies, Cliff Secord has decided to retire the Rocketeer. But what's a pilot turned part-time hero to do to make a living? And then comes the opportunity almost to good to be true.

Cleopatra in Space - Double

"Double" offers the reveal of Octavian's spy within P.Y.R.A.M.I.D. to be Zaid (Xolo Maridueña) and the introduction of a robot that can take the form of any person Cleopatra (Lilimar) knows. The episode is a comedy of errors as it is primarily focused on the robot doppelganger attempting to get Cleo alone while taking on the form of different members of the school, but whose odd behavior only makes Cleo more suspicious that something is wrong with everyone. The reveal of Zaid as a spy has some nuance as we learn he was forced into the role under threats to his family, although there will still be repercussions for his actions.

Friday, April 15, 2022

All the Old Knives

Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton star as spies and former lovers reunited eight years after a terrorist attack in Vienna. Still with the agency, Henry Pelham (Pine) is tasked with discovering whether or not an inside man helped the terrorists nearly a decade before with the obvious suspects being his former lover and her boss (Jonathan Pryce).  

The film from writer/director Olen Steinhauer attempts to be a slow-burning thriller revealing secrets and twists while poking at old wounds as Pine and Newton hash out past events over dinner. Never as thrilling as it should be, and with an odd choice to jump into extremely jarring close-ups at random intervals, All the Old Knives is really only worth noting for the performances of its two stars, as the plot, despite its attempt at shocking twists, is mainly just an excuse for the two to eat dinner while telling lies and variations of the truth.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Endgame - Sleepover

Elena Federova's (Morena Baccarin) machinations grind to a halt as a former CIA black ops agent attacks Fort Totten before Snow White gets around to implement its plans for the last man in the photo connected with the bombing of Federova's family. Survival, rather than revenge, becomes the theme of the show for an episode. Trouble comes for Sergey (Costa Ronin) and Owen Turner (Kamal Angelo Bolden) in the prison as well when a fire scare leads to a prison riot and an attempt on Sergey's life that is averted by leaves the pair with a new problem just days before putting their plan in motion.

Marauders #1

Kitty Pryde captains a new group of Marauders whose adventures kick off here with the rescue of a new mutant out of control in Wyoming followed by an encounter on Krakoa involving the mystery puzzle box that leads Pryde to Cassandra Nova (Professor X's demented twin sister). Despite her concerns, Pryde adds her to the team whose other members include Psylocke, Tempo, Aurora, Akihiro, Lucas Bishop, and Somnus.

Thursday with Luxlo

Luxlo Cosplay is a Canadian cosplayer and gamer. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also support her on OnlyFans.

The Wheel of Time - Leavetaking

Adapted from the fantasy series of the same name by Robert Jordan, the first episode of The Wheel of Time introduces us to several characters including Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) who are seeking the prophesied reincarnation of one capable of saving or destroying the world. Their search takes them to a village in the mountains, but they aren't the only ones seeking to find the reborn Dragon who has just come of age and may soon come into power. Mostly set-up to a world that isn't all that well described (perhaps believing only fans of Jordan's books will seek out the series), "Leavetaking" is notable for the extended battle sequence near the end of the episode as Two Rivers is invaded by a legion of monsters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Moon Knight #10

Moon Knight #10 offers a battle between Moon Knight and Rutherford Winner intercut with scenes of Moon Knight talking over the situation with the pair's shared psychiatrist Andrea Sterman. At least that's what appears to be happening. However, things aren't exactly what they seem.

Moon Knight - The Friendly Type

Although it doesn't stay with the idea for more than a few minutes, the third episode has some fun reversing the framing of the episodes from what has come before. Now we see Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) jumping into reality not understanding what events have occurred in his absence as Steven, or someone else, has taken control. This provides some of the most fun of an episode that otherwise seems to get a little lost on the way of continuing to advance the plot. Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) continues to dig in the desert to find Ammit. Rather than find and stop him our hero and his god decide to confront the other Egyptian gods without proof (other than, you know, the villain digging in the desert in the exact spot doing exactly what he's accused of).

Black Widow #15

Closing out both the arc and the series, Black Widow #15 wraps up the "Die By the Blade" storyline as Natasha survives the Living Blade, thanks to some old friends, and gets her arm back, thanks to a new one. There's plenty of action here even if the larger arc of the Living Blade feels cut short.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Legacies - The Only Way Out is Through

Moving the arc of the season closer to the return of Hope's (Danielle Rose Russell) humanity, Hope and the Super Squad work on game planning their upcoming conflict with the gods with the help of Vardemus (Alexis Denisof) and Wade (Elijah B. Moore). While the show goes for low-key training simulations, the moral of the story is that the squad has no chance against the gods under current circumstances forcing Hope to listen to the voice in her head gaining strength with every small victory. The simulations predict that Hope, with her humanity restored, can lead the team to victory, but the tribrid isn't ready to take that step just yet.

X-Men: Red #1

Making a pun out of the X-Men's home on Mars, Marvel Comics relaunches X-Men: Red as an assortment of mutants are gathered together to keep the peace on Mars, now known to the mutants living on the terraformed world as Planet Arrako. It's an X-Men comic with Magneto (now back to his traditional costume), so it got my attention, but for someone with only a passing interest in a minimal of recent X-Men stories there's quite a bit of confusing plot that assumes the reader knows exactly what's going on.

Fae Cosplay by Sara Moni and JaharaJayde

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

An odd mix of western and horror genres, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter leads a betrayed Jesse James (John Lupton) and his wounded friend Hank Tracy (Cal Bolder) to the door of Dr. Frankenstein's granddaughter (Narda Onyx) continuing her family's experiments along with the help of her reluctant brother (Steven Geray) in and abandoned mission in the Old West.

Various subplots include the outlaw who betrayed Jesse hunting him down and a local woman (Estelita Rodriguez) who leads a desperate Jesse to the Frankensteins, despite knowing how dangerous they are. Made as part of a double feature for Saturday matinees (both it and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula were filmed in a combined 8 days), the film is cheap, rushed, and isn't much notable for anything other than its bizarre premise.

Monday, April 11, 2022

The Blacklist - Andrew Kennison

Two investigations collide when the latest name on the Blacklist, who may have some involvement in Elizabeth Keen's death, turns out to be the same graduate student Harold (Harry Lennix) had the Marshal Service disappear into protective service because the man is somehow connected to the attempt to frame an Assistant Director of the FBI for murder.  The team quickly discovers the connection causing suspicion and distrust, and forcing Harold to come clean to them and Reddington (James Spader), and later Panabaker (Deirdre Lovejoy), about his recent actions.

Suicide Squad #14

Amanda Waller has won. Now in control of Earth-3, she's sent back Rick Flag and his team, and any of her own she no longer has use for, back home. However, the members of the Suicide Squad will soon discover that the absence of Waller will have large consequences to the Task Force X program which the government wastes time in defunding and attempting to destroy all evidence of its existence.

The Flash - Reckless

While Iris (Candice Patton) remains in Coast City to deal with her "time sickness" (seriously?) and attempt to help Tinya (Mika Abdalla), Team Flash continue to search for the Black Flame (which may or may not have ties to a member of the team's past). Over objections, the team decides to use Frost (Danielle Panabaker) as bait to lure out the meta with the help of Dr. Carla Tannhauser (Susan Walters) who has been keeping a secret about her own latent metagene. Other than exploring the theme that Frost tends to be the most reckless member of her family, the episode is your typical mid-season forgettable fare where Team Flash's plans end up with mixed results.

Friday, April 8, 2022

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero – Saturday Morning Adventures #2

G.I. JOE battles Cobra Commander's army of enhanced Mega B.A.T.s all over the world as G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero - Saturday Morning Adventures continues. Cobra Commander uses a second wish to bolster and prevent the weapons from ever backfiring on him but he learns the hard way of the genie's tricks as some Joes become impervious to his new weapons with the utterance of a single word.

Wolf Like Me - Episode 5

The penultimate episode of Wolf Like Me gives us the calm before the storm that, given what we've seen foreshadowed in the show already, we know is coming. "Episode 5" explores the relationship between Mary (Isla Fisher) and Gary (Josh Gad) who finally give into their feelings. Gary introduces her to his friends, Emma spends more time with his daughter, and life is good. However.... there is that secret they haven't yet told Emma (Ariel Donoghue) and a new surprise Mary has in store for Gary. It's a fun, sweet episode that shows us what can be built on love while laying a cracked foundation of a very big secret.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Moon Knight - Summon the Suit

Having watched the first four episodes of Disney+'s Moon Knight, it's easy for me to say that the show's second episode is my favorite. After a teasing introductory episodes (as has become the format of all the Disney+ Marvel shows), "Summon the Suit" gets down to business. It also finds a way to work in the more buttoned down version of Moon Knight's costume (with a valid reason for it to exist) along with something closer to the classic look (which we got at the end of the first episode).

Astro City: That Was Then...

Kicking off Astro City's new run at Image Comics (where the comic originally started), Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson return with this one-shot special looking in on the teen heroes on the verge of adulthood on a camping trip in the summer of 1969. Set only weeks after burying the Jayhawks, another teen hero team who fought the good fight in Kansas City for years before eventually falling to a bigoted villain fueled by hatred, the comic features the team coming to terms with the loss and the sudden brutal understanding of how dangerous their profession can be.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Fantastic Beasts: The Politics of Dumbledore

I'm not the biggest fan of the Fantastic Beasts series. The Harry Potter spin-off has offered the opportunity to explore other corners of the wizarding world outside of Hogwarts, but the results have been mixed. While I still enjoyed both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Crimes of Grindelwald, I'd rate them as the least engaging of the Wizarding World films.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 offers your typical sequel with the return of all the core characters, a larger budget, more special effects, and the addition of new characters. The results are largely the same. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is likely to keep the attention of younger audiences, although the biggest audible pop in the screening I attended came during the mid-credit sequence, but other than the pretty visuals and the occasional fun action sequence there's not much here for the rest of us for a film that clocks in at over two hours.

Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns seeking vengeance and power. With him this time is Knuckles (Idris Elba) in search of an ancient power known as the Master Emerald hidden by Sonic's mentor Longclaw (Donna Jay Fulks). Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) return to help Sonic who also gets a new friend in Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) who arrives to help Sonic save the emerald.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Legacies - Was This the Monster You Saw?

"Was This the Monster You Saw?" offers the return of both Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) and Alaric (Matthew Davis) to the Salvatore School as well as the arrival of a creepy clown for the monster of the week. Hope's return isn't a happy occasion and she attempts to force her old friends into becoming her new army against the Gods. While she doesn't get exactly what she wanted, a shaky truce is created while we also see the beginning of Hope's humanity returning. The other storyline continues to follow Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Aurora de Martel (Rebecca Breeds) who discover they have more than a little in common while doing their own God hunting, although we'll have to wait at least a week to understand just what they've found.

Shadow War: Alpha #1

DC's nine-issue crossover event Shadow War begins here with the assassination of Ra's al Ghul just as the ecological terrorist had decided to turn himself in and look for more peaceful means to remake the world. His public death, apparently caused by Deathstroke, leaves no remains for a Lazarus Pit and a ticked off Talia al Ghul out for revenge.

Monday with Rolyat

Rolyat is a cosplayer. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, and Facebook. You can also support her on Pateron.

Kung Fu - Clementine

While the villains are mostly absent in "Clementine," their one move of the episode will be felt by one character in particular as Evan's (Gavin Stenhouse) attempts to hide Nicky's (Olivia Liang) involvement in a break-in at the Tans leave him facing serious consequences at work. We also get the first fight between Nicky and Henry (Eddie Liu) and the introduction of Henry's estranged father (Terry Chen) who, unknown to Henry, has been wrapped up the secret world for some time.

Friday, April 1, 2022


The winner of three Academy Awards including Best Picture of 2022, CODA stars Emilia Jones as the only hearing member of her deaf family (Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, and Daniel Durant) whose reliance chafes on the high school senior who, despite loving them, wants a life outside the family. She finds this unexpectedly by following a cute boy (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) into choir where Ruby discovers she has a talent for singing that might lead to a future she could never have dreamed of.

In what I'd refer to as a Coyote Ugly ending, the plot falls a bit into cliché with Ruby running late to a life-changing audition without ever working out the logistics of the happy ending it promises. Despite this, the film is a moving experience highlighting the role of an unique individual whose circumstances make her feel like an outcast to the outside world but who, with the help of her teacher (Eugenio Derbez), begins to chase an impossible dream.