Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur - The Borough Bully

The second episode of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur gets literal when, after earning praise from everyone else in the neighborhood, Moon Girl (Diamond White) becomes obsessed with a troll's negative comments online eventually tracking them back to an actual troll who she's unintentionally being feeding with her attention nearly bringing down a bridge. There's a nice, if pretty blatant, message about how to deal with negativity online in "The Borough Bully" as Moon Girl eventually sees the error of her ways and disarms the troll by no longer engaging in his negativity.

The Flash - Rogues of War

After deducing that the new Rogues are building a time machine, and tracking down the final piece needed inside a government lab, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) recruit their own gang of Rogues to steal it first and keep it out of the villains hands. "Rogues of War" offers the return of several characters with two sets of teams working, although the inevitable betrayal (and the person responsible) is far, far too easy to see coming. The episode is also notable for several Gotham City references including the unmasking of the evil speedster as a Batwoman (Javicia Leslie) from the future in a reveal that lacks the pop the writers where intending.

The Inspection

Written and directed by Elegance Bratton, and inspired by his real life experiences, Jeremy Pope stars as a gay, black, homeless man who joins the Marine Corp where he encounters brutal, and at time life-threatening, hazing from his training instructor (Bokeem Woodbine) and other recruits. It's a deeply personal and harsh look not only at the intolerance and hate our main character finds in the Marines while succeeding where no one believes he can but also from his mother (Gabrielle Union) unable to cope or accept his sexuality.

Most notable for its perspective and the performance of Pope, the film may be uneven in spots, but it succeeds in offering needed representation to a marginalized group within the Armed Forces. The film is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and for rent and purchase on several streaming platforms.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Will Trent - Unable to Locate

While investigating what happened to a shipment of guns, and what a white supremacist organization might use them for, Will (Ramón Rodríguez) gets attacked and goes missing leaving Faith (Iantha Richardson) to continue the investigation and Angie (Erika Christensen) to Wagner (Sonja Sohn) to worry. Speaking of Angie, she gets her own case of the week looking into robbery and murder tied to expensive running shoes. The two stories are tied together with Trent's discovery of a pregnancy test in his home and flashbacks to some incredibly well-cat younger versions of Trent (Andres Velez) and Angie (Savannah Hutson) centered around a similar situation during their childhood.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - The Crossing / Retrieval

The two-part story in "The Crossing" and "Retrieval" focuses on the Bad Batch's first missing without Echo in which the squad looks for Impsium in a mine on a remote planet, getting their ship stolen, becoming temporarily trapped in a mine, and later having to infiltrate and liberate their ship from a Dickensian group working a larger mine for a local tyrant. In terms of larger arcs, the only one notable is Omega's (Michelle Ang) abandonment issues, first in Echo's leaving (and the squad's minimal reaction) and then to the ship being stolen as well. While a perfectly fine mini-adventure for the group, I don't know that this really needed to be two episodes.

Cocaine Bear

Very Loosely based on a true story of a bear who ingested cocaine dropped in the Tennessee wilderness, Cocaine Bear is your typical over-the-top thriller as the crazed bear goes wild in the park hunting for more cocaine where potential victims wander around unaware of the danger. When the film focuses on the bear and its rampage, there's plenty of bloody fun to be had. When it gets lost in the various stories of characters, it does stall at times. 

The large cast offers plenty of victims for our cocaine-fueled monster (even if it's too easy to guess probable survivors). We get Keri Russell as as single mother looking for her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) and her best friend (Christian Convery), a drug kingpin (Ray Liotta), his  grieving son (Alden Ehrenreich) and drug dealer (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) searching for the missing drugs, a pair of European hikers (Kristofer Hivju and Hannah Hoekstra), three local hooligans, the park ranger (Margo Martindale) and wilderness rep (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), and a happy-go-lucky cop (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) far out of his jurisdiction.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Rainbow Connection - A Benoit Blanc Mystery

The Nerdist mashes up Knives Out, Glass Onion and the Muppets to give us Rainbow Connection - A Benoit Blanc Mystery.

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Quiet Girl

Catherine Clinch stars as Cáit, a quiet and introspective 9 year-old girl of neglectful parents who for the summer of 1981 is sent to stay with a distant cousin (Carrie Crowley) and her husband (Andrew Bennett). Far better off, and with no children of their own, Eibhlín showers Cáit the affection she didn't find from her mother or father or among her siblings back home, although her husband Seán is far more aloof and takes time to warm to her arrival.

Adapted from Claire Keegan's award-winning novella, The Quiet Girl was an immediate critical and box office success becoming the highest-grossing Irish-language film of all time and winning awards at Berlin International Film Festival, the IFTA Film & Drama Awards, the Dublin International Film Festival, and becoming Ireland's entry to the Academy Awards. And Clinch, in her first role on film, provides the beating heart of the film as the amiable but wistful Cáit who gets a glimpse of what love can be.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Company You Keep - Pilot

On the night each of their previous relationships have gone down in flames, con man and criminal Charlie Nicoletti (Milo Ventimiglia) and CIA Agent Emma Hill (Catherine Haena Kim) meet in a hotel bar and spend the next 36 hours together. The "Pilot" episode captures their meeting, and the couple other run-ins between the pair, but is primarily focused on their separate lives with Charlie's criminal family (Sarah Wayne Callies, Polly Draper, and William Fichtner) getting the bulk of the screentime. For Emma we get the standard "too smart to be listened to" set-up for her character that, like Charlie, sees things others miss.

The Amazing Spider-Man #20

With their getaway officially shot to hell, Spider-Man and Black Cat attempt to keep White Rabbit and a former Tombstone henchman alive and fight off the Silicon Six, which are a group of techie stand-ins using Secret Six tech of notable Spidey villains for a team building exercise at the snowy retreat that killed (but really didn't) their CEO who is actually sneaking around invisibly in Mysterio gear and setting off Peter's Spidey-sense. Got that?

Top 10 Delicious Looking Fictional Foods

WatchMojo provides this list of top ten delicious looking fictional foods.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Animal Control - Weasels and Ostriches

Your basic paint-by-number sitcom, with animals thrown in, the first episode of animal control introduces to the motley crew of animal control workers dominated by the sarcastic Frank (Joel McHale) who is no happy about being assigned a new partner , former snowboarder Shred (Michael Rowland), and attempts to get him to quit multiple times over the course of the episode before showing the smallest glimmer of compassion. If you think all this sounds like Community-lite, well of course it does.

Batman: The Adventures Continue Season Three #2

Outside of some of the designs of some supporting characters, Batman: The Adventures Continue Season Three #2 doesn't feel much like a Batman: The Animated Series inspired story. The comic involves the kidnapping of the recently returned to Gotham City trust fund brat Cassie Kendall who apparently had more than a few lovers in her time including Bruce Wayne, Harley Quinn, and Harvey Dent.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur - Moon Girl Landing

Simplifying origins of the Marvel Comics characters, the first double-sized episode of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur introduces us to brilliant 13 year-old Lunella Lafayette (Diamond White) who attempts to solve her neighborhood's power shortage (which is actually being caused by a super-villain, more on that later) by recreating what she believes is a power generator but is actually a portal generator which a red dinosaur walks through. With the help of a social media obsessed classmate (Libe Barer) and her new dino pal, our young teen takes to the street with an assortment of homemade gadgets and dinosaur sidekick to fight for the safety of the Lower East Side.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Flash - Hear No Evil

You can tell we're into the final season of The Flash as "Hear No Evil" is overpacked with plot. We pick up the abandoned thread from last season's finale concerning the fate of Frost & Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), which includes Team Flash voting which one should die (before coming to their senses), and the introduction of a new personality which Panabaker will be playing this season. We get a split within Team Flash. We get a new villain in the Fiddler (Magda Apanowicz) who is revealed to be working alongside the new Captain Boomerang (Richard Harmon) for Red Death. We get the return of Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) and an entire arc deciding if he should be a hero or villain. We get Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) dealing with his bombshell last week. We get Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) putting their vacation on hold. And we get awkward early days of Chester (Brandon McKnight) and Allegra (Kayla Compton) together.

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #4

Compared to some of the more elaborate setups of throwing Batman and Mystery, Inc. together with various other comic and cartoon characters, The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #4 is pretty straightforward. Based on Batman's recommendation, Scooby-Doo and the gang head to the beach to investigate ghost sightings not far outside of Gotham in Beach City.

Kung Fu - Alias

With Nicky (Olivia Liang) sidelined, first in jail and later under house arrest, it falls on Althea (Shannon Dang) to go undercover and get some proof on Delta Security's illegal practices. Capable, but more than a little over-head, Althea does get into a bit of trouble. We do get the addition of Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) halfway through sent in as backup, although I'm still not sure why she wasn't called for the initial job instead of Nicky's sister (other than to given Althea something to do in the episode).

Cars Is The Best Pixar Movie, Actually

Great minds. The Guilty Pleasures podcast celebrate my favorite Pixar movie.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Truth and Consequences

"Truth and Consequences" directly follows up the events of "The Clone Conspiracy" by bringing the Bad Batch to Coruscant in search of proof of the Empire's attack on Kamino. We get a mix of stealth and action with the group sneaking aboard a Star Destroyer undergoing retrofit in order to get proof for Senator Riyo Chuchi (Jennifer Hale) to present to the Galactic Senate before the mission goes sideways and the group has to shoot their way out.

Unbreakable Red Sonja #3

The travels of Red Sonja with her younger self, somehow transported to the future, continue in Unbreakable Red Sonja #2 with the wounded pair making their way to a nearby city where Sonja hopes to find old acquaintances and answers. Instead, the unlikely pair only find more questions with the quaint city displaced by a fortress run by a cult worshiping the same demonic creature which has been hunting them.

Will Trent - Should I Go Get My Tin Foil Hat?

A double homicide lead Trent (Ramón Rodríguez) and Faith (Iantha Richardson) to discover the software company that provides service to the police department has been secretly spying on them allowing them to stay one-step ahead on the latest case involving one of their employees. The murder also peripherally introduces Rotimi as Faith's ex-husband and her son's father added to the list of damaged characters on the show as the former soldier is still haunted by PTSD which goes into overdrive after discovering the bodies. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum-meh-nia

With several of the big Marvel heroes phased out, it falls on Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to move from plucky comic relief to tentpole of the MCU. Rudd's third Ant-Man film as a lead is his weakest, although he's certainly not to blame. Scott Lang continues to be fun and charming as the script moves characters through brightly colored CGI-manufactured sets for both joke and sight gag payoffs. And while many of those do offer a chuckle, ultimately that's not much more to the script as when screenwriter Jeff Loveness attempts to get serious your attention will shrink to quantum levels.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Darth Vader #31

The story of the former Naboo Handmaindens continues in Darth Vader #31 with Vader and the reluctant Handmaidens setting out to save Sabé from Jul Tambor. As we've gotten throughout the arc, we see more flashbacks with Vader remembering Padmé pulling away from him and his twisted hope that things might turn out better this time with Sabé.

It's Holiday Matsuri 2022 Cosplay Christmas Part 2

NCIS: Hawai'i - Silent Invasion

A break-in and double murder reminds Jesse (Noah Mills) of an old case closed by a former NCIS agent Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) got fired from NCIS after she took over the assignment at Pearl Harbor. The longer NCIS investigates the case the more Tennant begins to wonder if the person NCIS put in prison years go is actually innocent of his crime and that Carter ignored evidence and witnesses that didn't fit the confession he coerced from the suspect while in custody. There's plenty of animosity here, and uncovering of wrongdoing by the former agent, but there's no payoff or consequences given what is uncovered.

Did you confront him with a Paula Abdul song?

Here's Naya Rivera singnig "Cold Hearted" in Glee's fourth season episode "Feud."

Monday, February 13, 2023

Not Dead Yet - Pilot

Well there's a half-hour of my life I'll never get back. Not Dead Yet is a workplace comedy that forgot the comedy. Gina Rodriguez stars as a thirtysomething still acting like a twentysomething who returns home to a career she abandoned years ago for a relationship that eventually went up in flames. Half of the episode shows us examples of how everyone else has grown up in Nell's absence, leaving her on shaky ground both in her work and social life. The other half deals with dead people.

Joe Fixit #2

The exploration of the Hulk's time living in Las Vegas as Joe Fixit continues in the second issue of the series where the Kingpin's second interaction with the super-powered leg breaker goes better than the first when he uses a bit of mind control to send the Hulk rampaging through the casino. Yeah, that's probably not going to be good for business. Thankfully there's a web-crawler in town.

The Ark - Everyone Wanted to Be on This Ship

Syfy's new series The Ark introduces us to the characters and story in the middle of a crisis when the passengers for a new Earth colony are awakened from hibernation early due to problems on their deep-space ship which have left them without their command crew and damage to several parts of the ship limiting precious necessities to survive. While the CGI effects on the outside of the ship are passable enough, the staging on the inside of the ship isn't all that interesting forcing you instead to focus solely on the characters, which is a problem if you aren't given a reason to want any of them to survive.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Turn Every Page

Directed by Lizzie Gottlieb, Turn Every Page - The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb examines the five decade professional relationship between journalist and author Robert Caro and his longtime editor, her father Robert Gottlieb. Filmed over the course of five years, Gottlieb's film is her attempt to make sense on how the pair initially came together and worked for decades on a series of books not yet finished.

Not surprising from the daughter of an editor, the film is a love letter to books, writing, editing and the time, effort, and love that goes into their making. It's also quite cathartic as the film moves from the author and editor's contentious relationship in 2016 when the film begins, where they wouldn't even agree to be filmed together, to something far more amicable by the end of filming (despite the fact that the final volume of Caro's book hasn't yet been finished).

The Flash - Wednesday Ever After

The Flash returns for its final season with a time loop episode where Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) will eventually learn to listen and work together by the end of the episode. The episode sees the return of well-intentioned Barry whose obsession with keeping to the existing timeline on-track causes friction at home and the exact opposite of his intentions. We also get a new Captain Boomerang (Richard Harmon), Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) training to use her powers, and in the epilogue a tease of a storyline involving Frost (Danielle Panabaker).

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - The Clone Conspiracy

Not featuring a single regular character of the series, and set on Coruscant rather than in deep space, "The Clone Conspiracy" is an anomaly for the series in more ways than one. It also seems to answer the longest running question of the series by reintroducing the character of Senator Riyo Chuchi (Jennifer Hale) who is far to similar to Omega to not make note of, although why someone may have wanted a more human clone of the Senator is still unclear. In a storyline that demands better treatment of veterans, Riyo fights for the rights of decommissioned Clones as the Empire attempts to push through legislation of a new conscripted military force.

NCIS: Hawai'i - Misplaced Targets

An explosion during the raid of a meth lab leads NCIS to uncover Kai (Alex Tarrant) was the target of his old frenemy A.J. Hale (Jonah Ho'okano) who later baits the agent into an assault in his father's restaurant. Unable to pin anything on A.J., NCIS squeezes his wife (Diana Lu), although in the frenzy afterwards Kai makes a discovery that will change his views of the criminal he's spent the past several months attempting to take down. The conclusion of the A.J. story is notable, however, it's the return of another cast member that provides several of the episode's best moments.

Moon Knight #20

Moon Knight #20 kicks off a new mystery for Moon Knight to solve as he and his friends race to save the hero's former associates who are all targeted on night by a pair of D-list Marvel villains turned brainwashed assassins for hire working for a mysterious voice from beyond the grave.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Night Court - Dan v. Dating

The joke of "Dan v. Dating" is that Dan Fielding (John Larroquette) doesn't know how to deal with women. By far the weakest of the reboot's episodes, the episode takes the show largely out of its workplace comedy setting for Dan's attempts at dating with a woman (guest-star Wendie Malick) who turns out to not have his best intentions at heart. The former womanizer's inability to carry on even a shallow conversation with a member of the opposite sex falls as flat as you would expect as does the episode's equally banal B-story involving some forced bonding between office buddies Olivia (India de Beaufort) and Gurgs (Lacretta).

Young Hellboy: Assault on Castle Death #4

Young Hellboy: Assault on Castle Death comes to a close with the wanderings of a feverish young Hellboy and his idol getting wrapped-up in the fourth and final issue of the mini-series. While there's fun here, as there has been across all four issues, I'm not sure why we needed four issues of Hellboy stumbling around a warehouse in a fevered dream when one or two issues would likely have done the job in telling this rather simple story.

Will Trent - The Look Out

Betting a local cop he can solve a robbery homicide in a single night gets Trent (Ramón Rodríguez) into a jam when the obvious explanation, a gang of thieves making just these kinds of robberies in the same neighborhood, turns out not to be responsible. Showcasing a bit of our detective's ego, "The Look Out" is a fun episode even if the return of the Angie (Erika Christensen) and Ormewood (Jake McLaughlin) B-story crime turns out to be pretty forgettable. The episode also offers another example of how his on-again/off-again relationship with Angie prevents him from considering other options such as an artist (Julia Chan) turned suspect who he put in jail (but that didn't stop her from flirting with him throughout the episode).

Monday, February 6, 2023

007 #6

Picking up the thread from the end of the last issue, we get James Bond desperately attempting to save a man he wants to kill from the terrorist organization of Myrmidon (which turns out badly for our hero) and getting a second go at the their cyborg henchman Rook. Although the six-issue series comes to a close with #007 #6, the storyline does not as it will continue in 007: For King and Country

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Tribe

In an episode that is sure to make fans of the defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe think back fondly of Lowbacca, "Tribe" brings the Bad Batch into contact with young Wookiee Jedi Gungi (first introduced back in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) who they return home to Kashyyk where they help the locals fight off Trandoshan slavers. Another standalone episode, and certainly a step-up from "Entombed," we get some good action here, some fun jungle creatures (and implied gruesome end for our baddies), an interesting possibility of a recurring character that you don't necessarily need a voice actor for, and get to play on the Clones' history with the Jedi as well.

This is NYCC 2022 Best Cosplay Music Video

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Action Comics #1051

Action Comics #1051 kicks off a new Superman-Family focus for the title with the family adopting Osul-Ra and Otho-Ra and showing up in force the opening of Steelworks Tower (which doesn't got quite as planned thanks to the arrival of Metallo). The comic also offers not one but two ongoing back-up stories keeping with this theme. The first takes place during Jon Kent's childhood and the second centers around Power Girl attempting to understand her new powers with the help of Omen as the pair attempt to help a pair of Titans in need.

This is Dragon Con 2022 Best Cosplay Music Video

Jack Ryan - Druz'ya I Vragi

There are two plotlines at play in "Druz'ya I Vragi" involving the kidnapping of Czech president Alena Kovac (Nina Hoss) by her bodyguard Radek (Adam Vacula) and Jack (John Krasinski) leading a small team in the search of the not-so-abandoned Sokol facility for the nuclear weapon (which he discovers has been fashioned to look like an American warhead). Both plots provide action with Jack's team shooting their way in and out of the facility, but failing to get their hands on the device, and Radek and Petr (Peter Guinness) hunting each other in the woods leading to Alena finally learning, and accepting, some harsh truths about her father.