Friday, March 31, 2023

True Lies - Unrelated Parents

The theme of "Unrelated Parents" can be summed up in a single sentence: Teenagers are impossible to deal with. Harry (Steve Howey) and Helen's (Ginger Gonzaga) trouble dealing with their daughter (Annabella Didion) is mirrored on their mission when dealing with a young hacker who can't get his head out of his ass long enough to realize while stealing nuclear weapons may have been bad or that he's been used by a gang of mercenaries. There's not much else to the episode as the experiences with one pain in the ass teen eventually help the couple deal with the other as they recover the nukes and deal with their daughter's recent struggle for independence in what amounts to one of the least inspired spy stories one could imagine.

The Blacklist - The Dockery Affair

"The Dockery Affair" is the rare episode of The Blacklist that doesn't focus on either a Blacklister or a direct threat to Raymond Reddington (James Spader). While the episode's B-story does continue the season thread of Wujing (Chin Han) putting together a gang of aggrieved parties by recruiting Vesco (Stacy Keach), a thread which conveniently does not show us how Red responds to Vesco's questions, the main storyline involves the death of a judge which Red's evidence guy Herbie Hambright (Alex Brightman) finds suspicious despite overwhelming evidence pointing to an obvious suspect. Turns out he's right as the true killer has far more bodies buried than just the judge. It's a fine standalone episode, but being only marginally tied to the season arc there's nothing of note you'd miss skipping this one.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Wait, someone made a good Dungeons & Dragons movie? The long-delayed film various studios have been trying to make for a decade finally hits the big screen. It may only be spring, but Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is the type of summer popcorn flick you've been waiting for. Sure, those who know D&D are going to get more references than those just sitting down for a fun action-comedy, including a nice nod to the 80s cartoon, but, despite your level of familiarity with the role-playing game going in, you're in for a great time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Tipping Point

Taking place long enough after the previous episode for all the rebuilding on Pabu to be completed and the Bad Batch to grow comfortable in their new locale, "Tipping Point" begins pulling some threads together from various stories. After rescuing three Clones from the Empire, Echo (Dee Bradley Baker) returns to the squad with intelligence he needs Tech's (Baker) help decrypting, intelligence alluding to what the Empire is doing with their former soldiers including Crosshair (Baker) who we see tortured more this episode as well. While not advancing any of these stories all that much, it does bring Echo back into the fold and hold out hope for Crosshair as well (if he can hold out under Imperial torture long enough for his former squad mates to find him).

It's IKKiCON 2023 Winter Cosplay Resort Adventure (Part 1)

Monday, March 27, 2023

The Mandalorian - The Foundling

In an episode that keeps its focus on our main characters (amazing how much better that works!), "The Foundling" spends more time with the Mandalorian cult that have embraced both Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) after their return from Mandalore. Along with Grogu finally beginning his Mandalorian training, whose abilities shock some members of the tribe, and flashbacks to his escape from the Jedi Temple (which feel a bit unnaturally shoehorned in here to make use of Coruscant sets and visuals used in the previous episode), we also see Bo-Katan lead a group of warriors including Din after one of the children is snatched by a local predator.

Joe Fixit #3

Joe Fixit #3 continues to explore the time when the Hulk became a Las Vegas enforcer in a pinstripe suit. Picking up events following last month's cliffhanger, Fixit (dosed with mind-control drugs from the Kingpin) runs wild in the casino only to stop suddenly (far more suddenly than one might have guessed) at one point be it from Spider-Man pleading with him or the inner monologue between the current Hulk persona and Dr. Bruce Banner. Either way, the rampage stops but things don't necessarily turn out better for Banner.

Dragons: The Nine Realms - Dr. Catastrophe

Putting his dragon rider skills to use in the outside world, and getting some approval from his father, goes to D'Angelo (Marcus Scribner) head when the group goes to help a trio of Gronckles from the Fire Realm having trouble digesting the crystals in the Crystal Realm. Although is plan has merits, lure the dragons back to the Fire Realm with more attractive food, he fails to listen to the concerns of his dragon which choosing dragon eggs rather than rocks and pissing off a Catastrophic Quaken not happy with finding her eggs missing.

Will Trent - Manhunt

"Manhunt" offers the flipside of an episode we got earlier in the season with this time Faith (Iantha Richardson) goes missing after being kidnapped by a convicted cop killer (Vince Swann) at the courthouse. With the local cops out for blood, and all too willing to believe the corrupt cop (Isaiah Stratton) that framed him, Faith suddenly becomes his accomplice rather than hostage. While Will (Ramón Rodríguez) is involved in the case, the episode highlights his partner in a larger role as she even manages to stop the killer cop on her own.

Friday, March 24, 2023

John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 has the same strengths and weaknesses of the earlier films. We get bloody, brutal, and at times spectacular, violence set against the backdrops of music video sets brought to life, which are dragged down at times by stretches of world building unnecessary for our enjoyment of the former. The fourth entry of the franchise plays at cross purposes with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) looking to work his way back into the life he abandoned for his wife in order to get out again. In terms of story, it's a bit of a mess. In terms of action, there are a couple of long sequences which fans will not doubt enjoy.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Blacklist - The Four Guns

The third episode of the latest season of The Blacklist continues the old home week theme, bringing back another character from the show's 10 years on the air, but takes a break from the Wujing (Chin Han) season arc when the team discovers a threat to Senator Panabaker's (Deirdre Lovejoy) life. There are some nice twist and turns here involving a notorious group of pickpockets (who give the episode its title) and in the identity and motives of the assassin who hires them for the job. It is an interesting choice to cutaway at a few crucial moments in the episode to allow us to wonder just what actions Panabaker took off-screen prior to her rescue (and whether or not the career politician may have found a way to turn some vital information to her advantage).

This is Katsucon 2023 Cosplay Music Video

NCIS: Hawai'i - Money Honey

Milius (Enver Gjokaj) returns to Hawaii to ask for Tennant's (Vanessa Lachey) help in protecting an important witness (Anna Grace Barlow) who becomes a pain in the ass for both Jesse (Noah Mills) and Kai (Alex Tarrant). Milius also plays into the episode's B-story when it's revealed he is the officer that helped Tennant's son Alex (Kian Talan) get into the Naval Academy. "Money Honey" follows the basic template of the uncooperative witness while also teasing some chemistry between Kai and Adriana, who eventually steps up and puts herself in danger to take down the arms dealer.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Given the path of his career, it's still difficult for me to imagine a point where anyone saw Peter MacNicol as a potential action star, even one so far in over his head as Galen. In the 1981 fantasy film, MacNicol stars as a sorcerer's apprentice who takes on the responsibility of vanquishing a dragon after his master (Ralph Richardson) is killed. The film, relying on practical effects (including life-size segments of a giant mechanical dragon), the use of version of stop motion known as go motion, and dozens of matte paintings, holds up fairly well today. And the film's dragon remains one of the favorites ever put to film by both fans and other filmmakers, including Guillermo del Toro.

Re-released on DVD and Blu-ray, the film has been remastered. New extras include commentary from director Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro, original screentests, a featurette, and the film's trailer.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur - Run the Rink

Lunella (Diamond White) gets herself in and out of trouble after he family leaves her in charge of the rink for the night. Attempting to overcome the sheer boredom of a Tuesday night leads to unexpected complications, damage to the rink, the need of quick cash, and a plan by Casey (Libe Barer) to play on the celebrity of Moon Girl to attract customers (not realizing they will also attract villains). "Run the Rink" offers several fun bits for our heroine, both in and out of costume. My favorite gag involves the gravity-bending Gravitas (Ace Gibson) who temporarily turns the glitter-covered Devil Dinosaur into a disco ball.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Pabu

Since it doesn't feel as if the squad is ready to hang up their blasters permanently, "Pabu" feels darkly foreboding. The episode's title comes from the hidden colony of refugees Phee Genoa (Wanda Sykes) leads the Bad Batch to after a successful job. While the retreat offers a respite from recent events, and a young friend for Omega (Michelle Ang), it's far from dull as the squad comes together to help save the locals from a natural disaster before deciding to stay and help the community rebuild (possibly staying just long enough for their troubles to follow them to Pabu?).

Strange New Worlds - The Complete First Season

The best thing to come out of Star Trek: Discovery was the re-introduction of the Christopher Pike (Anson Mount)) led USS Enterprise. Although delayed due to COVID, the show's First Season eventually offered a new look at the classic starship long before it got its more famous captain by exploring the makeup of the crew from Star Trek's original pilot episode "The Cage."

The Complete First Season collects all 10 episodes whose highlights include the introductory episode of the series which offers the addition of Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) to the ship, the crew battling space pirates, the reintroduction of the Gorn as a serious threat, Uhura's first away mission, and the season finale which further examines Pike's role and destiny and lays groundwork for the show's Second Season with the arrest of Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and introduction of Captain Kirk (Paul Wesley).

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Imperial Scientist - The Convert

While there is a Mandalorian story that opens and closes the episode, the vast majority of "The Convert" takes place far, far away from our main characters and their adventures. As with Andor, the show turns its attention instead to Coruscant. In this case the storyline involves former Imperial soldiers and scientists granted amnesty being slowly reintegrated into the New Republic. Our main focus is Penn Pershing (Omid Abtahi), a character's name I had to look up and still won't remember, who was getting on all hunky dory with his new life, despite his less than prestigious new job, until another Imperial agent, now with the New Republic, started fucking with him.

Darkwing Duck #3

Following up the events at the end of the last issue, Darkwing Duck #3 offers new trouble for the city of St. Canard but no Darkwing Duck in sight. After a camping trip with Gosalyn that doesn't go exactly as planned, Drake attempts to settle into domestic bliss with his adopted daughter and Morgana which it turns out is harder than you might expect for an ex-super-hero and his Transylvanian sorceress girlfriend with only a room full of memorabilia to remind him of his glory days.

The Blacklist - The Night Owl / The Whaler

The Blacklist returns for its Tenth Season, it's second without Megan Boone, in a two-part episode centering around Wujing's (Chin Han) mission of revenge against Raymond Reddington (James Spader). "The Night Owl" alerts the task force to Wujing targeting former Blacklisters who Raymond fed to the task force, including the latest being held in an international black site on U.S. soil, and recruiting them to his cause. The second focuses on Wujing building up the money for a prolonged fight against Red making use of private poker games and corrupt officials to get his hands on his old resources.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Boston Strangler

Based on true events, Keira Knighley stars as Loretta McLaughlin who broke the story of the Boston Strangler by being the first to connect a series of muders of women together. Along with the more seasoned Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), the pair continued to explore the case writing a series of articles about the crimes, the victims, the city in terror, and the incompetence of the Boston Police Department and how their unwillingness to share information with other state and federal agencies let the crimes continue to a final body count of 15 women.

True Lies - Pilot

Inspired by the 1994 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, the "Pilot" episode of True Lies introduces us to super-spy Harry Tasker (Steve Howey) whose wife Helen (Ginger Gonzaga) and children (Annabella Didion and Lucas Jaye) believe he works as a travelling computer salesman. Lacking the goofiness of the film, or its stars, the series goes for more straightforward approach to the material as Harry invites his frustrated wife to Paris on work trip with his spy team (Erica Hernandez, Mike O'Gorman, and Omar Benson Miller) which inevitably leads to his two separate lives to crashing into each other when the pair are kidnapped from a Paris restaurant.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Gotham Knights - Pilot

Inspired by the video game of the same name and taking characters from across Batman history and throwing them together around a new character created solely for the series, Gotham Knights is an odd jumble. Our lead character is Bruce Wayne's adopted son Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan), who is accused of murdering Bruce Wayne along with a motley crew of local kids in Duela (Olivia Rose Keegan), Harper Row (Fallon Smythe), and Cullen Row (Tyler DiChiara). All framed for the crime, with only District Attorney Harvey Dent (Misha Collins) believing in Turner's innocence, the foursome eventually flee police custody prior to being "taken care of" by corrupt cops on the GCPD force with the help of Carrie Kelly (Navia Ziraili Robinson) and Stephanie Brown (Anna Lore).

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #6

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #6 opens with Mystery, Inc. running away from a case of bank robberies across Gotham City rather than helping Batman solve them. Although confused, Batman continues working on the case on his own (we don't get Robin or another member of the Bat-Family here). The reason for the gang's odd behavior is revealed in a flashback where Madame Xandu warned the kids that helping Batman on his latest case could lead to disaster for the Dark Knight Detective.

Kung Fu - Beginning

The season finale, and possibly series finale, of Kung Fu wraps up Xiao's (Jennifer Khoe) storyline. It's a fine, if not all that memorable, ending to a lackluster season. Not knowing if the show will be renewed for another season, the episode ends with extended epilogues for all characters wrapping up various loose threads and putting Nicky (Olivia Liang) on the road walking into the sunset in an homage to the original Kung Fu series. Should the show return, it could mean another return home for Nicky to once again reset back to the status quo or a "Beginning" of something new.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Moon Knight #21

Following up on the attacks on Moon Knight's former friends and associates, Moon Knight #21 focuses more on his current sidekicks than our main character as Reese and Soldier head out dancing at a club one night only to find themselves fighting for their lives against an angry mob turned crazed by a yet-not-disclosed sound weapon from a not-yet-disclosed super-villain working for a not-yet-disclosed mastermind targeting Moon Knight and his friends.

NCIS: Hawai'i - Family Ties

We get a couple of storylines in "Family Ties." The first involves NCIS investigating a list of burglaries and pranks which they trace back to a smart but troubled teen. They aren't the only one after him as one of his targets is out for revenge as well. The bizarre nature of the crimes provides some fun early on. The series of events also allows for the return of both Boom Boom (Sharif Atkins) and Bam Bam (Cher Alvarez) who both continue having fun at Kai's (Alex Tarrant) expense.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Reason #27 Why I Love DS9 - Little Green Men

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

Reason #27: “Little Green Men”

Monday, March 13, 2023

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - The Outpost

"The Outpost" becomes the second episode of the season to focus on Crosshair (Dee Bradley Baker) rather than the Bad Batch as we catch up with the former member of the squad and his struggles working for the Empire which is increasingly uninterested in clone soldiers. Sent to an out-of-the-way Imperial depo, it doesn't take long for Crosshairs to grow impatient with the racist Lieutenant Nolan (Crispin Freeman) who treats the clones as out-of-date equipment he's stuck with using. Crosshairs manages to make a friend on his journey, but that will be short-lived given the suicide mission they are both sent on (and denied medical attention after making it back). The episode is far from subtle, but gets the general idea across, if a bit hamfistedly, while suggesting there may be a path of redemption for Crosshairs.

The History of Babylon 5

Secret Galaxy (formerly Toy Galaxy) offers this look back at the history of Babylon 5.

The Mandalorian - The Mines of Mandalore

So, maybe don't have your main bad-ass character be so inept he needs to be saved twice within a half-hour? In some schizophrenic narrative storytelling, we learn our Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu have left the Mandalorian moon of Kalevala without journeying to the planet as promised. Instead, Din picks up the side quest he quickly abandoned to go Mandalore in the first place. Looking for the supposedly important droid part on Tatooine doesn't keep his interest all that long however, as he takes the first droid Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) pushes on to him in a segment that's completely out of place given the sequence of events of the season premiere and completely superfluous to events of this episode where the Mandalorian's own scanners would easily have sufficed.

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Tonight Show - The Super Mario Bros. Theme

Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and the cast of the upcoming The Super Mario Bros. Movie perform the classic video games theme song.

Leverage: Redemption - The Pyramid Job

The Leverage crew tackles a pyramid scheme which has ensnared the granddaughter (Taina Dominguez) of one of Sophie's (Gina Bellman) old associates (Max Baker). "The Pyramid Job" plays on several common themes of Leverage: Redemption with Harry (Noah Wyle) getting in over his head as part of the con attempting to bromance one-half of the couple (Christopher Gorham) running the scam and teasing more information about Sophie's past. It's notable for the female-half of the operation (Virginia Williams) being smart enough to see through Sophie's con, but not smart enough to realize she's self-incriminating herself to her pyramid of mommy saleswomen. As for Sophie's story, we learn a bit more about one of her largest regrets and get a mention of another man from her past foreshadowing more trouble for the team down the line.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Will Trent - Two Hundred Dollars and a Bus Pass

Both A and B mysteries provide plenty of entertainment for our detectives in "Two Hundred Dollars and a Buss Pass." Investigating the murder of a victim who reminds himself of his own experiences, Will (Ramón Rodríguez) uncovers a connection between a campus drug study and the murder. In the B-story, Angie (Savannah Hutson) and Ormewood (Jake McLaughlin) investigate the murder of a magician at a retirement community (where he and his accomplice were fleecing the tenants out of thousands of dollars). Both cases involve our detectives dealing with uncooperative groups of college kids or seniors before getting to the truth.

The Company You Keep - A Sparkling Reputation / Against All Odds

After some proverbial will-they-or-won't-they, the second and third episodes of The Company You Keep play on the emerging relationship between criminal Charlie Nicoletti (Milo Ventimiglia) and CIA Agent Emma Hill (Catherine Haena Kim) whose stories are also tied together by Daphne Finch (Felisha Terrell) who forces our thief's family to do jobs for her to pay off their debt as Emma and the government continue to investigate her. 

Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #1

For a comic full of lighter tones and banter, Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones #1 gives us a pretty dark super-villain origin story to kick off the series when a scientist, ignoring all danger to herself and her significant other, remains in her lab with Ghost-Spider battling transplanted Spidey-villains the Sinister Six. Gwen is successful in leading the battle away and defeating the villains, but our scientist isn't so lucky and blames Gwen, rather than her own stubbornness and stupidity, for what follows. Her plan for vengeance... is unique.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

History of the World: Part II - I

The first episode of Mel Brooks' History of the World: Part II, a sequel to his 1981 film no one was really asking for, is, to put it kindly, brutal. Following the same format of the 42 year-old film, the opening episode of the Hulu series offers us various sketches throughout history. Some are one-offs, and others will be returned to over and over again over the course of the series. Very few, however, are funny.

How Deep Space Nine Actually Redeems Garak

Steve Shives examines a character close to my heart, and one of the many reasons I love DS9, in Garak.

Kung Fu - Loss

Xiao (Jennifer Khoe) puts her plans into action using both Mia (Vanessa Yao) and Henry (Eddie Liu) to find and steal the power of the bloodline. For an episode that sees the death of a supporting character and puts the lives of everyone in Nicky's (Olivia Liang)  family at risk, "Loss" should not be as bonkers as it is which undercuts any possible emotional weight. There's too much plot for the single episode and it lacks time for characters to grieve over Mia's death or their own mortality, although, thankfully Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) is given a couple of nice scenes early on (before disappearing under a pile of blankets like the majority of the cast for the rest of the episode).

Katsucon 2023 Cosplay Cinematic (Part 1)

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Human Target #12

The final issue of The Human Target deals with the aftermath. The heart-wrenching, painful, disturbing, yet beautiful aftermath of the death of Christopher Chance. There's no last-minute save for our hero. Christopher Chance dies. While some of comic attempts to wrap-up various JLI threads still hanging out there, the main focus is on Ice and dealing with the loss of the man she inadvertently killed and fell in love with all in twelve days.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Metamorphosis

It's always weird to watch any Star Wars property try their hand at horror which was, at the very most, a minimal part of the original movie trilogy in something like the Sarlaac Pit (which still had a comic slant). The concept provided one of weakest episodes of Star Wars Rebels in "The Mystery of Chopper Base" and doesn't fair much better here when the squad chases a monster around a crashed ship and woods for most of "Metamorphosis." The concept is also a bit baffling as apparently Emperor Palpatine wasn't going to use cloning technology to bring him back from the dead (which he does in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) but to make giant energy-sucking monsters. Um... okay? Not sure what this is going, but the Imperial B-story does set the Empire back to looking for Omega (Michelle Ang),

Friday, March 3, 2023

Creed III

You can't win every fight with your fists. Wait, I guess you can. Those conflicting ideas are at the heart of the convoluted third Creed film (and the first without the participation of Sylvester Stallone) which sets the stage for a serious drama about life after boxing, throws in some bat-shit crazy plot to manufacture a big fight centered around Adonis Creed's (Michael B. Jordan, who also directs) childhood angst, and then becomes a straightforward Rocky-style boxing movie complete with extended montage and a laughably over-hyped fight to close things out.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Hellboy in Love #3

After returning to London with Anastacia and attending a gala for the museum, to the disappointment of both Professor Bruttenholm (who wants Hellboy to return to the BPRD) and Dr. Hobart (who thinks Hellboy is a danger magnet and a possible bad influence on Anastacia), Hellboy decides to take a sabbatical and jumps a plane with Anastacia bound for Turkey and a new adventure involving her former mentor unearthing the first shadow puppet theater.

Abominable and the Invisible City - Yeti Superstitious

The Peng (Ethan Loh) centric "Yeti Superstitious" centers around Peng taking Nai Nai's (Karen Huie) superstitions to heart in attempts to avoid bad luck and to make the basketball team. While his unpredictable behavior offers some initial success, the more he attempts to follow Nai Nai's wisdom, which includes pushing and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) away for their incompatible birth signs, the more disastrous things get. However, with the help of his friends and the Minticons, Peng learns to get over his fears in a nice lesson for the show's younger audience.

Darkwing Duck #2

The second issue of the new Darkwing Duck comic from Dynamite Entertainment returns with another classic villain as our hero, Goasalyn, and Launchpad run into Quackerjack and his slew of evil mechanical toys while visiting the local toy store. The issue is full of Darkwing fighting off toys, primarily a wave of rubber duckies, while struggling to keep Gosalyn safe (more on that later) and finally subdue Quackerjack. It's just the kind of wacky fun fans of the character expect and I'll admit to enjoying Lauro's art more in this issue.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Mandalorian - The Apostate

Catching up viewers since the end of the last season, and events which occurred on Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett, the Third Season premiere of The Mandalorian jumps around a bit bringing back several characters for more fan service purposes than plot and eventually sends our Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu to Mandalore. Before getting there, however, our travelers will stop by the Mandalorian cult he dishonored by removing his helmet, and seemed to outgrow only to pulled back in, fore the sole purpose of reiterated plot points already discussed on The Book of Boba Fett. We then get another return and an odd request of on Nevarro involving a completely disabled murder droid (in a side quest that then appears to be completely abandoned as the Mandalorian forgets about search for a part and simply continues on to Mandalore).

Batman • Superman - World’s Finest #12

While I enjoyed the first two issues of this title, there wasn't enough there to keep my interest long term. However, after reading Batman • Superman – World’s Finest #12 I think I may have given up on it prematurely. Despite the title, the main characters in this issue are Robin and Supergirl who each talk to their respective mentors about the unfortunate date the pair had the night before (which is shown in disastrous, but quite humorous, flashbacks).