Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Remembering Gene Wilder

Built from interviews, clips, and the audio from Gene Wilder's 2005 autobiography, Remembering Gene Wilder takes a look back at the life and career of the actor best known for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory along with his collaborations with Mel Brooks in Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and Blazing Saddles, and his roles with Richard Pryor in Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil.

Scarlet Witch #1

The Scarlet Witch is alive? Oh wait, she's dead again. Honestly, it's been awhile since I've seen Wanda. Her death, and Magneto's reaction to it, was a key to the end of mutant utopia and that's really the last time I remember. Since then, after returning from the dead, it appears she's taken residence in the small New York town of Lotkill offering magical assistance to those with the help of her friends Darcy and Mantor in what she calls the Emporium. Oh wait, one of them is now dead too. Oh, and there's some kind of magical door which is important... because reasons.

Delicious in Dungeon - Shapeshifter

As the party moves downward, further into the dungeon, "Shapeshifter" presents a different challenge for them to overcome when a shapeshifter creates different versions of each of member of the party based on the others' view of them. While some are immediately ruled out, including all the alternates of Laios (Damien C. Haas), it falls on the paladin to determine which of the remaining pairs are his friends and which are illusions.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Doctor Who - The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Setting up the season finale, "The Legend of Ruby Sunday" tackles two mysteries as The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) return to Earth and enlist the help of U.N.I.T. The episode allows for the return of several characters including Mel (Bonnie Langford), Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), Rose Noble (Yasmin Finney), and the mysterious woman who The Doctor has seen throughout time now revealed to be entrepreneur Susan Triad (Susan Twist) on the verge of releasing her life's work. Working as a bit of a red herring, the possibility that Susan Triad my be The Doctor's granddaughter distracts him from the truth as does tackling two mysteries at once attempting to discern the identity of Ruby's mother.

Transformers #9

The ninth issue of the new Transformers series gives us the space bridge and new characters from Cybertron taking their first steps on Earth. The most notable of these is Shockwave, one of my favorite Transformers, who certainly retains the ruthlessness from previous incarnations of the character although this version is more fiery and outspoken and a bit less cold and calculating than the original. The bridge also provides a way to get Elita One and Ultra Magnus into the Earth storyline, as well as the Combaticons who are chasing them.

The Magnificent Seven

While not on the level of the film which inspired it, The Magnificent Seven amps up the humor to provide one of the most beloved Hollywood westerns which itself has been remade, adapted, and repackaged in TV and movies ranging from Three Amigos to Ocean's Eleven. Adapting Seven Samurai to the Old West, we get an outlaw leader terrorizing a small village just south of the border. Heading north to buy guns, instead the three villagers return with seven gunmen to fight off Calvera's (Eli Wallach) men.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Usagi Yojimbo: The Crow #3

The third issue of Usagi Yojimbo: The Crow shows off the intellect and ruthlessness of Jimmu and his army who successfully take down a convoy outside of town. Only two members of the group, jumping off a cliff, manage to survive. As for Yukichi, his situation doesn't change as he remains a prisoner of the bounty hunters (although his location is learned by the young boy who isn't above trading that information for profit, especially given how the bounty hunters treated him).

My Adventures with Superman - Most Eligible Superman

"Most Eligible Superman" continues the rocky relationship road between Clark (Jack Quaid) and Lois (Alice Lee) as Cat Grant (Melanie Minichino) accompanies the two for an event to name Metropolis' most eligible bachelor. Not believing he could possibly be single, Cat hopes to uncover who Superman might be dating. Trying to keep Cat off any scent of a Lois and Superman relationship, Superman does his best in the contest which earns the amorous attention of another contestant in Silver St. Cloud (Melanie Minichino), the ire of another contestant in Hank Henshaw (Jason Marnocha), and hurt feelings from his girlfriend.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Acolyte - Episode 4

Returning to the present, the fourth episode catches up with the series' key characters. Having fulfilled her task and helped the Jedi find her sister, Osha (Amandla Stenberg) prepares to leave Coruscant and return to her life. However, Sol (Lee Jung-jae) convinces Osha that her part in the story is far from finished and to accompany the Jedi to Khofar where Mae (Stenberg) and Qimir (Manny Jacinto) have arrived and begun hunting the next target on the list (the Wookiee Jedi living deep within the dangerous woods of the planet).

Darth Vader #47

Joining the Schism Imperial (the secret cabal within the Empire looking to end the reign of the Emperor), Darth Vader has successfully raided Exegol and taken one of the largest Kyber crytstals from the hidden Imperial vaults. He quickly puts it to good use killing a Summa-verminoth impressing the members of the Schism Imperial, and the Emperor himself (who he communicates with through the crystal seeing potential futures).

The Acolyte - Episode 3

The third episode of The Acolyte takes a step back exploring the past of Osha (Lauren Brady) and Mae (Leah Brady) coming of age in the commune of witches on Brendok when a group of Jedi arrive. Immediately we notice differences between the twins with Mae being both the more obedient and more aggressive of the sisters and Osha dreaming of a possible life of her own not tied to the witches who raised them. While we see the events which led to the sisters being separated, and mistakenly believing each other had perished, there's plenty of story left unexplored (especially the actions of the Jedi once Osha made her wishes to leave known to them).

Friday, June 14, 2024

Farewell, Mr. Haffmann

Adapting Jean-Philippe Daguerre's play, writer/director Fred Cavayé tells the story of French Jew Joseph Haffmann (Daniel Auteuil) whose family flees Nazi-occupied France. Haffmann arranges to give his shop to his assistant, François Mercier (Gilles Lellouche), under the agreement he will return the shop to Haffman after the war. However, unable to flee, Haffman ends up hiding in the basement of his former home, with Mercier and his wife (Sara Giraudeau) agreeing to hide him, only to slowly discover the devil's bargain he has made.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Inside Out 2

The sequel to 2015's Inside Out is exactly what you would expect. Catching up with Riley (Kensington Tallman) as she enters her teenage years, the film features several new complicated emotions that get into competition with Joy (Amy Poehler) and the other characters from the first film as Riley gets ready to deal with high school, the potential loss of friends who (while the three are headed to a summer hockey camp) drop the bombshell that they will both be attending a different high school, and (thanks to the help of the new emotions which she can't always control) juggling fitting in with redefining her sense of self.

Hit Man

Loosely based on the life of a community college professor who worked part time with the local police as a fictional hitman to help put away those attempting to hire him for murder, Glen Powell stars as Gary Johnson who discovers he has a talent for inventing a variety of hitmen and begins to enjoy the escapades more than his day-to-day life.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Space Ghost #2

While teasing a bit of our hero's past, Space Ghost #2 complete the origin of how Jan and Jace came to live and work with Space Ghost. Taking them back to Ghost Planet to keep them safe in the short term, Space Ghost is quickly annoyed and impressed by the precocious youngsters who get into his stuff, steal his spaceship, but also help him defeat an Energy Monster that could have destroyed him.

Dead Boy Detectives - The Case of the Two Dead Dragons

Taking the case of a couple of recently murdered local jocks, Edwin (George Rexstrew), Charles (Jayden Revri), and Crystal (Kassius Nelson) soon discover that, despite the nice words other students at the school had for them, there were many with motive for wanting them dead including the ghost the raise of the girl (Sarah Desjardins) they drove to suicide and the latest victim (Mya Lowe) of their cruelty. The B-story starts out sweet with Niko (Yuyu Kitamura) playing matchmaker with the reluctant Jenny (Briana Cuoco), pushing her on a date with her secret admirer (Lindsey Gort). The date goes fantastic until it goes completely, utterly, murderously wrong leading to the creation of a new ghost in the town.

SHAZAM! #12

The "Moving Day" arc concludes with a confrontation between the Captain and Billy Batson, the reveal of what the Big Red Cheese was attempting to hide and why, and a conclusion that puts the future of both characters in doubt. The action of the issue comes from real life crashing down on Billy as he makes a discovery about his birth mother. Tied to the Rock of Eternity, Billy's strong emotions have negative impact causing cracks and fissures to form, enough of these finally shatter reality letting the monsters in and Billy calling on the help of the hero he left trapped back on the Rock.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

X-Men #35

X-Men #35 closes out the current comic series heading into a relaunch of the X-Men titles. The X-Men title (which Marvel using a bit of questionable math adding up various issues to also call it Uncanny X-Men #700) is an overpriced farewell to the Krakoa storyline with the return of the island, some mutant infighting, and then its return to the beyond. The issue is really for fans of the storyline which, like many X-Men arcs, I felt got bloated and unwieldy long before its end.

Doctor Who - Rogue

In an Bridgerton inspired episode (they even namedrop the show, along with "cosplay" many, many times), The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) head to a ball in 1813 only to discover they aren't the only uninvited guests who include a family of shapeshifting cosplayers and a roguish bounty hunter named, er, Rogue (Jonathan Groff). Let's just say this isn't the most subtle episode of Doctor Who. The highs of the episode are some of the best of the season, although its awkward bits are extremely awkward.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Scarlett #1

Launched as part of the new G.I. JOE / Transformers shared Energon Universe, Scarlett in essence breathes new life into the character giving us her last mission before joining G.I. JOE (which earned disapproval from her superiors for stepping outside of the mission parameters and doing something heroic like save the lives of a dozen hostages) to her first mission after being recruited by Stalker. That mission, which she choose to accept, is to walk into Arashikage.

Ultimate Spider-Man #5

We get no Spider-Man in Ultimate Spider-Man #5 and only a brief cameo by Peter Parker. Instead, the latest issue of the series takes its time to backfill the story of Harry Osborn explaining how the spoiled rich kid, and disappointment to his father Norman, ended up galavanting around the city playing hero. We see his father's death, his first meeting with the Kingpin which allowed to to obtain Stark's company, and the discovery in the Stark vault which would change his path.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

My Adventures with Superman - Two Lanes Diverged

There are two storylines at play in "Two Lanes Diverged." The one which provides the episode its title revolves around the troubled relationship of General Lane (Joel de la Fuente) and his daughter Lois (Alice Lee). Along with the Sam's decision to leave Lois alone again, we see flashbacks to her childhood involving the soldier pushing her survivalist skills and never letting her in on the nature of his work creating a lifelong resentment which leaves her alone once again when, despite her arguments over the course of the episode, he decides to leave her once again.

My Adventures with Superman #1

Doing a comic based on a cartoon property, especially one which is still in its relative infancy and still on the air, presents challenges. While the comic can act as supplemental material, offering more for fans of the series, you wouldn't expect it to steal any big moments from the series itself while also attempting to keep from creating potential continuity issues for the show. Fans of the My Adventures of Superman should enjoy this one.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Acolyte - Episode 2

Although her assassination attempt on Olega is thwarted by being unable to reach Master Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman), Mae's  (Amandla Stenberg) the attempt clears Osha (Stenberg) of any crime given she was in the custody of the Jedi at the time. Although we'll have to wait another episode to start filling in Mae's motivations, the second episode of the series does confirm the exact number of Jedi she's hunting and their relationship to Mae and Osha's homeworld of Brendok

Star Wars #47

"The Trial of Lando Calrissian" concludes opening with someone making an attempt to assassinate Lando Calrissian in his cell before a sentence can be reached despite the damning evidence against him. We then jump back into the trial where Salli Georgio calls two final witnesses in an attempt to steal victory. The first is Lando's old friend Lobot, who speaks on Lando's friendship and loyalty, and then finally Lando himself.

Tales of the Empire - The Path of Hate

"The Path of Hate" is a disappointing end to the Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) storyline. Instead of showing us her working under Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), the storyline jumps to a time after the Empire's defeat and Thrawn's disappearance in the era of the New Republic where officials arrive on the planet to try and take Calodan away from the magistrate. Of all the possible stories to tell over her life, this seems one of the least interesting as its giving us basically the version of the character we've already seen in The Mandalorian rather than expand her story by showing us something new as she brutally kills and destroys rather than gives in.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is exactly what you would expect from the franchise known for its inconsistent consistency. We get plenty of action and explosions, overly convoluted plot leading into some humorous (and some groanworthy) situations, and a hefty dose of nostalgia and nods to fans for a franchise that is now nearly 30 years old. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return once more, this to to clear the name of their former captain (Joe Pantoliano who appears in flashbacks and shitty artsy-fartsy dream sequences). Thrown in are the obvious bad guy hiding in plain sight along with the returning Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, and Paola Núñez.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Red Sonja #11

As the war looms, and gods and mortals prepare for battle, Red Sonja goes in search of an item she is told can save the world: the soul of a god. Red Sonja #11 is a pretty talking issue mostly setting up future events, explaining the wills of the gods, and offering a revelation at the end which will change everything as we see Sonja interacting with some of the bizarre new people she's met and goes in search of the soul of a god which Kulan Garth covets and may be the key to everything.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Nights #7

While Vince gets the starring role in the production Sweeney Todd, with the others in attendance, Ivory is the one who carries the majority of the issue. After being locked in the trunk of a car, his kidnapper lets him out only to force him to break into Ernest Hemingway's house and steal a mystical book. Sounds easy, right? Well, it would be except for those cats.

The Acolyte - Episode 1

Set during the High Republic Era 100 years before the rise of the Empire, The Acolyte offers a look at a galaxy filled with Jedi. Our opening action sequence involves one of those Jedi, Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), who is confronted by an assassin (Amandla Stenberg) on Ueda. It's a strong opening sequence that tells us a few things about our assassin who uses the Force, along with throwing daggers, but unlike a Jedi or Sith does not carry a lightsaber. The outcome of the battle leads to the Jedi scouring the galaxy for the assassin which is where things get a little muddy until the show is ready to reveal the first of its many secrets.

Will Trent - Do You See the Vision?

The season finale starts with both Will (Ramón Rodríguez) and Angie (Erika Christensen) in a good place both romantically and professionally. Angie is being tapped for a potential promotion to the GBI and Will has finally made peace with his past. Together the pair look to be on the path to starting a life together with their on-again/off-again phase finally moving into something more stable. And then a decision Angie made at the end of last season comes back to haunt them. 

Monday, June 3, 2024

My Adventures with Superman - Fullmetal Scientist

While Jimmy (Ishmel Sahid) continues to struggle with running the Flamebird interns, Clark (Jack Quaid) struggles to find common ground with General Lane (Joel de la Fuente), Lois (Alice Lee) races Vicki Vale (Andromeda Dunker) to break a story, and Lex Luthor (Max Mittelman) begins working with Amanda Waller (Debra Wilson), the focus of "Fullmetal Scientist" introduces John Irons (Byron Marc Newsome) as the head scientist and face of whose CEO (Max Mittelman) puts the entire city at risk not listening to his scientists about a disturbing flaw with the new Metallo robots which could destroy a large section of Metropolis.

Darth Maul: Black, White & Red #2

Continuing the layout of the first issue, and ignoring the established structure of previous black and white anthology series, Darth Maul: Black, White & Red #2 offers us another single standalone tale featuring Darth Maul. Set on the slowly dying remote colony in the Outer Rim known as Moonbender run mostly by former bounty hunters and soldiers of fortune, the locals receive an unexpected guest with orders for every single member of the colony to leave the system. A guest who will not take no for an answer.

Doctor Who - Dot and Bubble

"Dot and Bubble" is problematic. An episode that focuses more on its guest-stars rather than The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and his companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) can work, and work spectacularly in "Blink," but it does require those guest-roles to be strong enough to carry the episode. Unfortunately the thinly-veiled sermon against overuse of social media, presented with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, centers around a twat. And the rest of her planet turn out to be no better. Thankfully the tension in the episode works, despite the odd setup, and there's enough interesting visuals to carry us through events eventually offering a hard lesson to the new Doctor.