Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Ted ~ The Bride and I watch Seth McFarlane's "Family Guy" every week, and enjoy it quite a bit. That said, about every two to three weeks we have a discussion about how maybe we're not going to watch it any more. I'm a fan of 'cringe humor,' which McFarlane excels at, heck, I listen to Opie and Anthony every day, but The Bride isn't, and doesn't. Sometimes "Family Guy" just goes too far for her.

When I first heard of Ted, McFarlane's jump to big screens, I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but I knew The Bride wouldn't be coming with me to see it. All that said, I laughed out loud at this movie. I don't do that all that often. I did it at The Three Stooges, but before that? We're talking maybe years.

The concept is one of a little boy with no friends who wishes his teddy bear was real, and lo and behold, the wish comes true. This is the tale of what happens when said boy, and bear, grow up. Mark Wahlberg makes a fine comedic turn as the boy, grown to drug and alcohol induced irresponsibility with his bear Ted, voiced by writer/director McFarlane. "Family Guy" alumnus Mila Kunis plays Wahlberg's long suffering and patient girlfriend of four years. All involved are quite good.

Ted is funny, dirty, cringe worthy, and yes, believe it or not, even heartwarming. Speaking of laughing out loud, in a semi-full theater, it was only me and two women up front who were doing so. I felt a little dirty about it, but maybe everyone else was from the PTA or they just couldn't get into the latest chick flick.

If you're a "Family Guy" fan or if you liked movies like The Hangover or Bridesmaids, you will love Ted, recommended. And if you liked Airplane, or especially 1980's Flash Gordon, this is must see. No ifs, ands or buts, must see.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises ~ In recent weeks I have developed quite an internet reputation as the guy who hated The Dark Knight. Exhibit A can be found here. That said, I actually liked Batman Begins, the first movie in the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, quite a bit. Lucky for me, The Dark Knight Rises has more in common with the first movie than the second.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. The unholy pact between Batman and Jim Gordon at the end of that movie, creating the deceit that Batman killed not only Two-Face's victims but also Harvey Dent himself. This results in the Dent Act securing a crime-free Gotham City for nearly a decade, during which Batman has vanished.

Bruce Wayne has been a recluse, Howard Hughes style, but is brought out of exile by a slick cat burglar named Selina Kyle. Rookie cop John Blake figures out Wayne's secret and wants to know what happened. Meanwhile the terrorist Bane plots the destruction of Gotham City. There's your set up. I figure I could have saved myself the trouble of seeing the second movie and gone from one to three pretty easily.

The cast is excellent this time out. Head and shoulders above the rest are Gary Oldman and Michael Caine who get far too little screen time. Oldman's subtle intensity as Gordon and Caine's guiding worry as Alfred are the gold standard of the film. Similarly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake is the star of this flick, he shines.

Tom Hardy is a suitably menacing Bane in both appearance and intelligence. Anne Hathaway, while never called Catwoman by name, is magic every second she's on screen. I couldn't get enough of her. Even Christian Bale puts in his best Bruce Wayne appearance so far in the series.

The story of The Dark Knight Rises borrows liberally from the comics, specifically Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns and No Man's Land - and that's all right. It works. It's a very complex story of epic proportions, unexpected plot twists and multiple endings and it works.

Oh, to be sure, there are problems here, but nothing like there were in The Dark Knight. I hated the mumble twins - Batman and Bane. Batman still growls, but it's nowhere near as bad or ridiculous as it was in the last flick. Bane has a breathing mask that garbled his voice as well, but at least there seemed to be some improvement over how it sounded in early previews.

The third quarter of the film drags for me, and probably for everyone else who read Knightfall, but I did like the obvious and literal reference to the Lazarus Pit. I did love the endings, and the Bat was cool despite it bending director Nolan's grounded-in-reality rule.

All in all, despite the tragedy in Colorado, The Dark Knight Rises is a great film, better than Batman Begins, and it more than makes up for The Dark Knight. See this film, don't let anything or anyone keep you from going to the theaters.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thumbs Up for London, Epic Fail for NBC

I just watched most of the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics. I had to turn away. NBC, in the form of Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer, destroyed any enjoyment I may have gotten from the show.

The opening ceremonies were amazing, and fun, and a spectacle to behold. I amused myself thinking that this is what we would get if the UK ever got off its butt and actually won Eurovision for a change. Yeah, it was that kind of spectacle.

There was a battle between Voldemort and Mary Poppins, a jab at America and our lousy healthcare system, appearances by Mr. Bean, JK Rowling, Daniel Craig and The Queen, tributes to the world wide web and children's literature, and a touching love story told through the history of British pop music. We even had a three second audio cameo of the TARDIS sound during "Bohemian Rhapsody." Like I said, amazing.

The problem was NBC had Viera and Lauer over-explaining everything to the audience at home. This isn't the freaking Rose Bowl Parade, and we are not dull children. We have brains, and failing that, Google, we don't need you to explain it all. I don't know what shocked me more - the things they did not know or what they thought we did not know. I know I will never watch any program with them involved again. Even with thousands of Twitter folks telling them to shut up live, they continued their idiotic banter.

A note to the folks at NBC who put this together… Do you ever wonder why the rest of the world hates the United States? Tonight, it's because of you.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How CBS Is Ruining Big Brother

Since the first season of "Big Brother" viewers in the United States have not really been watching the real "Big Brother." American audiences were not receptive, read as low ratings, to the format that had been so successful everywhere else in the world, so US producers made up their own rules. It's become a unique entity, and that's not even getting into oddities like US censorship, editing, and limited viewing or prerecorded broadcasts. "Big Brother" US is its own thing, and it's killing it.

I could get into how incestuous it's become. The only excitement seems to come from having old houseguests return, or having them transplant from and to other CBS reality TV programs. New viewers tend to be turned off by all of this internal continuity faster than a newbie reading an X-Men comic.

There is also the censorship issue. If CBS doesn't want you to see something, and it doesn't happen in the seemingly regulated Showtime late night hours, or you're not subscribed to the paid feed (and even then sometimes), you're just not going to see it. Like the rumors of houseguest Chima threatening to take a dump on the bed - the real ratings-getters never make the grade.

The most infuriating way CBS is ruining "Big Brother" is with their Big Brother Network email subscription service. They apparently don't understand the simply concepts of subject lines, and most importantly, spoilers. I tend to watch my television on DVR, hours, sometimes days later than the original broadcast. More times than I want to admit, I have gotten an email from the BBN with "So-And-So Evicted" in the subject heading. Wtf??

You better straighten up, CBS, I don't know how much longer I'll be hanging around the Big Brother House.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 7-25-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Black Hand) Evans, Allison (Hit-Girl) Eckel, and Glenn (Bad Hair) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's special costume and cover episode includes: Superman #11, Teen Titans #11, The Flash #11, Savage Hawkman #11, Aquaman #11, Firestorm #11, obscure comics trivia, Green Lantern and Batman this week, Justice League Dark #11, Avengers and X-Men this week, X-Treme X-Men #1, Mighty Thor #17, Incredible Hulk #11, Deadpool #58, Hit-Girl #2 (well used), Angel and Faith #12, media tie-in comics, Axe Cop President of the World #1, Zenescope bad-girls-o-rama, Allison's kids comics including the Super Pets, Adventure Time toys, and trades.

Be sure to check out the wacky new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Get off my lawn!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sherman Hemsley 1938-2012

Sherman Hemsley was found dead this morning, presumably of natural causes. The television, stage and film actor was 74.

Hemsley was best known for playing George Jefferson, Archie Bunker's neighborly nemesis on "All in the Family" before moving on up to his decade long rein in the spin-off "The Jeffersons," also by Norman Lear. Later Hemsley played Deacon Frye on "Amen."

I'm a bit more out there when it comes to my favorite roles for Sherman Hemsley. I loved him as the Steel Condor in the Disney superhero satire Up, Up, and Away. I also dug him as the Toyman, along with "Jeffersons" co-star Isabel Sanford, on "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." He was also the star of my favorite story from the second incarnation of "The Twilight Zone" called "I of Newton."

A bit of trivia about Mr. Hemsley is that he was a huge prog rock fan and expert. He loved bands of the early seventies like Yes, Genesis, and the more obscure Gentle Giant. Sherman Hemsley even collaborated with Jon Anderson on an unreleased album.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Prelude

Everyone knows basically what happened Thursday night in Aurora, Colorado. The tragedy that is being called by the news media, the 'movie massacre,' is now inextricably tied to the film The Dark Knight Rises.

I was up late Thursday night when I heard about it on the top of the hour news during Coast to Coast AM, and immediately clicked on the television news. Like 9/11 or Columbine (not all that far from Aurora) I was one of millions glued to my TV watching and waiting. I finally dozed off to images of the tragedy.

Later that afternoon, I kept plans to see The Dark Knight Rises despite everything. Things were a little different at the theatre. Bags were checked, we weren't allowed in to the theatre until just before the show, and nobody was in costume. I think this may actually be the end of that. No more costumes, and maybe even no more midnight release showings.

Another difference was that there was no chatter before the movie. No one was talking. It was very disconcerting. Usually on opening day, everyone is excited, not this day. I suppose everyone was thinking about the shootings.

One specific preview, for Sean Penn's new film Gangster Squad made children jump, women gasp, and grown men scream. It depicted men with guns shooting through a movie screen and then into the audience. I hope Warner Bros. has the sense to pull this preview for the time being. The audience was shocked and horrified.

I am left numb. I enjoyed TDKR but am unable to write about it yet. Maybe tomorrow or the next day. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy and their families and friends.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Avengers Chat Tonight!

Reaperradio presents: AVENGERS CHAT!

This chat will cover any and all Avengers comics as well as related titles, even the "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" animated series and the Marvel Comics Cinematic Universe.

When: Thursday, July 19th 7:00 PM EST Where: http://ladynightsrealm.weebly.com/awr-chatroom.html

And introducing a Second Round Chat Wave for latecomers at 9:30 PM EST

Just pick a user name and log in, no password is necessary. It takes a minute or two for the chatroom to load; if it doesn't, just download the java update on the same page. If you can't get in right away, check back in a few minutes. While most people had no problems logging in, two people had to wait 10-15 minutes before they could get in last time. Be patient.

TIP: To read the chat transcript more easily, click the Float button and expand the chat room window.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 7-18-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Alpha Lantern) Evans, Allison (Two-Marvel Girl) Eckel, and Glenn (Beyond) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's estrogen infused episode includes: Odds and Drinking Games, Green Lantern Corps #11, Legion of Super-Heroes #11, Justice League #11, Girls Comics Night Out, Blue Beetle #11, Batman Beyond Unlimited #6, Mars Attacks #2, Star Trek and Doctor Who together make Awesome Sauce, Captain Marvel #1, Uncanny X-Men #16, New Mutants #46, the AvsX books of the week, Marvel Universe World Tour, Allison's kids comics, including Zombie Kid Diaries, and Ed's trades and manga.

Be sure to check out the shiny new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Girl power!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Dumpsta Players Present… Bitchy Beach Burnout

Hey, ya'll! If you haven't made it to the beach yet this summer, never fear! Bob and Barbara's has agreed to make this Wednesday night, July 18th, an All Night Beach Themed Party so please dress accordingly ;-) Drink specials all night long for the hottest bathing suits!!!


Bitchy Beach is home to dozens of misfit, jobless hipsters living at their parents' homes and pretending they're still nineteen. Surfing, shopping and skanking are all totally rad and a sneaky shag with your best friend's guy is a favorite past time.

Buff surfer, Dex Devon and his surfing fraternity, Big Stick Club, rule the waves and snag chicks on a nightly basis. Dex's steady, Lola Laurent, has a chip on her shoulder and Daddy's credit card, but knows little of Dex's secret sex life. Enter Sweetie, new girl in town and from the wrong side of the surf.

What happens when Dex gets drunk and asks Sweetie to get kinky? What will the other girls do when they find out about this tryst? And what really ever happened to Desdemona on Crab Cove Trail?!?

Go topless, show off your bikini, but watch out for jellyfish in - "BITCHY BEACH BURNOUT!"

Wednesday, July 18th 10:00 PM doors, 11:00 PM showtime! $1.99 cover 21+ @ Bob & Barbara's 1509 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19146 Info: (215) 545-4511 www.dumpstaplayers.org www.youtube.com/dumpstaplayers

Comic Con Leftovers

Here's a peek at a few of the previews and footage to come out of this weekend's San Diego Comic Con…

"Arrow" debuts on the CW October 10th. Hmmm… looks like Green Arrow is a killer in this one. I wish they just would have spun Justin Hartley out of "Smallville," at least we knew that was cool, and so much more faithful to the source material…

Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" debuts on October 14th.

I wish I had footage to show you from Pacific Rim, the movie I'm very excited about as a kaiju fan, but I guess this will have to do for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 7-11-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Walking Dead) Evans, Allison (One-Marvel Girl) Eckel, and Glenn (Space Punisher) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's episode includes: Celebrating The Walking Dead #100, The Crow #1 by John Shirley, new Valiants, The Bionic Man #10 by Kevin Smith, Chew Secret Agent Poyo #1, Avengers Vs. X-Men continues, Ed's X-books, Avenging Spider-Man #9, Spider-Men #3, Space Punisher #1, Allison tackles Captain America, Demon Knights #11, Batman #11, Swamp Thing #11, Allison's kids comics, and Ed's trades.

Be sure to check out the shocking new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

No zombies were harmed during the taping of this program.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Madagascar 3

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ~ Full disclosure first. I didn't want to see this flick. The Bride did. And I saw the original, but not the sequel, so it's possible I may be missing out on some pretty major plot points in this one. Nah. I didn't think so either. We went mostly for the "Circus Afro" song we have been both been humming and singing since the ads on TV started.

Here's the story. Somehow, the fun-loving animals from the Central Park zoo, who have the voices of comedians, have found themselves in Africa, and they want to get home to New York. To do this they have to go to Monte Carlo to get the penguins and monkeys first. Yeah, I know, just follow along. From there they join a circus to get back to the States, and as with every good kids movie, or any episode of "Fat Albert," they learn a lesson.

Ben Stiller is not funny, and Chris Rock joins him in being that way as well. And Sacha Baron Cohen proves that even in animated form he can insult people of any ethnicity. The story and comedy are adequate. It's not painful, it's just not my cup of tea. Kids will love it, especially those who liked the first two movies and the TV series about the Penguins. The Bride enjoyed it, and she got to hear the full version of the "Circus Afro" song. We left happy.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Ernest Borgnine 1917-2012

Ernest Borgnine passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 95, from kidney failure.

I grew up with him in "McHale's Navy," but some of the younger folks might know him from "Airwolf" or surprisingly (at least to me) "Spongebob Squarepants." Besides those roles, Borgnine also acted in dozens of television shows in his six decade career, including an Emmy nomination for his role in the last couple episodes of "ER" when he was 92.

Borgnine was also a stage star, and because his television credits are so dominant, many folks forget what a legendary screen actor he was. He won the Oscar for his role in 1955's Marty, and was outstanding in many other films like From Here to Eternity, The Dirty Dozen, Willard, The Devil's Rain, The Poseidon Adventure and even Harlan Ellison's infamous The Oscar.

I recently saw the man interviewed on TCM. He was as boisterous and lively as he had ever been, happy to tell tales of the old days and more recent times, a happy library of the industry. We have lost one of the great actors of Hollywood.

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Biff Bam Popcast

Most of you know I am one of the co-hosts of the weekly All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast, and that I bother you folks with an announcement of each new episode every Wednesday. Now the video takeover of the internet continues...

Now I'm also appearing on the Biff Bam Popcast on a semi-weekly basis now too. This show goes out live Thursday evenings at 9:00 PM EST and can be found here.

This one is not just comics, we take on the entire world of pop culture, including movies, music, television, and comics too. And don't forget to check out the Biff Bam Pop! website itself!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man ~ I have to confess, when I first heard they were rebooting Spider-Man for film, I couldn't believe it. As my friend Andy Burns has noted in his spoiler-free review, it was "too soon." But alas to the Hollywood folks and their revolving teenage demographics, sadly the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy may have been decades ago.

While I hated Raimi's third Spidey movie with its pseudo emo goth Peter Parker making an ass of himself in the jazz club (I'm not even going to mention Venom), I still would have liked to have seen John Malkovich as the Vulture, Anna Hathaway as the ironically catty Felicia Hardy, and finally to see Dylan Baker portray the Lizard. It was not to be. Apparently like Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin, Spider-Man 3 was a franchise killer.

Hearing about the new film was one thing. I knew Andrew Garfield from the stage, and thought he looked the part, but was still unsure. When photos began to surface, it seemed there were going for a much younger demographic, and that the emo Spider-Man was going to be done seriously, not for irony or laughs. When I further heard that major characters like Mary Jane Watson and J. Jonah Jameson would not be involved, I was further repulsed. I had no interest in this film, perhaps, just because it was a superhero movie, I would eventually see it on DVD or on cable, if at all.

Then I saw the previews. The previews, both in 3D and 2D were incredible. They had found a way to take what was cutting edge technology in 2002 and blew us away with Spider-Man swinging through the streets and make it more mind-blowing. Much like a new rollercoaster or a new attraction at Walt Disney World, I had to see this flick. Emo be damned, I was on board. So much so that when The Bride suggested, on a whim, that we see the 1:45 AM showing of The Amazing Spider-Man the night before the Fourth of July, I was like aw yeah baby.

This was the full-on bells and whistles version I should note, and it has quite a bit to do with my enjoyment of the film. Counting snacks, IMAX, and 3D at an AMC Loews theater (a place regular readers know I have sworn off for the most part), this late night evening out came to well over sixty dollars. This movie had better be damned good.

Marc Webb, whose only other theatrical film is (500) Days of Summer does an amazing (pun intended) job at direction, especially when it comes to Peter Parker being a kid in high school. I dare say he may have even been bullied as well. This is a very real picture of the high school feeding frenzy hierarchy. Even though his Parker is a skateboard shredder science geek outcast, a nice updating here actually, Andrew Garfield breathes more life into the role than Tobey Maguire ever did. I honestly would not have thought that possible. Garfield also brings that smart ass Spidey personality out in a way Maguire never did.

Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is a conundrum. At first I did not like her at all. She was sooo not Gwen Stacy. She seemed too old, she seemed too smart, she seemed, well, not poor doomed Gwen Stacy. As the movie went on, I did warm to her, and started to root for her. The movie Gwen was a different entity, and in the just over two hours I experienced her, I started to like her. And then, the script fell into the toilet. More on that later.

Rhys Ifans was a decent Curt Connors, although somehow I didn't expect him to have that sort of accent. Maybe a southern accent being from Florida and all, but British never occurred to me. Ifans is suitably troubled as Connors but having the same well-spoken voice, clear of stereotypical but expected lisps, as the Lizard was quite a surprise. The Lizard's maniacal super-villain turn surprised me, as its specifics didn't seem in line with any version of the character I had seen before.

The connection between Dr. Connors and Peter's parents, a plotline nearly promised in previews (there are posters calling this flick 'the untold story'), is left hanging and vague, obviously hopefully waiting for sequels. With the Lizard, is where the film starts to fall apart for me. Why a lab in the sewers? How did he get all that equipment down there? We see at one point that some points in the sewers are too small for the Lizard to get through. Why are lizards attracted to him? These things are never addressed, never explained, and frankly pretty silly.

Webb's casting of notably younger and quite famous actors as Aunt May and Uncle Ben is an interesting one, perhaps to bring the older fans in who would be alienated by the casting of Garfield and Stone, actors they might not have known. Sally Field, despite her real age still seems much too young to play Aunt May, although it must be said she does a wonderful job, everything on mark. I really have no complaints. But. She's no Rosemary Harris.

Martin Sheen as Ben is an interesting choice. He looks the role, and I can never say ill of any performance he gives, as he's one of my favorite actors. I thought it an interesting coincidence that both Sheen and the previous Ben, the late Cliff Robertson, had shared a role before - John F. Kennedy. Sheen is wonderful in the scenes he has, but I have one complaint, and it's a big one. He never says "With great power comes great responsibility." Blasphemy! That's like telling Superman's origin and not having Krypton explode. It's essential.

The rest of the cast is rounded out well. Nice transformation of Flash Thompson, as played by Chris Zylka from "The Secret Circle." I also liked Denis Leary as Captain Stacy, although he essentially plays himself throughout the movie. That could be construed as a complaint, but it's not. I like Denis Leary, and he's at his best when he is himself. His fate here is a bit convoluted when compared to the comics, but it is what it is.

There is much to like about this new version of the Spider-Man legend. I liked the various updates, especially in the technology. The origin is brought into the present a bit. I really liked that we have the web-shooters back despite how much the organic ones from the Raimi trilogy made more sense. I didn't like that it seemed like he stole them from Oscorp however. Overall this was a great flick for the first hour or so. And the visuals are stunning, especially in 3D IMAX.

And then, in the third act, it crashes, hard. I've already mentioned my problems with the Lizard, or at least some of them. He seems to also have the same CGI dilemma that Sean Connery had in Dragonheart, he changes size and shape depending on the circumstances. Sometimes he is man-sized, and sometimes dinosaur-sized. Make up your mind and stick with it.

Gwen, likable as she is by the third act, is quite the little heroine herself. She stands up to Flash Thompson, her father, and even the Lizard, but at the end is told to 'wait in the car,' like a good little girl. What? What?? And then she does. Wow. That's where that sixty dollars missing from my pocket started to hurt.

And then there is Garfield himself constantly taking off his mask. I understand the actor's need to emote, and be seen, but let's face it, if the role you are portraying is Spider-Man, it should be understood you will be wearing a full face mask throughout the film. If that's not good for you - guess what? This role is not the role for you. It's called a secret identity for a reason, Andrew.

When the crane workers of the city somehow got to their vehicles in the middle of the night, the have their cranes ready for a wounded Spider-Man to web and make his way to the Oscorp building… I was livid. How did they get through one of the largest and most populated cities on Earth to do this while it was being evacuated? And how did they know Spider-Man was going to the Oscorp building? And why couldn't Spidey just web buildings as he usually does? It was his leg that was injured, not his arms. And if the police were on his side at that point, and they were, why couldn't they just give him a ride with their helicopter? We do know that Stacy was going that way too.

All of the good will toward the movie was draining away at that point. Sixty dollars and an hour and a half of great movie with stunning visuals - and it falls apart in the last twenty minutes? I'm sorry, folks, but a wonderful dinner can be ruined and forgotten easily if you choke to death on the last bite.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a good movie up to a point. It's definitely worth seeing in an Avatar to see the effects, but be prepared not to get your money's worth with the script logic. Don't forget to stay through the credits for a teaser for more Spidey movies. See it, but be warned.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Special Fourth of July All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Invincible) Evans, Allison (No-Marvel Girl) Eckel, and Glenn (Ozymandias) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's special Fourth of July episode includes: The Walking Dead #100 and the Midnight Release Event, Batman Earth One, Earth 2 #3, Worlds' Finest #3, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 by James Robinson, the JT Krul fan club, how to pronounce Ozymandias, Red Lanterns #11, DK's Batman The World of the Dark Knight, Fairest #5, Amazing Spider-Man #689, AvsX #7, Ed's X-books, straight Punisher, Deadpool and funny Marvel names, Steve Gerber's Infernal Man-Thing #1, Invincible #93, Allison's kids comics, and Ed's trades.

Be sure to check out the patriotic new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Andy Griffith 1926-2012

Andy Griffith was the multiple award-winning and nominated star of television, film, stage and song. The actor, writer, director, producer, comedian, musician and singer passed away this morning in North Carolina. He was 86.

Back in my preschool days, "The Andy Griffith Show" was my favorite show, second only to "Batman." The opening of the program with Andy and his son Opie, played by Ronny Howard, going fishing and walking in the woods reminded me of my father and me. Especially the bit with that kid throwing rocks. I was that annoying kid throwing rocks whenever we went fishing or went for walks in the woods. My imaginary friend was even named 'Opie.' Hey, stop judging. I never said I was a bright kid. The point is, from an early age, "The Andy Griffith Show" and its spin-offs were a family tradition.

Just as I watched little Opie grow into Richie Cunningham and later a successful director, I also watched Andy in the largely forgotten but also fondly remembered ABC series "Salvage 1," and later on the more palatable "Matlock." When my brother-in-law gave me all his 45 RPM records (for the kids out there, think single MP3 iTunes purchases, only round and on vinyl), I discovered another facet of Andy Griffith with his down home comedy spoken word hit, "What It Was, Was Football."

As an adult I discovered how his humor led to Andy's role on the stage and then in film with No Time for Sergeants. The film not only firmly established his persona for the next few decades but also was the direct inspiration for later television spin-off "Gomer Pyle, USMC." Andy also did a flick at this time called Onionhead, that was so bad, he stopped doing movies.

However, before that, he made the film that for me, earns Andy Griffith the most respect. 1957's A Face in the Crowd, written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Elia Kazan, is one of my favorite films, easily in my top five, and Andy Griffith, as the charismatic but evil entertainer Lonesome Rhodes, is the star. This is an acting tour de force, and Griffith is a whirlwind. If you have not seen this phenomenal drama, I can't recommend it enough.

We have lost not only one of our most beloved television icons, but also a visionary in the way TV is done, as well as one of America's greatest actors and comedians. Rest in peace, Andy, we will miss you.

The Amazing Spider-Man Pregame

Here are some treats from your friends at Biff Bam Pop! for those of you planning to see The Amazing Spider-Man over the holiday this week, and let's face it, who isn't going to see it? It's going to rock!

My thoughts on the villain of the film, classic Spider-Man foe, the Lizard, can be found here in my article, "Beware The Lizard!"

I explore the question "Who Were Peter Parker's Parents?" before the movie tells us their version in my article here.

BBP editor-in-chief Andy Burns tackles reviewing the film itself before it hits theaters here, and several of us take on the web-slinger's movie, television and comics adventures in a roundtable discussion from last week's episode of the Biff Bam Popcast, available here.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Not Your Average Disney Princess

Brave ~ Disney/Pixar has done something with Brave that is extremely difficult to do in the age of the internet, and I'm glad they did. They managed to hide from audiences what this movie is all about. And that's a good thing.

At first glance, it is the latest of a long line (and a damn fine tradition, don't get me wrong) of Disney Princess movies. The Princess Merida with her tangled scarlet locks, independent attitude, and Scottish bearing stood ready to become not only the latest, but probably one of the most popular of the Disney Princesses. In some cases, the DP is not a good role model or stereotype. The female protagonist is passive, waits for the prince to come and save her, save the day, and live happily ever after with. It's tired in this age of enlightenment.

Now there's nothing wrong with that type of movie. In its time, stuff like Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and even The Little Mermaid to an extent worked well and are wonderful stories. But this isn't that kind of movie.

Brave is about relationships. Chiefly about daughters' relationships with their fathers, and mostly their mothers - and most importantly, mending those relationships. Now there are moments where Brave is predictable, and there are times when it's madcap and sometimes it's scary, but it is always entertaining, but just don't expect your typical Disney Princess here.

I'm not going to give anything away, much like Disney/Pixar's marketing did not, and reasonably has not yet given anything away, but I loved this flick. Viva la difference! Recommended.