- Lost Hits of the New Wave
- The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast
- The Cape
- The Following
- Bionic Nostalgia
- True Blood
- Doctor Who
- The Flash
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Agent Carter
- Avengers Assemble
- Age of Ultron
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- Jessica Jones
- Young Justice
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Legends of Tomorrow
- Civil War II
- Luke Cage
Friday, May 31, 2013
Anyone walking into Total Recall, or any of those other flicks, is going to get what they thought they would, and that's part if the ride. And rollercoaster ride is principally what Total Recall is. It barely ever stops from start to finish, the action is full on forward, barely giving the viewer time to catch their breath.
Those expecting star Colin Farrell to play Arnold Schwarzeneggar are to be disappointed. This flick is both a remake of the 1990 film and loosely (as loosely as the original) based on the Philip K. Dick story, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale." Keep in mind, the original protagonist was based on Richard Dreyfus so Farrell is not right either. As far as cast goes however, only he and antagonist, Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad," really shine.
The references are plentiful and amusing, as long as you're not a purist to the first movie, or the story. Just sit back, turn off your brain and enjoy the ride. I loved the flying car chase, amped up unbelievably over the one in The Fifth Element, and the more original vertical/horizontal elevator chase. Bring seat belts!
And if you're a fan of Philip K. Dick, don't forget about the Radio Free Albemuth Kickstarter, as mentioned on this week's GAR! Podcast.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Mark, played by this film's screenwriter Mark Doherty, who lives with his girlfriend and handicapped brother in a flat he's having trouble keeping. Pierce, his ne'er-do-well friend played by Moran, is a wannabe screenwriter with whom they are trying to write a movie. When Mark's life begins to unravel, a series of accidents kill several people in his flat in quick succession. As Pierce struggles to 'fix' things, very dark hilarity ensues.
High tension, high comedy, dialogue perfect for Moran, direction by Ian Fitzgibbon that apes Hitchcock slyly, this is a fun, but very dark flick. I loved it. This may not be for everyone, but I thought it was great.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
On the surface, this sequel seems to have virtually the same plot as the first, only in Thailand, instead of Las Vegas. I liked the story a lot better when it was called Dude, Where's My Car?. At least that movie was funny, and occasionally entertaining. The more I think about it, the more I think the folks behind Dude should sue the folks behind Hangover.
Am I supposed to care about these characters? It occurs to me if I wanted to be surrounded by morons, there have been several high school reunions I could have attended by now. I did enjoy Paul Giamatti though, while he was a bad guy, and the "Alantown" song (not work or child safe) was amusing, but little else.
I didn't see the first Hangover movie by choice. I saw the second out of curiosity and boredom. I will not be seeing the third, unless I'm forced at gunpoint.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
While it wasn't talked about back then, I think everyone knew Liberace was gay, it was oddly accepted he was different in that way. Liberace was wholesome entertainment. When I heard HBO was making a movie about him, I feared the worst. Especially after recent hack jobs on Phil Spector and Alfred Hitchcock. HBO knows how to make quality television series, but the folks who make their movies are out of control.
Then I heard about the casting, and I was intrigued. Michael Douglas as Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson. Wow. Boggles the mind, doesn't it? Here's the thing, they pull it off, they pull it off mind bogglingly well. When I see a flick with a big name star, if I can stop calling them by name, and believe they are the character, that's impressive to me. For instance, Meryl Streep and Mel Gibson are always Meryl and Mel to me, but here, this was Liberace and Thorson. The actors' performances are stunning.
It also doesn't help that the rest of the cast is filled out by comedians and actors doing their crazy best. Rob Lowe, Dan Ackroyd, Scott Bakula, and Debbie Reynolds, among others, are at their insane peak, equal to Douglas and Damon.
Should you watch it? Definitely. Behind the Candelabra is both time capsule and freakshow, and most importantly a manic showcase for the actors involved, and nowhere near the usual trainwreck we have gotten recently from HBO Films.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
You see the leaf men immediately in the movie. I couldn't help but think this movie might have fared better under a veil if secrecy, sort of like what Disney did with Brave. Let the audience experience the sense of wonder and discovery along with our protagonist, like The Wizard of Oz, allow the magic to be seen simultaneously through the heroine's and audience's eyes.
That aside, the film has a stunning voice cast, including Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Steven Tyler, Amanda Seyfried, Chris O'Dowd, Beyonce, and Pitbull, all putting in great performances. I was really blown away by the voice work, in some portions of the movie, keeping it afloat where the story was failing.
The Bride and I saw this opening night in 2D as opposed to 3D, hoping to save a few bucks. It appeared flat and fuzzy, and I was assured there were no projection problems. I thought it looked drab, compared to previews (in 3D) I had seen. Perhaps this is one of those films, like Life of Pi, that just needs to be seen in 3D.
All in all, this is a good flick for the little kids, although I wish there hadn't been so many in the ten o'clock showing we were at. You're better off waiting for the home release however.
Friday, May 24, 2013
All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed (X-Wing Pilot) Evans, Allison (Get Off My Lawn) Eckel, and Glenn (Blue Lantern) Walker, as they discuss the new comics, trends, games, and toys out this month! You can see the show here, or check it out below.
Discussion featured in the special June 2013 episode includes: The Movement by Gail Simone, Green Team, Batman/Superman, Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, Larfleeze by Keith Giffen, Trinity War, Age of Ultron, Avengers/Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Hawkeye, Star Trek comics and games, the original Battlestar Galactica, Ten Grand by JMS and Ben Templesmith, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Free RPG Day, Star Wars from Fantasy Flight, Cherry Hill Comic-Con, and the Legendary Marvel deck-building game.
All Things Fun! website, and the newly revamped All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don't forget to subscribe to the channel while you're there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).
The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live at All Things Fun! - the South Jersey/Philadelphia area's best comics, toys and gaming store - located on Route 73 in West Berlin, NJ.
And don't forget to visit us at Facebook!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Loopers are assassins sent into the past to dispose of targets from the future. Eventually their future selves are sent back, killed by themselves, whereupon they are retired and can live happily for thirty years until their loop is closed when they are sent to the past. Got it?
Writer/director Rian Johnson has fun with this time travel twisting thriller, and puts both JGL and Willis through their paces. It's full of shocks and surprises, and even Emily Blunt comes off looking good. If you think you know time travel, this will put your Terminator and Back to the Future philosophy to the test. Good stuff, worth watching.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I saw this movie weeks ago, weeks and weeks ago. I am still conflicted over whether I liked it or not. It was the second film I saw at the new Marlton 8 theater so the accommodations were fantastic, I couldn't have been more comfortable had I been in my own home. But why did I have, still have such a problem with it?
Oz is a beautiful film. It takes full advantage of CGI and the 3D effects available to the cutting edge of that technology. Here, we have an Oz that both boggles the mind, but brings L. Frank Baum's imagination to life. It is fantastic, and gorgeous. Props to director Sam Raimi for bringing the unimaginable to our eyes.
Kunis, in my mind, has never grown from her role in "That '70s Show." Oh, she's been good in stuff, and been quite believable, but like Keanu Reeves saying "Whoa," she is always a second away from breaking character and waiting for the canned laughter after a sitcom punchline. I just can't shake it. Here, she completely fits as pre- and post-Wicked Witch of the West, and is awesome in her passive-aggressive power hungry and clingy psycho ex-girlfriend role. Zach Braff, a traditionally sitcom actor on the other hand is equally awesome as the comedy relief flying monkey, a true highlight of the film.
Remember the Rankin/Bass Christmas special "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"? Fred Astaire plays a mailman telling a group of children the secret origins of ol' Kris Kringle. Every time he hits a prime power point of his origin, one of the kids says, "That's why he comes on Christmas Eve" or "That's where the flying reindeer came from." That what happens in Oz, and every time we see the hints to the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the glowing head illusion, etc. it pulls us out of the story.
If it wasn't for those little nudge-nudge-wink-wink moments, this would be a great flick, as great as the underrated sequel, Return to Oz of a few years back. And that's why I'm so conflicted. I liked it, but then again, I didn't. It's still in theaters, so definitely give it a viewing for yourself, and see what you think.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
What did I know about "Arrested Development" however? Virtually nothing. I knew it lasted three seasons on Fox and was canceled because of low ratings. I knew that the musical group Arrested Development sued and settled over the use of the name. I knew that it starred Jason Bateman, and that Ron Howard was somehow involved. That's it. Until very recently, I had never even seen one episode of "Arrested Development."
What confounded me the most is that there are cast members who are on other shows or other endeavors who I think are hysterical. There's Jessica Walter in "Archer," Portia de Rossi in "Better Off Ted," Michael Cera in some things, and David Cross in everything - yet in "Arrested Development," it's as if they are performing at a funeral.
I tried. I got through seventeen episodes before giving up, and not submitting to masochism. I just don't get it. The new season will be available on Netflix starting this Sunday, May the 26th.
Monday, May 20, 2013
This is a gut punch to me as strong as the passings of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, or Warren Zevon. Ray Manzarek is a voice from my youth. I wasn't cognizant for the first coming of the Doors, but their revival in the late 1970s, due to many factors, was strong in my formation.
There was, and is, some hardcore realist inside me that knows that Morrison was just a sullen alcoholic bully, but it was Ray Manzarek that created the legend, wove the tale, built the rock god, and manifested the Lizard King from the ground up. Whatever Jim Morrison was, Ray Manzarek made him.
I remember listening to Jim Ladd and his Sunday night "Innerview" interviewing Ray Manzarek multiple times, as he told apocryphal and supernatural tales of Jim Morrison, building the legend word by word. Manzarek talked of the Native American shaman who possessed Morrison as a child, the concept that he might not be dead, and all sorts of fantastic stories of the legendary Doors, fact and fiction. And he did it all the finesse of a master radio manipulator. Ray Manzarek would've made Orson Welles jealous with these performances.
For decades, Manzarek kept the infamous Doors alive, both on radio, and in sales, as he maintained his own career as well. He created a wonderful rendition of "Carmina Burana" with Philip Glass, as well as producing several albums for LA punk band X. He also worked with Echo and the Bunnymen and Iggy Pop among others, and even toured with Ian Asbury of The Cult in place of Morrison in a version of the Doors.
His charismatic personality, his fabulous storytelling ability, and his unique keyboard creations will live on for decades to come. We have truly lost one of the rock and roll legends. Long live Ray Manzarek and the Doors. Hopefully he's jamming with the Lizard King right now.
We all (well, all of us of a certain age) have that one 45 RPM single that enticed us into the world of listening to the radio, that one single that we heard and then had to own. For me, and for many of my friends in the summer of 1977, it was "Undercover Angel" by Alan O'Day. I remember first hearing it on WIFI-92 FM and then having to have the single.
Alan O'Day passed away this weekend after a six month battle with brain cancer. He also wrote, among many others, the haunting and enigmatic "Angie Baby" for Helen Reddy. We've lost yet another icon of the 1970s.
I have talked about my issues with the amazing "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" being canceled here before. I had resolved not to bitch about the new series "Avengers Assemble" until I actually saw it.
Here's thirty-one seconds that have made me nothing but depressed:
"Earth's Mightiest Heroes" made me excited, every image I saw, every clip I watched, made me so excited for the series. This does nothing for me. And the Falcon talking like a teenaged reject from Jeph Loeb's "Ultimate Spider-Man" really makes me not want to even try to watch this thing…
A sneak peek of the first two episodes airs on Sunday morning, May 26th, so we can all see for ourselves. I don't have high hopes…
Friday, May 17, 2013
After a pretty dynamic escape, wishy-washily aided by Diggle, Oliver jumps from character to character playing emotional catch up. There's a real sense of finality to it all. Tommy to potential villain, Laurel to potential girlfriend, Quentin to potential ally, everything but Arrow to the rescue. There's a nice bit while Felicity is taken in for questioning, and she channels "Smallville"'s Chloe to Detective Lance, saying maybe The Hood is a hero.
The one thing that really bothered me about this episode was the lack of resolution, both on the island, and in the present. While the thinking behind Merlyn's redundancy plan is sound and logical, it's very unsatisfying storywise. I don't want to see the hero lose. Maybe that's something they can work in next season...
Sweden - "You" by Robin Stjernberg
It's a nice pop tune, but I guess Sweden doesn't really want to win two years in a row.
Spain - "Contigo Hasta El Final (With You All The Way)" by ESDM
At first it seems like Spain has gone traditional. I just wonder if the audience will still be with them by the time the song really kicks in.
Italy - "L'Essenziale" by Marco Mengoni
Wow, that's some hair.
Germany - "Glorious" by Cascada
Germany is usually a strong competitor, despite most of Europe still hating them for that World War II business, and this year is no exception. It's a great dance tune that would have won if it were from the Ukraine, but not Germany.
France - "L'enfer Et Moi (Hell and Me)" by Amandine Bourgeois
This is a great song, and per usual, it's in French, but it's much better than most years' entries. It seems the French are in it to win it this year. I can't wait to see what this looks like on stage. That will make or break it.
Along with the UK entry, "Believe in Me" by 1980s songstress Bonnie Tyler, the above finalists join Semi-Final winners Lithuania, Moldova, Finland, Belgium, Estonia, Belarus, Malta, Russia, Armenia, The Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Denmark, Iceland, Azerbaijan, Greece, Ukraine, Norway, Georgia, and Ireland in the Grand Final tomorrow afternoon. Those of you in the States can watch it live here.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The episode begins with a late night killing raid on Unidac Industries by the Black Archer. Unidac is of course the company that made the Markov Device. Killed in the attack, Brion Markov, who in the comics, is Geo-Force. Just so we wouldn't have a fast paced action adventure show, we're stalled by more romantic parrying between Oliver and Laurel. It's getting monotonous.
Meanwhile the two Speedies, Thea and Roy, are still stalking The Hood. It doesn't take a genius to know they will be in the middle of it when the Markov Device goes off, and also likely for Hood vs. Archer, round two, as well. I hope we're not headed toward Thea dying and Roy joining Oliver under the name Speedy.
But let's not say this series can't surprise me. A clever ploy by Oliver and Diggle forces Moira to confess the specifics of The Undertaking. Nice to see Diggle back in the Arrow togs though.
Revelations continue on the island, in flashback of course. Fyers plans to blow up all planes entering or leaving Chinese airspace to destabilize their economy. He has set Yao Fei up as the fall guy, after blackmailing him by shooting up Ollie, Shado, and Deathstroke. Fun reference for the comics folks, the first target is a passenger jet from Ferris Aircraft.
What I don't get is that as soon as Oliver knows for sure what The Undertaking is, and who's behind it - what dies he do? Try to find the Markov Device? Showdown with Merlyn? Any kind of Arrow action? Nope. Booty call with Laurel. And quite possibly creating a new archenemy in Tommy. Yep, we're back to bad idea theater.
Eventually The Hood does go after Malcolm, and we finally get to see John Barrowman do something other than talk and look pretty. Not for the first time, he hands Oliver his ass, this time getting a look under the hood. A perfect cliffhanger to lead into the season finale.
...at Bob and Barbara's, 1509 South Street, Philadelphia PA. 215-545-4511
$1.99 to get in, must be age 21 and up!
What's so gay about May? Eurovision, that's what!!
Come camp it up complete with heinous costumes, flamboyantly flaming backup dancers, and a pan-European spectacle so ridiculous no American broadcaster would ever dare air it!
It's the Eurovision Song Contest and we have an evening of unparalleled Euro Pop sure to stop up your orifices for weeks to come!!
More than fantastic, almost orgasmic, it's - "EUROTASTIC"!!!!
You can also check out The Dumpsta Players on YouTube and Facebook, as well as on PhillyCAM television.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Now, here are the last of the Second Semi-Finalists:
Israel - "Rak Bishvilo" by Moran Mazor
Another ballad? Really?
Latvia - "Here We Go" by PeR
Kind of a happy 1990s vibe here. I like when it finally kicks in.
Malta - "Tomorrow" by Gianluca
This could be a dark horse. It's happy, catchy, and memorable, and most importantly in a contest that includes so many different cultures - inoffensive. I think we'll see this one in the Finals.
Romania - "It's My Life" by Cezar
This guy's voice, wow. A novelty, and a possible Finalist.
San Marino - "Crisalide (Vola)" by Valentina Monetta
One wonders two things, how will it translate to the stage, and will the audience still be awake when it finally kicks in?
Switzerland - "You and Me" by Takasa
This is another favorite, I hope it's a Finalist as well.
The second Semi-Final will take place on Thursday, the 16th of May.
Norway - "I Feed You My Love" by Margaret Berger
That's some dress, huh? This is my absolute favorite this year. I love this song, and there's no justice if it doesn't win.
The second Semi-Final will take place on the 16th of May.
Monday, May 13, 2013
FYR Macedonia - "Pred Da Se Razdeni" by Esma & Lozano
Translated, it's a song of hope ("If I Could Change the World") and those kinds of things always do well in Eurovision. Plus it's got a beat you can dance to, and seriously this one grows on me each time I hear it.
Georgia - "Waterfall" by Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani
I usually like Georgia's entries, but this slow motion love ballad barely kept my attention for three minutes. Zzzzzzzz…
Greece - "Alcohol Is Free" by Koza Mostra, featuring Agathon Iakovidis
Greece usually hits the contest with an upbeat dance club number, but this year they went with something a bit different. What at first seems like a very traditional old country song turns fun and madcap very quickly. The title is "Alcohol Is Free," you get the picture. I like this one a lot. It won't win, but I hope it gets to the finals.
Hungary - "Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)" by ByeAlex
More catchy pop fun that grows on me with each listen, slowly becoming a favorite, but again, I don't think it will win.
Iceland - "Eg A Lif" by Eythor Ingi
Yet another European lesson in just because you look metal, it doesn't mean you are metal.
The second Semi-Final will take place on the 16th of May.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
I love the Sinbad films, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and It Came from Beneath the Sea. I watch them relentlessly when they air. Harryhausen's involvement in Beast led to a semi-rational hatred of the Godzilla films, which he felt both ripped off and cheapened his work. His statements to that effect didn't lessen my respect and awe for his work, but man oh man, it did hurt this Godzilla fan.
None of that diminishes Harryhausen's accomplishments and my love for his films. We have lost one of the living legends of Hollywood, and a master of an animation style that may never be the same again. Ray Harryhausen will be missed.
Monday, May 06, 2013
Albania - "Identitet" by Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko
I love the drums, and the music video, which I don't know if they will be able to reproduce its energy and creativity on stage. Luckily it's a catchy well done song. No idea what they're saying, but I think this one will definitely get through to the finals.
Armenia - "Lonely Planet" by Dorians
Pretty song, and being pretty always gets you far in this contest. We'll see.
Azerbaijan - "Hold Me" by Farid Mammadov
Azerbaijan is always a strong competitor, and this pretty boy power ballad is no exception. Not my favorite, but it has good odds.
Bulgaria - "Samo Shampioni (Only Champions)" by Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov
These Eurovision veterans are back. Their previous "Water" remains one of my all time favorite songs from the ESC. Always great percussion, but I don't think this is their best sadly.
Finland - "Marry Me" by Krista Siegfrids
Finland is another nation who always has a strong submission. This year they enter a more pop and dancey tune. The music video shows off Krista's range and humor, but I wonder if that will come off on the stage. I'm kinda rooting for this one, but then again, I'm partial to Finland.
The second Semi-Final will take place on the 16th of May.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Don't forget, tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day 2013!
What is Free Comic Book Day? Shame on you for not already knowing, but if you don't, the details are here.
If you would like a rundown of what's going to be available, here's the official preview video from the All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast crew:
And if you're in the South Jersey/Philadelphia are, the place to be is All Things Fun! in West Berlin NJ, where there will also be games, sales, and a live appearance from Batman! All that and more, doors open at 11:00 AM sharp. Be there!
Thursday, May 02, 2013
And OMG, the thing that's going to level The Glades is called the Markov device. Comics readers know that half-siblings Brion and Tara Markov are Geo-Force and Terra, metahumans with earth elemental powers. Brion was a hero who joined the Outsiders and later the Justice League. Tara was a teenage psychopath who joined the Teen Titans in order to betray them to... Deathstroke, with whom she had a very unhealthy and possibly illegal relationship. Wow. I'm guessing The Glades go in an earthquake.
In the soap opera zone, Laurel goes to Verdant to cry on Oliver's shoulder about her break-up with Tommy. Felicity's awkward walk-in may have sent odd signals to Laurel. Sigh. To quote one of my favorite "Simpsons" lines, "When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?" In this case, fireworks factory equals superhero action.
In the distracting secondary plot of the episode (because on "Arrow," the overarc is always the main plot), Felicity goes undercover in a casino to find clues of Walter's whereabouts. As I've said before, Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity cleans up real nice, but then again I like her in and out of nerd.
At first it seems that Walter was dead, and then alive. The Hood saves him, plowing through henchmen to get him, but first parachuting down onto their hideout from a plane. I couldn't get past that. Who was flying the plane? Wouldn't they know it was The Hood on board, and jumping out? Seems like a major loose end here.
Other shout outs to the comics in this episode include Ted Kord for whom a fundraiser was held in flashback. Ted Kord was the second Blue Beetle. And Walter was being held in Bludhaven, Dick (Nightwing) Grayson's old stomping ground.
Yes, things are finally heating up, I can't wait for the next episode. As long as they keep tying up loose ends, that is.