Wednesday, February 27, 2013
When I heard Cage was making another one, I was pleased and couldn't wait to see it. I mean, really, how bad could it be? Now months later I finally get to see it on DVD. Wow. I was wrong.
There are moments of animation throughout that have promise, but they are only moments and soon replaced by the plodding terrible acting of Cage and the rest of the cast. He can be good, but here he's just phoning it in, long distance from a bad cell. Wow. Even terrific actors like Idris Elba and okay actors like Christopher Lambert are pulled down into this vortex of stink.
Even the special effect of a skull on fire is done badly here. Visually at least, this should have been as stunning as the first. The script is by David S. Goyer, so this is another craptacular for him to notch on his belt. When he's good, he's good, but when Goyer is bad... man oh man, is he bad. Avoid this flick.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
"Garfunkel and Oates"
If you've seen this terrific musical comedy duo, you know what to expect. I love them. They are sly and funny, and even better in their own three to five minute mini-episodes. The episodes are more or less frameworks for their songs, but still, damn funny. Oh, and sooo not work or family safe.
"The Boring Life of Jacqueline"
"Brody Stevens: Enjoy It"
This one is about BS, a comedian, manic depressive, compulsive Twitterer, performance artist, stalker, baseball player, and god knows what else. You might know him from "Chelsea Lately," or the Hangover movies. I don't really know what this program is about, besides Brody Stevens wrecking his life, even after a half-dozen episodes, and I like that about it. He's abrasive, specializes again in cringe humor, has animation, and always surprises. Co-produced, co-written, and co-starring Zach Galifianakis. It's fun, not for everyone, but fun.
At first this seemed like a failed hipster/slacker sitcom about a dating site, but eventually it turns into a sweet love story between two reluctant friends. Like "Jacqueline," it takes a while to kick in, but it's well worth it. The show is fully saved by the charisma of spunky Sarra Jahedi. I just can't get enough of her. All great finds on the iPhone with HBO Go.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Also thrown in for good measure is Moira meeting with an old family friend named Frank who I suspect could be China White's father. Whatever the folks on The List are up to, it's coming soon, and the writers have given it a name - The Undertaking. Supposedly, according to Moira at least, it started as a way to help the Glades, the dilapidated area of Starling City where the 'Arrowcave' is.
Then there's also the grumbling fit Felicity has made on the Arrow team. For a temporary member, all she seems to be doing is causing trouble. She not only interferes with tactics in pursuing The List, she makes Diggle ask out his widowed sister-in-law Carly from Big Belly Burger, and Oliver ask out the beautiful Detective McKenna Hall from a few episodes back. Felicity has some kind of pull, eh? Neither date goes very well, sadly, at first at least.
For those who read the comics, Roy Harper was Oliver Queen's ward, Green Arrow's sidekick in red, and the first hero to go by the name Speedy. He later became addicted to heroin, which Black Canary (Laurel in the show) helped him kick. He was later known as Arsenal and then Red Arrow when he took his mentor's place in the Justice League. Just for the record, Green Arrow later trained a second Speedy - her name was Mia Dearborn. "Arrow" has a close counterpart in Oliver's sister Thea Dearborn Queen.
The TV version of Roy Harper survives on petty theft, neglected by his parents. In a switch, mom is addicted to Vertigo, and dad is dead, buried in Norris Cemetery, a nod to Paul Norris, the artist who co-created Speedy back in 1941 with writer Mort Weisinger. Other comics call outs this episode include the corner of Adams and O'Neil, the writer/artist team that brought us the award winning Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the early 1970s.
Emily Bett Rickards cleans up really nice as Felicity later in the episode when the Dodger turns her into a human bomb. I'd like to see her like this more often. As a bombshell that is, not as a bomb. And as far as bombshells go - our cliffhanger this episode? Moira has hired China White to take out Merlyn. Oh yeah, this is going to be bad... for everyone...
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Yep, that's right. I'm predicting a complete shut out for Le Miz. Nothing against the flick, but that's just how it played out as I picked category by category.
What do you folks think?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
What a pleasant surprise. I didn't know all that much about it beyond the noms for best picture, best actor Bradley Cooper, best actress Jennifer Lawrence, best supportings Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, and best director David O. Russell. Surprisingly all of the noms are well deserved, some might not win, but all well deserved.
This was a great flick, I definitely see a couple (at least) Oscars coming its way this weekend, but let's face it. It's no Die Hard. ;-)
Friday, February 22, 2013
last summer's Johnny Depp vehicle. Well, when I saw this movie listed, starring Joan Bennett, DS' Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the Collins family matriarch. I know she had a serious film career before DS, over seventy movies, but I'd never seen any, that I know of, so I had to check this out.
Walter Wanger's Vogues of 1938 is a lavish color musical that also stars Warren Baxter as the male lead opposite Bennett. She's a socialite who becomes a model after a failed marriage. The sets and costumes are terrific for the time, and the print is crisp and bright.
The movie is clever and snappy, like most from the decade. The story is weak, but plays second to the terrific musical numbers and the visuals so it's okay. The worst part is ...Joan Bennett! She's stiff, fake, and unappealing. Literally everything works on this flick except her. I'm glad she found her home finally in soap operas. Worth seeing, but be forewarned.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
last time, the Hood confronted his mom, and with arrow nocked, he says his trademarked line, "Moira Queen, you have failed this city." Da da dum.
We pick up this episode exactly where we left off, and find Moira rather resourceful. She uses her family as a shield, begging for her life as a mother. When the Hood lowers his bow and drops his guard - she shoots him in the chest. Damn... it would seem Mom is a bit more proactive than Vanch, Bertinelli, China White, or The Count. She's hardcore.
Last episode, in "Betrayal," it was established that Slade Wilson, at least one of the Deathstrokes in the TV continuity, trains Oliver to fight. Their goal is to take an airstrip on the island where a supply plane lands. That's what he trains Oliver for.
Jericho, frequently in opposition to Deathstroke.
We get some nice albeit brief scenes with Diggle and Feicity, but we all know two things. One, Oliver will survive the bullet, and two, Oliver is not getting off the island this time, at least not in this flashback. Diggle tries to rationalize Oliver's murders. I feel him, but it's still not enough.
In the end, we learn a bit more about Yao Fei, one particularly juicy bit I'll get to in a minute, Oliver goes up against Eddie Fyers and his men, and, yeah baby, Deathstroke vs. Deathstroke. What's keeping Yao Fei under Fyers' thumb is a young lady (his daughter?) named Shado, who is Fyers' prisoner. Oliver and Shado share the same tattoo, and comics fans know who Shado is. This should be very interesting...
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
There was a Marvel Comics event a few years back called "Secret Invasion." The premise followed (pardon the pun) that shape-changing aliens had infiltrated the human race. These Skrull, as they were called, looked like us, they acted like us. Anyone could be a Skrull. No one could be trusted. After a while, it became cliche. Any bad plot element could be resolved by that person or persons being a Skrull. If you couldn't trust anyone, you couldn't care about anyone. Epic character writing fail.
As I stated early in my reviews of this series, the story was better suited as a movie or mini-series with a clear ending. I suspect "The Following" will now have an ending similar to that of "Alcatraz" - eventual cancellation.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Spaceship Yamato ~ This 2010 live action version of the animated TV series "Star Blazers" is everything you would expect it to be. I liken it to seeing my comic book heroes, the Avengers, on the big screen. It's something I never thought I would see in a million years, and yet here it is. Fabulous special effects bring the animation to life. So worth seeing, even if you just look at it with no subtitles on YouTube. Absolutely must see for any "Star Blazers" fans.
21 Jump Street ~ I really only watched the first season of this show when it was originally on, so I'm not a fan by any real stretch, but I do hate the idea of remaking old TV series into comedy movies, especially when the source material was not a comedy. I can forgive "Bewitched," but this one doesn't quite fit. About the only thing I liked about this was the Johnny Depp reveal at the end. The rest of this mess is really like Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum just got stoned and improv-ed what they thought "21 Jump Street" might be about. Hill is so not funny here, and I equally don't get what all the fuss over Tatum is. Avoid this like a salad bar without a sneeze guard.
The Cabin in the Woods ~ Joss Whedon strikes again. There's really not much I can say about this one, other than it is always more than you expect, and always goes one better. Unpredictability at its best, a modern horror classic. If I told you anything else, I'd spoil it. You're on your own.
Double or Nothing ~ This great one-reeler from 1936 stars Phil Harris as a stunt double in Hollywood who while under gas dreams he goes to 'Doubles Heaven,' home to lookalikes of the stars. An amusing musical romp, and lots of fun for fans of classic Hollywood, starring many doubles of the day.
Monday, February 18, 2013
At first glance "The Americans" appears to be a Reagan era Cold War drama about Soviet sleeper agents, designed to cash in as some sort of hybrid of both "Mad Men" and "Homeland," but it's just a little bit more. As a survivor of the period, I can tell you the music is time correct, and I have to say the opening sequence using Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" is just short of amazing. Serious props to writer and creator Joe Weisberg and director Gavin O'Connor.
Notably, it was nice to see Richard (John-Boy Walton) on TV again, but even his brief presence couldn't save this. Of course there's always the possibility that FX could retool or fix this, but it might be too little, too late.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
In the main story this episode, Cyrus Vanch, former muckety-muck of the Starling City underworld has been released from prison, Iron Heights specifically - nice shout out to the comics. He wants what's his back, as well as the Triad's and the Bertinelli family's (I guess that means we haven't seen the last of China White or the Huntress). And he also wants Arrow out of the way. Using his contacts on the police force, he learns Laurel knows Arrow, so he kidnaps her. This forces Dad to cooperate with The Hood.
In the attack on Vanch, I am again struck by the violence of this so-called hero's methods. By my count, there are at least eight of Vanch's men who take arrows right in the chest. Can you live through that? It's what bothered me about previews of the show before it aired. Have they made Green Arrow into a serial killer? Man, give me an old-fashioned boxing glove arrow any day.
On the island, Oliver meets Slade Wilson, played by Manu Bennett, Crixus of Starz' amazing "Spartacus" series. Comics readers will immediately recognize the name Slade Wilson as the not so secret identity of Deathstroke. Again, for TV they have flipped things. Wilson is apparently one of two Deathstrokes, and not the one Oliver encountered earlier. Apparently Slade is who trains Oliver. I won that bet.
Manhunter. Arrow and Laurel meet atop the Winick building - Judd Winick, former MTV "Real World" wrote the Green Arrow comic for a while.
Be here next episode when Oliver tells his mom that she's failed the city, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The Time: Doors open at 10 PM, show time is 11 PM sharp!
The Place: Bob and Barbara's, 1509 South Street, Philadelphia PA
HONEY POO POOS HER SKETTI! KIM KATRASHIAN VS. MISS PHILIPPINES! MISS KOSOVO VS. MISS TEEN FLORIDA!
Honey Poo Poo is all the rage at "A List"-ing baby discos from Trenton to Chattanooga! With her new found fame comes merchandising opportunities, meet and greets at Walmart, and a list of temptations no little girl should ever read.
When Miss Philippines and her agent Max Wisenheimer are added to the entertainment lineup for the Fashion Show, it's anyone's guess who will hoard the most attention and make a splash in the headlines!
But what do Mama Poon and Miss Teen Florida have up their sleeves? And what's Lance Armstrong doing in the wings? Beware! Miss Kosovo and her scheming mother have some rather dark ideas of how they might steal the spotlight and no one is safe during The Fashion Show!
Throw down the gauntlet, gulp your skinny latte, but don't miss - - - "HONEY POO POO'S CHIC-FILL-A FASHION SHOW"!
A portion of the proceeds from "Honey Poo Poo's Chic-Fill-A Fashion Show" will benefit The Attic Youth Center!
Check out The Dumpsta Players on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and on their own website.
Friday, February 15, 2013
In something like "The Following," which is essentially based in the 'real' world, albeit a larger than life version, it's even more important. The viewer has to not just believe it can happen, but they have to believe it could really happen, if you get my understanding.
"The Following" has ceased to be clever, to be unique, and even - and I'm counting the cast members I like in this statement - be interesting.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
"True Love, Pt. #2" by X
I don't know what it was about "True Love, Pt. #2," whether it was the driving groove, the medley vibe it had featuring "Black Betty" and "Freddie's Dead," or that it simply included the first song I ever learned to sing myself - "Skip to My Lou" - I thought it was da bomb.
Happy Valentine's Day!
The 1970s came along, Speedy got hooked on heroin and left his mentor, Green Arrow, who had changed his costume and facial hair to a more modern look, and turned his aim on social issues rather than super-villains. By the end of the decade however, things had come full circle, and costumed criminals came back in vogue. The powers that be decided Green Arrow needed a rogues gallery, albeit a more believable one, without the mandatory bow and arrow.
Enter Count Vertigo. With a name like Werner Vertigo, what else could he become but a super-villain, right? The Count part comes from being the last member of the royal family of Vlatava, so he has the resources of a small eastern European nation behind him. Afflicted with a balance problem he had a device implanted in his head that prevented vertigo. After years of tinkering with it he found he could affect the balance of others, causing dizziness, and yes, I'll say it, vertigo. He can also fly. No idea how he does that though.
But that's the comics, on the "Arrow" TV series, things are a bit different. Vertigo is a new drug, one that got Oliver's little sister in a car accident, and arrested in but one of last week's cliffhangers. And the drug lord pushing vertigo onto the streets is called The Count.
The Count, as played by Seth Gabel of "Fringe," is very manic, theatrical, and dangerous in that mad villain unpredictable way. Brilliant casting, and great costuming, I kinda got a Captain John Hart vibe as well.
Nice to see the writers haven't forgotten Oliver's Russian Bratva connection, I just hope that they don't forget to explain it. It's also good to see The Count has not lost his Eastern European origins as well. I also like the explanation of his name. Nice touch. And the color of the drug itself? It's green, like Count Vertigo's color scheme in the comics.
Detective Quentin Lance's outrageous grudge against Oliver is getting old, and kind of silly too. I do however like the cast addition of Janina Gavankar from "True Blood" as Detective McKenna Hall. With Laurel tied up with Tommy, Oliver needs a good potential romantic interest. Please don't bring back the Huntress.
The Count is taken down, of course, but with the possibility of a return, and possibly more like the comics version next time. We'll see. He reminded me a bit of Mark Hamill's turn as the Trickster on the old "Flash" series on CBS. Maybe we will get powers and costumes next time.
In this week's island flashback, we learn more about Yao Fei, Ed Fyers, Deathstroke and the terrorists there. We also see a slick trick make folks look dead. Don't try this at home, kids. We also see, much too briefly, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak with some bad news for Oliver. But I'm sure we'll get more of that next week, and hopefully more Felicity as well.