- 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
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
The GAR! Podcast, you know we talk about "Breaking Bad" a lot, and in the past when it has come up in conjunction with the then-upcoming "Jessica Jones" Netflix series, I have always had one roadblock. Who the hell was/is Krysten Ritter? I get beaten up every time, most recently right here.
I'm sorry, but some folks may have thought Ms. Ritter was amazing as Jesse Pinkman's girlfriend Jane Margolis in her nine episodes of "Breaking Bad," but she never left an impression on me. It's only when I have to be reminded of her role that I remember her, that I recall her, in my opinion, lackluster performance. Ritter in "Breaking Bad," to me, was very similar to her scenes with Mike Colter in the first episode of "Jessica Jones" - a cold fish hardly trying but surrounded by otherwise brilliance.
I hope this changes with this series. It should be noted that I am reviewing this Netflix series the same way I did with "Daredevil" - one episode at a time, as I watch it. So all you folks who consumed this entire thing in a mad binge watch, chill with the spoilers, because if I get something wrong or am misguided - I probably just haven't gotten there yet. Be patient.
We open on Jessica doing the right thing. Last time she had fallen into The Purple Man's trap for her, and allowed his will to make Midwest girl Hope kill her own parents. Instead of running, Jessica's first instinct, she takes the heroic turn - inspired by her friend Trish - and stays to deal with the authorities. Here at the police station, in mock interrogation, Ritter continues her cool modern day noir character.
If "AKA Ladies Night" was meant as a tour through a day in the life of Jessica Jones, this episode continues that trend, further exploring the people and tactics in her life. We learn more about her relationship with Trish, we see her check in with Jeri, with Hope, and with Luke. We even meet her upstairs neighbors, bizarre fraternal twins who would make great 21st century additions to the tenants of 1970s horrors Rosemary's Baby and The Sentinel.
We also see what makes Jessica a great detective. We see her at work, we see her methods. The show is still pumping that film noir vibe hard, but I can't but imagine a watered down version of Jessica fitting in well with folks like Jim Rockford, Sam McCloud, and Columbo, just as much as Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. I like this, she's not just physical, but a thinking detective.
There is also the horror that is Kilgrave. In Jessica's investigation we learn that he did not die by getting hit by a bus a year ago. In some medical stuff just a bit too close to home for me, we learn where this episode got its title and how Kilgrave lost the function of both kidneys, and then mind-controlled his way into two new kidneys. As one who knows the path, it is indeed gruesome.
The episode was written by Micah Schraft who worked for the CW on shows like "Jane the Virgin" and "The Tomorrow People," notably neither of their hit superhero shows, "Arrow" and "The Flash." He might think of making that jump based on this episode.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Now, this brother is figuring heavily in the current storyline, and it's odd to keep hearing the name Andy Diggle and seeing an actor play him. This is a step beyond the Neal Adams remark a few weeks back, because I doubt we'll ever see Neal. The Andy Diggle thing is different.
Kord Industries to get our hopes up. This one is Wolfman Biologics, named for writer Marv Wolfman, who did his share of Speedy stories during his reign on New Teen Titans. Ironically, it's also where Diggle finds his brother.
The Andy thing brings back the annoying bugaboo between Oliver and Diggle over family and secrets. It seems that the H.I.V.E. ghosts are definitely enhanced by a drug, as well as bound by Darhk's suggestion - and probably dead as well. Ray, coming out his back-from-the-dead funk, pinpoints their home base. It was a thrill to see the Atom join the fight after so long.
Baron Blitzkrieg. This Nazi super-villain clashed with the All-Star Squadron frequently, as well as Earth-Two versions of Wonder Woman and Superman. In comics it should be noted the Baron never really had an interest in magic, and on "Arrow," he won't be going by his Blitzkrieg monicker.
Next: the big Arrow/Flash crossover, when Heroes Join Forces, against Vandal Savage!
And then there's this...
Friday, November 20, 2015
My first impression was mixed. Bendis was, and is, a fantastic writer, but his style, no matter how things turned out (and they turned out well, he turned the comic into a million dollar franchise), was not for my Earth's Mightiest Heroes. I did not want Wolverine or Spider-Man on the team, or Spider-Woman or Sentry or Ares for that matter. I did not want the years long story arc of Secret Invasion. And most of all, I did not want deconstructionist thinking in my comic books. Bendis did all of these things, and yes, in hindsight, they all worked. But it wasn't my Avengers.
"Marvel's Jessica Jones" was created for Netflix by, and the first episode was written by Melissa Rosenberg, and she's also an executive producer, and the showrunner. She is the award winning head writer of "Dexter," who also adapted most of the Twilight saga for the screen, and worked on "Birds of Prey," which was far better than anyone wants to remember. I am hopeful, and have faith in her abilities - despite how "Dexter" ended.
Also among the numerous executive producers for "Jessica Jones" is the character and series co-creator Brian Michael Bendis. Shouldn't he be busy wrecking the Iron Man comic or making the "Powers" TV series better? Yeah, that was sarcasm. Pardon me, I'm still bitt er about what he did to my Avengers…
I love the opening line of the series: "New York may be the city that never sleeps, but it sure does sleep around." Jessica is very old school Raymond Chandler down and out private dick, but one must wonder - would we have gotten such a gratuitous panties shot out of a sleeping Philip Marlowe?
There's also that longer than needed shot of the bus ad - the "Trish Talk" radio show - introducing one of my favorite comic book characters, one technically older than the corporate name of Marvel itself, Patsy Walker. No relation. And in this incarnation, she's blonde and going by Trish. I can't wait for more of her, whether she's 'catty' or not.
Carrie-Anne Moss' Ms. Jeri Hogarth is a gender-switched womanizing lesbian version of Jeryn Hogarth, a lawyer who worked closely with Danny (Iron Fist) Rand. We also get our first glimpse of Mike Colter as Rand's partner from the comics, Luke Cage, while Jessica is on stakeout and peeping tomming it while trying to stay awake. The scenes with Luke Cage are the only places where Krysten Ritter falters. The words are there as is the direction, and Mike Colter is great, but there is no chemistry at least for me. This is the only time where Ritter seems remote, robotic, almost as if she's reading the words. I didn't believe her at all.
And that's when we find out just what kind of sociopath Kilgrave is. The ending is horrific. If "Daredevil" raised the stakes in what can be done in comic book superhero television, "Jessica Jones" takes it to a whole new level. I can't wait for more.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
We've got at least four movies and a short-lived TV series full of continuity that has been changed and reset more times than a videogame. Play. Reset. Play. Over and over again so that much of what you know is different every time you hit the reset button. Add to that the concept of alternate timelines, alternate pasts, and alternate futures, it just gets worse. For all those "Doctor Who" fans out there quoting David Tennant's 'timey-wimey' monologue, you get the picture.
Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor are still trying to destroy Skynet to prevent the machines from killing the human race, and a variety of Terminators are out to get them. That's all still true, it's the rules and variables that are different, and of course it's been updated. There are surprises, young Arnold, old Arnold, Lee Byung-hun as a T-1000, and... well, that would be telling. But then again, that's one of the big problems with this flick, all the big surprises were given away in the trailers.
Game of Thrones," as Sarah Connor, is worse than bad, she's completely unbelievable. HBO has her right, the less dialogue, the better the performance.
Here's the bottom line. I saw this flick for free on the TV loop in my stateroom of a recent cruise. It was enjoyable for free to watch as I pleased or not. If I'd had to pay for it, I think I might have been mad. See at your own risk.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Mr. Movie Steve Friedman, I had heard about this movie on an almost weekly basis, and especially the ending. I was very pleased to finally have the chance to see X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, especially on the TCM Classic Cruise, and introduced by Ben Mankiewicz and producer Roger Corman himself.
last year's cruise, and seeing him at the port in a wheelchair before boarding, understandably there were some health concerns. There needn't have been. Though with a cane, he walked out onto the stage of the Buena Vista Theatre to a thunderous standing ovation.
Roger and Ben talked mainly about X, as the film's actual title card reads, and how it was made. In typical Corman fashion it was made in three weeks for $300,000. The mad acting skills of star Ray Milland and first timer Don Rickles were also up for discussion, and well deserved. Milland has always been one of the good ones, and I've always thought Rickles was a pretty amazing, if underrated, actor myself. The cast was rounded out by Diana Van der Vlis, an almost dead ringer for Elizabeth Mongomery, and a young Dick Miller.
This was a fun watch, but not much beyond the typical early 1960s scifi fare, but decidedly ahead of its time all the same. Not as cool as I thought it would be, but that said, it just doesn't get any better when it's on the big screen and introduced by the director, a living legend himself.
Monday, November 16, 2015
Doctor Cyclops vibe reminds me of the last couple episodes of "The Flash," because Doctor Light once trapped the Atom in a lightbulb.
Blue Beetle-ness. The episode never seems to want to commit.
Even with distractions like some weirdness and bad decisions on Flashback Island and the side plot of Felicity's mom in town - that last almost as bad as the sitcom-iness on "The Flash" last week. In the same vein, it looks like Felicity's mom and Laurel's dad are hooking up. As are Thea and the possible Dr. Davis. Let's not even get into the time wasted on Ollicity this week.
I wanted to like this episode a lot. I had high hopes when Green Arrow and Damien Darhk faced off momentarily, but again no real pay off. Ray is back, Sara is gone, and I was mostly bored. Bring back Constantine, bring back John Barrowman, do something, please.
Next: Pretty much more of the same, it looks like…
We really can't get here fast enough…
Thursday, November 12, 2015
That said, I've never been much of a fan of the Hammer horrors, at least not the remakes of Universal monsters, but the Poe stuff is so much fun. Seeing The Raven with Roger Corman on the TCM Classic Cruise would be the first time I'd seen it since a long lost Saturday afternoon horror feature decades before. I couldn't wait.
The decision, after a few serious horror adaptations of Poe to do a comedy horror like The Raven. Corman felt he'd played all the horror out of Poe, and went in another direction. Based on the middle tale of Tales of Terror, also comedic, he felt it would work. They also talked about The Terror, which was created and filmed in just a matter of days because Corman still had time with the sets of The Raven. Oh, that Corman ingenuity!
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
The Make Mine Magic Podcast, and are now platinum cruisers, with all sorts of bonuses and privileges. We love it. So last year when TCM announced they were having their Classic Cruise on the Disney Cruise Line, I jumped at the chance to combine two of my big loves - three if you count The Bride.
As we learned the hard way last year, you just can't do everything, sacrifices must be made as many events are scheduled opposite each other, and you gotta sleep sometime. Things that were missed this year were an interview with TCM host Robert Osborne, one of Alex Trebek's trivia events, and sadly, seeing Rio Bravo with guest Angie Dickinson. And yes, I can hear Derrick Ferguson screaming at me through the internet about that last one...
The Raven and X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. I also saw The Razor's Edge (1946) with Robert Osborne and Alex Trebek (one of their favorite films), and presentations on Vaudeville and Aloha Wanderwell Baker, and Roger Corman. I also got to see interviews with Lou Gossett Jr., Eva Marie Saint, Ruta Lee, Ben Mankiewicz, Illeana Douglas, and Angie Dickinson.
Hot Sardines, the special TCM Anything Goes party night with 1930s cosplay and fireworks, and Illeana Douglas' "The Living Room Show" live on stage. All that, and so many good times with friends old and new. We're all looking forward to next year.
Keep an eye out here at Welcome to Hell and in upcoming episodes of The Make Mine Magic Podcast for more from the cruise.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Dr. Davis from back in the Silver Age to a name on The List back in season one. I have to wonder if it's a coincidence. Davis is trying to protect Oliver from controversies that might ruin his campaign in an upcoming interview with Bethany Snow.
And yes, that's a recurring name as well. News anchor for Channel 52, she's appeared several times before starting in "City of Heroes." In the comics she was not only under Brother Blood's control but also his voice in the media. I am sure we haven't seen the last of her.
Metamorpho (or here and here)? Nope, Horus, wrong Egyptian God and artifact.
The Flash" as well) just one big set up for "Legends of Tomorrow"?
Next: The search for Ray Palmer!
Saturday, October 31, 2015
TCM Classic Cruise, which of course is the way to see any movie, in the company of passionate like-minded individuals, introduced by industry professionals, and in this case - of a classic silent film - accompanied by a live orchestra.
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra is no stranger to this kind of stuff as their name might imply. They've produced soundtracks, and performed live similarly, for The General (I even bought the DVD with their score while on board), The Mark of Zorro, and one of my favorites, as well as one of the first, movie serials - Les Vampires.
I can't tell you all what an amazing experience it was to arrive early for the showing in the Walt Disney Theatre to get a good seat and see and hear them performing. Wonderful to both see and hear them before they recessed below the stage so the film could be seen. The music played came from an assortment of composers like Gabriel Marie, Gaston Borch, and Wilson Smith.
New York passes well for Victorian London, but then again, it had to. Shot around John Barrymore's schedule to accommodate his title role as Richard III and you can see the character in both his Jekyll and Hyde, as well as a hearty dose of overacting. The work schedule must have been crazy, wearing pounds of armor on stage every night and then filming this flick during the day with so much strenuous physical acting.
It's not just that this is the 1920 silent version of the story, or that it's John Barrymore giving one of his greatest performances, this one showing on the TCM Classic Cruise on board the Disney Magic was special for another reason - its score was being performed by a live orchestra. This was not just a classic film, this was a once in a lifetime experience.
Friday, October 30, 2015
But does anyone remember the lost Universal monster? Who knows the Gorilla Girl, a monster so popular in her time that her film spawned two sequels? 1943's Captive Wild Woman starred John Carradine, and introduced Acquanetta as the Gorilla Girl. Jungle Woman and The Jungle Captive quickly followed in 1944 and 1945, yet no one seems to remember the lost Universal monster.
The gist of the series is one of surgical terror and mad science. Would the transplanting of human glands into a gorilla create a more human gorilla or a half-human beast that would haunt your nightmares? Your guess is probably right. This precursor to theoretically Planet of the Apes is moody, atmospheric, campy, and a perfect fit into the Universal horror mythos.
You can still see these movies, and I suggest you check them out if you can. It's like finding a new Universal horror, and in a way, it really is.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Pre-season publicity talked about Rutina Wesley of "True Blood" coming to "Arrow." The character she would supposedly be playing would be Liza Warner - Lady Cop.
Lady Cop was one of a number of unique ideas showcased in a DC Comic called First Issue Special. Warlord was launched out of the book, but many of the characters - Starman, Codename: Assassin, Atlas, Manhunter, and Lady Cop - would languish in limbo for decades before being used again. After Liza Warner's first appearance as Lady Cop in 1975, she next appeared a chief of police in All-New Atom in 2006.
And now here in "Arrow." Based on her actions here in the opening, she might want to change her name from Lady Cop to Cop Killer.
Elsewhere, Oliver has announced his intention to run for mayor to Team Arrow, despite my argument against it in my review for "The Candidate," and they're not impressed either. His campaign headquarters will be the same as Sebastian Blood's office, and that's where the other surprise comes in. Oliver has, with the help of Cisco and S.T.A.R. Labs over at "The Flash," built a new Arrowcave in Brother Blood's old lair.
one of the comic book character's best artists. Curtis is coming off more as a cool version of Moss from "The IT Crowd" than Mr. Terrific. And speaking of Mr. T., am I the only one noticing how close Diggle's outfit is to his, without the Fair Play logos, of course?
Felicity and Curtis have also discovered some sort of signal coming from 'the late' Ray Palmer's phone. Now we know he's not dead and just trying to get their attention from sub-atomic size, but they don't. He might also be responsible for the new Arrowcave's power glitches as well.
almost a bromance. Strange contrast.
When Oliver learns that Quentin has been working with Darhk, it sarks a fire beneath the next meeting between the two. We find exactly how Oliver does look to the elder Lance as a father figure, and how the whole mayoral deal, and possibly the whole change from Arrow to Green Arrow were all about him. Quentin is not a good daddy, perhaps another reason that he is the one in that grave at the end of the season's first episode. Throw in the fact that Oliver showed him the new Arrowcave, and Quentin practically has a target on his back.
This episode also features the return of the real star of "Arrow," Stephen Amell's bare chest as he dies the salmon ladder. Even though I'm straight, I had hoped these aspects would return to the series. I do kind of miss the tattoos however. And I'm waiting for the storyline that both requires, and mentions that he kept, the Bravta tattoo.
In the end, this episode spins on two radically different points. One, that Oliver actually is going to run for mayor, and two, that somehow Lady Cop is the villain of the episode. I didn't really like that last part. Maybe she was misguided, and we did see some interesting tech like the canary cry canceler (I hate the new cry however) and the arrow deflecting gauntlets, but Liza Warner super-villain did not sit well with me.
The stinger at the end shows that Sara has broken free, but that's cool because next week, John Constantine returns to television. I cannot wait!