- 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
Monday, June 29, 2015
True Detective." We loved the murky quirky mystery, the bizarre danger, the insane villains, and the wild chemistry of the two unconventional leads. Nic Pizzolatto created some of the greatest television ever made in just eight hours. It was genius.
And then when we heard "True Detective" was to be an 'anthology' series, that a second season would not feature Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson (an actor that TD finally made me respect), but a new cast, story, and setting - we were suddenly tentative and lukewarm. When we saw previews, we were even more shaken. This second season didn't feel like the "True Detective" we knew and loved at all. Hardcore fans were worried.
Daredevil" did not help one bit. He is almost a joke at some points.
The rest of the cast appears to be not only too many but not quirky enough for my "True Detective" tastes. Colin Farrell's Ray Velcoro comes closest to what we expect from the show, but he does far too much reacting than acting for my tastes. Rachel McAdams barely registered on my radar, and Taylor Kitsch, who was brilliant as both John Carter and Gambit, yet criminally rousted by Hollywood, barely has anything to do either. Along with Vaughn, it felt like far too many, and far too uninteresting, characters.
Vince Vaughn got a bit more desperate and dangerous. Both McAdams and Kitsch became far more twisted and interesting. Nic Pizzolatto revealed his more familiar dark side, and they took care of that too many characters thing. If you checked out, check back in. This is going to be a wild ride.
And if you'd like a different view on the second season of "True Detective," check out my buddy Jim Knipp's recaps and reviews at Biff Bam Pop! right here.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Recently when I saw Entourage in the theater I saw an ad for a new limited edition flavor of Sprite. Now I'm a Coca-Cola man, so yeah, Sprite is right along side there. This flavor of Sprite not only has cherry in it but also orange. I was enticed, my two favorite flavors in a Sprite, sounds like a plan.
Of course there's the very real possibility this could just be a drunken stint at the Coke Freestyle machine, a Frankenstein mix of what might taste good, but can't possibly... because, let's face it, we're not soda scientists - and neither is LeBron James, or at least I don't think he is.
The LeBron Mix, which apparently had been out before under another name, proved quite elusive to find. It was one of those things you see everywhere when it's under your radar yet nowhere when you want it. Fortunately The Bride was able to pick up a bottle in Philadelphia. Yes, at 7-Eleven, despite what Ray had to say about it on a recent episode of The GAR! Podcast.
Once the cap was off, a wine bottle wave past my nose brought an aroma just like I had hoped, but. But when I tasted the stuff, it was exactly what I feared it was. It was terrible, like some blend of Mountain Dew (not my favorite) and urine (let's not even go there), wow, this stuff was awful. Not recommended. And LeBron, step away from the Coke Freestyle machine. Right now.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Most of the time when folks read or hear me talking about the Avengers, it's the Marvel superhero comic, but Patrick Macnee was part of another Avengers team, the cool Avengers. In the 1960s spy series "The Avengers," Patrick Macnee played the quite dangerous gentleman in the bowler hat and the quick dry wit, and the always sexy female companion. Whether it was Honor Blackman, Julie Stevens, Linda Thorson, Joanna Lumley, or the dazzling mod minx Diana Rigg who accompanied him, John Steed was the epitome of quirky cool. "The Avengers" was smart fun television, the likes of which has rarely been seen since.
A Christmas Carol as young Marley. He's been in James Bond projects, played Sherlock Holmes, been in dozens of TV shows, and most memorably he was the demonic savior Count Iblis in the original "Battlestar Galactica." Macnee was also in This Is Spinal Tap, and he was even an invisible agent in the much-maligned theatrical version of The Avengers.
Macnee was a star of stage and screen, both silver and small, even appearing in music videos by the Pretenders and Oasis. We've lost a legend, and he will be missed.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Cranium Command, those who remember it know what I mean. We see the inside of a young girl's head, the five emotions who run her personality, and turmoil caused when her family is uprooted from Minnesota and moved to San Francisco.
kept secret from the previews. As Riley deals with the move, Joy and Sadness, along with Bing Bong journey through her personality to get things back in order. Much like the personified characters, the viewers are run through a gauntlet of emotions as well, but then again, that's what Pixar does so well.
If you'd like to hear more about Inside Out, it's the featured topic of this week's episode of The Make Mine Magic Podcast, and you might want to check out today's blog entry at French Fry Diary as well. Enjoy.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Most folks will recognize him as the father Tom Bradford in the late 1970s drama/comedy "Eight Is Enough." I was a fan of the show, even though it hasn't aged well, and was definitely a product of its times. Van Patten however was in everything, a fixture of anthology shows like "The Love Boat" and "Love American Style," he always played different roles, and was featured in over fifty different series over the decades. His career on TV went from "The Naked City" to " Hot in Cleveland." Van Patten was also a star of the silver screen as well, appearing in such films as "Charly," "Westworld," and "Spaceballs."
We've lost one of the good ones. Dick Van Patten will be missed.
Friday, June 19, 2015
his battle with Nobu, and Fisk worries over the poisoned Vanessa at the hospital, we have what seems to be a waiting game. Rather than the one-minute break between boxing rounds, it seems we're getting two or three episodes. I want to see our opponents back in the ring, don't you? Enough foreplay!
Who poisoned the guests at Fisk's benefit? The signs point to Nobu's clan, but didn't Madame Gao say they would have their hands full with other matters? Owsley didn't seem to know at first the drinks were poisoned but caught on quickly, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't him. That pretty much leaves Gao to blame... or Wesley.
not be the first time I've questioned the exact personal nature of Fisk and Wesley's relationship. Is there more to it than business? Is it perhaps more twisted like that of Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers on "The Simpsons"? Could this mass poisoning be both an act of sabotage and that of a jealous lover?
Karen snooping around Fisk's supposedly dead mother, he decides to take matters into his own hands. At first it seems he's going to kill Karen, then he offers her a job, which was puzzling. Why does he refer to Fisk as no longer his employer? What is going on here? Sadly this is Toby Leonard Moore's weakest work so far, and it's his last. I guess he's better in small doses. And what did Karen mean about this not being the first time she's shot someone?
Night Nurse hybrid character. I honestly felt cheated last episode when appeared only off-screen in a casual mention. Here unfortunately she is just more foreplay, preluding Matt's further discussion with Father Lantom who implies that sometimes the devil is a good thing, a lesson, a symbol, an inspiration to others.
Turk Barrett. This time however, Daredevil isn't looking for Fisk, instead he wants something sensible - body armor. It would seem that the beating he took from Nobu and Kingpin did knock some sense into him. Turk sends our hero to the workshop of Melvin Potter.
last we saw the workshop?
If nothing else, I suspect we'll finally be getting the traditional red Daredevil costume from the comics next episode. This was a slow one, highlighted by Night Nurse and Gladiator, with hopes of better coming.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
before, I'm not a big Daredevil fan and the gaps in my comics knowledge of the character are large, but to me the character of Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson seems much more soap opera than the usual early Stan Lee fare. While Foggy is Matt Murdock's best friend, his law partner, and at the best of times, his conscience - the early comics portray him as almost a nebbishy comic relief sidekick, more of a Doiby Dickles than a Rick Jones. He was forever caught in that humiliating love triangle with Matt and Karen Page when he hopelessly pined after her while she was always in love with Matt.
And like a 1950s Lois Lane, he stupidly fell for Matt's ruse of having a twin brother Mike, to help cover up his secret identity. As lame as that trick was, I did dig the homage made in this series when Matt tells Night Nurse to call him Mike. Let's not even get into Karen's character as she also fell for Mike Murdock, and hard. But even as a kid, I looked at Foggy and I would never hire Nelson and Murdock - what if you got the dim half?
our last episode.
the much-maligned 2003 movie, and his portrayal by future founding father of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jon Favreau. A more gregarious personality and snappy aware dialogue saved him and made cool. And it's this version that Elden Henson mines in his Netflix version. On an interesting sidenote, Favreau also invigorated the similarly hated Happy Hogan in the Iron Man franchise. If I had my way, he'd play Steve Trevor in the upcoming Wonder Woman movie the same way.
In the last moments of "Speak of the Devil," a drunken Foggy came across the horribly beaten Daredevil in Matt's apartment, and is shocked to find its Matt under the mask. Well, at least it's better than reading it in the newspaper. We open as Matt wakes up. Night Nurse has been and gone, and Foggy is understandably angry. "Are you even blind?" launches us into the credit sequence and an "Arrow" style flashback.
Meanwhile Madame Gao, who along with Owsley is now all that's left of Fisk's legion of doom, takes a park bench meeting with the Kingpin. She delivers a warning and poses a question. Nobu's clan, who we almost certainly know is The Hand, has a long memory and will be taking their vengeance on Fisk. That's one, but more directly, Gao wants to know when Fisk will turn on her. She says he must decide if he is a savior or an oppressor, for he cannot be both.
As scenes change to address each member of the cast, one can't help but remember the last filler episode "Cut Man," where Matt was also incapacitated. This is a trick that works perhaps once a season, more than that, especially in a series meant to be binge-watched, it's a cliche. As we speed toward a conclusion, this is a solid STOP sign as opposed to merely a speed bump. Much happens and there's lot of good stuff here, but the trick is old and we can see the man behind the curtain.
Iron Man 3 and "Agent Carter," which is constantly on the side of evil in the comics.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Showtime has fantastic programming, shows like "House of Lies," "Penny Dreadful," "Ray Donovan," "HAPPYish," "Nurse Jackie," "Shameless," and my favorite, "Episodes," just to name a few. The problem is that seconds before the airing of a new episode, Showtime gives you about ten seconds of highlights of the episode you are about to see, usually revealing major plot points and twists of said episode.
You do understand, Showtime, we are already tuned in, or recording via DVR, we intend to watch - there's no need to entice us to watch. We're already there. All this plot revealing preview does is ruin the show for us. Sometimes there's no point in watching after these spoiler previews. See, this is hurting you, and ruining your hard-paid-for programming for you.
Is the point that you don't want us to watch? If so, you're starting to succeed. Stop it, just stop it.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
If you think Elliot Rodger is an anarchist or nihilist wannabe with an odd sense of justice, it's only because you haven't met Christian Slater's character yet. Mr. Robot is the real anarchist and he wants to bring down the evil corporations, especially the one Elliot works for - E Corp. There's a very paranoid Big Brother vibe, and Slater is very Slater, but it works.
The pilot episode, cleverly titled "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov," was written by show creator and executive producer Sam Esmail, whose previous credits include Comet and dating Emmy Rossum from "Shameless." It's a single camera shoot interspersed with lots of stock footage and a tense score by Mac Quayle that is vaguely reminiscent of Tangerine Dream on speed.
If nothing else, this is a tale told with an intriguing storytelling style. Worth checking out. Available on several digital platforms and OnDemand right now, "Mr. Robot" officially premieres on USA June 24th.
Friday, June 12, 2015
the last episode, Daredevil and the Kingpin (both as yet unnamed thus, so let's call them as we've seen them - the Devil of Hell's Kitchen and seeming philanthropist Wilson Fisk) are officially at war, and the man in the shadows, the mystery head of the house of cards, has played his hand in the bright sunshine. Things are not looking good for Daredevil, even with his new alliance with Ben Urich. And I'm not just talking about that blow he takes in the opening seconds of episode nine.
Speaking of the Silver Age, there's been a recent hubbub about artist Wally Wood getting credit on the show and a possible lawsuit brewing as well from the comics creator's estate, the fires fanned of course by the rabble-rousers at Bleeding Cool. I think a lot of this comes from the show credit of 'created by' being followed by the names Stan Lee and Bill Everett, and not Wally Wood.
While it's true that almost everything we associate with Daredevil - the red costume, the billy club, the chest symbol - all came from Wally Wood's early redesign of the character, of that there is no doubt, how far should we go with this? I'm on episode nine here and the only reference to the Wood work so far is in the credit sequence itself. In actuality, and I hate saying this, if anyone really deserves any extra credit for this series so far it might just be Frank Miller, stylistically and principally, from his Man Without Fear story.
I know I'm making a lot of folks mad here, especially writers, but all that comics work back in the day was work for hire. Lawsuits decades later are ludicrous. By the same token that Wally Wood gets credit for creating Daredevil, Bill Finger and Gardner Fox and Jerry Robinson should have their names above Bob Kane's for creating Batman - because they really created Batman, and I'd add Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams to that list as well. Those five men made Batman more than Kane ever did. As far as I'm concerned, Bob Kane knew his way around a lawyer's office better than he ever did a drawing board. Just my opinion, so you know where to send the hate mail.
The fact is this - comic books are a collaborative artform in a shared universe created via work for hire. Maybe the credit should read, and read accurately, 'created by Marvel Comics,' and be done with it. I'm not begrudging Wally Wood or his estate what is due, but this just gets in my crawl. Enough is enough.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." for St. Agnes. Either way, this time once again cribbing from Frank Miller, Matt is seeking some sort of therapy through confession. I was pleased that Lantom, unlike Karen and Ben later this episode, has figured out Matt's other identity. It's not that hard.
Merely a plot device in his first two appearances, here Lantom's Peter McRobbie (who had also worked with Charlie Cox on "Boardwalk Empire") has room to play and make an impression finally. Rather than confessional, they chat over coffee, and McRobbie, doing an almost Robert Duvall rift tells a tale of his belief in, and his encounter with, The Devil. Lantom's story is both morality play and warning to Matt. Do not mess with The Devil.
There are some intriguing name drops this episode, most notably Senator Cherryh. In the comics this corrupt senator is close to the Kingpin and has run afoul of Spider-Man, Elektra, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil - most of the heroes in these Netflix series leading up to "The Defenders."
Nighthawk? The description unfortunately fits the temperamental and much-dissed hero.
Also, location location location. I keep forgetting about the law offices of Nelson and Murdock, across from Atlas Investments, a possible homage to Atlas Comics, the name Marvel went by in the 1950s, and the Agents of Atlas, the retconned name given to the heroes of that era. N&M's offices are also where Van Lunt Real Estate used to be. Cornelius Van Lunt was the criminal industrialist also known as Taurus, one of the twelve-member cartel called Zodiac - longtime enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.
Back at the art gallery, Charlie Cox shows his first weakness as an actor when putting up a front for Vanessa, but is it bad acting on the part of Cox or of Matt Murdock? An argument could be made for both. When Fisk shows up he is equally uncomfortable. It is almost as if they know each other already subconsciously. Of course they have already spoken as Daredevil and Kingpin in "Condemned", perhaps this meeting is just a formality. And D'Onoffrio's Fisk silently makes no doubt of how he feels about Matt. That final look as our hero leaves says volumes.
When Fisk offers Daredevil his shot, free punch, in the beginning of a hand to hand combat, our hero is in no shape and is no match whatsoever. Fisk beats him senseless, pummeling his foe almost as he did his father as a boy. When Fisk walks away, telling Wesley to finish him, Daredevil escapes. You might think that's the cliffhanger, but it's not, as it's Foggy who finds Matt near dead, in costume... now things are getting interesting...
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Reptilicus. Now I'm moving eastward to South Korea for 1967's Yongary, Monster from the Deep, or Taekoesu Yongary, as it's known there. Yongary was more of a traditional giant monster, bipedal and rampaging, and making a beeline to the country of origin's major city - in this case, Seoul.
I was very surprised when I saw this movie recently on basic cable. Before the showing on something called The Works, a digital subchannel of MGM, a rating declared Yongary TV-14, and containing "some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age." Wow. I had to wonder, as I've been watching giant monsters for as long as I can remember - did I have bad parents, and did I turn out all right? Wow.
The movie is slow, plodding, and predictable. It's so bad that, yeah, I actually enjoyed the scene where Yongary dances. The moment is refreshing compared to everything else. When I first reviewed this movie, I also trashed its decades later sequel/remake Reptilian. To be honest, neither has aged gracefully. You can read that mess here. Hopefully my reviewing has aged better in a dozen years…
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
last time, episode eight welcomes us back to reality with the Kingpin. In a beautifully crafted sequence written by executive producer Steven S. DeKnight and directed by Stephen Surjik, the latter known for his work on "Burn Notice" and "Person of Interest," we watch Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk in his morning routine. He awakens to the painting purchased in "Rabbit in a Snowstorm," makes breakfast, gets dressed, but still sees himself as an abused child in the mirror. No dialogue, but wonderfully shot, and so telling of his character, without a word spoken. I'll say it again. Beautiful.
last episode. The casualness between Fisk and Wesley here is warm, unexpected, and disconcerting. What is their real relationship? Is it more than business?
as I have suggested. He keeps talking about his son, also named Leland. If he keeps acting the way he's acting, perhaps old Leland won't make it out of this alive, and young Leland returns for revenge, as The Owl.
the last episode, Cole Jenson as young Wilson Fisk is an amazing actor. He is the embodiment and verbalization of everything Vincent D'Onofrio demonstrates with gesture, facial expression, and silence. Truly a case of an inner child, and that is what the actor's portrayal has been all about. And now we know what the painting is all about. The wall of punishment, and we see what happened to Daddy Fisk. It's not pretty, it's not happy, but maybe, it's just. Now we'll have to see the rest of the story, how momma's boy became violent man-child.
There is an interesting parallel struck between the childhoods of Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk. Both men have violent fathers who have lasting effects on them as adults, but it's the way the violence is channeled and the lessons taught and learned that separate them. Still, in many ways, at least on the surface and in the big picture, they are the same. They both think they want to save the city, they both think they have to do it to redeem something their fathers failed at, and they are both very violent men.
So many folks, following along with me as I review these episodes one at a time as I watch them, have pointed out "Stick" as their favorite of the bunch. I am going to have to buck the majority. "Shadows in the Glass," more the Kingpin's secret origin, is my favorite so far.