- 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, August 31, 2015
Biff Bam Pop! right here.
Now despite the fact that the Z word does not exist in the Robert Kirkman Walking Dead universe, it doesn't take much to figure out by the second episode that the dead are coming back to life and biting on the living, continuing a cycle of infection that in turn kills and resurrects for ill intent. Tobias has it down, he knows, more than that, he is self aware of his universe. He knows what to do to survive in the zombie apocalypse. In other words, he's us.
Another aspect that I intimated in my last blog entry about "Fear the Walking Dead" was the Ferguson comparison. In the second episode, police brutality and protest play a huge part in the acceleration of the living turning into the walking dead. People see the police shooting citizens multiple times for apparently no reason angers the mob.
The Walking Dead." Are the police and the military the majority of the survivors out there? We know Rick Grimes is a cop, but are all the other human monsters we've seen former authority… former good guys? That's the real horror.
And speaking of horror, rest in peace, Wes Craven, without whom, we wouldn't have much of the genre we have today. We have lost a visionary in the field. For a different view of the "Fear the Walking Dead" series, check out my friend and fellow writer Marie Gilbert's reviews over at Biff Bam Pop!.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Twin Peaks" and "The X-Files" are probably the most high profile of them, but there are others out there, like the inexplicable "Coach," and one that should have been given a better chance, one that was mishandled and ruined by the powers-that-be... I'm talking about "Heroes."
then it lost its way. Personally I blame Jeph Loeb, who similarly ruined the Marvel Animated Universe. I made some too-little-too-late suggestions hoping to save "Heroes," but the writing was on the wall, the show was doomed. Now it's getting a second chance. Perhaps the bad taste of the second and third seasons have been washed away, and that old magic is possible again.
Dark Matters." This is really only fitting as the show was one of the first to be actively interactive with other media, why not ease us back into the "Heroes" universe in this way, right?
If you haven't watched yet, be warned, spoilers ahead.
Reconnecting the audience with elements that did work from the first season we meet Phoebe Frady (Canadian actress Aislinn Paul), who can 'steal light' and manipulate shadows. Like the Cheerleader, she documents her power discovery on YouTube. Unfortunately we are now in a world well aware of powers. Super-powered individuals, or EVOs, are watched carefully and discriminated against.
If you're feeling the heavy Civil War and X-Men vibe, you are not alone and it's probably on purpose to cash in. Substitute mutant or superhero for EVO, and you've got Days of Future Past and/or the Superhuman Registration Act all over again. It's pretty blatant, and as cool and engaging as Phoebe's story is, the shadow of the unoriginality of her world covers it up.
"Dark Matters" is available on YouTube and OnDemand, and "Heroes Reborn" premieres on NBC September 24, 2015. I'm giving it a second chance, are you?
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
I was aware of the show however. How could I not be, right? It was huge, even before the Olsen twins exploded. And I knew John Stamos, from "General Hospital" of course. But to me, it just seemed like another innocuous sitcom. I like sitcoms, don't get me wrong, but not the unsurprising formula ones like this - or so I've heard.
After the success of the 'unauthorized' treatment of "Saved by the Bell" by Lifetime, it seems as if this type of production will be appearing more often on the network. What's really frightening about this one is that every actor seems to be doing really bad and over the top impressions of the celebrities. But then again, earlier unauthorizeds for "Three's Company" and "The Partridge Family," among others, have done much the same.
Here's the thing though, "Full House" has something special other previous unauthorizeds did not - a unified cast currently working together on a new version of the show to comment on this movie. The cast is presently working on the new Netflix update of the show, "Fuller House." They expressed mostly disdain and disappointment. Having watched it, I'd have to agree.
So where was Alanis Morissette? Wasn't "You Oughta Know" about Dave Coulier? If there's one story from behind the scenes at "Full House" that needs to be told it's that one...
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
the kind that I hate so much. One drunken escapade with a transgender prostitute, and Blunt is in trouble, and continuing his downward spiral as he takes drugs and lies to his employers. This dark humor is what I tuned in for, not Star Trek.
I'm a big fan of Jonathan Ames. His novels, columns, and especially his HBO series "Bored to Death" are full of this type of sarcastic darkness, and I love it. Stewart plays well in this world, and is a comic delight to watch. One particular scene in an airport bathroom in the second episode had me in hysterics. Stewart has a real talent for physical comedy.
The real bonus for me watching the first few episodes was the song "Miss Cindy" by The High Decibels in the first one. Sort of a hip hop rockabilly, it grabbed me right away, so after Shazam-ing and SoundHound-ing it, I sample-listened to the two albums by the band on iTunes. I dug it, a lot, and bought both. Seriously, there's not a bad song in the bunch. When was the last time you bought an entire album where you liked every track, let alone two? Great stuff.
Monday, August 24, 2015
fellow writer, and TV host Kristin Battestella at the RadioVision Network on their program "Morning Coffee." The topic was Star Trek, in the movies, and on television, in all of its various incarnations.
We discussed the original series and what made it work, moved on the animated series, and into the movies. We talked about our love for (and apparently we're the only ones) for the much-maligned "Enterprise," about "The Next Generation" and its spin-offs "Deep Space Nine" and Voyager."
We also talked about the movies - how Wrath of Khan was the best, and what was right and wrong about all the others, from The Undiscovered Country to the new reboot of the series. It was a great discussion, you can check it out here. Thanks to Kristin, Morning Coffee, and the RadioVision Network.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Fear the Walking Dead" is about. More than the bottom line of greed and money and cashing in on the idea of a companion series to the wildly successful "The Walking Dead," it's about unbound, source material-free storytelling.
As most folks know, "The Walking Dead" is based on the black and white Image Comic from Robert Kirkman. When he brought the series to television he made sure that it was different from the comics. While some of the characters, situations, and storylines are similar to the comics, they are not the same. Kirkman's thinking follows two lines of thinking - first, the television series is an alternate universe to the comics, and second, if the viewers knew what was going to happen, why would they watch?
The Walking Dead," if you read the comics, you did have some idea of what to expect, whether it played out that way or not. "Fear the Walking Dead" would be a whole new game however. The series would be clearly taking place in the same universe, but be happening in Los Angeles as opposed to the Atlanta area, and would also be more of a prequel.
"Fear" would occur while Rick Grimes was in a coma in the early days of the 'zombie apocalypse,' (and yes, I know there's no Z word in this world) before the original series. We may even learn how this all started, something that has never been fully explored in the comics. New territory.
From the previews, it would seem to be a subtle and gradual zombie takeover (how long was Rick's coma anyway?) that simultaneously conjures images of both Ferguson unrest and 1970s Battle of the Planet of the Apes. We're looking at military vs. walkers and a family caught up in the transformation of mankind from top of the food chain to prey on the run, at least from the quick cuts we've seen.
House of Cards" and "Sons of Anarchy," so I'm also looking forward to finding out which Kim Dickens we're getting. I've always been a Ruben Blades fan and it will be fun to see Elizabeth Rodriguez in a starring role outside of "Orange Is the New Black."
So I'm excited for some new territory with "Fear the Walking Dead," maybe some answers, and maybe better stories than we have seen the last few seasons of "The Walking Dead." The series begins tomorrow night, and Marie Gilbert will be covering it for Biff Bam Pop!, watch for it right here.
Friday, August 21, 2015
For many of us, boy and girl, Yvonne Craig's Batgirl was our first crush. It was never a matter of Ginger or Mary Ann, it was Batgirl or Julie Newmar's Catwoman. Hell, even today, those two women might very well be responsible for my predilection for redheads. Seeing her with Elvis in Kissin' Cousins, and later as the green-skinned slave girl from Orion on "Star Trek," cemented that crush for myself, and thousands of others.
Bionic Woman, or Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, and definitely before the Black Widow, Yvonne was kicking butt and taking names and even had her own theme song, debatably cooler than Batman's. And although there was a Bat-Girl in the comics in the 1950s, the character of Barbara Gordon as the new Batgirl was launched almost simultaneously with the TV version, many times taking her cues from Yvonne Craig's portrayal.
I met Ms. Craig once, for just a moment at a convention years ago. She still looked great, was sweet and tolerant of my gushing, and was funny and ironic. Unlike many stars folks meet at cons, she was a delight, and she will be missed.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
For all of you out there shaking and twitching while waiting for your Who fix, help is finally on its way, via TARDIS, the trailer for "Doctor Who" Series 9 is finally here!
The Mistress/The Master is back, so are the Zygons, the Daleks of course, and this time with the Supreme Dalek, Gallifrey, dragons, Arya Stark(!)… and is that a Sea Devil? Loving the shades, and the guitar, and hating that Clara is still there…
The new season starts September 19th. Join me at Biff Bam Pop! for my reviews of the series, and on September 11th I'll be on Morning Coffee talking "Doctor Who" with Kristin Battestella.
Also, if you're in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area this coming Saturday, August 15th, it's Doctor Who Day 2015 at All Things Fun!, co-sponsored by Titan Comics. There will be special items from the UK and they'll be celebrating the launch of the big Four Doctors crossover event in the comics!
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Andy Burns at Biff Bam Pop! and Skott Stotland at The Nerd Signal, this movie wasn't as bad as a lot of folks have been saying - but that said, it is still pretty bad.
Up front, this troubled production from co-writer/director Josh Trank is not a Fantastic Four movie in the traditional sense, nor is it any kind of superhero movie either. In the same sense that his highly acclaimed Chronicle was an anti-superhero movie, so is his Fantastic Four. Taking its cues loosely from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics rather than the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby original stories, this is a tale of Reed Richards, played by the much-hated-in-some-circles Miles Teller. This socially awkward young genius is given the resources to build his invention, a dimensional teleporter, which has consequences that eventually transform his friends and colleagues into …something else.
The characters, save Teller's Reed, are two-dimensional, their only personality being that overlaid subconsciously by viewers who know them from the comics. They are one note and we don't care about them. Reed on the other hand fulfills his destiny as a screw-up, perhaps more blatantly here than in the comics, and really engenders no sympathy beyond that. The acting is minimal, the special effects are in places, well done and elsewhere cartoony.
Again, Doom is inserted into the Fantastic Four origin. And again badly. He emerged from the other world covered in metal without a mouth, an actor, one of the more likable in the flick, now unable to act. The Thing and Human Torch are given similar handicaps. I found this surprising as one of the tropes of superhero movies (of which this is not) is the constant removal of masks so the actor can emote or show off their good looks. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Tobey Maguire.
the Deadpool trailer before the film, if you're looking for more Marvel content. There's not much, even Stan Lee stayed away from this one.
Marvel Cinematic Universe), there is no after-credits or mid-credits stinger. As a matter of fact, I noticed that once the movie proper was over, people could not wait to get out of the theater. I did learn one surprising thing from the credits however. Minimalist composer Philip Glass (a favorite) did some of the score. I did like it and will have to go back and listen to it some more.
Did I hate it? Certainly not as much as my friend Ray Cornwall who eviscerates it on the latest episode of The GAR! Podcast, but I didn't like it. This was not a good movie, nor was it a good superhero movie, and it was most definitely not a good Fantastic Four movie. Not recommended. Wait for Netflix or cable if you must see it.
Monday, August 10, 2015
All my life I have loved the James Bond movie series, and with that, also the numerous copycats, homages, and parodies. So I dug Flint as a kid, but I recall liking Matt Helm a lot better, and even today, Dean Martin's swaggering spy is a fave and a delight. As I got ready to watch the two Flint films, I wondered if it would change my mind.
James Coburn's Derek Flint is a retired super spy from Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage - you gotta love those 1960s acronyms) who is now living the life of a classic playboy. In the first film, 1966's Our Man Flint, he's brought out of his retirement to stop Galaxy, a cabal of evil scientists who want to rule the world.
There are some clever plot twists, colorful sets, cheesy 1960s effects, beautiful women, an early cool jazzy score by Jerry Goldsmith, and lots of silly spy gadgets and cliches. The flick is dated, yes, and the plot falls apart if you think too hard, but it is parody after all. Highlights include Bond wannabe Agent 0008 and a baddie named Hans Gruber, yeah, as in Die Hard like twenty years later.
The sequel In Like Flint was released a little over a year later. Even though many of the same folks are involved, this tale of a spa company taking over the world and turning the patriarchy into a matriarchy (sooo sexist and dated), is a weak sister to the original. Notably not as clever, one glaring difference is the music. In Our Man, music moved along the slow parts, and here many of the slow bits go silent.
Lee J. Cobb is toothless and nothing like his character in the original, and Flint is too nice. I found myself disliking them both whereas I loved their performances in Our Man. It's like the first movie was "Batman" clever but the second was unfunny like the later Pink Panther films, trying but never quite making it. Not to be mean, but I know why there wasn't a third Flint flick. And speaking of "Batman," look for pre-Batgirl Yvonne Craig as the ballerina in this one.
After this double feature, I would have to say I still prefer Matt Helm, and I could probably wait another four decades to see these two movies again. Now I know why the only memory I have of them previously is the sound of the ring of the President's phone.
Friday, August 07, 2015
The main thing that has always bothered me about this incarnation of "The Daily Show" is that there are people who think it is news. There are folks who hang on Jon Stewart's every word as if he's this generation's Walter Cronkite, and I think that's sad. Just as I think that more than half of the programming on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and others should have a big sign on the screen that says OPINION when they are doing that instead of reporting the news, I think "The Daily Show" should have one that says SATIRE.
fast food aficionado I have to say I loved the Arby's commercial, that was a touch of class.
So despite not liking the show, not being a fan of either Stewart or his concept of the show, I have enjoyed it from time to time, and enjoyed the final episode of his run. Even Springsteen was pretty awesome. It wasn't bad, even with the preaching about 'bullshit.' I think would have rather had them actually talk about the Republican debate, but as it stands, we all know the debate was much funnier. I look forward to a new take by incoming host Trevor Noah.
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Tod Browning's final film is not only pedestrian and toothless, but also a big disappointment for this Browning fan. Miracles for Sale from 1939 is based on the mystery novel, Death from a Top Hat, by Clayton Rawson, the first in a series featuring the Great Merlini character.
Only a very young Robert Young (who plays the Amazing Morgan, inexplicably changed from Merlini) really stands out in this murder mystery wrapped up in the world of magicians, escape artists, and con men. TV's Uncle Charley from "My Three Sons," William Demarest has some fun here too as a (surprise) curmudgeon.
One would think this setting would be right up Tod Browning's alley, but he never really takes hold and makes it his own. Reminiscent of Houdini's war on frauds late in his life, only nowhere near as exciting, this one has little of that old Browning -pardon the pun- magic.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
Dust Devil is moody, creepy, atmospheric, and barely comprehensible. I'd be lying if I didn't say this film was visually stunning. Stanley does know how to catch the eye with even the most mundane or most horrific, but I really disliked this movie a lot.
The score, by the award-winning Simon Boswell, is perfect for the film. The narration works well, but the acting and dialogue are abysmal. After sitting through this, I know why so many cut it down. Dust Devil could have been a brilliant short, unfortunately, it's about an hour too long.
Monday, August 03, 2015
I know this is going to sound odd coming from the co-host of a podcast that is sometimes focused on wrestling, but I've never seen Rowdy Roddy Piper wrestle. What I have seen however is Roddy Piper act. And I'm not talking about Hell Comes to Frogtown, 'dance of the three snakes,' indeed! I'm talking about 1988's They Live.
In They Live, Roddy Piper plays a nameless drifter of few words who carries the movie, the story, and his character almost completely with facial expressions, gestures, and now legendary catchphrases. It is an acting tour de force inside a simple scifi action flick.
And the seemingly endless street fight scene (some offensive language, below) between Piper and Keith David to get to latter to put on a pair of those magic sunglasses... that's just pure brilliance, and that's what I'll remember Roddy Piper for. I'll miss you, man.