VOD Review: What We Do in the Shadows

29 05 2015

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Mad Max: Fury Road – Actions Speak Louder Than Exposition

26 05 2015

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Speaking Of….05/14/15

14 05 2015

Brief Thoughts on Pop Culture

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Speaking Of….05/11/15

11 05 2015

Brief thoughts on pop culture

The Conspiracy Theorists Must Be Right….

  Because “the government is trying to acclimate us to the idea of pre-crime” is the only possible reason I can see why FOX would pick up the Minority Report series for a full season sight unseen. It’s a sequel series set 10 years after the movie, where a now-released precog teams up with a detective to solve mysteries or some such network garbage. Who asked for this? 

Speaking of Asking for It….

  The era of American Idol is over. After 16 seasons it’s finally going off the air, wallowing the it’s death throes of irrelevance. Am I the only person that wasn’t aware it was still on? Is that super hipster of me to say?


 Apparently this is me.

Speaking of Hipsters….


 I’m not sure, but I think this image alone counts as a spoiler….

Another season of Orange is the New Black, another season of Laura Prepon and her hipster glasses. The show (now on season 3) is good, I’ve just never really gotten into it. Here is a trailer for season 3, coming June 12:

OITNB S3 Trailer
Speaking of Things I didn’t get into….


Yes, this is a poster to the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen. It took me a minute (and imdb) to remember which “Die Hard in the White House” movie from 2013 this was a sequel to. Apparently not the one with Charming Potato and Jaime Foxx, but the other one.  


Lol @ anyone pretending they are different movies.

Speaking of getting stuff mixed up….

  I’ve been trying to write an article about all the network pick ups, renewals, and cancellations. But then I realized I don’t care about most of them, save the ones I already discussed in previous editions of Speaking Of….. So instead, here’s a concise, easy to read but in no way complete list of cancellations and renewals!

Agents of SHIELD
The 100
The Flash
American Crime
The Blacklist
Beauty and the Beast
The Big Bang Theory
Bob’s Burgers
Daredevil (Netflix)
iZombie (I keep hearing this is good)
The Last Man On Earth
Once Upon A Time
The Originals and Vampire Diaries 
The Simpsons (season 28!)

American Idol
The Following
Gracepoint (just watch Broadchurch)
Parks and Rec
Two and a Half Men

Speaking Of…05/10/15

10 05 2015

Brief Thoughts on Pop Culture

Agent Carter Gets Renewed,  Shouldn’t Have Even Been in Question



Marvel’s best network show (sorry, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) has officially been renewed, because despite all previous evidence ABC is not run by a team of drunken monkeys.  The first season was so different from everything else on TV, which is a trait that is getting more and more difficult to find. I am so looking forward to more of Peggy’s sharply-written adventures with Jarvis, Howard, and the gang.


Speaking of Sharply Written….



Game of Thrones keeps getting more and more off book, and I love it.  Not only is it nice not to know what’s going to happen just by the episode’s title, but it’s nice to be just as surprised as everyone else when a character who lives in the books dies in the show, or two characters that never meet in the books become traveling buddies on HBO.  And does it seem to anyone else that this season’s episodes feel five minutes long?  BTW, Barristan the Bold and brave Grey Worm FTW.



Speaking of “Brave” and “Bold”….



DC gets their own “Avengers” on TV…kind of.  Spinning out of Arrow/Flash TV universe,  Legends of Tomorrow stars Brandon Routh as the Atom, along with Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter, the Prison Break guys as Heat Wave and (Captain, dammit) Cold, Victor Garber as half of Firestorm for some reason, Caity Lotz as The Canary We Like 



(just please let that poor girl put her boobs away, they are nice, but I’m sure it gets cold in Vancouver), 


and Hawkgirl and probably Cyborg. As weird as it sounds, I’m totally on board.  Oh, and if you want Flash and Arrow to make sense this week? Wait to watch Flash after Arrow.  CW screwed up the scheduling a few weeks back, so they are out of order, explaining some of the continuity weirdness (i.e. Raylicity going back and forth on the shows)


Marvel, Sony Emails reveal their thoughts on a solo superheroine film



Well, this is kind of sad.  Apparently Sony reached out to Marvel via email about a woman-led superhero film (like the Black Widow movie we should have already gotten) and what they got back was a discouraging message indeed:

 From: “IP” 
To: “Lynton, Michael”
Subject: Female Movies
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 05:32:50 -0400
As we discussed on the phone, below are just a few examples. There are more.
1. Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=elektra.htm
2. Catwoman (WB/DC) – Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batmanfranchise. This film was a disaster. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=catwoman.htm
3. Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.


Now I understand not betting on a losing horse, but one thing stands out about all of the movies listed…they’re terrible.  Elektra was a rushed, poorly written cash-in to a movie that was terrible to begin with (Fox’s Daredevil)…Catwoman was a poorly-written vanity project that suffered more ridicule than a movie had in a while, and Supergirl…look, I love Helen Slater, and at least it’s not as bad as Man of Steel.  You know what’s not on that list, though?  Daredevil.  Green Lantern.  Superman Returns.  Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.  Jonah Hex.  League of Extraordinary Gentleman.  The Spirit.  Steel.  The Rocketeer (a damn, damn good movie, still a box-office flop), The Phantom…


 My list can go on all day, Marvel. This pic could easily have been David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury, but I just couldn’t resist Reb Brown’s magnificent package.

Maybe if you wrote a good script, and put as much care into a She-Hulk movie, that you do your SECOND Captain America movie or your THIRD Iron Man movie (it was decent) you wouldn’t have to add it to the list of flops.  Women don’t make superhero movies suck, you guys make terrible superheroine films.


Speaking of Ignoring Flops….



 Following the most recent Dragon Ball Z theatrical film (yes they still make those), Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection “F”, a new sequel series to Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super is set to premiere in Japan in July, and looks like it will completely disregard Dragon Ball GT, which sucked anyway. No word yet on when it comes to America.


Speaking of things that suck…



 Frank Miller is returning for Dark Knight III : The Master Race.  Yes, that is the real title.  Yes, Frank Miller lost his mind several years ago.  



Yes, Marvin. Yes it will.

But hey, Brad Bird’s Next Movie will be Incredibles 2!



That’s all I know.  I just had to share.  I’m excited. It’s still the best Fantastic Four movie out there.





Speaking Of….

4 05 2015

Brief Thoughts on Pop Culture 05/04/15


OK DC, now you’re just messing with us….



Seriously DC/WB?  This is the best you could come up with?  I mean I know it was a lot to ask that they not go with Hooker Harley, I totally expected them to make her a Juggalette,  but look at Killer Croc.  How the mighty have fallen, Arabeci.  I have to admit that the Deadshot outfit is pretty faithful, but there’s a line between faithful and practical, and this just makes him look like Jason Voorhees in Call of Duty.



Speaking of Jason Voorhees….


MKX Jason Trailer

There’s a trailer featuring Camp Crystal Lake’s favorite son in the most appropriate crossover ever: He’s in the new Mortal Kombat.  If you haven’t seen anything from the game, here:


All Fatalities


Yeah, I made it about 4 fatalities in.  It’s a fun game (when it works) but the fatalities/brutalities are a little overboard.  So Jason being added makes quite a bit of sense.  It’s a gory cartoon.


Speaking of Cartoons….



Rick and Morty comes back this summer.  I don’t have any other info, I’m just so damned excited about it I have to say something.  If you haven’t seen the best, most insane and fearless animated sitcom on TV right now, go on YouTube immediately and rectify this.  You owe it to yourself.


Speaking of “owing it to yourself”….



If you’re not watching The Flash, you need to fix this too.  Tonight, a man who can run faster than the speed of sound fights a giant, hyper-intelligent, telepathic gorilla at the behest of a time-traveler who shares Flash’s powers.  This is a thing that is on my TV in 2015, and I could not be happier.  Oh, and tomorrow Ollie doesn’t kill Dig at the behest of Arrow’s best villain (and wingman) Ra’s Al Ghul.  Oh, and if you don’t agree about this being the second best Ra’s (besides B:TAS) you’re totally wrong.



“Just go bang Ollie.  It’s his last night as a free man or whatever. We’ve been waiting since like season two.” 

Speaking of Batman.…

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer

Batman: Arkham Knight comes out June 23.  Never finished City and skipped Origins, but this new trailer is a bullet aimed straight at my nerdy Batman-loving heart. John Noble as the Scarecrow!  The Batmobile!  Tons of attacks that looks suspiciously like they are breaking Batman’s “no killing” rule!  Seriously, take a look:     

Arkham Takedowns


Those guys are totally dead.  Oh, and the DLC will let you play some missions as the Barbra Gordon Batgirl…why they didn’t go with the more visually interesting Batwoman (Kate Kane) is beyond me.  Is she even still in the comics?


Age of Ultron was boring, and I blame TV (Spoilers for EVERYTHING)

4 05 2015




Going into Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was more pumped for a movie than I have been in a while.  The trailers made it look like everything I wanted out of an Avengers sequel, hell even the ominous theme music got my blood going.  But as I sat in the theater for two hours and forty minutes, this slow feeling of…emptiness crept over me.  I was enjoying myself, and there was plenty in the film to like, but by the time the movie was over, I walked out feeling unsatisfied. And I knew exactly why. Two things occurred to me that do not bode well for the superhero film genre going forward. 

                Number one: I can see this kind of thing done better every week and not shell out $12 a ticket.  When Marvel debuted Iron Man, and ended it on the whole “Avengers Initiative” note (their first end credits stinger!) there was palpable excitement in the air.  No one had ever done a “shared cinematic universe”, much less with a property with as much nerd potential as Marvel Comics.  There was no Arrow, no Flash, no Gotham, no Agent Carter, and most importantly, no Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.(here on out for brevity’s sake referred to as “AoS”).  And while it’s true that TV still has yet to match films on the scale of an Avengers or Man of Steel, it gets closer every week,


 (especially in Man of Steel’s case, because that movie was garbage, and worse than Superman Returns (yeah, I said it)).

  While Gotham or AoS may not have the star power or the money for really convincing special effects, they have something that Age of Ultron was lacking – time.  Television shows have twelve to twenty-four episodes to build a world, characters, motivations and relationships, and build those to a climax over a longer period of time.  Age of Ultron had to introduce and explain Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Ultron, and the Vision, along with providing character arcs for each of its returning characters. 


This shit gives me a headache. And I’m a fan.

Oh, and it had to set up the plots of Black Panther (Andy Serkis’s Klaw, Vibranium, Wakanda), Captain America 3: Civil War (Tony vs Steve, “enhanced” vs regular people), Thor 3: Ragnarok (Everyone in Asgard is dead and Thor is losing his shit), Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 & 2 (Thanos, Infinity Gems, new, untested Avengers team), and the next season of AoS (which I’m assuming will be one big lead up to Civil War).  In under three hours.  And while it performed admirably, a lot of the new characters suffered for having less time to grow.  Thor just kind of was there, and his flashback/nightmare told me that he was only there to remind us to go see Thor 3, otherwise his role in the film could have been done by just about anyone.  Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were interesting, but I never really felt they went anywhere.  I guess what this wall of text’s point is that TV can do serial stories and “shared universes (I throw up in my mouth now a little every time I am forced to type that)” much better than movies because they have time to build an interesting world and characters you give a shit about.


 (except Barbara on Gotham.  No one cares about her, or anything that happens to her character, especially the writers)

  And right now there’s a golden age of superhero shows, with AoS, Agent Carter, and The Flash standing out as the best of the bunch.  Huh, look at that, two Marvel shows that I give more of a shit about than the Avengers sequel, because they are (mostly) well-written, (mostly) well-acted, and can take the time to give us interesting villains, like Calvin Zabo or my God, have you seen Tom Cavanaugh’s Reverse-Flash?  One of the most compelling performances on TV, even when he’s in full scenery-chewing mode, and most people have never seen it.

                Point number two: The standard “superhero” genre film is dead.  I had thought Marvel had figured this out, and that’s why we got a 70’s political thriller called Captain America: Winter Soldier, a goofy space opera called Guardians of the Galaxy, and a Shane Black Christmas action movie a la Lethal Weapon called Iron Man 3.  But Age of Ultron is almost a step back in this department, doggedly hewing to the old “Supervillain creates doomsday weapon to wipe out humanity” trope without really doing anything new with it.  There were no personal stakes for any of the characters, or at least no stakes that they seemed to care about.  Ultron’s whole motivation was vague and unclear.  To use my two earlier samples as contrast:  In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Kyle Maclachlan plays Calvin Zabo, also known as Mister Hyde in the comics.  His big plan?  Reunite with his family, whom he blames (and kind of rightly so) S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA for losing years ago.  He’s a rage monster, and he does awful things, but he at least has a compelling and believable reason for doing so. 


  We have enough time with the series so that we can see  Zabo run through a range of emotions, and since it’s Kyle Maclachlan, you can’t help but like the guy, even as he tries to kill our heroes.  

Over on The Flash (yes I’m going to gush over it some more, get used to it), the big bad of the season has been hanging out and cracking jokes with Team Flash.  He (Thawne/Wells/Reverse-Flash) has been busy changing the course of his own world’s history so he can not only get back home, but also kill the Flash.  However, he realized that the only way to get home was to create the very hero that he came back in time to kill.  Wells even muses on the irony of his situation.  It’s a fantastic dilemma, and a fascinating thing to see Tom Cavanaugh play around with, ginning smugly and punning it up.  


I STILL want a 15 season prequel starring this man and his amazing smug face. 

So what’s Ultron’s motivation?  Uh, he watched all of Youtube, and decided humanity needed to die because we aren’t…I don’t know.  Wasn’t really clear, even with a great but ultimately wasted performance by James Spader.  Ultron mentions that everyone creates the thing they fear most, and it’s an interesting theme that goes absolutely nowhere.  The rest of the world outside of the U.S. seems to hate The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., and that’s interesting and believable.  Too bad you just get the vaguest idea of that concept before it’s dropped for witty banter and meaningless punching.  I’d have rather swapped out the Hulk/Iron Man battle for a quiet scene of Ultron, Tony, and Bruce having a chat, talking about their motivations, trying to come to an agreement.  SOMETHING other than dudes and chicks punching a cartoon monster bent on destroying the world for no real reason, which pretty much sums up the movie (also sums up Green Lantern, which is not good company to be in).  I thought Amazing Spider-man 2 proved to studios that the superhero film as a genre was over with, but sadly it appears I was wrong. 

So as an entry in the ongoing “MCU”, Avengers: Age of Ultron is okay.  But you can also wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray, which will apparently have a THREE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTE CUT OF THE DAMN MOVIE.  If anything, it will improve the film’s biggest flaw, which is that it feels rushed, overstuffed, and the emotional beats feel unearned.  Hopefully all of that narrative connective tissue that the movie was lacking will be there.  But if not, you can always turn on the TV and see something better anyways. 


 It’s a B-Squad JLA, and it’s free.