Friday, August 28, 2015

Act 123: What Else Are They Saying

Masked Blogster and Kalani chat as Kalani gets ready for his out of state move.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

The End of the Tour: Review

A film by director James Ponsoldt, starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg, The End of the Tour, scored a 92% "Fresh" from Rotten Tomato's and for good reason. This is a story that dives deep into the manner in which an individual can choose to live their life. Jason Segel plays novelist "David Foster Wallace" who is so deeply invested in the human experience he eventually loses himself in his pursuit of a life worth living. The audience meets a character so true to how's artists, writers and creative types feel and think it's almost uncomfortable for those who are (or who know) people in this mindset and lifestyle to watch.

The onscreen chemistry between Jason Segel & Jessie Eisenberg alone is worth the price of a movie ticket. Jesse Eisenberg plays Rolling Stone and fictional novel writer "David Lipsky" who has a fair level of admiration and respect for Jason Segels character. The philosophical and analytical views on the life experience stem from these two characters back and forth discussions throughout the film. Neither character being 100% open but at the same time they are 100% open with what they agree to discuss. The audience is treated to topics often difficult to engage in with an opportunity to continue the discussion after the film.

By the end of the film every viewer might discover something about themselves."The End of the Tour" isn't just a tale of writer “David Foster Wallace” but an opportunity for everyone to take an introspective look at themselves, their relationships & their choices in life. This film dares to look at life through a different lens to explore the human experience as not just something that we endure but as something we can lose if we aren't cognoscent of how things impact our perception of reality. A deep and often humorous perspective from a depressed writer and a Rolling Stone Interviewer with a poignant question about suicide that simply asks: How bad must a situation be that a person is willing to end their life to escape the situation?

Two thumbs up.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Act 122: Growing Up Star Wars

Masked Blogster and Kalani talk about growing up in the 70s and 80s as Star Wars fanatics and all their excitement for The Force Awakens. They also talk of their fascination with space travel and whether or not they would go to Mars if there was no chance of return.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Man From A Box Office Bomb

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a spy/heist film directed by Guy Ritchie that tells a story where the CIA and KGB work together to acquire nuclear weapon technology from a mysterious new terror group trying to proliferate this technology. It stars Henry Cavill (Napolean Solo with the CIA) and Armie Hammer (Illya Kuryakin with the KGB) with Alicia Vikander (Gaby) & Elizabeth Debicki (Victoria).
The film starts off  with Solo (Cavill) locating Gaby (Alicia) and explaining the overall plot of the film. From there the film wastes no time by jumping to a car chase through the streets of Berlin with gun shots, cars being destroyed with Solo and Gaby also running and jumping their way across town to escape over the Berlin Wall while being chased by Illya (Hammer). From there the film takes the viewers on such a fun and entertaining trip through Europe in the 1960’s. The on screen chemistry between Cavill and Hammer is so enjoyable as Ritchie shows the audience how brain and brawn can work together to solve the problems currently facing the world during the Cold War era. Even during certain action sequences Ritchie allows some tongue in cheek humor to slide to the forefront giving the audience time to laugh a little while shots are being fired and the heroes are being pursued.
There's action, laughter & great music. The score & soundtrack are entertaining on their own right and only add to the fun and adventure happening on screen. Is it a little cliché and campy? Yes, at times, but the movie in general is just so much fun it adds to this film. After watching "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", one could get the feeling that the movie is self aware and attempts to capitalize on the humor and adventure present within the story.
The box office numbers were not spectacular for this film unfortunately. Timing the release two weeks away from the new Mission Impossible film was smart as folks would generally lean towards a Mission Impossible film because it's such an established property that typically delivers. Additionally, Tom Cruise will continue to draw in crowds of eager moviegoers who can't wait to see what new action stunt he's about to perform. Two week separation was an intelligent and strategic move for a competing spy film. However, the "Straight Outta Compton" film pulled incredible numbers for an opening weekend in August. The nostalgia factor and overall notoriety of the story certainly pulled viewers from "Man from UNCLE" since this story (Man From UNCLE) hasn't been popular since the 1960's on television. There really isn't much of a surprise as far as the box office numbers show but word of mouth might carry this enjoyable film into the $50-60 million spot, overall while in theaters. Unfortunately that might not be enough to get Hollywood onboard for a sequel. The estimated budget on "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."  was $75 million and opening weekend only pulled in approximately  $15 million, which as far as Hollywood is concerned, is a box office bomb. Now, maybe, the DVD and BLU-Ray sales will see some revenue but that isn't an indicator for how successful this film was while in theaters and probably won't justify a sequel which is, again, unfortunate.
In closing, Guy Ritchie delivers an enjoyable movie for everyone and if you have the time and money there's no reason to miss this while it's in theaters. If you prefer a matinee ticket that's less expensive or you wanna take your sweetheart out on a date, this is a fun movie for both occasions.
Two thumbs up!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Captain America: Civil War" and Spider-Man

Concept art via
Recently we celebrated the 53rd anniversary of “Amazing Fantasy #15” which features the debut of the classic American super hero, Spider-Man! From the pages of comic books to television and then the big screen, fans worldwide have enjoyed the adventures of Spider-Man and all the nefarious villains who stand in his way. He was just your ordinary high school student who was given super powers and then he put on a mask to protect the ones he loved and the people of the city he lived in. Spiderman could be anyone who has it in their heart to do right and protect their family, friends and fellow man; perhaps that’s what makes the character of Spider-Man so endearing all these years.

In May of 2016, directors Anthony and Joe Russo will be presenting the third cinematic version of Spider-Man in their new film “Captain America: Civil War”.  In the comic book world the "Civil War" story line was spread over several titles and ran for over 90 issues. Teams of heroes fighting heroes and villains fighting heroes with Spider-Man caught in the middle. It's highly unlikely that the movie will capture everything in the comic books but it's not hard to imagine at some point in the film Spider-Man will be recruited for Captain America's team and at some point also for Iron Man's team. It's a knock down drag out fight between heroes for what each side believes is best and the movie going audience should be in for a cinematic treat!

Tom Holland (previously in "The Impossible" staring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as well as "Locke" staring Tom Hardy) has been cast by Sony and Marvel studios to play “Spidey” for the foreseeable future and it provides the movie going audience a chance to see a sixth Spider-Man film on the big screen in 2017.  Tom Holland now joins the ranks of Tobey Maquire (Spider-Man 2002 - 2007) and Andrew Garfield (Amazing Spider-Man 2012 - 2014) who have played Spider-Man on the big screen prior to Tom putting on the mask. He also joins rank with Paul Soles, (Spider-Man animated TV series 1967 - 1970), Nicholas Hammond (Spider-Man TV series 1977 - 1979), Christopher Daniel Barnes (Spider-Man Animated TV series 1994 - 1998), Neil Patrick Harris (Spider-Man Animated TV series 2003), and finally Drake Bell (Ultimate Spider-Man Animated TV series 2012 - current) who had/have the privilege of bringing the character Spider-Man to life.

As a film franchise it’s a challenge to argue reasons why another Spider-Man movie shouldn’t be made (even with the poorly received “Spider-Man 3” directed by Sam Raimi and  “Amazing Spiderman 2” directed by Marc Webb). With five films now in the can, the Spider-Man franchise has earned more than $3 billion dollars world wide and is the sixth highest grossing film franchise of all time. These types of figures alone provide the strongest argument for additional films in this franchise. Dollars make sense in Hollywood and the movie going public is saying loudly with the dollars from their bank accounts, “We want more Spider-Man!”  And in 2016 and 2017 John and Jane movie goer will get their wish. “Spider-Man” directed by Jon Watts staring Tom Holland as “Peter Parker/Spider-Man” and Marisa Tomei as “Aunt May” with a script being penned by John Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (best known writing for the films, “Vacation” and “Horrible Bosses 2”) is scheduled for tentative release in July of 2017.

Sony and Marvel haven’t yet officially announced who the villain(s) will be in this sixth installment but the gallery of villains who constantly try and thwart “Spidey” is packed with incredible characters. During an interview with Variety, Marvel studio head, Kevin Feige explained that this version of Spider-Man will be like nothing seen previously on the big screen and even went as far as to say he envisioned, stylistically, a "John Hughes" type movie for this particular incarnation of  Spider-Man. Also he went on to say “Right now we’re interested in seeing villains we haven’t seen before” to SlashFilm. That statement alone opens up so many doors for villains like, Black Cat, Scorpion, Shocker, Morbius, Carnage, Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio (Just to name a few).

Be sure to catch up on all the Spider-Man action by watching and/or reading his incredible stories available on Blu-Ray/DVD, Netflix or in the “Spider-Man” comics (of which there are many)! Also, be sure to see Tom Holland swing into action May 6th 2016 as Spider-Man when Marvel Studios releases “Captain America: Civil War!”

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Act 121: Review of The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?

It took a while to get our hands on the blu-ray, but it finally came in. Masked Blogster, Handsome J, K-Fend and Kevin Moyers discuss Jon Schnepp's documentary, "The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened."  It's the film about the film that never happened.  Nicolas Cage starring in a Superman movie directed by Tim Burton, written by Kevin Smith and produced by the super street fighter Jon Peters...what could've gone wrong?

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Comic Book Review - This Damned Band - Dark Horse (2015)

Dark Horse Comics hosted a panel at Phoenix ComiCon in 2015 and it was on my personal must attend list.  I was excited to attend, but became much more excited to see how passionate all of the writers and artists were about their individual projects.  Alex de Campi was promoting “Archie vs. Predator;” Drew Edward Johnson talked about his book entitled “Midnight Society: Black Lake;” and Rafael Albuquerque gave us all insight on his creation, “Ei8ht.”

Writer Paul Cornell and artist Tony Parker were also part of this panel.  When Paul Cornell start to talk about his book, it felt like everyone’s ears perked up.  He spoke with such passion and energy.  I figuratively thought he was going to jump out of his skin explaining the premise to “This Damned Band.”  I had to know more.  I listened to Paul talk about how this story takes place in the 1970s and centers around a rock band on tour.  He talked of myths that rock bands from the 1970s worshipped the devil but the difference is, this band does! 

Tony Parker, the artist for “This Damned Band,” was able to give more insight and what he used as inspiration for the drawing style of the comic book.  The cover art actually look like tour poster.  There are very psychedelic themes used in this book as there are stage shows, drug use, dealings with the devil and more.  Tony said he had never, “…drawn so much coke” in his life.  Sold.  Just take my money now please.

Unfortunately for the attendees of the Dark Horse Panel at Phoenix ComiCon, “This Damned Band” was not available.  That changed this week.

I made sure “This Damned Band” was in my pull box at my local comic book shop.  I just got done reading it and so far so good.  It’s a nice introduction into the characters as it starts out like a documentary.  You get to see the band on stage, backstage and also get to see what they’re really into.  This is for adults only as it is about a 1970s rock band that meets the devil.  Sex, drugs, rock n roll, and some crazy artwork when the mushrooms kick in(in the book, not mine).

“This Damned Band” is going to be a 6 issue run and I would highly recommend picking them up right away as I saw the shop I was at had sold out of their copies of #1.  Don’t wait for the trade paperbacks either.  This does not actually help the artists and writers get more work right away.  Support comic book creators by buying the comics on their initial run.  Okay, I’ll stop preaching.  Go read “This Damned Band!”

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Act 120: The Best of the Worst

Masked Blogster and crew get down to the top ten villains voted on by the hosts, listeners, friends and even a few celebrities. They also discuss Paul Rudd's Ant-Man.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Act 119: Say Hello to the Bad Guys

We are counting down the greatest super-villains as voted on by the hosts, friends of the show, listeners, and a few celebrities!  This week we have the villains in the 11-20 spots.

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