Friday, October 30, 2015

Act 130: Halloween Hijinks

@gloryhoundd joins Masked Blogster, Handsome J, Mandy and Mrs. Blogster to talk Halloween, pranks, costumes, board games and J's disdain of the insurance industry.

Follow GloryHoundd on Twitter: @gloryhoundd
Please, also follow her gaming blog: gloryhoundd.com
GloryHoundd also does gaming demos for Steve Jackson Gaming.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Arrow Review: Season 4 Episode 4 "Beyond Redemption"


Arrow Season 4 Episode 4
“Beyond Redemption”

Synopsis: 
Laurel must deal with the repercussions of taking Sara to Nanda Parbat. Meanwhile, Oliver asks Captain Lance for a favor and while he's not surprised at the response, he is surprised at what he finds out next

Review:
Much like this weeks episode of The Flash, Arrow used this show in order to advance many of the other storylines although not with the same effectiveness of The Flash. Laurel decided to let Captain Lance know Sara was alive. As much as this story should be bigger, it seems as if the creative team has decided episode 5 will be the full dive into Sara, and I know its every week I bring this up (I’m just that excited for the show) but we will finally see the appearance of Constantine to help with the these issues. In many ways this was the Captain Lance episode, he not only had to deal with the return of Sara and his issue with the choice Laurel made to resurrect her sister, but we finally got the come to Jesus talk from Oliver. (This was 3 years in the making) Did anyone else really enjoy the interaction between Oliver and Lance? It was a true moment which brought the best out in both characters. It might have been the best scene with Captain Lance since season 2’s prison hospital bed scene and finally returned Lance to the side of Team Arrow. At the end we see Oliver ask that the Captain help with the problem of Damien Darhk after learning of the Captain alliance. 

Also this week Oliver decided to reveal his plans to run for Mayor of Star City. This was obviously met with mix emotions….okay maybe more so met with a laugh. With the revelation of becoming mayor we are introduce to the new “Arrow Cave”, it seems each season we get a new upgrade to the teams hide out with this one being more in line with what we see at STAR Labs, which make sense since we learn Cisco helped put together the new hide out. Got to love those little Easter eggs.

This week also dove more into the Ray Palmer “Death” from season 3, Curtis Holt has been working on the issue Felicity has had with her phone. This reveals there is a message of some kind for Felicity. Not sure what the writers are doing with this story, as its seems to be hinting at the same love triangle from the last season. I personally hope this isn’t the case, I don’t think we need this as the first few episode have been so much better with out the constant attention to the love issues of Felicity. Hopefully for sake of Ray Palmer and his character, This is more about bring him back than anything else.

Not every week can be a home run, and this week was definitely used to help with all the other character outside of Oliver. A positive from this week is Oliver has finally turned that corner and became a leader of the team rather than the loner who just gives out orders. One minor disappointment from this episode, we learned that the creative team still can’t get the “Canary Cry” to look right. I don’t think we have seen it have any effect outside the first time Laurel used it.


For the first time this season I give Arrow a one Thumbs up. Please leave your thoughts on the episode below.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Flash Review: Season 2 Episode 4 "The Fury of Firestorm"



The Flash Season 2 Episode 4
“The Fury of Firestorm”


Synopsis:
Barry (Grant Gustin) and the team look for another Firestorm match for Dr. Stein (Victor Garber). When the team meets Jefferson "Jax" Jackson (guest star Franz Drameh), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) has her reservations about whether Jax is the right match for Dr. Stein. Iris (Candice Patton) surprises Joe (Jesse L. Martin) while Barry and Patty (guest star Shantel VanSanten) grow closer.

Review:
Episode 4 is here and the goal of the show was to introduce the new Firestorm. The episode starts with the team trying to help Dr. Stein find his other half. This is where we are introduce to Caitlin’s choice, Henry Hewitt (Hewitt is know from his introduction in the DC universe through the New Earth Series) When the attempt to merge fails, Hewitt leave angry and we see that his meta human power has finally been revealed. Welcome to the Flash Universe Tokamak! This leaves only Barry’s choice of Jefferson Jackson and with that we now have the new Firestorm. I actually really enjoyed this part of the show, it gave us two choices one evil and the other good. When Jax finally accepts the offer to become Firestorm we like the person he is and will root for him to succeed. The disappointing aspect of the show is the departure of Dr. Stein from the team for awhile, he has been the calming influence and his interactions with Cisco have been great.

The other plot line through the first part of the season is the introduction of Iris’s Mother. This has definitely been a slow burn and as we learned in this episode Iris’s mother has another child who may or may not be the son of Joe. Is this how we will be introduced to Wally West? I believe we he will be and my guess is we will see him before the mid season finale.

Finally we have Harrison Wells, obviously he is from another earth where he is considered the savior. As the episode progressed we see Wells break into Mercury Labs to steal some unknown weapon. This leads to that ever so famous last scene of the show where not only are we introduce to the heavily hinted at Shark Man, but also Barry finally seeing Wells. So many questions and so many possibilities. What role will Shark Man play through out the season, obviously he was sent by Zoom but was he killed by Wells at the end? or will we see him again in the future? I am hoping in many ways Shark Man will be treated like Grodd. Also who is Harrison Wells? As we wait to see what will happen, I would like to express how great Wells is, in my opinion he might be right up there with Malcom Merlin as a great character/Villain. Wells is definitely interesting TV each week.

Episode 4 shows what a great fill in episode should be. The writers of Flash used this episode to help push ahead many different storylines which didn’t need the Flash to be the center point. Even the new love interest for Barry, Patty Spivot, was used as a nice subtle side story. I give this Episode Two Thumbs Up,


Leave comments below on your opinion of Episode 4.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Supergirl Review: Season 1 Episode 1 "Pilot"


Supergirl Season 1 Episode 1
“Pilot”


Synopsis:
When a potential accident threatens the life of her sister, Kara Danvers (aka Kara Zor-El) decides to use her powers to be the hero she was sent to Earth to be. But it is going to take some time for her to learn the ins and outs of the superhuman abilities that her cousin has mastered. When a powerful enemy named Vartox threatens National City, it's up to Kara to stop him.
Review:
Finally the first episode of Supergirl is here. When we are introduced to Kara its with her parents are sending her to earth to help protect her cousin Kal-El. Kara’s ship is launched at the same time only to be lost in the Phantom zone. When she finally is freed its 24 years after Superman arrives; however Kara is still the 13 year old girl she was before getting trapped. This take is obviously from the most recent reboot of the comic book in 2004.

The first episode had a lot to cover, with the introduction of some familiar character from the DC Universe like Jimmy Olsen and establishing her family connections. In my opinion the best part of the episode was the fast introduction to some of the main villains we will see through out the season, these villains will come from a prison within the Phantom Zone, this will give the fans a believable realistic reason why so many villains will have superpowers. The creators also did a great job of not making us sit through a traditional origin story as Kara already knows her powers. This allowed a quick transition into seeing her in action.

Like many pilot episode there was some ups and downs which should have been expected. One of my concerns with the season will be the constant fight to want to be a hero. It seemed to be the center of the entire episode leaving many storylines to be forced and rushed. In many ways we were rushed into the story of her Kara’s adoptive sister Alex working for the Department of Extranormal Operations. This was a little disappointing and could have been drawn out for a few more episodes.

Obviously being from the same team that created The Flash and Arrow, we will all be looking to find similarities. Supergirl will be different, but also have some similarities to The Flash just don’t try to tie this into the movies. One thing is for sure, Greg Berlanti is creating this show which means expect everyone to know who Kara really is. Secret Identies mean nothing to this creative team. It also seems as we will be treated to the same "must see" last scene of the episode we have all come to love about The Flash.

I give the first Episode of Supergirl one Thumbs up; however i do expect great things to come. Let us know what you thought of the show below.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Box Office Review: The Martian

If a movie about a character alone in a location difficult, if not impossible, to escape from sounds familiar, that’s because it is familiar.  First there’s “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanksand second there’s “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell. Since both of these films were terrific, starred talented actors and share a similar concept, movie-going patrons can have higher expectations with this film. “The Martian” stars Matt Damon and is directed by Ridley Scott and provided an ensemble of talent to share screen time in the telling of this story. In addition to the cast, there are moments humor, suspense, and drama throughout the movie creating a more developed and enjoyable tale.

Ridley Scott, as a director, has made some incredible films. He has also made some stinkers, to be fair. This film is going on the shelf as an achievement for him as a director. His ability to capture the tension in certain scenes blending special effects and camera angles on difficult shots (the storm on Mars for example) and then wide angle shots from cameras on board the Mars space station to continue telling the story was enjoyable. Ridley Scott had a vision in his head and conveyed it brilliantly onto the big screen. A director also has to get the best out of their actors and Ridley did that in spades. Even Kristen Wiig’s character was done well and hers was the only name that peaked curiosity considering her enjoyable background with comedic films.

The story takes you from feeling the relieving achievements of Mark Watney (Matt Damon) as he finds one way after another to sustain life on Mars to feeling the heartbreak and terror when things go awry. Back on earth while NASA is debating on which course of action to take, who, what and when tell certain things, the audience feels like part of the intense closed door discussions about the value of human life and political maneuvering. This film leaves nothing out and it forces everyone to consider the value of human life on this planet, another and the space in-between.

Towards the end of the film it’s safe to say you might all be exhausted from the highs and lows of this emotional roller coaster film. This fact is what makes the final act of the film so  amazing. The audience is all but worn out from the success and failures of Mark Watney and NASA by the 3rd act. Then, a glimmer of hope takes over and if Mark Watney can try one more thing, by god, so can the audience. The final act of the film is filled intense emotion as everyone on earth, in space, on Mars and sitting in the theater realizes it is officially that time, all or nothing, life or death. Does Mark Watley survive? Does his crew ever make it back to earth alive? Is anyone at NASA held responsible? Was disco music the best choice for a soundtrack on Mars? Go see the film and decide for yourself.

“The Martian” is in theaters now! I give this film all the thumbs space travel and NASA will allow. It’s an incredible film and it’s even one I could recommend to my religious family and friends without hesitation. It’s a movie for everyone and it’s so good!

Comment below if you’ve already seen it and share your thoughts! Join in on the fun of movie watching and be sure to share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another Box Office Review.


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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Original Comic Book: Twisted Magic

"If the moral compass created by your past didn't exist, who would you become? If you had no one to tell you who you were, who would you think you are?"

The questions above are from writer Kalani Nazarro, the author of Twisted Magic.  These questions are the basis for the mysterious main character of this horror-fantasy comic.  

We were going for a new look with this comic book and we are hoping you enjoy it.  As the artist, I had a bit of difficulty finding the look that matched Kalani's vision.  The first page itself went through multiple looks.  He told me one day he wanted to get away from comic book panels and that's when the light bulb came on.  I drew the first page and sent it to him and at that point we were off and running.  

Please feel free to leave comments below or contact us on social media sites or email MaskedBlogster@gmail.com

If you do like it, please share it!  Thank you for reading!

Twisted Magic
Written by Kalani Nazarro
Art by Dalyn Viker























Friday, October 23, 2015

Act 129: Haunted Crypt

Masked Blogster, Handsome J and Jihad Jim record just outside of the Haunted Crypt attraction in Mesa, AZ.  The hosts talk about Arrow, Flash and some of their favorite haunted house experiences. People that went through the Haunted Crypt also chimed in on what they thought.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Box Office Review: Goosebumps

 A good friend, who chats, texts and emails movie reviews and news with me, sent me his review for the new "Goosebumps" film starring Jack Black. I trust you'll enjoy his review as much as I enjoyed reading it. Ladies and Gentlemen, a Maskerpiece Theatre guest writer, Alec the Great and his "Goosebumps" Box Office Review!

Be sure to comment below and share your thoughts. 

A Goosebumps movie in late October…and it stars Jack Black…Can’t miss, right? Well, sort of.  This movie has a lot going for it.  Creature effects by the very talented Fazil Ahmed (Guardians of the Galaxy and Dracula Untold) and direction by Rob Letterman (Gulliver’s Travels and Monsters vs. Aliens) I should have loved this movie, but I left the theatre feeling…well, not much.  It was intense and exciting.  It was decently acted by all parties.  Jack Black, of Tenacious D, plays a reclusive R. L. Stine (as well as voice acting a couple of monsters).  Perhaps the issue is that I walked in with high hopes.

The concept of the film is similar to another film I really enjoyed, Inkheart.  An author’s characters and creations, literally fly off the page and take on lives of their own.  Here, let me explain it, no there is too much, let me sum up.  R. L. Stine (Jack Black) is living a quiet life in a small town with his daughter (Odeya Rush).  A young high-schooler (Dylan Minenette) moves next door with his mother, who just got a job at the local high school (the one the boy attends, oh the high school embarrassment) and on his first day he meets a Fogel-esque (yes I just made up a word referencing Superbad) friend (Ryan Lee), who in his own cowardly way worms his way into the movie with some pretty impressive, girlish shrieking. Boy meets Girl, and monster-based hijinks ensue.

First off, I will admit that my only experience to the Goosebumps books was reading them as a teenage camp counselor to my campers at summer camp, so my knowledge of the Goosebumps Cannon is not prolific.  I was not geeking out to see creatures I had only read spooky stories about brought to magnificent life on the big screen.  I was excited based on the previews, which, from my perspective, demonstrated a Jack Black portrayal of R. L. Stine that in Pied Piper fashion, lead the three Children on a Willy Wonkian tale of pure imagination.  That was not the Jack Black that I witnessed.  He was a semi-reserved eccentric, but never wacky, lonely man who simply wanted to rationally deal with an irrational problem and keep the children safe.  He was excitable, but frankly, I expected School of Rock Jack Black and I got Professor Jack Black, Esquire.  That said, the children were fantastic and these young actors did an amazing job bringing reality to an insane situation.  They were quirky, but believable.  Future big-named stars the lot of them if there is any justice.

I had high expectations, but in the end, it was an hour and forty-three minutes of movie.  It was entertaining, but not great, and it looked great.  I wanted to be able to tell people, “You have to see this movie!”  Alas, the best I can bring myself to is, “Meh.”  I give it one ghoul and one giant mutant praying mantis.  If you are an avid Goosebumps fan, go see this movie, if not, go see Hotel Transylvania 2: You will laugh more, have more quotables after-the-fact, and generally, a better experience.


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Arrow Review: Season 4 Episode 3“Restoration”



Arrow Season 4 Episode 3
“Restoration”


Synopsis:
The growing tension between Oliver and Diggle puts both their lives at risk when they go after Damien Darhk and a H.I.V.E. deployed meta-human. Meanwhile, Laurel talks Thea into returning to Nanda Parbat to ask her father to put Sara into the Lazarus Pit. However, Laurel is surprised when Nyssa refuses to do it.

Review:
Episode 3 starts the same way as every episode this season with action. We are treated to the Original Team Arrow working together again while Laurel and Thea take the body of Sarah to Nanda Parbat. In many ways this episode was to get everything back on track between Oliver and Diggle. In my opinion this was very necessary as each week that passed made the fans of the show begin and distance themselves from Diggle. This episode also dug deeper into the story of Diggle’s brothers death and the connection with H.I.V.E, we also are treated to the second minor crossover with The Flash as a Meta-Human (Double Down) from central city shows up and joins forces with Damien Darhk. I am loving the tie in with season 2, the writers for Arrow have done a great job with connecting all the season while tying up all loose story lines. And tell me who isn’t excited that Oliver is finally back on the island, it seems to have made the flash back more interesting again.

While Diggle and Oliver worked to fix there relationship (It only took Oliver taking three playing cards to the chest) Felicity is working with Curtis Holt, we see that he has the same creative mind that we saw last season with Ray Palmer. Is this the slow burn before we are introduce to Mr. Terrific? I believe it is and its definitely exciting to see the potential of another DC hero being introduce. Also during this episode Curtis learns that Felicity is working with the Green Arrow and is taking to the “Arrow Lair” while trying to escape Double Down. This will be intriguing to see how this will play out through out the remainder of the season. During the episode we also see that Felicity is having issue with her Phone which concludes with her name showing up on the screen……This can only be leading to the return of The Atom AKA Ray Palmer, what happened after the explosion? My guess is Palmer shrunk.

Finally we have the Resurrection of Sarah Lance, Thea and Laurel go to Nanda Parbat to ask Malcom to help with resurrecting Sarah with the powers of the Lazarus Pit. We also are treated to the return of Nyssa who disagrees with the plan and after they bring Sarah back decides to destroy the Lazarus Pit. This may be the most interesting storyline in the early part of the season, Obviously we know that Sarah will be the reason for Oliver’s need to reach out for help from John Constatine (My most anticipated episode of the season). How does Oliver know Constantine? Only time will tell and i am all for this flash back. We also know this will be the start of Sarah’s journey to becoming the White Canary and joining the Legends of Tomorrow team. But the most intriguing part of this maybe what role Malcom plays through the season and his potential tie to Damien Darhk.

Once again Arrow is hitting on all cylinders and I give this episode TWO THUMBS UP. Make sure to Leave comments below and let us know what your opinions are of the season thus far and your predictions

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Flash Review: Season 2 Episode 3 "Family Of Rogues"



The Flash Season 2 Episode 3
“Family of Rogues”

Synopsis:

When Barry (Grant Gustin) and the team find out Captain Cold (guest star Wentworth Miller) has been kidnapped, they form an uneasy alliance with his sister, Lisa (guest star Peyton List). However, Barry feels double-crossed when he finds out Snart is working with his father, Lewis Snart (guest star Michael Ironside) on a heist. Meanwhile, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is faced with a difficult decision.
Review:
What do you get when Captain Cold Makes an appearance on The Flash? Basically the best episode of the season thus far! The episode starts with Lisa Snart trying to find the flash to help save her kidnapped brother Captain Cold. Barry decides to team up with Snart to help while Cisco works to remove the bomb from the head of Lisa. By the end of the episode Captian Cold get revenge on his father for “breaking his sisters heart”, and finally The Flash is able to place Captain Cold in prison. So what did we learn about the Snart Family? Well both Golden Glider and Captain Cold work with a moral set codes while the patriarch of the Family Lewis Snart is a different type of evil with no moral code willing to kill anyone who gets in his way or has no use for. This episode is definitely the set up for “Legends of Tomorrow” as we see with the final interaction between Barry and Captian Cold, while Barry is visiting Snart in prison he lets him know that he see’s good in him and its only a matter of time before he makes a change. And Snarts reply of “Should I be a Hero Like you” how could you not just get excited for whats to come. I can’t wait to see how this plays out until “LOT”. (By the way, isn’t the casting of Wentworth Miller as Snart just a masterful choice by the Creative team of The Flash)

The other storylines which played out through out episode 3, we see Iris learn about her mother being alive, how this affects the rest of the season will be interesting to see. I am guessing we will be introduced to Wally West, will he also have the speed force if we see him? Barry seems to be getting a new love interest in Patty Spivot, how will this affect his relationship with Iris? this will be interesting to follow, as the creators of Flash have done a decent job of making the audience like Iris again after pushing her away last season. Also we finally get more details on the worm holes opening up through out central city as we see Jay Garrick work to stabilize the biggest of the worm holes in the basement of Star Labs, will we see Barry travel to Earth-2 this season? I believe we will, but how will this affect his speed force, will he loose his like Jay Garrick did? A lot of questions and hopefully we will get more answers through the rest of the season.

As has been for every episode of The Flash, the highly anticipated last scene gave all the fans what they wanted the most. The Return of Harrison Wells through the newly stabilize worm hole (Let the fan boys scream with Excitement). Personally I can’t wait to see how this will play out. I know I am hoping for a good Wells but admittedly I am leaning towards Wells being ZOOM!
This episode was everything you could want, it brought that excitement which I have felt was missing in first two shows. I give this a definite TWO THUMBS UP!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Comic Book Review: Telos- Issue 1 - DC

“Telos”  Issue #1
Written By: Jeff King
Art By: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Sean Parsons and Hi-Fi

Synopsis
Issue 1 starts off informing the readers who Telos is, who created him, how he understands vengeance and why. Also, we learn that Brainiac has gifted him with “boundless” power and now Telos fears nothing and no one. He is on a mission of vengeance and also to understand how strong he is and what lengths he is capable of going with these new powers. 
While engaging Brainiac on his ship in combat it’s revealed that the reason for the rage Telos feels might not be entirely warranted. Brainiac holds one last bargaining chip that prevents Telos from ravaging his ship and killing him in the process.
Cut to the Colu and the capital city Metaire where we meet “Computo” who is charge of this town. A message is received from Brainiac that causes Computo and his servant to retire from the punishments they are giving to the unlawful citizens. 
Telos must venture down to the planet in order to complete his personal quest and assist Brainiac in the process as their different goals have the same plan. However, not everything is as it seems for Telos despite the promises of Brainiac appearing truthful on the surface. 

Opinion
Telos #1 was quite enjoyable. When I picked this first issue up I had no clue who this character was or why DC felt like he’s worthy of a solo series. It was honestly the cover art that grabbed my interest and then once I started reading the story kept me engaged.
This character seems like he’s gonna be a very good read going forward since he’s matching his brawn against Brainiac’s intelligence and craftiness. It’s not often a character comes along that intimidates Brainiac and since Telos is that character I’ll be reading for awhile. The issue was titled on the inside as “My Enemy’s Enemy” and that also intrigues me considering where this story can go.
Since the majority of this story takes place inside Brainiac’s space ship the art work really stepped up to create a world that is technologically advanced and dangerous. The moments of action are drawn and colored wonderfully and even the lettering captures the mood during combat. 

Since Telos can control matter, I give this comic 2 thumbs up. It’s a fun read that looks great and reads well. 



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Monday, October 19, 2015

Box Office Review: Crimson Peak

When the director is Guillermo del Toro and the stars are Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska it's not at all odd to expect a quality cinematic adventure. Guillermo has a style that is completely unique for making movies. The color schemes are usually rich and the special effects are mesmerizing. He is truly a gifted individual when it comes to making film for the masses. On the other hand, his weakness is most often in dialogue and story. This is one area where he has an opportunity for improvement. 

"Crimson Peak" is no exception.
This movie had several wonderful moments but there were issues that reveal themselves later on in the film. The story felt choppy and several moments of concentrated screen time turned out to be a red herring once the 3rd act began. The audience was pulled in by the actors delivering their lines quite well and then it's discovered those lines weren't necessary for the actual plot. This was disheartening but not surprising. As early stated, dialogue in story telling is not del Toro's strongest talent.

Furthering the bizarre choice of what's important and whats a red herring we have Charlie Hunnam's character. It is no secret his role is important to the story because of the amount of screen time he enjoys. There is confusion regarding the reasons for why he is so hell bent on the decisions and actions he makes. A basic concept of his character seems to be all the writers decided was necessary for this movie which was confusing when his character has very important moments in the film. The writing staff certainly could've fleshed out his character more and made him fuller and more 3 dimensional.

Overall the actors each did a fine job playing their parts. This film was entertaining and certainly more dramatic than terrifying. In fact, there are more elements of romance than horror. This point is even spelled out for the audience early in the film with dialogue that expresses romance as a natural way to entice people to a specific story. However, that's where the clever writing ends, unfortunately. If the goal is to see a horror film this wouldn't be one that should be considered. If the goal, however, is to see a dramatic film with horror elements within it, then a ticket purchase would be appropriate. Guillermo does an incredible job with the special effects and the lighting and shadows throughout the entire film. It's worth the cost of a ticket just to experience his visual effects on the big screen. A matinee ticket which is cheaper would probably be the better choice though if the decision is made to see this film while in theaters.

"Crimson Peak" is in theaters now! I give this film 3 ghouls and goblins out of 5 since it's almost Halloween. It's spooky but more Disney's Haunted Mansion spooky. Stay calm, there are no singing ghosts but there are ghosts who apparently require a bath... you'll understand when you see it.

Comment below if you’ve already seen it and share your thoughts! Join in on the fun of movie watching and be sure to share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another Box Office Review.


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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Box Office Review: Hotel Transylvania 2

If Adam Sandler does anything well it's organizing talented people to help make his films. While he hasn't really had a box office success or overall positive critic response since 2007's "Reign Over Me" with Don Cheadle, he certainly has a knack for making enjoyable animated films. If you feel that "Grown Ups" in 2010 is an appropriate rebuttal feel free to comment below in the comment section. Ok, let's get right into this animated feature!
The obvious sequel to "Hotel Transylvania" from 2012 we find Dracula (Adam Sandler) marrying off his daughter Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez, to a human fella named Jonathan, voiced by Andy Samberg. The two have a child that is believed to be half vampire and half human and 100% less scary than the half human half vampire, vampire hunter, Blade. In an effort to prove that his new grandson is part vampire Dracula has his entourage of monsters assist him in bringing out the vampiric side of this half human family member.
The overall story is predictable for the adults but there's plenty of silly moments and laughs to make up for that fact. If you have kids, or nieces and nephews, this is a fun movie for the family to enjoy. The cast of characters included Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Blob and the Invisible Man making this film a nice Halloween Holiday treat for the family as well. Keeping in mind how this film stars all the classic horror movie monsters the overall tone was still very kid friendly with moments of possibly scary characters towards the end.
It was a delight seeing the writing team shape jokes specific to the monsters. For example, Blob being composed of what appeared to be Jell-O, throughout the film objects, people and forest critters kept getting stuck inside him. Wolfman kept chasing objects that were thrown like one would expect a dog to do. There's more but this review can't spoil everything! There was even some commentary on accepting people and family for what they are and not just tolerating family but opening your heart to them. So with the monsters and the laughs there was also some touching, more heartfelt, moments to balance the story.
Overall it was a fun time at the movies and all the kids in the theater were laughing enough to prove this film successfully reached it's target audience. Another positive was that the adults all left the theater smiling and laughing as their kids shared their favorite funny moments. This film probably won't win any awards but it wasn't designed to. It was just a fun family movie going experience of a film. The cost of a tickets is worth the time family can spend together sharing some laughs. 
"Hotel Transylvania 2" is in theaters now. I give it a howl at the moon and two shining fangs of a vampire.
Comment below if you've already seen it and share your thoughts. Join in on the fun of movie watching and be sure to share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another Box Office Review.

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Box Office Review: Bridge of Spies

If the goal was to create a film as intense as the previews, the mark was missed. If the goal was to make a dramatic character study piece that involves ideals and convictions while focusing on real life events in a Cold War world, success! "Bridge of Spies" is masterfully directed by Steven Spielberg, which in all honesty is no surprise, and is brought to life by Tom Hanks and so many other talented actors. It should also be noted that the script was written by Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers. How much more talent is necessary? None. Thankfully there's more talent throughout the entire film which made it feel like the audience was being spoiled. This isn't a complaint it's merely an observation... a pleasant observation.

The synopsis on the films IMDB page reads as follows: "An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union." The story is pretty simple, right? No arguing that point here but it's the nuances that complicate things for these characters. There's moments of intense dialogue and then moments of humor to keep things light in very dark and trying times. The level of realism felt by even minor characters, who aren't named but described in the credits, take this story to the next level.
Take a moment to consider that in America during this time hatred for Communists/Soviets/Russian's was unprecedented. A common slogan heard in America was "Better dead than Red" referring to communist Russia and anyone from there. Now imagine being so convicted in the American justice system and the United States constitution that you are willing to defend a communist. A communist who is believed to be a Soviet spy working against your country's best interest, and the interest of its citizens. Pretty intense, right? Absolutely this story is intense but even in dark times some of these characters find some light and provide some chuckles.
This is a film that can not only be watched but also appreciated. The characters are so rich and full that their time on screen keeps you transfixed on that moment. Their personality quirks and physical ticks show each actor paid attention to who they were portraying and created an art form out of acting, like any good actor will do. It's acting done well and it allows the audience to identify with these characters, each for different reasons at different times. At no time is the audience expected to sympathize with Rudolph Abel, the suspected Soviet spy, but Mark Rylance does an excellent job bringing to life a character you don't necessarily hate. The back and forth dialogue Tom Hanks and he engage in was one of the high points of this film. These characters were so different but similar in that they both stood for something and found common ground in that fact.
If you have the cash and the time this is a film worth seeing on the big screen. The East Berlin scenes after the wall goes up certainly will be more enjoyable on a theater big screen than any TV at home. This is even a film that is date night appropriate. So if you got someone you fancy this film might even make you appear more cultured. So that's a positive. At not point has a story ever appeared in Cosmo or GQ lamenting the prospect of dating someone cultured. So try and keep this film in mind when you think you might enjoy something more substantial than say, any Rob Schneider film. Save those types of films for Redbox nights at home with a 6 pack and cold pizza.
"Bridge of Spies" is in theaters now. Two American thumbs up!
Comment below if you've already seen it and share your thoughts. Join in on the fun of movie watching and be sure to share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another Box Office Review.


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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Arrow Review: Season 4 Episode 2 "The Candidate"



Arrow Season 4 Episode 2
“The Candidate” 

Synopsis:
The Green Arrow and Speedy try to protect an old Queen family friend, Jessica Danforth, when she decides to run for mayor. Meanwhile, Thea begins to exhibit effects from the Lazarus Pit; and Felicity faces a tough business decision and looks to one of her employees, Curtis Holt, for help.
Review:
Episode 2 starts off with Team Arrow battling Damien Darhk’s army of ghost. This is a nice change of pace for the show, it seems like we will get a lot more than the usual half of a season with the main villain. As the title of the episode state we are introduce to Jessica Danforth who declares she is running for mayor, Due to her choice to run for Mayor we are introduced for the first time to Anarky who was hired by Darhk to prevent Danforth from becoming Mayor of Star City. I’m personally excited to see that the creators of Arrow have brought a villain who isn’t tied to the main storyline, we haven’t had this since season two with Vertigo.

Obviously this wouldn’t be an episode of arrow without multiple storylines being played out through out every show, Which brings us to Diggle who seems to have taken the mantle of moody hero that Oliver left behind after last season, he decides to share with Laurel that he has spent the better part of the last two years searching for his brother’s killer in secret and it might be tied to Damien Darhk’s H.I.V.E. Back at Palmer Technologies Felicity is introduce to Curtis Holt AKA Mr. Terrific, its exciting to see the writer’s of Arrow get the chance to bring to life more of the DC Universe’s heroes I just wonder when or if we will get to see Mr. Terrific in action. I know with every new character who is brought into the show the writers seem to introduce them without any issue, even Ray Palmer was done in such a terrific way it allowed me to forget they casted “The Show Killer” Brandon Routh.

Finally Oliver has to address the issue with Thea and her rage which stems from the effect of being brought back to life from the Lazarus Pit. This obviously causes Laurel to come to the conclusion the pit can be beneficial to her as well, and with the final scene of Episode two we see that Thea and Laurel have dug up the grave belonging to Sarah Lance…….Who is ready for “Legends of Tomorrow”?

Arrow is finally back to making me wish this was a Netflix show, I am left wondering why DC would make us actually wait another week. There is so much going on and so much anticipation for each character new and old, We see that Oliver will be running for Mayor, this will definitely have an impact on Team Arrow as will the actions of Thea and Laurel. We know that Sarah will be back but how will this affect the team? We were introduce to Mr. Terrific aka Curtis Holt, will we see him in action or will he just be a supporting character for Felicity? The one thing we can be assured of is this season will be based in the mystical realm and you all know what that means…….CONSTANTINE. This season just might be the Comicbook Nerds wet dream. 

Episode Two is a definite Two Thumbs Up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Flash Review: Season 2 Episode 2 "The Flash Of Two Worlds"



The Flash Season 2 Episode 2
“The Flash Of Two Worlds”


Synopsis:
Jay Garrick (guest star Teddy Sears), a mysterious man from Earth-2, appears at S.T.A.R. Labs with a dire warning about an evil speedster named Zoom, who is set on destroying The Flash. Barry (Grant Gustin) and the team must decide if they can trust this stranger even as they face yet another powerful meta-human. Meanwhile, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) must deal with a determined officer named Patty Spivot (guest star Shantal VanSanten) who wants to join his meta-human task force.

Review:
It seems this season of The Flash will be jam packed, in the second episode we get more of Jay Garrick, we are introduced to Zoom, details on the powers of Cisco, Flash learns a new ability, We get multi Earths, we are introduced to Patty Spivot…..New Love Interest of Barry Allen? and Harrison Wells is BACK.

So Jay Garrick is Earth-2 Flash, however it seems he has lost the speed force with his entry into Earth-1. This leave’s the question can there only be one Flash? I am not so sure, from the stand point of the show it looks like the speed force will revolve around Barry. He will be the center of this DC Comic Universe. As for Garrick, until his powers are found he will play the mentor figure to Barry Allen, as seen when he teaches Barry to throw lighting in order to defeat the Sand Demon. So now we have the crimson comet and the scarlet speedster together. Didn’t you just nerd out when both were decked out in there respected Flash Suits? I know I did.

What did we learn about Zoom this week, well he will be out to Kill Earth-1’s Barry Allen, he is currently consider the most dangerous villain which Barry will be up against, and is considered at this time the Fastest of all the speedsters…..At least until we get an idea of Barry Allen’s powers.

Finally we get a glimpse of another Earth which also has a Savior of Central City………Harrison Well’s. Thats right he is back and leaves us with the question is this a good Wells or are we being introduce to ZOOM? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Episode two was enjoyable and fun, it was definitely back to what we have come to expect from Flash episodes. This is an easy Two Thumbs up

Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange (All New All Different!) - Issue 1 - Marvel

“Doctor Strange”  Issue #1
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Al Vey and Mark Irwin

Synopsis
Issue 1 starts off with a single page origin story that gets you right into who Doctor Strange is and why he is Sorcerer Supreme. Immediately following we see the good Doctor running from some of the most bizarre looking creatures while carrying a shield. He’s battling Soul-Eaters and one of them seems to be attracted to him. After a battle with their “Champion” the Soul-Eaters are defeated and we see Strange hovering above a child who was being tormented by the same spirits that Doctor Strange just defeated. 
After further ventures into the world as only Doctor Strange lives and sees, he’s met with trouble but vanquishes it by using a battle axe. The good Doctor then meets up with Doctor Voodoo, Shaman and Scarlett Witch to discuss recent happenings that are even more bizarre than they are used to. Monako, Prince of Magic, even shows up to explain the balance of reality and magic and then Doctor Strange departs. 
Before the Sorcerer Supreme can enter his Sanctum Sanctorum he meets a young women who is debating on whether to knock on the door or not. She’s in need of assistance and it’s the kind only Doctor Strange can provide. Then we’re whisked away to another dimension where trouble is brewing and it might be too late before Doctor Strange ever finds out. 

Opinion
The very first issue of a brand new Doctor Strange series was everything I wanted. As a Doctor Strange fan I had high hopes for this new run and it exceeded my expectations. The art work makes everything look so unique and bizarre which is so much of what Doctor Strange deals with. Sorcerer Supreme has a brand new, all different, attitude which just plays perfectly in this world. 
When he meets up with the magicians to discuss bizarre events (even bizarre for them) you feel like you have a private seat at, probably, the most powerful table in the universe. The characters personalities all add a fun spice to the story and the narration by Doctor Strange just keeps the story moving in a revealing and entertaining fashion. 
All the battles mix physical combat and magic so well and, again, the art work just brings this issue to life. I just can’t say enough about how much I really enjoyed this issue. If future issues are as entertaining and enjoyable as this first one Doctor Strange will be around for awhile!

By the twelve moons of Munnopor and the Icy Tendrils of Ikthalon I give this issue two thumbs up. May the light of the Vishanti shine on you as you enjoy this issue of the all new, all different, Doctor Strange.  

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Comic Book Review: Paper Girls - #1 - Image Comics - 2015


Paper Girls #1
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn 
Artist: Cliff Chiang

Four girls in the mid 1980s are delivering newspapers on what appears to be Halloween night. Two of the girls have a run-in with a group of three “people” dressed in some strange garb speaking a language they don’t understand.  These individuals steal the walkie-talkie, I mean CB radio, and now the four young ladies are on the hunt.
In looking for these individuals, the girls find something strange in the basement of an abandoned house.  This is where the story takes a very odd turn…

As often found with new Brian K. Vaughn books, they do not seem to end the way you might think and it leaves you wanting to read the next issue.  This holds true with Paper Girls #1 as the end leaves you scratching your head as to where this book is heading.  I don’t want to give away too much information as I highly recommend purchasing this book.  With a $2.99 cover price, why not? 

Cliff Chiang’s art is exactly right for this story.   The look of this book flows so well with the dialogue and story direction. The interactions between the girls are just enough to give you an idea of their individual personalities and allows for a nice foundation for future issues.  

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Box Office Review: Sicario

"Sicario" has made over $20 million in the box office since it opened (wide release) Friday, October 2nd. A film that makes this amount of money would be cause for concern during the summer months or the holidays; however, it's early October and when "Sicario" opened it claimed 3rd highest earnings for that week and fifth this weekend. It is not surprising that it still holds a top five spot because everything in this film works well together. So let's dive right in and look at the key aspects of this film...
Josh BrolinBenicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt. This cast is so stacked with talent it should be criminal. Each character brought a completely different personality and they played so well off each other it was simple to lose yourself to the "reality" portrayed on screen. Emily Blunt has been in some entertaining action films lately but her performance here was an intense exploration of what defines right and wrong in a world like she's part of in this film. Josh Brolin plays the hardened, experienced, operative so well it's believable to see him lead a delta force team in the desert as they complete the tasks at hand. Benicio Del Toro in three words: cold, calculated, human. What a powerful performance, again, by Benicio. He delivers on a character so developed you can't take your eyes off his performance and the viewers just go with his actions, as questionable as some might be.
The film takes place, mostly, on the borders of the USA and Mexico. We meet FBI agents searching for hostages, Department of Defense operatives trying to stop a drug king pin, and some very experienced military personnel who know how to use modern technology and weapons to achieve their goals. Now, let's mix all these characters together on a common goal and we have a movie. The story starts off intense and builds from there. This movie is not shy when it comes to violence and does an exceptional job of balancing violence to tell the story as well as to help build suspense. At no time did the depictions of violence feel as though they used it just for the sake of using it. It was incredibly well done. There was a moment that raised a concern though because no film is flawless. Towards the end, director Denis Villenueve, made the decision to shoot the film from the angle of "first person shooter" which typically appears hokey. It surprisingly added to the suspense so kudos to the director for knowing how to tell his story in his own unique way so well.
If you have time, I recommend this film as a big screen theater viewing. The story is engaging, the actors deliver and the director brings a cinematic tale that is both suspenseful and entertaining. In fact, bring a date because the suspense is enough to warrant the arm rest go up for snuggles and theater cuddles.  Two thumbs up, across the board(er).


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Friday, October 9, 2015

The Flash Review: Season 2 Episode 1 "The Man Who Saved Central City"




The Flash Season 2 Episode 1
"The Man Who Saved Central City"


Synopsis:
In the season premiere, Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) has chosen to protect the city on his own - until a meta-human named Atom Smasher (ADAM COPELAND) attacks

Review:
Everything about season 1 of The Flash was great, not only did we get a conclusion to the Reverse Flash/Harrison Wells Story arc we also were left with a great Cliff Hanger. Episode 1 of Season two started a little confusing with the battle between Captain Cold and Heatwave vs the Team of Flash and Firestorm……..was that a Dream Sequence or an Alternative Universe? Then we jump 6 months down the road with no explanation of the events of the Singularity. However once we get through the awkwardness of the first few minutes, Flash hits its normal charming stride.

With that Episode 1 starts with the loss of one half of Firestorm in Ronnie Raymond. Raymond sacrifices himself to help Barry close the Singularity. It will be interesting to see how they will introduce the new half of firestorm to combine with Martin Stein. Then the introduction to the main villain of Episode 1 Atom Smasher……I was ok with how he was portrayed, best part coming from this season of Flash, if someone is bad or if someone dies it’s not the end of that character. Got to love the Multi-verse! Speaking of the Multi-verse it looks as this season we will soon be introduced to the Meta-Human powers of Cisco, I can’t wait to see how this expands on the show to help explain different characters. (Side note: Does anyone else think that the hidden gem of this show is Cisco?) And finally the arrival of The Original Flash Jay Garrick

Episode 1 is the start of something great, but it had to pack a lot of information and storytelling into one episode. I think it was for the most part well done and I give Flash………One Thumbs Up

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Arrow Review: Season 4 Episode 1 "Green Arrow"



Arrow Season 4 Episode 1
“Green Arrow”

Synopsis

Oliver and Felicity's blissful getaway is cut short when Thea and Laurel pay them a visit and tell Oliver they need his help back in Star City. The city has been attacked by "Ghosts", assassins led by a dangerous man named Damien Darhk. However, when Oliver returns, Diggle makes it very clear that he doesn’t want Oliver on the team

Review
Finally we see Arrow match the more light hearted Flash and its about time. Season 3 felt long and at time difficult to watch, making the first episode of season 4 a breath of fresh air. Season 4 wastes no time getting to the main plot which will play out through out the rest of the season. We are introduce to the main villain in Damien Darhk (I find the casting of Neil McDonough great, he plays some of the most arrogant villains), We get to see the entire team in action and FINALLY we get the Green Arrow, its only four years in the making. Episode one felt fast and easy to lose yourself in while enjoyable to see a happier Oliver Queen. The jump ahead 6 months later leaves us wondering what member of Team Arrow dies at the end, and while most predictions say Felicity or Thea will be the one we see die this year I am leaning toward Captain Lance. Finally being the continuity geek I am having Barry Allen show up in the last scene got me instantly excited for another cross over episode. Once again these show on the CW show exactly how a comic book universe should work.

This is a must watch episode and gets my Two Thumbs Up

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Comic Book Review: Deathstroke (The New 52!) - Issue 2 - DC Comi

“Deathstroke”  Issue #2
Written By: Tony Daniel
Art By: Sanou Florea and Tomeu Morey

Synopsis
The Ukraine, within Deathstroke’s Fortress, we see a younger looking Deathstroke trying to locate the man, I-Ching, who is responsible for his sudden youthful physical appearance. As he runs downstairs he sees Odysseus and attacks him only to discover it’s a projected hologram, courtesy of a new mysterious figure known only as Red Fury. A discussion ensues where Red Fury informs the new youthful looking Deathstroke of current situations and then an army of men attack the fortress only to meet Deathstroke, able and ready to annihilate them in combat. Shortly after we see that Lady Shiva and Bronze Tiger are somehow involved and Deathstroke has left his European fortress and begun searching for answers when he makes a startling discovery. 

Opinion
The second installment in this new series and I’m hooked. I’m enjoying the art so much and the dialogue feels appropriate for a mercenary tale. The characters are starting to come together in a way that ties the story together while adding new twists and turns that kept me interested and excited to keep reading. The way to battles are drawn and colored are doing well to visually tell how brutal this story is and will continue to be. As each character expresses more and more detail into this bizarre adventure I found myself skipping ahead to read more, faster, and then having to come back and enjoy the visual aspects of the story on occasion. 

2 Thumbs up and not because I’m afraid any other rating would anger an already angry Deathstroke. 


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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Box Office Review: The Visit

Writer and director M. Night Shyamalan brings us "The Visit" which is his 11th film as a director of the horror meets bizarre style that only he can deliver. He made this film with Blumhouse, a smaller independent film company, who specialize in horror. It was a step in a new direction as Shyamalan usually is connected with big production companies with incredible budgets. M. Night working with an independent company was intriguing considering smaller budgets can lend themselves to more creative storytelling with this particular genre of film, unfortunately, it didn't feel as creative as the potential led me to believe it would be.

Two kids take a vacation to their grandparents house and decide to document the entire trip using their cameras and creativity. Shortly after arriving they come to realize that things at the house aren't as normal as they would prefer and danger ensues.

This film is shot "found footage" style and that didn't really help it at all. The story was choppy, as one would expect from found footage, but it never seemed to connect plot points and often left other plot points unexplained. The premise that after 930pm you aren't allowed out of your rooms is explained because the grandmother, played by Deanna Dunagan, acts like an overly drunk home repair specialist sanding a door, throwing up in the kitchen and scrubbing the floors on all fours while running into walls. This is all fine except for the fact she acts like the Hansel and Gretel witch before 930 at one point and also chases the kids under the house acting just as psychotic, again before sunset. For whatever reason it's revealed that she doesn't wear underpants, much to the disgust of myself since I, literally, was the only person in the theater when I saw this.

The grandfather, played by Peter McRobbie, has his own singularly bizarre habit of shitting himself and throwing the diapers away in a shed out in the yard, where he seemingly collects them for the reason of... being able to refer to his shed as a shitty shed? Your guess is as good as mine. I found no reason for this in the story except for near the very end he takes a diaper he just shit in and rubs it in his grandsons face, played by Ed Oxenbould.

The mother, played by Kathryn Hahn, is having a video chat with the kids at the peak of weirdness towards the very end of the film where it's revealed the grandparents aren't actually the grandparents but strangers the mother doesn't know. So after this week of being at the grandparents house we discover these aren't the grandparents... REALY?!?! I found this incredibly difficult to believe considering grandparents usually write letters and mail photographs each holiday. The idea the kids haven't seen the grandparents in person in awhile is believable. However... NOT KNOWING WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AT ALL is beyond ridiculous and was the moment that the theater was filled with laughter, my laughter. After all, I was the only person in the theater.

I don't recommend this film to anyone and if the film appears on television I recommend you watch a dvd or blu-ray or youtube or play a game or read a book or clean your bathroom. All of these activities are better than wasting your time with this movie.

I give it nothing more than a scathing review. What a piece of garbage.

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