Friday, March 31, 2017

Act 205: Shoulder Warmers

Masked Blogster and crew talk IPAs and pint glasses, Fantasy Movie League, Jessie's thoughts about Handsome J and Blogster in the shower, David Johnson's amazing recovery, the Native ghost pepper challenge, and Steve SILVA!

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Life - Review

Science Fiction meets horror is not a new concept. The idea that aliens exist in space and upon meeting humanity decides it’s time for us to die is pretty standard. The creativity in this type of story can be found in the particular methods used by the alien(s) or space explorers. What makes this alien take over attempt different and therefore worth watching? Let’s dive in and see with “Life” in this box office review…


An international space station crew is preparing to capture a pod that is traveling back from Mars. They catch the pod, as we have seen in the movie previews, and begin studying a single cell life form that seems to be growing at an alarming rate. Things go awry for the crew and it becomes a battle for survival. This is the basic premise or plot of this particular movie.


Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the film. It starts with a scene that is completely unnecessary to anything in the story and then jumps right into the characters on the space station. I did appreciate how the story wasted no time in getting to the conflict of the movie which is the alien life form. Almost immediately we see that the alien is becoming aware and dangerous and the tension builds from there. Unfortunately, the overall pacing is very unbalanced. At times my heart rate was up and then it grinds to a halt and seems to linger in these slower moments before racing back to tension again. It was stop and go and that was annoying for me, personally.


The acting in this film was all done well. The talented cast played their specific roles to a believable level and took what was a subpar movie and made it adequate at best. Thankfully we have the cast that we did otherwise this movie would’ve been one big snooze fest. The fear, the happiness, the pride, the sadness are all emotions delivered on screen by each character and it gave me a connection to each one of them before they are killed. Once they’re killed the camera lingers a bit long on a corpse. I speculate this was done to create a sense of loss and heightened tension. Quite the opposite effect for me, it came across as wasted screen time in what was an energized and engaging scene.


Life” is in theaters now! I don’t recommend you see this on the big screen. There’s nothing spectacular about this film that warrants your hard earn dollars being spent on ticket prices and concession. It’s a mediocre movie at best and the ending was edited so oddly that it confused me instead of surprised me. I believe the ending was designed to surprise us, and maybe for some it did, but I was confused. When I replayed the scenes in my mind I didn’t get how that ending transpired. It’s worth $1 at Redbox once it’s available and even then you have to enjoy science fiction meets horror films to care.


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The Belko Experiment - Review

Periodically, a film arrives in theaters that I know absolutely nothing about. I walk up to the kiosk, glance over the familiar titles and select which cinematic adventure I’ll be experiencing. This is that rare case where I walked into the theater knowing only who wrote it and the basic premise. So let’s dive in and take a look at “The Belko Experiment” in this box office review…


The plot is kill or be killed. A group of 80 corporate employees in Bogota Columbia are trapped inside their building and told that in order to survive they must murder one another by any means possible. When the group is first instructed they are reluctant to take a life of a colleague. However, it’s quickly discovered that the tracking chips they have implanted in their heads (in the event they’re kidnapped in Columbia which is common practice in this film) is actually a bomb. Because they refuse to kill one another, some of their heads start exploding, their mindset changes and the movie is off and running.


I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this film. I walked in with zero expectations because I didn’t know anything about the movie except people go crazy and kill each other. I was not disappointed in the amount of murder. This film begins with 80 people and ends with 1. Some of the murder scenes were gratuitous but on the whole the death scenes were typical action movie quality. The characters each had a specific purpose in the film and it’s safe to say that your favorite character most likely will not survive. Don’t get attached because it’s a nonstop thrill ride of bloody death.


The writing in the film was the highlight for me as I watched from start to finish. It was a great balance of humor, perspective, fear and sadness. There was also great determination by several characters and their dialogue was written wonderfully to convey that survival instinct. The comedic moments were also timed perfectly and felt natural. Imagining you’re in this particular world with this collective of personalities, each line of dialogue that was humorous provided a bit of necessary levity, I was shocked, disgusted and the laughing. It was well written and because of that I believe this film will become a cult classic.


The Belko Experiment” is in theaters now. I recommend everyone see this film who enjoys psychological, murderous, thrill rides with laughter. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this movie. My only concern is that it could, I’m not saying it will, but, it could turn into a franchise akin to “Saw” or “Resident Evil.” Just cheaply made, garbage films that keep trying to capitalize on the greatness that was the original. I found this movie to be a quiet gem and it could end up being my favorite sleeper film of 2017. There was no marketing for this. I never saw a single trailer. It quietly snuck into theaters and then it impressed me enough to recommend you see it too. Go now!


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Beauty and the Beast - Review

I wasn’t 100% on board with this film when I first heard the news that it was being made. I don’t believe the trailers got me that excited either. I debated on seeing an early release as well. I couldn’t wrap my head around how Disney will turn candle sticks, clocks, tea pots, cups and plates into believable characters. I’m not even sure where this disbelief came from! I loved Jungle Book and that entire film was almost all computer generated images. All that being said, I still marched myself into an early IMAX screening. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Beauty and the Beast” in this review…


This movie did not win me over immediately. In fact, I’m still not entirely sure it has won me over. I enjoyed the characters, both real and animated. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent Disney used for the voices. Also, Kevin Kline is a treasure and if he’s in a film I’m definitely more interested because of his simply being involved. The movie takes chances that work out well. The new songs written just for this film didn’t feel out of place and slipped comfortably into the story. Additionally, the added plot details that dig into Belle’s past and why her father and her live alone in this small town felt natural. It worked.


I had no real expectation that needed to be met for this film as a whole. I did, however, have an expectation for a single song, that if not met, would have ruined the film entirely for me. I waited and I watched for what I feel is the pivotal song of the musical… Be Our Guest. I knew if this didn’t work for me the film wouldn’t work for me. By the end of that song I was completely on board for the rest of the movie. In fact, after the film I used iTunes to enjoy that song on repeat for the drive home. What a marvelous job was done on this song. The levity, the joy, the enthusiasm, the excitement were all marvelously done for this version of the musical.



Beauty and the Beast” is in theaters now! I will recommend you get out and see this film on the big screen if you appreciate musicals and/or Disney. This version stays true to the original animated film with some new clever songs and plot details. If you have a girlfriend, daughter or wife this would be a great film to treat them to. Every guy who was in my showing had a wife, daughter or girlfriend with him. And while the ladies all sang along with the tunes and clapped periodically throughout the film, myself and the other gentlemen in the theater continued to enjoy our popcorn and soda’s, or iced tea in my particular case. I saw this on IMAX and it was worth it but you can still appreciate every bit of this movie on a regular screen at your preferred theater. Go check it out.


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Kong: Skull Island - Review

The monster movie genre hasn’t been blowing my mind box recently. I did have some reservations walking into the theater to see this movie. The trailers gave me enough hope to believe that what I would watch on the big screen would be somewhat entertaining and the cast of the film is incredibly talented. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Kong: Skull Island” in this box office review…


To begin, I enjoyed this film exactly to my expectation. I walked into the theater with a desire to see an action packed, monster filled, adventure. I received precisely that. The story does attempt to be more than just a film by diving into the aspects of war, sacrifice, family and community. However, at its core this is a story about Kong, the protector of the Island. I was also pleasantly surprised at how quickly we were taken to the island for monster battles. The story wasted no time in getting the team together and getting everyone across the ocean and onto this curious tropical paradise of terror. This was a great change from the most recent King Kong film. That film took forever for them to get to the island. Thankfully, this one did not.


The characters in this story are all uniquely gifted to handle particular situations. Much like any military special forces movie you have certain people on the team that excel in something the other does not. So in that, I enjoyed the diversity of the cast and how well they all fit the plot. I won’t be celebrating any single character in this film more than the next because I felt they all did well enough to keep the film entertaining, in their own way.

The monsters were great on the big screen. It’s not just a story about Kong and the weird lizards from the trailer. We get to explore a world of monsters on this island and if you stay past the credits you find out that our world is getting a little bit larger too. This movie was akin to Jurrassic Park in that the entire island is filled with creatures, much like Jurassic Park is filled with dinosaurs. From tree trunks that aren’t actually tree trunks, to bamboo spiders and curious birds that look like dinosaurs, we get to see plenty of the bizarre. I loved that aspect more than I enjoyed any single character in this film.



Kong: Skull Island” is in theaters now! I definitely recommend you get out to the theater and experience this film on the big screen. It’s a special effects driven movie and it looks incredible on the big screen. You won’t be disappointed if you set your expectations appropriately. This is a fun time at the movies and it’s great for popcorn munching and soda drinking. This almost felt like an early summer blockbuster with a few clever lines of dialogue that will produce some laughs and levity.


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Friday, March 24, 2017

Act 204: Wear a Diaper

Masked Blogster, Handsome J, Mini Mandy, Frankie G., Kevin and Steve Silva talk theories on Life, Iron Fist, anti-lyrics, J's marathon, TV shows turned into movies, and much more.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Act 203: The Amazing Race-ists

Masked Blogster and crew get into a variety of topics including  March movies and Frank and Kevin signing up for a reality game show before being interrupted by a drunken lady who thinks Blogster's shoulder is a boob shelf.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MPT Podshort: WWE Fastlane

Mini Mandy and Frankie G take over the show to discuss their thoughts on the recent WWE Fastlane event.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Masker-Spirits Podshort: The Park Interview

Handsome J and Kevin from "Raise Your Spirits" sit down with Stephanie (the operations manager) at the new downtown local hotspot "The Park" to discuss her new venue. When you stop by tell them Maskerpiece Theatre sent you!

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Tweet Raise Your Spirits @RYSPodcast and Email us at ryspodcast@gmail.com.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Act 202: Joe Jusko is Fantastic

Maskerpiece Theatre records at Fantastic Worlds Comics and the guests are aplenty in this episode. Masked Blogster, Handsome J and Frankie G. are joined by store owner Bill, comic book artist Jeremy Clark, and the legendary artist Joe Jusko!

Longtime friend of Abnormal Entertainment, Tony Sabal, also joins the group to talk about the odd events surrounding Phoenix ComiCon.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Logan - Box Office Review

The X-Men franchise is now 9 movies in length. There are 6 X-Men movies and 3 Wolverine movies. Have they all been terrible? Nope. Have they all been awesome? Also, nope. However they’ve each delivered something special and entertaining so let’s dive in and take a look at “Logan” in this box office review…


This film dares to be something uniquely special in the franchise of the X-Men universe. It takes challenges that previous films have not. For example, this film explores what it means to treat the elderly who are suffering mental illness, like dementia. What it means to grow old. What it means to protect those you love. What it means to confront the inner demons individuals struggle with. This film goes deep and does it well. At its heart, the root story, is that of the reluctant hero who must come to terms with being a team player while his life has led him to isolation. He must confront the reality that he’s no longer alone and his life has new purpose, despite the fact his life might not last that much longer.


The character of Wolverine in the comics is violent. This might be the first in 9 films to explore that facet of his personality. Sure he kills folks in previous films but the rage monster that he transforms into when he is pushed to the edge really has not, until now. This film captures the berserker fury well and does so with the new addition of Laura, aka X23, also. This movie is an examination of what it means to be family, and equally, what it means to be lose control and turn to savagery. We see the world around Logan attempt to remain in control, even if that’s through dark manipulation, while he himself loses control to save those he still holds dear. It’s a beautiful dichotomy.



Logan” is in theaters now! I heard someone describe this film as a western meets science fiction and I won’t disagree with that description. I really enjoyed this film. The character of Wolverine is one of suffering and loss. He’s also one of great passion and love for those he ever truly grows to let in. This film captures this and more. It’s a great finale to the Wolverine Trilogy and it sets up future X-Men movies nicely. It’s violent but it’s not unnecessary. The action is all part of the character and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Go see this film!


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LEGO Batman - Box Office Review

Occasionally, a cartoon that crosses the lines of entertainment suitable for adults and children alike drops in theaters and we’re all the better for it. Go ahead and add the character of Batman and his pantheon of supporting characters and you’re really telling movie-goers that you are trying to create something special. So let’s dive in and take a look at “LEGO Batman” in this box office review…


First, since it’s an animated film let’s look at the voice talent that was used to tell this Batman story. Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas (RAFI BOMB!) Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jermaine Clement AND MORE!!! This film has so much incredible talent that each character was brought to life with a special and unique voice that built on the story and added humorous after humorous moment. The characters all sounded believable in their good or bad personas and each had their own great moment. I was blown away by how many characters were in this film from not just the Batman mythos but Warner Bros. films dating back decades. This was a mishmash of talent that paid off big for movie-goers and the movie studio.


The story is that of an overly self absorbed man-child that saves the city time and time again from the likes of the Joker, the Riddler, Bane, Scarecrow, Catwoman and more. Our hero is isolated and continues to repress his desire for family and camaraderie. He’s even a bit surprised when he realizes his actions have led to the Justice League throwing a party that doesn’t involve him. It’s a coming of age tale that forces this version of Batman to see that with out others, villains included, he is just a guy who’s searching for purpose and meaning.



LEGO Batman” is theaters now! I definitely recommend you see this film on the big screen. I have seen it twice so far. It’s one of the best Batman films ever made. The writers went to great lengths to celebrate decades of Batman mythos. From the earliest black and white serials of Batman from the golden age of cinema to present, we get all Batman all the time which is awesome. I laughed so hard I was crying and if you have kids you will get to laugh along with them. So finish reading this, collect your children and go enjoy some family time at the theater with “LEGO Batman.”


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A Cure For Wellness - Box Office Review

Trailers can present an idea of a film so well that you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk into the theater. The trailers for this particular movie did their job well. The spooky nature and mysterious look are all driving factors for this story. So let’s dive in and take a look at “A Cure for Wellness” in this box office review…

I walked into the theater with an expectation to have my mind messed with. I had an idea from the trailers that this movie was going to play inside my brain and attempt to freak my mind over and over again. It succeeded, in a way. The basic premise of the film is a rich CEO goes mental and has to find sanctuary in Switzerland at a place that no one who checks in ever checks out. An upcoming new talent is sent to the center for wellness to retrieve the CEO and the story unfolds from there. “From there” takes a long time unfortunately. This movie wastes so much screen time on shots of people walking or looking at things. I understand that it's attempting to build suspense but I believe that is possible without having to watch Dane DeHaan crutch his way across a hallway while he suffers a broken leg. I get it. His leg is broken and the wellness center is creepy. Let’s stop watching the lead actor hobble his away across the screen while looking confused. Get… to… the… point.


The cinematography in this film is enjoyable. To be fair, Gore Verbinski films typically look great. The mysterious eels, the colors of the hallways, the clothes of the patients, the washed out look on the faces of the people both worker and patient are as creepy as the movie intends them to be. This movie looks good! Plus, the main actors do a great job delivering on the persona's they’re meant to portray. To recap, I really enjoyed the look of this film a great deal and the main characters were great.



A Cure for Wellness” is in theaters now! I don’t know how to recommend this film. It takes some curious turns. It borders on bizarre monster movie, meets psychological thriller meets incestuous madness. The ending takes an odd turn that transforms the film from psychological thriller to something entirely different. It wraps up the questions I had regarding two characters, but wow. It takes a weird turn at the very the end. If you see it, comment below and share your thoughts. If you don’t see it, that’s ok too. I’m not sure how to or how not to recommend this film. It’s just very different but I walked out the theater enjoying the film but not liking how long it was.


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John Wick 2 - Box Office Review

The most enjoyed action film of 2014 was John Wick. Unfortunately, I missed it in theaters and enjoyed it on BLU-Ray. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed this action film about an assassin for the criminal underworld. When the sequel was announced I made sure not to miss this in theaters. So let’s dive in and take a look at “John Wick: Chapter 2” in this box office review…


The incredible action sequences and gun play from the first film were not lost in this sequel. In fact, there was new styles of shooting in this film that made a scene like walking through a crowded tube of folks engaging as the characters had to try and shoot each other subtly. Yes, you read that correctly. This film loves martial arts, gun play and of course, John Wicks new dog. I was pleased with how the story wasn’t just a rehash of the previous story. It had an element of that in the very beginning of the film but Wick’s decision to settle differences leads the film in a completely fresh direction.


In General, the story is predictable up into the ending. It's a story about an assassin who wants to leave the world he's a part of but that world isn't ready to let him simply leave. I was surprised by the ending because the whole movie I was able to see where we were headed and by the end I didn’t want predictably to reign. It didn’t. The ending was surprising and I was grateful. I’m not sure where the third film in the franchise will go as the ending of the film really drives separation between John Wick and the world he inhabits. By the end of the movie though, he still has his dog which also was a major difference from the first film.



John Wick: Chapter 2” is in theaters now! If you love action movies you need to see this movie on the big screen. I walked out of the theater so happy about what I just watched. It’s a great action flick and the style of martial arts and gun play are entertaining on fresh new levels. Keanu Reeves can play this character for as long as he wants in my opinion. This is a role he excels in. I'm even ok if the creators want to make a spin off movie that deals with only the Hotel Continental.I can’t recommend this movie enough to action movie lovers. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll probably want to start wearing more black when you walk your dog.


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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fist Fight - Box Office Review

Comedies should be designed to make people laugh as the top priority. If the film decides to venture into deeper concepts of life, mortality, racism, money, etc. that’s ok. However, the primary purpose of the comedy should be to make the viewers laugh, first and foremost. So let’s dive in and take a look at “Fist Fight” in this box office review…


This movie was garbage. Plain and simple. I walked into the theater with an expectation to laugh. I barely laughed at all. Unfortunately, the majority of the “funny” scenes were those that were in the previews. I was so bored by the cheap jokes, poor writing and made for tv acting that I wanted to pull my hat down and fall asleep in the theater. Fortunately, Kumail Nanjiani has the comedic chops to be funny in any situation and he was the one character that kept the pulse alive for this film. There were two recurring jokes in the film that had some level of redemption and they made me laugh but overall the story is hot garbage on a windy day just blowing stink everywhere.



Fist Fight” is in theaters now and it shouldn’t be. This movie isn’t worth your time via RedBox or theaters. If you decide to go out and do some day drinking and get pretty hammered and then turn on the TV and it’s playing, you might enjoy it. If you’re not hammered drunk though you’ll probably notice how you’re wasting your life by watching this film.


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The Founder - Box Office Review

Based on a true story, this film explores the life of Ray Kroc and his rise to power from a traveling salesman to building the biggest restaurant franchise the world has seen. The film dares to explore the personal and professional life of Mr. Kroc and how his ambition was both a blessing and curse. So let’s dive in and take a look at “The Founder” in this box office review…


John Lee Hancock has directed two previous films that I enjoy. Both of these films were also based on a real life people and real life events. It seems to me that Hancock has a passion for these types of bio films that cross the lines of entertaining big screen spectacle and potential History channel special. He focuses on character development and story and, in this movie, drives those two into something special. At times it’s pretty obvious McDonalds has their hand in the story as it ventures from film to commercial but the writers did well enough to create a believable moment for the commercial in how the story is told. It doesn’t beat you over the head but it’s also not subtle. Much like Ray Kroc, it’s blunt and to the point.


The actors in this film were the main reason I went to the theater in the first place. Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carrol Lynch and B.J. Novak. These four deliver something uniquely special as they each represent something completely different in their personalities and ambitions. It’s a blending that works from start to finish. I walked in with higher than normal expectations for the actors and I was not disappointed.



The Founder” is probably out of theaters as it was wide released but it only hit approximately 1,100 theaters nationwide. If you enjoy biopics and want to see a film that explores the life of the man who made this American fast food franchise I recommend you see this film. It’s scheduled for digital download the beginning of April and BLU-Ray mid April. It’s a good film that looks at real people in real situations. I wasn’t blown away by this film but I did enjoy it.



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