Monthly Archives: March 2018

Cinema Dispatch: Ready Player One

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Ready Player One and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Oh!  Do I finally get a chance to see this darn movie!?  I swear; it feels like EVERY OTHER CRITIC IN THE WORLD got an invite to an early premiere of this while I’m sitting over here waiting for its ACTUAL release date like a total chump!  Now I haven’t read the book so I won’t be going into this with much in terms of expectations, but the premise is on that could really get out of hand quickly if it’s not in the hands of the right director.  Just imagine how bad Scott Pilgrim would have been if it wasn’t in the hands of Edgar Wright, or if say Adam Sandler somehow managed to make a movie about classic video games attacking us in the real world.  GOOD THING THAT NEVER HAPPENED, AM I RIGHT!?  Was Steven Spielberg the right one to adapt this material, or will this be a larger misstep for the venerable director than The Lost World: Jurassic Park?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place in the year 2045 where society hasn’t really COLLAPSED, so much as it’s gotten really apathetic and there’s a whole bunch of trash everywhere.  For most people, they’re way of dealing with it is to go into the most EXPANSIVE AND BAD ASS online video game ever made (right after Second Life) called THE OASIS!  One such denizen of this virtual world is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who lives in one of the slums of Columbus Ohio (they literally just started stacking trailer homes on top of each other) but he has big dreams for the future that will get him out of his boring miserable life!  Okay, it mostly involves playing games in THE OASIS as his in-game character Parzival, but that’s proving to be more and more of a viable career path; provided he doesn’t start shouting racial slurs.  Like in real life though, he’s kind of stuck at the lower tier of THE OASIS hierarchy and spends most of his time either hanging out with his friend Aech (Lena Waithe) or re-reading the history of the inventor of THE OASIS James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who died about a decade ago.  Said creator by the way has stuck three hidden keys within the game that if found will get TOTAL control of his Chocolate Factory… I mean software company, but no one has been able to find even one of them so far; not even the EVIL corporation called Innovative Online Industries (IOI) which is head up by the EVIL Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) that plan to do EVIL things if they get control of the company!  So Wade/Parzival is just going along his day to day routine… that is until he meets Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) who is one of the top players in the game, and their chance encounter ALSO leads to him figuring out the first clue that James Halliday left behind which leads him directly to the first key!  Now the guy is on EVERYONE’S radar!  Art3mis is trying to find the keys for herself and wants Parzival’s help doing it, Aech is stoked that they get all the cool gear that comes with finding that first key, and of course the EVIL IOI is after him to either convince him to join them or DESTROY HIM UTTERLY!  Will Wade be able to resist the allures of corporate culture and embark on this noble quest to honor the memory of the greatest game developer of all time?  What reasons could Art3mis have for needing to find the keys, and does it have anything to do with IOI’s EVIL schemes?  Will Wade get the validation in the virtual world that he so desperate craves in his own life!?  THAT’S HOW THIS WORKS, RIGHT!?

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“You are the one!”     “YEAH!!“     “Now just pay $4.99 to see the TRUE ending.”     “WHAT!?”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Boy Meets Mayor)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with even more of Tim and Eric’s West Wing!  Clearly the writing on this show is on par with Aaron Sorkin; especially this episode which has sexual liaisons, international men of sandal making, and a balloon race to decide the future of Jefferton’s political status quo!  Well now that I lay it all out there this DOES sound absolutely amazing, so let’s jump right in!  The episode begins with The Married News Team Jan and Wayne Skyler reporting on a recent sex scandal that The Mayor has been a part of.  Probably not AS bad as when Toronto Mayor Rob Ford got caught smoking crack, but you never want leaked video footage of ANYTHING to hit the evening news.

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I’d still vote for him over the current guy…

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Cinema Dispatch: Thoroughbreds

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Thoroughbreds and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Cory Finley

Well they haven’t announced a sequel to Ingrid Goes West yet which is PROBABLY a good thing all things considered, but it also means that I’ll have to start looking to the imitators if I want to re-experience that magic that made that film so special.  Not EXACTLY the case with this film as it was actually made BEFORE Ingrid Goes west (back in 2016), but considering both films are about emotionally unstable young women (this time there’s TWO of them!) and the ways that society can exacerbate their worst tendencies, it seems like a good place to start if I want to find another great movie that’s right up my alley.  Does this manage to succeed not just in terms of being LIKE a movie I really loved but as its own unique story?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Amanda (Olivia Cooke) who feels nothing being tutored by Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) who feels everything, and the two of them are sort of rekindling their friendship after certain life events (the death of Lily’s father as well as some really disturbing activities Amanda got up to) had driven them apart.  Now normally this would be a cause for celebration as two friends getting back together is usually a recipe for good times and wholesome nostalgia, but when it becomes clear that Lily REALLY hates her new step-father (Paul Sparks), Amanda floats the idea of just murdering the dude… because that’s what people who don’t feel anything naturally jump to… I guess?  Lily is skeptical at first, but it doesn’t take long for her to warm up to the idea which they start hastily putting together in between watching old movies on TV and sitting around in Lily’s fancy house.  Clearly they aren’t criminal masterminds, but it does seem that they know enough to try and get someone who’s ACTUALLY a criminal (not necessarily a mastermind) to try and help them with this plan, so the duo enlists Tim (Anton Yelchin) who Lily saw selling drugs at a party once, and things start to spiral out of control from there.  Will Lily and Amanda come up with the PERFECT plan to kill the douchebag step dad without getting caught themselves?  What can Tim really bring to the table now that he’s sucked into these girls’ outlandish scheme, and how far will he go to find a way out of it?  Is it just me, or do these girls watch just as much TV as I do?

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“So you want to start picking locations to dump the body?”     “Shh.  After this episode.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Pacific Rim Uprising

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Pacific Rim Uprising and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Steven S DeKnight

Hey, remember when Pacific Rim was a thing?  Yeah, it REALLY feels like a long time ago at this point, doesn’t it?  I mean, it DID come out five years ago, but with The Shape of Water showing us what Guillermo del Toro is really capable of when he puts everything he’s got into a movie (and not just special effects),Pacific Rim is feeling more and more like an afterthought in his career.  That being said, it WAS a really well made movie with a great turn by Charlie Day as a befuddled super science, and it led to him and his co-star Burn Gorman teaming up again for one of the best episodes of It’s Always Sunny; Flowers for Charlie!  Now we’ve got a sequel that doesn’t have del Toro in the director’s chair and looks to be more of a big budgeted Transformers competitor instead of the more methodical and intense vibe of the first film which certainly isn’t a BAD direction to take the series in, but will they be able to pull it off?  Let’s find out!!

The movie takes place ten years after the events of the first film where Jake (John Boyega) who is the son of Idris Elba’s General Stacker Pentecost is NOT living up to his father’s legacy and is instead bumming around one of the many cities that were more or less abandoned after being hit by a Kaiju attack.  Jake doesn’t like to play by the rules and would rather spending his time ripping parts out of retired giant robots known as Jaegers than to join the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) and continue his father’s legacy while also preparing for the next inevitable Kaiju attack.  Too bad for Jake though because he runs into a fellow street hustler named Amara (Cailee Spaeny) who’s made her own mini-Jaeger but is soon busted along with Jake for having an illegal robot which is a thing now I guess.  Anyway, Jake is faced with some serious jail time if he the cops throw the book at him, but his sister Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) who is a General in the PPDC offers him one more chance to set his life straight.  Join back up with the PPDC and train some new recruits which will include Amara whose impressive robot making skills has caught the PPDC’s attention.  So that’s it, right?  It’s basically Top Gun but with robots!  Well… not quite.  While this is going on, we ALSO have to worry about the PPDC losing their favor with the rest of the world as a tech company led up by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) has developed Jaeger drones that can be piloted by ONE person instead of two, and can do so remotely which will pilots from having to climb into the robots themselves.  Seems like a good idea, but if you know ANYTHING about sci-fi movies, there’s always some unforeseen consequences to overly mechanizing jobs that humans are also doing; ESPECIALLY jobs which involve deadly weapons!  Not only that, but while this squabble is taking place, there are hints here and there that the Kaiju may be returning sooner than they all think!  Can the PPDC and the Shao Corporation come to an understanding before even bigger threats will tear them both apart?  Will Jake be able to finally stop running from his TORTURED BACKSTORY PAST (mostly involving Daddy Issues) in order to succeed in the one place where he truly belongs?  Any chance we can just forget about that Power Rangers movie and just let the filmmakers behind this make one that’s ACTUALLY good?

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“IT’S MORPHING TIME!!”     “The heck it is!  No way I’m wearing spandex in this thing!”

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Jumping the Soapbox: Gotta Hide Fast! – Where Did All the Sonic Comics Go!?

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Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series and all its spin-offs) are owned by Archie Comics and Sega of America

All other copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

If you’ve followed this site for any period of time you’ll know that I sporadically review the Sonic the Hedgehog comics from Archie Comics Publications, and while I haven’t gotten NEARLY as many of covered as I’d like to, it’s been fun to go back and see a whole new side to this franchise and to watch it grow over time; exploring new ideas and taking more and more chances with each passing issue. Seriously, if you’re disappointed that the Sonic SAT AM series was cancelled after 2 seasons, then you couldn’t ask for a better continuation than what they did with the comics, and it is FASCINATING to watch the continuity established in the show slowly start to fold in elements from the game series that went in an entirely different direction while also expanding its own world and lore. It can get a bit messy at times to be sure, but they’re still really fun to read and a refreshing reminder of what CAN be done with this character from a storytelling perspective. Sadly the series came to an end back in December of 2016 with issue 290 (making it the longest running comic book series based on a video game character) and the license has been moved to IDW to start a whole new series. Sure, I’m a bit sad that such a long running series eventually came to an end, but I’ve always liked IDW as a publisher and am excited to see what they can do with the series. And it’s not like the original comics from Archie are just going to up and disappear on us! Right!?

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WHAT HAPPENED!?

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Within the last few months, ComiXology (the largest marketplace for digital comic books) has removed every single Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series from their service. If you haven’t purchased them already, you can’t purchase them now and as far as I can tell they were the ONLY digital comic distributor who was selling them meaning that there is currently no way to purchase these books (over TWENTY years of issues) in a digital format, and if you look now all you will see is listings for the upcoming IDW Sonic the Hedgehog series. The exact details of these licensing deals with SEGA are not privy to the general public so it isn’t clear who has access to what now in terms of reprinting and selling digital copies of the original Archie comics. PRESUMABLY they’re still in Archie Comic’s hands considering they published the darn things, but with their SEGA deal having ended it’s unclear if these comics will ever see the light of day again; either digitally or physically. That’s a real shame considering that once again, Sonic the Hedgehog is the longest running comic book series based on a video game and ran for an astonishing twenty-four years, and all of it could be gone for all anyone knows at this point.

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Vehicular Manslaughter)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with another episode of Tim & Eric Do Lower Class America, and this one’s a doozy with one of the show’s most noteworthy guest star making their first appearance!  Oh, and don’t worry if none of what I’m about to describe makes any sense.  The whole point of this episode is that Tom is flying by the seat of his pants from one absurd situation to another, so a bit of confusion is to be expected!  Now then, the episode begins with the funeral of famed Renaissance Man Dr. Michael Ian Black (see what I mean?), who Tom is giving a Eulogy for under rather ambiguous circumstances.  CLEARLY this requires a flashback which is just what we get as Tom begins to remember the events that led up to this tragic moment.  It all starts with his latest scheme to be a true ENTREPRENEUR by trying to sell City Council on his new energy plan for Jefferton which will turn everyone’s crap into electricity!  I’m rather skeptical that Tom Peters has the engineering skills or the background in ANY related sciences to come up with a system of turning poop into power, but City Council seems to be behind the idea and is ready to move forward.

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“I’m Tom Peters, and I’m here to tell you what POO can do for YOU!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Tomb Raider

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Tomb Raider and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Roar Uthaug

ANOTHER video game movie!?  Haven’t we tried that like forty times already!?  Well that’s a bit unfair.  I’ve always maintained that a good chunk of them are actually pretty good for their respective genres such as the first Mortal Kombat, and we’ve rebooted the video game franchise since the LAST time we were making films off of this series, so an updated interpretation with brand new Lara Croft could really be something if they get the right people behind it!  Does this manage to be the first video game movie to be one that EVERYONE thinks is good instead of just me?  Let’s find out!!

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the daughter of a world renowned… business man I guess (Dominic West) considering her family is renting that building from Iron Fist, but she doesn’t hang around much anymore since her father disappeared several years ago.  Instead, she spends most of her time MMA training and working in the Gig Industry; riding her bike for fun AND profit!  However, an associate of her father (Kristin Scott Thomas) has to bail her out of trouble due to a situation that REALLY wasn’t her fault (how do you get arrested for getting hit by a car!?) and she insists that Lara give up this lifestyle to finally claim her birthright and the millions of dollars that go with it.  All she has to do is sign the documents confirming once and for all that her father is dead (is that a thing?  Does a family member have to sign those in order for a missing person to be declared dead?) which she’s been reluctant to do as she still thinks he’s out there somewhere.  She might just be right about that when she finds her father’s secret laboratory where he left a final message for Lara; telling her to burn all his research to the ground and to not look for him.  Naturally she doesn’t do that because who WOULD just give up after getting some pretty solid evidence that could lead to where he is, and so she enlists the help of a fisherman (Daniel Wu) whose father was connected to Lara’s and the two set off to some MYSTERIOUS ISLAND!  The good news is that it’s not Skull Island and teeming with giant monsters.  The bad news?  Well there are a bunch of dudes with guns looking for something on the island, and the head dude named Vogel (Walton Goggins) thinks that Lara might hold the key to finding it.  Will Lara be able to find what these men are looking for as well as finding her father in the process?  What are the sinister plans that Vogel has in store once he locates this mysterious artifact?  You know, we keep going on about her dad, but are we SURE that her mother is dead too?  All I’m saying is that if Angelina Jolie doesn’t show up in the sequel, I’m going to be VERY disappointed!

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“The Colonel’s secret recipe is right behind this door.  Once I unlock it, those eleven herbs and spices will be MINE!!”

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