Monthly Archives: September 2018

Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #9

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Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

We’re back with another issue of The Mobius Dozen where our heroes now know what they heck they need to do but may not be fully aware of what they’re up against!  Does Neo Metal Sonic have something up his robo-sleeve that even our heroes won’t’ be able to overcome?  Let’s find out!!  The issue begins on a slightly different note than usual as we start with Neo Metal Sonic giving his expositional villain speech (to no one in particular) which catches us up to speed on what he’s been up to while Sonic and The Resistance (I’m CERTAIN they’re gonna call themselves Sonic’s Forces at some point) were off trying to uncover the most obvious evil plot imaginable.  In case you didn’t know already, Neo Metal Sonic flew his ship to Angel Island… and that’s it.  No one was guarding the Master Emerald that resides on there, and he just… took it and put it in a giant cage that he now sits on.  Kinda dropped the ball there, didn’t you Knuckles?  I’ll give the book credit for changing things up a bit here as this early scene gives Neo Metal Sonic a modicum of presence and a slight amount of menace, but then I also question how perfect of an artificial being he is considering he starts four sentences IN A ROW with “I have”.  Sure I’m barely a writer myself, but at least I know enough to check for that kind of repetition!

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“I have a copy of The Terminator on Blu Ray.  I have given the movie five stars on Amazon.  I have learned much from it, and will not be making the same mistakes.”

Anyway, while Neo Metal Sonic is sitting on the Emerald Throne, Sonic’s Forces have all gathered together (or at least the named characters in The Resistance) and are planning on how to take back the island and the Master Emerald.  It’s a brilliant plan actually!  They go to the island, they beat up robots, and then profit!  Okay, it’s a BIT more complicated than that.  Sonic and Knuckles will head for Neo Metal Sonic and the Master Emerald while everyone ELSE beats up robots.  There’s also this oddly specific argument that goes on for two pages where they try to explain why Blaze SHOULDN’T go with Sonic and Knuckles despite being WAY overpowered, but it doesn’t really explain much and is either a contrivance to have it make sense why Sonic and Knuckles will fight without her or is planting something that we’re get back to later.  Now sure it’s a bit thin, but aside from the Blaze debate I think this set up works because this issue isn’t so much about plot and exposition as it is about characters and payoff.  The best part of this issue is the pages where they’re simply heading to Angel Island (they’re in some sort of aircraft and I have no idea where they got it from) and we get some brief yet VERY engaging moments with all the characters.  Case in point, they are still doing a PHENOMENAL job with Whisper who exudes so much character just through small moments and the artwork, and they seem to be implying that some of her backstory involves the jerkiest jerk to ever be a jerk; Shadow the Hedgehog.  Honestly, I’d be surprised if he DIDN’T have beef with a bunch of woodland critters wielding guns.

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“That’s not how you fold your arms, you BASTARD!”     “What was that?”     “I said good luck out there!”

Now this doesn’t make up for the fact that most of the issues up to this point have been total fluff, but I’m glad that these characters are finally coming into their own now that we’ve been pedantically introducing them and back filling whatever continuity is pertinent.  There’s a poker game on the ship with all the characters you really don’t care about (mainly The Chaotix and Silver) and it’s surprising how well it works at giving them a sense of personality in a single page than they got in an entire issue.  The only SLIGHTLY sour note about it is Knuckles who granted is in full on rage mode due to Neo Metal Sonic sitting on his Emerald, but his dialogue here is really uninteresting and just comes off like a Shadow wannabe.  I’m actually genuinely curious how the whole Chaotix thing fits in and his relationship to the other members at this point, but sadly we’re gonna have to wait on that since they aren’t tackling it here.

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“We’re there, Knuckles!”     “REALLY!?”     “No.”     “…”     “Wanna play now?”

Sadly the party plane eventually arrives at their destination and we have to start moving the plot along once again, but at least they throw in a rather spectacular action sequence with the biggest surprise being that the flow of action ACTUALLY makes sense!  They don’t waste two pages trying to build a complex sequence of movements and attacks; rather it’s a couple of splashes with each character doing something that’s rather straightforward yet effective.  Best of all, Blaze is the centerpiece of this entire siege as the writers FINALLY realize that she is not only the best thing about this book (especially with Tangle having a very obvious crush on her), but is OP as heck with her alt-universe Chaos Emeralds (also known as Sol Emeralds) giving her MAXIMUM FIRE POWER!  Seriously, the other Sonic books (the ones that SEGA wants us to forget about) had a whole bunch of spin-offs and mini-series, and I think already they’re proving that Blaze has enough going for her to lead her own stories; especially if they pair her up with Tangle!

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“THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE!!”     “Charmy, you do that ONE more time…”     “SHE’S WALKING ON FIRE!!”     “Sigh…”

If it seems that I’m barely talking about anything of consequence and just jumping from character to character to shamelessly rave about how well they play card games and shoot fireballs, well you’re not wrong.  Plot is oh so very secondary to this and really we only get to the whole Master Emerald thing in the last three pages.  While everyone else is smashing stuff and looking cool doing it (Shadow is conspicuously absent from the scene which I’m sure will pay off later), Sonic and Knuckles head for Noe Metal Sonic’s throne room to kick some robo-butt!  Knuckles in particular is still fuming at the audacity of all this and takes the first swing with Sonic right behind him, but it turns out he has a new trick up his sleeve and turns into… Super Neo Metal Sonic?  Are we REALLY only nine issues into this and already having doubled up power levels?  I mean I’ll pretty much watch ANYTHING that takes direct inspiration from DBZ, but the naming conventions were not the best thing about it!  And so the issue ends with Sonic and Knuckles up a creek without much of a paddle with the creek being a super powered robo kill bot and the paddle being whatever plot contrivance the writers need to think of before the next issue!

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“Don’t worry, Knuckles.  If it bleeds, we can kill it!”     “Seriously?”     “Hey, if we’re gonna die we might as well do it laughing!”

I’m glad that the series is finally getting into its groove and this is the kind of issue I’ve been waiting for since the series began.  The thing is that I’ve never reviewed a comic book series before, on an ACTUAL release schedule before, so I could be coming into this with the wrong mindset as it never really feels like we’re getting enough story, characters, and action each for something that we only get once a month.  It certainly helps that this book is doing a pretty solid job of paying off what it has been setting up all along, so maybe I’m a bit too impatient to get where we’re going and honestly should stick to trades (or keep reading those Archie books since I can go through them at my own pace), but then again the individual stories themselves had problems independent of how thin their content was; namely the very poor job they’ve done integrating THE SONIC LORE, the repetitive nature of the conflicts in most of the issues, and the hit or miss action scenes.  This issue manages to fix pretty much all of those issues as the story stayed engaging all the way through, they did a darn good job giving most of the characters something worthwhile to do even in very short parts, and there are even some hanging plot threads that I want to see play out in future issues!  Chances are it won’t stay THIS good once we finish the story arc since things will have to slow down as we build up to whatever the next major conflict will be, but for now this is probably the best issue so far and certainly gives me hope for we’ll end this first chapter on a very high note.

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Undercover)

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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 another episode of 21 Jefferton Street where it seems that Tim & Eric beat Phil Lord and Chris Miller to the punch by a good six years, albeit with a much smaller budget and a tenth of the run time.  The episode begins with yet another public service announcement for the citizens of Jefferton, though this time they couldn’t afford Janeane Garofalo and had to settle for Jan and Wayne Skyler; Jefferton’s own married news team.  The lack of A-List celebrities on hand however should NOT lessen their grave message as it seems that the greatest menace currently facing the town is the abundance of starch in people’s diet.  Now to their credit, starch IS something you should watch out for in your diet as it’s a common staple in some really bad foods and can even cause blood sugar issues if you’re already susceptible to those kind of issues (starch is a form of glucose), but like with basically ANYTHING you eat it’s all about moderation and finding out what works best for your system.  Now obviously this PSA isn’t about that as it’s paid for by the Jefferton Starch League, and the goal was clearly to scare people into looking at ridiculous (and pricey) alternatives to simply cutting back on the mashed potatoes.  Case in point, Jan and Wayne’s guest on the program is a wacky inventor named Sandy Winfield (Bob Odenkirk) who has devised a Starch Testing Machine that looks like a ColecoVision with a desktop calculator from the same era glued on top. Now sure, it CAN be a pain in the ass to measure starch content in all the food you eat (subtract the total grams of carbohydrates from the grams of sugar and fiber), but since Mr. Winfield’s method LITERALLY involves your ass as you have to have to test your own stool with it, I think doing a little bit of math is the much more convenient option.

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“Sandy Winfield is not a real doctor, but those elitist jerks will just tell you to change your diet!  Pay me money to tell you why you should be panicking about Starch!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Predator

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The Predator and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Shane Black

I’m getting rather good at avoiding trailers at this point because I never saw a single one for this movie.  All I knew was that it was another Predator movie with an annoyingly similar title to the rest of them (which is still better than the sequel to Halloween being called Halloween) and it was being directed by the guy who wrote Lethal Weapon, directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and The Nice Guys, and even got turned into a pile of bloody organs in the first Predator movie!  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning formula to me!  At least until the recent news came out about his deeply irresponsible casting decision in the movie which frankly cast a big cloud over the whole thing for me right before it came out.  Does this manage to be an entertaining film despite the problems that Shane Black managed to bring upon himself in the lead up to the film’s release, or was that the first sign that something was amiss with the latest entry in this franchise?  Let’s find out!!

For some time now it seems that Predators have been stepping up their game and coming to Earth with a bit more frequency which is not just a good way to set ourselves up for some prequels, but to raise the stakes a bit as this latest invasion by a Predator seems to be a bit more than just some dude trying to add one more human spine to his collection.  He crash lands in a jungle down in Mexico where military badass Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is on assignment to assassinate someone for something, but said crash landing makes things a bit more complicated.  A bunch of… dudes (are they military?  A private corporation?) who are part of PROJECT STARGAZER which is led by the mysterious Traeger (Sterling K Brown) capture the alien, capture most of its armor, and even captures McKenna, but not before McKenna… finds someone to mail part of The Predator’s armor back home.  Apparenlty he wants to keep it for “evidence” which I’m SURE will come in handy when he’s carted off to a mental institution so that PROJECT STARGAZER can keep a lid on the existence of aliens.  Not so much of a lid that they won’t enlist a civilian scientist Dr. Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) to take a look at the captured creature, but enough so that the highly trained military officer who’s already involved with secret government plots like assassinations can be forcibly kept quiet before he starts blabbing to everyone.  Sounds like a foolproof plan to me!  Oh wait, the Predator escaped and is now looking for his armor, namely his helmet, that McKenna sent back home and is currently being played with by his son Rory (Jacob Temblay) who is on the autism spectrum and apparently has no problem understanding this alien technology.  So it’s a race against time as McKenna and a group of mentally ill soldiers he meets (Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera) team up with Dr. Bracket to… I guess stop the Predator, while Traeger and PROJECT STARGAZER regroup to put an end to this threat and the people who know about it once and for all! Can McKenna save his son from the murderous alien as well as the VERY dangerous technology he’s been messing around with?  What are PROJECT STARGAZERS’s true plans, and what are The Predator’s plans as well?  Does anyone else get the feeling that the editor had their spine forcibly removed by a giant monster alien when they were only halfway done putting this thing together?

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“I get my OWN spin-off or else this guy’s gut turns into a pin cushion!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Mandy

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Mandy and all the images you see in this review are owned by RLJE Films

Directed by Panos Cosmatos

I had no idea this movie existed until about four days ago and I knew precisely two things about it; Nic Cage and chainsaws.  I don’t know about you, but you can usually get me to see a movie if you have one of those things, let alone both!  Nicolas Cage has had a REALLY rough go of it lately with mostly direct to video fare that even die-hard fans like myself find tedious, and while this isn’t really a BLOCKBUSTER or even a STUDIO film, the fact that he’s in theaters again and is in a movie that’s getting a lot of positive buzz makes more oh so very happy even if he’s STILL probably not gonna get that Superman role now that () is most likely stepping down.  The movie itself though, well I still have to SEE it before I can proclaim it to be as good as everyone says it is even if I want it to be the first step to the greatest coming story in Hollywood history!  Or at the very least the first step towards getting a Face/Off 2.

Back in the early eighties, a guy named Red (Nicolas Cage and a lady named Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) are living in a pretty nice house out in the woods, surviving off of odd jobs as a lumberjack for him and as a convenience store cashier for her, and generally enjoying the isolation from the rest of the world.  Both are into old school rock and roll (though I guess back then it wouldn’t have been THAT old) and so are the filmmakers because everything in the film’s aesthetic is pumped all the way up to eleven; form the color pallets to the visual tableaus, to that thing where we focus in really close on something while intense music plays.  Anyway, the two of them are just minding their own business when Mandy is spotted by a passing van full of drugged up killer hippies led by the “charismatic” leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roach)  who makes it their mission to recruit her for their cause.  Things spiral out of control from there which leads to Mandy being captured, OTHER stuff happening, and Red having more than enough reason to find these bastards and met out some woodland vengeance on them for what they’ve done.  Along the way he’ll meet old friends who help him on his journey, he’ll create the perfect weapon to exact his unholy and metal as heck revenge, and even fight some… interesting fellows who I’m not sure are supposed to be REAL or not, but in a movie like this that hardly matters.  Will Red find this roving gang of murders before they leave the forest for good and move on to their next victims?  Just how far will Red go to get what he’s after, and what will he give up along the way?  Is it just me, or is this a Ghost Rider movie that forgot to include Ghost Rider?

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“You think the rider is so tough?  THAT PUNK’S GOT NOTHING ON ME!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: A Simple Favor

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A Simple Favor and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Paul Feig

I only got the trailer for this movie once and I was honestly not sure if it was a joke.  Not in the sense that I thought the trailer was FAKE, but more that I wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be some kind of ‘gotcha’ in this; like with A Deadly Adoption explicitly being an April Fool’s joke despite the film itself being rather straight faced about the whole thing.  To me it looked like a Tyler Perry thriller along the lines of Temptation or Acrimony, and the fact that it was directed by noted comedy director Paul Feig seemed like an indication that this was in some way a satire of that kind of movie, but it never really clued me on the punchline.  I guess that’s as good a way as any to go into a movie as I know it exists but have absolutely no clear sense of expectations for it which gives it a chance to truly surprise me.  Will it surprise me in the right way and turn out to be either a fun metatextual examination of the genre or just another great entry in it?  Alternatively, it could be an utterly confused mess of a movie with no clear idea of what it wants to be, but in any case, let’s find out!!

The movie follows Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick); a single mom who has more energy every single day than I could muster in a lifetime as she constantly finds something to do for her son or for his school despite it making all the other parents look bad.  One such parent is Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), though she has the advantage of not actually caring what other people think of her and actually finds something endearing about Stephanie after the two are forced to spend some time together as both of their sons are best friends.  She’s a bit caustic, maybe likes to use people a bit too much, and certainly has no problem deflecting all of her problems onto everyone else, but there’s something that Stephanie finds fascinating about her and they become best (if slightly unhealthy) friends!  That is until Emily calls Stephanie one day asking her to watch her son as she’s got an emergency at work and then just disappears.  No one knows where she went, not even her husband Sean (Henry Golding), and it seems that the authorities aren’t taking the case all that seriously.  I guess it’s up to Stephanie The Fixer to not only try to find Emily but to keep her family together in her absence which starts to make things a bit awkward between her and Sean and ESPECIALLY between her and Emily’s son.  Twists and turns are the name of the game here as more and more information is uncovered about Emily as well as Sean, which points to possible foul play or something equally sinister!  Will Stephanie uncover the truth of just who Emily is and will she like what she ends up finding out?  How much is she willing to put her neck out for this woman, and will she have to pay some serious consequences for her incessant snooping?  Most importantly, WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR HER COOKING BLOG!?

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“Welcome back to Cupcakes and Cold Cases!  A quick update; we haven’t located their head JUST yet, but we’re searching every nook and cranny!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Nun

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The Nun and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Corin Hardy

I wasn’t even planning on seeing this film as my utter apathy to the Conjuring Universe knows no bounds; despite Annabelle: Creation being a pretty solid horror film which I ascribe entirely to roping in a very talented director.  Then the weekend came up and there was literally no other movie I was going to see, so this one won by default; take a step forward to volunteer and everyone else took a step back.  Does this latest entry in probably my least favorite expanded universe (at least on a conceptual level as The Warrens were in fact a bunch of fraudsters and I HATE that we’re making movies that pretend they weren’t) manage to rise above its lousy origins to give us something entertaining, or will I be forced to be reminded once again why I didn’t like that initial film in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

Back in the 1950s, there was a castle in Romania where some spooky stuff was always going on.  What kind of spooky stuff?  Voices in the hallway, a fake demon nun appearing and disappearing in an instant, and oh yeah, A NUN THROWING HERSELF OUT OF A WINDOW WITH A NOOSE AROUND HER NECK!!  Now my first guess it that she did it all for Damian but he wouldn’t be born for another twenty years, and instead it’s probably that demon nun that’s walking around the place.  In The Vatican’s effort to be real life Ghostbusters, they send the disgraced Father Burke (Demián Bichir) out to solve this bizarre mystery; like a renegade cop getting his badge and his gun back.  He takes along a Soon To Be Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) because… I don’t remember; she has psychic powers or something?  Anyway, the two of them head to Romania and are led to the castle by the man who discovered the nun’s body, and his name is… wait for it… Frenchie (Jona Bloquet).  When this unlikely trio gets there, well you can imagine what happens!  Lots of spooky ghost tricks, hidden dark rituals, and a horrifying history that will no doubt ensure at least a dozen more THE CONJURING UNIVERSE films!  Can Father Burke and Sorta Sister Irene discover the true reason that the nun threw herself out a window in this dark and spooky castle?  When they find what they are looking for, are they prepared to do what is necessary to stop that evil once and for all?  Wait, why does a demon have to hide as a nun?  It’s not like it does a good job of hiding how obviously evil they are and they can disappear at any time, so why even bother with the costume!?

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“I know there’s something behind me, but you should see what’s in FRONT of me!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Searching

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Searching and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Okay, so I’ll admit that maybe the problem is ME as this is yet another movie I hadn’t heard about until everyone else started talking about, so maybe I just completely missed a good chunk of trailers for the month of August.  Even with that though, I STILL managed to hear SOMETHING about this movie because of how much good word of mouth it was getting which is a lot more than I can say for the completely incompetent A.X.L. or the surprisingly decent but still underexposed KIN.  The positive buzz on this film has been pretty much universal which we haven’t gotten since probably Sorry to Bother You which was easily one of the best films of the year, and I’ve been hearing similar rumblings about this film being up to that level as well; albeit with a lot less class politics and… other things that were in that movie.  Does Searching manage to live up to the hype that has been building for some time now, or will this be another overpraised mess that I’m gonna have to jump in and be the sourpuss about?  Let’s find out!!

The Kim family is living a happy and carefree life in the early to mid two thousands where the worst thing that could happen to them is another Nickelback single taking over the radio.  That is until the mother Pamela (Sara Sohn) falls ill and dies right around the time that her daughter Margot (Alex Jayne, Megan Liu, Kya Dawn Lau, and Michelle La at various ages) is starting high school which only makes things more strained between her and her father David (John Cho).  One day, Margot just up and disappears after an AP Bio study group and no one seems to know where she is.  David calls the police and is in contact with a Detective Rosemary (Debra Messing) while he checks her daughters laptop for any clues because time is of the essence when it comes to disappearances like this and everyone needs to do whatever they can to ensure her safe return, even if David slowly starts to realize that maybe he didn’t know his daughter that well in the first place.  Can David unlock whatever mystery is at the heart of her disappearance with only her laptop, browser history, and social media accounts?  What can the police uncover about her last moments before disappearing, and will David be able to accept whatever it is they find?  Wait, were they SERIOUSLY using Windows XP until 2015!?  I mean I know it had a pretty good shelf life, but even MICROSOFT was done with that by 2014!!

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It was WinRAR!  This is its revenge for never actually buying it!!

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