Monthly Archives: November 2019

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-20-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

With the last episode doing a lot differently and doing it well in my opinion, I’m pumped to see how AEW follows up on it and hope they continue to try new things going forward, because if I’m being honest here there’s been a lot of great stuff but it’s been a lot of the SAME great stuff for weeks now; all of it still good, but a little variety never hurt anyone (unless you have a hereto unknown allergy) and even if they go back to some of the same stuff in this episode they at least have the ideas set up last week to make it all feel fresh again!  Let’s get started!!

.

Nick Jackson Vs. Rey Fénix

Following the brawl from last week, it seems that Matt Jackson (in storyline at least) has been injured and so Nick is fighting in his first singles match since AEW began against Rey Fénix who ALSO hasn’t had a singles match since AEW began!  Sure, it’s Young Bucks vs The Lucha Bros yet again, but at least they’re mixing it up again by making it one on one which, if nothing else, means they won’t even have a CHANCE to fail to tag correctly!  I actually did manage to get into this match a lot easier than I had with other Young Buck Lucha Bros matches even though they’re both still doing basically the same thing.  There are a billion moves pulled off between the two of them, but the fact that they don’t have someone to tag with makes each move feel like it has more impact because they can’t switch out once they get tired to recuperate.  They clearly start to get tired after a while and the moves become more simplistic while the flashier ones come fewer and further between.  Contrast that with some of their tag team matches where that sense of progression and (degradation?) just never came across even when it was time to come to an end.   Speaking of endings, Rey Fénix eventually gets the pin when he does this terrifying looking pile driver thing where he carries Nick on his shoulders, drops his head down and drives it right into the mat.  They don’t REALLY set anything up at the end of this as Rey Fénix refuses to shake Nick’s hand in a show of good sportsmanship, but The Lucha Bros being cocky heels is about as surprising as the sun rise.  The match went on maybe a bit TOO long and maybe a bit TOO hard for an opening match (I’m also starting to get annoyed with just how often they use hard hits on the apron), but it’s still a lot of fun and certainly got the crowd going!

Continue reading

Cinema Dispatch: Charlie’s Angels

CHARLIESANGELSCD0

Charlie’s Angels and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

I’ve never seen the Charlie’s Angels movies from the early 2000s, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original TV series either.  Heck, I’m pretty sure the closest thing I’ve seen to it was Totally Spies, and while that has its fans, it’s pretty much been dropped into the memory hole with dozens of other 2000s shows that you don’t remember.  So if nothing else, I can at least come into this series with a relatively fresh perspective, and I’ve got to say that I’ve been pretty interested in what we’ve been shown so far; particularly the cast which looks to be amazing and the fact that it’s being directed by Elizabeth Banks who has been gaining some momentum as a voice behind the camera as well as in front of it.  Does this reboot of the seventies classic bring the franchise into the twenty first century; at least for the second time?  Let’s find out!!

Elena (Naomi Scott) is a scientist working at some business company on some new technology that will revolutionize the power industry through… I guess computer coding?  The invention in this case is called Calisto which is a little box the size of an Echo Dot or a Google Home that can somehow power entire rooms and even buildings.  However, there is ONE itty-bitty flaw with it in that it can cause people to have brain aneurisms through some sort of bug that Elena is SURE she can fix, but her misogynistic boss (Nat Faxon) won’t let her because they have to get it to market and he wants to take all the credit for it.  If only there was an agency that understood her plight as a woman in tech and could help her stop a supervillain plot at the same time.  Oh wait!  There is!  The Townsend Agency consists primarily of Bosleys and Angels; the latter being the agents who go on missions and the former being the ones to coordinate the Angels.  The two angles who got assigned to Elena’s case are Sabina and Jane (Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska) and it should be a straightforward Exposé of company documents, but when an assassin (Jonathan Tucker) shows up and takes out one of the Bosleys (Djimon Hounsou), things have clearly escalated to a point far more seirous than Elena had ever imagined.  With the help of a new Bosley (Elizabeth Banks), the three women team up to try and take () back from the evil company and find out just what it is they plan on doing with it in its current deadly state.  Will Elena prove herself to be a true Angel in the making despite a lifetime of being under the thumb of patriarchal and woman unfriendly industry?  What are Sabina and Jane’s story, and will they find excuses to clash with one another when they really should be working together to save the world?  Most importantly of all, does this succeed in empowering women to be in silly spy movies just like men can!?

CHARLIESANGELSCD1

“Why does SHE get the gun?”     “Do you know how to use a gun?”     “I mean… it’s the principal of the matter.”     “WHAT principal!?”     “Uh… feminism?”     “Yeah… no.”     “You’re right.  My bad.”

Continue reading

Cinema Dispatch: Jojo Rabbit

JOJORABBITCD0

Jojo Rabbit and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Directed by Taika Waititi

I don’t know if I’d classify this as Oscar Bait even though it’s set in World War II which is like half the criteria right there, but it’s certainly a film that’s been on everyone’s radars for months now; somewhat due to the controversial subject matter, but mostly because of the filmmaker behind it who’s really blown up in the last few years and for good reason.  Thor: Ragnarok was one of the most exciting films in that Phase of the Marvel franchise, and everything we’ve seen of him since then has only increased his status in the public eye.  Now we have his first directorial film since Ragnarok which is a satire of Fascism at a time that couldn’t be more relevant, so you can’t say that the guy doesn’t swing for the fences!  Is this a brutal and necessary take down of the ideology that’s been infecting global politics for a few years now, or is the film just not equipped to tackle such a heavy subject matter no matter how much talent there is behind it?  Let’s find out!!

Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany who wants nothing more than to become a true fighter for the cause and even has Hitler as his imaginary friend that gives him pep talks and dubious advice.  He hopes that the camp he’s about to attend for the Hitler Youth will be the turning point in his life as he becomes a TRUE man and uses the skills he will learn to not only fight for the Aryan race, but become Hitler’s right hand man as they exterminate the dastardly Jews off the face of the Earth!  Yeah… Jojo is kind of a messed up kid all things considered, but he’s also seemingly too sensitive to REALLY become the monster that the rest of the Nazis around him have become, and he gets the nickname Jojo Rabbit when he refuses to kill a rabbit to prove his manhood.  Instead he tries to throw a grenade which goes horribly wrong and leaves him with a bunch of scars on his face and a leg that doesn’t work as well as it used to.  Because of this he has to spend more time at home with his mother (Scarlett Johansson) who he suspects may not be fully on board with this whole “Nazi” thing; a suspicion confirmed when he finds out that she’s been protecting a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) who’s been living in a secret room within the walls of the house; specifically the walls in the room of Jojo’s sister who seems to have died at some point during the war.  With his own family seeming to turn against the ideology he loves and the man he believes to be a hero, will Jojo come to terms with the failings of the Nazi ideology and join his mother in resisting their influences?  The allied powers seem to be advancing on his village, so will he have to fight against them at some point despite his bad leg and lack of a killer instinct?  If Hitler is such a good leader, then why hasn’t he fixed all this kid’s problems and made him a true blue Nazi solider?  Checkmate, ten year old kid!!

JOJORABBITCD1

“Jojo, it’s just not gonna work out.”     “What are you saying?”     “Look, it’s not you; it’s me!  We can still be pen pals though!”

Continue reading

Super Recaps: The Mandalorian – Chapter 2

THEMANDALORIAN0

The Mandalorian is owned by Disney

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa

We’re back with another episode of Star Wars After Dark; which admittedly is still pretty family friendly considering its being made on Disney’s dime.  That said, the first episode did establish a tone for itself as a less goofy and more grounded interpretation of this universe and was quite good on top of that!  Was that episode a one off fluke, or does Disney really have something here that’s worth paying attention to?  Let’s find out!!

.

The episode begins with THE MANDALORIAN… okay, I’m not gonna keep calling him that, so until they give him a real name let’s try out a different one each episode.  Let’s go with… Jim for this one!  So Jim (Pedro Pascal) is taking the Yoda Baby with him after “rescuing” it from the “bad guys” last time (it’s still unclear whether they were good guys or not) and it’s unclear what Jim plans to do with it once he gets off world.  Will he take it back to the DEFINITE BAD GUY Werner Herzog, or find a Space Orphanage to drop it off at?   These are questions that will have to be tabled for the moment as Jim gets attacked by a bunch of… I guess they’re Tusken Raiders, who try to smash his head in with sticks.  Jim manages to fight them off however in a really well choreographed action scene, and after the dust has settled he notices that one of his attackers had a tracking device on him.  The same one that Werner Herzog gave to him to find the Yoda Baby.  So yeah, if being played by WERNER HERZOG wasn’t enough of a clue, this pretty much cements it that Jim is working for the wrong team.  They didn’t even give him a chance to find the baby before handing the job off to someone else, and I guess that begs the question of just how many more people are after this little green brat?  Speaking of whom, the little bugger is actually a pretty impressive effect.  They LOOK like a really good puppet with CG modifications, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re just a REALLY good CG effect.  While it can’t talk or seem to communicate with Jim, it seems to be much more aware than a typical baby would be (considering he’s fifty years old, he BETTER have picked up on a few things) but Jim has no time for such things as he ignores it like any good surrogate father figure does in the first two acts of a story!

Eventually the duo make it back to Jim’s ship which would normally be good news, but as it turns out a Jawa sandcrawler has happened upon it and the little jerks are currently stripping it for parts which Jim doesn’t take too kindly and starts shooting at them.  They scurry off at the first sign of danger and try to bail in their sandcrawler with whatever parts they have, but Jim doesn’t take too kindly to that either and tries to chase it down.  The show is still knocking it out of the park with the action as this scene where Jim chases the sandcrawler is really well made and does a much better job of blending grit and comedy than we got in the last one.  Jim eventually jumps on the side and starts climbing with grim determination and ruthless skill while the Jawa’s are scrambling to knock this guy off of their truck; throwing trash and hurling insults like space soccer hooligans.  He somehow manages to crawl his way up to the top of the sandcrawler and is ready to bust some heads, but he didn’t stop to think that MAYBE a bunch of them would be waiting up there for him and sure enough he gets blasted with enough stun weapons to fall over the side like a sack of space potatoes.  Well that didn’t go too well all things considered!  With the Jawas now far off in the distance with a bunch of the ship’s parts, Jim has no choice but to go back to the guy who helped him out in the last episode (Nick Nolte) and beg him to find them a way off planet.  His solution is pretty simple which is to go back to the Jawas and ASK them for the parts back which is a plan Jim doesn’t seem to fond of, but sure enough it actually seems to do the trick as they agree to return what they took as long as they do something for them.  There’s a creature in a cave not too far from here that has an egg the Jawas want.  If Jim can get the egg, he can have his parts back.  Not too shabby a deal considering how many of them he’s already killed, but hey!  Why let a wee bit of murder get in the way of perfectly good transaction!?

So Jim goes off to get this egg and for some reason brings the Yoda Baby along which doesn’t seem like the BEST of ideas.  I mean sure, he wouldn’t want to leave them with the Jawas who already stole everything else he had, but he couldn’t trust that baby with adorable alien dude Nick Nolte?  Oh well, it can’t be THAT dangerous right?  I mean everything else on this planet has been pretty small, so how big could this creature be?  Turns out; quite big!  Imagine a rhinoceros the size of a Wampa and you get the idea, and for Jim this is less than ideal situation as the creature bashes him all over the place; knocking his weapons away, pretty much destroying his armor, and presumably with far fewer bones intact than when he went there in the first place.  Then something MAGICAL happens!  Seemingly by some sort of… shall we say… FORCE, the monster starts rising several inches off the ground and hangs there mid charge.  Surprising Jim and literally no one else, it turns out Yoda Baby can use the force and just barely saved Jim’s life as well as keeping the animal still long enough for Jim to jab a knife in its neck in a particularly grim moment in the series.  Jim grabs the egg, brings it back to Nick Nolte and the Jawas, and he finally gets the parts he needs to put his ship back together.  Well… for NICK NOLTE to put his ship back together at least.  Seriously, I understand being neighborly and all that, but considering he pretty much rebuilt this ship from the ground up for absolutely no fee, I’m starting to think that Nick Nolte is less the Ned Flanders of this planet and is actually hiding something here and which is why he wants Jim to go away as fast as possible.  And so ends the second episode of THE MANDALORIAN as Jim and the Baby say their goodbyes to Nick Nolte and ride off into the stratosphere with uncertain futures and probably more than a few targets on their back.

.

What really came together for me while watching this episode is that it seems to be taking inspiration not just from the other films and some of the lore, but from Genndy Tartakovsky’s more serious works like Samurai Jack and even that Clone Wars show he did.  This episode is light on plot and dialogue but excels at setting its scene, establishing clear and straightforward goals for its characters, and showing off some flashy action on top of it.  I’m not sure if every episode will be this way now that we’re presumably going back to the more talkative and character based world of bounty hunters, but it was a real treat to watch this episode unfold and I’m glad they’re willing to just let some of the story speak for itself instead of filling it with redundant dialogue or pointless subplots.  Sometimes all you need is a guy in a helmet, a desert planet, and a force sensitive baby of unknown origin who can lift monsters with their mind!  Keep it simple!

Cinema Dispatch: The Lighthouse

THELIGHTHOUSECD0

The Lighthouse and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Robert Eggers

The director’s last film The Witch was a PHENOMENAL film that is easily one of the best horror films in the last decade (certainly better than Hereditary), so I was excited to see what he was going to do next.  Lo and behold, his next movie starts two of the best character actors working today, is presented in Black and White, and is about something relatively mundane but will no doubt lead to horror and intrigue!  Jeez, you might as well have wrapped it up, put a nice bow on it, and put it on a drone to crash into my house!  Does Robert Eggers’s second film exceed the high bar he set with his first outing, or is a talent as great as his still not immune to the dread Sophomore Slump?  Let’s find out!!

Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattison) is the new assistant lighthouse keeper watching over a crappy little light house on a crappy little rock not too far from shore but far enough that you wouldn’t survive an attempt to swim towards it.  His supervisor Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) is an old sea captain with the accent, peg leg, and pipe to back it up, and his task is to whip this young whipper snapper into ship shape if he’s to one day maintain a lighthouse of his very own.  Seems simple enough, and they certainly have more than enough work to do maintaining this house and the light therein, but over time it starts to become clear that maybe Captain Wake isn’t all he claims to be and that maybe Winslow isn’t as cut out for this work as he initially thought.  Oh well, it’s not like he’s gonna be there FOREVER, right?  He’s only there for a month before being moved somewhere else… oh what’s that?  There’s a big storm coming that’ll make it impossible for his ship to come anytime soon?  Well then!  That’s… unfortunate for everyone involved.  So Ephraim is stuck there for a while and with each passing day it seems that little bit of his sanity has gone with it as things get weirder and weirder around here; not the least of which being Captain Wake who REALLY seems to like the light at the top of the tower.  I mean… he REALLY likes that light!  So much so that Ephraim hasn’t had a chance to maintain it despite that being part of his training because Wake wants to keep it all to himself… for some reason.  Can Ephraim keep his head down, focus on his work, and stay out of trouble long enough for the lighthouse company to send him another boat?  What is going on up there at the top of the tower, and is that just the tip of the iceberg as far as strange happenings on this unassuming island?  After seeing Pattinson brood his way through this, is there anyone else who COULD be Batman!?

THELIGHTHOUSECD1

People are starring miserably at the camera.  Of COURSE it’s yours!

Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-13-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT

With the fallout of Full Gear fresh in our minds, this week’s episode of Dynamite has a lot to live up to as well as a lot of storylines to start building back up.  Will Cody live up to his word and not challenge for the AEW title again?  Will MJF be able to explain himself for his betrayal of Cody?  Will Jericho continue to be a smarmy jerk that we all love to hate?  Hopefully the answer to all three is a HECK YES, but let’s find out!!

.

Before our first match, we get an update on Kenny Omega who (in storyline; I’m pretty sure it’s just a work) is not cleared for tonight’s show due to the injuries he sustained in the Light’s Out match he had with Jon Moxley at Full Gear. We also learn that Michael Nakazawa is a friend of his which is relevant because…

.

Jon Moxley Vs. Michael Nakazawa

You know a Nakazawa match is serious business when he foregoes the baby oil!  Right off the bat he just tosses it away and starts coming after Moxley with everything he’s got to avenge his bleeding buddy, but to no avail as Moxley makes short work of him in a match that barely goes on longer than a minute.  I didn’t mind it though!  I like being showed that Nakazawa can have a serious side to him and it’s important to make Moxely look as strong as possible if he’s going to continue being a top guy in the company; neither of which requires a whole lot of time and is a refreshing change of pace for a promotion known for REALLY long matches.  Besides, the real point of all this is to give Moxley the mic afterwards who proceeds to gloat as hard as he can and promise to destroy EVERYONE at AEW until the company itself is destroyed and he is the only one left remaining.  He issues an open challenge to the locker room for anyone to take a shot at him which at this point may be just as prestigious a challenge as going for the title itself.  Jon Moxley is THAT good at being pissed off, aggressive, and in complete control of his surrounds.  Surprisingly the crowd is pretty mixed on the guy which is great because it shows that the audience is willing to play their part in the story because of how invested they are in the product.  What’s even MORE surprising though is that no one from the locker room takes him up on the offer which either means that everyone backstage is scared or that they want to drag this story out a bit more so we that fans can speculate on who would be the best person in the company to try and take Moxley down a peg.  I prefer it if a show like this doesn’t drag things out early on and this was a great start right off the bat!

Continue reading

Super Recaps: The Mandalorian – Chapter 1

THEMANDALORIAN0

The Mandalorian is owned by Disney

Directed by Dave Filoni

Since Disney+ is the new hotness and so are the shows that Disney will be producing for it, I figured I’d check out the Star Wars show (which is set about five years after Return of the Jedi) and let you know if it’s worth your time and attention!  It’s being made by Jon Faverau which is a good sign as even the movies I’m not too fond of like The Jungle Book and The Lion King are still notable for their technical achievements, and the amount of money Disney is putting into this show is absolutely ludicrous which means at least the visual side of things will be interesting to see unfold.  Heck, if nothing else a production of THIS scale, if it’s destined to fail, can only fail in the most SPECTACULAR of ways, and I want a front row seat if it’s going to be one big hot mess!  Does Disney’s latest venture into the Star Wars universe provide an intriguing introduction into a part of the universe we’ve yet to see on screen, or is this an underwhelming attempt to further cash in on their very expensive license?  Let’s find out!!

.

I knew nothing about this series going into it, and by the end of the first episode it was kind of exactly what I never knew I wanted out of a Star Wars series.  It’s almost childish in just how much it appeals to the basest of my tastes, and yet it never sinks into being crude or garish with it.  It’s a fan film made by professionals; not wanting to subvert the source material to their own ends but to give us a glimpse at something we haven’t seen in this world before.

If there’s anything it reminds of specifically it’s Solo which has a similar stylistic bent to it as both of these draw from cowboy stories, old fashioned machismo, and plenty of gun play to satisfy your action cravings.  Where this one differs though is that where Solo was about charm and wit, this is much more about stoicism and grit which is a valid approach to take as long as its handled well, and I think they do a fine job of it here.  The opening scene of the episode where THE MANDALORIAN (Pedro Pascal) silently walks into a bar, immediately gets the heat from local tough guys, and then cleans house with barely any effort, is taken whole cloth from any number of cheesy B-movies or old school action anime, but seeing it in the Star Wars universe and done with a decent enough budget is definitely novel if nothing else.  So why is it that THE MANDALORIAN is in this bar in the middle of nowhere in the first place?  Well the tough guys were hassling this blue guy (Horatio Sanz) and after THE MANDALORIAN tears them to pieces, we find out that said blue guy is actually his target.  He drags him back to wherever it is bounty hunters take their captives.  This return trip includes a cameo from none other than Brian Posehn who drives them from the bar to their ship, and during this scene we learn that THE MANDALORIAN has a problem with droids that we’ll no doubt get further into in later episodes.

Continue reading