Cinema Dispatch: Candyman

Candyman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Nia DaCosta

Candyman is an interesting franchise to be sure; Starting off as yet another Clive Barker adaptation but given enough changes when translated to film that it took on a lot of different meanings and ended up speaking to an often underserved audience.  Because of this place it holds in popular culture, who Candyman is and what he represents for a lot of people is something that I cannot truly opine on.  I’ve only seen the first movie which was a very solid horror film, but it’s in a genre that’s full of great works so it never stood out to me as much as other films in the genre have.  I AM however a pretty big fan of Jordan Peele’s work in the genre and while this isn’t directed by him, he did produce and write it which is a pretty good sign in my book!  Will this be another classic horror film that Jordan Peele had a hand in, or is trying to bring this franchise back ultimately a doomed prospect like so many other horror rebotos?  Let’s find out!!

Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is an artist in Chicago who got some popularity early on but has struggled to find success since then; not just because he’s seemingly out of inspiration but due to the limited spaces that the ART WORLD wish to see his work exist in.  After hearing a ghost story from his girlfriend’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) about a mysterious string of murders back in the nineties, he decides to investigate the area and runs across William (Colman Domingo) who gives him the story of Candyman (Tony Todd); a menacing figure covered in bees with a hook for a hand who will appear and kill you if you say his name five times in a mirror.  With this, Anthony has finally found an idea with exploring despite his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) not seeing much there, and her suspicions only get worse when Anthony becomes more and more obsessed with the legend and the case that happened in the nineties.  With Anthony doing the work of spreading the story of Candyman, is he inadvertently bringing him back to resume his reign of terror?  With such a dangerous legend that could lead to so much death, why did William even tell Anthony about it, and will learning more about the history of Candyman uncover disturbing answers to that question?  If you only say his name four times, how long do you have to say it a fifth time before it counts?

“Candyman.  Candyman.  Candyman.  Candyman…”     “OH COME ON!”     “Ha-ha!  You’re trapped now!”     “What if I gave you some candy?”     “What candy, man?  I don’t see any.  OH CRAP-”     *SMASH*
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Candyman”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-20-2021) – The First Dance

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

Welcome back to the CM Punk show where the fans came to see one thing and thing only; and BOY do they let you know it! As soon as the audio from the arena is turned on, all you hear is CM Punk chants as loud as any you’ve heard at an AEW show and the first thing you see are signs that promise to riot if he doesn’t make an appearance. This episode is going to be remembered for one thing and one thing only which is Punk’s return to the world of wrestling after seven years! Now all that said, does being a significant chapter in wrestling history mean that what we saw today was any good, or will this be remembered along the debuts of The Shockmaster and The Gobbledy Gooker; certainly SIGNIFICANT moments, but for all the wrong reasons? Let’s find out!!

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The Return of CM Punk – Is this the happy ending the fans have been waiting for?

The show wastes no time in giving us Punk and letting him address the crowd who as I said are ELATED beyond belief that the guy is here at AEW; they simply couldn’t wait another minute for it! Punk spends about five minutes making his way down the ramp and it’s clear that he’s really enjoying himself and the adulation he’s getting from the crowd (some of whom are in fact crying over this moment), and he eventually makes his way to the center of the ring with a mic in hand and starts to talk. Personally, I’m just not invested in Punk as a wrestling personality and I’m just not fully caught up on the history that makes this as meaningful as it is for lots of other people. What I took away from the speech is that he doesn’t make everything about him and spends time praising AEW, talking about the people in the back, and even talks directly to Darby Allin to confirm that they will have a match at the All Out PPV in a few weeks. For me, that’s what mattered most. He can talk about his struggles and animosity towards the WWE as much as he wants to because it’s part of the story that these fans have been waiting to see resolved for almost a decade now; as long as it’s in the context of the AEW story. My concern (probably misplaced) is that his presence would overwhelm everything else at AEW and just make it that much more of a traditional “WRESTLING WAR” when AEW has done quite well for itself without overly indulging in sniping back and forth with the competition. They let their product speak for itself and Punk doesn’t take away from that, so I’m very happy with this segment and I’m actually quite excited to see that match between him and Darby Allin. Oh, and everyone at the stadium got free ice cream bars. I’m told that’s a reference to something he did, so if you got it I hope it made you smile!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-20-2021) – The First Dance”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-18-2021)

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

We’ back with another week of AEW action, and not only are we one week closer to the All Out PPV, it’s the first Dynamite since the premier episode of Rampage and all the fallout that came from that! Can AEW prove they can manage three hours of television without things getting spread too thin or storylines getting too big and sprawling? Let’s find out!!

We begin with episode with Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston who have some sort of announcement to make. Of course, being wrestlers, they can’t just simply do that and are gonna go through their full entrances in the crowd before saying a word; little do they realize that that’s what THEY are expecting! Who are THEY? Why, none other than 2.0 and Daniel Garcia who bash the two of them with pipes in the middle of the crowd and run to the ring to call out Darby and Sting who oblige the request, and so we begin…

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Sting & Darby Allin Vs. 2.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) – Texas Tornado Tag Match

2.0 is accompanied to the ring by Daniel Garcia

The former Ever Rise going from NXT castoffs to big TV stars in just a few short weeks on AEW, going so far as to beat up the former champ and one of the most over guys at the company, will no doubt a thorn in WWE’s side for months on end, especially with the latest batch of releases from the company, but regardless of that, both Matt and Jeff have proven themselves to be great additions to AEW and their association with Daniel Garcia has been one of the better things about the last two weeks of the show. As for the match itself, they keep it short and sweet with a lot of selling from the Heels and a lot of big Baby Face spots for Sting. Also, I guess the TEXAS part of this means No DQ because the bell has barely rung before they take things to the top of the stadium to duke it out there with Daniel Garcia backing up 2.0. The Baby Faces aren’t running away with this however as they do eat a bunch of offense from 2.0, particularly this one spot where 2.0 basically threw Darby up into the top part of an entrance way (google says it’s called a jamb) and then falls back down to Earth onto his back which frankly isn’t the WORST bump I’ve seen Darby Allin take. However, they eventually get the upper hand and make their way to ring while a freshly recovered Kingston drags Daniel Garcia away to presumably take a beating for his part in all this. There are a few more rough spots that the Baby Faces take like when Darby is Suplexed into his skateboard (wheels up) and when Sting eats a Powerbomb into a table, but the Baby Faces are resilient and Sting basically No Sells the table spot to the utter dismay of 2.0. Sting lands a Double Scorpion Death Drop on the two of them and THEN puts them both in a Scorpion Death Lock; both of whom tap out immediately; winning the match and once again putting 2.0 right in their place! It was definitely a fun opening match, and while I still don’t LOVE everything that Darby is willing to do in the ring, this was comparatively a less intensive match and the sheer power of THE ICON STING at the end of the match got the crowd in a great mood for the rest of the show!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-18-2021)”

Super Comics: James Bond 007 11-12

James Bond 007 and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Dynamite Entertainment and Ian Fleming Publications

Welcome back to my recaps of the James Bond 007 series, or as I like to call it NEVER SAY NEVER FINISHED AGAIN! Yeah, it’s been over a year since I started reviewing these and there’s not real excuse as to why I didn’t finish other than I got distracted with other projects and my week to week reviews that it just fell through the cracks. Well I finally took a two week vacation from my job and what better time to do even MORE work than when I’m trying to relax!? All facetiousness aside, I am glad that I’m finally gonna close the book on this and tell you all how it ends as well as my thoughts on the series as a whole! Let’s get started!

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Issue 11 (September 2019)

The issue begins with Goldfinger on what I assume is a typical day of super-villainy where he’s interrogating one of his underlings who has been stealing money from the organization and investing it in some outside projects. Goldfinger would be much more upset if it weren’t for the fact that this associate has a lot of gold rings and is COMPLETELY incapable of reading the room! I mean if you’re gonna make it this easy for him, you might as well get a bonus!

“Ah, shoot; I walked right into that one…”
Continue reading “Super Comics: James Bond 007 11-12”

Cinema Dispatch: Free Guy

Free Guy and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Studios

Directed by Shawn Levy

When the Pandemic started over a year ago, this was one of the movies that got pushed back to try and court a big audience once things had settled down, and sadly it seems to have waited JUST long enough to catch the brunt of the Delta variant that has people gun-shy about going back to theaters once again. Still, even when the trailers for this were coming out in the pre-pandemic work, it was not something I was looking forward to as it looked like a cash grab from Ryan Reynolds; using his post-Deadpool clout to score a HUGE payday with something that KINDA resembles his usual shtick. Then again, Reynolds isn’t a guy who takes on roles lightly, especially SINCE Deadpool, and his other big cash grab movie Detective Pikachu turned out to be one of the best video game movies ever made! Can he make lightening strike twice with this send up of the AAA Game Industry, or is the video game curse one that even Ryan Reynolds can’t overcome more than once?

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is an NPC going about his day to day life in an online sandbox game known as Free City; basically if Grand Theft Auto 5’s online mode was smashed together with a not-so-self-aware version of the Saints Row series. Guy is no one of particular note in the game, he isn’t giving people quests or running in-app purchase storefront; instead he’s just a banker who’s daily routine involves getting stuck up by criminals multiple times a day as players complete the Bank Heist mission for XP. All of this is way over Guy’s head who along with his fellow NPCs doesn’t even know they are in a video game; they are just living their lives day to day and this is what it looks like! That is until Guy runs into a player named Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer) who seems familiar in some way and makes him start to think differently than before; so much so that he decides to take the glasses that these robbers are always wearing and discovers the user interface that’s hidden from all the NPCs. With this new world opening up to him, Guy goes after Molotov and even tries to make Free City a better place to live by stopping crime and being a Good Guy which gets him XP of his own and catches the attention of streamers out there; confused by this character (who they mistake as an actual player) trying to do GOOD things in the game. This attention however does not go unnoticed by the developers and the studio head Antwan (Taika Waititi) who is none too happy with someone trying to break their profitable game loop; especially right before the release of their sequel that will make Guy and his world obsolete. Will Guy’s quest for self-determination and heroism ultimately spell doom for himself and everything he holds dear? Who is this mysterious woman that he has fallen for, and what is her connection to the developers of the game itself? How can Ryan Reynolds be so dorky AND so cool at the same time!?

“Excelsior, Mo-Fos.”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Free Guy”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-13-2021)

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

This is TECHNICALLY this is the start of a new series, isn’t it?  So I guess I shouldn’t say WELCOME BACK as we’ve technically never been here before, but honestly the name change doesn’t do much to change the fact that this is the third hour of Dynamite; an extra show to give the wrestlers more time to get in front of the crowd and to make my life slightly harder as now I have to fit TWO wrestling shows into my weekly schedule!  Will AEW justify their new hour long timeslot on Friday Nights with an AMAZING first show, or is this just another Dark show with the added bonus of commercial breaks?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Christian Cage – Impact World Title Match

It’s clear they wanted to start things off as BIG as possible, so why not put the AEW Champ in a title match to kick off the show? Now it’s not for the ACTUAL AEW title as these two will be fighting for that in a few weeks on PPV, but for the Impact title as Kenny managed to collect that along the way.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really into this match when it started as there was a lot of jaw-jacking between the two before going to a headlock and then finally a shoulder tackle from Cage.  I can’t say that’s the kind of EDGE OF YOUR SEAT ACTION I would want in a title match, but the wrestling eventually picks up and a storyline starts to form as it goes along.  Throughout the match Kenny is going for his One Winged Angel to try and put Cage away, but he seems to be his own worst enemy as he’s genuinely afraid of Cage and his Kill Switch so every time he gets close and Cage shows signs of reversing, he panics and runs away.  He still manages to stay in the lead, especially after knocking Cage off the top turnbuckle to the floor, but it’s a much more defensive Kenny Omega than we usually see.  The turnbuckle spot does give Kenny some momentum and he gets the heat for a while, but then he gets a bit too cocky and puts Cage on the turnbuckle for a Superplex; only for the guy to fight back and land this Spinning Powerbomb thing from the top rope that KINDA looks like a Canadian Destroyer and looked like it could have EASILY shattered Kenny’s spine!  THAT must have been a rough bump to take, but Cage is now in control and gets a few nearfalls.  Flying Elbow, Reverse DDT, even a Spear after Kenny misses a V-Trigger; all great moves but none are enough to finish off Omega.  At one point Cage snaps Omega’s neck on the top rope and follows up with a Frog Splash to get another two count, and this is enough for Don Callis gets on the apron to distract the ref so that Omega can get the low blow.  If that wasn’t enough, The Bucks come out to give Omega a chair and tries to put him up for the One Winged Angel.  Cage somehow escapes and drops Kenny Omega into the chair himself with the Kill Switch and shock of all shocks, HE GETS THE PIN!  Your Impact champion is Christian Cage who cuts a promo after the match about how much he’s already in Kenny’s head and what that’s going to mean for their AEW Title match on the PPV.  The ending more or less being a screw job at least solved one problem I had which is that I thought having them fight TWO title matches back to back would be pointless as it at least still leaves the question as to who would win in a FAIR fight, and while I wasn’t in love with the match I thought it was pretty good.  WAY too slow at the start, but it picked up by the end and Christian actually getting a pin on Kenny is a pretty big deal!  Kinda feel bad for Impact though who’s biggest belt is being treated as a glorified game piece in this battle for the REAL title, but I guess when one is on national television getting over a million views an episode and the other is… not, then you take what you can get.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-13-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-11-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW, and this one is a special one because, ironically, it’s NOT a special episode!  Yes, for the first time in six weeks, this does NOT have a subtitle attached to it, but considering how strong the show has been lately I wouldn’t take it as a sign that they are resting on their laurels.  Do they continue their upward momentum in anticipation for the PPV and the arrival of some big name stars?  Let’s find out!!

We begin the show with a promo from MJF and Wardlow about the latter’s upcoming match against Jericho which as far as I can tell is NOT a stipulation match.  Sure, MJF is gonna be at ringside but pretty much EVERY match on this show has a bowling team’s worth of extra dudes just hanging around.  As you’d expect MJF is his usual smarmy self, a smarminess further accentuated by him eating an apple while talking, and Wardlow is standing behind him flexing and pouting his lips.  He seems pretty confident about his chances tonight, but MJF reminds him of his cage match against Cody which turns the atmosphere to ice.  The Wardlow/MJF breakup has been a thread for almost as long as the Hangman’s downfall has been playing out, but chances are that they’re gonna stick it out for quite a while longer as their feud with The Inner Circle shows no sign of slowing down.

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Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks Vs. Daunte Martin & The Sydal Brothers  – Trios Match

I don’t know what it is about Pittsburgh, but AEW has to go here more often because they pulled out ALL the stops; especially with this opening bout which MIGHT be one of the best matches of the year!  If nothing else, it’s EASILY a PPV caliber bout and I just love what this match manages to do and what it AVOIDS doing.  We have three AEW champions just showing up for a trios match against three guys who aren’t exactly the biggest stars at the company, and they’re just wrestling because it’s a fun match to do; nothing more, nothing less!  It’s a non-title match obviously because they have to preserve the existing storylines at least a LITTLE bit, but The Elite are not afraid to give these three lower tier dudes a lot of room to show what they can do, and while the Sydal brothers have always been great and look great here as they get an early lead on the Bucks, the real star is Daunte Martin.  The guy has a vertical leap that is truly something to admire, and he lands a Drop Kick to the face of Matt Jackson with ease; jumping so high that it almost looks like he’s floating as he turns in midair to land the kick!  Both teams go back and forth with the Baby Faces getting pretty solid advantages that are undercut by the devious machinations of The Elite, and EVERYONE looks good in the process!  The Bucks get to do their Cocky Heel shtick, Kenny Omega cleans house whenever he’s in the ring, and The Baby Faces work together with brilliant efficiency; not that The Elite don’t work well together as they land a Face Buster/Kotaro Crusher on Mike Sydal that leads to hot tags from both Matt and Daunte.  They land a bunch of big moves, the crowd is going wild, and they go for pinfalls and submissions, but it’s never quite enough to put the champs away.  Eventually it devolves into that perfect wrestling chaos where everyone is just running in and doing moves, but there’s an elegance to the timing that makes it look like a spectacle instead of a violent mess; all of which leads to Daunte and Omega in the ring alone.  Omega goes for the One Winged Angel, but Daunte manages to flip his way out of it and the two trade moves for nearfalls until Omega gets a V-Trigger right to the face of young Daunte.  The Bucks keep the Sydals from running in as Kenny goes once again for the One Winged Angel and FINALLY lands it!  He doesn’t go for the pin though as he and The Bucks don’t appreciate being shown up like this and so the three of them land a BTE-V-Trigger (basically all three of them land knees to the face), and NOW Kenny deigns to pin the kid to win the match and bring this fantastic spectacle to a close!  There’s always a danger in putting something THIS good up front as it’s a hard act for any match to follow, but you couldn’t ask for a better way to get people to tune in as this was an amazing Trios match from beginning to end that left everyone looking even better than they did before!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-11-2021)”

Phenomenal Wrestling Podcast: Episode 8 (8-2-2021)

Sincerest of apologies for this one being as late as it is. We DID record it on August second, but somehow my recording software got my half of the audio at an absurdly low quality. All of it was captured, but it was not something I could upload so I ended up rerecording my entire half of the show which only added to the usual post-recording editing that I usually do.

BUT ANYWAY!

Some sad news at the start with the release of Bray Wyatt, but still a fun episode as always! What did you think of the Invisible Man Vs. Invisible Stan match, and what other bizarre matches would you like to see wrestling companies try to pull off? Let us know in the comments!

Bray Wyatt released from WWE [00:26 – 08:21]
AEW Dynamite (7/28/2021) [08:22 – 46:39]
The Invisible Man Vs. Invisible Stan (GCW) [46:40 – 51:29]

My co-host Ryan can be found at the links below!
https://www.twitch.tv/profhandsome
https://twitter.com/ProfHandsome_

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-04-2021) – Homecoming

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW Dynamite and things are definitely looking up for the company!  The last episode was definitely a mixed bag of highs and lows, but the ratings the last few weeks have been consistently excellent and there’s no sign of it slowing down; especially with the talent that should be arriving in the next few weeks!  Does this episode keep the momentum going as we head towards the debut of Rampage and the big PPV show to follow not long after?  Let’s find out!!

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Chris Jericho Vs. Juventud Guerrera – The Third Labor of Jericho

For Jericho to win, he must land a move from the top rope

Not everyone has enjoyed the whole Labors of Jericho thing, and for me this MIGHT be the match that pushed things a little bit too far.  It’s by no means the fault of the two guys in the ring as they are GREAT here (and I have to find out what Juvy does to still look so young!) but the stipulation doesn’t make a lot of sense and is not very well explained.  I honestly thought that all he had to do was land one move from the top rope to win and the rules weren’t clear until we saw it play out in the match.  Apparently he has to land a move from the top rope AND THEN either pin or submit him; the latter of which by the way being a pretty goofy looking spot where Jericho drops from the top rope onto Juvy and just puts him in the Walls of Jericho.  Juvy eventually gets out of it and they go back and forth for a bit with Juvy getting a close nearfall after landing a Juvy Driver, but then Jericho hits the Judas Effect and Juvy is down.  HOWEVER!  He landed it while on the ground and can’t cover him to which Jericho looks right into the camera with a dumbfounded expression on his face before going up top and landing a Flying Judas Effect to finally get the pin and win the match.  I’d honestly have much preferred a simple match between these two or perhaps a more straightforward stipulation as the top rope stuff kinda dragged things down throughout, but it was nice to see Juvy again and the Jericho storyline is still one of the most enjoyable things that AEW has going on right now!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-04-2021) – Homecoming”

Cinema Dispatch: The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by James Gunn

I was more positive than not about the first Suicide Squad movie, but there was absolutely a ceiling to how much I could appreciate it and frankly, I don’t think David Ayers getting his own AYERS CUT would end up improving things.  It was a lot of good ideas and solid performances wrapped up in a script that felt half-baked at best and an editing job that struggled mightily to wrangle it all into something coherent.  Fortunately, Warner Bros and the DCEU are in a much better position now as they’ve toned down the excessive budgets and improved the overall quality and tone of the films.  Best of all, they got James Gunn to direct it who’s made some of the best movies in the genre with his Guardians of the Galaxy films!  Sounds like the makings of a darn good movie to me, but are we looking at a perfect storm of awesomeness or are we just setting ourselves up for disappointment?  Let’s find out!!

Task Force X is a secret government program that is the brainchild of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and uses dangerous criminals to take on missions that are too dangerous for anyone else.  When there’s a regime change in a South American country to a government that is not so US friendly, Waller needs a crack team of weirdos to go in there and destroy a secret project known only as Starfish that is hidden below a research facility in the center of the country’s capital, and while some of them like Bloodsport Peacemaker, and arguably even Harley Quinn (Idris Elba, John Cena, and Margot Robbie), some of the others just seem to be there to either be cannon fodder or to just get them out of the prison system’s hair.  I mean seriously what are you supposed to do with a guy like King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) and some dude named THE POLKA-DOT MAN (Davis Dastmalchian)?  There are several others assigned to this mission such as Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and the always dependable Rick Flag as the leader (Joel Kinnaman), but it doesn’t take long for things to go sideways and for the team to have to more or less wing it as they try to find a way into the city undetected so they can kidnap the country’s super-scientist known as The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) to get them inside the research base and just figure it out from there.  Can this rag-tag group of super-losers save America from whatever this Project Starfish is and secure their freedom in the process?  What isn’t Amanda Waller telling them about the mission and just how much is at stake if they end up failing?  I mean whatever happens it can’t be as bad as having one of your own team members take over a city and turn everyone into her zombie servants.  Sure it’s a low bar to clear, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

“Honestly, I think we can write this off as a learning experience.”     “Hungry.”     “See?  The shark guy gets it!”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Suicide Squad”