No Time to Die and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing
Directed by Cary Fukunaga
Even without the year-long delay caused by a global Pandemic, there was a pretty long wait between this film and the last one which didn’t exactly fill me with confidence as Spectre turned out to be rather disappointing, and this coupled with Craig’s public comments about continuing to play the part made it hard to assume anything other than a troubled production as a studio scrambled to find out where they went wrong after Skyfall was such an overwhelming success. That, and the Bond franchise is not exactly known for quality swansongs for their stars. I mean I liked Diamonds Are Forever quite a bit, but that’s still a ludicrous movie to end the Connery era, and A View to A Kill is only saved from being the worst of the Moore era by Octopussy being such a disaster right before it. Heck, even Pierce Bronson’s final film is so off the wall that some speculate it’s all just a dream sequence! So yeah, with a disappointment preceding it, a wonky track record for the franchise, and a five-year production cycle when the Craig films usually only needed three, there were a lot of auspicious signs even without COVID coming to upend the entire film industry! Still, you can never count James Bond out as every failure inevitably leads to another success down the road, and the Craig era has been a definite standout in the franchise’s fifty-year history. Does Craig’s final film buck the conventions and become a standout in an already impressive run, or will we need to wait for another Bond to bring this series back to life? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of Spectre, James Bond and Madeline Swann (Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux) are enjoying their hard-fought victory over Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Chrstoph Waltz), but as with any Spy story, paranoia starts to creep in and an attack from Spectre leads James to believe that once again he has been betrayed by the woman he loves. With little ceremony and huge amounts of salt, James cuts Madeline out of his life and spends the next five years bumming around on a beach until an MI6 scientist (David Dencik) is kidnapped with a secret weapon that MI6 VERY much doesn’t want to get out into the world, but even more so wants to keep it under wraps. M, Moneypenny, Q, and the new 00 Agent Nomi (Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Lashana Lynch) are doing what they can but Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) of the CIA is well aware of what’s going on and convinces Bond to come back for one more mission and perhaps show the new recruits Logan and Paloma (Billy Magnussen and Ana de Armas) a thing or two about this line of work. All is not as straightforward as it seems however as the kidnapped scientist is just the smallest tip of the ice burg for a mysterious plot devised by an even more mysterious man (Rami Malek) that is in some way connected to Madeline. Can James Bond return to the life he left behind for one last mission, or has the years of hard drinking and heartbreak taken their toll? Was Madeline a deep agent the whole time for whomever this mysterious man is and Bond was right to mistrust her? Never mind the NEW bad guy; what’s Blofeld up to these days? Has he gotten that eye looked at?
The Addams Family 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by United Artists Releasing
Directed by Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon
It’s no secret that I was not a fan of that 2019 Addams Family movie which was ten percent Addams Family goodness and ninety percent rote nonsense, and the prospect of seeing another one was a prospect I found altogether ooky; and yes, I think I used that joke in the last review. Then again, watching more movies at home and being pickier about what I go out to see has perhaps led to me missing out on some genuine gems as well as, let’s face it, PLENTY of opportunities to write a darn good review of a truly awful movie. Heck, there’s a Gods Not Dead 4 floating around out there that I haven’t even bothered to watch, and the reviews I did of the other sequels are pretty darn good if I do say so myself! So yes, I went into this expecting to hate it which is a first for a movie this year, but in a way, it feels like returning to a comfortable routine as I continue to get back into the swing of things with more and more movies coming to theaters. Is it somehow a surprisingly effective sequel that irons out the flaws of the original while giving us something new and fresh, or is it like every other sequel to a bad animated movie; just more of the same? Let’s find out!!
The Addams Family are going through a rough patch as Wednesday Addams (Chloë Grace Moretz) is spending less and less time with the rest of the family and young Pugsley (Javon Walton) is working on his girl problems with Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) and you can probably guess how well that’s going. With this in mind, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) with the tacit approval of Morticia (Charlize Theron) gathers the family together for a road trip across America to see its most ghastly landmarks and hopefully bring the family closer together. All is not as simple as it seems however as some mysterious lawyer (Wallace Shawn) along with his giant associate Pongo (Ted Evans) are chasing the family on behalf of some mysterious benefactor who believes that Wednesday Addams may not be the daughter of Gomez and Morticia. I mean OBVIOUSLY, right? It’s not like they look anything alike! Whatever scheme is being concocted with those guys, Gomez and Morticia want no part of it and are tactfully spiriting their family away whenever the lawyer catches up, but it’s only a matter of time before this all comes to a head. How long can they keep this ruse going, and will it interfere with the family fun that Gomez is trying so hard to cultivate? What is the reason that the lawyer is after Wednesday, and could there be something to his story that the Addams family doesn’t want to confront? Doesn’t it kinda seem like they’ve given up if we’re already doing a road trip movie by the second one? Even Alvin and the Chipmunks waited until the fourth film for that!
Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
I’ve never been that big of a fan of the Zeti, so the prospect of another story arc focusing on them wasn’t exactly a welcome proposition. Fortunately, after a pretty rough start, they did manage to give us something interesting in the last issue and now we’re moving on from them to the more interesting story of whatever it is Dr. Starline is up to! Is this a great jumping off point for the new story following the solid ending to the Zeti arc, or will I be begging for them to come back by the end of this issue? Let’s find out!!
Now I DID say we’re moving on from the Zeti but we do have a bit of cleaning up to do and some loose threads to tie up, so the issue begins with the Zeti being force marched by Tails and Sonic to return to their… actually, where are they from? Space? I mean they’ve got a rocket ship there, but I think it’s more like a cloud city than another planet; just a bunch of floating hexagonal islands in the sky that they somehow can’t escape from once they’re put there. Heaven forbid they ever figure out technology like parachutes or REALLY long ladders, but in any case it seems clear that they’re not going to be a threat for a while if Serious Tails and Sassy Sonic have anything to say about it!
AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another episode of the quickest hour in wrestling, and honestly, I’m glad for it as I’m ready for a break. The next Dynamite isn’t until the Saturday after the next Rampage which means that as soon as I’m done with this I’m good on wrestling for about a week! Perhaps by then I’ll be back into the spirit of things, and perhaps this episode of Rampage is just what I need to get me headed in that direction! Is it another breezy collection of fun matches that remind me why I love wrestling in the first place, or can my one week break not come soon enough? Let’s find out!!
CM Punk Vs. Daniel Garcia
Garcia is accompanied to the ring by 2.0
Daniel Garcia has swiftly become one of my favorite up-and-coming guys in the company and I think he shares a lot of strengths with Punk which could make for a VERY interesting match. What I like about Garcia is that he always finds a way to tell a story in the match and does at least ONE thing memorable in them. Here, it’s simply that Garcia is scared of Punk despite all his bluster and has to rely on 2.0 to keep him the least bit competitive. It starts with some lockups and tests of strength that Punk wins rather easily, and after giving Garcia a shoulder tackle the kid scrambles to the corner. We will see him do this a few times as he can’t get a word in edgewise on Punk, and things are starting to look desperate when he eats TWO Body Slams back to back. Punk goes for a third but Garcia escapes and lands an Elbow shot to the lower back which finally gives him an edge on Punk and Garcia gets a few moves in. It’s a short-lived advantage however as Garcia charges the corner only for Punk lands a Back Elbow and gets Garcia on his shoulders for the GTS. This is where 2.0 come in as they jump on the apron and Jeff Parker drags Garcia off Punk’s shoulders while Matt Lee distracts the ref. Garcia then drags Punk to the apron and smashes his leg into it before going to distract the ref himself as 2.0 throw the leg against the post. Garcia starts to get the heat by working the leg over during the commercial, and now that he has a clear advantage he’s back to being a smarmy jerk. This is where Punk’s strengths come in as his authenticity adds a lot of gravitas to the action and his disdain for Garcia while ALSO selling the injury makes the story that much more compelling; especially with Garcia just CRANKING on that leg to the point that you start to wonder if Punk MIGHT be getting his first loss at the company. Despite the disadvantage, Punk remains defiant and manages to get up to work Garcia in the corner for a bit, but the leg makes it impossible for him to land any big moves and a Suplex attempt ends with Garcia tackling the bad leg. He stomps Punk into the corner and goes for another charge, but Punk gets out of the way and Garcia’s Drop Kick attempt ends with him landing on his back. The two start to trade some big moves for near falls like a Roundhouse Kick and a Pepsi Twist from Punk as well as a Neck Breaker and Backdrop from Garcia, but then Punk is the one who gets too big for his britches as he signals for the GTS despite the bad knee. Sure enough, Garcia escapes and puts Punk in the Sharp Shooter which only makes things worse for his injury, but thankfully he’s able to kick Garcia away who stumbles into Matt Lee and then when Garcia charges at Punk he tosses him into Jeff Parker so that they both tumble to the floor. With all three outside the ring, Punk takes them out with a Cross Body from the top rope to the floor before throwing Garcia back into the ring for a Springboard Clothesline. He doesn’t go for the GTS again, but he DOES manage to land a Pile Driver that he transitions into the Anaconda Vice and that is enough for Garcia to tap out! A very fun opening match and once again shows us why Garcia is a great up-and-coming talent and that Punk still has a few tricks up his sleeve!
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
I think I might be feeling Wrestling Burnout again as I haven’t been too excited about the last few weeks of Dynamite despite the reception being quite strong from everyone else. I mean I COULD just have the most accurate opinion out of anyone else who covers these shows, but chances are I just need to give it a bit of time and to see the right matches for me to get back into the groove of things. Will this episode manage to jumpstart my enthusiasm for AEW, or will I remain a sourpuss for a while longer? Let’s find out!!
Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, and Bryan Danielson Vs. Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega – 8 Man Tag match
As much of a marquee match as this is, I’m always skeptical of throwing THIS many people in the ring as it’s either gonna have a lot of people doing nothing on the corners or descend into utter chaos. In this match they manage to do both, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. For most of this match, it’s the Jungle Boy show as he spends most of the time in the ring and does a fair job fending off The Bucks and Cole. Even when he tags someone in its usually to do a tandem move before the new guy tags out and puts Jungle Boy back in. This works for a bit as Jungle Boy and Christian Cage bury Adam Cole under a flurry of offense, but Jungle Boy perhaps overstays his welcome once Nick Jackson tries the distraction on the apron which allows Cole to land a big kick and start the heat. This is also the only time we see Kenny Omega in the ring during the first three-quarters of the match as he tags in to pick at the bones of Jungle Boy, before tagging back out a moment later while the Baby Faces can do nothing but watch him strut. Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight off both Bucks and gets the tag to Danielson who goes after the legal man Matt Jackson with his Chops and Yes Kicks, and as soon as he simply LOOKS towards the Heels’ corner, Omega runs off like a scared chicken. Danielson’s run is brief however as he tags in Luchasaurus who gets a HUGE pop from the crowd and keeps the pressure on Matt Jackson. It’s not long before he tags in Jungle Boy, but in flagrant disregard of the rules they ALL hit the ring and knock the Heels off the apron so that all four can land corner splashes on Matt Jackson; ending with a Tail Whip/Face Buster combo from Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus that would have gotten the pin if the Heels didn’t break it up. Now that all eight guys are in the ring, they just start hammering each other until Christian takes a Melzer Driver outside the ring. With Cage out of the match and Jungle Boy taking a lot of damage from all four of them, it’s time for Danielson to get the Hot Tag and Jungle Boy is struggling to get to the corner. The Bucks go for an Assisted Suplex on Jungle Boy, but this proves to be just the opportunity he’s looking for as he fights against the move and turns it into Stereo DDTs. Omega tags in to try and stop him but is too late to stop Jungle Boy from tagging in Danielson and both are alone in the ring for the first time since their match at Grand Slam. The crowd pops for it and they only get louder as the two start exchanging strikes! Omega gets the best of it with a kick, but Danielson quickly recovers and starts landing his big moves on him. Corner Splashes, Chop/Kicks, a top rope Hurricanrana, and even a Diving Headbutt all hit their target, but Danielson only gets a two count because the Bucks run in and break up the pin. More chaos as everyone runs in until the ring is cleared and Danielson goes for the Tiger Driver followed by the Cattle Mutilation which also ends up getting broken up by The Bucks; this time from a Senton by Matt Jackson. Danielson tags in Luchasaurus who cleans house in a VERY impressive and over the top manner; so much so that he gets ALL four of The Elite into the corners of the ring and starts doing splashes on each of them. The one who escapes is Adam Cole who gets a kick and goes for a Panama Sunrise, but he is caught by Luchasaurus in one hand while Kenny gets caught in the other. He tosses them both down which cues even MORE chaos as all seven remaining guys hit a bunch of moves, but it all leads to Luchasaurus eating a Low Blow and rolling out the ring while Jungle Boy eats a Panama Sunrise. Danielson is up next and tries to fend off all four (which he REALLY shouldn’t NEED to do if the ref is paying attention), but is eventually overwhelmed and eats a Triple Super Kick. He rolls out and Jungle Boy is the legal man who ends up eating a FOUR person Superkick Party and it’s finally enough to keep him down for the three count. It was definitely a good match considering just how many moves they managed to fit in there, but for me, it was too chaotic. I think the magic number for a tag team match is three, and once you get higher than that things start to get too long and the story gets lost in the shuffle of bodies; like the wrestling equivalent of too many cooks in the kitchen. I’m sure everyone here will continue to have great matches with each other in the coming weeks, but I’d rather they be smaller matches spread over a longer period of time instead of trying to get everyone in the ring as soon and as often as possible.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Andy Serkis
The first Venom movie wasn’t exactly a cult classic, but it did have a lot more fun with the formula and with the characters than I expected it to. Still, trying to figure out what to do with the character for a second movie, especially since we’re STILL keeping it away from anything Spider-Man related, could easily upset the balance and stretch the joke further than it can go. The trailers definitely seem to be having a lot of fun with the formula which may be the right way to try and make lightning strike twice, and Andy Serkis is definitely an interesting choice for director, so who knows? Is this a campy and fun romp that captures the Venom magic for a second time, or did our luck run out when the first movie turned out to be not-terrible? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) has settled into a routine with the symbiotic space goo that resides in his body and the two are trying to get his journalism career up and running again with this big story of captured serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) who for whatever reason has taken an interest in the reporter. After a particularly heated discussion between the two of them that ends in a small amount of bloodshed, Kasady somehow gets a bit of the symbiote in him as well and to his utter surprise, it saves him from the death penalty so that he can roam the streets of San Francisco; leaving untold CARNAGE wherever he goes! Oh, but this is no mindless murderer with a one track mind as Kasady has bigger plans involving a friend from childhood who JUST SO HAPPENS to have super powers (Naomie Harris) and has been locked in a secret super-prison that would normally be impenetrable but Kasady’s new powers intend to put that to the test. All while this is going on, Eddie and Venom are going through some growing pains in their relationship as Venom wants to be free to save the world and eat people in spite of Brock’s attempts to keep him safe and hidden; all of which comes to ahead once they learn that Eddie’s ex Anne (Michelle Williams) is engaged which brings whole new dimensions of stress between them. Can Eddie and Venom put aside their differences long enough to stop Kasady from wreaking havoc on the city? What exactly does Kasady have planned after reuniting with his childhood love, and does the symbiote in his body have anything to say about it? You’d think it wouldn’t be THAT hard to keep a space parasite happy when all it really needs is food and validation, but I guess that’s the troublesome nature of relationships and a square peg just won’t fit in a round hole no matter how hard you try.
AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
So the last Dynamite was a pretty rough slog to get through which means I’m in JUST the right mood for what AEW themselves are calling THE FASTEST HOUR OF WRESTLING and at least until last week that was usually the case. Does Rampage get us back on track with a light and fun episode of wrestling action, or will it be bogged down as much as the last Dynamite and even the last Rampage? Let’s find out!!
Bryan Danielson Vs. Nick Jackson
Nick Jackson is accompanied to the ring by Matt Jackson and Brandon Cutler
So now that Danielson and Omega got their first big match out of the way, we can start going through some of the other dream matches while building up towards the rematch; a win-win situation if you ask me even if the crowd didn’t like their first match ending in a draw. Nick Jackson is also a good opponent to put him up against in his quest to face off with the ENTIRE Elite as people are still talking about his singles match with Rey Fenix, and it should come as no surprise that these two have a great match! Danielson may not have Nick Jackson’s high flying abilities, but he’s good at keeping him grounded and has a pretty sizable advantage throughout the match. Jackson’s case isn’t helped by the fact that he isn’t taking this seriously at first opting to show off and play around with cold spray rather than face Danielson directly, and he pays for this several times with Yes Kicks, brutal submissions, and a Dragon Sleeper that he only manages to escape by thumbing Danielson in the eye. The only reason he gets the heat during the commercial break is that he throws Danielson outside and starts distracting the ref while Matt Jackson tackles and hammers him on the floor. Still, he can’t help himself and starts to play around by giving Danielson his “unique” variation on the Yes Kick that only serves to tick Danielson off; so much so that he’s starting to FEED off the force of those kicks until he’s finally standing tall! He spits in Nick Jackson’s face and just goes WILD on the guy! STRIKE! KICK! STRIKE! KICK! A nonstop barrage of offense from Danielson as he makes Nick Jackson PAY for giving him such puny kicks! Nah, he’s gonna show him what REAL kicks look like and gives him a bunch of Yes Kicks for a two count! It’s time for Nick Jackson to put up or shut up, so after taking a few Running Knees from Danielson, he stops him in his tracks with not one but TWO Super Kicks that net him a two count. Nick Jackson then goes for the 450 Senton, but Danielson gets the knees up and he instantly transitions into the LeBell Lock. Jackson rolls to the apron and Danielson follows with even more Yes Kicks, but Jackson ducks after the first few and Danielson hits his shin on the ring post. Jackson follows up with a German Suplex on the apron and an Escalera to the floor before he tosses Danielson into the ring to put him in a Sharpshooter where he just barely gets to the bottom rope to break the hold. It’s starting to look bad for Danielson who rolls out of the ring, but luckily for him, Nick calls his shots and shouts SEE YA before charging at him with a kick and he’s able to duck it only for Brandon Cutler to eat he move instead. In the confusion, Danielson lands a German Suplex on the floor and rolls Nick Jackson in which could spell the end of this match, so Matt Jackson gets on the apron to distract the ref. Danielson gives him a forearm that sends him to the floor so naturally Nick Jackson gives him a surprise roll-up, and even if it only got a two count, it at least leveled the playing field between them as we head into the finish. Jackson lands a Superkick and goes for a Roundhouse to follow, but Danielson dodges and lands a Tiger Suplex into a bridge for a two count. Still holding Nick Jackson he starts HAMMERING on the dude’s chest to the delight of the crowd, and once he’s done he locks him in the Cattle Mutilation. Nick Jackson taps out which gives Danielson the victory to the consternation of The Elite who come out to look after Nick Jackson while Jurassic Express come out to look after Danielson. A brief brawl breaks up as it naturally should, and Jurassic Express gets the upper hand in anticipation of an upcoming Eight Man Tag Match between the two factions.
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another episode of AEW action, though this is something of a special episode. Not in the USUAL AEW sense of adding a subtitle and a few marquee matches, but because this show takes place in Rochester where Brodie Lee is from and where he was supposed to debut before the Pandemic put everything on hold. Because of this, AEW has put together a stacked card to not only continue their ongoing storylines but to celebrate and the people he affected during his time at the company. Is it a proper celebration for the Exalted One who was taken from us far too soon? Let’s find out!!
CM Punk comes out at the start of the show and he once again joins the commentary team on this episode. I’m starting to wonder if he’ll actually do all that much wrestling as he seems perfectly content to sit in the booth and talk about everyone else. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it as I think he’s got a lot of potential for that kind of role, but I’m guessing the checks Tony Khan had to write to get him aren’t about to go to someone who stays OUT of the ring.
Jungle Boy Vs. Adam Cole
Something we’ll run into a few times in this episode (which was also a bit of an issue on the last episode) is crowd reactions as the place goes unglued for Adam Cole despite being the heel in this conflict. I gut that everyone is happy he’s here instead of at the other place, but it always feels off when someone is going above and beyond to be a heel and just gets the opposite reaction for it. Then again, if you could argue one thing in favor of Paragon Cole, he does seem to have the experience advantage in this match and most of the time when he gets the lead it’s from outsmarting Jungle Boy which means that the young guy has to learn on the fly to outmaneuver the veteran. Cole tries to keep Jungle Boy grounded with headlocks and mat work while keeping him off his game with feints and misdirection; particularly when he puts on the brakes on a charge Jungle Boy had scouted and had started flipping over; only to find Adam Cole behind him and is dragged to the mat for a one count. Still, you can’t count the Jungle Boy out as he uses the same trick on a Cole a minute later and ends up knocking him out of the ring with a Springboard Arm Drag followed by a Drop Kick. Cole needs to slow him down, so he baits him to go outside the ring with him before rushing back in and attacking Jungle Boy when he tries to get into the ring behind him. Jungle Boy manages to escape the beating and goes to the turnbuckle, but Cole pushes him off and he tumbles to the floor in a bump that looked PRETTY bad but doesn’t seem to have caused an actual injury. In any case, Jungle Boy is hurting and so Cole gets the heat during the commercial. Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight back and tries to even the odds by landing a Basement Drop Kick on Cole followed by a BIG Lariat that sends him flipping in the air before landing on the mat. The gamble pays off as the match gets VERY even at that point with them trading blows and pulling off big moves to try and wear the other one down. Jungle Boy gets a German Suplex into a bridge for a two count and puts Cole in the Tree of Woe to land a Drop Kick, but then Cole follows up with a Backstabber and the Last Shot for a two count as well. Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise from the apron to the floor, but Jungle Boy rolls away, runs into the rings, hits the ropes, and goes to dive… only to eat a Step Up Enziguri to the face. Not to be outdone, he lands a Hurricanrana from the apron to the floor and tosses Cole back into the ring. However, his follow-up of a Springboard Cutter fails to hit its mark as he eats a Superkick instead, and Cole uses this to land the Panama Sunrise… ONLY TO GET A TWO COUNT! Shock and awe fill the arena as Cole’s finisher didn’t do the job and he tries to follow-up with THE BOOM, but Jungle Boy ducks and locks him in the Snare Trap. Cole crawls to the ropes so Jungle Boy breaks the hold to drag him back to the center which gives Cole an opening to kick him in the face. Cole gets up with Jungle Boy right behind him and it looks like Cole is grabbing the ropes with Ref Aubrey sandwiched between them, and while she’s unable to see what’s going on Cole lands a kick to the groin. Seeing as neither one of their finishers ended the match, he took the path of least resistance and cheated with a move that knocked Jungle Boy down which allows Cole to land THE BOOM, and gets the pin to win the match. This was yet another fantastic showing from Adam Cole who is clearly proving himself to be a valuable addition to AEW. I think the crowd is making things a bit awkward though because they LOVE this guy despite being a clear Heel, but aside from that I definitely want to see more matches with him!