Author Archives: Matt Vetrano

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-19)

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

We’re back with even more AEW action!  With Chris Jericho’s stable running roughshod over the AEW locker room and the Tag Team Tournament well underway, AEW already has a lot of balls in the air to keep track of this early into its run.  Can they keep up this balancing act while continuing to put on great matches?  Let’s find out!!

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SCU (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) Vs Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) – Tag Team Tournament

You may be wondering why I listed Scorpio Sky as a competitor when he made it clear he would NOT be in the match last week.  Well before the match can even begin, SCU gets jumped by The Lucha Bros before they can even make it to the ramp.  Christopher Daniels gets injured badly enough that Scorpio Sky has to sub for him.  I’m sure I made this clear before, but I really don’t like injury spots on wrestling shows.  It’s VERY clear here that it’s a work and that Daniels isn’t injured, but I really don’t think it makes for good television to have a guy being dragged out on a stretcher like this.  Sure, if you’re REALLY goofing it up you can get away with it, but it just feels too real in an industry where that kind of thing can ACTUALLY happen.  The match itself is as solid as AEW tag matches tend to be.  SCU is one of my favorite teams there and their presence alone is enough to overcome the utter apathy I have for The Best Friends.  The former team definitely come off as the underdog considering Kazarian was attacked just before the match and Scorpio Sky wasn’t prepared to fight tonight, and sure enough the get the hot tags and then ear falls while The Best Friends are the somewhat incompetent heels (Chuck Taylor dives right on top of Trent Beretta by accident) and it ends with SCU going to the next round of the tournament.  While I would have preferred a straightforward match with Daniels instead of putting him out of the tournament so early (at least save it for round two!), it was the ending I wanted and I’m glad that we’ll see more of SCU in the coming weeks.

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Cinema Dispatch: Brittany Runs a Marathon

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Brittany Runs a Marathon and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios

Directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo

Me and Amazon Studios?  We have an understanding.  Well… not so much an understanding as me having an opinion about them that the multi-billion dollar Mega Corporation doesn’t know or care about.  Their movies that come to theaters are often mid-range fare that almost affects the impression of a small studio like STX or a less ambitious NEON, but other than outright disasters like Gringo, they are reliably enjoyable if not particularly stunning achievements.  Does their latest outing that will surely be on a streaming box near you measure up to those ho-hum standards, or are we in for another feature more unbearable than their anti-union practices!?  Let’s find out!!

Brittany Forglar (Jillian Bell) is your typical millennial washout.  She’s living in New York City… somehow supporting herself with a part time job as an usher at a theater I think, but she’s not happy with herself and uses drugs, meaningless sex, and comedy to get her through the days.  However, after a visit from the doctor where she tries to get a prescription for uppers, the doctor delivers the harsh truth that her health isn’t all that great and she should probably lose a few pounds; not that weight loss in and of itself is healthy, but a lot of her REAL symptoms instead of the fake ones she’s trying to use to get the drugs can be alleviated or even eliminated entirely if she ate better and exercised more.  After some trepidation she does manage to start losing weight which builds up her confidence and she starts improving other aspects of her life including her relationships, her career path, and even plans on running the New York City Marathon as a benchmark for her achievement.  However, all this change is coming with a fair bit of resistance; not just form her but her friends as well as she has to look at the reality of her situation and come to terms that maybe some people in her life aren’t good for her and she’ll have to move on to greener pastures no matter how hard it may be.  Can Brittany get her life back on track and fulfill her newfound dream of finishing the marathon?  What pitfalls will she run into as she starts to make weight loss itself the goal instead of it being a side effect of taking care of herself?  Is her ultimate goal to hone her skills like a ninja and become Batman?  I mean… that’s the reason we ALL try to get in shape, right?

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“First question; do you have a tragic backstory?”     “I mean… the US economy?”     “Okay, that’s a good start.”

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-09-19)

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

We’re back with even more AEW!  After Jericho revealed his heel faction last week, will Cody and the rest of THE ELITE band together to face this latest threat?  More importantly though, WILL LUCHASAURUS SHOW UP THIS TIME!?  Seriously, he wasn’t on LAST week and that’s one too many weeks without Luchasaurus!  Let’s hope for the best and take a look at the second episode of AEW Dynamite!

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The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson) Vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isaiah Kassidy) – Tag Team Tournament

Now THIS is a great way to start the show!  I’m a bit cooler on the Young Bucks than a lot of people but there’s no doubt that they are IMMENSELY popular, and I really like what I’ve seen of Private Party so far as they already look poised to be the fan favorites of the company.  Hopefully AEW (unlike what WWE does with a lot of their more talented tag teams) won’t let these two sit on the sidelines for half of their career with this match is a good indication that they won’t.  The match itself was pretty great as both teams are so absolutely fantastic as tag team wrestlers, and Private Party being a lot more straightforward in their style helped to minimize some of the issues I tend to have with The Young Bucks when they’re up against teams like The Lucha Bros.  In fact, what I found particularly interesting is that The Bucks fought like heels for the most part as Private Party were the ones fighting earnestly with big moves and lots of effort while The Bucks come off as much more cocky and taking their time to show off.  Heck, they even use a few underhanded moves like when Nick does a blind tag and another instance where Matt drops Kassidy on the steel ramp.  When they were doing the PPVs, it was a bit hard to tell where they would fall with their endless feud against the Lucha Bros (pretty much being baby faces by default), but I’m all for it if they real are planning on being heels.  They don’t have to be the nastiest players in this (I’m pretty Jericho and his crew have that covered), but being part of THE ELITE has always felt more like a heel position and it’s what has made Cody’s status as a face always feel a bit questionable.  Surprising absolutely everyone (myself included), Private Party actually won against The Young Bucks which puts them in a VERY good position in the tournament taking down the odds on favorite so early.  Like I said, AEW seems to know what to do with young talent like this and I’m glad that The Bucks are willing to step aside to give them such a huge push right now.  It’s probably my favorite thing they’ve done since I’ve started watching AEW!

After the match, Jericho comes out with his merry men of bad guys (Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, and LAX) and takes a good ten minutes to jabber on the mic and make sweet audible love to the teeming masses.  A lot of it is exposition to make sure everyone is up to speed on the title picture, but he can make reading a thesaurus look good and I’m glad that AEW hasn’t COMPLETELY abandoned larger than life characters who are allowed to just talk in the ring.  What we learn from all this is that Jericho’s faction is called THE INNER CIRCLE (so far it’s reminding me of Ric Flair’s faction in TNA known as Four-tune) and that Jake Hager’s collared shirt from the last episode was not a one off; apparently that’s his look going forward which is a shame because it makes him look like a TOTAL dork.  Look, maybe this is yet another unbridled talent that will finally have a chance to shine in a promotion that knows what the heck to do with him, but I don’t know who Jack Swagger or Jake Hager is, and him just staring blankly into the camera with a silly shirt on doesn’t scream AMAZING WRESTLING TALENT as it does I FORGOT ALL MY LINES.  Aside from that though, it was a great way to solidify them as the big heel faction of the company which will certainly keep things interesting in the weeks leading up to the next PPV.

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Cinema Dispatch: Joker

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

Directed by Todd Phillips

Are we ready to do this?  Alright, let’s do this.  So Joker always seemed like an odd choice for a movie as his defining moments have always been in relation to Batman.  Take him away, and what are you left with?  Well if the trailers are any indication, you get something akin to Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver by way of Krusty the Clown.  I mean I was at least interested to see where they were GOING with it since the trailers did a solid job of obscuring what the actual plot was, but the last few weeks of bad press have really drained any enthusiasm I could muster for what was already seeming to be a novelty at best.  Does this manage to rise above the controversy surrounding it, especially the controversies cynically generated by those who have an active stake in the film’s success, or will this all be for a movie that ultimately isn’t worth the time and effort?  Let’s find out!!

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is one of many residents in the city of Gotham who is barely getting by and can feels that life has given him a rather crappy lot.  All he wanted to do was be a comedian and make people smile, but street punks keep beating him up at his job, the rich politicians and lobbyist keep cutting social services that he needs, and on top of all that he has to take care of his elderly mother Frances Conroy) who’s unshaking belief that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) will help her and her son has only become more and more obnoxious as the years have gone by.  Why… it’s almost enough to drive someone MAD isn’t it!?  Like say… if someone got so tired of this that they started wearing clown makeup and robbed banks!  Well leave those fantasies at home as this is the REAL Joker for the modern age in that he’s really angry all the time but doesn’t do a heck of a whole lot about it and what he DOES do about it isn’t as… let’s say FLAMBOYANT as his comic book persona would have you believe.  Still, the walls are closing in more and more as Arthur’s life goes further and further into chaos to the point that he may just be forced to fight back in a way that no one could possibly expect; least of all himself.  Will Arthur’s miserable life come to some sort of hilarious denouement that gets all the squares to pop their monocles?  What effect will his actions have on the rest of the city, and is he really so different from all the normal people out there?  Seriously, is this REALLY the guy Warner Bros wants to be spouting his manifesto on the big screen right when they’re getting the DCCU back on track?

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“I call it… MY JOKE BOOK!”     “…”     “Seriously?  Nothing?”     “Oh, uh… no, that’s clever!”

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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #21

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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 Resident Evil with Furries, and guess what!?  WE GET EVEN MORE ZOMBIES!!  Oh IDW, you spoil us with your endless issues of Sonic fighting Zombots over and over again!  Yeah, the formula has gotten real stale over these last six issues which may not SEEM like a lot, but that’s half a year of me having to read about INSERT CITY NAME HERE on the brink of  collapse while Sonic and INSERT CHARACTER HERE fight them off.  Will they mix it up for this issue and give us something different!?  Probably not, but let’s find out!!

The issue begins with a bit of a lurch admittedly as we’re following Tails this time instead of Sonic as he is heading to his lab in this gigantic city (how can he afford the rent here!?), and is flanked on both sides by Tangle & Whisper who are here for reasons; the most likely of which is promoting their mini-series which by the way I’m ALSO recapping on this website!  What, all of a sudden shameless self-promotion can’t be mutually beneficial!?

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“And you can be good at teamwork too by reading our book!  Visit your local comic book shop to learn more!”

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-02-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Last night AEW finally made the leap to weekly television with DYNAMITE; a name that conveys a clear purpose of intent to blow away everything we know about wrestling and rebuild it for the modern age! That or they just wanted a word that was catchy and sounded cool. In any case, let’s take a look at the inaugural episode!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara

The very first match on AEW’s new show (and the first wrestling match on TNT since 2001 as the announcers helpfully point out) is a pretty straightforward affair. The deal is that if Cody loses this match he loses his chance against the current AEW champ Chris Jericho at the next PPV, but really it’s just an exhibition match between two talented wrestlers. Now this isn’t a problem since you don’t really need any buildup for matches on regular TV the same way you expect for PPVs, but the problem I just keep having whenever Cody shows up is that I have no idea what his place is in all of this. Sammy Guevara is simply a young wrestler looking for his big break, but Cody? He’s the Executive Vice President of the company, he’s friends with the most heelish of heels MJF, and Brandi ends up interfering in the match. It sounds like he’s tailor made to be a bad guy, and yet it never feels like we’re supposed to boo him. Perhaps it’s the fact that he still comes off as an underdog when compared to Vince and the WWE, but within AEW it feels like his character is a bit muddled. He eventually wins the match which gets a respectable pop from the crowd, but then Chris Jericho jumps in to beat the crap out of Cody and assert his dominance in the AEW hierarchy. I was actually pretty down on Jericho being the AEW champion considering how much great new talent they have which is being overshadowed by a guy THIS deep into his career, but he actually looks a lot better than he has in a while and this is the kind of jerk move that a heel champ should be pulling, so kudos to that guy for turning it around so quickly for me!

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Cinema Dispatch: Ad Astra

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Ad Astra and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by James Gray

We already sent Matt Damon into space and couldn’t get rid of him, so I guess its Brad Pitt’s turn on the intergalactic chopping block.  Space movies, especially ones that try to reflect our current understanding of outer space and an approximation of our current technology have been a great way to explore our own humanity as well as the stars themselves with 2001: A Space Odyssey still being the gold standard that these kinds of films try to aspire to.  Does this newest sci-fi drama about Brad Pitt IN SPACE prove to be a worthy contemporary of the genre, or will the only favorable comparisons be to Plan 9 From Outer Space?  Let’s find out!!

Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is an astronaut in the near future where that’s back to being a viable career and NASA has morphed into the SpaceCom which has put bases on the moon, on Mars, and they even sent a space ship out to Neptune to look for life beyond what they can see back on Earth.  That space ship was part of the “Lima Project” which was launched sixteen years ago with Roy’s dad Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones) and hasn’t been heard from in years and is presumed lost forever.  That is until weird electrical pulses start to reach Earth that knock out power in a lot of places and even causes a giant space antenna to come crashing down that Roy just so happened to be working on at the time, and SpaceCom thinks that it might be the… super science generator (something to do with dark matter maybe?) that they stuck on Clifford’s ship all those years ago.  On the off chance that this is the case, they want Roy to get his butt to Mars and use their super science broadcasting antenna (basically pirate radio IN SPACE) to get a message out to Neptune and hopefully to his dad.  Things get complicated right away however as there seems to be more going on than SpaceCom is telling him, and on top of that he’s got some unresolved issues with the old man, what with him leaving his family to never return, that may or may not complicate things even if they DO get a message to him.  Will Roy come to terms with the decisions his father made as well as finally get the closure he’s looking for?  What challenges will he face and what secrets will he uncover during the rather long voyage from Earth to Mars?  How do you pack for kind of trip anyway?  A lot of protein bars I guess?

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“Really wish we could find a Starbucks out here.”

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