Author Archives: Matt Vetrano

Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #3

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

We’re back with another issue of The Blue 52 (I can probably come up with ONE more comic book continuity shakeup puns before I’m totally tapped out) which sees our old friend Sonic the Hedgehog getting used to his new spot in the IDW family after leaving Archie Comics under less than amicable terms!  Did you know they STILL haven’t put the Archie Comics back on ComiXology yet?  You’d think SOMEONE would’ve gotten on that already.  Still, the relaunch of this character in the world of comics has been a rather smooth one so far with two decent issues under their belt, but can they keep the momentum going through issues three and four as well?  Well we’ll have to wait a week to find out about four but as far issue three goes, let’s find out!!

The issue begins once again with Sonic happening upon a town besieged by jerk-bots, though this time around he may have been a little late to the party (GASP!) because Knuckles is already elbow deep in the cybernetic guts of one of the bigger metal monstrosities.  As it turns out, he’s basically pulling a Sonic of his own; what with the robot smashing in nearby villages rather than taking part in a more coordinated effort with the rest of the resistance.  Seems like an odd decision to make THE LEADER into a flakey and self-righteous free spirit, but it’s doubly weird that neither one of those identities feels like a good fit for Knuckles.  Making him either a leader of any sort or a wander without roots seems to go against the usual characterization of the guy.  He’s a total loner and overly serious compared to everyone else, AND he’s charged with protecting the Master Emerald which means he’s stuck in one place with a sacred duty.  Now sure that hasn’t ALWAYS been his characterization (I’m looking at you AGAIN, Sonic Boom!) but it still seems like an odd choice to make HIM in charge instead of Amy who actually seems to WANT the position.  It’s also possible that I’m jumping on this aspect of the story too early and it will be addressed later on, so for now we’ll just go with it.

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“So… you DID get someone to guard the Master Emerald while you were away, right?”     “… OH CRAP!!”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Pipe Camp)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Welcome back to another adventure with our loveable hero Tom Peters just trying to make it work in the big city and be the best darn stepdad in the process!  Okay, Jefferton is HARDLY what I’d call a “big city”, but it’s the place that Tom calls home and is where he goes on his wacky adventures with The Mayor; only half of which end in massive casualties!  Now first things first, this episode has a slightly different visual style than any other episode in the series as it goes for more of a classic sitcom vibe with new music cues that evoke the feeling of shows like Full House or Family Matters (inoffensive instrumental tunes during scene transitions) and a few Tom Goes to the Mayor bumpers at the bottom of the screen like you’d see on network television.  Now these are all fine ways of subverting the traditional sitcom formula, but I guess I’m a bit confused as to why these gimmicks were used for THIS episode specifically.  The whole series is one great middle finger to the corporatized artifice masked over the realities of middle and lower class America which corny American sitcoms have reveled in and have helped perpetuate for decades, but I don’t really see THIS episode as being PARTICULARLY biting in that regard.  Sure it’s messed up and has some dark moments as we’ll get to soon enough, but that basically describes every Tom Goes to the Mayor episode already!  Still, it’s a decent enough gimmick for this kind of show and limiting it to a single episode ensures that it doesn’t overstay its welcome.  Anyway, the episode begins with Tom’s step-kids having heart attacks (all at the same time), so Tom goes to The Mayor to propose a health camp for children that will help his kids and many others lead more active and healthy lifestyles!  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Well too bad he brought it to The Mayor who’s already got a plan to twist it into something horrible that will not doubt get Tom in a whole lot of trouble.  The Mayor has been a very stead patron of Pipe’s Buffet (an establishment right above his office) where he smokes copious amounts of tobacco while eating fatty meats.

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“Oh, The Mayor!  You wacky sassafras!”     “Ha ha ha, oh Tom.  Don’t you ever talk that way to me again…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Truth or Dare

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Truth or Dare and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Another day, another PRESENTED BY BLUMHOUSE film, which basically means it’s time to flip a coin! Heads Blumhouse wins, tails I lose but Blumhouse still makes a bunch of money! They’re certainly a studio that’s had their ups and downs as they’ve been responsible for getting films like Get Out and the Purge Franchise to the big screen, but are also responsible for The Gallows, at least half the Paranormal Activity movies, and that first Ouija movie. Now normally I’m at least SOMEWHAT aware when Blumhouse is putting out a horror film (at least one that has a shot of getting a wide release) but this one flew COMPLETELY under my radar which can only mean good things, right!? Does this film manage to rise above the underwhelming marketing it’s received and be a gem in its own right, or is this gonna be worse than Jem in its own right (yet ANOTHER of Blumhouse’s failures)? Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a group of friends traveling to Mexico to celebrate Spring Break by drinking booze and eating nachos! One of the young women named Olivia (Lucy Hale) ends up meeting some cool dude named Carter (Landon Liboiron) and he leads the whole group to some abandoned church in the middle of nowhere to… I don’t know, party I guess? Doesn’t SEEM like the place to get wasted considering how much dirt and broken stuff is littering the floor, but Carter ends up convincing them to play a game of Truth or Dare. It goes… alright I guess, but Carter eventually flees and leaves Olivia with a warning; KEEP PLAYING THE GAME OR ELSE! Well THAT certainly seems weird. Anyway, the group heads back home to continue their college education, but soon enough ghostly figures and other strange occurrences compel them to continue the game with HORRIFIC results. Basically you can either do the challenge the ghostly visions propose which USUALLY involves hurting someone or hurting themselves, OR the ghosts will make them commit suicide because THAT’S not tasteless in the least! So I guess the game is on as each one of them has to take turns being tortured and risking death until… something happens I guess? I mean, that something is PROBABLY death considering there doesn’t seem to be a Get Out of Jail Free card for this situation, so… keep your chin up I guess! Can this group of friends find a way to outsmart this game that for whatever reason has followed them back home? What secrets will they learn about each other as the game continues, and how far will they be pushed to go just to survive? Did someone fall asleep at the wheel over at Blumhouse, because that’s the only excuse I can think of for how this managed to get past even THEIR lax standards!

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“I dare you to not suck, movie.”     “DAMN IT!  That’s a trap and you know it!”

 

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Cinema Dispatch: A Quiet Place

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A Quiet Place and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by John Krasinski

We had quite a few good horror films last year like IT, Happy Death Day, and ESPECIALLY Get Out, but pickings have been a bit slim in the first third of 2018 with the only wide releases going to the fourth Insidious movie and the rather underwhelming Annihilation if you’d even want to count that.  THANK GOODNESS that Platinum Dunes has stepped up to the plate because they’ve ALWAYS made good movies, am I right!?  Okay, so the studio has a pretty shaky track record with some pretty awful remakes being their staple up until 2010, but they have gotten a bit better at picking movies what with The Purge series being under their banner and I even liked that Friday the 13th film they did, though I’m certainly in the minority on that one.  This movie at least has been getting some positive buzz despite what I feel what I thought were rather underwhelming trailers, so maybe the steady improvement of Platinum Dunes productions will continue unabated!  I mean as long as we forget about those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie… and the first Ouija movie.  ANYWAY, does this latest thriller with a unique premise manage to be all it’s cracked up to be, or will the silence in the theater be less due to enraptured awe and more due to straight up boredom?  Let’s find out!!

We begin this story in the near future where it seems that society has crumbled and the few remaining survivors are eking out a rather mundane existence as they try to avoid being hunted down by whatever it was that nearly wiped us all out.  What is hunting them exactly?  I don’t know, some sort of Silent Hill looking dudes with sharp claws that LOVE to slice and dice people whenever they can find them.  The key to their success however turns out to be some EXCELLENT hearing skills, so in order to survive in this world you need to stay QUIET!  At least the Abbott family has managed to make this new way of life work for them as Momma and Poppa (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) have worked tirelessly to set up rules and precautions to protect their children and to keep their mouths shut!  Sure, they lost ONE kid, but they’ve still got two left who know not to make even the SMALLEST of sounds if they want to survive, and there’s even another kid on the way which SEEMS like a bad idea considering how hard it is to reasonably explain to a baby that they’re crying is not very helpful at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!  Anyway, the eldest kid Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is having trouble dealing with the death of her little brother which she blames herself for and on top of that is deaf herself which makes it easier for her to communicate without sound but means that things might be a bit more dangerous if she can’t hear any approaching threats.  At least she’s better equipped to handle what’s going on than her brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) who’s REALLY traumatized by everything that’s happened since the monsters came to town and spends most of his time being terrified about everything around him; not the MOST impracticable of positions to take, but it does cause some friction between him and his dad when he has trouble letting go of his fears to focus on the basic survival tasks at hand.  So with one kid feeling guilty, another one scared of his own shadow, and a third one threatening to come out of their mother in the very near future, things may not be sustainable for that much longer no matter how much Super Dad tries to keep things firmly within his grasp.  Can this family survive this terrifying threat for as long as it takes for someone to figure out how to destroy these creatures once and for all?  Will they find a way to successfully have this baby and raise it without attracting the attention of the creatures that have the super strong hearing and extremely deadly claws?  Seriously, how have you guys survived THIS long if knocking something over is enough to get these creatures to come a knocking!?

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“…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Rampage

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

Directed by Brad Peyton

Does anyone remember that Tomb Raider movie that came out?  Yeah, it was like a month ago but I kind of just forgot all about it already, though I guess my blissful ignorance won’t last for long considering that movie made a HUGE amount of money overseas which will inevitably lead to a sequel, but until then it looks like we’ve got another crack at the genre with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s second attempt at a video game adaptation.  Despite being buff enough to topple buildings, he is not the one RAMPAGING in this movie as it’s instead an adaptation of the classic arcade game where three giant monsters (who are TOTALLY not Godzilla, King Kong, and The Wolf Man) destroy buildings and… well that’s pretty much it.  Seems like a decent enough premise to throw a bunch of money at to make CGI mayhem, but can they manage to make this more than another monotonous action blockbuster starring the world’s most jacked teddy bear?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a mission in space going HORRIFICALLY wrong (seriously, it’s about as terrifying as the end of Life) which leads to a bunch of canisters holding some sort of RAMPAGE GAS landing at various places across the US.  One lands on top of an alligator, another crashes into a wolf pack, and the last one craters into an animal sanctuary which is subsequently found by George; an albino gorilla who can speak sign language and is total bros with Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson).  Davis JUST SO HAPPENS to not only be a primate expert working at the sanctuary, but he ALSO used to hunt down poachers and even saved George from a terrible fate which led to them being buddies ever since!  If only it wasn’t for that DAMNED Science Gas made by some company led up by brothers Claire and Brett (Malin Åkerman and Jake Lacy), we could have had a movie about these two hanging out, but NO!  Instead, the Science Gas makes George grow SUPER BIG (even bigger than The Rock!!) and gives him a serious mean streak on top of that which makes it hard for even Davis’s glistening bulging muscles to contain which forces the some secret agency within the US government led by Agent Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to capture the ape and take him to Washington for experiments before putting it to sleep.  Things don’t go as planned however as Claire and Brett have even MORE sinister plots for George as well as the two other creatures roaming the countryside, and if they succeed it could spell doom for millions of people!  Will Davis along with A SCIENTISTTM (Naomie Harris) find some way to save his gorilla buddy before Claire and Brett destroy whatever is left of George and turning him into a TRUE monster?  What untold destruction will the monsters unleash upon the city, and will it look totally bad ass?  Why didn’t they just make this an Ultraman movie so that they could make The Rock into a giant!?  I’d pay to see him the size of a skyscraper doing Rock Bottoms on monsters!!

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HE LOOKS SO TINY NOW!  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!?

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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #2

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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 Sonic Rebirth!  The new series that is TOTALLY different from what we had before (but maybe not depending on what the writers want to keep) and seemingly WASN’T caused by a speedster going back in time (though I wouldn’t discount that as a possible story line at some point).  ANYWAY, after the inaugural issue turned out not to be quite what I was looking for, it falls upon this second issue to pick up the slack and get the ball rolling on what this series will truly be about and whether or not we’ll want to continue on this journey with the snarky hedgehog.  Does it succeed where the last one stumbled?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins much like the first one with Sonic tearing his way through hordes of evil robots; snidely remarking and stylishly posing as he does so.  This first scene is actually pretty impressive in terms of scope as Sonic is fighting a giant mechanical spider , but I had a bit of trouble following the action beats as it took me a good three tries to fully grasp what’s going on.  Apparently he climbs up the spider (fair enough), spin dashes off of its head which causes an explosion for some reason (um…) and follows that up with an absurdly high jump (okay…) so he can come back down to smash himself through the machine’s core.  So not only can he generate his own downward velocity (I doubt gravity alone would accelerate him fast enough to pierce steel), but he is ALSO completely invincible while in ball form as the sudden impact of hedgehog to spider didn’t immediately liquefy his internal organs.  Well I guess that’s ONE way to make a cartoon animal look like a total badass, but organ liquidation though is not ENTIRELY off the table however because while Sonic is too busy basking in the glow of his adoring fans for destroying the robot menace, it turns out the machine had one more trick up its sleeve and… I think it’s gonna shoot a laser?  I don’t know, the artwork isn’t really clear here as to what’s ABOUT to happen (maybe it’s getting up?) but before anyone can worry about it, Amy comes in like a bat out of hell and bashes its robo brains in with her over-sized hammer!

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I’d be less sarcastic around her if I were you, Sonic.  Did you SEE what she can do with that thing!?

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Gibbons)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Welcome back to another episode of Everybody Hates Tom as we take a look at how our beloved and beloathed protagonist handle the mysterious concept of… FRIENDSHIP!  I hear it’s a kind of magic!  Anyway, the episode begins with Good ol’ Tom Peters dropping his friend Gibbons (Brian Posehn) off at the train station after what appears to have been a very pleasant get together.  Apparently that all happened in an episode we never got to see, and while I’m SURE Tom is happy to have spent some time with his bestest buddy, he’s got some planning to do for Jefferton’s Friendship Expo and needs to hurry this tearful goodbye along so that he can get back to work.  No wait, Gibbons is there too because he apparently missed his train (how the hell did he miss it!?  IT WAS RIGHT THERE!) and is just gonna hang out for the time being.  Clearly Tom is not too comfortable with this as he was clearly ready to recharge his batteries after spending that afternoon with Gibbons, but he can’t focus on that as he has to get his booth ready to sell his Books On Tiny Cassettes as well as his wife’s Friendship Skirts For Men (meant to be worn in tandem).  Oh look!  Even The Mayor manages to stop by to wish his buddy good luck, though he seems a little bit put off by Gibbons.

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“BURN THE WITCH!”     “Well THIS guy seems a little high strung.”

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