24th Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/24/15

by Will

photovisi-download (13)

oie_922142seDasWF9

Other-Space

This was a week of me binge-watching short comedy series online. I started things out with Other Space on Yahoo Screen. I mentioned the show in last week’s post, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it. Created by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids and The Heat), the show is set in the year 2105, and focuses on the young, inept crew of a spaceship that finds itself stranded in a parallel dimension. I’ve admired Feig since I read his book, Superstud, so I had to check out this series. I came for the creator, but I stayed for Milana Vayntrub, AKA Lily Adams from the AT&T commercials. First, let me say this: I hate webseries. There’s always something “This isn’t quite good enough for television” about them. And this show looks and feels like a webseries. Still, I powered through the 8-episode run with ease, as the cast is good, and the writing’s pretty funny. For you Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu are also part of the cast. It’s got humor, it’s got pretty ladies, and it’s got space – there’s something for everyone!

scrotal recall

Next up, I binged Scrotal Recall on Netflix. Yes, that’s its actual name, but the show is so much better than that questionable moniker. Imagine if How I Met Your Mother had more sex, and no Lily & Marshall. That’s basically this show. There’s a Ted, there’s a Barney, and there’s a Robin. The hook, however, is a bit more mature than HIMYM: when Dylan discovers that he has chlamydia, he has to notify his former sexual partners to let them know that they need to get tested. Then, we follow those past relationships as the show jumps around the timeline. Meanwhile, Dylan is secretly in love with his best friend, Evie – who happens to also be in love with him. However, she’s about to be married to another guy. Will they finally admit their feelings to each other before it’s too late? The series originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK last year, and I continue to be impressed by how much British showrunners are able to cram into a mere 6 episodes of a series. It was great to see Antonia Thomas again, who I discovered when she played Alisha on the Channel 4 series Misfits. Also, if they ever make a US version of the show, June Diane Raphael HAS to play Helen. Anyway, I’m really hoping for a second season, as I really like the ensemble, and there’s definitely more ground to cover. In the tradition of My Name Is Earl, Dylan has a pretty sizable list of women he needs to contact, and we only get through the first 5 in this season.

babadook

Next, I watched The Babadook on Netflix. A 2014 horror movie with a lot of buzz around it, I felt like I had to watch this movie. Now, I’m not exactly a horror fan – in fact, I don’t like the genre much at all. Still, I’d heard nothing but good things about this movie, so it seemed to be worth my time. Well, what did I think? Babadook? More like Babadookie. Seriously, what did people see in this movie? If you’re not familiar with it, the movie focuses on a single mother and her son in Australia. Amelia’s husband died on the way to the hospital for her to give birth, so it’s just been her and the son, Samuel, for the past 7 years. And it’s starting to take its toll on her. One night, she lets Samuel choose the book she’s going to read to him before bed, and he picks a book called Mister Babadook. In the story, there’s a creature called Mr. Babadook who begs to be let in, and will never leave once you do so. The story basically terrorizes the son, as he begins to see the Babadook everywhere, and he’s scared something’s going to happen to his mom. The mom refuses to believe in the Babadook, but as she continues to go without sleep, strange things begin to happen around the house. That’s the basic gist of it. To me, the biggest problem is that the Babadook just isn’t that visually frightening. He looks like something from a Tim Burton movie. Anyway, I was pretty unsatisfied and I don’t get the hype that surrounded this movie. Was it the fact that it was a horror movie by a female director? Did I miss something? The main brunt of the movie seems to be “Single parenting is a BITCH!”, but the Babadook himself? Not so scary.

full-house-tv-show-reboot-netflix

I’ve written about it a bunch, but it was officially announced this week that Fuller House is happening, and will premiere on Netflix in 2016. The show will follow widowed veterinarian DJ Tanner, who needs help raising her 2 kids (with another on the way). So, best friend Kimmy Gibbler, along with her own teenage daughter, Ramona, moves in to help out. Finally, Stephanie Tanner, now a musician, will also move in to lend a hand. John Stamos will produce the show, and also guest star as Uncle Jessie. I like this idea, but I’m somewhat surprised it went to Netflix. After all, this show seems tailor-made for ABC Family’s comedy slate, especially with the aging Melissa & Joey on the way out this summer. I can think of about 3 cable networks that would be a better home to this show than Netflix, but I guess Netflix is trying to expand its offerings. Based on the media coverage this thing has been getting, they just may have chosen a winner.

finding your roots

There was a lot of hubbub this week regarding Ben Affleck. No, I’m not talking about the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer. You see, Affleck was on the PBS series Finding Your Roots, where he discovered that one of his ancestors owned slaves. Well, thanks to leaked emails, we discovered that Affleck asked that that particular part be cut from his episode. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the host of the show, wasn’t sure how to handle the situation, as detailed in the email thread. Eventually, the show acquiesced, and the segment was removed. Once news of this broke, there was outcry that Affleck shouldn’t have asked/the show shouldn’t have complied with his request. Affleck finally addressed the situation on Facebook, saying:

“I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.”

He also pointed out that Finding Your Roots isn’t a news show, so it’s not like he was compromising journalistic integrity. I kinda see both sides of the situation. On the one hand, if you’re an American, you’ve got to know there’s a *chance* your ancestors owned slaves. That goes for both races. However, he’s right in that it wasn’t a news show, and they had to go with what made the most sense from an entertainment standpoint. Considering he didn’t want that aspect known, and PBS didn’t initially want to cut it, I feel like they just should’ve scrapped the episode. Move on to the next celebrity and keep it moving. There’s currently an ongoing internal investigation at PBS to determine if the omission violated PBS editorial standards.

shield-spinoff

The television corner of the Marvel Universe certainly had a busy week. First off, it was revealed that 12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley was creating a Marvel Universe show for ABC. Later in the week, that rumor expanded, implying that he was working on a series based on current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan. Next, Deadline Hollywood reported that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be spinning off the characters of Mockingbird and her ex-husband Nick Hunter, in a Mr. & Mrs. Smith-esque spy drama. Finally, it was announced that Daredevil has been renewed for a second season, albeit with new showrunners.

Thoughts? Well, I kinda like Kamala Khan as a character, even though I think her powers are stupid. I wonder if America’s ready for a show starring a female Muslim hero, but “you never know what you can do until you try”, right? Ridley’s 2006 Wildstorm miniseries The American Way showed that he understands heroes, while his current TV series, ABC’s American Crime, shows that he can handle culture clashes. He’s an interesting choice for a Marvel project, but I’d be really curious to see what he could bring to that universe.

As for the Mockingbird show, I feel like they should focus on making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a solid show before spinning off one of its best components. I’m not the biggest Mockingbird fan, but I’ll admit that the show has gotten more interesting since her debut. This new series is being looked at as a companion show to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and may run concurrently, like Once Upon A Time and Once Upon A Time In Wonderland so unsuccessfully tried last season. If they do a spinoff, I’d be OK with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. going away, and letting the spinoff replace it. It’d be like how Benson went on to last twice as long as Soap, the show that birthed it. I love Phil Coulson, but I’ve always felt that he was a “less is more” character. On the Age of Ultron press circuit, Whedon said that he felt the resurrection of Coulson kinda took away the impact of his death in Avengers, and I have to agree. He went from this guy we saw every few movies to in our faces on a weekly basis. They could get Coulson out of the field, and put him in an actual director capacity, which would keep him out of sight. It’d be the way they used Richard Dean Anderson at the end of Stargate SG-1 – we wouldn’t see him very often. This could also allow the AoS field team to disband and something different (potentially led by Mockingbird) could rise from its ashes. It’d be a good way to reboot the S.H.I.E.L.D. concept. Skye could move on since she’s now powered and really has no business with S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ve never really liked Melinda May, though she could stick around as The Muscle. And I’m kinda tired of Fitz and Simmons. The team needs a shakeup, and the current S.H.I.E.L.D. vs S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline isn’t doing enough to further that.

As for Daredevil, the news of a second season isn’t really a surprise. It seems, however, that this could delay the Defenders team-up that was originally planned to close out the Marvel Netflix series. According to Forbes, Marvel initially shopped the series around as a 60-episode package: 13 episodes each of Daredevil, A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, with the remaining 8 episodes being devoted to a team-up series with all of those characters, called The Defenders. Since second seasons weren’t part of the original plan, it stands to reason that The Defenders may get shuffled. The Forbes article even posits that The Defenders may actually precede Iron Fist – which doesn’t yet have a production date in place. Marvel seems to want to get the Netflix characters into Avengers: Infinity War, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the timeline over the next 3 years in order to make this happen.

DC Super Hero Girls_5537ee21c01bd1.39734216

Meanwhile, DC Comics had some news of their own, as they announced the creation of DC Super Hero Girls. It’s not the flashiest or catchiest name, but it makes DC look good during a week where Marvel is facing criticism for the lack of merchandise featuring female characters from their movies. Designed for girls aged 6-12, the cross-platform initiative centers around female super heroes and super villains of the DC Universe as “relatable teens”, according to the press release. Mattel is a partner, and will create a line of action figures specifically targeted towards girls. One thing you’ll notice from the art above is that the characters are mostly covered – something that’s unusual for female characters in comics. As a new dad of a baby girl, I’m excited to see where this goes.

MADCAST_LOGO

I had the pleasure of joining Corey over at the MadCast for this week’s episode. If you’re not familiar with the MadCast, it’s the best Mad Men recap show around. We discussed this week’s episode, “The Forecast”, and I even got in some Three’s Company references. If you’re a Mad Men fan, check it out here.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week


-Bob Saget was NOT the original Danny Tanner

-I took the Jeopardy online test last week. I will not be on Jeopardy anytime soon.

-The official Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was released. It did absolutely nothing for me.

-The latest Jurassic World trailer was released. Still felt nothing.

-The new Fantastic Four trailer was released. Actually starting to look forward to that one.

-Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) will write Marvel’s Captain Marvel film

-Agent Carter‘s Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) has been cast as Jesse Custer in AMC’s adaptation of the Vertigo Preacher comic. He will be joined by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Ruth Negga (Raina).

-It was rumored that the title of the Arrow/The Flash spinoff will be Legends of Tomorrow. Meanwhile Edge of Tomorrow‘s Franz Drameh has joined the cast as a mysterious character named Jay Jackson.

-The next Star Trek movie will be released 7/8/16, and will be titled Star Trek: Beyond

-Speaking of Star Trek, it was revealed that a Galaxy Quest series is in development at Paramount. I think the concept worked well as a movie, but I don’t see it as a weekly series. It might work as a 13-episode Netflix situation, though.

-Sandra Bullock was named People Magazine‘s 2015 World’s Most Beautiful Woman

-After 53 years, Spanish-language variety show Sabado Gigante will end September 19th.

-Sony announced plans for a movie franchise based on the Valiant comic line. Good luck with that…

-Mr. Feeny will make his return to Girl Meets World in the season 2 premiere on May 11th.

-Animated Spider-Man film planned for 2018. Next to no other details are known at this time.

-Tyler Perry has been cast as Baxter Stockman in TMNT 2

Links I Loved

The Man Who Broke the Music Business – The New Yorker

10 Shows Marvel Should Make Before Mockingbird – The Robot’s Pajamas

10 Things KB Toys Sold in 1998! – Dinosaur Dracula

Iceman

After wallowing in obscurity for years, X-Men team member Iceman finally became relevant again this week when the latest issue of All-New X-Men revealed that the character is gay. And news outlets went crazy with their “An Original X-Man Comes Out” headlines. But that’s not exactly true. Long story short, the original X-Men of the past were brought to the present to see what their actions end up doing to mutantkind, in the hopes that their experiences will motivate them to change the present. Unfortunately, they can’t get back home. So, the teen versions coexist in the present with the adult versions. Seeing as how the teen version of Iceman is gay, but the adult version is not, it’s beginning to look like the past team is actually from an alternate timeline or universe.

icemen

Still, this has sparked a lot of….interesting online conversations. Most of the comments are along the lines of “How come they’re changing characters again?!” Well, they’re not, really. The Iceman you knew and ignored is still around, and still straight. It’s alternate timeline Teen Iceman who doesn’t like the ladies. To me, that’s kind of a copout. It allows Marvel to have its cake and eat it, too. Just say Iceman’s gay. It won’t negate any past stories (Sure, he dated Opal, but it’s not like gay guys don’t have women in their pasts), and it won’t change anything about his heroism (or lack thereof). I just want him to be *interesting* again – something that hasn’t happened since 1997’s “Operation: Zero Tolerance” storyline. I’ve always kinda liked Iceman, and if this means that he’ll be in the spotlight more, then I’m all for it. If they’re just gonna shuffle him to the back of the line again, then it was a useless gesture. At the end of the day, the X-Men are about the battle for acceptance, be it about powers, race, or sexuality. So, this feels pretty fitting. If they’d created a new gay character, as the naysayers are suggesting they should have done, that character simply would’ve been a token. No, it had to be an existing character. Plus, there hasn’t really been a “definitive” Iceman story, so he’s perfect. He’s an original team member with a ton of storytelling potential and little baggage.

I do, however, have problems with how Marvel handled it. Ya see, Iceman didn’t come out – he was outed. There’s a difference. This article goes into it much more eloquently than I can, but what Jean Grey did was invade Iceman’s privacy by reading his mind. So, hopefully there will be some ramifications behind that.

no more mutants

Also, this isn’t the first time that Iceman has been used in the Something Drastic and Permanent Has Happened to an Original X-Man role. You see, a few years back, Marvel realized that everyone and their cousin was a mutant and something needed to be done to thin out the herd. So, during the House of M miniseries, Scarlet Witch cast the spell “No More Mutants”, and this reduced Marvel’s mutant population to approximately 198 people. In order to make readers feel the impact of what had happened, of course they needed one of the original X-Men to lose their powers. Enter: Iceman. Iceman, along with Magneto (who later got a power recharge from the High Evolutionary), lost his powers and was seemingly just a normal human. Until Marvel writers or whatever got cold feet, and Iceman realized he still had powers, but some sort of PTSD from the events of House of M was preventing him from being able to use them. So, in the long run, all of the original X-Men pretty much made it through the mass depowering unscathed, though no new mutants appeared for the next 2 years.

I really hope Marvel follows through with this and doesn’t just retcon it via Secret Wars or something. If nothing else, however, this has given Iceman more attention than he’s ever received. And for that reason, Iceman had the West Week Ever.

17th Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/17/15

by Will

photovisi-download (12)

oie_922142seDasWF9

03-ant-man-lands-in-a-three-point-stance

The week started out with the debut of the newest Ant-Man trailer. I’ve got to say that I’m getting more excited about this movie the closer that it gets. Sure, it won’t be Avengers-level awesome, but I think it’ll hold its own in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know a lot of you like to avoid trailers and spoilers, but this one is worth watching just for the train gag at the end. Trust me. Anyway, for a great scene-by-scene breakdown of the new trailer, check out this post from my pals at The Robot’s Pajamas.

o-WONDER-WOMAN-facebook

Next in comic movie news, DC’s Wonder Woman lost its director when Michelle MacLaren left the production, citing “creative differences”. That director’s chair wasn’t cold for long, however, as Patty Jenkins was given the job a few days later. In the long run Jenkins may be the better choice, as she has box office experience, having directed Monster, which won an Oscar for Charlize Theron. On top of that, she was slated to direct Thor 2, before leaving that production citing “creative differences”. So, she’ll make her comic movie debut in the DC Universe instead.

Batman_v_Superman_logo

Meanwhile in the DC Cinematic Universe, the trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is slated to be released in a special event on Monday. They even released a teaser for it yesterday. Yes, a TEASER for a TRAILER. Can this just stop? Movie studios are like sluts, where they start out slow, by just letting us slip the tip in, and right before the movie comes out, they’re just GIVING IT AWAY. Look at what’s going on with Age of Ultron. They insist that we haven’t seen anything yet from the third act, but I sure as Hell feel like I’ve seen everything else. Just release your trailer and move on. Sure, there are fans clamoring for this, but I’m not one of them. I think it’s pretty stupid. But if you wanna pay for an IMAX ticket to go watch a trailer, I guess that’s your business. As for me, I just can’t find myself getting excited about this movie. If it were another DC television series, I’d be all about it. They’ve figured out television. They’re still trying to understand movies.

Jessica Jones

In comic television news, hot on the heels of the Daredevil debut, we got our first look at the Netflix series A.K.A. Jessica Jones. I love Krysten Ritter and I love Jessica Jones, but I’m still not sure I love Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. I still think Alexandra Daddario would’ve been a better choice, but I’ve learned to trust Marvel’s judgement at this point. As for Luke Cage, I’ve got no real thoughts on him. I kinda wanted Lance Gross to get it, since it’d be nice to see someone graduate from Tyler Perry stuff to the big leagues (someone not named Sofia Vergara, that is).

One thing I’ve been curious about these Netflix series is the production timeline. Daredevil has clearly been a runaway hit, so smart money is on a season 2. That said, do we have to wait until after the Defenders team-up, or could it potentially happen before? At this time, there are no production dates for Iron Fist or The Defenders, but it’s unlikely they’d take place before late 2016/early 2017. Would they sneak another Daredevil season in before then, or would we have to wait? Seems like a long time to keep your cast sitting on the bench, especially since it’s now rumored that those stars may appear in Avengers: Infinity War. I’d love to find out more information about the Netflix deal.

star-wars-the-force-awakens-poster-03_534.0

Probably the biggest news this week, the second Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration yesterday. I’m far from a hardcore Star Wars fan, but I enjoyed it. I’ll see it. I’m sure you want more than that, but I’ve got nothing. I’m sure a ton of you needed a towel after that final scene. For a better explanation of the trailer, again, check out this post at The Robot’s Pajamas.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– A couple of people announced they were running for President.

-For some reason, a 25 year old Sizzler commercial went viral.

-Ryan Gosling has been cast in the Blade Runner sequel

-Other Space debuted on Yahoo Screen, co-starring Milana Vayntrub, AKA The AT&T Girl

-It appears David Hasselhoff just discovered the glory of Kung Fury

Links I Loved

Daredevil Netflix Series: Marvel Universe Easter Eggs and Comic References Guide
– Den of Geek US

On Jackie Robinson Day, Let’s Remember When He Was Fired From the New York Post for Being Too Republican – Reason.com

How Avengers: Age of Ultron Nearly Killed Joss Whedon – Vulture

Japanese Game Show Where The Contestants Get Hand Jobs While Singing Karaoke (NSFW) – Dangerous Minds

Daredevil-mega-poster

Yeah, I know the new Star Wars trailer is driving nerds crazy, but I’ve got to give WWE to Daredevil. Again. Last week, it was just for the pilot. It still had 12 more chances to go downhill from there. And it did not. On top of that, I’ve yet to see anyone say anything negative about it – ON THE INTERNET! When’s the last time that happened? Sure, Star Wars will have its day in the sun but, to me, this week belonged to Ol’ Hornhead and Hell’s Kitchen. If you haven’t watched it yet, what’s wrong with you? Is it because you don’t have Netflix? If that’s the case, I’m sure there’s some kind of free trial you could exploit or something in order to watch it. If you just don’t care, then I feel bad for you, son. You’re missing out on the best television comic adaptation to date. That’s why Netflix’s Daredevil had the West Week Ever.

10th Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/10/15

by Will

photovisi-download (11)

oie_922142seDasWF9

tron

So, with the baby and all, I haven’t had a ton of time to watch stuff. That said, I did get around to finally watching Tron, or Tron: The Original Classic as it’s now called for some reason. Yeah, I’m 33 and I’d never seen this movie before. Now that I’ve seen it, I guess my question is: how did this get a sequel? Sure, it took 30 years, but still! If you’ve never seen it, Jeff Bridges is a computer programmer who finds himself trapped inside the digital world of a supercomputer. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a visually stunning movie, even by today’s standards, but the story is weak. I don’t understand the motivations of most of the characters. Why has Dillinger been seemingly corrupted by the Master Control Program? Why is Alan so eager to help his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend commit a crime? And then there’s the heavy-handed User/program religious dichotomy that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. Also, why is it called Tron when Clu is the actual hero of the movie? Do they expand on any of this in the sequel? I guess I’ll have to watch that next. Oh, and Alan’s footsteps at the beginning of the film were totally added later in ADR, as the sounds don’t sync up with his gait. Anyway, I probably need to watch it again, as I fell asleep on it the first time I tried to watch it, and then I struggled to stay awake when I finally powered through it. I just don’t see how it’s had such a cultural impact.

anarchy

Last night, I watched The Purge: Anarchy and I have to say that it was just as good as the first movie. If you’re unfamiliar with The Purge franchise, in the near future the New Founding Fathers of America have devised a way to reduce the unemployment and crime rates in the nation: one night a year, citizens are encouraged to purge in order to “cleanse their souls”. During this 12 hr period, all crime – including murder – is legal, and no emergency services are available to help you. The first movie depicted the Purge as something that most Americans willfully go along with. In this movie, however, it’s revealed that the Purge is actually part of a class warfare conspiracy. Since the crime rates are low, the poor simply aren’t dying. So, the New Founding Fathers of America have stacked the deck so that most of the purging will happen amongst the poorest citizens. Every time I watch these movies, I’m left with so many questions. For example, the Purge is a United States phenomenon, so what do other countries think of it? Does international travel surge around the time of the Purge? Who cleans up all the dead bodies? From my 5 minutes of research, apparently there’s a third movie in the works which will serve as a prequel and show us the very first Purge. I’d love to have some novels or comics to expand upon the world of the Purge. I usually look at those as useless cash-grabs, but I’m so fascinated by that society that I really want to experience more of it.

American-Crime

In the world of television, The Slap ended last week, with a whimper more than a bang. Seeing as how my Thursdays at 10 have freed up, I decided to check out American Crime on ABC. Created by 12 Years A Slave‘s John Ridley, the show follows a handful of characters as their lives interact following a murder. Just like The Slap, that’s a simplistic explanation of the show, as it’s about so much more. There’s the interracial meth head couple, there’s the self-hating Mexican mechanic, there’s the kinda racist mother of the victim, and finally there’s the victim himself – who may have been a drug dealer. Or you could break it down as “White guy is killed, and every minority is a suspect”. Either way, it’s a very heavy show, and the ratings haven’t been stellar. It’s a limited series of 11 episodes, though, so it’ll at least get through its story.

watchathonheader1

If you’re a Comcast/Xfinity customer, then you may know that this is Watchathon Week. An annual event, this is the week where they unlock all of the premium channel content On Demand, so you can get a taste of the critically acclaimed shows you may have missed. Last year, I bingewatched Girls, House of Lies, and True Detective. This year has been a different story, however. You see, we actually signed up for premium channels late last year, so Watchathon Week isn’t as special, seeing as how I can watch that stuff whenever I want. They used to put up every episode of the top 100 shows, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the first few episodes of Secrets & Lies and Better Call Saul aren’t available, and those are two shows I’d been wanting to check out. Anyway, if you’re a Comcast/Xfinity customer (seriously, which one are we supposed to use? Their branding is terrible!), you’ve got until Monday to bingewatch to your heart’s content.

rob lowe

Speaking of Comcast, apparently they got butthurt about the Rob Lowe DirecTV commercials, and approached the Better Business Bureau to report that DirecTV was making unsubstantiated claims about their service. The BBB sided with Comcast, and requested that DirecTV modify or discontinue the ads. So, now we’ll never get to see Post Apocalyptic Warlord Rob Lowe. Instead, DirecTV has started airing spots with a model on a talking horse. Booo!

Damage_Control_Vol_3_3

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC is working with Marvel to develop an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff. The big question is WHY? The ratings for AoS are less than stellar, and they certainly aren’t high enough to warrant a spinoff. On top of this, AoS hasn’t even been given a third season pickup yet, so it seems odd that they’d want to spin off of a property that’s not even guaranteed to be around. I’d much rather have another season of Agent Carter, especially since no one seems to know what the spinoff would be about. It can’t focus on S.W.O.R.D., as I’ve read that organization is part of the X-Men license. I’ve seen some folks mention that it should focus on Damage Control, which I love. If you’re not familiar, Damage Control is a construction company, co-owned by Tony Stark and The Kingpin, that cleans up NYC following superhero battles. I love that aspect of the comics, but I can’t really see a weekly television series based on that premise. I understand the desire to expand the universe, but I think they really need to be pumping those creative juices into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of diluting the brand with a new concept.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– It was confirmed that the Russo Brothers, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will be directing Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 & 2.

Thing

-The suit for The Thing was revealed from the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot hit the web yesterday. I think it looks good and, unlike most, I’m looking forward to this movie. Then again, I liked the last 2 FF movies, so I’m easy to please.

Angel

-Speaking of Marvel movies, Bryan Singer confirmed that EastEnders actor Ben Hardy will be playing Angel in X-Men: Apocalypse. According to this production art, it seems more like he’ll be playing Archangel.

1511097_436643689831128_8524500030310652616_n

-A picture of the Suicide Squad cast hit the internet. Did we know that Ike Barinholtz was in this movie?

-Bobby Flay and actress Stephanie March have split after 10 years of marriage.

– Producer Brian Grazer reported that there are plans for 17 more episodes of Arrested Development, but it’s a matter of timing. 17? Such an odd episode count.

-Simpsons producer Al Jean announced that there would be no more physical DVD season sets released of the show. Since the launch of the Simpsons World website, digital seems to be the preferred method for consuming episodes of The Simpsons. He said that they would still record commentaries for episodes, which would be available at Simpsons World.

Links I Loved

The Star Trek: The Next Generation/Webster Crossover Is Totally Real – The Agony Booth

“I Got 4 Bikes”: 2 Nickelodeon Super Toy Run Winners Reminisce 20 Years Later – The A.V. Club

The Inside Story of the Civil War for the Soul of NBC News – Vanity Fair

Daredevil-Netflix-Logo

This morning, I woke up early on a work day. That NEVER happens! But today was no ordinary day. You see, at 3 AM EST, the 13-episode Daredevil series debuted  on Netflix (Don’t worry – I woke up at 6). I’ve been a fan of the comic depiction of the character since Brian Michael Bendis’s run in the early ’00s. Plus, unlike most folks, I actually enjoyed the Ben Affleck movie. So, we could only go up from there, right? Anyway, what did I think? I thought it was EXCELLENT.

If you’re not familiar with Daredevil (and c’mon, if you’re reading this site, I’m pretty sure you know something about him), blind Matt Murdock is an attorney by day and a vigilante by night. The show is set in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Avengers movies, but this is a very different tone. At first, this was a little off-putting to me. I couldn’t imagine this Daredevil in the same world that had recently experienced an alien invasion – important, since said invasion sets up the basis for this very series. Could I see this Matt Murdock interacting with Bruce Banner? No, but I’d kill for some banter between Foggy Nelson and Tony Stark. Just like the comics, The Avengers is world-spanning action, while Daredevil is more street-level action. Don’t look for Daredevil to be called when the next alien invasion happens, but he’ll be handling the looters and criminals who try to take advantage of the situation.

Anyway, I can’t think of anything that I hated about the pilot. The opening credits are great, the casting’s good, and the fighting is incredible – it looks like actual, brutal fighting and not the well-choreographed “ballet” that we usually get in action movies. I tend to look for things to tear apart, but I couldn’t find anything in the pilot. Maybe things will get dicey once I have a few more episodes under my belt, but I can’t wait to see what’s next. I won’t go into too much detail, as I know many of you haven’t had the chance to check it out yet. Trust me, though – you won’t be disappointed. Nice work Netflix and Marvel!

So, for capably expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for just being plain ol’ awesome, Daredevil had the West Week Ever.

03rd Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/3/15

by Will

photovisi-download(12)

oie_922142seDasWF9

st-elmos-fire

So, last weekend I finally got around to watching St. Elmo’s Fire. If you’re not familiar, it’s one of the Brat Pack films from the 80s, though it’s nowhere near as critically acclaimed as The Breakfast Club; I never realized that until I started reading old reviews after watching the movie. Anyway, if this movie were released today, it’d be called White Privilege. It’s the story of 7 college friends who graduate from Georgetown University and embark upon adulthood. The problem is that most of them suck at life, and aren’t very good at being “adults”. Emilio Estevez stalks Andie MacDowell, Rob Lowe sleeps with everything with a vagina, Judd Nelson cheats on his girlfriend in order to pressure her into marrying him (yeah, that plan makes no sense), Andrew McCarthy is obsessed with Judd Nelson’s girlfriend, Demi Moore sleeps with everything with a penis, Mare Winningham has NO self esteem, and Ally Sheedy is just there. I know it came out during the “Me Generation”, so I’m sure it spoke to a lot of people at the time. Looking back at it now, however, it’s just hard to like any of the characters. Living in the DC area, it was cool to see what Georgetown looked like 30 years ago. I also enjoyed seeing the Q107 sticker on the pay phone (Q107 was the predecessor of WRQX/Mix 107.3, which is now the struggling “DC’s 107.3″). From where I stand, the best thing about the film is David Foster’s “Love Theme”. Just listen to it:

Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Next up, I watched the documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. From Super Size Me‘s Morgan Spurlock, the doc follows Spurlock as he tries to finance a movie completely from sponsored endorsements. Meanwhile, he delves into the practice of branding and how it affects our daily lives. For example, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has outlawed all outdoor advertising, so there are no billboards, no bus ads, and no corporate graffiti. As a result, local businesses have to rely upon referrals and word of mouth in order to stay afloat, yet everyone feels that the move allows them to fully take in the world around them without being assaulted by ads. I liked Super Size Me, although I completely sided with Big Mac (Spurlock’s girlfriend, now ex-wife, was a vegan chef. He got sick because he simply wasn’t used to eating meat. It wasn’t all McDonalds’ fault. Plus, nobody should eat that shit THREE times a day. Even I know that, and I DO IT). Anyway, it was funny watching the man who singlehandedly destroyed the Super Size option go out into the world and try to court sponsors. I mean, everyone’s already seen what he did to McDonalds, so how could brands be sure that he’d portray them in a positive light? As interesting as the movie is, it’s still built on a weak premise. It’s not like he’s actually courting brands to help finance some sort of Hollywood blockbuster. No, he’s courting brands to sponsor the documentary that you’re already watching. That is the movie. It’s very meta. It was definitely an interesting documentary, but I think I expected more from it.

Jay Mohr

On the standup comedy front, I caught the Showtime special Jay Mohr: Happy. And A Lot. I’ve been fascinated by Jay Mohr ever since his stint as a featured player during the SNL dark years of the early 90s. I’ve even read his book, Gasping For Airtime: Two Years In The Trenches of Saturday Night Live. His body of work isn’t very memorable, but he did create Last Comic Standing, which has been pretty influential in the standup world for the past decade or so. Then, to cap it all off, he married Nikki Cox, who was quite the hot number in the late 90s. Anyway, I really enjoyed the special, which surprised me since my recent track record with standup specials hasn’t been so great. The material isn’t stellar, but some of it spoke to me. For example, he said that married couples don’t have to have shared interests, but rather need shared hates. Maybe my wife and I are terrible people, but that’s definitely true for us. Then, he capped off the special with a pretty killer Norm MacDonald impression. I’m not so sure I’d recommend it, but I enjoyed it.

photovisi-download(11)

Ciara Renee has been cast as Hawkgirl in the CW Arrow/Flash spinoff, while Arthur Darvill has been cast as Rip Hunter. I don’t know either of those actors. I like what The CW’s doing with Arrow and The Flash, but I fear they’re about to dilute the brand by adding this 3rd show (possibly 4 if they keep Supergirl in-universe). As good as The Flash is, I feel like the quality of Arrow has slipped a bit, with the good stuff going over to the former. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m used to binge-watching Arrow instead of consuming it on a weekly basis, and I’m not so sure that’s working for me.

Deadpool-leaked-test-footage

Meanwhile in live action comic adaptations, an April Fools video with Ryan Reynolds claims that the Deadpool film will have an R-rating. Now, I’ve heard folks longing for this in the past, and I don’t quite understand it. Why does it need to be an R? I consider myself a Deadpool fan, but I don’t go way back to his origins. I’ve been a completist since his series started during Secret Invasion, and I’d read some Cable & Deadpool before that. In all of my Deadpool reading, I haven’t experienced anything that indicated a film adaptation would need an R-rating. The comic is not for mature readers, so it seems like it would translate more to a PG-13, with one “fuck” thrown in for good measure (that’s allowed in PG-13 movies).

fuller house

The speculation surrounding a reboot earned Full House the West Week Ever back in August. Well, it looks like we’re closer to getting Fuller House (that’s the name they’re using now) after all. Reportedly, the show is headed to Netflix, and will focus on the friendship between Candace Cameron Bure’s DJ Tanner and Andrea Barber’s Kimmy Gibbler. Considering how much Candace has gone on the evangelical offensive over the years, I wonder if that hurts the potential audience for this show. Anyway, score another one for Netflix. Right now, I’m sure Yahoo Screen is looking into rebooting Empty Nest.

adewale-_akinnuoye-agbaje_01

-It was reported that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been cast as Killer Croc in DC’s Suicide Squad movie. I have no clue how to say that dude’s name. If I ever met him, I’d have to play the “What’s up, my brotha?” card. Anyway, that guy from Latino Review who loves scooping stuff reports that Suicide Squad will take place between Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in the span of the DC Cinematic Universe. *Yawn*

tidal

In the world of music, Jay-Z and his Illuminati friends announced the purchase of Tidal – a new streaming service that costs more than most other services because the artists want to make more money. There was a press conference and everything. It ended with them signing a document that you’d think was the Hip Hop Magna Carta or something. Anyway, the files are supposedly of a higher quality, but you won’t be able to tell the difference if you’re listening through headphones. Good luck with that, Hov!

weird-loners

In the world of television, Weird Loners premiered on Fox Tuesday night. It feels like someone found some old Happy Endings scripts, but there were food stains all over the best jokes. Seriously, this show feels like it really wants to be HE, complete with the casting of Zachary Knighton, but the rest of the cast just isn’t that strong. Plus, I can’t get over how that one guy looks like Nick Swardson if he really let himself go. Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from “The creator of The King of Queens, and the executive producer of New Girl.” What’s it about? Four people who are unlucky at love kinda band together as friends. Oh, and 3/4 of them are kinda assholes ’cause that’s how they make sitcoms now.

trevor-noah-gq-select-1

Meanwhile, in the world of television, South African comedian Trevor Noah was announced as the new host of The Daily Show. And the people rejoiced…for about a day. Then, someone checked out his Twitter history and discovered that he’d said a bunch of off-color stuff. Ya know, like a comedian. You ever follow a professional comedian on Twitter? With the exception of very few, they’re all just throwing shit out there to see if it sticks. If it gets retweeted or favorited, excellent. A lot of them come off as insecure when they do this, and it’s not necessarily coming from some place of bravado. If anything, they’re tearing others down in order to feel good about themselves. Whatever. I’m not a licensed shrink. All I know is that Comedy Central decided they wanted to go the comedian route for the job, and they knew what they were getting themselves into. Comedy Central has already said that they stand by him, so I expect nothing to come from this. Plus, Stewart’s fans are gonna hate any replacement in the beginning, just because he’s not Stewart.

bieber roast

This week also saw the premiere of the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber. SNL‘s Pete Davidson was great (I had no clue his father was a firefighter who died on 9/11), but Martha Stewart was surprisingly brutal. My pal Chris Piers pointed out that there’s no way she wrote those jokes, but I just give her credit for saying them. The roast ended with a well-written, yet clearly staged, apology from Justin himself for his outrageous behavior. Even though it was somewhat canned, I felt like it showed a lot of maturity, and I’m eager to see where his path leads him. After all, Justin Timberlake was once just “that guy in that boyband”, and look at him now. I’m not saying Bieber is that multi-talented, but I’d really like us to get to a place where “Justin Bieber” isn’t an instant punchline anymore.

 

teenage_mutant_turtles_still_2

I loved this article about the making of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. My favorite part is that they acknowledge that Raph has mental problems. I’ve always felt this, but had never seen it actually written anywhere. Seriously, if Raphael is your favorite turtle, I wonder about you…

620x387xavengers-wallpaper.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Qqcou2fp9G

This week, I had the pleasure of joining Corey and Eclectik over on the UnderScoopFire Podcast. We discussed all of the pop culture stuff we’re looking forward to during the months of April through June, and it was a lot of fun. I was really starting to think that folks were tired of having me on their shows, so it felt really good to get back in the swing of things. Anyway, give it a listen!

Things You May Have Missed This Week

-Speaking of Turtles, Stephen Amell has been cast as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Sure, movies trump TV, so this is good for his IMDB page, but it almost feels like a lateral promotion.

-Hugh Jackman announced that Wolverine 3 will most likely be his last appearance as Wolverine, after 17 years in the role.

-It was announced that season 6 will be Downton Abbey‘s final season. I still have seasons 4 and 5 on my DVR, so I’m not quite sure if I’m saddened or relieved by the information.

-In other news about shows I need to watch, House of Cards has been renewed for a fourth season on Netflix.

-Gnardians of the Galaxy, the porn parody of Guardians of the Galaxy, released its trailer. Nope, I’m trying to be Safe For Work, here!

-Cougar Town‘s series finale aired this week. One day, I’m gonna have to catch up on that show.

-Fresh off the cancellation of What Not to Wear, Clinton Kelly will be getting a new show on TLC where he and Real World: Brooklyn‘s Devin Symone will give social media makeovers to folks looking for love. Think of it like What Not To Catfish.

-This week on The Today Show, Darius Rucker said that Hootie and the Blowfish would reunite, but it was simply a matter of timing. Uh-huh. He’s gone Full Timberlake but doesn’t want to admit it. I’ll believe this reunion when I see it.

-Wrestlemania 31 was this week. So that happened. Technically, I’m a WWE guy whenever The Undertaker is involved, but even I couldn’t get excited about his match against Bray Wyatt. Anyway, The Dead Man won, so I guess I’m happy. I tend to care more about the Hall of Fame ceremony than the actual event; I’ve got it on my DVR, but haven’t had the chance to watch it. So, look for my thoughts next week.

la-et-jc-hbo-to-air-scientology-documentary-ba-002

I love Scientology. Let me rephrase that: I love all secret society-ish things, and Scientology happens to fall under this banner. Over the years, I’ve read and watched a LOT of stuff about the religion, and I continue to be fascinated by everything that I discover.

I can be a Judgy McJudgerson at times, but I try not to criticize anyone’s religion. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make it in this life, one day at a time. Some folks need some sort of coping mechanism to do this, while others don’t. Plus, and some folks won’t like this thought, but all religions have their farfetched aspects. Yup, even mine. We criticize Scientology because our parents are older than the religion, and the idea of Xenu and whatnot seems hokey as Hell. The funny thing about Xenu is that that information isn’t even available to Scientologists until they fork over the money to learn it. It’s not like that’s their pitch to the man on the street. No, for that they use e-meters to give you “stress tests”.

Anyway, based on my fascination with all things Scientology, I knew that I’d have to watch the documentary Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.  It was SO GOOD! I was already familiar with the concept of Operating Thetans and the Sea Org, but the doc does a good job of explaining these things for the uninformed. Not only does it cover the celebrity aspect, like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, but it also documents the abuse and the living conditions suffered by the more common members of the religion. Tom Cruise may seem like an all-powerful supervillain, but that’s because he’s got money. If you or I joined Scientology, we’d be drafted into their space Navy on a billion year contract, doing menial labor and making about 40 cents a day. This is the side of Scientology that no one talks about.

I could understand the attraction to celebrities, but I’ve never quite understood why an average Joe would join up. For this, I’m not sure the documentary did the best job of explaining. I mean, it seems like a rich celebrity club, with tax-exempt status, but the celebrity aspect is so small compared to the men and women who raise their families in the religion. According to a 2008 study, about 25,000 Americans identified as Scientologists, and Tom and John are only two of them. Outside of the celebrity world, who are these people? What’s the draw? In the footage that they showed of the annual conference, there were Black people in attendance. How, pray tell, do you get a Black Scientologist?! The documentary focused on Hollywood members, like writer/director Paul Haggis, but I would’ve liked more info on “the little people”. I guess there’s only so much you can fit into two hours, so I’ll need to check out the book (Lindsay read it and highly recommends it).

If you have even a passing interest in Scientology, I really think you should give this documentary a shot. It’s worth it just for the story about how they “recruited” Tom Cruise’s new girlfriend. So, for being the most interesting thing I consumed this week, Going Clear had the West Week Ever.

20th Mar2015

West Week Ever – 3/20/15

by Will

photovisi-download (11)

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

First off, thanks to everyone who read my Batgirl post, as I had my best traffic in over a year. Who knew that something I wrote in the middle of the night would garner that much discussion? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click the link!

hasbro-transformers

This week, I caught the series premiere of Transformers: Robots In Disguise and I don’t really know what I saw. Taking place years after Transformers: Prime, it features Bumblebee (voiced by Will Freidle) as the leader of a ragtag group of Autobots trying to recapture some Decepticons who had crash landed on Earth. I love Will Freidle and I love Bumblebee, but I I’m not sure I love Will Friedle as Bumblebee. Also, it was kinda jarring that the sequel to the CGI Prime is a standard 2-D animated show that looks more like the sequel to Transformers Animated. I’m not the biggest Transformers fan, so I kinda don’t have a horse in that race, but I still thought I’d check it out. It didn’t hold my attention, so I can only imagine how kids are gonna feel about it.

tammy02

On the cable front, I checked out Tammy. Yes, I know that some people hate Melissa McCarthy and, yes, I know that they trailer did a horrible job explaining what the movie was about. Still once it hit DVD, I knew I was gonna watch it. I’d meant to get it from Redbox, but it premiered on HBO last weekend. So, what is it about? Well, after a really bad day – where she finds out that her husband’s cheating on her and she’s fired from her job – Tammy (McCarthy) sets out on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Was it funny? I thought so. It’s produced by Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions, so you’ve kinda got an idea of the type of humor that it contains.

FMarvel.0

Speaking of movies, some drama’s been going down concerning upcoming Aquaman, Jason Momoa. Apparently, he signed a fan’s poster with the words “Fuck Marvel”. While some folks are saying this was unprofessional, others are happy that he’s igniting a true cinematic rivalry between Marvel and DC. DC fans say that the Avengers stars run their mouths about how their movies are superior, so why is this any different? I think it’s more a case of the fact that Marvel’s proven its worth. Momoa’s untested and hasn’t even acted in anything yet in the DCU, yet he’s already knee deep in a “rivalry”. If Henry Cavill had said it, I’d take it, since he’s already gotten his feet wet with Man of Steel. As it stands, however, Momoa really doesn’t have anything to back himself up. Someone on Facebook tried to say that Momoa passed on being Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, so clearly he must have more faith in DC by taking the Aquaman role. I beg to differ. I think he realized he’d made a mistake when GOTG went on to be HUGE and he jumped on the next train that came along. Anyway, let’s see who’s laughing when Dawn of Justice finally comes out.

archiepredator

On the comics front, I got my hands on an advance copy of Archie vs. Predator #1. Sadly, I probably know more about Archie than I do the Predator franchise (I’ve never seen any of the movies). So, I’m sure some Easter eggs were lost on me. Still, the story should still be rather accessible, right? Wrong. It just doesn’t flow well. The characters’ personalities are off, as they seem to exist at extremes. Reggie’s REALLY a dick. Betty’s REALLY a dumb blonde. If Jughead had more than 2 lines, I’m sure he’d be REALLY hungry. It felt like a book made by someone with little familiarity with Archie for someone with little familiarity with Archie. On top of that, the level of gore that we get at the end of the issue doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of the issue. It reads like a “My First Archie Story” for kids, and then ends with eviscerated corpses hanging from trees. There are 3 more issues in the miniseries, but this one didn’t leave me with the desire to read more. I was expecting them to pull it off, like Archie Meets The Punisher, but this wasn’t on that level. If you love Archie or Predator, you’re gonna hate this.

His_pic01_zoom_opt

In the video game world, it’s rumored that game developer Hideo Kojima has left Konami. Now, I’m the furthest thing from a “gamer”, but I do know that he’s behind the highly successful Metal Gear franchise. That game series holds a special place in my heart, as I almost beat Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, and that game’s theme is what I want played at my funeral. Seriously, just listen to it:

Anyway, if Kojima has left Konami, this will be a huge blow. Apparently, there’s been a falling out between Kojima Productions and Konami, and Konami has lashed out by removing Kojima Productions branding from Twitter and the Metal Gear website. For now, if he hasn’t left already, it’s believed that Kojima Productions will leave following Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes, as well as what happens to the Metal Gear series.

Night.TRU_1

It’s been confirmed that Toys “R” Us won’t be renewing their lease for the well-known flagship store located in the heart of New York’s Times Square. TRU has been in the space since 2000, and they occupy 110,000 square feet. This is a sad development that shows the current state of the toy market. In fact, the brokers are convinced that they won’t be able to find a single tenant for the entire space, so it’ll end up being divided. It’s rumored that TRU might actually lease retail space at the nearby Marriott Marquis, but I’m not sure if they’re going to take the giant dinosaur and the Ferris wheel with them to the new location. The move should take place next February.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-In the IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, one of the turtles was killed this week. Hint: It’s not the one who leads, the party dude, or the one who’s cool but rude.

-The series finale of Glee airs tonight. I’ve seen, like, no fanfare for this thing, so I wonder who even knows about it.

-a well known comic blogger was accused of cyberbullying a former comic editor, driving her to the point of PTSD. I’m not naming names ’cause at least one of them seems like to type to Google her name. Yeah, the blogger was a dick, and the editor never really seemed screwed on too tightly. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

EmpireFinale

-One of my tweets was used in an Essence.com recap of the Empire season finale.

-I joined the guys at Nerd Lunch to discuss TV series finales. The episode will go up Tuesday, and I’ll post a link in next week’s post.

-I’ve been obsessed with the ’60s group Jay and the Americans lately. Here’s their hit “Cara Mia”:

– The California Raisins are coming back in a live action/CG film

-President Obama might be buying the Magnum P.I. house

-Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Ruth Negga has been cast as Tulip in AMC’s Preacher adaptation.

Links I Loved
Batgirl Variant Cover Glorifies Sexual Violence | #CancelTheCover – Reappropriate

MTV Spring Break Used To Rule – Deadspin

The 100 Sexiest Women on Television | 2015 Edition – UnderScoopFire

Ranking Marvel’s Superhero TV Movies – The Robot’s Pajamas

community-season-6-cast

Community is the little show that could. After 5 seasons on NBC, it seemed like all was lost. Then, Yahoo stepped in and picked the show up to be featured under the Yahoo Screen banner. Well, the first episodes hit the Internet this week, and it was good to see the gang again. It was also kind of jarring to realize how much they’ve lost over the years. Troy’s gone, Pierce is dead, and now Shirley’s gone to her own spinoff (it makes sense when you watch the episode).

Certain things didn’t work. For example, Abed didn’t seem like himself. It’s like he’s trying to be a new person, and he no longer seems interested in imagining that they’re all characters in a sitcom. Also, things didn’t really work on a technical level, either. You see, Yahoo Screen can be viewed via a browser, but it can also be used through an Android or iOS app. The Android app is pretty janky, as it was constantly buffering – sometimes for periods up to 5 minutes. I thought it might’ve been my connection doing it, but I’ve read that others had the same issues. So, with that going on, it took about an hour to watch a 27 minute episode.

Certain things did work, though. The writing is still there, and it definitely feels like Dan Harmon work and not the episodes from the “gas leak season” (the one during which Harmon was fired). I also enjoyed the addition of Paget Brewster, as I’ve loved her ever since Joey and Chandler were fighting over her on Friends. Her character, Frankie Dart, seems like she’s there to keep the show grounded, but it’ll be fun to watch her get sucked into the madness that surrounds Greendale.

The show’s joke was always #sixseasonsandamovie, and they just might pull it off. It nothing else, they might get another season on Yahoo Screen. Either way, I was glad to see it back, so Community had the West Week Ever.

17th Mar2015

Much Ado About Batgirl

by Will

So, usually I’d just let this kind of thing go, or just drop a casual mention of it in West Week Ever, but I was inspired to say more about this particular thing. Last week, DC Comics revealed a variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41, which can be seen here:

BG-Cv41-Joker-variant-solicitation-88c4e-31e8d

The cover, by Rafael Albuquerque is an homage to Batman: The Killing Joke – the 1988 graphic novel where The Joker shoots Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and paralyzes her. This was a violent and pivotal storyline, resulting in Barbara eventually adopting the role of Oracle to the DC Universe. The reason this cover is controversial, however, is because of this page from The Killing Joke:

Killing Joke

You see, after shooting her (in her Barbara Gordon guise), Joker then showed pictures of her, naked and bloody, to her father, Commissioner Gordon. Over the years, it has been surmised that Joker actually sexually assaulted Barbara before and/or during the photoshoot. The creative team of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland have never confirmed whether or not this was a depiction of the aftermath of a sexual assault. It’s really left open to interpretation by the reader. I can see where that idea comes from, with the S&M imagery of Commissioner Gordon’s garb to the facial expressions in the photos. That said, until DC Comics comes out and says “Yes, Barbara was raped” (and yes, they are just dumb enough to do that), then I’m going to assume that she was not. I don’t even think DC would go that far.

So that brings us to the variant cover above. Many people felt it was in bad taste because it harkened back to this assumed sexual assault. The Joker with his arm draped around her, holding a gun pointed downward, while her eyes fill with tears. The Internet heated up with demands for DC to cancel the cover, via the #CancelTheCover hashtag. Eventually, things got out of hand as death threats were being hurled around, and DC finally announced that they were cancelling the cover at the request of Albuquerque. Well, what do I think about all this? So glad you asked!

I think the Batgirl cover’s uncomfortable, but I also think that’s *the point*. There’s more storytelling in that image than anything current Batman writer Scott Snyder’s done. As my Twitter pal @Friginator put it,

It’s supposed to trigger a response in you. They want the reader to think that there are high stakes involved. That said, I’d probably cry if I were cornered by the guy who paralyzed me. He wouldn’t have had to have raped me to trigger that response. To me, the cover is just another Big 2 crossover tactic to make you think something worthwhile may actually happen in the book. That said, covers haven’t really correlated to a comic’s content in years. For all we know, Joker’s on the cover, but Batgirl’s probably saving the local coffee joint in the story (if you haven’t read recent Batgirl, she’s moved to the hip Burnside neighborhood, which is Gotham’s stand-in for Williamsburg). At the end of the day, it’s probably much ado about nothing.

I’m also surprised that this kind of uproar is the result of a VARIANT cover. If you’re not familiar with how the comic industry works, variant covers are considered incentives to the retailer. Let’s say a retailer typically orders 35 copies of Batgirl. DC would like retailers to order more copies, so as an incentive to do so, they’ll give the retailer a special cover if they increase their orders to, say, 50 copies. The idea is that the retailer can then sell that variant cover at a price that’ll make up the difference in copies that may never actually sell. It’s a common practice, and variants can be offered at any level. Some publishers offer a variant cover for every 10 copies ordered, while some high dollar variants are 1:100. In this case, there are 25 Joker-centric variant covers released in June to commemorate the character’s 75th anniversary. The main point that I’m trying to make is that these aren’t the regular covers going to consumers. Right now, it’s unclear as to what kind of ratio in which the variants will be shipped. People were worried about what kind of impression the Batgirl cover would make on a new reader, but that’s probably not the cover that a new reader will see. The regular, common cover of the book looks like this:

batgirl-41-cover-cameron-stewart-600x927

This isn’t the first time in recent history that a variant cover has caused fan uproar. Just a few months back, Marvel commissioned a variant cover for Spider-Woman from noted erotic artist Milo Manara. After all of his years in the profession, Marvel had to know what it was going to get from him. The result was this:

SPIDERWOMAN001Manara-06299-600x853

 

The uproar was deafening, though Manara just did what he had been asked to do. He did what he does best, and apparently that’s drawing apple bottoms on crazily-contorted superheroes. Whatever. The point is that Marvel couldn’t play dumb since they knew the guy’s resume, but they also didn’t want to alienate the fans. So, they canceled the cover. Which was a variant. Which most people would never see outside of the websites bashing it.

I can understand the side that opposed the cover, even if I don’t share that sentiment. What bothers me is the precedent that this sets. Kinda like the Robin Thicke/Marvin Gaye decision, I fear for what this means for the future of the comic industry. Are they going to have to run everything by The Mary Sue (popular website by and for female comic fans) before they approve it? Does Gail Simone (DC Comics’ most prominent female writer) have to give her approval for everything concerning women before it’s universally accepted by fans? Are all controversial comic decisions going to have to be approved by some sort of committee comprised of fans and professionals? Nobody needs to be hurling death threats over *comic books*, so this clearly escalated quickly. Did DC make the “right call”? Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder. In his statement following the cancellation of the cover, Albuquerque said, “I respect these opinions and, despite whether the discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited.” I think this whole thing uprising was a bit much, but that’s just my opinion. Convince me I’m wrong in the comments!

27th Feb2015

West Week Ever – 2/27/15

by Will

photovisi-download (10)

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

No, I’m not gonna talk about that dress…

after-earth

The week started off with me watching After Earth, starring the men of the Smith clan. I know the movie bombed in North America, and I’m not exactly a “Will Smith fan”, but I really enjoyed it. More than that, I enjoyed Jaden. I know we’re supposed to hate him, since he’s insufferable in real life, but he brought such intensity to his role. I guess there was supposed to be a message in there, that Man ruined the Earth, turning it into something designed only to kill humanity. That message, whether sadly or thankfully, got lost. If it was supposed to be a cautionary tale, it failed on that account, but as a survivalist thriller, I thought it succeeded. Their accents were somewhat off-putting, but I guess that’s somewhat to be expected with it set 1,000 years in the future. It was an M. Night movie, but luckily there wasn’t a crazy twist at the end. I don’t say this often, but I’d watch it again. I’d never seen a Jaden Smith movie before, but I think I might like his acting. What’s happening to me?!

cloverfield

Next up, I finally watched Cloverfield. I’d been curious about it since it was in theaters, but it was never really “my kind of movie”. I don’t really do disaster movies, but I remember it had been shrouded in secrecy, and it was filmed in that “found footage” format. It was about what I expected it to be. I’m glad that the format eliminated the need to explain where the monster came from, or to even explain how/if it was defeated. It’s a shame we never got a sequel, as there are so many questions, but the format didn’t really allow for a sequel. If anything, it would have had to be the same night from a different point of view. I had no clue that TJ Miller was in that movie, but I was also surprised to see friend of a friend Ben Feldman in the film. Too bad his character probably died. Anyway, it was refreshing that the Black girl was the one to survive. At least I think she was Black. Maybe she was a halfy? Who cares. She lived. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t think I ever need to see it again.

agent-carter-tv-show

This week saw the season (?) finale of Marvel’s Agent Carter, and I’m surprised to say that I was sad to see it go. When they first announced the show, I thought it was a dumb idea. Nobody cares about Captain America’s stupid girlfriend. Then the show actually debuted, and I found myself drawn to that world. I came to enjoy it much more than I ever enjoyed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,and I’d rather have 5 more seasons of Peggy Carter than stupid Skye/Daisy Johnson. As someone said on Twitter, Agent Carter did more with 8 episodes than S.H.I.E.L.D. has done with nearly 40. I know part of the problem is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so beholden to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Agent Carter can get away with more, being set in the ’40s and all. Anyway, I have to admit that I need to rewatch the finale, as I was a little distracted when it actually aired. From what I caught, I felt kinda like it wrapped up a little too quickly. I know they only had 8 episodes to work with, but the finale felt somewhat rushed. Again, I need to rewatch it, as maybe my opinion will change. Ratings were never really stellar, with an estimated 4 million households tuning in every week, but S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s ratings haven’t been great since the premiere, so they’re pretty much in the same boat. I think it’ll get a second season, but we probably won’t hear anything until May. According to rumors, the character is in Avengers: Age of Ultron, so it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Peggy Carter.

atom cold

Deadline is reporting that The CW is in the early stages of developing an Arrow/Flash team-up spinoff, starring recurring characters from both shows. Some folks online are saying that it’s essentially a Justice League TV show, but it doesn’t sound like that to me. If anything, it seems closer to the Brave and the Bold team-up concept. I’m glad to see that Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer is joining the show, as I’ve come to like that character. They also announced that Caity Lotz, better known as Arrow‘s Sara Lance/Black Canary I, is involved, but it’s unknown if she’s playing the same character or a new one. This news is pretty surprising, as there had been rumors of that universe being expanded, but it was assumed that it would probably be an A.T.O.M. or Firestorm show down the road. I know that Flash is firing on all cylinders, but Arrow seems to have taken a bit of a turn in the “suspension of disbelief” department. I’m scared that they might be diluting the brand by rushing another show into development in that same universe – especially since CBS’s Supergirl is supposedly in the same universe, should they choose to cross them over. In Berlanti I trust, however, so I’ll just wait and see.

Calista_Flockhart

Speaking of Supergirl, Calista Flockhart has been cast as Kara’s boss, Cat Grant. I’m not sure how I feel about this casting. If you’ve read Superman books recently, you know that Cat Grant is kinda of a cougary go-getter. If I had to cast the role, I probably would’ve gone with someone a little closer to Elizabeth Banks. Sure, she’s not at the point in her career where she has to do television, but that’s the age and look I would go for.

ARCHIVAL PHOTO

DuckTales is coming back in 2017! Yeah, I guess this is good news, but I’d much rather have Darkwing Duck back. Anybody remember Quack Pack? It’s the follow-up to DuckTales where Huey, Dewey, and Louie were teens. Apparently, it was supposed to be an extension of Donald Duck shorts instead of DuckTales, which is why you never see Uncle Scrooge and other DuckTales characters. It seems like most people I know had checked out of The Disney Afternoon by the time that show came along.

the slap

I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I’ve become a fan of NBC’s The Slap. Sure, it’s got a dumb name, and seems built around a dumb premise, but it’s so much more than that. It really centers around a Greek-American family, and the drama that’s boiling beneath the surface in all of their lives. One character’s marriage is strained, and he’s falling for the teenage babysitter. Zachary Quinto plays a successful car broker, who has anger issues and is also cheating on his wife. Uma Thurman is a successful TV producer who’s dating a much younger man, and finds out that she’s pregnant by him. It all comes to a head one afternoon at a family party. A guest’s child is out of control, and when Quinto intervenes, the kid kicks him in the shin. As a reflex, Quinto slaps the kid in front of everyone. The kid’s parents go apeshit, and the party goes to hell quickly.

Here’s some backstory on the kid: Hugo’s 4 years old and he’s a little asshole. The whole party, he was throwing iPads and having tantrums. Meanwhile, his parents are hippies, and the mother still breastfeeds him (HE’S FOUR YEARS OLD!). He totally had something coming to him, but I guess it was up to his own parents to make that call. I’m completely fascinated by this, as it’s such a cultural thing. Had this been a Black cookout, the party would’ve kept going. When you employ the whole “It takes a village…” model of raising kids, you run the risk of someone else disciplining your child. It just comes with the territory. We live in a society now where people don’t want to raise a hand to their kids, but I just feel like this is the kind of show that could only really be dramatic at this time in history. Anyway, now the hippies are pressing charges against Quinto, Uma knows about Hector and the babysitter, and everyone’s life is in a spiral right now. It’s no Empire, but it’s still a really engaging show. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it’s like an edgy Parenthood.

coke life

I’m a sucker for gimmick sodas, and my latest drink of choice is Coca-Cola Life. For lack of a better description, it’s what I would call a “pairing soda”. On its own, it tastes kinda janky. However, if you drink it with a meal, the food enhances the flavor and makes it taste like Pepsi. I guess I could cut out the middle man and just drink Pepsi, but I’m just kind of intrigued by how it all goes down. Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with Stevia, so it has fewer calories than regular Coke, but is much more caloric than Diet Coke. A 20 oz bottle of Coke Classic will run you about 240 calories, while the same amount of Coke Life will run you about 160 calories. Pepsi has followed Coke’s lead, releasing its own Stevia-sweetened cola, Pepsi True. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve got a bottle in my refrigerator, so I’ll update in the future.

PRPoster-720x357

I debated whether or not to talk about this, as I sometimes think I write too much about Power Rangers – especially since Power Rangers fans don’t really give a shit about my opinion. Still, it was on everyone’s timeline this week, so it bears mentioning. Producer Adi Shankar released Power/Rangers – a dark and gritty short film starring Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek. This film had everything you never wanted from Power Rangers, including machine guns, threesomes, titties, and curse words.

The movie kicks off with the Rangers, suited up, fighting with machine guns. It turns out that Rocky (Red) sold out to the evil Machine Empire, and he’s interrogating Kimberly (Pink) to discover the whereabouts of Tommy, the Green Ranger. So, I’ve got some questions. First off, why Rocky? He was the replacement Red Ranger, yet there’s no mention of Adam and Aisha – the replacement Black and Yellow Rangers. It just seemed like a reach to make him the traitor. And the machine guns? The Rangers are essentially magic, so why bring man-made weapons into the mix? And I don’t even want to get into the social implications of Zack’s interracial threesome.

At the end of the day, it was clear that this was not a love letter from a longtime fan of the franchise. Most fans realized this, and many took to social media to state how displeased they were. Meanwhile, the laymen who do’t realize there have been multiple incarnations of the franchise for the past 21 years, seemed to like it. All the podcast hosts and members of the Power Force (yeah, such a thing exists. Don’t get me started…) decried “THIS IS SHIT!” while most “normal” people were like, “Huh, that was kinda cool.” All day Tuesday, headlines ranged from “You Won’t Believe This Piece of Shit!” to “The Power Rangers Get Gritty And It’s AWESOME!” Needless to say, it was a very polarizing video. On top of that, Saban Brands has been trying to get the video taken down, as it infringes upon their trademarks, and doesn’t classify as “parody”. So far, it has been taken down from Vimeo (that was the version with the titties), and now it’s gone from YouTube, too. I can understand that, based on the tone and language, it’s not the kind of thing that Saban wants out in the world representing his product. Now, the debate has gone from whether or not the video sucked to whether or not it deserved to be taken down by Saban. Those opinions are just as polarized as the opinions on the clip’s quality.

It was clearly a well-done fan film, with great special effects, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t Power Rangers. It was something else entirely, but it just didn’t work as Power Rangers. It demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the source material, as Power Rangers can be gritty without being….whatever that was. Power Rangers has gone dark before. Check out Power Rangers RPM – I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen to me. This, however, ain’t Power Rangers.

rs_560x401-140107094334-1024.parks-rec-cast-010714

This week saw the series finale of Parks & Recreation. After 7 seasons, and 125 episodes, Leslie Knope dined at JJ’s Diner for the last time. Or at least, I guess she did; JJ’s wasn’t even shown in the episode. Anyway, the episode featured flash forwards to give us a glimpse into the futures of the characters we had come to love. April and Andy had kids, Craig got married, Donna became a real estate mogul, Tom became a motivational author/speaker, Gary/Jerry/Larry/Terry Gergich enjoyed multiple terms as Pawnee’s mayor, and Ron became the head of the Pawnee National Park. Meanwhile, Ben became a Congressman and Leslie ran for Governor of Indiana. We even got a flash forward for fan favorite Jean-Ralphio, as he faked his own death.

The first half hour wasn’t really high on laughs, and went more for the heartstrings. I felt like I was watching the Six Feet Under finale all over again, and didn’t really like the experience. The second half hour, however, felt like classic Parks & Rec, and we even got cameos from Ann and Chris. I’m kinda sad they never even attempted to mention Mark Brendanawicz, but the show really wasn’t very good when he was around, so I can forgive the omission.

By no means was I some kind of Parks & Rec superfan, but I always enjoyed it when I watched it. Its ratings were never anything to write home about, but it was NBC’s “little comedy that could”. Though it was initially developed as a pseudo-spinoff of The Office, I feel like its legacy will be much stronger once history has its say. For one thing, Amy Poehler didn’t leave the show before the end of its run, so it had that going for it. Also, Parks & Rec just got stronger, as the cast gelled and became a well-oiled machine. NBC definitely doesn’t have anything else on its schedule like it, and it will be a long time before a show that good comes along again. So, for giving us 7 seasons of laughs, and for going out on top, Parks & Recreation had the West Week Ever.

23rd Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/23/15

by Will

photovisi-download(6)

oie_922142seDasWF9

 

pripyat-today-03

The week started out with me watching The Chernobyl Diaries, which was a departure for me because I’m not really into horror movies. I am, however, into most things Russian, and I’m fascinated by the abandoned city of Pripyat. If you’re not familiar with the whole Chernobyl incident, Pripyat was the city where the Chernobyl workers lived with their families. It’s just tons of apartment buildings and an amusement park. When the Chernobyl reactor blew, everyone had to evacuate immediately, without being able to gather most of their belongings. So, now Pripyat is a ghost town, where nature has reclaimed most of the land, and it just looks like everyone got raptured. It’s beautiful and eerie all at once.

chernobyl-diaries

So, The Chernobyl Diaries was about a bunch of Americans on a European vacation who decide to take a side trip to explore Pripyat. Once they get there, however, their van is sabotaged, and they’re forced to try to survive in what is partially a nuclear wasteland. Spoiler Alert: they all die. What happens to them doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I’m still kinda confused after having watched it 1.5 times (it aired again the next morning, and I caught the ending of it).I also don’t get why it has diaries in the title. There was nothing concerning a diary in the entire thing. This isn’t Anne Frank we’re talking about here. Where’s the damn diary?! Since I’m not a connoisseur of the horror genre, I can’t say whether or not I recommend it. Overall, was it a good movie? Not really.

maron2

I also started watching season 2 of Maron, now that it’s on Netflix. I’ve said it before, but I prefer Maron to Louie. I can relate to Marc Maron a lot more. He’s bitter, damaged, and he’s going through the whole “Why are my peers doing better than me?” thing. Sure, that doesn’t paint me in the best light, but I can understand where he’s coming from. He tackles things that speak to me, like how hard it is to make friends as an adult. There’s an episode where he thinks Ray Romano is becoming his friend, when Ray is really just making Marc his bitch. It’s funny and poignant at the same time. A lot of folks are fans of Maron’s podcast, but I’m not sure if they’ve all checked out his show. It’s a great chance to get a glimpse of the man behind the mic.

untitled-1

In the world of television, it was announced that CBS has cast Melissa Benoist as their Supergirl. I can’t remember if this was ordered direct to series or if this is only for a pilot. In any case, it’s by Greg Berlanti, and the rumor is that his deal to produce the show was that it had to take place in the Arrow/Flash universe. People forget that CBS owns The CW, so it’s definitely doable, although CBS brass have said that a crossover wouldn’t happen too early in the show, as they want Supergirl to stand on her own two feet for a while. I know nothing about Benoist, since I still haven’t seen Whiplash and I dropped Glee years ago, so I have no real opinion on the casting. I’m not the biggest Supergirl fan, but in Berlanti I trust, so I’ll check it out.

milestone-poster

It was announced this week that Milestone Media would be returning to the world of comics. If you’re black, you’ll remember this as the comic company that gave us Hardware, Icon, Rocket and more. If you’re white, then you’ll know it as the company that gave us Static Shock. Yeah, 20 years later, and its only real legacy is Static Shock. I’m kinda conflicted by this news. On the one had, comics could use some diversity, and Milestone had the best shot at injecting that into the industry. However, as someone who has almost every issue of Hardware, I didn’t think they were that good. Maybe they were ahead of their time, and I just wasn’t the right age to be reading them, but Milestone books were just a little too ghetto for me. And I don’t say that because they were black. I say that because they were set in Dakota City, which just seemed like a dark, dank ghetto. There was no joy to the books. They fully encapsulated the EXTREME edge of 90s comics, and just added some color to the mix. That’s not really something I’m looking for in my comics today. The characters made an appearance in DC Comics a few years ago, and it’s not like they really set the night on fire over there. So, I’m not quite sure why this announcement came this week. According to the Washington Post article heralding its return, the creators only promise that the comics will be available both physically and virtually, but they didn’t announce a publishing plan, and they only hope to have some promo art ready by San Diego Comic Con. Right now, it just seems like they put the cart before the horse by announcing this now. I guess time will tell whether or not this was a good idea.

MarvelSecretWars

Speaking of comics, Marvel announced this week that this summer’s Secret Wars will essentially reshape their comic universe going forward. Ripped from the pages of Avengers and New Avengers, the Marvel Universe (616) and the Ultimate Marvel Universe (1616) will smash into each other, and the chips will fall where they may. As Editor In Chief Axel Alonzo stated, it’s like a pizza where some toppings will combine, while other toppings will fall off. the aftermath of the event will be the Marvel Universe going forward. I have so many thoughts on this, and it’d probably be easier to say than write, but this is the medium I have at my disposal, so let’s see how it goes.

What It Means for 616: This is a big deal for the mainstream Marvel Universe, as it serves as the first time that they’ve really embraced a universe-spanning reboot. Sure, DC Comics does this every 10 years through their Crises, but Marvel has pretty much managed to avoid having to do this by employing a loose, sliding timeline. Over 50 years of continuity were somehow crammed into a timeline of about 11 years as far as the characters were concerned. They’re essentially wiping this out for this new future. What’s odd to me, however, is that they’ve gone to great lengths to make the comics more like the movies. They introduced Agent Coulson to the comics, and they halfassedly created a black Nick Fury so that he’d be familiar to moviegoers. Now, they say that their goal ISN’T to make the movie and comic universes one and the same, but their actions say otherwise. So, why do all that only to just blow it all up now? Also, Marvel just did a whole diversity push with Falcon becoming Captain America and the debut of “She-Thor”. What happens to them? This also means that Marvel gets out of the corner it painted itself into in several instances. There’s no need to bring Wolverine back from the dead, because nothing matters anymore. There’s no need to return Steve Rogers to a younger age, because nothing matters anymore.

What it Means for 1616: This sounds like the death knell for the Ultimate Marvel Universe, which makes me sad. Created in 2000 as a newer, hipper take on the Marvel Universe, Ultimate Marvel reimagined classic heroes in modern settings. It was as if the Marvel Universe had started in the ’00s instead of the ’60s. I enjoyed the concept because, to me, it was like what it must have felt like to have been a fan in the 60s. The beginning of the line was full of excitement, as architects like Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis introduced us to modern takes on classic ideas. Spider-Man became Ultimate Spider-Man, a critically acclaimed, all-ages take on Spider-Man as a teenager. Avengers became The Ultimates, a widescreen Hollywood blockbuster of a book focusing on new versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk. I became a dedicated fan of the Ultimate U, and I have a full run of every book that’s been released. It’s fair to say that the Ultimate Universe is near and dear to my heart. So, it saddens me to see what has become of the universe in recent years. Unlike in most comic universes, in the Ultimate Marvel universe, dead means DEAD. So, as they killed off known heroes, they never really did much to fill that void. As my friend, Jenn, said, recent Ultimate Marvel has simply been Spider-Man standing amid the littered corpses of reimagined X-Men. There’s only one jewel in the crown of the Ultimate Universe at the moment, and that’s the current Spider-Man, Miles Morales. I’ve written about him at length before, so I won’t get into all of that here. Let’s just say that Miles is one of my favorite characters in recent history. And it’s safe to say that he’s really the only thing left in the Ultimate Universe worth saving. So, I’m sure he’ll survive the event, but at what cost? What happens to his supporting cast, like best friend Ganke, or even his dad?

Anyway, Marvel tends to get West Week Ever quite often, but that’s usually for something that the movie division has done. The comic side of Marvel is constantly coming up with event after event – all promising to CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER!!!! This is the first time, however, that I feel they may actually mean it. So, for that, Marvel Comics Secret Wars had the West Week Ever.

09th Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/9/15

by Will

photovisi-download(5)

oie_922142seDasWF9

Welcome to 2015! I hope, by now, you’ve all had a chance to read West YEAR Ever. If not, you can do it now. I’ll wait. Good? Cool. So, I had a stomach virus for most of last week, so I spent my time on the couch, watching DVR and Redbox. So, that brings us a movie-heavy WWE this week.

obvious child

I’ve been a fan of Jenny Slate ever since she accidentally said “Fucking” during a live SNL broadcast. So, I’ve especially loved whenever she popped up on shows like Parks & Rec and Married. When I heard about Obvious Child, I knew I’d never see it in theaters, but would pick it up on Redbox – which is exactly what I did. Plainly put, it’s an unlikely love story centered around an abortion. Slate’s character ends up pregnant from a one night stand, and immediately decides to have an abortion. The movie follows her as she shares her decision with the people around her, while also getting to know the father of the child. I highly recommend it, and one of the bonus features is the original Obvious Child short film from 2009, so it’s interesting to see how a 30 minute short was fleshed out into a feature-length film.

edge of tomorrow

Edge Of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat. really wasn’t what I’d call “my type” of movie, which is why it surprised me that I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. Tom Cruise plays a communications officer who finds himself on the front lines of a war against alien invaders. Due to ingesting the blood of one of the aliens, he finds that every time he’s killed, the day resets to right before he’s placed in his unit. Cruise may be crazier than a shithouse rat, but he’s really hard to dislike. He’s great in the role, and Emily Blunt is a surprising action hero. If the talks of her becoming Captain Marvel are serious, I’m certainly on board, as they could do a lot worse. The thing I found funny about the movie is that the invasion seemed like a European problem. Sure, the invaders would probably eventually make it to America, but part of me was like, “Why are we in this war again?”

zach-braff-main

Wish I Was Here is an interesting little film. Did you see Garden State? If yes, then you’ve basically seen Wish I Was Here. Zach Braff only seems to know how to write one type of movie. They’re not exactly “coming of age” tales, but it’d be more appropriate to call them “failing into adulthood” movies. They focus on that unrest that precedes quarterlife/midlife crises, and that feeling of “There’s got to be something more”. This movie was somewhat controversial because Braff sought out Kickstarter to get financing for the film. A lot of people felt that Kickstarter is for the up and coming creator, and not an established writer/director like Braff. At its core, the movie is about Braff as he tries to get some meaning out of life as his father dies from cancer. Yeah, it’s bit of a downer, though it does have its bright moments. As much as it was fan service, my favorite scene was probably the Guy Love reunion of Braff and Donald Faison. There are several outtakes on the disc of just this scene, which shows that those guys still have great chemistry all these years since Scrubs.

burt

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was actually a decent movie. Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi play a magician team whose act grows stale once a new, radical street magician (Jim Carrey) hits the scene. That’s pretty much it. Olivia Wilde plays their assistant. There aren’t any twists or turns, and it’s a pretty straight-forward riches-to-rags-to-riches story.

gallery_819fe_NON-STOP UK Quad Final_x410

Non-Stop, or as I like to call it “Taken To The Skies”. Seriously, one day, when you find that 4-movie Liam Neeson collection in Target, this is the movie that’ll be in the #4 slot, along with the other 3 Taken movies. He’s basically playing the same guy, only now he’s on a plane. The interesting thing about this movie is that the cast is wasted on the material. You’ve got Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o and Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.  Apparently, it was filmed in 2012, but didn’t come out until last year, so they were just waiting for the supporting cast  to have a bit more heat on them before releasing it. At its core, it’s a message about how “safety” in the post-9/11 world is just an illusion, but it’s a pretty clunky delivery method for that message.

skeleton twins

The Skeleton Twins was not what I expected at all. If you told me that Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader were doing a movie together, I would’ve told you it would be a guaranteed laugh riot. And I would’ve been wrong. God, this was a dark movie. It basically begins and ends with a suicide attempt, so that should let you know what you’re getting into. Hader goes through a breakup with his boyfriend, so after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, he goes to stay with his sister (Wiig), who’s struggling with issues of her own. The movie does have some funny moments, like the “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” singalong, but it’s a dramedy with full emphasis on the drama.

2581484-tmnt

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. I don’t hold any of the TMNT movies in that high of regard, so it pretty much held its own with the rest of them. That said, I did have some issues with the cultural misappropriation. In the past, the turtles were just teenagers, but something about them this go-round made them seem more like minority teenagers. They were either Black or Puerto Rican, but there was some ethnic stuff in there that hadn’t been a component of turtles past. Look at the bandanas, which hang more like du-rags, or the sagging pants on Mikey. Something about that just kinda bothered me. Also, as dumb as Splinter’s origin seemed in the original movie (kung-fu rat who mutated), it seemed even dumber in this version (mutated rat who teaches himself martial arts from a book he found in the sewer). I also didn’t really buy Megan Fox as April. I feel like she really tried her best, bless her heart, but that wasn’t good enough. I get that it’s a movie for kids, but I feel like even a smart kid could pick out the plot holes in the movie. For example, why does Sacks have a ton of deadly chemicals in the spire of his building BEFORE he even knows there’s a cure out there in the form of the mutagen. After all, he thought the mutagen was lost, so why would he create this doomsday device without the antidote?

Man-of-Steel_01

Man of Steel is certainly a movie. A joyless hunk of a movie. I’ve never been much of a Superman fan, but it’s amazing to contrast this with the Christopher Reeve movies. He brought such wonder to the role. You wanted to be Superman. I don’t wanna be Henry Cavill’s Superman. That dude’s just built and sad. Who do you think gets the FEMA money first? Metropolis or Smallville? Those were the kinds of questions I was asking myself during the fights. And, seeing as how the Snyder/Nolan DC films take themselves so seriously, are we still supposed to believe that humans are dumb enough to be fooled by a pair of glasses? I get that these movies are about suspension of disbelief, but that’s not how this was filmed. This seemed to want to be a realistic take of “What would happen if we found an alien amongst us?” I thought that the movie was going to give up the identity of Clark Kent, and I felt that was a bold direction in which to take the character. This Superman would just be Superman all the time. Then, they went and made him a reporter at the end, which is just an insult to the intelligence of everyone involved.

MillionWays

A Million Ways to Die In The West was much better than I’d been led to believe. I’m pretty much a Seth MacFarlane disciple, so he can do very little wrong as far as I’m concerned. I’m still willing to call him out when there’s a misstep (like this year’s Christmas episode of Family Guy), but I’m typically a booster of everything that he does. The movie bombed in theaters, so I figured it had to be bad if his other fans didn’t support it. That wasn’t the case, though. I think the idea of a comedic western is just polarizing to a lot of people. In some circles, Blazing Saddles is the gold standard of that genre, and can’t be touched. I’m gonna say something that might be blasphemous to some, but I never really found Blazing Saddles all that funny. Sorry, but I didn’t. I’m not a fan of the west (ironic, I know), so I can understand others not jumping at the chance to watch this movie. Having seen it, however, I LOVED it.

What else happened this week? Oh yeah, someone went into my car and stole some stuff that I was planning to donate. I can’t say they “broke” in, as I had left it unlocked, but I was in my mom’s driveway, so I figured it was safe. I got back in the car several hours later, and noticed the donation bag gone. And I think they stole my GPS (I’m not sure, and it was almost obsolete anyway). In any case, I hope they’re happy with their dictionary of real estate terms and some Harley Davidson puzzles.

ant-man-movie-logo

The was an Ant-Man teaser released this week. It was kinda meh. If you want a good scene-by-scene takedown, check out this post from my pals over at The Robot’s Pajamas.

galavant

I’ve been looking forward to Galavant ever since I wrote my ABC fall preview post. Now that it has actually aired, I’m not quite sure where I stand with it. I finally watched the two-episode premiere the other night, and while I enjoyed it, I have to agree with some critics that the pacing somewhat hurts it. Whose idea was it to make this a 30-minute show? And to air it in one-hour blocks? Lately, networks have embraced the “burn-off” technique of airing shows (NBC with Parks & Rec, for example), but it really is to the detriment of the show itself. It’s almost like a vote of no confidence, and it’s the network saying “We paid for this, so we might as well air it.” I was a musical theatre kid, so I love the musical aspect of the show. Still, I found myself unable to fully pay attention to everything going on. Knowing it’s only a 4-week “event” is good because it shows that it will actually have an ending, but it almost makes me want to wait and watch it all once it’s over. It just doesn’t feel like the kind of thing I’ll watch in real-time, and I feel no obligation to try to “save” it since the season’s already been shot. It’d be great if it could get a second season, but I never had high expectations for the show. I was excited for it, but I knew it’d be a long shot. If it doesn’t do well, ABC can just spin it as “Hey, it was just a special event, and was never meant to be a regular series.”

I’m probably the last person to know about this, but I found it hilarious. My pal Keith showed it to me on New Years, and made me promise to mention it this week. In any case, I’m really impressed by all the artistry that went into making this. I can’t really say much more about it, so just watch:

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– USA canceled Covert Affairs after 5 seasons

-John Travolta was cast as Robert Shapiro in FX’s OJ biopic American Crime Story

-Marvel’s Daredevil series will debut on Netflix on 4/10/15

-It was announced that the X-Men spinoff Gambit will be released on 10/7/16 – giving us 3 X-Men movies in one year.

-Neil deGrasse Tyson is getting his own weekly talk show, called Star Talk, on Nat Geo. Yay.

-Bob’s Burgers was renewed for season 6

agent carter

The week belonged to Agent Carter. Spinning off of the successful Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter follows SSR Agent Peggy Carter as she battles nefarious foes in post-WWII America. While she could’ve gone down in the annals of movie history as simply “Captain America’s girlfriend”, Agent Carter found a way to make her a strong character in her own right. Every review I read gushed over how it was this bold step for women. I don’t know if I’d go that far. It was better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it’s got that going for it. Personally, I don’t like the Agent Carter character. She’s kind of a bitch, without a sympathetic side. Sure, she’s doing the whole “People who get close to me get hurt” thing, but there’s really no evidence of that so far (well, except for her dead roommate). Still, the episode did rather well, and it accomplished its goal of keeping the audience excited about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, for all of that, Agent Carter had the West Week Ever.

19th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/19/14

by Will

photovisi-download(4)

oie_922142seDasWF9

Welcome to post #900! Actually, I’ve written a whole lot more than that, but I cleaned up my archives a few years ago, so this is post #900 of version 2.0 of the site. Anyway, let’s get to the pop culture news that you love so much!

The_Interview_2014_poster

There’s no bigger news this week than Sony and their handling of The Interview. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, Sony was set to release The Interview on Christmas Day, wherein Seth Rogan and James Franco’s characters are tasked with killing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. This led to the Sony hacks, which we talked about last week, which have been traced back to North Korean hackers. Next, they issued terrorist threats that there would be 9/11-ish attacks if the movie were to be released. Sony balked, and decided to cancel the theatrical release of the movie. This sets an interesting precedent as, to some, it means that “the terrorists won”.

taqt2_09

I’ve discussed this on Twitter, but I’m torn. I think it goes without saying that it was a pretty irresponsible film to make. Sure, Team America got away with it, but that was a different dictator and a different time. And they were puppets. I’m sure it all seemed like it was “in good fun”, but you run a risk when you mock a sitting dictator. I don’t quite see how there was a “right” answer here. To remove the movie from theaters, it appears that we gave in to terrorist threats. To have shown the movie, with the threats out in the open, it would’ve been just as irresponsible as making the movie in the first place. If people had been killed, what then? And don’t say we’d go to war. This is America, so we’d do what we always do when there’s mass death: NOTHING. At least that’s how we treat our own terrorists. Anyway, it just seemed like a no-win situation. Sucks, ’cause I definitely planned to watch it once it came to Redbox. At the moment, though, there are no plans for DVD or Video On Demand. So, The Interview will probably end up one of the most sought after movies of our generation, and I bet it’s not even that good. I mean, it’s being marketed as “From the guys who brought you Neighbors“, which I found to be a serviceable, yet forgettable, movie.

Craig Wayne Boyd

Craig Wayne Boyd won this cycle of The Voice. As a member of Team Blake, he maintained Blake Shelton’s dominance as he’s the 4th Team Blake winner in the show’s history. Since winners of The Voice never really go anywhere, this is probably the last time you’ll see his name. Unless he ends up killing someone. He’s got one of those assassin names.

Waller

It was announced that The Help/How To Get Away With Murder actress Viola Davis has been cast as Amanda Waller in DC’s Suicide Squad movie. I’m kinda disappointed because they’re clearly going for New 52 Waller. For you non comics folks, allow me to explain: When Amanda Waller first appeared, she looked like everyone’s Black aunt. She was short, fat, and full of attitude, but she was a BOSS. She was behind some of the most secret aspects of the superhero world, and she got shit done. About 3 years ago, DC Comics initiated The New 52, where they restarted most of their series from scratch (initially released as 52 new comic titles), and reimagined a lot of their characters. As a result, the new, modernized Amanda Waller is svelte and pretty, much like her depiction in Arrow. She’s still a ballbuster, but I feel that Waller’s physical appearance was so integral to her character. I mean, they didn’t call her “The Wall” for nothing, and it just seems like another example of comics wasting the opportunity to create something real. Anyway, while I wanted CCH Pounder for the role, she doesn’t currently have the heat of Davis. I was sort of holding out hope that they’d let Angela Bassett reprise the role from Green Lantern, but there was no chance of that happening. If they had to go with someone whose star is rising, then I’m pretty pleased with the casting of Davis.

Spider-Man

Also in comic movie news, the word on the street is that Andrew Garfield is out as Spider-Man. Sony doesn’t really know what to do with the Spider-Man franchise at the moment, and if Spider-Man does eventually merge with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s gonna want their own guy. This saddens me, as I loved Garfield’s Peter Parker. I know people hate those movies, but I don’t think they’re that bad. What do I know, though? I also love the Daredevil movie. Still, it’s a shame that Garfield won’t get to fill out his own trilogy, and it just adds more unneeded turmoil to the whole Spider-Man franchise.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-The Colbert Report wrapped up its 9-year run last night, as Stephen Colbert prepares to host The Late Show on CBS

-Kris and Bruce Jenner are officially divorced

-Due to our renewed relationship with Cuba, you can now enter the United States with $100 worth of Cuban cigars

-Former Florida governor Jeb Bush announced that he’s looking into a Presidential run in 2016

-7th Heaven‘s Stephen Collins has admitted to having inappropriate sexual contact with underage girls between the years of 1974 and 1994.

-Christina Aguilera will be returning for the next cycle of The Voice

ascension_2560x1450_1280x725_369265219996

Nothing dominated my week quite like Syfy’s miniseries Ascension. Originally conceived as a 6 episode miniseries, Syfy chose to burn it off over three nights in 2-hr chunks. Where to even begin with this? OK, in 1963, an organization launched Ascension – a spaceship on a 100 year mission to colonize a new planet called Proxima. When the the series starts, the crew is at year 51 of their mission. Since they have been away from Earth for all that time, they missed out on so many social movements, like Civil Rights, the Sexual Revolution and more. On the flip side, they also missed Vietnam, 9/11, and the last season of Roseanne. They’ve created their own class system, based on the deck on which you reside. The lower deckers are the poor, while the higher decks are home to the more affluent passengers. A seemingly idyllic existence is interrupted when a murder takes place on the ship, where the victim was shot. This is notable because no guns were allowed when the ship launched, and this is the first report of one in the past 51 years. This throws the ship into chaos, as they try to solve the murder mystery. I kinda thought of it as a grown-up version of Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy (space station launched to colonize new planet), and I was OK with that.

Then, everything you thought you knew is thrown out at the end of the first installment. We find out that Ascension NEVER really left Earth! It’s really more of a social experiment to see if humanity could survive such a journey, but the ship and its passengers have been in a secret bunker for the past 51 years. Then the series bounces between the murder mystery on the ship and the folks on Earth trying to protect the secret. There’s sex, there’s Tricia Helfer ass shots, there’s a little girl with powers, and Billy from Ally McBeal was something of a mad man. It was such a mindfuck of a miniseries, which was clearly a 6-hour pilot. I say that because nothing was answered, and the whole thing felt rushed over the 5.5 hours that it had to tell its story. To be honest, I don’t even know if they even solved the murder mystery. It’s just so engaging, even though there are 8,000 things going on at once. Is this what people felt when they watched Lost? There HAS to be another miniseries or regular series coming because this was definitely setting up something big. If you didn’t get the chance to see it, Syfy will be showing all three parts over the next few days; I highly recommend you check it out. For keeping me on the edge of my seat, and constantly checking googling to see when the follow-up is coming, Ascension had the West Week Ever.

Happy Hanukkah & Merry Christmas!

Pages:1234567...15»