[Movie Review] Captain America: Civil War

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Welcome to Marvel Phase Three.

Another Free Comic Book Day, another Marvel Movie.

I have to ask: Just what the whiskey tango foxtrot happened to Age of Ultron while Civil War is amaze balls.

Don’t get me wrong, Age of Ultron had it’s moments, like the farmhouse which I personally loved because sometimes you need the heroes to rally and lick their wounds. Less, cave of exposition and more farmhouse.

Continue reading [Movie Review] Captain America: Civil War

Top Ten Faux Age of Ultron Spoilers

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Top Ten Faux Age of Ultron Spoilers:

  1. Who knew Thor’s Hammer had it’s own Lill’ Hammer Family waiting for it at home.
  2. Ultron Kickstarting his new body was a great idea.
  3. All three Hulks showing up was a bit overkill.
  4. Pepper and Natasha pulling a Thelma and Louise off that cliff brought down the house!
  5. Hawkeye’s This Old House better be on the DVDs.
  6. The Wedding between Captain America and Natasha put Spider-Man’s to shame.
  7. Hydra should really have rented on Air B’n’B.
  8. Jane Foster stuffing Ultron into that unending Portal Hole was cute.
  9. Agent Carter kicking Ultron in the nards was perfect.
  10. Agents of Shield babysitting Hawkeye’s kids scene didn’t feel right.

[Doctor Who Review] Listen

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Don’t turn round.

This is the episode that horror writers/directors should watch to see the tension get wretched up without the cheap thrills, blood or music. Written by Stephen Moffat it takes it’s themes from Don’t Blink and Silence in the Library without the use of the Angels that have become the Borg to the Doctor’s Enterprise.

Listen begins with Doctor positing a theory: Are we actually alone when we talk out loud or do we have a companion? He does this by himself in the TARDIS. Writing things down and pacing around the set. Capaldi nails it like Tennent would’ve while Smith probably wouldn’t have nailed the dismount.

I know some Smith fans may not want to hear this but the Doctor on a caffeine high has left the building. I hope a Neil Gaiman Capadi episode but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen this season.

While the Doctor sets the mood, Clara and Danny Pink have a first date. The date doesn’t go well and Clara comes home to find the Doctor and the TARDIS occupying 3/4 of her bedroom.

In the post haze of the bad date, the Doctor uses the TARDIS to focus on Clara’s timeline and pop back to see where Clara had that dream everyone has about something under the bed. Except, instead of Clara’s timeline we get to Rupert Pink and soon find out that yes, there probably is something under the bed and all it takes is a bed sheet, Capaldi and good direction and we get a successor to Blink.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Clara asks to go back to the date and retry with Danny until Clara name drops Rupert and everything implodes again because Danny is Rupert. It implodes even more when the orange spaceman suit walks into the restaurant and motions Clara to follow him.

It’s at this point no one gets up and demands to know why, this is Cardiff after all, the populace is so desensitized to the Doctor’s shenanigans that no one blinks at the strange. Torchwood should’ve been like this: Oh, more alien crap, thattaway, Torchwood and go back to their tea.

The man in the spacesuit isn’t the Doctor but Orson Pink and the Doctor found him 100 years into Clara’s timeline, they launched him into space and he promptly got Buck Rogers and now he’s the last man in the universe but he’s not alone.

Once Orson saves the Doctor, Clara tries to fix things and goes back down the timeline and lands in a barn and gives a crying child a good speech about the things that go bump in the night. The barn didn’t make sense at first until we find out why. The why was nicely done and I won’t ruin it here but it’s a great call back that I didn’t see coming and it really worked.

Clara’s dialogue with the new Doctor continues to be a highlight while she gets her history filled in even if it’s possible future.

Danny’s soldier days while not big speed bump like they were in Into the Dalek is better this time round. I think he’ll make a good addition to the companions once we see him in action and not him as a child or his great grandson.

It was a good episode all around and highly enjoyed it.

[Doctor Who Review] The Robot of Sherwood

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For everyone who complained (not me) about episodes 1+2 being off and Episode 3 being back on track were half right.

Episode 3 is a classic Doctor Who historical episode.

Clara makes a request to go see a fictional character and while the Doctor tries to dissuade her, she puts down her foot and we return to Nottingham, 12th century and are instantly greeted by Robin Hood much to the Doctor’s annoyance.

The tropes are there, Doctor and Robin fight on a bridge, each man besting each other. #3’s fencing comes in handy, although not as one might expect. The Merry Men are all introduced and the Sheriff while not as menacing as Alan Rickman, he’s still wants power and is willing to do anything to get it.

And they all fight with English accents. Ha za!

As always something is wrong and the Doctor begins looking for it within the men then the environment and finds it when as the tale goes, Robin walks into a trap and the Sheriff unleashes his robotic knights and thus begins our trip down the rabbit hole to figure out: 1. Is Robin and the Sheriff robots? 2. Why is the Sheriff taking all the gold? 3. Robotic knights with cross lasers in their foreheads?

The fact Robin and the Doctor don’t get along is better than expected. Most of the time, the Doctor and his new friends generally get along well but the constant back and forth between him and the Earl of Loxley was refreshing. All the while, Clara can’t stand any of it since the Doctor’s normal plan is to use his now stolen sonic screwdriver.

I’ve been enjoying Capaldi since episode 1 and this episode felt right on the money. No picking up Clara, just straight into the story. Tardis arriving shot and the whole nine.

Clara gets a bit more to work with besides the added tae kwon do (which makes great sense with all the adventuring) when she’s interrogating the Sheriff of his plans. Thankfully, he’s not a robot because we’ve had that trope before and it’s been done to death.

The robots from episode 1 make a re-appearance but not as clockwork as they were before and we’re given enough backstory that they landed here from the 29th Century headed to The Promised Land to make repairs to the engines and forged an alliance with the Sheriff.

The Doctor rallies the prisoners in the Sheriffs dungeon and destroys most of the robots in the simplest fashion for the time without his sonic screwdriver.

The only thing missing is Missy and not welcoming the Sheriff to The Promised Land but we don’t want to repeat ourselves from last episode.

Overall, great episode. Throughly enjoyed it.

[Doctor Who Review] Into the Dalek

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(Image courtesy of David Catterall)

The carry over from the Matt Smith years continues with the Doctor in the beginning of his journey only to have to pick Clara up from school before dashing off to face down the pepper shakers of doom.

The ole’ Daleks are back! Ha za! No more Skittle colored Daleks to be found! No Devros. No Emperor Dalek. No eye stalks coming out people’s heads. No creep factor that was Asylum of the Daleks. Instead, we do actually go to the most dangerous place in all the universe.

Taking place on a human ship hiding in an asteroid belt from the Daleks, the Doctor rescues, Journey Blue played by Zawe Ashton just as her space ship is about to be blown up and returns her to her uncle, Col. Morgan Blue played by Michael Smiley on board the aforementioned spaceship, Aristotle and is greeted by an imprisoned Dalek that cares.

Meanwhile, Clara is introduced to Danny Pink played by Samuel Anderson, a former soldier who from most reports will be another companion this year. Danny isn’t dragged along this time and is left for most of the episode so the Doctor, Clara, Journey and 2 red shirts can be micronized into a Dalek to see what’s wrong with it.

Yep, it’s Doctor Who meets Fantastic Voyage (which oddly enough hasn’t been remade, yet).

The interior of the Dalek is a fun set piece. It may look like people climbing through a big computer. But anything with roving eyes that act as anti-bodies is pretty creepy cool. It feels more real than the dungeon set piece from Deep Breath.

The Daleks and the Doctor may have been enemies before but since the Time War it’s gotten worse. Once the Dalek’s problem is fixed it goes back to the same ole’ Exterminate routine and the solution to the problem works until the Doctor goes one step further and we get a similar problem to The Fourth Doctor’s situation in The Face of Evil. Kids, never imprint your 900+ year old brain onto anyone, m’kay?

The conclusion feels foreboding enough and one might wonder if the Doctor’s hatred will cool because of this or if two angry people are going to their separate corners of the universe only to come back for a rematch.

Capaldi continues to handle things well. He’s a bit sharp around the edges which is both good and bad. His treatment of the red shirts and women in particular does need a bit fine tuning to say the least. Most of the time he’s great then sometimes you have to wonder why the writers typed that in.

Thankfully he’s surrounded by strong women this episode and more than once gets slapped and pushed against the wall demanding to know why he just let someone die after giving them false hope.

Journey tries to hop a ride but the Doctor turns her down due to her tenancy to shoot first and ask politely later. If and when the next companion slot opens up, I hope they’d return to the character to see if she’s changed.

The ongoing plot thread for this season is Missy. First introduced in last weeks episode and welcoming the antagonistic robot to the “promised land”, she welcomes one of the red shirts to “Heaven” and offers her tea.

So who is Missy, exactly? Theories are running the gamut from Rani to TARDIS to Master. I’m happy we’re getting something. The last season with the Great Intelligence wasn’t so great and lack any emotional punch or set up. The Doctor does need an ongoing plot in the background to keep things interesting from a crack in the wall to John Saxon.

[Gaming Ramblin’] Ubisoft’s problematic playable women characters glitch.

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So as the E3 continues to roll on, the Ubisoft fallout over no playable women characters continues on blogs from Bennett North‘s to Chuck Wendig.

I hope James Therien isn’t the biggest whiner in the world because his sound bytes sure sound like he’s biggest whiner, ever.

Did some fact checking via the web*: Aveline de Grandpré from Assassins Creed III and Black Flag was a playable character.

So that means, all the code these whiners are complaining about is already in the computer.

And sure, it may take a while to “update” aka spend time but it’s already been done.

If the code for a playable female character is already in the computer why are we even having this conversation?

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Instead of continuing with the playable female character that had been a plus for Ubisoft like it was for BioWare when female Shepard popularity shot through the roof, instead, we get a speed bump and negative traction on social media.

MMORPGs have been doing player customization for years while console games have struggled to catch up to make sure their On-Line version can be played out of the box. Patches come later.

Personally, I enjoy customizing characters. I’d rather get shot by someone different then just a different tinted Master Chief.

Why isn’t Cortana a playable character? It’d be fun to get killed by a giant blue naked A.I.. She’s a reverse Dr. Manhattan.

Hell, even EVE On-line got into it.

Downloadable Content (DLC), Season Passes and pre-order to play XYZ character is unfortunately the next big thing.

I say unfortunately for several reasons: 1. I want to customize and choose playable characters (like Harley Quinn) out of the box. 2. Oh, right, is this extra feature going to work next year when the iteration of the game drops? Question 3. See question 2.

Question 2 is big problem if like me you play Call of Duty Games.

Call of Duty has become a annual national holiday in upon itself. And none of the DLC’s or levels are portable.

Player customization for sandbox games like GTA, Saint’s Row, Watchdogs and Dead Rising is half the fun of these games. It should be half the fun of any game. Code and time be damned.

Tiger Woods’s golf games have character creation trees that put WOW to shame. **

Ubisoft should be able fix this problem by the time the next game launches. Ask for forgiveness and pledge that playable female characters will be on their to-do list going forward.

Hey, if Microsoft can dump the Kinect out of Xbox One then Ubisoft can do this.

If they can’t and if their upcoming game The Division has no playable female characters then it’s more than time to start a letter writing campaign.

Maybe get Aiysha Tyler to knock some sense into them…

* If I got my facts wrong, I blame the web. Move along.
** Yes, I’m repeating myself with that Tiger Woods line.

[Movie Review] X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Scott Kurtz from PVP Webcomic covered a lot of the misgivings I had with X-Men Days of Future Past. I’ll try and find other things to complain about.

If you haven’t seen X-Men: First Class, I recommend watching it because it’s a breath of fresh air after X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Read my review of it: here.

X-Men: Days of Future Past assembles both casts and directed by Bryan Singer who directed X-Men 1+2. The plot is bumpy because the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Continue reading [Movie Review] X-Men: Days of Future Past

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 3rd.

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Free Comic Book Day is almost upon us.

To a find a shop near you can check the store locator.

I’ll be over at Rah-CoCo’s Collectables in Providence, R.I. selling issues of  the comic book Totems that I wrote with the late great Paul F. Chabot.

Signed copies of issues #1, #2 + #3 will be on hand.

On May 4th, I’ll be at South Attleboro Collectables Show selling my collection of comic books.

[Movie Review] Captain America: The Winter Soldier (no spoilers, honest)

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I’m not going to spoil the movie.

I hope you’re taking notes DC, because Marvel is taking some big risks and they’re pay off.

I will say composer Alan Silvestri was sorely missed.

The second end credit scene like the one in Thor: The Dark World should have been part of the movie and Agents of SHIELD have even a lot more to live up to now.

Seeing it in IMAX is worth it. The 3-D not so much. And preferably without a peanut gallery sitting behind you…spoiler filled review will be forthcoming.

[#eccc] Seattle, Emerald City Comic Con and Browncoat Cosplay: Jayne Cobb

With Emerald City Comic Con now a week ago in the rear view mirror: How did it go?

Extremely well.

Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) continues to grow just as it’s host city does. The convention now taking over the convention center, parts of the Sheraton and a few buildings across the road. It even has it’s own mobile app.

This year the ID badges were mailed out. A week before the con some of us worried but a day later the badges arrived. Minus the lanyards. This was easily fixable since I have several lanyards left over from previous conventions and I mixed and matched a SDCC plastic holder with my Browncoat lanyard.

I decided to leave earlier this year and took the morning non-stop out of Boston which worked out and aside from some turbulence, it landed on time and so did my cosplay pieces via USPS. I’ve found getting to the host city a day early and leaving a day late let’s you acclimate better in the end.

Unlike SDCC, I decided to go as Firefly’s Jayne Cobb this year and that meant only a few changes: different gun+pants and hat.

One swing through Etsy for the gun from QEProps and thankfully my mother can knit and thus we get:

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The pirate cosplayers showed up just in time and hence we use the line from Serenity: Let’s be bad guys. I may tweak the costume a bit: gloves and a different belt maybe. The gun thankfully fit in the Mal Reynolds holster and not in the Blackhawk Omega VI Universal Holster I had bought. It still works. Even got a good compliment from a Colonial Marine cosplayer about the use of the Public Relations shirt.

Total cost: Not nearly expensive as Mal Reynolds due to no boots or jacket.

This year I focused on the writing panels and was happy to find several panels each day. So much so, leaving Room 309 or 2AB wasn’t needed. This also meant less pictures as you can see from my Flickr page.

A separate post of writing links will be going up soon.

The downside to trying to shove so many panels into rooms was the attendance in tiny 309 meant people queued up while 2AB/3AB were too big until someone closed half the room.

The idea of having the University Bookstore in 310 for signings was great idea in theory.

The slight problem: the authors were all the way and hell an’gone in TCCC 3.

If the authors and the University Bookstore were together in the same row it would’ve worked.

I came prepared to get John Scalzi signature. Bought The Human Division paperback. The people in front of me weren’t so lucky.

The EMP Museum table was great to see.

Their TARDIS photo op was a great idea.

I feel they or anyone else with an iconic prop could take it to the next level like the 501st Legion does and get quality Doctor Who cosplayers with Daleks or some sort of different prop with a backdrop and bang instead memorable moment for the kids.

And find another spot, if TCCC 3 is going to be as cramped next year then put the photo op booths closer to the con or devote an entire largish room to photo ops. If Seattle Space Needle can take a photo of you and give you a card to find it on line then so can we.

The writing panels ranged from legal advice to freelancing to producing a book on a budget. For the most part the panels and their speakers stayed on topic.

Except for the times a moderator didn’t arrive and the speakers needed to be bearded back to the topic.

One of the many reasons I like ECCC is the fact the crowd situation hasn’t reached SDCC levels of hilarity. The amount of people sitting around and not getting asked not to loiter was nice to see.

Unfortunately, the lack of benches and in areas along with the 6th Floor tables and chairs disappearing was missed.

The t-shirts for this year went fast, any Seattle themed shirt was close to being sold out. SDCC embraced pre-ording shirts last year and besides the queue to get them, the pre-ordering worked. Hopefully, ECCC will do pre-order next year. It would solve so many problems.

The photograph backgrounds continued to be the high point. The official ECCC photographer was a welcomed sight.

I decided to hit up The Terminator Q&A with Michael Bein with my brother at Cinearama and found the movie theater and it’s chocolate popcorn to be highly enjoyable. The use of moderator and the trailers for Bein’s new grindhouse movies he producing with his wife less so. The movie was 30 years old and at least a half dozen people saw it when it came out.

Overall, the con was highly enjoyable and I’ll be coming back next year.

Now, I just need to figure out if I want to add another costume to the ensemble. I’m thinking Ten or Four or Captain Jack.

Spent the next few days in Seattle. It was fun going from West Seattle to Bainbridge Island to the Chihuly Museum.

Photos will be posted to the Flickr account in a week or so…

[Movie Review] RoboCop (2014)

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“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

To give you an idea of my stance on Robocop franchise, I enjoyed the Robocop 1+2, didn’t see 3, enjoyed the television show and vaguely remember the cartoon series and didn’t see the Robocop mini series tv movies.

Robocop has caught up with reality or reality has caught up with Robocop. Facial Recognition. Drones. Cellphone GPS. Police States. Wounded Warriors with metal prothesis straight out of a sci-fi movie.

The 2014 reboot, directed by José Padilha and staring The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman as the titular character and co-staring Michael K. Williams as Jack Lewis, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as their boss and Abbie Cornish as the soon to be grieving Missus Murphy takes place in a world where robotic police states like Tehran are the normal and the USA is anti-robot.
Continue reading [Movie Review] RoboCop (2014)

[Sherlock Review] The Empty Hearse (no spoilers, honest)

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After two years of waiting, the US fans of Sherlock will have to wait another two weeks for Season 3 to start with The Empty Hearse.

When we last left our heroes, Watson arrived to witness Sherlock jump off a building to make sure Moriarty’s goons didn’t kill Watson, Lastrade or Mrs. Hudson.

The death of Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem has been played out across much of the reboots over the years. Jeremy Brett’s run being the one I remember the most. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows being the most recent and enjoyable since both Robert Downey Jr and Jared Harris were fun to watch even if the plot got a little laughable in spots.

The Reichenbach Fall doesn’t take us all the way to Switzerland and instead The Final Problem is played out on a rooftop giving our hero the only option left to him to save his friends. In the end, Sherlock falls, dies and is buried. And in the final moments shown to be quite alive.

There’s a phrase in DC Universe to explain how Batman does the things he does: He’s Batman. And like the costumed Detective, Sherlock is the same way.

The tone of The Empty Hearse is less morose than it’s predecessor, The Empty House. Two years have passed and everyone is getting on with their lives. Fresh from the seven minute short entitled Many Happy Returns, Lastrade continues to happily shoot down wild theories from Anderson that Sherlock is solving crimes across Europe. Watson, now with mustache is getting ready to propose to Mary and just where is Sherlock, exactly?

The return of Sherlock is less of a surprise this time round. Instead of Sherlock regaling Watson of his continental adventures we’re shown the events which is much better than being told it. The set up and the pay off is laugh riot. Honest to god, a laugh riot.

And I’m not just talking about Martin Freeman flipping off the audience (check the Hobbit DVD extras for his outtakes of flipping off the audience) the episode on a whole is fun to watch and is welcome breath of fresh air after the disappointing Doctor Who season.

For much of the episode the Detective Duo are separated until the unnamed antagonists reach out and the episode gets moving. The use of Moran was a nice touch even if he isn’t chasing Holmes like before.

The episode on a whole was very V for Vendetta, minus the bald Natalie Portman. Using the London Underground as a set peice reminded me of Skyfall.

In the end, I’m happy Gatniss and Moffat have dulled some of the edges of Sherlock and made him more human. This is a good thing. You make the highly functioning sociopath more likable while still solving crime and keep the humor within reason.

Here’s hoping the quality of the next two episodes are just as good.

[Doctor Who] The Day of the Doctor

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It has been fifty years since William Hartnell premiered in the Unearthly Child.

I can thank WGBH out of Boston for being here.

In the eighties my family was glued to the television set at 7pm on weeknights for 30mins of Cybermen, Daleks and a Timelord played by Tom Baker.

The Day of the Doctor revisits a fixed point that has been elephant in the room since the series restarted: The Time War. Timelords vs. Daleks and Doctor #8 being at the middle of it all until one day he decides drop his pacifist notions and by way of a elixir of life from the Sisterhood of Karn, becomes a war doctor.

The downside of seeing Paul McGann regenerate into John Hurt is that it’s not part of The Day of the Doctor special itself. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great snippet that should be how we start off this special.

Instead we get a classic opening. As in, the old black and white opening turning to color as we find Clara, played again by Jenna Coleman is now a school teacher near to Foreman Junkyard that started it all 50 years ago. This is slightly perplexing because the last time we saw the Doctor and Clara at Trenzalore and the whole timeline with the Intelligence trying to kill them all.

The Doctor and Clara are picked up, literally, by a UNIT helicopter and brought back to London where trouble is a abrewing in the form of a three dimensional painting called Galifrey Falls or No More. It should not exist. This brings up bad memories for the Doctor obviously and the we are shown the final day of the war as John Hurt puts the hurt on some Daleks and steals “the moment” a galaxy eating machine that has a personality.

He steals it because he plans on using it to end the war and in doing so treks to this far off place that if I didn’t know better was his home but no one mentions who, what, when or why so I’m going with his childhood home.

The moment is steampunk-type box with clock gears and it’s personality is none other than the Bad Wolf herself played by Billie Piper.

The dialogue between the two of them is getting off to rather good start when the plot pulls them away when a time vortex opens and a fez pops through something neither of them were expecting unless you’re the audience and you know exactly how Moffat’s mind works.

Everything is out of time/space so going back to the Doctor and UNIT where Kate Stewart played by Jemma Redgrave brings the audience up to speed on the Doctor’s affair with Elizabeth 1.

Somewhere between Voyage of the Damned and Partners in Crime, Doctor #10 visited Queen Elizabeth and the two are having a lovely time playing kissy face when Zygons try to take over the Crown. And while running away from these shape shifters is when #10 and #11 meet up with hilarious results until the War Doctor arrives through the time vortex the fez came through and quickly all three are dumped into the Tower of London as prisoners.

I should also make mention that John Hurt steals every single scene he’s in and for some reason there wasn’t enough in the budget to spike #10’s hair so he may look odd. If the scarf was #4’s trademark then the hair is trademarked for #10.

Soon the Zygons threaten to derail the plot but the Doctors fix the on coming invasion quickly and get back on track to the real problem at hand: The War Doctor is about to blow up all of Galifrey to stop the war. The prop department had a good time with this episode from the Black Vault that is TARDIS proof with certain Doctor items to having 3 Tardi next to each other with different paint schemes and designs.

The three actors, John Hurt, David Tennent and Matt Smith really act with each other. Having all three of them stuck in the Tower of London to bounce off each other was a great idea because there are no explosions or SFX, it’s just them and their baggage and Bad Wolf just watching them all.

Clara and Bad Wolf are mostly in the background and while they’re there for most of the big scenes they get the short end of the stick since the dopey Elizabeth plot is given so much.

UNIT and their secret vaults are a great idea since Torchwood inception and execution was fumbled and they are practically no longer even in the picture. I hope the areas introduced are used again next season.

As for the overall plot: It’s really all over the place and really when you have a Doctor team up most of the plot goes out the window. Part of me and probably my mother would ask this: Ditch Queen Elizabeth and get the Doctor/Donna back in there. Donna zingers would have helped or even Wilf.

This episode thankfully gives the Doctor his call to action without blowing up the universe, or gathering the heroes to save the universe or the hero’s journey shenanigans that most season finales are there for.

Instead this episode was about one man trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do in the time of war.

The Curator idea I loved before the Curator showed up. I wished for more Curators but as you’ll see the extra special video at the bottom of this post helps.

Does The Day of the Doctor make up for the lameness of Season 7. Nope.

Season 7 should have built up to this but instead this episode is rather stand alone. Like neatening up dangling plot lines.

The Christmas Episode should be interesting since it’ll be Matt Smith’s last and Peter Capaldi’s first. I’m hoping for a grim Christmas episode or least one without the sweet tooth.

And for a extra special treat: A 30min film written and directed by Peter #5 Davidson which features a good deal of the Whovian cast both past and present.

The Five(ish) Doctors –

[Doctor Who] The Night of the Doctor

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Rob Callahan pretty much covered this in his post. I figure I’d post about it since I’ve been busy with NaNoWrimo…

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary is now one week away and according to the trailers focuses on the Time War.

The Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks has been the one fixed point since the new series started almost eight years ago. Originally used to give the series a clean start without at the time forty years worth of backstory to catch up on the fixed point is now front and center.

This off-scene event has brought up the who, what, why and how. There was some vague dialogue from Rassilion about the Doctor having the “moment”.

Sure, the comics have filled in the gaps and after several minutes of wikipedia searching the “moment” is weapon that can erase people from time and space. Pieces of this moment are scattered all through out Doctor Who lore starting with a De-Mat Gun which brings us all the way back to the Invasion of Time with Sontarans and Doctor #4 and Leela.

Whew.

I’d complain about the gaping holes in Amazon Instant Videos from seasons 13-15 of Doctor Who but I digress

The good news is BBC did a prequel to fill in the blanks between Doctor #8, The Time War and Doctor #9.

It features Doctor #8 and name checks many companions from the Big Finish Production radio plays that Paul McGann has voiced over the years.

It is 7 minutes of gloriousness.

Now, in order to enjoy this you must: A. Remember the 2hr Fox TV Movie from 1996 featuring Doctor #7 to #8 and then B. remember The Brain of Morbius with Doctor #4 and Sarah Jane Smith.

The Sisterhood of Karn and their elixir of life.

This video brings up the elephant in the room regarding the Doctor’s regenerations.

How many does he actually have left? The Vailyard, who? Did rebooting the universe reboot his regenerations? Do we actually count any of the Sarah Jane tv show saying he’ll live forever?

The funny thing is I almost miss the older seasons where they gave you dribs and drabs but nothing concrete unless necessary.

I think in a post-X-Files/LOST television world a shows mythology may be too much a burden. Like a reset button is needed no matter what.

Having survived the 80’s/90’s/00’s of comic bookdom I’d normally roll my eyes at the reset button, instead I’ll roll my eyes at the fact I can’t watch every single episode of Doctor Who on Amazon Instant Video.

Personally, my money is on the Timelords coming back from their fixed moment, go back to being the stuffy shirts they were and letting the Doctor go off on his own while backhanding complimenting him for his service by extending his regenerations.

Simple. Short. Sweet just in time for his next regeneration.

[Movie Review] Thor: The Dark World

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I hereby accept your surrender.”

It’s been two years since Thor and in a post-Avengers/Iron Man 3 world Thor: The Dark World has a lot to live up to.

Everyone else is making comparisons and I agree with them after sitting through Thor: The Dark World 3-D IMAX Experience.

First, the 3-D isn’t worth it. Gravity in 3-D was better. Jurassic Park in 3-D was better.

Second, the IMAX showing was gorgeous.

Third, the preview of Captain America: The Winter Soldier took the wind out of Thor’s sails.
Continue reading [Movie Review] Thor: The Dark World

[Movie Review] Byzantium

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Byzantium directed by Neil Jordan and staring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton as two vampires surviving in present day Britain, running from town to town as the bodies stack up all the while two investigators played by Uri Gavriel and Sam Riley nip at their ever growing trail.

This movie does not try to be something it’s not. It doesn’t over extent itself, it doesn’t burden the plot with too many ideas. I would say it’s gender roles are switched from Interview with a Vampire which was also directed by Neil Jordan.

The movie follows Clara played by Gemma and her daughter, Eleanor played by Saoirse living out life, Clara as a stripper and Eleanor as the teenager that will never grow up and writes down her tale of woe that is revealed to the audience in dribs and drabs.

Clara has her way of getting blood and Eleanor has her way and both are fairly straight forward until a former beau tracks down Clara and ends up losing his head.

So, a tank of gasoline fueled fire later and the girls are off to another town.

Several truck rides later they end up in a seaside town that looks fun to Clara but Eleanor knows she’s been here before since it turns out to be the same town they were born in. Clara goes back to what she knows and finds a rube in the form of Noel played Daniel Mays and sets up a make shift brothel in an old hotel called Byzantium.

Eleanor and Clara’s actions/roles are reversed. Clara dresses like the free wheeling spirit that she is while Eleanor in her red hoody desperately wants a friend.

Both of their histories are played out through the use of flashbacks. The flashbacks don’t become a drinking game and are kept to a minimum and or in Eleanor’s case it simply happens in front of her. Their histories and the people they’ve touch over two hundred years will continue to haunt them until the end of the movie. From the Johnny Lee Miller’s bastard captain to Sam Riley’s calm Lieutenant to Eleanor’s new friend, a waiter named Frank played Caleb Landry Jones.

The empire building for the vampire society is not as structured as the one found in Blade. Vampires powers are fairly weak which allows for a great deal of walking around in daylight. No fangs. No bodies turning into ash. No super strength or suggestive powers. No type of sire hierarchy.

Just a cocaine nail to suck the blood out.

So with no way to make a Vampire how do they do it?

Each of the characters come across an island in their travels. The island has a stone cabin and inside that cabin is a duplicate of themselves.

Or at least we’re made to believe it’s them. Since most of the vampires are made some two hundred years ago this doppleganer-type of presence is creepy. Once they become a vampire the island which is gushing with waterfalls already flows with blood.

Yes, I know, Gemma’s heaving bosom covered in blood, right? Yep. And tastefully done no less. Sure the blood waterfalls were post-production but it looked creepy.

Unfortunately, this vampire society is not very forward thinking so it should come as no surprise when a woman (and a hooker no less) becomes a vampire the men aren’t too happy and banish Clara and her daughter until they catch up with them in the end.

I found the movie enjoyable because it focused on the characters and not their powers. This could have turned into a blood bath but the blood is kept to a minimum and the acting from all parties involved made the movie worth renting.

[Movie Review] Hell Baby

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Hell Baby written and directed by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon of Reno 911 fame tries and fails to spoof the horror genre. Starring Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb as couple moving into a wonderful home in New Orleans just in time for the arrival of their first child.

Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon play two chain smoking priests from the Church that specialize in exorcisms while Keegan Michael Key plays the neighbor next door that general breaks in and gives the charming couple the bloody backstory on the house.

And along the way there’s a gratuitous, drawn out scene of nudity with Rikki Lindholm that just goes to show the script needed one more pass.

Now having just gotten into American Horror Story’s first season this movie hits on several recurring themes: the supposedly creepy spirit haunting the house, the possession of the pregnant woman, the house acting out like stacking boxes to vex Rob Corddry and of course the aforementioned exorcism by the two priests. I’m going to ignore Rikki Lindholm’s character trying to exorcise the house with mind altering drugs.

It should be funny. It should be funnier. It should be funny to watch the creepy spirit turn out to be an old shriveled up old naked woman who the couple have to bury in the back yard. This creates great tension only to find the tension evaporates when she wakes up uninjured.

The priests are ineffective and while they got the look down they spin their wheels until the last act when the hell baby arrives and an all out fisticuffs begins. The fisticuffs was great. Who doesn’t love it when grown adults punch and wail on a demon baby puppet.

I wanted to like this movie but it comes up far short. The ingredients are there for a funny flick. The characters are there and so is the setting but Leslie Bibb barely gets time to shine and when she does she’s plays a great possessed pregnant lady drinking turpentine, smoking and speaking pit bull.

I found Balls of Fury to be a funny and well directed movie so seeing this just makes me wonder what happened. Wait for it to appear on cable, not worth spending your money.

This earns the Paulie Award.

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[Movie Review] Riddick

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Riddick directed and written by David Twohy with Vin Diesel returning to the titular role of Richard B. Riddick that made him famous in 2000 with Pitch Black. Four years later Chronicles of Riddick came out and while it cast was stellar the plot not so much and so now 9 years later Twohy goes back to the roots of what made Pitch Black so interesting: people trying to survive on an alien world with no help in sight and oh by the way: blood thirsty animals are trying to kill you. It’s a B-level movie with A level stars.

Riddick begins with Riddick rising from the dead after being left by his Necromongers, a brief cameo by Karl Urban reprising his role as Vaako dangles the carrot of helping find his homeworld. Riddick takes it hook line and one fall off a tall cliff later and Riddick has to fend for his life because everything on this world is trying to kill him.

The size of Chronicles that made the movie so bloated is turned down to focus for the first act on Riddick surviving. From making weapons to poisoning himself to build up an immunity to the toxicity to even getting a dog which just like Tony Stark getting a kid sidekick in Iron Man 3 is good thing. The Mad Max vibe was prefect since the feline CGI creature from Chronicles was probably the best thing of the entire movie.

The helpful discovery by Riddick’s dog that things may get worse moves the plot along to a deserted Mercenary encampment and a giant: SOS button that brings down several ships. They’e all looking for one thing: Riddick, preferably dead.

Two sets of crews, a merc crew led by Santana played by Jordi Mollà and a military crew led by Boss Johns played by Matt Nable their differing styles helps give the soon to be redshirts and one red skirt, Dahl played by Katee Sackoff. Along with their arrival is large call back to Pitch Black with Boss Johns being the father of departed drug addict/law man Johns played by Cole Hauser.

Once the ships are disabled (so Riddick doesn’t take them, smart move) the countdown clock begins and Riddick’s psychologically messing with the crew is a great call back to Pitch Black even if Pitch Black did it with cleaner cuts. The bodies being to drop one by one, some unseen by Riddick and some by the little beasties that come out of the ground when a rain storm hits.

And for the most part it works. Dahl is given enough story to work with and is not treated as arm candy, Johs is looking for answers to why his son is dead and Santana just wants to get paid and get off the rock. Most of the merc characters are given enough personalities to not come off as cardboard cut outs. It’s unfortunate, Nick Chinlund couldn’t reprise his role of Toombs. All in all it’s drama with action and not an action movie with drama.

The planet itself along with it’s creatures is fun little place from the dingos to the eels in the water to the long tailed scorpions that serve as the main villain of the movie. I heartily agree with some of the other reviewers that some of the shots looked very Frazetta-esque.

The ending was a little bit of the let down and so were the SFX sounds for the lasers. I may sound like a whiney geek but did the SFX for those lasers sound so weak. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to see a science fiction franchise that isn’t Resident Evil getting a second go round but sometimes the SFX sounded too B-movie.

In hindsight it would have been nice to begin and end the movie with Vaako. Something other than what we got because it felt like after surviving this journey through this planet and escaping by the skin of his teeth there was no prize besides escape and while that sounds like a great emotional prize it’s the physical prize (no Katee Sackoff is not treated as a prize, thankfully) that I was looking for just something besides Riddick riding off into the sunset like in Pitch Black.

Good movie and probably worth seeing in IMAX.

[Movie Review] The Colony

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The Colony is a science fiction/horror movie directed by Jeff Renfroe. It stars Lawrence Fishburn, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan and Kevin Zegers as a group of people surviving in the inhospitable world of Earth after mankind tried and failed to fix global warming with weather machines. The world they live in now is not pretty without medicine to cure the colds the infected have two options take a walk into the snow or bullet.
Continue reading [Movie Review] The Colony

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