Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review: Black Panther

Image result for black pantherI finally saw Black Panther on DVD.

Premise: T'Challa is now the king after his father was murdered in Civil War (cue flashbacks ... really, we need flashbacks that go on more than a few flashes?). Wakandan war criminal Ulysses Klaue, arms dealer, pops up on the radar. You may remember Ulysses Klaue from Age of Ultron, played by Andy Serkis, who is no longer trapped in a motion capture suit.

What they don't know is there is another force working with Klaue that can lead to T'Challa, and Wakanda's, downfall...

What did I think?

.... Eh. It was Okay. A little slow, though.

Okay, it's a lot slow.

How slow?

When we get to our first major action sequence, a ritual duel to affirm retaining the crown ... because in a highly advanced civilization like Wakanda is supposed to be, right of ascension by combat is the way to go... Which just makes it look like Wakanda has great tech, and the culture never caught up. Uh huh....

Anyway.... While we have a brief skirmish at the opening, and the ritual challenge right after, neither of these really feel like a Marvel film. T'Challa's sister Shuri is playing Q, and she's cute, but that's about it. There's a lot of discussion about whether or not Wakanda should show off their tech to the rest of the world,. Blah blah.

Image result for black panther south korea
And our first real bit of Marvel action takes place nearly 50 minutes into the film. They go into a cool bar in South Korea, I was half expecting the film to become like unto a James Bond like spy thriller when they walked into a casino that I'm almost certain hosted Daniel Craig at one point.

But that's interrupted by a chase, and then a Marvel finally movie breaks out.

Image result for black panther martin freemanAnd then there's the real hero of the film: Bilbo Baggins -- I mean Martin Freeman. As the only one with no genetic modifications (yes, apparently Black Panther is the result of a home-grown, do-it-yourself Super Soldier serum) and no high tech gadgets, Freeman's character Everett Ross (who debuted in Civil War) seems to be the only one in the entire film who has saved anybody.

Yeah... remember when people complained about Man of Steel when Superman couldn't be bothered to save anyone as Smallville or Metropolis was blown apart? Yeah. Ross saves one of T'Challa's spies, getting shot for his trouble. T'Challa saved no one. Even in the opening, he was interrupting an operation just to send an invite.

Now, I saw a lot of people hyping that Black Panther had the most developed MCU villain to date. Honestly, he was about as developed as Aldrich Killian of Iron Man 3, and he was motivated by the same thing -- revenge. For this film, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, grew up in Oakland, and one evening, he came home to find his father dead on the floor. Killmonger is left alone, abandoned, and grows up to enter Wakanda, having never seen it.

Killmonger's ultimate goal boils down to a race war that he expects to ... you guessed it ... take over the world

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Killmonger. Because we need shirtless scenes for the girls.
.... I'm sorry, if one drops a ton of guns into Oakland, are the local gunmen going to try to take over the world? Or hold up banks? I suspect that Killmonger did not think this plan through. Not to mention that his only plan for taking over the world under a racial banner seemed to boil down to "Give out weapons like party favors, and we'll win."

This is not the intricate planning that made Killmonger the threat that he is in the movie...

Then again, the plan that even makes him a threat relies on a lot of things happening that were contrived.

Honestly, there was just so much stupid going on in this film. There is an act 2 "twist" that is quite contrived. There are a lot of stupid motivations going on throughout the film, and I'm not sure I'm all that happy with them. For the second half of this movie to happen, we need several forced internal conflicts to happen, as well as contrived plot points and character decisions.

The film is about 20 minutes too long, packed with atmospherics, and how many times can we linger on someone being buried in a ceremony? How many different ways can we have flashbacks to the opening sequence? How many different points of view shots can we have in the same sequence and setting?

I think too much time was spent building up T'Challa's sister, and his mother, and his bodyguard, and his tech, and not enough time building up T'Challa. Most of what we saw of T'Challa in this film can be summed up by seeing The Lion King. I'm sorry, T'Challa in the comics is supposed to be insanely smart, with multiple PhDs, and even discovering a different realm of physics. Here, I don't even get a sense that he's that great a leader. The actor has the gravitas, I'll give him that. And I think he had more character in Civil War than he did in his own film.

Again, this is my first viewing. But I'm looking at the CGI war rhinos and went "Wait, you guys needed more time to for resolution on those rhinos, didn't you?"

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This is his look a lot in this film
Maybe this will improve as I rewatch this. But the first half of the film is around Ulysses Klaue as the villain, and frankly, I think this would have made for an interesting duel. Heck, you have T'Challa out in the pursuit of a criminal who outran his father, murdered people in his kingdom. T'Challa can team up with Ross of the CIA, and hunt down Ulysses Klaue and stop whatever he has in mind. Killmonger could have lurked in the shadows and come out at the end, perhaps even revealing himself as he murders Klaue....

No. This film looked like Ulysses Klaue became completely unhinged after having his arm cut off by a ten-foot tall Raymond Reddington. Either that or Andy Serkis was drunk and / or stoned off of his ass while on set. Between Klaue and Serkis, I can't tell which one was shoe-horned in. Honestly? It felt like either they changed their mind mid-movie, or he was a throw away.

It was an okay film. I enjoyed it more than Ant-Man. Maybe more than the first Thor film.

Right now, being generous, 7/10. My perspective may improve with further viewings.

The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The attack of Fall TV, 2018

Dear world...


Magnum P.I. 2018 REBOOT

20 seconds into this "Magnum" reboot trailer, I want to commit arson.

37 seconds, my eardrums are bleeding.

38 seconds, I'm ready to throw rocks at the screen


.... So they got the Ferrari, Hawaii, and the dogs right.

Best part of this is the music.

Originally, this was going to be a sequel series, where the lead would be Magnum's daughter. She was the product of a Catholic marriage to the woman he married in Vietnam. The situation was very Casablanca, right down to a Major Strasser. It was an interesting premise that I looked forward to.

Then they apparently decided to scrap it in lieu of a reboot.

This? This is BS. This looks like they're going to take everything from the original, pour in every modern cliche, and hit frappe. The caretaker being a stuffy British gentleman? No, we need Strong Female Cliche #4 variant. Magnum's buddy the helicopter Pilot TC as a small business owner who gets annoyed at Magnum constantly burning fuel, goodwill, and getting his company chopper shot full of holes? Nah, he's just going to be oh so happy to leap in whenever Magnum says jump.

Magnum concerned about the Ferrari? They burn through two in the course of one trailer.

Ugh. I give this show five minutes, if I'm bored enough to try it. I won't be.

Funny thing is that they could have had a "Strong Female Character" / Eurasian minority and check off all of the check boxes, and probably made a more interesting series if they just kept the premise as "daughter of Magnum," but no, they have to rewrite and destroy something perfectly reasonable in the first place.

I'm going to go play the REAL series now. Thank you


Because the world needs Dick Wolf to have another TV show.

This lacks all charisma and energy.... like every other Dick Wolfe show.

And oh, look, more left-wing propaganda, because what the world needs is another f**king white supremacist as a bad guy on television.

Wouldn't it be strange if someone had a communist as a bomber? Or a Black Lives Matter psychopath planning another riot as the bad guy every once in a while?

Goodbye, Dick. You're appropriately named.

The Rookie (ABC)

Oh, look, ABC has decided to once again invest money into Nathan Fillion's plus-10 charisma in order to bring in tons of cash.

This ... may not suck.

Manifest (NBC)

Sigh. This feels like every other stupid gimmick show since Lost aired. Like Fast Forward or something equally moronic.

Not interested. Bye.

New Amsterdamn (NBC)

On the one hand, I really like Ryan Eggold. He stole part parts of The Blacklist, he is a great actor, highly versatile. And Freema from Doctor Who. I would really like them to have employment.

On the other hand, this feels like The Resident. "Let's save the medical system!!!!"

Um, how about we start by REMOVING ALL THE GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS ON HEALTHCARE AND LET HOSPITALS RUN HEALTHCARE LIKE HEALTHCARE??? Another show that blames "Big Hospital as soulless corporation" over government interference is not going to figure it out, and if they pull that crap, I hope it gets cancelled.

I'd rather it not.

Murphy Brown (CBS Reboot)

Apparently, Roseanne is back, and is pro-Trump.

So someone decided that they needed to bring back Roseanne and make it the Anti-Trump. Yes, because that's going to work.

Guys, this show wasn't that funny the first time around. It's going to be less funny this time around.

The commercial isn't even entertaining enough for me to post on my blog. If you want to find it, you can find it on YouTube yourself. Sorry. It's 4 minutes long. I stopped at 81 seconds in. I couldn't tolerate it anymore.

Reverie (NBC)

I like Sarah Shahi from Person of Interest.

I've enjoyed Dennis Haysbert's acting ever since Now and Again.

And that guy from Heroes who was never allowed to be half as interesting as I thought he could be.

This is a summer replacement program, out on May 30th. It may work.

God Friended Me (CBS)

I want to like this premise. I really do. It reminds me of several TV shows I enjoyed, like Joan of Arcadia, and they want to mix it with Bones or Castle.

And it has Joe Morton. I've wanted him to have a real career since Speed in the early 90s.

Ugh. There are so many ways for this to get screwed up. But I'd like it not to suck.

Whiskey Cavalier (ABC)

Oh look, it's that guy from The Unit, and his boss is that other guy who always plays cops. And they're in a spy comedy.

This looks almost charming. Very Mr. and Mrs Smith.

I think this is ABC's to screw up.

The Fix (ABC)

Sigh. This is brought to you by Marcia Clark, the DA who let OJ Simpson get away with murder as she rewrites her own biography.

.... But it's got Robin Tunney from The Mentalist. She was enjoyable on that one. And she doesn't look like she's aged at all.

And it has ... that black guy from Lost and The Mummy Returns. And Scott Wolfe, who was never allowed to have an interesting career.

I never bothered with the OJ trial the first time around. I don't want to have an entire TV show around it.

I like the actors, but I'm tapping out of this one.

The Passage

Well, this is going to end well.

Mad science and what looks like vampires.

And ... I don't think so. I know how The Last of Us ends.

Shows I Don't Care About

These shows lack all charm and interest for me. The Actors are uninteresting, or the premise is uninteresting. And I won't even bother with a ten foot pole. Nor will I inflict them on you.

I don't even care enough about these to hate them, nevermind post the trailers. But if you're interested, you can look up.

Grand Hotel (ABC)
Charmed (2018 reboot, CW)
Proven Innocent (FOX)
All American (CW)
Happy Together (CBS)
Burden of Truth (CBC -- PBS Canada)

The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Sabaton - The Last Stand

On 6 May 1527 a leaderless mercenary army, consisting of German Landsknechts as well as Spanish and Italian mercenaries, invaded the city of Rome.

As soon as possible, they advanced on the Vatican Hill.

On St. Peter's Square 147 (of 189) men of the Swiss Guard stood in position to protect Pope Clement VII.

The remaining 42 Swiss escorted the Pope to the Castel Sant'Angelo (using a secret escape passageway, the Passetto di Borgo) where he finally had to capitulate after a month of siege.

None of the 147 Swiss survived.

Even today the Swiss Guards have their swearing-in ceremony of new recruits on 6 May, in tribute of the fallen.

Weddings Dragons and Crowdsourcing

That title sounds so much better than simply "updates."

For those who care, I've got a few things being juggled right now.

You might recall that

I'm getting Married.
Yes, these are the wedding rings. We'll turn out the lights in the church, because "in the darkness bind them!"
Yes, these are the wedding rings. We'll turn out the lights in the church, because "in the darkness bind them!"

The wedding will take place on August 25th, at Saint Gregory the Great church over in Bellerose, New York. If you are in the area and want to come to the mass, well, we never lock people out of the church. The honeymoon will be at DragonCon. If you don't see us, you know why.

Also, I have a wedding registry. So, check..... if you want to get something for the bride, the registry is here.  It has already been referred to as the nerdiest registry ever.

If you want to get something for the groom ... don't I already ask you folks for enough?

Speaking of which....

Patreon account

Yup. I have one of these, too. Coming soon will be short stories, chapters, drafts of work in progress, outlines, interviews, questions, all that sort of stuff.

I currently have a deal going with Jon del Arroz where if we get enough sponsers by the end of the month, we co-author a story together.

Hilarity will ensue.

Here's my link for it.

Dragon Awards

I would like to remind everyone that this is still happening. The Dragons are coming.

If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.

Just remember to vote.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)This is a strange one, especially in the light of all of the more recent comic book movies, where even the origin films (like Doctor Strange) have a feel of a bigger cast, and teams.

We've gone from Captain America (the sole focus of the film was Steve, Bucky, and Peggy) and Iron Man (almost entirely the Tony Stark show) to Ant-Man (and his team of scientists and crooks) and Doctor Strange (with Wong, and with Mordo, and the Ancient One for the better part of two acts).

And then there's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which has only three characters ... there is also a co-starring collection of tropes, cliches and cameos. But thankfully, only our three characters get the bulk of the screen time.

Watching all three of these characters in the film is actually quite pleasant, and interesting. The Vulture has a character arc. Peter Parker has a character arc. Even Tony has a character arc, and he's not even in the movie a whole five minutes.

Premise: Adrian Toomes is just a guy running a construction business. When given the contract for cleaning up after the end of The Avengers invasion of New York City, he overextends himself for when the government, SHIELD, and Tony Stark swoop in and take the job away from him. With truck loads of alien weaponry and armor still in the lot, Toomes has decided to go into the high-tech arms business. This might be the best acting job that Michael Keaton has done in years. Toomes is a villain one can relate to -- he's a blue collar crook who treats his career criminal status as ... a career. He's not the psychopath du jour. He doesn't want to destroy the world just because. It's a refreshing change of pace.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is trying to step up as Spider-Man, with a high-tech Spider-suit made by Tony Stark, and wants to do more than stop purse snatching and minor crimes. An ATM theft goes horribly awry when Peter encounters one of Toomes' weapons on the street, he's put on Toomes' trail, even as Stark and Happy Hogan tell him to stay in his lane and don't go near Toomes.

As Spider-Man, this is one of the better versions I've seen. When it's Spider-Man or Toomes on screen, this film is awesome. When anyone else is on screen (and seriously, why are they?) they are annoying as hell.

As I said, when it's Vulture / Iron Man / Spiderman on screen, this film is awesome, and all three actors are amazing...

But the rest of these characters? Good God, I hate them. I hate them all. Largely because they're just annoying. They're crammed and jammed into the film just to say that they're in the film, shoe-horning in forced "diversity" BS that would have pissed me off less had they made the characters like unto their comic book counterparts. They took Ned Leeds, Flash Thompson and "MJ" from the comics and not only distorted their looks (which is a shallow problem I generally wouldn't care about), but more importantly distorted their personalities.

And you know what? On the diversity BS? Peter Parker always lived in Queens. In fact, I know exactly where his apartment complex in the film is. We have the most diverse population on the face of the planet. So had you kept all of these people, and made them original characters with different names .... okay, Ned would still annoy the living f*** outta me, but everyone else I could tolerate.

But geez, people, why the hell did you have to do that to the characters?

In the Spider Man comics, Ned Leeds is a friend to Peter Parker, a professional photographer, very on the ball, and nowhere near as annoying as this kid from the film, who's yet another "annoying fat kid computer guy" who never shuts up.

Her face throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming.
It seems to be her default expression.
In the Comics, Mary Jane Watson was an extroverted party girl who came from an emotionally abusive household and had emotional depth. "Zendaya"'s "Michelle" / MJ suffers from resting bitch face and walks through the movie like a walking PC activist movement on an overload of marijuana.

Hell, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films allowed MJ to have more emotional depth and character....

And why are you making me say nice things about Kirsten Dunst, movie? Why?

And Flash Thompson, who was the walking jock cliche who was an admirer of Spider-Man, tormentor of Peter Parker, and grew up the join the armed forces and serve his country.  Now, in this film he's just the annoying moron who wants to be smart enough to be on the debate team.

There was no reason for any of these people to be in the film. None. They just served to annoy me endlessly. Screw these people.

Final rating:
Tony / Peter / Vulture arc? 9/10.
Movie with the token hires?  7/10

The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Marvel: Full of Fail

The original West Coast Avengers is probably what inspired Hawkeye having such a strong presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comics, he was the leader of the WCA, which isn't bad for someone whose superpower is to hit what he aims at.

So, when Marvel brings back the WCA, I figure this is going to be awesome...

Then there's this.
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What the flaming Hell is this BS, you ask? This is failure, my friends. Failure at the very core. Let us ignore rebranding it as "a team of young heros"... because that requires that they be heroes.

Let's start with the cover.... because nothing is happening. Nothing at all. Unless this collection of freaks and losers are going to be thrown at the reader, nothing is happening.

And good lord, what is going on with these characters. Well, I'll tell you.

Katebishop.pngSee the lady in the pink / purple body suit? That's Hawkeye. Yes, really. That's what's Marvel has done to one of the more popular MCU characters. He was replaced with a Kate Bishop.

Now, originally, Kate Bishop was part of the Young Avengers, and looked more like a badass.

The original look for Bishop (right) was darker, sleeker, and she's more obviously mature. In fact, it's rather obvious that she's a flipping adult. She has more in common with Batman or Green Arrow than Hawkeye, being the child of a millionaire who shoots trick arrows. And apparently, her inciting incident that spurs her to being a heroine? Rape. Yeah. It's even on the Marvel biography page.

.... Ya know, even Jessica Jones, who started in the Marvel "adult" lines, was a slave of a mind-controlling psycho, and they explicitly stated that she had not been raped. But this is the "younger hero" line?

Anyway, at one point, Bishop was framed as the new Hawkeye... her book lasted 16 issues. Can we say fail?

Now she gets her own comic book. I don' t know where the purple body sock came from, but good God, someone should be taken out to the woodshed over it. Seriously, we go from the Young Avengers look to making her appear to be a rejected extra from the terrible Ghostbusters attempt from a few years back. What the Hell, people?

The one who looks like she's wearing a white body condom is "Gwen-Pool." Because we need a hundred variations on Deadpool, don't we?

The creature with the purple hair is a fellow named Quentin Quire.  He's a mutant, and his powers seem to be ... very lame. (Telepath, telekinetic, and "smart"). Apparently, his hair has always been purple. I don't even want to know whose bright idea it was to give him a makeover in San Francisco chic.

See the blond in the back? That's Clint "Hawkeye" Barton. Yup. The real Hawkeye. No, I don't know what happened to him. He looks like a rejected Archie character.

The person on the left is supposed to be male. At least, that's my conclusion, the artwork on this is so terrible I'm not entirely certain. According to press releases, this is supposed to be Kate Bishop's boyfriend "Johnny." Who has no powers. Why is he on the team? No idea.

Then there's America Chavez .... ugh. From what I can gather, her only characteristic is that she's "gay Mary Sue." Yup. That's it. Her selling point? She's a walking gay stereotype, and so is her author ... that was it...  Are we surprised that her comic book series was cancelled in 13 months? (March 2017 - April 2018).

So just to make this clear, this series has two-- count them, TWO -- characters that couldn't sustain their own comic book franchises and fell apart. The author who penned these failures (two issues of "America" and all of the "Hawkeye" attempt) will be the author of this new property, which is already full of fail, and I'm still just on the cover. They've even made Hawkeye look lame, but he's supposed to be the adult here.

Yeah, this sucks already.

One final observation: this sucks even worse because of the modifications made to the characters. If they tried to treat these characters AS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED, this might have made for an interesting collection of characters. Imagine the original design on Kate Bishop -- wealthy, classy, adult, serious -- then throw together an imperious "I'm smarter than you" mutant (Quentin Quire), a nutcase from an alternate dimension, and .... okay, no, America Chavez would still suck. Maybe it would have worked to try to get these people to work together, see how the personality conflicts result in some fun strangeness, but it's clear just from the cover that they've been made to look universally goofy, and uniformly lame.

This isn't a comic book, this is a still from the gay pride parade as interpreted through negative stereotypes.

Here, I'll give you a book where the men are men, the women are women, and even teenagers try to step up to become the line between good and evil.

While we're here, the Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.

Just remember to vote.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Catholic Reads: Interview with Declan Finn

So, I was on Catholic Reads last night.

This was fun.

Though on the one hand, it looks like I should consider better lighting next time.

However, that would also entail that people are interested in looking at me. Decisions, decisions....

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

Batman Vs Superman, Comic editions

I found this series of scans on Facebook.

Still better than the film.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Grab the Popcorn

Part of the trend in all the various and sundry lefty lynch mobs is just how violent they are. Now, sure, I will occasionally have thoughts of beating people to death with a blunt object, or my bare hands, but I try not to say it to someone's face. Or even behind their back. I beat them to death in my books. Simple, easy. Murdering people is such hard work, especially if you want to get away with it.

But these lefty psychopaths coming out of the woodwork are like they're rejects from a Murder She Wrote episode.

Take for example, a threat waged against Diversity and Comics, Richard Meyer, on Twitter.

And that is a comic book "professional."

Heck, Marvel author Mark Waid has decided to unleash his hordes of fans on Meyer to get him thrown out of conventions, and to get his independently published comic book removed from book stores.

Then of course, you have Larry Correia, who's had years of being libeled with every name in the book. And the recent BS with both him and John Ringo being uninvited from conventions. They like to claim that the fans are violent. And yet the leftist douchebags of Vile 770 and their ilk have sent packages to Jon's home, call up and harass his family, and go after his kids...

Hate to break it to these little nervous fuckers, but if they think we're violent just by talking to them, they should see what happens when they try to go full Anti-Fa on us and attack. Then they'll get to see what violence looks like. Granted, they're relatively spineless, so it may require a simple slap upside the head. Because after all, their violence is protected speech, our speech is violence. Morons.

But it's like they don't remember there are laws against slander and libel. There are laws against fraud. There are laws against conspiracy to commit fraud. There are laws against making threats of physical violence.

Oh look, we have all of the above.

Frankly the only thing that has kept the lefty lynch mob from our full legal vengeance is our mercy, or that we're busy getting on with our lives. Good lord, even Vox Day never bothered getting little Andrew Marston thrown into a nuthouse or arrested, apparently (or so I've heard) because Vox pities the little douchbag.

But now it's starting to get on our nerves. Larry and Mrs. Correia seem to be on the verge of fed up. Ringo has been talking to a lawyer and collecting evidence. People are archiving and screen-shotting Vile 770 to the inevitable lawsuit against Mike Glyer, and we have been for years.

Enough is enough.

When will it end? It will not end with lawsuits. I don't even think it will end when they become a violent angry mob and actually attack some people. It will end with the violent lefty douchebags are all in jail and the slanderous muthafuckas online are broke and bankrupt, because we own everything they ever had in the settlements.

These muthafuckas want to mess with us? Fine. Let them.

If they physically attack us, we will defend ourselves -- and I've seen Anti-Fa rallies, they use Molotov cocktails and gang up on people 6-to-1, so we will not be held responsible.

If they attack us online and try to destroy our businesses, we'll sue them and we'll win. [Hi, China Mike. How are you doing?]

They want to destroy us. They won't stop until they're bankrupt, in jail, or both. And they'll still whine that we started it and it's all our fault.

We'll all need money for the eventual lawsuits we file, so you might want to buy my book or chip in a few bucks to Patreon.

Grab the popcorn folks, because this is going to be awesome.

Non illegitimi carborundum.

The Dragons are coming.
If you don't have your ballot filled out already (either IRL or in your head,) here's my list. It includes the lists of other people, so there are options.
Just remember to vote.