Sunday, December 29, 2019
Is it Worth a Redbox: Gemini Man
The Brothascomics crew/podcast has been accused of being haters of Will Smith. I would dispute that a bit; especially from my end. I was a huge Will Smith fan since he was the Fresh Prince, through Parents Just Don't Understand, through Summertime, and into his tv and movie career. As a Black man, Will Smith accomplished more than I think any of us ever thought he could and his place in box office history is secure.
However, no one stays on top forever. Over the last ten years, his movies have not been good and he has been struggling to find his way back. Like most actors of his age and pedigree, he still may be able to get a film greenlit, but the box office returns are not hitting like they used to. His most recent screen returns have been box office gold with the Aladdin remake; although I would argue that movie would've been successful with just about anyone playing the Genie, to Oscar attempts in Concussion, and super hero schlock with Suicide Squad. Gone are the days when Will Smith alone could guarantee a 100 million dollar box office just based on name alone. And that is ok. Each actor at a certain point needs to find their way. You cannot just keep doing the same movie over and over( unless you Tom Cruise).
Well Gemini Man feels like a movie that woulda been a hit for Will Smith 15 years ago. The premise of an aged assassin fighting against his younger, cloned self... that definitely has Will Smith 2002 written all over it. Sadly tho, this is 2019 and the luster on the star and the idea are dull and so is this movie.
In Gemini Man, Will Smith stars as Henry Brogan, a CIA assassin with an impeccable kill record and the Agencies most reliable killer. But Henry is getting old and wants to get out of the killing game and sadly, rogue units within the CIA wont allow that to happen. Unknown to Henry, a department within the CIA has actually cloned Henry ( nicknamed Junior) to be the killer without a conscience that Henry has developed. And to make sure that Henry doesn't get in the way, they dispatch Junior to kill Henry. Really that is the gist of the entire movie. There is a subplot with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a jr agent who Henry takes under his wing, but for the most part, its just a long winding road of Henry trying to not get killed by Junior and, of course, trying to redeem him. The action sequences are kind of tired and boring and the CGI to make Will Smith look younger is disturbing. While this technology has been done sparingly in some movies and longer in others(Captain Marvel with young Nick Fury), in Gemini Man is striking in how bad the CGI is. I mean Junior looks nothing like young Will Smith and we know this because we have thousands of hours of video of what young Will Smith looked like.
Gemini Man was directed by Ang Lee and I know some filmgoers give him props for his movies in the past; much like the star of the movie. Gemini Man feels dated and tired and a money grab for all those involved. You would do better and just going back to watch any pre-2010 Will Smith movie and enjoy that because Gemini Man is not worthy of your time. Definitely not worth a Redbox!
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Holiday Rush Review
I guess this review needs to start with a confession. Hi. I am the Producer from Brothascomics and I love Lifetime movies. This started out when I was in my twenty's and still teaching and every Sunday as I graded papers, I would put on Lifetime in the afternoon as background noise while I graded and input grades. This has continued for twenty plus years even tho I do not teach anymore. I watch and consume an inordinate amount of cheesy movies from Lifetime and Lifetime movie network. Over time, that enjoyment of cheesy acting and ridiculous plot lines morphed into watching holiday movies on Lifetime and its sister in cheese, the Hallmark Channel. Each year, the networks produce more and more Christmas movies and I consume all of them. And to be honest, the cheesier, the better.
One thing that has been constant, unfortunately, is that these movies rarely star people of color, most specifically for me, Black people. Its gotten a little better over the last 3 years but for the most part, these movie are as white as the holiday snow. And the two most common refrains I hear from Black people is that they don't watch these movies because "there ain't no Black people in them" and "these movies is corny AF"! And BOTH of those statements are true, but I would argue that these movies follow a pattern and the only real difference with the Black ones are the actors and Jesus. Let me explain:
Lifetime/Hallmark Holiday movies follow a very simple pattern:
Step 1: Everything is all good ( until its not)
Step 2: Something or someone is introduced into the situation to make things messy
Step 3: A lesson is learned( with Jesus/God/Holy Spirit, etc if the folks are Black)
Step 4: Redemption and back to things being all good
Holiday Rush, on Netflix follows this pattern to a T. Lets review. Romany Malco stars as Rush Williams, the number 1 radio DJ in Baltimore and is he is doing great financially. He has a big house outside the city, his four kids are enrolled in private school; with one even getting accepted into Harvard. Things are all good for the Rush family( Step 1)
Unfortunately, the local radio station that Rush works at is taken over by a corporate overlord radio station run by Tamala Jones and Rush and his producer, Roxy, are fired just a few weeks before Christmas and all the plans and gifts his kids were looking forward to are ended ( Step 2)
Once fired, Roxy and Rush come up with a plan to buy the old radio station they used to work at before Rush become so bougie. This old station is for sale and they need the money to buy it. Auntie Jo, who helps Rush raise his kids, kicks in some money, Roxy cashes in her 401K, but Rush is short on cash and to come up with his share, he has to sell his house and move back in with his Aunt Jo. Of course his spoiled kids hate this idea. They was asking for miniature horses and other extravagant gifts for Christmas. Now they have to move to the other side of town( the Black side) and make do as Rush pursues his dream of being a radio station owner. Of course there is conflict with his son who thinks his Harvard dreams are gone and with his oldest daughter who is more concerned about getting likes on Instagram than anything else. But lessons need to be learned about appreciating what you have, and how this community raised Rush, and how you gotta have faith that things will work out for the best. There is even a Magical Negro in the form of Rush's dead wife, played by La La Anthony. Over time, the kids learn that we are a family and everything is gonna be just fine ( Step 3)
Rush and Roxy purchase the station and overcome some obstacles and even find love with one another as their station becomes a hit and they receive a new partner in their business, played by Deon Cole. Things are reset as the family is happy living in their new found life and Rush and Roxy set out to blaze the airwaves in Baltimore and everything is now all good- with the help of Jesus.( Step 4).
Having watched hundreds of these movies, Holiday Rush is fun and you will probably enjoy the movie more if you are a fan of Romany Malco. In this movie, he is charming and gets to stretch his dramatic acting chops for a little bit. Hallmark and Lifetime would do best to produce more of these movies with People of Color. The plots and stories of these movies can speak to people across colors and cultures. Yes they are cheesy and often poorly acted, but everyone loves to see redemption stories and that is what all these movies share in common. So a solid thumbs up for Holiday Rush and I am off to watch Lifetime Movie Network!
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Chadwick Boseman VS The Black Panther
It was reported this past week that Chadwick Boseman with the premiere of Disney + and many characters from the MCU adding their voice or acting talents to original programming there that he did not want any part of that. See article below
No thanks Disney Plus for Chadwick
And you can see why that would be the case. Chadwick is 42 years old and with the global and cultural impact that Black Panther made, its not a far stretch to say he could easily be type cast as T'Challa for the rest of his career. That is something he clearly doesn't want and you could tell, as time went on, that he really did not want to do or say Wakanda Forever again for a very long time.
And who could blame him really. Chadwick is a classically trained actor from Howard University and trained classically at Oxford. He worked himself up from soap operas, to tv actor, to leading man in an industry that is not overtly friendly to Black leading men. He has done that work and even has a movie coming out here shortly where he is the lead. Plus he does not have to look far to see what can happen when you become iconic for being a star in the MCU and its impact on your ability to get other work.
Robert Downey Jr's renaissance came with Tony Stark back in 2008 and he bounced that into some successful movies like Due Date, Tropic Thunder, and Sherlock Holmes. But since 2011, RDJ has not done much of anything that is not Tony Stark. He as occupied and become Tony Stark and, as talented as he is, the public may only see and accept him as Tony Stark. We will get to see if the public still sees him as an actor when Doolittle comes out next year.
Opposite of RDJ, is Chris Evans, who really didn't have much of a movie career as a leading man before he became Steve Rodgers in 2011. He had supporting roles in many movies, including an scene stealing role in Scott Pilgrim and of course as Johnny Storm in two bad Fantastic Four movies. Since becoming Cap, he has starred in a couple of independent movies and the leads in a couple others but nothing that would make you suggest that he is going to be a Hollywood leading man-outside of being Steve Rogers. Let's see out Knives Out does at the box office.
And that is the dilemma for Chadwick. Yes, these Marvel movies help pay the bills so you can take on other roles in smaller movies or up your profile for bigger movies, but will the public accept you as someone that is not T'Challa, or Tony Stark, or Steve Rogers? The history of nerd culture movies and tv shows that its very hard to break out of that typecast. Harrison Ford comes to mind as the most successful as he was able to get past being both Han Solo and Indiana Jones to have a very successful movie career. But the star of those Star Wars movies, Mark Hamill had a hard time living down Luke Skywalker. Many cultural phenomenon characters never live past being THAT character and its amplified even more if the character is Black. Jimmy Walker and Gary Coleman never lived down JJ Walker or Arnold Drummond and years later the same thing happened to Jaleel White never being able to get past Urkel.
This is not to say that those actors are as talented as Chadwick Boseman, but becoming a character who is a cultural icon comes at a price to your continued career outside of that character. I think that is what Chadwick is trying to avoid no matter how grateful he is to the opportunities Black Panther has created.
I truly hope 21 Bridges is successful for Chadwick. He truly is an amazing actor and could be the Denzel for this generation of Black actors. Hopefully people will support him in his non T'Challa roles or we are gonna be stuck with Sad Chadwick for a very long time.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Mrs. Fletcher Review
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Saturday, October 26, 2019
Dolemites My Name: Movie Review
A confession at the start.... I have never seen a Dolemite movie before; at least not all of one. I am on the tale end of the age bracket for those movies. I know my uncle who is like 10 years older than me saw those movies and talked about them; I never saw one on television or on video. And its not because I was raised prude or anything like that. I am sure my grandmother had those albums and probably went to see those movies in the theater. She, and my mom, were not about me seeing that stuff when I was young. Once I got older, I shifted more towards Black Cesar and Shaft movies so Dolemite was only something I heard people talk about and rappers reference.
The Netflix movie, Dolemite is My Name, starring Eddie Murphy is a good jumping on point for young people with no knowledge of Dolemite and has enough Easter eggs for long time fans of his albums and movies.
Murphy plays, Ruddy Ray Moore, a struggling comedian living in Los Angeles in the late 60's looking for his big break into entertainment. Failing as a musician and as a stand up comedian, Ruddy Ray takes a chance by borrowing and expanding the jokes and rhymes from a homeless person who frequented the music store he worked in and adopted the over the top moniker of Dolemite.
As Dolemite, Moore's comedy reaches new levels as he gains success with comedy albums and tours across the country. Looking to expand the Dolemite brand, he hatches an idea to make a Dolemite movie. Emlisting a writer, played by Keegan Michael Key, and hiring film students from UCLA, the second half of the movie delves into how the movie gets made and the absurdity of the production. Wesley Snipes plays actor Du'rville Martin who serves as the director of the movie and is incredulous as to how ridiculous the Dolemite movie and concept is. Snipes is wonderful in his role and in part steals every scene he is in; including the scenes with Murphy.
And Eddie Murphy is brilliant in this movie. Its been a while since we have seen this Eddie Murphy and not just the vulgar language( and there is a lot). We have not seen Eddie Murphy has this kind of energy and passion in a movie probably since Dreamgirls. In Dreamgirls he played against type and it earned hin an Oscar nomination. In Dolemite, he is closer to playing Eddie Murphy, but with swagger and emotional center that makes you cheer and care for Rudy Ray Moore. Its probably Murphy's most complete role ever where you can see not only his incredible comedy talent, but his underrated ability to convey drama where needed.
A great original movie from Netflix and director Craig Brewer; who is directing Eddie Murphy in the Coming to America sequel. If this is the kick off for an Eddie Murphy renaissance, its a great start and I look forward to the next chapter.
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Married Life of Archie 10 Years Later
When people think of Archie now, they probably think of KJ Appa and the atrocity that is that Riverdale television show. And where I watched that show for 2 years and listened to my favorite podcast about it for last season, Riverdale is actually an example( although a bad one) of how flexible the Archie Universe is. Yes there is Riverdale and soon to by Katy Keene, but in the comics, Archie and company has branched out their characters to such diverse properties that people can read about Archie fighting the Predator, Jughead as a Zombie, and Veronica as a vampire. Plus there is time travel and fighting world wars. No comic property is as flexible with their characters as Archie.
10 years ago, they stretched that flexibility to answer the never ending question: Who would Archie marry in the Life of Archie books. Archie chose Veronica, yet a trip down Memory Lane in Riverdale allowed Archie to see what his life would have been if he had chose to marry Betty. Again, the folks at Archie have a great handle of the core of the characters in Riverdale( which makes the tv show Riverdale so frustrating, but that's a post for another time) and crafted two separate universes to see what Archie and the Riverdale gang would be like after Archie marries his two sweethearts.
Well ten years later, Archie and company are back with the Married Life as we pick up with Archie and his two timeline marriages ten years later. First up is Veronica and their married life is hectic to say the least. With twin kids( one boy, one girl), Archie is trying to be the best father and provided he can as he heads up a division for Hiram Lodge. His boss/father in law thinks the way to show love to your family is by providing them with everything they need so long hours away from homes makes money and that is what is important. Veronica, who grew up with that type of father, is not bothered as much by this and in fact is looking to go back to work herself; which creates drama with Archie of course. In their version of Riverdale, Jughead and Midge now run and own Pop Tates( which is not doing well), Betty is a therapist/counselor, and Moose is moving from Mayor or Riverdale to hopefully Congress Moose Mason. We get a surprise appearance by an OLD School Archie character who is back in town and is as creepy as ever. Plus Cheryl Blossom is around to cause trouble as usual.
In the Married Life with Betty, Archie and Betty are still living in New York City, as Archie had moved to pursue his dream to do and teach music. Betty makes the money to support the family and as they are looking to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, Archie and Betty head home to Riverdale and find that his dad, Fred, is looking to be dealing with early onset dementia and is having a hard time caring for himself since his wife passed away. A party at Pop Tate's, brings the gang all together and we find out that Veronica and Reggie are divorced, Moose is still the Mayor, and Jughead and Midge are looking for investors to buy Pop Tate's.
Just a fun book all around and the art by Dan Parent captures the joy of Archie and the Riverdale Gang and the angst and emotion they feel as adults. This was a great start to this series and I will continue reading throughout.
Living with Yourself Review
Woke up to thunderstorms in sunny, South Florida Saturday morning as the remnants of Tropical Storm Nestor was making its way across the peninsula. Not that I had plans outside the house, but the rain and strong winds forced me to stay inside and catch up on some tv shows I had been meaning to watch. I mean I coulda did stuff off my Honey Do List, but... well you know.
I had heard about this Netflix show starring Paul Rudd called, Living with Yourself and it popped right up in the "You might like" section of Netflix and for once, Netflix was 100% correct. Living with Yourself is an eight episode mini series; with each episode being about 30 minutes long. Rudd stars as Miles, a 40- something, married ad executive who is just feed up with the minutia of life. He and his wife, played by Ainsling Bea moved to the suburbs from New York City 10 years ago with the hopes of starting a family. But life is messy and gets in the way and the next thing you know, you hate your job, hate your life, and your relationship is trash and those ten years and your hopes and dreams pass by in an instant.
To get out of that rut, Miles is suggested by a co-worker to visit a spa to get rejuvenated.... its not some spa for him to get a handjob. The spa is super exclusive and the entry fee is fifty thousand dollars; money which Miles and his wife had been saving to start IVF treatments. Paul takes out the money and heads to the spa but he does not get a hand job or rejuvenated- he gets cloned and in a bit of medical shenanigans, old Miles get buried in a field while new Miles looks to take over his life.
Living with Yourself would not be nearly as entertaining without Rudd. Playing against himself as old Miles and new Miles, he is witty and charming as new Miles, and desperate and pathetic as old Miles. And it would be easy to just follow the surface jokes the show provides and skip over the deeper meaning of life and connectedness that people need in relationships. Old Miles, even though he loves his wife, allowed work and life to make her feel less important and that crushed their chances to connect; especially after a tragedy they experience early in their marriage. By seeing New Miles free of all the stress, hang ups, and his internalized bullshit, Old Miles is able to reflect on what is important to him. This story is told in flashback and flash forward moments that always keeps the viewers present and unfolds the story in a non-complicated matter. Plus, its the correct length of episodes; unlike many Netflix shows that are often 2-4 episodes too long.
Overall, a very entertaining show and highly recommended; especially for couples who may not feel connected to one another at this stage in their life. Should spark some interesting conversations about who you were and who you are and who you want to be.And if you read a review that said the show is a dark comedy... its not that dark at all. Very well done, Netflix!
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Black Widow isnt problematic but Scarlett Johansson is
This week news broke that possibly Robert Downey, Jr will be making an appearance in the Black Widow movie that is scheduled for early 2020. This movie, which is a flashback movie long before the events of the Avengers, would seem to force Tony Stark into Black Widows movies and it has me wondering why is that?
Black Widow in the MCU movies has more than held her own. From her appearance in Iron Man 2 through Winter Soldier and Civil War, she has always held her own against heroes and villains; even without any "super powers". Thing how awesome she was in the Avengers movies playing such a key role in each movie; even up until her death.
Her solo movies, which probably shoulda been made years ago, seems like a slam dunk. There is a rich back history of her past as an assassin, the teased Red Room, and of course, Budapest which is name checked in 2 different Avengers movies. None of those things are associated with Tony Stark, so why would they be calling RDJ to feature in her debut? I have a theory!!!
As much as people love Black Widow, Scarlett Johannsson has become problematic AF. In doesn't take much Google searching over the past couple of years where she sticks her foot in her mouth and has to moonwalk it back after her PR folks, and probably Disney get to her. In the past two years, she took a role in Ghost in a Shell when knowing damn well that role should be played by an Asian/Japanese actress. She took the role and then tried to play it off like it was not a big deal and its a huge deal. Then, she was set to play a trans actor in a movie role and doubled down again with some any actor can play any role bullshit and again, she was forced to drop that project after public uproar or stealing a role from a marginalized group of people. AND then, she did an interview defending both taking the trans role and the Asian role which further alienated her from certain fans who liked her in the MCU movies. And then this month, she noted that she loved Woody Allen and would act in his pedophile ass movies again. And that is the thing about ScarJo, her whole Hollywood persona is basically white feminism; the ability to do whatever she wants yet not include other marginalized groups in the battle against patriarchy. She takes what she wants and when she wants it to the damnation of those who are struggling.
I can only imagine Disney/Marvel reading this stuff and thinking, " would you please shut the fuck up?" There is much goodwill with Black Widow from the movies, but she keeps talking and pushing away people who would generally support this movie. The idea that we can separate the artist from their bullshit is just that.... bullshit. If I do not care for the actor playing in the movies, I am not seeing that movie; no matter how good it is. Case in point, Hustlers looks like a good movie, but I don't mess with JLo so its a full no for me. And the same is going to be with Black Widow and that really does suck because there is a huge lack of women in superhero starring roles. The genre is totally white male dominated and having a woman star in her own movie... even tho its another white woman, is still something that needs support so we can get more movies and hopefully movies with women of color. But seeing this movie will just embolden her to keep being problematic and I don't think I can do it.
I think Disney is thinking about fans like me. They know she is problematic so what do they do- they call to the bullpen and bring out their number 1 closer, RDJ. People love RDJ and seeing him or even potentially seeing him in another MCU movie will move fans on the fence into the movie theater and make them put their hate of ScarJo to the side for 2 hours. I get it and its fantastic marketing but I am not sure if its gonna work on me.
So what do ya'll think: Just a coincidence RDJ is rumored in this movie or Disney heading off problematic ScarJo?
Denzel Washington in the MCU
Word on the social media streets is that the people at Marvel/Disney were looking to cast Hollywood legend, Denzel Washington as Magneto in the upcoming X-Men reboot whenever that happens for Disney. Of course, the Internet being what it is, had thousands of hot takes from people loving the idea and people loathing the idea. Like most things, reality often lies in the middle and no matter which side you fall on, the only certain thing is that Denzel would instantly be the best actor the MCU has seen in whatever role he takes.
Those who oppose Denzel as Magneto cite Magneto's history as a Holocaust survivor and his Judaism. And yes, those are important aspects to the character of Magneto and helped shaped his view on the conflict between humans and mutants. However, you could manipulate that history and make him a survivor of a multitude of atrocities and still have him have that negative view towards humanity. Its often funny that comic book fans only want to stick strictly to the comics when the character is white and is looking to be gender or race bent to fit into a movie. I mean honestly, who could Disney/Marvel find that would be a better actor than Denzel Washington? He would bring instant credibility to a role and character that demands the actor playing have a certain gravitas.
Those who are for the casting cite the correlation between the Civil Rights movement and the differences between Martin Luther King and Malcom X and how their differences often parallel the differences between Erik and Charles. There have been conflicting reports on how Stan Lee based those Magneto and Charles on MLK and Malcom X but regardless of that, having a Black actor play off against a white actor where race is central to the story, would be fascinating.... and this is probably why it wont happen.
Look, Disney knows that fans are chomping at the bit to get a solid X-Men movie. No matter how you feel about the Fox movies, even the good ones are a bit lacking in certain areas. Its probably why Marvel/Disney has taken their time with rolling out any information about the mutants and X-Men because they know if they do this correctly, they are looking at making Avengers money. And that is the reason they wont take this huge leap and cast Denzel as Magneto. Its not because hes not a great actor or they couldn't craft a story around him playing Magneto, its that they do not want to court the controversy of doing it. Call them scared or call them bold, Disney is not going to mess with this money train as they look to recoup all the money they paid for these Fox properties.
So, no Denzel Washington as Magneto in my humble opinion. I hope I am wrong because it would set social media on fire when they announced and I love watching the world burn.
If not Magneto, who would you like to see Denzel play in the MCU... and don't say Blue Marvel!!!
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
21 of Sonji Wortham's Favorite Things
The other members of Brothascomics did a tribute to The Female Perspective a month ago. It was heartfelt and genuine and appreciated, However she was much, much more to me. Today, August 20th, 2019 is her 51st Birthday and my gift is for you to know more about the person and not just the moniker.
1. Her favorite Male Solo Musical Artist was David Bowie. Sting and Jimi Hendrix are close. There is a traveling David Bowie Archive going around the World. If it made it to Atlanta, we were going
2. Her favorite Female Solo Artist was the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She also liked Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight. She wanted to go to Aretha's Funeral last year. We should have...
3. Her Favorite Rock Group was The Police. We saw them after they were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I bought two tickets for 270. 00. She bought her own ticket and we watched the concert 20 rows apart.... FUCK
4.Her Favorite R&B group was Earth,Wind and Fire. Their music is timeless. She would ask to hear Fantasy and magically Phillip Bailey would appear.....
5. Her Favorite 1980's Video group was Duran Duran. Simon Le Bon and the Taylors …
6. Her favorite 1980's Solo artist male was George Michael. Play Freedom 90 and ....
7. Jazz was David Sanborn. She loved Saxophone players.
8. Rap solo is Tupac of course. I don't know when the change happened. She hated rap music until Tupac came along.
9. She loved En Vogue , Jodeci , and Boyz2Men.
10. Donny Hathaway's A Song to You , would make her emotional. Me too
11. She was team Marvel.
12 Her Favorite Super Hero Movie was Black Panther
13. Favorite Netflix Marvel show was Daredevil
14. Favorite Group was X-Men
15. Did not like Thor as A CHARACTER
16. Favorite actor not named Keanu Reeves-- tie Al Pacino and Robert Dinero
17. Favorite Musical Movie -West Side Story ... ugh.
18. Favorite 1990's Movie - The Matrix
19. Favorite Movie - The Godfather
20. Favorite Play - Hamilton
21. Drove to Savannah, GA on Valentine's Day weekend 2000 with no Reservations, no plans and no Money. slept in the parking lot of a hotel She wanted to locate Keanu Reeve's in the streets after shooting the movie the Gift. We never saw him. Peanuts creator Charles Schultz died that day
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Batman Hush Movie Review
I am going to lead with something that would become apparent later.... I did not like this movie. Like at all. Even tho I am the host of a show called the Marvel Hacks, DC animation has been a huge part of my life since I had kids. When my kids were younger, they gravitated more to DC than Marvel and because their animation studio was pumping out solid comic book adaptations, it was easy for them to watch and for me to read and compare the movies to the comics.
As they got older, the shift to Marvel began and its pretty much stomped out any DC love they had. The MCU movies > DC Animation and the awfulness of the DC cinematic movies kicked DC out of my house completely. And I missed that because I was enjoying watching and reading DC books for the first time in my life and when they dipped, I kinda forgot about the DC animation movies.
Twitter and social media help when fans get excited about a movie coming out, but I have missed so many of the movies over the last five or so years. I caught the Batman: The Killing Joke and that was pretty terrible, but when I heard they were doing Hush, I got really excited. In the comics, Batman Hush was a 12 issues series by Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb. It told the story of a new villain to Gotham and how he was manipulating Batman rogues into doing his dirty work and mind fuckin' Batman all at the same time. The books had great art, action, dialogue, fight scenes and a surprise ending... several surprise endings that made the book and absolute must read( and I am not a Batman guy). Plus a love story with Batman and Catwoman! This is on part they actually get right!
When I heard the movie was coming out, I went out and read the books again to get myself familiarized with the story again. That was mistake number one. While the movie sticks with the basic principals of the comics, it falls flat in many areas. One, the animation. At this point, DC animation is still giving us a slight better version of their tv animation. One of the reasons Hush the comic is so good is the art by Jim Lee. Now recreating that is not possible, but something closer than Batman the Animated series. Two, the movie takes broad, unnecessary strokes from the comic book. They coulda did an almost panel for panel remake like they did with Batman: The Killing Joke but they skipped over so much... especially the stuff with Bruce's friend, Tommy Elliot, which I will come back to later. Three, the fight scenes come about every 5 minutes like labor pains. Any emotion that the story should carry is wiped away by the BAM, BIFF, WHOP of fight scenes. And even tho they stick closer to the comic than the rest of the movie, it still is overkill; especially the final Boss scene between Batman and Hush. Lastly, and this is me being petty, there was NO reason to stick Damian Wayne in this movie. NONE. I hate the character and this cameo made me hate him even more.
Overall, and I am not sure what the plan is because Hush is really a two part story. I do not want to spoil anything but they really only told the first half and they kinda fumbled the ball with it. Tommy Elliot's role in Hush is vital to the story and they gloss over it pretty quickly. It did not seem they were setting up the second part and the reveal of who Hush actually is and that would be a shame because the true reveal is better than the reveal in this movie.
Batman: Hush shoulda been called Batman: Rush because this felt like a rush to the finish of a classic story. It deserved better and DC needs to do a better job of making sure these classic stories match up with classic animation and story telling. They really missed a chance right here. Read the book and skip this.
Secret Obession on Netflix Review
Man you would have to know me very well to know how much I enjoy Lifetime movies. Before there was a whole ass movie network, the movies generally premiered on Saturday nights and then ran for large blocks on Sunday afternoon. I really cannot count how many times I have seen women get cheated on, stalked, and roughed up with domestic violence. On top of that, unruly teens always out having sex or getting caught up on the drugs. Its formulatic AF and I love every minute of it. Still do really as I binge the hell out of the movies on Sunday afternoon as I am doing work in the house or finishing a work project.
So when I turned on Netflix the other day and saw the preview trailer for Secret Obsession, my curiosity peaked a bit. I first noticed Brenda Song and then the trailer played all the way out life a Lifetime Movie. Woman in danger, women being stalked, women with amnesia, and obsessed man. This is almost a full Lifetime movie Bingo.
The problem is this is a BAD Lifetime movie. Netflix does such a good job with their original programming so for them to actually be pumping this up like its any good is a tragedy. Brenda Song stars as Jennifer Russell and in the opening scene, she is on the run from a mystery man in the shadows. She's doing her best to escape and every horror movie trope is used from locked doors failing and cars stalling when trying to escape. When she does look to have an opening to get away from the slow walking stalker, she gets run down by a car and sent to the hospital.
This is when the movie really gets bad. Breaking all sorts of hospital protocol, a man who claims to be her husband shows up and is giving access to Jennifer and stays( stalks) her through her recovery but.... Jennifer has amnesia and cannot remember why she was on the run and even if this man, Russell played by Mike Vogel is actually her husband.
Jennifer recovers enough to be released even with the amnesia and given to this man who takes her and moves her out to this remote area with no internet access and she is really just left alone with this kidnapper as she tries to recover her memory and life. Meanwhile, a detective, played by Dennis Haysbert is investigating a missing persons report and the accident as a part of a much larger case that. Plus a new man shows up.... the real Russell Williams and his confrontation with his imposter leads him to being killed.
The rest of the movie is just Jennifer uncovering that this man is a full on psycho who became obsessed with her and her life after a brief encounter previously. The reveal is long and boring and the final escape fight scene and mystery ending are quite a bore.
Look, I don't watch Lifetime Movies for psychological thrillers. I watch it for cheesy acting and dialogue and pretty women who overcome all kids of shit to put shitty men in jail. So you would think since this movie covers all that I would be happy. WRONG. This movie is a bad Lifetime movie with terrible acting, writing, and plot and no matter how much Jennifer recovered, it was not enough to cover the plot holes and general awfulness Secret Obsession served.
So hard pass. Do not watch. Netflix out here charging $18 a month for a movie you could watch for free on Lifetime Movie Network.
Marvel Hall H Recap
Marvel came back to Hall H for a huge presentation after taking last year off to present at D23. MCU fans had been skeptical and confused about what direction MCU was headed in post Endgame. There had been the Eternals and Black Widow movies announced but outside of that, everything was speculation. What about Black Panther 2 and Captain Marvel 2? What about Fantastic Four and X-Men? Well Marvel came out swinging! Lets look at the major announcements and you might want to get your credit card ready to order Disney Plus because you gonna need it!! In no particular order...
The movie comes out in 2020 and takes place in the time between Captain America: Civil War. The often referenced Budapest scene will be addressed so I am sure Hawkeye is in the movie and we have Taskmaster as our villain. For me, I am not that excited about this. One Scarlett Johanssen has been problematic AF and this movie shoulda already been made. Why are we going backwards in the Avengers Saga?
Verdict: I will not be seeing this in the movie theater. I cannot with ScarJo
In my years of reading comics, I have never gotten much traction with the Eternals. Their function and purpose in comics and now in the MCU does nothing for me. The movie has a great cast and I am sure their movie is a set up for bigger things to come in a post-Thanos world. This has an Inhumans feel to it tho.
Verdict: Will probably see it. Too soon to tell.
Thor: Love and Thunder
The Thor MCU movies are probably the most debated in terms of quality of all the movies. Many people like the first one and hate the second one. Ragnarock almost started fights with the folks at Brothascomics. This 4th movie is bringing back Thor and Valkerie and the huge announcement that Natalie Portman is coming back as Jane Foster AND she will be Thor- a straight up storyline from the comics. I am sure this pisses off white fan boys who had found their spirit animal in Fat Thor which makes me delight even more in their pain.
Verdict: Not a huge Portman fan, but a huge fan of Lady Thor comics and if they can bring that energy, this movie will be awesome. Definitely gonna see this in the theater.
Speaking of hotly debated.... Jeremy Renner. Personally, I like the actor, even tho they have never come close to capturing how awesome Hawkeye is in the comics. He is basically Captain America in the comics. Now, on Disney Plus, he gets his own series and it looks like a hand-off to Kate Bishop to be the new Hawkeye and I am all for that. If you did not read the Matt Faction run of Hawkeye, go read it now. Should be fun and interesting and possibly a lead up to the Young Avengers
Verdict: Definitely gonna watch!
An animated series for Disney Plus based on the comics of the same name which deals in What if situations from established stories. It appears all MCU actors are lending their voice talents to this project which give it instant credibility. Hopefully the animation matches up as Marvel is leagues behind DC animation.
Verdict: Definitely Gonna Watch!!
The Falcon and Winter Soldier
I should not even have to tell you this is a definite watch. Black Captain America. Period. I know some people hate on Anthony Mackie but I'm here for him with this. Sebastian Stan in back as Winter Soldier and masked Baron Zemo is coming as well. The chemistry that Sam and Bucky have is great and I have high hopes for this series. Its the one announcement I am most excited about and you know damn well Steve Rogers is gonna show up!
Verdict: Nuff said
Man I love Tom Hiddleston but I have no real use for this series. Loki's fate after Endgame is for sure interesting and I am sure he winds up in the 4th Thor movie somehow. I just don't have a real interest in seeing it. I am sure someone will tell me about it tho.
Verdict: Ima pass until told otherwise
Title aside, this seems to be interesting as we get to explore the relationship between Wanda and Vision. How they gonna put some life back into his caved out husk of a body will be interesting as well. But the biggest news coming out of this show was that actress Teyonh Parris will be playing Monica Ranbeau AKA Photo. That puts us ever so closer to the Ultimates! All we need is Blue Marvel and America Chavez and I am beyond excited about this!!!
Verdict: Bitch yaaasssss!!!!!!
Shang Chi and The Legend of the 10 Rings
My knowledge of Shang Chi could fit in the Monopoly thimble. For real! But I am open to the idea of reading more about him and the actor cast as Shang Chi is Simu Lui, from Kim's Convenience and I like him a lot. Plus we get the real Mandarin and not the bullshit they tried to pass off in Iron Man 3. You have to wonder is this movie a one-off or the set up of a series of movies to a larger event like Phase one!
Verdict: I will probably see it!
Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
I was not a huge fan of the first Dr Strange movie. His incarnations in Thor 3 and the two Avengers movies tho really showed how powerful he is. This movie is also gonna star Scarlett Witch and you gotta think we maybe get a No More Mutants situation but in reverse. Word is this might be a horror movie, too. If that's the case, if you know me, I wont be seeing this movie ever because I don't mess with horror.
Verdict: If not a horror movie, yes. If a horror movie, hell to the no!
Look, Blade started it all and Marvel and the MCU need to give Wesley a big ass check to help pay off his taxes to the IRS. And I know people wanted him to come back and have a role in the MCU now but Wesley approaching 60 and even tho Black don't Crack and he is in great shape, its time to pass the mantle. I was thinking they was gonna do a show on Hulu with Blade's daughter but Marvel said, "bump that shit" and went out and got 2x Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali to play Blade. To say I was amped would be a huge understatement! And I hope somehow they can get Wesley Snipes in this movie to hand the mantle over and introduce Fallon Grey as Blade's daughter. Well done Marvel!!
Verdict: Bring it all on!!!!!
So Phase 4 is in full effect even without the Fantastic Four or the X-Men. Marvel goes to Hall H and steals the con again as DC didn't even bother to try. Gonna be a hype next 3 years and I am all for it!!
Initial Thoughts on X-Men Relaunched Books
Going in, let me just say that I am not a huge fan of all the reboots of comics. Its not a continuity thing. Its a, " these books need direction and you hamper creative when they know the book could be done in two years" thing.
Regardless of that, I love the X-Men. I have been here for the reboots and bought several new #1 issues against the wishes of my wife and my wallet. At San Diego Comic Con this weekend, new X-Men savior, Jonathan Hickman unveiled the new slate of books so I am gonna give you my initial impressions with the limited information that we have about each book.
By Gerry Duggan and Mateo Lolli
The team is interesting but the concept of mutants on the high seas searching for other mutants seems kinda far fetched. I mean in a world with cerebero, high tech planes, and the internet, why are mutants being pirates. Kitty is front and center which makes me think she is the leader of the team which I hate. Storm is on the team and not the leader, deferring to Kitty again like she did in X-Men Gold and I think that is BS. And this push of having Emma be a "hero" needs to end. Let her be the villain she is and stop the charade; especially since it appears her relationship with Scott is over. And a pirate book without Nightcrawler? Cmon son?!
By Jonathan Hickman and Lenil Francis Yu
Its a Summer's Family Reunion ya'll…. Its interesting that the mainline X-Men book is the Summer's family and Wolverine. Its an odd group to say the least and it appears this may be space based with Corsair being on the team. Rachel Summers/Prestige is back which I am not a fan of. Jean is back to Marvel Girl and in that old school costume which seems a bit dated. This book probably interest me the least of the bunch of them. Why bring Scott back to then ship him off into space. Plus Scott and Alex on the same team? Basura!
By Tini Howard and Marcus To
I would be so much happier with this is Apocalypse was not standing back there. New Captain Britain..awesome. Mr and Mrs. X back on an X-Team.... perfect. I never liked Jubilee but whatever. But Apocolype…. really? So no more culling the weak? No more being a bad guy? Now he is the muscle on a team of mutants that need a big guy? Kinda weird. I will read it but I definitely don't understand the purpose.
By Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara
This book was probably the one I was most excited about because the teams seems the most interesting. Jean Grey makes her second team call but with Domino co-leading. You get your muscle with Colossus and Wolverine makes his second team appearance as well. Black Tom? Kinda an odd choice but this team looks very interesting.
Fallen Angels #1
By Bryan Edward Hill and Syzmon Kudrasnki
I don't got much here..... I see that Psylocke is back and we get rid of Kwannon. But young Cable is here even tho old Cable is on the Summer's Family Reunion team. X-23 is here and its very surprising that she is not on one of the X-team books. Gotta wonder if Honey Badger will also be a part of this. Not feeling this one. Feels very much like a mini-series, not a monthly book.
New Mutants #1
By Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson
Historically, I have never been a fan of the New Mutants. Over time, even tho these kids are old as hell and should be the Old Mutants, they have grown on me. Its funny that most of the team was killed by Rosenberg in his Uncanny run which kinda weakens the impact of his run from an emotional and continuity point but whatever. I like this team and adding Chamber gives it more of an edge. Will definitely cop this one.
Overall, I am still a bit skeptical. This is a lot of books and a lot of mutants in a comic book economy that cannot support all these comic books. I have argued for years on our podcast( find it here https://soundcloud.com/brothas-hutchinson) that less books is a better look for the X-Men; much like the Avengers with a set team and rotating heroes in and out as the story fits. Every mutant does not need a team and is waters down the overall product. But Marvel keeps cranking them out.
I see a lot of people are "In Hickman We Trust". I think dude is great too but this is a lot of moving pieces and I hope he can keep it all together. Regardless, I know what will happen if it does not work and I'll be blogging about the next reboot in 3 years.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Who is Hickman gonna Push with his XMen Reboot
Growing up, the members of Brothascomics all really enjoyed pro wrestling. Like we really enjoyed it. In the days before the internet and the Monday Night Wars, wrestling was only what you saw on tv. Yeah, we kinda had an idea that the outcomes were predetermined, but that really didn't matter. We really just loved seeing our favorite characters on Saturday beat the crap out of each other.
With the Monday Night wars and the birth of the internet, we got an inside peak into pro wrestling that was unheard of before. From dirtrags like Wrestling Insider and the Torch, to chat rooms, not only was the outcomes predetermined, we got a look into the business and how it was run and how dirty it could often be. Why is my favorite wrestler jobbing now? Why is ( fill in the blank) on tv so much now?
The pro wrestling term about a wrestler being over or getting over applies to a wrestler who has won the cheers( if a babyface/hero) or the jeers( if a heel/villain). There are several ways a wrestler can get over. Some get over by their look or their gimmick- like the Road Warriors and the Undertaker have great gimmicks.
Some wrestlers get over because they can work the mic... meaning they can talk or cut a promo and this makes the fans love/hate them depending upon if they are a heel or a face. Wrestlers like the Rock fall into this category.
Some wrestlers get over because of their in ring work... meaning they can flat out wrestle and can make a bad wrestler have a good match with them and the fans appreciate their work rate. Brett Hart falls into this category.
And when you have a wrestler that is good at all three, you have a legendary wrestler like Ric Flair( WHOOOOOOO!!) who was great at all three.
Well getting over in wrestling is not that easy. Its why for so long you saw many of the same faces being champions over the years( we see you Hulk Hogan). Getting a wrestler over takes talent by the wrestler for sure, but it also takes patience and creativity by the booker( the person who is writing the storylines). The booker decides who gets pushed( who gets a chance to be a star) and if they can get over...great... maybe they become a main event/headline wrestler. If they can't, they will get pushed back down the card and wont become a huge star.
Pushing a wrestler is a delicate process. If you push them too much or too soon, fans will reject that wrestler( like they did Rocky Mavia- before he was the Rock). If you push them for too long and they don't get over, the character can become stale and rejected by the fans.
This is a lot of preview ahead of my main question: Who is Hickman going to push for the X-Men? The reboot is wrapped in mystery and that is understandable. But, over the last four years, X-Men and their fans have been subject to several reboots and each one is like a failed push. From All New, All Different, to the return of Blue and Gold, to this most recent reboot that came out of Age of X-Man, there has been no real direction on who are the main event X-Men and who are the X-Men on the lower part of the card.
And there is a lot to getting a comic character over. ALOT! Its why so many comic books seem like they star the same people over and over. And much like wrestling, it takes creative booking to create a new star and have them get over. Creators use gimmicks and looks to help characters get over but sometimes there is not enough substance to the character and they just become their gimmick. Its why you see new characters make a big debit and then get pushed down the card. Its why we have so many books and stories with the same heroes and villains.
My initial thought is are they gonna push the Giant Sized X-Men team: Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine, and of course the resurrected Jean Grey. Those characters are all over with the fans but have been pushed so much they may have become stale.
Are they gonna push the 90's X-Men with Cyclops, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, and Wolverine as their base. Again, all of them over, but are they like Hulk Hogan where you cheer for him but know you've seen this act before....
Are they gonna push the more new characters such as X-23 and Honey Badger or do a mix of old and new characters like they did in X-Men Red. Many of these characters are not over with fans, but they do have a vocal fan base.
I really don't know. And what of characters such as Bishop, Cable, Domino, X-Force.... all characters that have great looks/gimmicks but are maybe not so over they need their own comic book.
This would be a fascinating conversation if we hadn't done this so many times over the past four years. The X-Men have been treading water on the mid-card of the show for so many years now. Maybe it was the lack of creative( booking), maybe the characters look/gimmick didn't resonate with fans anymore. Maybe the idea of a world that hates mutants just doesn't work anymore. Who knows? I do know this tho…. people are putting a lot of hope and faith into this Hickman reboot and if he does not deliver..... there will be another reboot in 2 years. And whatcha gonna do about that brother?
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