All posts by JC Alvarez

Writer | Producer | Personality. Pop-Cultural Agent. Music | Entertainment & Genre Enthusiast. I knew comics were cool before primetime. The voice of "Out Loud & Live! with JC Alvarez" on Internet Radio. Visit www.thefanzite.com for more!

iTunedIN | MADONNA – I Rise (Remixes)

Rising above the rest “I Rise” emerges as a lead contender for dance floor addicts eager to raise the roof with Madonna’s latest offerings from Madame X.

The Etherial Girl may not be making the waves across the radio charts, Madonna has emerged in the last decade as the artist less attracted to making Top 40 music and on a binge to explore the all-new territory and push the envelope. The Queen of Pop’s latest full-length album Madame X is a world-music exploration, more inclined to attract that audience than to feed into the ravenous appetite of her dance floor devotees, but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t given them something to play with.

The album itself runs the gamut of styles, though not as commercially friendly as say Confessions on a Dance Floor or Hard Candy. Both of those albums were very big on dance tracks inspired by the Euro-pop scene or stateside R&B/Hip-Hop. Madame X is clearly not in that vein, nor is it as bombastic as MDNA or as disjointed as Rebel Heart. There’s an elegance in the musical styles Madonna has driven into on this album’s setlist, but most of the music does have a provocative and very definite political angle.

The single “I Rise” is profoundly centered on drawing attention to the new generation’s eagerness to take action for themselves, especially given the clearly corrupt and uncaring state our fragile democracy is finding itself in. That doesn’t mean that the Queen of Pop isn’t determined to remain most relevant to the audience that made her a star to begin with. The artist has always understood the value of music to bring the people together, especially on the dance floor — and although the club scene has all but abandoned its most devoted, the cultural wave is still in existence.

Madonna’s “Madame X” has yielded (so far) remixes for “I Rise” and “Medellín” its first single. The artist is set to begin her “Madame X” Tour in September, and will be playing smaller theaters and opera houses rather than stadiums.

“I Rise” Remixed

Ironically that track that has the most direct political connectivity, is the one that has garnered the most attention — “I Rise” has a sizable appeal as an anthem, but it needed to be taken there. Leave it to one of the dance music scene’s most profound creatives to give the track a new sheen. Tracy Young revealed the first wave of remixes for the track and gave it a suped-up summer song feel with her “Pride” Remix. The music maestro has been a long-time favorite collaborator of Madonna’s and has given her greatest hits some of their most intense redux!

Young’s reinterpretation is no exception. In addition to Tracy Young, Madonna turned over the track to several other contemporary remix producers including Offer Nissim and Thomas Gold. Offer Nissim also took an interesting stab at Madame X’s premiere single “Medellín” featuring Maluma. Thomas Gold’s Remix of “I Rise” feels the most like a Madonna song, especially with its very 90s House-feel, it emerges feeling like something that might have appeared on Erotica even inspiring renewed interest in many of that album’s setlist, still considered some of Madonna’s best.

Available now on iTunes, Madonna’s “I Rise” (Remixes) are worthy of the artist, given her proclivity to remain close to her club roots, this emerges as one of the most outstanding works from her most recent endeavor Madame X. Listen to the Tracy Young “Pride” Remix here:

Madonna – I Rise (Remixes) available on iTunes.

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UnBoxing | Star Trek PLANET KILLER from Eaglemoss

One of the most fearsome encounters during Kirk’s first five-year mission aboard the USS Enterprise brought the crew in contact with the Planet Killer now immortalized in a Special Edition model from Eaglemoss.

The most dangerous weapon in the galaxy has entered the edge of our galaxy and left behind a path of destruction. When Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise intercept the Doomsday Machine, it has already destroyed the USS Constellation and left its commanding officer in a terrible state. Commodore Matt Decker is determined to destroy the machine even it means taking down the Enterprise. As part of its line of “Special Edition” releases Eaglemoss Collections introduces the Planet Killer.

The mysterious weapon of mass destruction that threatened the USS Enterprise was impenetrable and fired an antiproton blast that laid waste to everything in its path. Commodore Decker had the Enterprise fly over the Planet Killer’s surface and fired several phasers at point-blank to no effect. Decker attempted to fly into the Planet Killer to destroy it himself, but in an initial power play, Kirk resorted to detonating the USS Constellation inside the Planet Killer effectively shutting down the doomsday weapon and saving the heavily inhabited system of Rigel.

Doomsday Machine

In the episode “The Doomsday Machine” the ominous appearance of the Planet Killer lends much speculation to its origins. Kirk compares it to an “H” Bomb, while Spock confirms that it may, in fact, be a “robot”. The Planet Killer didn’t appear to have a crew but moved as if it was possessed of consciousness and attacked the USS Constellation and the USS Enterprise. Its path of destruction is clear though and had the crew of the Enterprise not been able to stop it, the casualties to nearby habitable systems would have been monumental.

Measuring approximately 8.5 inches in length the Eaglemoss model of the Planet Killer may not appear as formidable as the actual one (which was several miles long) but the die-cast representation and surface coloring are impressively close. The model itself also rests solidly on its display stand. The most coveted feature is the installed lightbulb accessory that brightly mimics the furnace-looking maw of the Doomsday Machine. When it’s not lit the mouth of the Planet Killer is painted accurately to look just like it did on film.

The Special Edition release is also packed with a 20-page magazine that elaborates on the specifics of the Planet Killer as it appeared in “The Doomsday Machine” episode chronicle its path of destruction and eventual demise at the hands of Kirk and crew. The magazine also provides background on the possible origins of the device and how the idea for the Planet Killer came to life in the script. The editors at Eaglemoss do need to work a little more diligently, as there are several typos throughout and the contents is a misprint from the issue relating to V’Ger.

Planer Killer | Special Edition | Star Trek The Official Starships Collections from Eaglemoss Collections | $49.95 available on the Eaglemoss Collections website or as part of the subscription service.

ICYMI | SONY Pulls SPIDER-MAN Out of the MCU

Sony and Disney can’t come to an agreement! Keeping Spider-Man far from home and out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at least for the immediate future! 

Oh what a tangled web indeed! After years of back and forth, Sony and Disney had finally come to an agreement that allowed the studio to share custody of one of Marvel Studios biggest brands Spider-Man. After a series of very successful box office hits in the early 2000s starring Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst directed by Sam Raimi, Sony sat comfortably with its winning piece of the Marvel Comic icon grabbing big-ticket sales and breaking records — before the summer movie landscape would appear littered with the competition.

It wasn’t long before the franchise would suffer from fatigue and with an underwhelming performance with its third installment, Sony found itself in the peculiar predicament as Marvel Studios started spinning out its “Expanded Cinematic Universe” with hit after hit starting with 2008’s Iron Man and followed by Thor and Captain America. Marvel waited patiently for the ownership rights of its titular web-slinger to drop our of Sony’s hands, especially after the critically panned Spider-Man 3. In an effort to stay on top Sony went to work on a “reboot”!

The 2012 effort The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield didn’t hit the mark as had been anticipated, and with it running counter to the eventual blockbuster Avengers fans began to speculate whether Peter Parker’s friendly neighbor superhero would ever find himself in the same league as his Marvel Studio headliners. The answer to that question would have to wait, and in 2016 Disney which had since purchased the Marvel brand and all of its properties (including the film projects) introduced Spider-Man into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War.

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

Homecoming

By the 2017 release of Spider-Man: Homecoming which spotlighted Tom Holland the latest actor to wear the fancy red and blue suit, the latest reboot joyfully indoctrinated Peter Parker into the MCU with none other than Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) as the aspiring hero’s benefactor. The film was also released as a studio cooperative between Sony and Disney, granting Sony co-partnership in the distribution of the feature film, while giving Disney ownership over the placement of the character throughout its franchises. Spider-Man would play a pivotal role in Avengers: Infinity War.

And although it appeared that the web-slingers fate was sealed at the conclusion of that epic battle, the follow-up feature Avengers: Endgame reconstituted Spider-Man just in time for the hero to headline his next big theatrical outing. Spider-Man: Far From Home the fourth film to feature Holland as Spider-Man also proved box office gold for Sony giving it the largest opening for the franchise, with a worldwide hovering over 1 billion, making it the studio’s biggest grossing release ever. With that record set, it’s curious that the studios would through a kink into the works.

This week Sony and Disney announced that effective immediately, Spider-Man would be exiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe! That doesn’t mean the future of the character is hanging from a thin web strand, it means that Spider-Man will not be part of the shared expanded cinematic universe that Disney reigns over, and going forward Spidey can’t Marvel Team-Up with any captain or doctor he may have saddled up to recently, and as for that special relationship between Peter and Tony Stark — yeah, that’s gone too!

Spider-Man (Tom Holland) takes MJ (Zendaya) out for a spin in New York City at the conclusion of “Spider-Man: Far From Home”.

A Multiverse of Possibilities

[Warning: SPOILER ALERT] Could the filmmakers have foreseen this descent into disillusion? Given the subplot context of the Marvel Multiplex in Spider-Man: Far From Home with the villainous Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) duping Peter and SHIELD into thinking he was the last survivor from an alternate-earth in the multiverse and the success of the animated full-length feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse could Sony had suspected that its partnership with Disney would become tarnished so quickly?

Inevitably this opens the way for Tom Holland (who apparently is locked in for 2 more pictures as is the franchise’s current director Jon Watts) to interact with Venom and expand on the much talked about inhabitants of the Spider-Verse. A film focused on the femme fatale Black Cat and one-time love interest of the web-slinger has been brandished about, so has another feature meant to capitalize on the hero’s rogues gallery. For a hot minute Sony had everyone waiting with bated breath on the arrival of The Sinister Six — it never happened.

With so many ideas to mine, perhaps it isn’t such a bad idea after all. With out the distraction of having to find a way to place mild-mannered high school student, turned Avenger, Peter Parker into a more elaborate storyline to service a grander theme, the future of the Spider-Man features could be far more incapsulated and center on the hero’s own trials and tribulations. With more than 6 decades of comic book stories to draw inspiration from, it could turn out far more profitable for Sony to hold onto the character.

Fans biggest fear though may be that away from the creative lead of Marvel’s chief creative mind Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, the Spider-Man brand will suffer without the proper amount of coddling and support from the bigger cast of characters. Certainly the upcoming slate of films on Marvel’s slate may not have to worry about it; without a “next” Avengers on the horizon, it may not even matter. In the meantime we’ll have to accept that Spidey may inevitably remain far from home and has reached his own endgame.

Spider-Man: Far From Home has gone on to become the top-grossing film in Sony Pictures entire history, taking its predecessor Skyfall down a notch with a worldwide gross of $1.1 billion.

InPrimetime | The Countdown to “CRISIS” has Begun!

The most anticipated primetime event of the season gets an airdate! The countdown to The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” 5-part crossover is imminent!

Some worlds will live and some worlds will die, but one thing is certain… The CW’s primetime landscape may never be the same after this season’s widely anticipated crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” hits the DC television universe. Teased at the end of last season’s “Elseworlds” 3-part event, which set-up an impending threat to the extended DC primetime universe will continue with an endgame that will shake the foundation of the multiverse. The result will undoubtedly be felt across all The CW’s superhero shows.

The 5-part epic was the cornerstone of the network’s introduction at this year’s Upfront, the annual media gathering where the competing network’s reveal to advertisers what they have on the slate for the coming season. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” does not aim to disappoint and will straddle the winter hiatus with five interconnecting episodes across the primetime series, not excluding Black Lightning starring Cress Williams which has been reported will play a role in the crossover event as well.

The event may also signal the end of the “Arrowverse” as the series enters into its final and Eighth Season with a 10-episode run, as something new is promising will emerge after “Crisis” concludes. The Flash show runner Eric Wallace has suggested that especially for Central City’s Scarlet Speedster, the season will be divided into two-acts with the second half dealing with the post-effects of “Crisis”. Fans are certainly hopeful that in the fallout, series like Supergirl which exists on a parallel earth (Earth-38) will be integrated into a Prime-Earth.

Save the Dates

The television series and “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event will be impacted by the winer hiatus, pitting the second half of the story arc to air five weeks later and concluding in 2020; that is presumably when Arrow will be entering into its final episode and the team show DC’s Legend of Tomorrow returns for its Fifth Season. It’s likely that is also when returning series Black Lightning will be wrapping up its Third Season (making way in its time slot for Legends to move in). Here’s a breakdown of the airdates for The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event:

  • Supergirl “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 1, Sunday, December 8, 2019 8pm.
  • Batwoman  “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 2, Monday, December 9, 8pm.
  • The Flash “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 3, Tuesday, December 10, 8pm.

Then, five weeks later…

  • Arrow ”Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 4′, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 8pm.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 5′, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 9pm.

Starting Line-Up

Though the guest starring list of actors to appear in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” continues to grow, it was recently announced that Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the critically acclaimed series Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond will be appearing as the Bruce Wayne of the Batman Beyond era, leading many to speculate of the costumed appearance of Terry McGinnis’ futuristic Dark Knight. Among other famous faces said to be partaking of the crossover spectacle are Lynda Carter said to be reprising her role as Wonder Woman, and Burt Ward who played Robin in the 60s television iteration of Batman.

Tom Welling who starred as a young Clark Kent in 10 Seasons of Smallville is also suggested will be appearing as his earth’s Superman. In fact there will be at least three Supermen appearing during the crossover. DC’s Legends headliner Brandon Routh who inherited the cape and debuted in Superman Returns famously revealed at SDCC this year that he’ll also reprise his role as the Man of Steel, with Tyler Hoechlin returning as the Superman of Earth-38, Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) Kryptonian cousin. Jon Cryer is also on board as Lex Luthor.

LaMonica Garrett will also be pulling double duty! He’ll be playing the man at the center of all the machinations The Monitor and his evil twin The Anti-Monitor. Another CW series favorite that will be returning for the crossover event is John Wesley Shipp; fans are hopeful he’ll be returning as The Flash of Earth-90, the Barry Allen that Shipp played in his 1990 CBS series, which is also soon hitting a milestone. Shipp’s landmark series will be turning 30! It is also speculated that the actor will be appearing this season on The Flash as The Golden Age, Jay Garrick.

Stay tuned as more is revealed of this season’s most climatic television event!

Trailer | The CW’s BATWOMAN

Gotham City’s newest caped avenger is already leaving an impression on her fans! In the latest trailer released to promote the inaugural season of The CW’s new BATWOMAN everyone wants to wear her mark.

The anticipation surrounding the launch of the newest DC superhero joining The CW’s primetime line-up hit a fever pitch at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend with the sneak peek at the pilot of Batwoman drawing much praise from the audience. The series will star Ruby Rose who will be reprising her role first introduced in last season’s “Elseworlds” crossover event. Rose plays Kate Kane, the cousin of billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne who stalks the shadows of Gotham City as the Caped Crusader, Batman.

But when the series opens up, the Dark Knight has been missing in action for 3 years, leaving the crime and corruption that plague his city to overrun the status quo. Kate has no other option but to put her military special ops training to the test to protect the innocent, especially when the notorious criminal Alice (played by Rachel Skartsten) threatens to take over the underworld. Batwoman is produced by Greg Berlanti and its show-runner Caroline Dries is promising that will be faithful to the comics, giving a cinematic platform to DC’s first out LGBTQ heroine headliner.

Bat…Looks Good On You

When she first meets with her contemporaries including the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) in the “Elseworlds” 3-part storyline, although she’s at first a bit apprehensive to lend the heroes a hand, when their mission runs afoul and the inmates at Arkham Asylum all nearly escape, Batwoman has no choice but to join the fight! One of the prisoners incarcerated within Arkham’s “special” unit will have a very distinct role to play in this year’s 5-part crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths”.

Even without superpowers, Kate Kane’s alter ego is already racking up a fan base of followers as seen in the latest trailer promoting the new series making it’s debut in the fall…

Batwoman starring Rudy Rose premieres Sunday, Oct 6 on The CW Network

Trailer | The CW’s THE FLASH Season 6 Sizzle Reel

Season 6 of the hit action series will introduce a new villain determined to undo everything Barry Allen and his team of heroes have worked so hard towards to building — and this year, there will be blood!

With all the “greatest hits” coming out of last weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con fiasco, all eyes were tuned into The CW shows and especially what’s in store for everyone’s favorite heroes considering that this season’s annual crossover spectacular will be something of a “crisis” level event. Among the anticipation to glean any new developments on the upcoming season of The Flash it appears the Scarlet Speedster and his fellow adventurers will be once again caught in the crosshairs of a deadly adversary.

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) are both still recovering from the loss of their time-displaced daughter, Nora who was much of the focal point of Season 5. Though she’s now gone, Nora (portrayed by Jessica Parker Kennedy) is far from forgotten, in fact Eric Wallace who is now assuming the role of showrunner in Season 6, has suggested that the new season will begin moments after Nora’s departure, and the heartache losing her will bring to Barry and Iris. In the midst of this, a new threat will be taking shape in the form of Sendhl Ramamurthy.

Rogue’s Gallery Grows

In Season 6 of The Flash the writing team will be introducing a new adversary in the form of Dr. Ramsey Rosso, who is the alter-ego of the very macabre menace known as Bloodwork. The villain plagued the Scarlet Speedster in a recent issue of the comic The Flash #30 and proved a relentless foe. With Ramamurthy stepping into the role, especially after his tenure on the NBC series Heroes the expectation said Wallace is to infuse the series with some “mystery and thriller elements” this season.

In the new season’s Sizzle Reel Trailer unveiled at SDCC, it certainly looks like Ramamurthy’s Dr. Rosso will be raising the stakes, certainly in the first arc of the season. Wallace has also suggested that this year, especially because of the consequences of events leading into (and out of) the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” 5-part midseason crossover, the season will be divided into shorter arcs, giving the show a couple of different directions to explore rather than sticking to the formulaic “big bad” theory that would dominate the entire series arc for the year.

The Flash premieres this fall in Oct on The CW Network