Category Archives: Featured

Tomorrow NITE ON :: THE FLASH It Gets Musical!

SUPERGIRL and THE FLASH are about to get symphonic when this dynamic duo take on an enemy that gleefully has them all singing a new tune!

It was inevitable! When you have a cast as talented as the individuals appearing on The CW action series Supergirl and it’s companion show The Flash and starring two former members of the Glee you was only a matter of time before Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin would find themselves soft shoeing their way into primetime!

On this week’s episodes of the DC Comics based series (produced by Greg Berlanti) the Maid of Might and the Scarlet Speedster come face-to-face with an old friend turned new fiend, when their one-time Glee co-star Darren Criss steps onto the seen as the villain Music Meister — a middling musician who casts a spell on the dynamic duo rendering them…musical!

The Flash — “Duet” —  Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Melissa Benoist as Kara — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW –© 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sure the episode is stunt, but no less a treat for fans who have loved all these actors during their time on the hit musical that aired on FOX. Also in the mix will be several melodically inclined players including Jesse L. Martin and Victor Garber both actors with extensive ties to Broadway. Carlos Valdes who plays the ever-dependable Cisco “Vibe” Ramon, is also a stage veteran.

So before we cast judgements let’s take a minute to sit back and relax and take in the fun. After all in a year that saw Hollywood re-connect with musicals, practically hailing La La Land the best movie of the year”, Benoist and Gustin don’t have to surprise their audience with their ivory pipes and slick footing — we know they’re talented!

 

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Last NITE ON :: THE WALKING DEAD “The Other Side”


A mission to take down Negan materializes as two unlikely allies put aside their differences to bring down THE WALKING DEAD’s most dangerous threat yet!

(No Spoilers Necessarily Ahead) Beginning almost in a quiet ballet of sorts, the latest episode of the AMC hit series The Walking Dead is entering into the final episodes of its eight season, and undoubtedly the most traumatic and trying of the show’s incredible run. This season one of the graphic novel’s most dastardly villains was realized and introduced into the television narrative. It’s definitely proven the statement that it is “Negan’s World”. At the onset the bat-swinging tyrant and leader of the Saviors took out two of our most valuable players. Even as the credits rolled, audiences had to say good-bye to two of its most loved and favorite characters.

Since then, the horror of Negan and his savagery has been a constant threat, now after what felt like a very long winter, it looks like our heroes, lead by Rick Grimes are ready to fight! And so are we! The Walking Dead has thrived from its ability to create a viscerally dangerous reality, a zombie apocalypse where it isn’t only the infected that are out to devour each other. Those working to survive this uninhibatiable future have more to fear from other survivors among the pockets of humanity looking to edge out an existence.


After taking their time, recouping their loses and licking their wounds, Rick and the rest of his group surviving within the community of Alexandria have decided, the time has come to unite with the other members of the local settlements and bring the battle to Negan’s doorstep. None are more determined to take down this big bad than Rosita and Sasha, who witnessed Abraham’s demise first hand. The two women had shared separately — at different times — an intimate relationship with the fallen soldier. The began their mission to single-handedly take on the Saviors.

Rosita recruits Sasha with the understanding that she needs her expert marksmanship to perhaps sniper Negan from a distance. As the Saviors converge on the Hilltop, one of the other surviving communities, the two make haste on their plan. In the meantime, the Saviors converge on the Hilltop and take with them the doctor that has been treating Maggie who is pregnant. Perhaps one of the best moments was watching the still suffering Daryl who has escaped the clutches of the Saviors, is handed a plate of food by Maggie. Daryl still feeling guilty about inciting Negan and leading to the murder of her husband Glenn, shrinks ever slightly at her approach and consoling touch.

After all that these two characters have experienced, it was significantly poignant to see them still working on what makes them a family. Daryl finally confronted with having to face Maggie breaks down. It’s a moment much needed to be seen and experienced by Daryl. Maggie accepts Daryl’s apology and asks him to help them win! Meanwhile Rosita and Sasha find themselves a used car dealership and after creating a distraction are able to get themselves mobile and on the fast track to taking their shot at Negan!

“I fell in with him cause he saw I could handle my shit. I never looked back.” —  Rosita discussing her feelings about Abraham with Sasha on The Walking Dead

Arriving at their destination, the two warriors stake out a location — a bird’s eye view — to pick off Negan. After spending some time together, the two finally open up about their feelings and realize the truth about their feelings, reestablishing their friendship in the process. Though Negan makes an appearance, Sasha is unable to get a clear shot. Immediately they decide to change their tactics — they may need to go inside of Negan’s stronghold,

Though the pair find Eugene, he immediately betrays them. Convinced that the groups still needs Rosita, Sasha tricks her and locks her outside of the gate, running in after Eugene. It isn’t long before more of Negan’s minions appear and run Rosita off. Finding some cover, she catches a glimpse of a familiar silhouette, Daryl has followed them back!

The Walking Dead is the most successful when it has its quitter moments and the characters have time to reflect on their situations. Given the high-intensity action is greatly appreciated and as the year’s pass, the danger becomes more calamitous, as an ardent viewer it’s a gift when the action matches a heartbeat — perhaps the impending climax will be well earned indeed especially after so bleak a season.

It’s been a very difficult season for the show; it’s optimism approach to surviving the wasteland that has become of the world was practically (if not literally) cut at the knees with the introduction of the Saviors, but the ugliness these characters represent – convinced that in their greed and oppression – are actually doing a service, instilling an order amidst the mad chaos, that perhaps is something that resonates with the sensibility of audiences right now.

There are only 2 more episodes left this season. This episode of The Walking Dead was followed with the premiere of Into The Badlands now in its Second Season.

iReview :: ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams

Regarded as one of the best science-fiction films of the year, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, ARRIVAL, is a uniquely enterprising look at what that first contact experience could ultimately look like.

This year’s selection of films that ran the circuit of the awards season were all similarly themed and executed, especially in their narrative that explored the human condition; you could even say that about the much lauded musical La La Land and this is even more so about the Oscar Winning Moonlight a love story as explored through the perspective of two gay men. The theme of the human condition is given a slightly more universal angle in Arrival the only sci-fi film in the lot nominate for Best Film.

Along the same lines as Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey, this feature is modeled more from the fact-based science of what an alien first contact scenario would perhaps occur in reality, Arrival is seen through the lens of actress Amy Adams character Louis Banks, a linguist, who is given the opportunity of a lifetime when a series of extraterrestrial vessels arrive on Earth and situate themselves in twelve strategically significant locations. Banks is the not the first expert to meet the new visitors, but is the first xenolinguistic to crack the code in communicating with the aliens.

What happens next is an unimaginable journey as Banks begins to understand the aliens’ intention and interprets the magnitude of the “gift” that they have brought with them. Is there intention to help mankind, or finally undo centuries of mankind’s own strife and deliver a weapon that might lead to the end of days? Arrival superbly maintains the drama and without any particularly huge explosions well extrapolates its narrative which becomes more and more intricate as the alien language is deciphered by the earthbound experts.

Amy Adams own ability to approach her roles from an exquisite purity opens that world of aliens while grounding the fanciful in a very tangible reality. She does this very well in all her roles, but most apparent in her films that are larger than life, as example by her approach to reimagining the DC Comics iconic character of Lois Lane most recently in the blockbuster Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. She delivers Banks similarly authentically. The scientist is extremely relatable and potent — a truly believable and thoughtful heroine.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve the filmmaker is the storyteller behind the recent hit Sicario which is extremely realistic and immersive in its approach. Arrival is very much the same in tone and is rich in its ability to create a very authentic environment. In a season of bombastically explosive alien invasions, without the benefit of full and deep character development Arrival appears to be the film that benefited from all those missing plot lines in those other flicks, and is a thoughtful and very hopeful experience.

I personally did not know what to expect, but once the film began it was impossible to relent to its leading players, and especially imagine the world of Louise Banks and how it had just opened up beyond all comprehension or expectation.

Arrival starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner is available now for digital download on iTunes.

Cover-to-Cover • Entertainment Weekly’s First Look at THOR: RAGNAROK

The Mighty God of Thunder goes missing during the last major big-screen brawl between his teammates in the Avengers, but there’s a really good reason why this big gun sat our the Civil War, and Entertainment Weekly has got it covered in its exclusive look at THOR: RAGNAROK!

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Imagine how Marvel Films’ Captain America: Civil War would have ended up had the Thunder God, Thor and the Green Goliath, Hulk been asked to pick a side. The entire melee would have ended in under 2 minutes with a slam dunk in favor of whomever decidedly courted either one of these powerhouses. Fortunately for everyone involved, it didn’t have to come to that, but it did leave fans wondering about the whereabouts of these two titans. The question behind that missing time is about to get answered when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters in November.

For the third chapter in the continuing adventures of Thor starring Chris Hemsworth expect plenty of fresh faces and major changes! Entertainment Weekly put the flick still in production on its cover this week and gave fans their first looks at Kate Blanchett as Hela Goddess of Death, who unleashes chaos on the denizens of Asgard including Thor and his wicked half-brother Loki played once again by Tom Hiddleston. At the climax of the last film, the God of Mischief had assumed the mantle of King of Asgard, impersonating a now missing Odin.

Presumably Anthony Hopkins will return in the role of the mighty High-Father, after all, Thor has enlisted the help of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch) to assist him in the quest to locate the missing as seen in the stinger at the end of Strange’s own film. Though the title would suggest an end-of-days motif, Ragnarok will largely center on a vision quest of sorts for Thor who is seeking answers to the mystery surrounding the forces that may be manipulating the fates of his friends on Earth.

Thor’s journey takes him across several worlds and universes, eventually landing him on the planet Sakaar and in the grips of the Grand Master played by Jeff Goldblum who presides over an intergalactic arena. It’s there that Thor runs into his teammate Hulk (Mark Ruffalo returns in the role) and at the whim of the Grand Master, the two Avengers will come to blows! Directed by Taika Waititi Thor: Ragnarok is a departure from the normal superhero franchise film, as it promises to take full advantage of Hemsworth’s comedic charisma!

Read the full article in this week’s Issue of Entertainment Weekly March 17, 2017 available on stands now and digital download.

FlashBack • DC Animated BATMAN BEYOND

The first “rebirth” of an icon BATMAN BEYOND introduced a Dark Knight for a new generation and set-up a lasting legacy for one of its greatest and longest running characters.

When Warner Bros. Animation introduced Batman Beyond into its syndicated television line-up it had a seriously tough act to follow. Its award-winning predecessor Batman: The Animated Series had successfully run for four consecutive seasons, even daring a complete revamp and redesign that greatly appealed to a diversifying audience that had grown up with the series. Having left a vacuum series creators Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett were already looking to the future and the next iteration of Gotham City’s greatest defender.

They found their muse in one Terry McGinnis, a high-schooler that would tempt fate and find himself inheriting a legacy unlike any other! Stylishly following in the same animated look of the series that helped launch it, Batman Beyond blended in seamlessly with Batman: The Animated Series and its companion spin-off Superman: The Animated Series. Grafting itself firmly in what already worked, the creative team didn’t have to go about “reinventing the wheel” and had complete freedom to enhance a mythology beyond Batman’s own narrative.

Set in an indeterminate future, the series introduced an aging Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy) who has become a recluse after finally admitting his mortality and hanging up the cowl for good. Wayne Manor is a dilapidated version of its former self, and when McGinnis (voiced by Will Friedle) accidentally stumbles into an abandoned Bat-Cave, his entire world explodes and the Batman is reborn! The future is which McGinnis and Wayne find themselves paired up to continue fighting crime is a marvel, but Gotham hasn’t changed very much.

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Batman Beyond heralded a new age in the continuing legacy of the Dark Knight Detective.

Ironically the two-part premiere episode entitled “Rebirth” though it didn’t take its name from the current publishing-wide rebrand the imprint the DC Comics universe is in the midst, immediately gets to work to establish McGinnis’ place as the ambitious protege of Bruce Wayne’s, who finds himself determine to vindicate the murder of his father who gets caught up in some shady corporate conspiracy. The folly leads McGinnis to don a new and improved all-new, future-tech Bat-suit designed by Wayne.

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BATMAN BEYOND, Batman, 1999 – 2001. (c) Warner Bros. Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

It isn’t long before the Batman finds himself in the crosshairs of an entirely new series of rogues, some inspired by the gallery that dared meddle with the original Caped Crusader — Batman’s greatest adversary, The Joker has given lift to an underworld of disciples that terrorize Gothamites — and some clever new bad guys, that prove just as deadly! Batman Beyond had 52 original episodes and would be epilogued in an episode of the final season of its spin-off Justice League Unlimited which was set in the same era as Bruce Wayne’s Batman.

Available now for digital download, the entire series can be purchased on iTunes. The individual three seasons of the show can also be purchased on DVD, including the stand-alone full-length feature Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker on Blu-ray and DVD from the DC Comics Store.

Cover-to-Cover • Entertainment Weekly features LOGAN

It may be this X-Men’s final fight as HUGH JACKMAN returns to the big screen in the third solo feature starring the clawed loner in LOGAN! How will audience manage to get along without Wolverine?

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All good things must come to an end, even an adamantium-laced mutant with a healing factor that’s kept him looking like Hugh Jackman for close to two decades (while the character itself is arguably about 150 years old)! After appearing as the mysterious Wolverine in 9 films, Jackman is readying for a big send off in Logan the third solo film centering on the most popular member on the X-Men’s roster.

Part of the Marvel Comics franchise, Wolverine was first introduced to readers in an arc that concluded in The Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov. 1974) in a classic brawl with the green Goliath. Soon Wolverine would return in a very big way when he revived the mutant line-up in Giant Size X-Men #1 which was released in 1975. Since then Wolverine has become a centrifugal part of that group’s changing dynamic, and played an important role in the live-action, 2000 X-Men feature.

Jackman was not the original actor cast in the role. The part had been awarded to Dougray Scott, but due to a scheduling conflict, he was unable to fulfill his commitment to the X-Men project and the “second favorite” Jackman was immediately called to set to join the team. The rest is literally as they say “history”! The role of the amnesiac wild man turned heroic adventurer turned Hugh Jackman into a star, and he’s played the part consistently for the last 17 years.

Even now as box-office records are being set Logan came in #1 in its opening weekend and grossed $85.3 million in its domestic debut. After calculating its $152.5 million from oversees ticket sales, the film took in $237.8 million worldwide, solidifying its audience, even though the superhero flick had earned a R-rating — a dubious distinction for a comic book adaptation, but not unrealistic after Deadpool made a killing in ticket sales as well.

Read the full article in this week’s Issue of Entertainment Weekly written by Kevin P. Sullivan @KPSull available on stands now and digital download.

In 2009 I interviewed Hugh Jackman and the rest of the cast including Ryan Reynolds about the first solo run for his mutant hero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Check out the video here: