July 2010

The Return of Darkwing Duck

by Alan Rapp on July 31, 2010

in Comics

darkwing-duck-1-coverDarkwing Duck is long retired, the city of St. Canard is now protected by overzealous robots known as Crimebots. Since shunning the public spotlight our hero has taken a job as a “Data Accounts Networking Officer” spending most of his time dealing principal calls concerning Gosalyn’s latest antics at school and daydreaming about his glory days when he fought a giant monster rabbits or when had his arm was transformed into a snake. Ah, those were the days.

Good first issue from the folks at BOOM! Studios setting up the world of Darkwing Duck and reminding us all why it needs a hero who quacks in the night. Ian Brill has captured the humor of the old cartoon and the art by James Silvani is near perfect. Definitely worth a look. In fact, response was so good BOOM! decided after one issue to forgo the initial concept of a four-issue mini-series and immediately green-lit Darkwing Duck as an ongoing monthly series. Hopefully the terror that flaps in the night will continue to do so for a very long time.

[BOOM! $3.99]

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Uncanny X-Men #526

by Alan Rapp on July 31, 2010

in Comics

uncanny-x-men-526-coverFamily is the common thread in two separate stories presented in this post-Second Coming issue. In the first Hope travels to Alaska in hopes to learn about her birth parents. Her journey doesn’t go quite as planned, but the experience does help fill-in some of her questions.

In the second story Magneto is shocked to learn of the existence of two mutants (Speed and Wiccan) who might, or might not, be his grandchildren. Warned to stay away by both Cyclops and Wolverine, Magneto agrees to give the children distance…but this is the Master of Magnetism we’re talking about. Anyone want to take odds how long he keeps that promise?

Other than the team saving a young woman dealing with her new-found mutation there’s little action here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a read. On their own neither story is strong enough, but as two similar personal tales told together we’re given an issue that stands out for its emotion rather than bloodshed. Definitely worth a look.

[Marvel $3.99]

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Batman: Under the Red Hood

by Alan Rapp on July 29, 2010

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Batman: Under the Red Hood
  • IMDB: link

Jason Todd. The mere mention of his name can lead to hour-long discussions between longtime Bat-fans. The street thug, who took over the mantle of Robin after Dick Grayson moved on to a new persona, died at the hands of the Joker (and, to be fair, at the hands of thousands of Batman fans). It took 17 years but, as comic characters have a habit of doing, Jason returned to the DCU in the guise of a sociopathic anti-hero: The Red Hood.

The latest direct-to-video feature from Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation is a faithful recreation of the Under the Hood storyline by Judd Winick (who also penned the script to the film). The film begins with the brutal death of Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles) from Batman: A Death in the Family before jumping right into the Red Hood’s first appearance in Gotham cowing local drug lords and forcing them under his thumb in his attempt to take the role as Gotham’s #1 crimelord from Black Mask (Wade Williams).

[click to continue…]

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Salt

by Alan Rapp on July 23, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Salt
  • IMDB: link

Originally intended as a vehicle for Tom Cruise Salt was shelved and then given an impromptu sex change operation to ready the way for Angelina Jolie to headline the shoot ‘em up. When your leading man becomes a leading lady the original script by Kurt Wimmer (Ultraviolet , Street Kings) had to be rewritten by Brian Helgeland (Conspiracy Theory, Assassins, Man on Fire), and director Philip Noyce (The Bone Collector, Clear and Present Danger) was tasked to make it all work. That’s an awful lot of time and effort to put into a project well before shooting was scheduled to begin. Too bad it wasn’t worth it.

Angelina Jolie stars as CIA Agent Evelyn Salt, a fugitive on the run after being accused, by the questionalbe word of a dying former Russian spy (Daniel Olbrychski ), of being part of a top secret Russian sleeper cell doomsday scenario more than three decades in the making.

[click to continue…]

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Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1

by Alan Rapp on July 22, 2010

in Comics

time-masters-vanshing-point-1-coverAs the cover tells us: “The Search for Bruce Wayne Begins!” (Actually, the search began two-and-a-half months ago with The Search for Bruce Wayne #1, but that’s neither here nor there.) Booster Gold, Superman, Green Lantern, and Rip Hunter will attempt to find Batman before he can cause irreperable harm to the timestream.

For the first time we’re given a reason (an analogy to a healthy body and a virus) why Bruce Wayne’s travel through time isn’t a good thing. It’s not the best rationale for the problem of why time seems to be unraveling, but at least we’re finally given one. I guess it will have to do.

I actually enjoyed this issue more than I have so far with The Return of Bruce Wayne. The perspective shifting to the group searching for Wayne instead of somewhat bewildered Batman (three issues in, it’s still unclear exactly how much of his real life the Dark Knight remembers) makes the quest more interesting.

[click to continue…]

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  • Title: Psych – Romeo and Juliet and Juliet
  • tv.com: link

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the return of Psych for a fifth season. The opener, entitled “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet” involves rival Chinese Triad families, kidnapping, and a pair of star-crossed lovers. Here’s a clip of Shawn and Gus stealthily tracking a ninja (and not so stealthily breaking into his lair). Great stuff! The new season continues tonight on USA.

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Birds of Prey #3

by Alan Rapp on July 19, 2010

in Comics

birds-of-prey-3-coverThings go from bad to worse for our plucky heroines. Gail Simone has a couple twists up her sleeve, one of which should stop the bitching over the deaths of two marginal characters last month.

By the final panel the villains will stand revealed, along with a much larger plot, and none of it looks good for our heroes. (I can’t be the only one hoping Hawk gets killed, right?)

There are a couple of really nice moments here including Oracle‘s stunned surprise, a tearful possible farewell between Black Canary and her mates, some lurid daydreams by the Penguin, and Zinda‘s distaste at Hawk’s attempts to shield her from danger.

Next month’s conclusion of this first story arc should be a doozy. Worth a look.

[DC $2.99]

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Inception

by Alan Rapp on July 16, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Inception
  • IMDB: link

The latest from writer/director Christopher Nolan is complicated, reality bending, multi-layered look inside the world of unconscious imagination. In the near future the ability to enter into an individual’s dreams and extract information has become a profitable, but highly illegal, enterprise. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb the leader of a group of experts who are the best at this type of information extraction.

As Cobb’s past catches up with him, both in the real world and that of his dreams, he’s offered a single chance to reclaim the life which was taken from him if he can perform the impossible: Inception. The idea is not to steal information from the latest subject, the heir to a business empire (Cillian Murphy), but instead implant an idea in his mind which will grow naturally and change one choice in the real world which could mean billions for Cobb’s client.

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Cyrus

by Ian T. McFarland on July 16, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Cyrus
  • IMDB: link

At a time when lo-fi music is getting a lot of attention from critics and listeners alike, it’s not surprising to find a similar movement emerging from film. Dubbed “Mumblecore,” these movies forsake high production value for handheld, affordable cameras and a production style that emphasizes improvisation – whether it be camera angles or dialogue. The posterboys for Mumblecore are Jay and Mark Duplass, two brothers that have gotten some attention for their movies including Baghead, and last year’s Humpday (both of which are availible of Netflix Streaming.) They’ve come far enough that, despite taking advantage of low-budget limitations to inform their films’ style, their newest film, Cyrus, was actually financed by a major studio.

Whereas you can easily imagine filmmakers doing totally different things with their budgets when they expand from five to seven digits, it turns out that Cyrus keeps the same aesthetic. The only difference here is that, instead of using themselves and their friends as actors, Cyrus has some pretty well-known talent in front of the camera.

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Covert Affairs – Pilot

by Alan Rapp on July 15, 2010

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Covert Affairs – Pilot
  • tv.com: link

First days on the job can be hard, especially if you’re a spy. In Covert Affairs Piper Perabo stars as FBI Agent Karen Sympathy…wait, that was something else. Perabo stars as CIA trainee Annie Walker who gets thrown into the field for a special assignment. Christopher Gorham and Anne Dudek also star. Although the Pilot is a little rough in spots, I could do without the jealousy of Annie’s boss (Kari Matchett) to her husband (Peter Gallagher), and I’m still very much on the fence of the mysterious love angle, there’s definite promise. If you like the short clip take a gander at the rest.

Covert Affairs – Pilot

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