August 2011

Leverage – The Queen’s Gambit Job

by Alan Rapp on August 31, 2011

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Leverage – The Queen’s Gambit Job
  • tv.com: link

leverage-the-queens-gambit-job

The mid-season finale gives us a trip to Dubai, a chess tournament, a young prodigy (Ayla Kell), terrorists, a double-cross, and the return of Nate’s (Timothy Hutton) former co-worker and the team’s nemesis. Sterling (Mark Sheppard) comes to Nate for help in keeping a nuclear reactor component out of the hands of some very dangerous people.

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Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #13

by Alan Rapp on August 31, 2011

in Comics

green-lantern-emerald-warriors-13-coverEmerald Warriors closes its run with a team-up with Guy Gardner and Batman aboard a space station. Fans of Justice League International will get the reference (especially after writer spells it out for them in the completely unnecessary final panel).

Even if Batman and Guy aren’t the same characters they were during Keith Giffen‘s glorious run the pair work well together (though it certainly helps if you were a fan of Giffen’s League). The mystery itself isn’t explored very well (Batman solves the case off-panel while Guy grills the suspects), and, as I’ve already stated, the comic ends with a panel that (with all the subtetly of a Michael Bay action flick) directly references one of the most memorable moments from JLI.

Since it’s creation this comic has been hit-and-miss for me from month to month. The last issue works well-enough (even if its somewhat hamfisted), but if you don’t have nostalgia for JLI I’m not sure the story is going to hold up on its own. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Coming Soon

by Alan Rapp on August 31, 2011

in Film News & Trailers

  • Title: The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito)
  • IMDB: link

Antonio Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar‘s lastest film about a brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by tragedy and obsession, who creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. Elena AnayaMarisa ParedesBlanca Suárez, and Bárbara Lennie also star. The Skin I Live In opens in limited theaters in select cities on October 14th.

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The Intrepids #6

by Alan Rapp on August 31, 2011

in Comics

the-intrepids-6-coverI really enjoyed the first couple of issues of this mini-series about a team of children raised to take down mad scientists. The last couple of issues have lost a little steam, but this finale brings back pieces of what made those first few issues so strong (including killer cyber-bears, a trained battalion of baboons, and cyborgs) as The Intrepids turn their attention on the real villain in their midst, the man who trained and “improved” them: Dante.

I happy the Dante storyline was wrapped up with the final issue of the mini-series. If the team does earn a second mini-series, or an on-going title, I’ll be glad to see them start fresh without the spectre of Dante still hanging over them.

Issue #6 is a good conclusion to a series that’s given us some great moments (and memorable panels). It might not be as strong from beginning to end as I’d like, but where else do you see a grizzly bear with a mini-gun strapped to his back? There’s enough here that I’d be willing to give a second mini-series a chance as well. Worth a look.

[Image, $2.99]

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Doctor Who – Let’s Kill Hitler

by Alan Rapp on August 30, 2011

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Doctor Who – Let’s Kill Hitler
  • tv.com: link

doctor-who-lets-kill-hitler

After a mid-season break Doctor Who returns with an episode centered around River Song’s (Alex Kingston) first encounter with the Doctor (Matt Smith). The episode, involving a friend of Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory’s (Arthur Darvill) named Mels (Nina Toussaint-White), a trip to Nazi Germany, and tiny time police in a human-sized robot, has all the markings of a classic Doctor Who serial. And on that level it works well. However, there can be only one episode where River meets the Doctor for the first time, and that means there’s an entirely different scale on which to judge “Let’s Kill Hitler.”

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Snake Eyes #4

by Alan Rapp on August 30, 2011

in Comics

snake-eyes-4-coverSnake Eyes is free, but he’s still a captive deep inside the mountain fortress of Vikrim Khalikhan whose left the deadly Slice and Dice, and a whole army of soldiers, to deal with the Joe’s most dangerous warrior. As Snake Eyes fights the assassins, Helix goes after Khalikhan, and Iceberg has to figure out how to get the wounded Alpine, and himself, off the top of a Himalayan Mountain alive.

The end of this first story arc is heavy on action, both deep inside the base and on the mountain tops as Iceberg and Alpine fend off squadron of COBRA Flight Pods. Damn, I haven’t seen one of those in years! Well done.

The issue ends with a conversation between Snake Eyes and Scarlett to end the issue which gives us some clues as to Snake Eyes next “outside the box” assignment. I’m a little unsure of the final page’s reveal, but the rest of the comic is strong enough I’ll wait to see just what the Sword of Genghis Khan’s role in the upcoming story might be. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

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The Conspirator

by Alan Rapp on August 30, 2011

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Conspirator
  • IMDB: link

the-conspirator-dvdDirector Robert Redford examines the trial of the first woman put to death by the Unites States Government through the eyes of a reluctant young lawyer (James McAvoy) who ended up ruining his career with search for justice in a court that wanted nothing more than a quick conviction.

The story concerns Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) who was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassinations of President Abraham Lincoln (Gerald Bestrom) and Secretary of State William Seward and the attempted assassination of Vice President Andrew Johnson (Dennis Clark).

Redford assembles a first-rate cast to tell an engaging story, but it never reaches the level of storytelling you would expect. Although the screenplay by James D. Solomon showcases the how Suratt was railroaded into the gallows and strongly suggests her innocence, the film never takes a definitive stand on her guilt. This means we aren’t subject to Suratt’s experiences but only those filtered through those of her lawyer.

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DC Retroactive: Justice League – The 90′s

by Alan Rapp on August 29, 2011

in Comics

dc-retroactive-justice-league-90s-coverDC’s Retroactive titles have been a failed experiment (and that’s putting it kindly). The attempt at telling tales from the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s with writers and artists who worked on those characters during that time period has delivered some of the most disappointing and awful tales the publisher has put out this year. Until now.

When I heard of the idea I was cautiously optimistic. Most of the group didn’t interest me much but I was going to get Dennis O’Neil writing a Green Lantern story (sadly, without Neal Adams), and Len Wein was doing a Batman story, but the one that really piqued my interest was Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire reuniting for a classic Justice League tale. And, unlike the others, this one actually delivers the goods.

The issue gives us the classic 90′s team (Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Mr. Miracle, Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, Martian Manhunter, Oberon and Maxwell Lord), a Parademon who has lost Darkseid’s inhaler (or something) in a card game, the Injustice League, a giant monster loose on the city, and Power Girl shows up with that #$%@& cat!

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Coming Soon

by Alan Rapp on August 29, 2011

in Film News & Trailers

  • Title: A Dangrous Method
  • IMDB: link

Viggo Mortensen teams up with director David Cronenberg once again for A Dangerous Method which follows the relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and the troubled young woman (Keira Knightley) who comes between them. Vincent CasselSarah Gadon, and André Hennicke also star. Christopher Hampton adapted the film from his 2002 stage play. The film opens on November 23rd.

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FF #7

by Alan Rapp on August 29, 2011

in Comics

ff-8-coverAfter a two-issue interlude which derailed the current story arc on the Council of Reeds to focus on Black Bolt‘s whereabouts since his apparent death in War of Kings, writer Jonathan Hickman finally gets back to the story we’ve been waiting for.

Maybe it’s the fact that this issue is two months too late, or the fact that Hickman’s jammed the final battle with far too many characters such as the Reeds, their subordinates, the Inhumans, the High Eveolutionary‘s minions, and the expanded roster of the Future Foundation, but still doesn’t go anywhere new with the story.

There are moments including Sue‘s dialogue with her father-in-law and Valeria‘s escape from her room, but the main battle (including a far too obvious double-cross) feels rushed, messy, and unfocused. We are given a couple of hints that everything Reed thinks he knows about his other selves might be wrong, but here’s yet another issue that’s not really about the Council of Reeds. At least this one does have the Future Foundation in it. Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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