December 2012

Back When Bad Guys Made the Best Good Guys

by Alan Rapp on December 29, 2012

in Found on the Net

  • Title: Leverage
  • tv.com: link

Sadly Leverage is over, but thanks to Parker (Beth Riesgraf) we have this slideshow from the show’s first season to remember a happier time when thieves, masterminds, grifters, hackers, and hitters reminded us that sometimes bad guys do make the best good guys.

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From A to Z – The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

2012 turned out to be a pretty darn good year at the movies. There were two films which I gave perfect scores to this year, one of which the majority of the country won’t be seeing until early next year. I’m breaking my own rule of including it on the list, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Between these two films, which naturally open and close the list (as it’s presented alphabetically), are eight other films rounding out the class of 2012.

Cutting down my list to ten means I need to speak for a moment on films that barely missed the cut. John Carter was the year’s most under-appreciated film, The Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, Ang Lee delivered an amazing journey with Life of Pi, Wreck-It Ralph was this year’s best animated feature, Safety Not Guaranteed was a terrific little sci-fi flick almost no one saw, and Moonrise Kingdom was director Wes Anderson‘s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.

Enough with what didn’t make the list, let’s get down to discussing what did:

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FF #2

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2012

in Comics

ff-marvel-now-2-coverI was surprised how much I liked the first issue of this new Marvel NOW! version of the FF. The follow-up may not be as strong, but fans should still enjoy themselves in a comic that despite Mike Allred only doing the art is feeling more and more like a Madman comic.

After being disappointed when the Fantastic Four don’t return after four minutes, their replacements get to work getting things back to normal at the Baxter Building. This includes Ant-Man explaining to the children why the Daily Bugle refereed to him as a convict, She-Hulk lecturing the children on the finer points of the law, and one member of the team quitting.

When the comic stays with the character dynamics inside the Baxter Building things continue to run smoothly. However, writer Matt Fraction’s choice of villain, in a humdrum homage to the original Fantastic Four #1, doesn’t work nearly as well. For fans.

[Marvel, $2.99]

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Alicia Keys – Brand New Me

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2012

in Music News & Reviews

This is American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys with the video for “Brand New Me” from her 2012 album Girl on Fire.

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Young Justice #23

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2012

in Comics

young-justice-23-coverThe current storyline continues as Superman, Superboy, Captain Atom, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman fight off Braniac‘s crystallized minion in space the various Young Justice teams try break through the impenetrable field surrounding Metropolis and discover more information about the spaceship floating above the city.

Although the comic is fun, it does feel far too much like treading water and needlessly stretching out the arc as none of the major stories are moved that far forward. However, we do get an appearance by the Young Justice version of Deashot in the flashback to five years ago (that is still be awkwardly continued along with the current storyline). Although he isn’t quite wearing his classic costume, the villain certainly looks better than his New 52 makeover.

There’s enough here for fans, including appearances by several members of the team, but it’s certainly not a must-read and could probably be skipped without missing a beat of the overall arc. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Nikita – Season 1

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2012

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Nikita – The Complete First Season
  • tv.com: link

nikita-season-one-dvdIt’s always interesting going back and start watching a show from the beginning after picking it up sometime during a later season. I decided to give Nikita a chance this year and enjoyed the show enough to pick up the First Season on DVD.

Based on the French film of the same name and the American remake, Nikita stars Maggie Q as government trained assassin on the run from the shadowy organization who trained her. Rather than give us a new take on the character’s origin story the series opens with Nikita reemerging after the events of the films with a plan to take down Division, the agency which trained her, with the help of a new Division recruit (Lyndsy Fonseca).

Most of the first season deals with Nikita staying one-step ahead of Michael (Shane West), the man who trained her, and Division strike teams, as Alex (Fonseca) slowly works her way up in Division feeding Nikita inside information to help destroy the agency that murdered her family years ago.

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Leverage – The Long Good-bye Job

by Alan Rapp on December 26, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Leverage – The Long Good-bye Job
  • tv.com: link

leverage-the-good-bye-job

In the series finale Nate (Timothy Hutton) is approached by his son’s former physician who needs his help to save another patient in danger of dying of the same condition of that killed Nate’s son. To retrieve the drug the company refuses to release means breaking into a facility with government level security given the building also houses a federal law enforcement Intenet hub server housing backup files for the FBI, CIA, DEA, and Interpol.

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Masks #2

by Alan Rapp on December 26, 2012

in Comics

masks-2-coverWith New York City now a police state controlled by corrupt new government of gangsters known as the Justice Party, The ShadowThe Green Hornet and Kato, and The Spider find themselves overwhelmed by the enhanced technology the criminals have gotten their hands on to keep control of their city.

Issue #2 also introduces the Green Lama and Black Bat who begin to fight back against the oppressive new government as well. The story of the young artist on the wrong side of the government’s new oppressive regime continues as well foreshadowing, I’m guessing, the eventual birth of a new Zorro.

I thought the first comic worked in trying to throw all these characters together in an unusual situation that required them to work together. Masks #2 isn’t quite as good, forced to rely more on fleshing out a story than just introducing the concept. There’s far more talking about doing something than actual action, and some “necessary” awkward introductions among the heroes take up way too many panels. Hit-and-Miss.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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Doctor Who – The Snowmen

by Alan Rapp on December 26, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Doctor Who – The Snowmen
  • IMDB: link

“Carnerverous snow meets Victorian values, and something terrible is born.”

doctor-who-the-snowmen

Alone since the loss of Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), The Doctor‘s (Matt Smith) travels have led him to 1892 England into semi-retirement… at least until he meets an unusual young barmaid/governess named Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) and a miser (Richard E. Grant) mysteriously tied to killer snowmen which feed on the thoughts and fears of human beings.

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Tarantino Unchained

by Alan Rapp on December 25, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Django Unchained
  • IMDB: link

django-unchained-posterWith Inglourious Basterds writer/director Quentin Tarantino strode a fine line between between drama and revenge fantasy in his depiction of a select group of Jewish soldiers taking on the Nazis during WWII.

With his latest, Tarantino returns to the well of his revenge fantasy, the theme he’s been stuck on for nearly an entire decade (since 2003′s Kill Bill Vol. 1), to push the envelope even farther with a blaxploitation western that leaves good taste in the dust. If there’s ever a film that so thoroughly argues for a director to be shackled to studio pressure it’s the inarguable trainwreck that is Django Unchained.

Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a slave freed by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) in need of his help to hunt down and kill the Speck brothers (James RemarJames Russo). After Django shows promise, Shultz (Waltz) agrees to train the newly freed slave in the art of bounty hunting and help retrieve Django’s wife (Kerry Washington) from a ruthless plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).

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