• Title: House of Cards – Season Two
  • wiki: link

House of Cards - The Complete Second SeasonBookended by the deaths of major characters in both the season opener and the season finale, the Second Season of Netflix’s House of Cards continues the devious machinations of former House Whip turned Vice President of the United States Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) whose quest for power has not been satiated now that he has found himself one step away from the most powerful office in the land.

The main conflict of the season comes from Frank’s repeated attempts to drive a wedge between President Walker (Michael Gill) and his trusted advisor billionaire Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney) while continuing to move chess pieces around the board including backing the upstart Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) to fill his old role in the House and play a dangerous game putting the U.S. economy and its trade status with China in serious jeopardy. Once completed, Frank must deal with the fallout of the situation including weathering the President’s disfavor.

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  • Title: Wander Over Yonder – The Party Animal
  • wiki: link

Wander Over Yonder - The Party Animal

Although the character of Emperor Awesome (Sam Riegel) has appeared in a pair of previously-aired episodes in small roles as a rival of Lord Hater, we haven’t been given a good look at what makes the character tick until now. “The Party Animal” finds Wander (Jack McBrayer) and Sylvia (April Winchell) on a peaceful world invaded by Emperor Awesome and his Fist Fighters to throw one of Awesome’s legendary (and literal) planet-ending parties.

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She-Hulk #6

by Alan Rapp on July 21, 2014

in Comics

She-Hulk #6She-Hulk #6 continues, and eventually stalls, the Blue File storyline. While offering glimpses worthy of note including resurrecting properties of Angie Huang‘s pet moneky Hei Hei and the fact that She-Hulk is not immune to the mind control involved in making both heroes and villains forget whatever happened in North Dakota (which only kicks in now?), the issue brings the investigation to a halt along with tons of new potential clients for She-Hulk as the comic (apparently) has decided to shelve the storyline (for now) and more in a different direction.

I was less-than-thrilled with switch to Ronald Wimberly’s art beginning last issue, but the Blue File storyline offered an intriguing mystery I wanted to see through. Since that isn’t going to happen any time soon, and the art is even more jarring this month, I’m sad to say I’m probably done with the title. I think Charles Soule has introduced several intriguing ideas for the new series including Jennifer’s Walters’ unorthodox staff and offices catering to super-human characters, but despite my appreciation of the character there’s simply not enough here to bring me back month after month. Pass.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Under the Skin

by Alan Rapp on July 21, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Under the Skin
  • IMDb: link

Under the Skin

The line between a movie being artistic and pretentious is, like beauty, often in the eye of the beholder. Director Jonathan Glazer helms this tale of a beautiful woman (Scarlett Johansson) stalking lonely men in Scotland. Adapted from the novel by Michael Faber, Under the Skin has sharply divided audiences over the issue of style versus substance.

Stripped down to its core, Faber’s story, adapted here by Glazer and Walter Campbell, is incredibly simple leaving very little room for character or plot development. Putting all his eggs in one basket, Glazer uses an over-stylized look to enhance the story that never attempts to ask or answer basic questions about what Johansson’s character, or her equally unnamed biker partner (Jeremy McWilliams), need with the men trapped like mosquitoes in amber in their monochromatic domicile (which must come from Gallifrey as it’s infinitely larger on the inside than the unassuming exterior would have you believe).

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Kirsten Dunst - Flaunt (July 2014)

Promoting her upcoming movie The Two Faces of January, Kirsten Dunst sat down for an interview and photo shoot for the July issue of Flaunt. In the interview Dunst discusses writer/director Hossein Amini, the importance of Sofia Coppola‘s The Virgin Suicides to her maturation as an actress, working with Lars von Trier on Melancholia, the security of her adopted home in London, fighting for the scarce number of good female roles, separating her work and public life as much as possible, and living with constant media attention and Internet gossip. You can find the pics from her photo shoot inside.

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Fables #142

by Alan Rapp on July 21, 2014

in Comics

Fables #142While those behind the scenes, including Maddy, continue to push Fabletown into a war between Rose Red and Snow White, including a spell which puts the two women in off-setting pairs of magical armor, White is far more concerned with the news that an out-of-control Bigby has been sighted in the Mundy world. In a world where symbolism matters far more than it does it ours, it is important to notice Snow White is cast in the black armor suggesting (at least in the view of the person behind the spell) that she has apparently been cast as the villain in Fabletown‘s downfall.

Despite Snow White’s statement of having no interest into going to war with her sister the comic continues to push the story forward. We are also offered more of Lancelot as Rose Red’s lover (and his role as the possible Guinevere in the new story who might betray her to… Snow White?). The shattered Bigby’s return muddies the water a bit (or is it the distraction needed to cause the final wedge between sisters?), and we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for Fabletown’s various magic users to discern the missing piece of the great wolf is being used to control him. Worth a look.

[Vertigo,$2.99]

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Robin Rises: Omega

by Alan Rapp on July 20, 2014

in Comics

Robin Rises: OmegaHow much you like Grant Morrison and his work on Batman over the past few years will certainly temper your response to Robin Rises: Omega #1 which launches the storyline which will likely bring Damian Wayne back from the dead and re-install him as Robin once more. Much like Morrison’s own work, Robin Rises: Omega #1 is overly-complicated, clunky, and unnecessary long winded (can’t they just throw the kid in a Lazarus Pit and be done?).

The $5 comic features an extended highlight reel of Damian’s story up to this point which leads more than a little like writer Peter J. Tomasi’s Morrison fan boy wanking. With a fifth of the comic taken up with the prologue, the story finally offers us into the main conflict by introducing Glorious Godfrey and Apokolips into the question coming between the conflicted sides of Batman and Ra’s al Ghul‘s forces. Stealing Damian’s body for a magic crystal hidden inside (because why?), Batman looses the villains when the Justice League shows up (unnecessarily) and forces them to flee back to Apokilips – with Damian’s coffin.

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Batman – Pretty Poison

by Alan Rapp on July 20, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Batman: The Animated Series – Pretty Poison
  • wiki: link

Batman - Pretty Poison

In honor of Batman‘s 75th Anniversary we turn out attention back to the Dark Knight’s more memorable moments on the big and small screen with another episode from Batman: The Animated Series. “Pretty Poison” introduces us not only to Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing) for the first time but also Gotham’s new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Richard Moll) who is dating Pamela Isley at the beginning of the episode unaware of the woman’s true motives. When Harvey is poisoned at dinner by an unusual toxin derived from an extinct rose, Batman (Kevin Conroy) begins taking a closer look at his friend’s main squeeze.

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  • Title: Rookie Blue – Two Truths and a Lie
  • wiki: link

Rookie Blue - Two Truths and a Lie

Picking up the thread of last week’s episode, 15 Division comes together to search for the man (Andrew Butcher) who they believe murdered and stuffed a beloved teacher into the trunk of his own car. Believing the recently-pardoned convict may have been doing a favor for a friend on the inside, Swarek (Ben Bass) and Andy (Missy Peregrym) begin questioning suspects in the prison who knew the man best.

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  • Title: Batman – Instant Freeze / Rats Like Cheese
  • wiki: link
  • wiki: link

Batman - Rats Like Cheese

In honor of Batman‘s 75th Anniversary we continue to look back at the more memorable moments on the big and small screen. The seventh and eighth episodes of 1966 Batman TV-series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin introduced Mr. Freeze (George Sanders) for the first time. Te show used the classic origin of the criminal scientist Mr. Zero (whose renaming here stuck in comics as well) as an evil scientist whose lab accident caused the cold-blooded scientist to need to wear a cryogenic suit in order to survive. In a twist, the show made Batman responsible for the accident (at least in Freeze’s mind). As with the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of the character in Batman & Robin, this version is also obsessed with stealing diamonds.

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