Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4

by Alan Rapp on July 18, 2014

in Comics

Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4Wrapping up the latest mini-series, Smallville Season Eleven: Lantern #4 features Green Arrow getting a measure of revenge against Prometheus and Superman calling on the help of Chloe and Tess to reboot the yellow rings and stop Parallax and his new army of brainwashed Yellow Lanterns who include John Stewart.

The final issue wraps up the various threads of the mini-series, although it does have to rely on a giant space whale fighting a giant space worm which began to make my eyes glaze over (as it did when Geoff Johns introduced the various space entities in charge of the color spectrum). Despite being impaled by a yellow-ring construct Superman comes out unharmed, and with the reboot of both Yellow and Green Lanterns rings he also says farewell to the responsibility of being a member of the Corps. Although Lex doesn’t actually get his hand on a ring he does learn the valuable lesson on the usefulness of allies which means we may see a legion or secret society in Smallville’s not-too-distant future. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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Planes: Fire & Rescue

by Alan Rapp on July 18, 2014

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Planes: Fire & Rescue
  • IMDB: link

Planes: Fire & RescueLast year’s Cars spin-off starring Dane Cook as a cropduster with dreams of becoming a world-class racer came and went without much fanfare. Made by Disney rather than Pixar, Planes certainly had the feel of far too many of Disney’s straight-to-video sequels (despite the movie actually getting a theatrical release). I found the first film to be more than a little clunky, and certainly the weakest of any of the movies set in the Cars universe, but it still had enough charm and beautiful animation to keep my interest. Planes‘ sequel feels much the same with some uneven writing and cheap fart jokes. However, along with its impressive look, the sequel does celebrate the service of firefighters and offer a nice lesson for its target audience.

Planes: Fire & Rescue returns Cook as cropduster turned world-famous racer Dusty Crophopper whose career is put in jeopardy thanks to nonrepairable damage to the plane’s gearbox. In an attempt to help out an old friend, and keep the local airstrip open, Dusty signs up to train as with a fire and rescue team hoping to become certified as a firefighter.

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Perception – Eternity

by Alan Rapp on July 17, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Perception – Eternity
  • wiki: link

Perception - Eternity

While being forced to take in his father (Peter Coyote), who was already difficult to live with before his onset of Alzheimer’s, Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) is brought in by Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) on a locked room mystery involving a neuroscientist (Paul Cassell) who was murdered inside his own safe room. Leaving Lewicki (Arjay Smith) to deal with a father he never could, Pierce dives head first into a case that will test his distrust of technology and force him to reevaluate just how big a problem his father’s mental illness has become (and not just the “humorous” moments like walking around the house naked).

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1984 – The Last Starfighter

by Alan Rapp on July 17, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Last Starfighter
  • IMDb: link

The Last StarfighterReleased 30 years ago, The Last Starfighter is a classic tale of wish fulfillment when a poor trailer park kid finds himself in a world beyond his wildest imagination. Recruited through the use of a video game, Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is tapped to join the Star League and defend the frontier against Xur (Norman Snow) and the Ko-Dan armada. After an impromptu space trip courtesy of an unscrupulous recruitment officer (Robert Preston), Alex finds himself in deep space where the world of his video game is played out in front of his eyes.

Alex’s refusal to fight saves him the fate of the rest of the Starfighter recruits who are killed in a sneak attack by Xur’s forces. This leaves Alex alone as the last Starfighter pilot and the only one between Xur’s conquest of the galaxy. Casting Catherine Mary Stewart as the girlfriend back home, having her own misadventures with an android left in his place, and Dan O’Herlihy as Alex’s co-pilot and friend Grig, the movie offers a twist on the basic hero’s journey with humor, drama, some early computer effects (which still look pretty damn good 30 years later), and a love story which will eventually lead Alex back home after finally finding his place in the universe.

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Justice League United #3

by Alan Rapp on July 17, 2014

in Comics

Justice League United #3The latest issue of Justice League United finds the team on Rann where they must not only save the young child from being corrupted into something true monstrous by Byth but also fix a damaged Zeta-Beam which threatens the lives of thousands. Although Martian Manhunter is able to reason with the child, Byth manages to escape capture and one member of the team will sacrifice himself to stop the Zeta Beam from destroying the city.

Much like the issues which have preceding it, Justice League United #3 works best when playing with the relationships of the new team – particularly the bickering between Animal Man and Green Arrow. The crazy alien space baby storyline hasn’t been as effective but that part of the tale seems to be concluded here.

The death of a major character seems a bit odd, especially as the title hadn’t even had time to properly work Hawkman into the group dymnamic (as nearly all of his storyline was separate from that of the League). I expect him to miraculously return next month (like his severed arm did earlier in the series). Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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  • Title: Pretty Little Liars – Run, Ali, Run
  • wiki: link

Pretty Little Liars - Run, Ali, Run

The destruction of Toby‘s (Keegan Allen) childhood home and the return of A leaves the Liars scrambling for answers. Picking up the pieces of the show’s 100th episode, Alison (Sasha Pieterse) plans to leave Rosewood and Hanna (Ashley Benson) is inclined to help her (although it has more to do with Hanna’s uneasiness to what Alison’s return has done to her personality than for her friend’s safety). Getting wind of their plans, Emily (Shay Mitchell) steps in to stop Alison slinking back in the shadows at the opportune time to rescue her friend and stop A, or one of their enemy’s minions, from choking the life out of Ali in her own home.

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Covert Affairs – Silence Kit

by Alan Rapp on July 16, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Covert Affairs – Silence Kit
  • wiki: link

Covert Affairs - Silence Kit

After Annie (Piper Perabo) is caught in a traffic accident while trailing a member of the NSA (Michael Cram) who Auggie‘s (Christopher Gorham) source believes in the leak responsible for the attack on the CIA Chicago field office, Covert Affairs takes the time for Annie’s heart-to-heart with her handler discussing her medical condition and how it was diagnosed and treated with the help of Eyal (Oded Fehr). Fearing the hospital blood work might expose the secret she’s worked so hard to conceal, and end her role as a field operative, Annie redoubles her efforts to prove her theory before her medical records make it to Joan‘s (Kari Matchett) desk.

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All-New X-Men #29

by Alan Rapp on July 16, 2014

in Comics

All-New X-Men #29Continuing the storyline involving the attacks on the school by Xavier and the Future Brotherhood of Mutants, All-New X-Men #29 finds the team victorious over the future mutants. Despite capturing Xavier and turning him over to the authorities, it appears the time loop involving the team’s meddlesome trips to the past has not yet been broken.

Of all the possible relationships between the past and current X-Men I’ll admit I didn’t expect Angel and X-23 to get together romantically (which is teased more at the end of this issue and even further on next month’s cover). Although on the face of it the pairing seems odd, the more I think about it the more I like the pair together and the possibilities such a relationship might yield.

All-New X-Men #29 is another strong issue although by their nature the Brotherhood’s failed attacks are beginning to grow stale. Hopefully next month’s issue moves towards an end to this storyline and begins to look forward to something new for the team to sink its teeth into. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Longmire – Population 25

by Alan Rapp on July 16, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Longmire – Population 25
  • wiki: link

Longmire - Population 25

Sometime coincidence can get you into all kinds of trouble. That’s the case for Vic (Katee Sackhoff) in “Population 25″ when she and her husband Sean (Michael Mosley) are stranded on the side of the road a few miles out of town on their way to a romantic weekend. Things take a dark turn when the deputy goes for help by knocking on the first door she sees which just happens to be owned by the paranoid Chance Gilbert (Peter Stormare) and his cult of followers who don’t believe a word of Vic’s story and promptly take the deputy hostage. Although it casts Vic as a victim for the entire episode, “Population 25″ offers an opportunity for Sackhoff to show-off her acting chops and provides a memorable ending that leaves the fate of the show’s title character in (at least a little) doubt.

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Worlds’ Finest #25

by Alan Rapp on July 15, 2014

in Comics

Worlds' Finest #25The twenty-fifth issue of the series sees both the Huntress and Power Girl make their goodbyes before returning to their own Earth. Although the journey back home has been foreshadowed for some time, I’m less than thrilled with the comic sending the two heroes back to a universe I care even less about than the New 52 version of Earth-1. However, given that future solicitations suggest one or both characters will be making appearances in titles taking place on the main New 52 Earth it’s a bit unclear how long their trip home will last.

With at least the next several issues taking place on their hellish homeworld which has fallen to Apokolips and an evil Superman, Worlds’ Finest #25 plays to the series strengths by centering the storyline on the friendship and interaction of our two heroines. The issue works well and even an appearance of the New 52 version of Desaad (adding a bit of action to the proceedings) can’t ruin what works as a bittersweet portend that perhaps the series’ best issues may now have already been told. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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