Thursday, June 30, 2016

Star Wars Darth Vader Comic #22 Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Vader being Vader

The twenty second issue of Marvel’s Darth Vader comic picks up with Dr. Aprhra. She is being brought back by Beete and Triple Zero to the Executor. Aprhra finds a way to use Triple Zero’s programing to her advantage and escape her situation. I still don’t see how she makes it out of the Vader comic alive, but she could with how this issue ends. She could be put in a position to help Vader, and for this assistance he lets her go. It is a major loose end for Vader if this is the case, but it leaves possibilities for the Aprhra to pop up again in other comics and television series.

Vader finds himself in a tough fight having to fend off a modified Rancor partially controlled by the cyborg Tulon Voidgazer. She cut of the Rancor pain receptors and reinforced his windpipe so Vader could not choke the beast to death. She studied Vader and protected her pet from his favorite move. This still does little to stop Vader as he switches tactics and uses his Lightsaber to sever the cyberanimate (yeah I’m not exactly sure what that is either, sounds cool though) connection in the Rancor’s brain. This sequence is drawn extremely well in the comic, and I felt like I was watching Vader destroy a Rancor on screen. When the Vader comic is at its best is when it is displaying Vader in action.

We see him take out the Rancor and then finish off the cyborg Tulon. She lets him know before she dies that her legacy will live on because of the present she left aboard The Executor. She took down all its defensive and killed its crew. This sets up the final three issues brilliantly, because not only will we see Vader in action, the Emperor is also aboard The Executor. Cylo rammed his ship into the massive Super Star Destroyer with Vader aboard. Now he plans to take over The Executor because it has been disabled. He won’t know he will have to face both Sith Lords to gain control of the ship.

It will be interesting to see how Vader survives on the ship that rams The Executor. I think Aprhra will have something to do with him surviving, or help in some fashion if she is to survive the series. I am most looking forward to seeing The Emperor and Vader in the comic work together to take down Cylo. Lords of the Sith is close to my favorite book of the new cannon because both of them work together to take out a band of rebels. They are an unstoppable force in the book, and it will be nice to see the comic put visuals to what they can do together.

The last three issues should be great, because Vader will put into action. The series has had its dull moments, but there have been equal number of times when Vader is being the vicious uncaring villain he is at the start of the trilogy. The story group has let people develop Vader in the comics and the books in a brilliant way. We see him as the terrifying foe that chokes his commanders when they displease him. This comic, the books, and how Vader has been portrayed in Rebels gets me even more excited to see how he is used in Rogue One. Just thinking about seeing the suit and hearing James Earl Jones voice again is getting me excited. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Extended Version: Movie Review

Well, I liked it more.

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is now available for home viewing. The film directed by Zach Snyder and starring Henry Calvill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Jessie Eisenberg, and Gal Gadot received an additional thirty minutes of footage from the theatrical cut. Does this extra thirty minutes fix all of the problems I saw in this film? No it doesn’t, but it does improve upon the movie. I think it would have been marginally better received by critics if this was the version released theatrically. Many would have still hated the film, but I think some who were on the fence would have spoken more positively about the film if they were able to see more of the story that got cut out. I would have probably went back to the theatre and saw Batman v Superman again if this was the cut in theaters.

Here in lies part of the issue with this movie. I knew from the before the film was even released that there was going to be an extended directors cut. When I went and saw the film the first time it felt incomplete with many of the stories underdeveloped. The movie didn’t flow well, and you could feel things were left out. I knew there was going to be another version released. Instead of going back and watching the movie again, which I did enjoy but didn’t love, I waited until this was released. This is a more complete version of the film. Batman v Superman still has story issues, but this extended version feels more like a finished product.

The major change from adding in more story is the development of Jessie Eisenber’s Lex Luthor as an evil genius. Almost every scene added to the film gives more weight to his character. If you didn’t like his portal as Lex Luthor the extended cut probably isn’t going to change your mind. What it did was expand on how he manipulated Batman and Superman to fight each other. It showed how he played each of them into a confrontation. This was all done in the scenes added to the film, and they are predominantly focused on Batman and Superman. We as the audience see how Luthor is the one pulling the strings. I liked Eisenberg’s portrayal, so this added greatly to my enjoyment of the movie. We got to see more of why Superman wanted to take down Batman, and how Batman was duped into fighting Superman.

Batman wanting to fight Superman is still a little weak for me though. Yes the destruction of Metropolis and his tower caused him to hate Superman. However I can understand the people who are upset that the world’s greatest detective didn’t figure out how Lex was playing him, especially after the explosion at the capitol. I know what Snyder was going for here, or at least I think I do. He wants us to think Bruce is so enraged that he isn’t thinking clearly. He sees the destruction of the capitol, and the notes his employee sent to him push him over the edge. I don’t know if I buy this, and if this was the case I don’t think the Martha event would be enough to snap him out of his blind rage. 

I’m not sure what would, but it should have been explored.  
Instead of Bruce figuring out Lex’s plot, that is left up to Lois. Lois Lane character’s story seemed all over the place in the theatrical cut of the movie. She was either having to be saved, or working to figure out the bullet fragment from Africa. The extended cut greatly expands her impact on the story. She figured out Luthor was the one behind everything in the theatrical cut, but it didn’t feel earned. It does in the extended edition. We see her track down more angles, and find more missing links to determine Luthor is behind everything.  

The problem is the film still has Lois having to be saved by Superman one too many times, none bigger than when she goes to retrieve the spear of kryptonite. There was no reason for her to get trapped and need to be saved again in this scenario. Let her dive to the bottom and get the spear, come back up and give it to Clark. They still would have had a strong moment with him telling her she is his world. Why not just have her be able to get the spear and run it to him? I don’t understand that decision in the framework of the film, especially since Superman has to stop fighting Doomsday to go and save her again. Yes it reinforces how much Clark loves Lois, but at this point in the film this added reminder isn’t necessary

Lois is what drives Superman in the movie, and I like that this aspect was explored more in the extended cut. Superman struggling with not being able to save the people in the Senate, and not knowing if he should be Superman feels more complete in the extended version. The scene on the top of the mountain with Jonathan Kent has more weight. Pa Kent tells Clark that Martha is his rock, and was always there to remind him of the good in people. Clark needs Lois for the exact same reason, she helps ground him in our world and reminds him people can be good.

The big problem which wasn’t improved upon was what finally causes Superman and Batman to stop fighting. Their mother’s name. Yes it would be a strong connection for Bruce, but I just don’t buy him not killing Superman at this point in the film just because he utters a name. Why does Clark even say her name right then? Why doesn’t he just say Luthor is going to kill my Mom? Something has to cause them to stop fighting, but this still isn’t believable to me from the story the film has told to this point. I was hoping the extended cut would give more justification to this story choice, but it didn’t

I liked the extended cut more than the theatrical, but I can see some saying the added material makes the movie drag too much in the first two hours. The pacing is affected with the added scenes, but I think the story elements they add outweigh the pacing issues. This makes the film a better one. I can see myself watching this film again as the extended version. It isn’t a perfect film, and those who have issues with how Snyder portrayed the characters aren’t going to be happy, but I more satisfied with this more than the original. If you watched Batman v Superman in the theaters definitely give the extended cut a chance on rental.

Let me know if you are going to rent the extended cut once it is available. Let me know if you bought it and what you thought. What was your favorite addition? 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Game of Thrones S6E10 The Winds of Winter Recap/Review: Only Thirteen Episodes Left

Tyrion had the best line to recap the season six finale of Game of Thrones: “How about the fact that this is actually happening.”

The Winds of Winter might go down as one of the greatest season finales for any television show. I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but the entire one hour and ten minute runtime was a masterclass on artful storytelling. The opening buildup for the explosion at the Sept of Balor was enough to make this a great episode. Everything about the sequence was as close to perfect as a television show or movie can get. No dialogue spoken, just a musical composition setting the perfect ominous tone for the episode. Kings Landing has been my least favorite story line all season, but this sequence alone redeemed the buildup to the conclusion.

It was perfect because they didn’t rush it, they let the tension build. The Sparrow seemingly in control, getting Loras to confess all his sins, and give up the right to his title and land. I thought during the trial the Sparrow would be able to control the Seven Kingdoms by rallying people to his cause by using Loras and Tommen. The showrunners quickly show us Cersei is in total control by having the Mountain stop Tommen at his door. Margery is the first to realize something is wrong at the Sept. If there is one misstep in the entire episode it might be here. I thought Margery had a plan to save Loras and herself. All she did was give The Sparrow power, and I expected something more from her. This is a miniscule nitpick, because of how Cersei played everyone.

Cersei cleaned house and assumed the title of Queen. She took revenge on everyone who had wronged her, but in the end Tommen still died. Her actions resulted in the death of her last child. Her hatred and plans brought all of this upon her, but it was fun to see the High Sparrow meet his end. Cersei is cold hearted, and the torture scene with the Septa showed how evil she can be. Yes the women tormented and tortured Cersei, but what she has planned for The Septa is much worse.  I can only imagine how unhinged she will become because she no longer has any children to protect. Her actions hopefully will finally break Jamie and her up. The look in Jamie’s eyes as he came back to watch her crowned showed he was not on board with what she had done.

The only two scenes in the episode which might not be considered epic would be between Jamie and Walder Frey and then the scene with Sam at Oldtown. I enjoyed both, especially the scene at Oldtown. We finally get to see the famous Citadel. I just felt this scene should have happened much earlier in the season. They should have started Sam and Gilly’s story here instead of ending with it, but it was still great to finally see. In the list of fantastic events taking place in the episode this ranks towards the bottom. It should have been much bigger, and it being in an episode earlier in the year would have done it justice. The scene in the library was pure book porn for people who love to read.

This began the tie ups to many of the story lines. We flash to the North while the White Raven is flying to inform them winter has come. The scene between Melisandre and Davos was well acted and had a fantastic payoff. My only worry is that Jon is now vulnerable because we know who he is and he has become King of the North. Jon shows his mercy to Melisandre and keeps her alive, but forces her south. I think we may have seen the last of this Red Priestess, but others will take her place in the show. She may still play some part, it will be interesting to see if she does. A good exchange between Sansa and Jon show they are on good terms, and ends the first scene at the North.

A small scene in Dorn shows House Tyrell, House Dorn, and Varys aligning. Dany will have even more allies when she comes to shore. Ones who hate the Lannister’s and will be willing to help put her on the Iron Throne. The only strange thing about this scene is the timing of it. This would have to take place many weeks after the events in Kings Landing. The news would have had to travel to Dorn, along with Olenna. I think this is just proof that all of the story lines are operating during different time frames. We may flash forward and flash back depending on the place the story is showing us. This is very similar to how Martin wrote books four and five.  It makes sense for the show to do the same, but they probably should try to do a better job in explaining it.

The timing aspect can also be seen with how fast a certain Stark fed Walder Frey a Frey Pie. Arya found herself back in Westeros and back at the Riverlands quickly from two episodes ago. I feel the events in Bravos were a while back in the overall timeline and she picked Frey as her first target. This scene was perfect. Drawing on ancient myths to give the evil Walder a very fitting end. It was perfect to watch his horror, and then see Arya slit his throat the same way he had someone do to her mother.

Danny had two great scenes with Darrio and Tyrion. She doesn’t want to give up Darrio, but she knows she must because of Tyrion and his council. It was perfect to see Tyrion take the knee to Danny. Their scene was very well acted and the dialogue very well written. They know what is ahead of them, and are scared to undertake it, but know it must be done. Tyrion is at a loss for her making him the Hand of the Queen. She is the only person he has believed in. I admit I might have teared up just a bit when he kneeled before her. I wonder if we will see Danny falter next season and for his faith to be shaken in her. I don’t see how Danny fails to take the seven kingdoms with all of the forces she has behind her.

The ending for show started with the reveal of who Jon Snow really is. It has been a fan theory for many years and it was great to get confirmation. Jon is a Targaryen and a Stark. Fire and Ice merged into one, and he is now King of the North. It was a perfect reveal, and then the flash to him having the meeting with all of the Lords. Bella Ramsey who plays Lady Mormont is a fantastic child actress. She has an insane commanding presence and delivers her lines flawlessly. She took over the meeting and got all of the Lords to pledger their allegiance. It was a powerful scene (HE IS THE WHITE WOLF!), only to be followed up by the next powerful scene. I do worry about the look Sansa and Littlefinger share at the end. They will have some say on the fate of the North and Jon.

The ending with Danny and her ships was how I wanted last season to end with her on her Dragon. It was such a perfect way to show how the story will be moving forward next season. We only have thirteen episodes left before the show ends. I don’t want a seven and six episode season, but if that is all they need to wrap up the entire show, then hopefully every episode brings the same story telling power of this finale. 

Independence Day Resurgence - Movie Review: I Wonder How Much China Will...

Can anyone still blame Will Smith for turning down this movie? He probably took one look at this script and said: Nope.

Independence Day Resurgence starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. User, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film is the sequel to the 1996 giant blockbuster Independence Day. It tells the story of a new Alien invasion set twenty years in the future were the Earth has been preparing for another attack. The Earth has been at peace since the previous invasion and all of mankind has worked in harmony to prepare for the next battle.

I was on board with this film from the first trailer. I love the first Independence Day, not because it is a good movie, but because it is just a fun 90’s action science fiction adventure. Resurgence tries to capture some lost 90’s magic and it just misses the mark. The action in the movie is still really well done, and I enjoyed watching the film. I also laughed out loud on numerous occasions where the story makes zero sense. This film is going to be a guilty pleasure of mine, because while it is not a good movie, I still enjoyed watching it, and can sadly see myself watching it again. Maybe it has something to do with the expectations I had going into the film. I wasn’t expecting a great film, I wasn’t even expecting a good one from the trailers. I just wanted to watch Aliens blow up for two hours.

For the most part that is exactly what I got, because the story is the weakest part of the entire movie. The original Independence Day had a weak story in parts as well, but nothing to the degree of Resurgence. There are characters and stories in the film that could have been completely taken out and the movie would have been a little bit shorter, and probably better. Judd Hirsch is a great example of this. Yes I’m glad we got to see Jeff Goldblum’s characters dad again, but his story is a total waste in the film. It wasn’t needed and every time they would flash to his story I kept expecting something to pay off from it, but it never did. It almost seemed Emmerich wanted to have the exact same number of story lines he had in the original and doggedly keep to that number. At least Hirsch did well in playing the role.

Going into the film the acting was what I was most worried about. I felt the older actors like Goldblum and Pullman would handle their roles well, but I wasn’t sure about the young cast. Maybe it was my extremely low expectations, but I wasn’t bothered by anyone’s performance. No performance was as bad as any live action character in the Warcraft movie, and going in I was expecting those types of cringe worthy performances. I thought the worst of the bunch was Usher who played Dylan Hiller. He was still at least serviceable. I actually found myself enjoying Liam Hemsworth character. He was one dimensional, but I thought he did a good job in the role and was charismatic.  Hemsworth wasn’t given much to work with in the script or story, and I can’t fault him for that. He did the best with what he had, which I think most of the cast did. I think the standout of any performance was Maika Monroe who played Patricia Whitmore. I liked her interactions and believability in the story, except for a few scenes with Bill Pullman.

I was let down the most by some of the older cast. Goldblum did a passible job in playing David Levinson again, but how he was used in the story was almost pointless. They also don’t have the Margaret Colin, who played his wife in the original, in this movie. Emmerich doesn’t bring her up at all which was a huge misstep in the story. That was a major plotline in the first movie, and not to mention it at all is extremely poor storytelling for a sequel. At least say she died of cancer, or is in China as a government liaison or something. The movie was obviously playing to the Chinese market they could have easily pandered to them again with this as well.

Don’t get me wrong, having a diverse cast is a good thing. This movie has an inclusive cast, and that is one thing the movie gets right. Resurgence feels more like it is a world struggle against the Aliens than just the Americans leading the charge. Granted everyone looks to our President to make the ultimate call, but hey we figured out how to bring down the first Alien mother ship, we should have more control… Shouldn’t we? I just didn’t like the overt product placements trying to sell to the Chinese market, but I don’t like overt product placements trying to sell to the American market either. I don’t mind product placement in movies, just don’t make glaring.

Independence Day Resurgence isn’t a good movie. I did have fun watching it though, and I could see myself guiltily watching it again for a good laugh. Everyone who complains and hates on this movie is going to be justified because it isn’t good. It includes stories and characters it shouldn’t, and has way too many convenient coincidences to overlook. The finale is drawn out too long, and the emotional payoff is no were near as satisfying as the original. That being said for me it was Worth Seeing because I love the first movie, but for most people don’t bother, unless you just love pure action. I can’t see another sequel happening but we will see how the film preforms internationally.  

Tell me what you think of Independence Day Resurgence, if you made it out to see it. What is your favorite 90s action movie? Comment and let me know. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Star Wars News: Darth Vader & Clone Wars Character in Rogue One

You hear that sound? That was EW dropping an internet bomb on the Star Wars community today. Entertainment Weekly released the focus of their Friday issue, and it’s all about Star Wars Rogue One. The issue, and the story on their website, gives breakdowns of all the new characters and also confirms a badly kept secret: Darth Vader’s return to the big screen. Many Star Wars fans have known Vader is going to be in the movie for weeks now from leaks and just common sense. A wider audience now has the knowledge. The masses won’t recognize the dark lord’s return until the next trailer drops (sorry Harry Potter fans there is only one true dark lord).

The main question I have is the timing for this EW article. Is this Disney and Lucasfilm doing damage control from the rash of stories about the movie being in trouble? It might be, because this is the type of article that should come out during or right before Star Wars celebration next month. I would almost expect the new trailer to drop tomorrow or sometime soon with this much information coming out. I still think it will probably be next month for a new trailer. The timing for this news feels more like damage control instead of purely getting people excited for the film.
I still think the film is going to be good regardless. I didn’t think the reshoots were a big story when it dropped, and I don’t think they are now. I think they want to change some things in the film and make it better, but I don’t think it is anything to worry about. I’m curious of the timing confirming Darth Vader’s appearance without visuals to back it up. The cover of the magazine confirms he is coming back, but we don’t have a single image from the story today of the Sith Lord. EW is dropping images tomorrow, so maybe we will see him then, but I think the best time to reveal his presence would be in a trailer.

Again the masses aren’t going to realize Darth Vader is in a movie until they see a trailer. Star Wars fans knew he was going to be in it, and now more main stream movie fans know. The news today seemed to be more about misdirection. Those reshoots are nothing to worry about, look at all this cool information. We got confirmation of Darth Vader for the masses, and for hardcore Star Wars fans a nugget about Forrest Whitaker’s character Saw Gerrera.

Saw Gerrera has made an appearance in Star Wars cannon before. On season five in Clone Wars he was a leader of a Rebel band on the planet Onderon, not to be confused with Alderaan. He was a hot head and was mistrustful of the Jedi if I am remembering the story arc correctly. These particular episodes of Clone Wars were really well done, and if you haven’t watched the show check out these episodes on Netflix.

I’m excited they are incorporating an animated character into a live action role. It could pave the way for other characters who have only been in books or the animated show to migrate over to live action. I don’t think it will be a regular occurrence, but the Star Wars films give more opportunities for characters already established to have a bigger role. I look forward to seeing what Whitaker does with the character and how he plays a part in capturing the Death Star plans.

More news about Rogue One or anything related to Star Wars gets me excited. This is my most anticipated movie of the year, and while I think this article is damage control, I’m still not worried. I think Lucasfilm felt they needed to get out in front of the negative reshoot buzz with a story like this. I don’t think they are worried about the movie being bad, but worried about how the negative press would affect the film. Hopefully this is the case, and the movie isn’t a jumbled mess. Even if it is at the moment, I think the team assembled can still make it a good film. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Finding Dory - Movie Review: A Deserving Sequel

Pixar waited so long to make a sequel to Finding Nemo I now have two kids to take to the movies. When it first came out I’ll I had to take was a date.

Finding Dory starring Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O’Neil, Albert Brooks, Kaitlin Olson, and directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane. The movie tells the story of how Dory slowly begins to remember small bits about her childhood and parents. She wants to try to find and reunite with them. That’s it, simple premise for a simple movie, but Pixar always finds ways to put more than what meets the eye into their kid’s films.

Finding Dory also fills in backstory about how Dory knew so many things in Finding Nemo. Did you wonder why a fish who can’t remember anything knows how to read and can talk to whales? This film explains how and does it extremely well. They weave how she gained her knowledge seamlessly into the film, and add onto what she knows while she is meeting new and old friends. The movie is a journey similar to Finding Nemo, but it is a different story. We meet a new host of side characters and they all are welcome additions to this ocean universe.

The standout among the new side characters is Hank the Octopus, voiced by Ed O’Neil. All Hank wants is to go to Cleveland and not be released back into the ocean. He gets wrapped up into helping Dory, and their interactions help make the film a treat to watch. DeGeneres and O’Neil bring both characters to life, and their chemistry, even if it is just vocal, is fantastic in the film. The other new character who stood out was Destiny the Whale-Shark voiced by Kaitlin Olson. From the trailers I didn’t know if she was going to be a welcome addition, but she was fantastic and the character had me laughing throughout the entire movie.

The comedy is another strong point for the film. I was laughing the entire run time and it has humor for both kids and adults, like most Pixar films. I laughed the hardest at the Sea Lions who were voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West who were great editions to the comic relief. They worked well for both children and parents in the audience I saw the film with. The movie had a great mixture of comedy and actual story. For those worried the side character of Dory couldn’t hold an entire film, they shouldn’t have. Stanton and MacLane had a story to tell with Dory and did a good job in telling it.

I’m not sure if anyone will be tearing up during Finding Dory, but the film does tug at your heartstrings. I found myself, as a parent, being emotionally invested in Dory’s story because of the connection I have to my kids. I heard before seeing this movie that Finding Dory could be a beacon for kids with disabilities, and I can see how the film could speak to those children and their parents. Dory is the undeniable hero of this film, and saves the day on numerous occasions in a fashion unique to her character.

The only problems I had with the film is that they went a little overboard with the ending. They could have ended the film on a few occasions, but kept extending scenarios which became more and more ludicrous. Yes this is a children’s movie about talking marine life, but for the finale I felt they broke some of the rules that had been established for the world they had created. Which is something that always bothers me. Create a world, and stick to the rules created for it. I’m can suspend my disbelief if a film does this, but I was pulled out of watching Finding Dory during the finale because of the events happening on screen.

The only other complaint I can see being leveled at the movie are the parts with Marlin and Nemo. They are important for the story, but I felt there side adventure wasn’t put together as well as Dory’s. The movie dragged just a bit when the movie flashed over to them, which in the original you were invested in both Marlin finding Nemo, and Nemo’s adventure in the fish tank. Marlin and Nemo’s parts aren’t horrible, but just not to the level of the main storyline. I don’t think they could be cut from the film, but you get the sense the writers weren’t completely sure what to do with them for the movie.

Overall Finding Dory is a very good film that touches your heart, and tells a compelling story about the fish who forgets. It isn’t the best Pixar movie ever, but they set such a high standard with their movies it’s hard to beat their top tier. This is film is Worth Seeing, and worth adding to your Pixar collection when it comes to home video. Take your kids or a date to see movie and have fun.

What did you think of Finding Dory if you have seen it? I’ll be generic, unlike Pixar, and ask what is your favorite Pixar film? My top two are Up and Inside Out. Inside Out keeps impressing me every time my four year old puts it on. I find myself always watching when he does. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Game of Thrones S6E9 Battle of the Bastards Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Satisfying

In a word the ninth episode, Battle of the Bastards, of season six on Game of Thrones was satisfying. Totally and completely satisfying with action and storytelling displayed. The two story arcs the episode focused on provided everything an audience could want. We started in Meereen with Daenerys and finished with Sansa in the North. Every part of the episode was well acted and intense, with little or no downtime. The last few weeks of Game of Thrones have been a little disappointing, but Battle of the Bastards made up for any shortcomings in the previous episodes with the amount of payoffs provided.

Everyone was expecting the epic battle in the North from the title of the episode, but I was equally excited to see Danny wreck the slavers army with Drogon. I thought last week we would get to see all three dragons in action, and I was not disappointed. The setup to the massacre by Daenerys was perfect with Tyrion cautioning her about what her father had planned to do in Kings Landing. This is also a great reminder about what lies underneath Kings Landing still, and may point to what Cersei will do in the finale. It was a great way for Tyrion to reign in Daenerys’ blood lust. He is paid to advise her, and he gave her wise council and gained her a fleet of ships.

The pure joy of watching Drogon fly over the slavers head, and Daenerys climb aboard to burn the fleet was pitch perfect. It is shock and awe at its finest. One dragon would probably be enough to cause the lines of the enemy to break, and she has three. We also got a flash of how terrifying a screaming horde of Dothraki warriors can be when they charged the Sons of the Harpy. It was perfect to show restraint, and not kill everyone. People will now start spreading rumors of how awe inspiring and terrifying Daenerys is with her Dragons. The one slaver they let live will tell everyone of the destruction the dragons can wreck, and that Danny has a horde of Dothraki to complement them.

They also cleared up the ship problem with capturing the fleet, and adding to it with the ones Theon and Yara brought to Meereen. If there was one part of the episode that felt misplaced it was this scene between the Greyjoy’s, Danny, and her council.  It just didn’t fit the rest of the tone of the episode. It was still a great scene, and I liked how they played on the similarities between Yara and Danny. They just could have saved the scene for the next episode and it wouldn’t have felt out of place. I think having one more scene with Danny and her council might have fit more with the tone of this episode. I still enjoyed the scene, but it would have had more weight leading into the next season.

Everything in the North was spot on, and not one second was wasted. Jon and Ramsey’s first parley was intense with Sansa adding a unique element to the exchange. Her threat was not an empty one. Looking at the episode now, it seems she was the puppeteer behind the entire battle. Her next scene with Jon hinted at this. She warned him not to play into Ramsey’s hands. She warned Jon not to fall for the trap, but he did, and she knew he would. That is why she held back the information about the Vale. She knew Jon would want to use them the same way he used his current forces, but she knew holding something back would cause Ramsey to be overconfident and extend his forces. She planned for Jon to become entangled and then to bring in the Vale to save the day. She also knew Rickon was already dead, she knew Ramsey was just waiting for the right moment to kill him. Sansa has now become one of my favorite characters in the show on par with Danny, Jon, and Tyrion, because of her actions in tonight’s episode.

The actual battle was fantastic, with the action being intense and well shot up until the end. You never felt entirely certain if Jon was going to make it out of the battle alive. We knew Melisandre would try and resurrect him if he fell, but his survival was not a guaranteed. I also thought we would lose Tormund a few times during the battle, but ended up making it out alive. The only major loss was Rickon, and because he has never been a major character his loss doesn’t seem very impactful.  His death was used in the perfect way, because we knew Jon would have to try and save him, and set the battle off at a disadvantage. You still wanted Jon to save him, but knew he wouldn’t make it.

The episode at least gave us a satisfying end (see there is that word again) to Ramsey. He died with his dogs, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way for him to go. He was no better than a rapid dog himself, and he got taken out by his own pack.  He almost seemed to enjoy getting beat up by Jon, but in the end he was terrified, and the smirk Sansa gave while walking away proves how much the prissy girl from Winterfell has grown in six season of the show.

There are so many great scenes in this episode, but a few more are worth mentioning. Wun Wun and the way he tore through the entire Bolton army was fantastic. The one time he ripped a man in half was just perfect for the scene. The ending at Winterfell and the Bolton banners coming down and the Stark banners going up gave me chills. Yes silly television show, but it was just a great feeling seeing them fly in the fictional castle again.

I don’t know if this is the best episode of Game of Thrones ever, but it has to be the most satisfying. We didn’t lose anyone we are invested in, and we saw parts of two storylines reach epic conclusions. We know were Daenerys is going from here, but the question is what does the North do with Sansa sitting on the throne of Winterfell?  Do they rally to her, or do we see a civil war in the North as other houses try and seize power? With only two seasons left, I’m guessing they will unite and fight the white walkers together.

What did you think of tonight’s epic episode? Comment and let me know. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Star Wars Comic Book Review/Recap: Star Wars #20 & Han Solo #1

This week had two new Star Wars comic releases: Star Wars #20 and Han Solo #1

Star Wars #20 is another Obi Wan Kenobi story about him protecting young Luke on Tatooine. In this story Jabba the Hut has hired a Wookie bounty hunter to hunt down the person responsible for embarrassing his thugs. The Wookie starts by kidnapping Owen, because the farm is close to the place where the thugs were taken out. Obi Wan comes to Owen’s aid, but finds the Wookie bounty hunter hard to handle.

These Obi-Wan one off stories buried within the Star Wars comic are some of my favorites. This is only the third one, but I almost want an exclusive run of just this series, but hopefully they are saving some big stories for an actual Star Wars spinoff movie.  This was a nice story, because we see Obi-Wan not sure of himself. He is getting older, and is out of practice. He thinks he can take out the bounty hunter, but during the fight he starts to doubt himself. Then he trusts in the force and sees the solution.

The climax of the story gave me chills. It was a very well written by Jason Aaron who seems to be very in tune with all of his Star Wars material, but especially the Obi-Wan stories. The story was progressing one way, and I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t. Aaron built the perfect crescendo to the story, and wrote it brilliantly. When I turned the page and saw who actually saves the day it was a great surprise.

This might be my favorite of the three stories from the Obi-Wan adventures, but they have all been good. I can’t wait until the next adventure drops and we get more of a glimpse of what a standalone Obi-Wan Kenobi film would look like. 

Han Solo #1 is the first issue in a limited run Han Solo standalone adventure. I’m not sure I’m on board with were the story starts and where Han is at. He has stopped helping the Rebellion after the Battle of Yavin and is back to smuggling. Granted he is turning jobs down, and it seems his heart isn’t into doing jobs, but he still left the Rebellion.

After the Battle of Yavin, and what all three heroes went through I don’t see him abandoning the Rebellion to go back to a life of smuggling, even if his heart isn’t in it. To start the story Leia has tracked Han down to give him a job. She wants him to help rescue some spies whose cover has been blown. To accomplish this Han gets to enter a dangerous race and show what the Falcon is made of.

This is a good story, and when I got past the start of the issue I’m excited to see where this comic goes. I just don’t understand why you start with Han not part of the rebellion after the Battle of Yavin. They could have just as easily started this adventure with him being part of the Rebellion. He still needs money to pay off Jabba, so he wants to keep the winnings if he is able to win the race he enters. It serves no purpose to show Han away from the Rebellion to start the comic.  If they set it up right after the events of Yavin, no one would know he was part of the Alliance.

This gripe aside the art and the story is engaging, and I’m interested to see a cannonball like race story set in the Star Wars universe. Hopefully they don’t make any other strange timeline story alterations, but even so I’m along for the ride. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Game of Thrones S6E8 No One Recap/Review (Spoilers): Wild Theories and Disappointment

The Game of Thrones episode No One might not have satisfied many fans of the show. There were things to enjoy in the episode, but the main focus of the night was a letdown. Arya’s story with the Faceless Men was anticlimactic, and could have ended episodes ago if this was all it was leading to. There were many wild theories about how Arya was actually The Waif, and that it wasn’t really her who got stabbed and fell into the water. Other’s predicted it was all a setup and she planned to lead The Waif to where she kept Needle and fight her in the dark, which is what happened, but it wasn’t a setup.

If Arya had wanted to set The Waif up then she did a very poor job of it. She got the person killed who was healing her, and then almost didn’t make it back to her hideout. Maybe it was all a plan and her plan went wrong because of the stabbing, but there should have been more clues to this within the last two episodes. Then we didn’t even get to see the fight between the two of them. Granted it was in the dark, but there are still ways they could have shown some action. Arya did learn many skills while she was in Bravos, but her time there ultimately feels wasted. It went on too long for the conclusion provided. Arya is one of my favorite characters because of how much she has had to endure and survive, and her adventures here didn’t seem to add anything to her overall struggle.  

Another anticlimactic showdown was in Kings Landing. We got a taste of what the new Mountain can do with his bare hands, which was an amazing scene, but then followed up by the decree outlawing trials by combat. This will force Cersei to come before the High Sparrow and be tried by his court, along with Loras. She must rely on the secrets Qyburn has found out, and hope that is enough to save her. Margery also has a plan to save her brother, which might also benefit Cersei, but her help can’t be relied upon. There is no one truly to root for in King’s Landing. I have no sympathy for Cersei, and I can’t stand the High Sparrow. Tommen is a sweet character who is stuck in the middle, but not someone you want to succeed. Cersei is the evil who will probably triumph, because it is her story the audience is following.

Jamie’s story was another disappointment on the night. The interactions he had with Brienne was great, but I want there to be more growth between them, and for him to finally stop pining for Cersei. 
This is from a love for his character in the books, and the transformation he goes through there. I still enjoy Jamie’s character in the show, but think they could play up his struggle to overcome his dishonor, and downplay his love for his sister. He doesn’t take pride in being The Kingslayer, and wants to try and become an honorable man. That is what I wanted from his interaction with Edmond. It was a great back and forth, and a powerful scene, I just wish they would have went a different way with it. All he can think of is getting back to King’s Landing, and I to see him struggling more with his conscience.

The lack of a fight for the castle was a bit of a letdown as well. It would have been nice to see some sort of battle. They could have at least shown us Blackfish fighting to the death. The only fighting we saw tonight was from The Hound, which was satisfying, but there should have been some more action in the episode. They had opportunities to show more, but they went away from it at every chance they could. Even when The Hound met up with the true brotherhood they could have let him hack a prisoner up, but they just hanged them. Still another good scene, but just a bit of a letdown. It would have been nice to see him fight some more with his axe.

We got a brief glimpse of what is going to happen in Meereen next week with Daenerys’ return. The scenes in Meereen just felt like they were waiting for her to get back. The scenes were entertaining, but unneeded. Hey, um yeah, we are still stuck in the city, and waiting for Danny to get back, while we wait lets tell some jokes. It was a good scene, and it was nice to see Tyrion starting to win the two of them over, but then to quickly lose them with the arrival of the slavers. It was great to see Danny show up, and the next episode will be nothing but action.  Danny fighting with her Dragons, and Jon vs Ramsey.

Tonight’s episode might be my least favorite of the season, because of the way they used Arya. It was her story they were wrapping up, and we may not see her again until the finale. Her time in Bravos feels wasted, but hopefully they recover and her story becomes more compelling again. Next week looks to be an epic episode with the Battle of the Bastards, and the battle for Meereen. Maybe we will get to see all three dragons in action, along with an amazing battle in the North. The last few episodes haven’t been as strong as the start of the season, but a fantastic final two episodes and this still could be one of the best seasons for the show.

Did you feel letdown by Arya’s story? Did you want more action in tonight’s episode? Comment and let me know. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Warcraft - Movie Review: For the What and Why?

What does it take to make a great movie adapted from a video game? Whatever it does, Warcraft didn’t do it.

Warcraft is the latest video game to be adapted to film and stars Toby Kebbell, Paula Patton, Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, and is directed by Duncan Jones. The movie tells the story of an Orc invasion to the land of Azeroth were humans and a host of other races live. The Orc world is dying, and they must leave it in order to survive. The reason their world is dying is because of a magic called “The Fel” and it draws life out of the world. A powerful Orc mage, Gul’Dan, has harnessed the fel and uses it help him rule over the orc people and convince them to invade Azeroth.

For someone who has never played World of Warcraft I didn’t know what type of story to expect from the film. The trailers had been all over the place in regards to tone, and with some of the early negative buzz I was worried going in. The film starts with a brief exposition monologue from the orc Durotan.  What was impressive about Warcraft was the Orc storyline. I related to most of the main Orc characters and wanted them to succeed. The CG on the Orcs was fantastic and their look did not take me out of the film. Durotan’s story is compelling and Toby Kebbell does a great job with his motion capture performance. He stole the movie and was one of, if not the only, saving grace for the film. Duncan Jones makes an extremely bold choice with Durotan’s story, maybe it wasn’t bold if you know the game, but then it is ruined right after the choice was made. There was no payoff for the decision he makes for Durotan’s character. It has very little bearing on the course of the movie after it is made. This is a shame, because of the story told up to this point in the film.

The Orc story, even with the disappointing conclusion, is still leaps and bounds above anything on the human side. Most of the actors who play the humans disappoint, but none greater than Ben Foster. I like Ben Foster as an actor. He has been in some great movies, and played some fantastic characters in them. He almost completely steals 310 to Yuma over Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. His performance in Warcraft as The Guardian is comically bad. I’m not sure it is all his fault, because much of his story feels truncated and maybe many of his scenes were cut. His character has zero motivation for his actions in the film, and what he does throughout the film makes no sense. Maybe it will for fans of the game, but that is a fault in the story. Someone who has never played the game should be able to go into the movie and not have questions about why a character acts a certain way. It’s disappointing because Foster could have been great if used in a different way.

Not far behind the comical role Foster plays is another magic user Khadgar played by Ben Schnetzer. He has very little backstory or motivation behind his actions either. We know he leaves the magic order, but we never find out why. There is a more backstory for him than The Guardian, but not much. Most of his lines come across stiff and unbelievable. I’m not sure if this is more to do with writing, his acting, or Duncan Jones directing. He however is not the only who comes across as unbelievable within the film.  

Travis Fimmel plays the main hero Lothar in the film and while he gives the most competent performance on the live action side, it still isn’t great. He was at least believable as a competent warrior, unlike Dominic Cooper who played the King.  Which is strange because Cooper’s performance in Preacher has shown he can play a badass. It makes me think the performances are more on the writing and direction than the actors.

An interesting choice with Cooper’s character is made as well, and it ultimately sets up a sequel. If the human story hadn’t been so poorly developed I might not have minded setting up a second film. However it was, and they did, and it was an extremely poor decision. They tried to franchise the property without making sure they made a good film to start with first. Yes many properties are doing this now, and I’m a major fan of one of them, but there was a basis for Star Wars, because of the previous movies, this has none. Since video game films have never taken off, they should have focused on making this a contained well put together story first, and then if it did well go for the sequel. The way it was setup here is pretentious.

There were things to like in Warcraft. Like I said the Orc storyline was well put together and their motivations are fully developed. Aside from Ganora’s the half human half orc. Paula Patton does a good job in the role, but we don’t find out much about her backstory, which could have added to the overall human story in the film. The action overall is well done and the devastation the Orc’s wreck is impressive. I still can’t recommend this movie other than for people who have played the game. I think if you have played the game its worth seeing, because you probably will understand the undeveloped human storyline. If you have never played the game then this is not worth seeing. Watch it for free when it comes to a paid channel, but don’t pay for it. A sequel will probably still happen because it is doing well internationally, but I won’t be seeing it if it is released.

What did you think of Warcraft if you have seen it? If you have played the game did the human storyline make sense?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Star Wars Comics: Poe Dameron #3 & Darth Vader #21 Recap/Review

I wish I liked the Star Wars: Poe Dameron comic. When it was announced they were launching a series based on the ace fighter pilot of the Resistance I was all for it.  I couldn’t wait to read the story that would tie into the events leading to The Force Awakens. The first three issues have left me disappointed. I haven’t liked any of the interactions, new characters, or the overall story they have told thus far.

The first three issues have lead Poe to a world where Lor San Tekka lived. Poe is trying to hunt him down because Leia thinks he has information about the whereabouts of Luke (Yes I know you know this if you are reading this) The people of the world are part of a strange religion worshiping a giant egg which they think has the savior of the galaxy inside. The First order follow Poe and his squad of Resistance fighters to the world and attack. The new First Order character introduced, Terek, is interesting, but still didn’t ring true as a either an old Imperial or someone part of the First Order. Terek has a very evil James Bond villain vibe to him, which could work, but I didn’t like him in the framework of this story.

At the start of the third issue Poe is captured by Terek and his squad is having to run and hide against a squad of Tie Fighters. Terek orders the egg the people are protecting fired upon with flame throwers and it starts to hatch. It hatches a Godzilla like creature which then starts attacking throwing everything into chaos. Another Godzilla like creature somehow shows up and fights back the new one that hatched.

Maybe I need to go back and read the first two issues, because I have no idea where the new monster came from. The art and the story was hard to follow, and it didn’t give a clear explanation for the action happening in the story. I am fairly new to reading comics, but the panel artwork in this issue is some of the worst I’ve seen. Not the actual art, but just in how it advances the story. I would think the art in the comic should help explain the action happening, but I was lost.

The person writing the comic, Charles Soule, doesn’t help either. He seems to be trying to write things that sound like Star Wars instead of just writing an interesting story within the Star Wars Universe. The interaction of the pilots during the dogfight is comically bad. Soule introduces a random love story element between two pilots in the middle of the third issues which wasn’t mentioned in the previous two. It has no bearing on the story being told, and it made no sense to be added, other than to just fill up a speech bubble. The pilots also don’t seem to know what they are doing, deciding on one course of action in one panel then changing to the complete opposite course of action a few panels later.

This third issue seems to close out this brief story arc for the comic. Hopefully the next part of the story is an improvement over the first three editions. I’ll keep buying the comic, but it quickly went from something highly anticipated to something I don’t care if I read or not.

The Darth Vader comic has been up and down in quality. The first five to six issues where fantastic, then it took a dip when it introduced the weird cyborg warriors. It then picked back up when the Vader Down crossover event was introduced. The last few issues have been on the decline again, because Vader has been dealing with the cyborgs. They have been better than when they were first introduced, but still don’t seem to fit into the Star Wars universe.

The twenty first issue of Vader seems to hint at the run finishing on a strong note. Vader has tracked down Doctor Cylo, who created the cyborgs, and has been plotting against the Emperor the entire time. Vader finds a way onto Cylo’s command ship and looks to start wreaking havoc the only way Darth Vader can. When the comic has succeeded it has been when Vader is doing incredible things with the force. Stopping photon torpedoes, or taking down an entire battalion of rebellion troops. It adds to the mythos of how terrifying and devastating Vader can be. The end of issue shows Vader having to face another fight. We know he wins, but the way he wins is what I want to read about.

The part of the Vader comic which has never really interested me is the Doctor Aphra storyline. She worked well in the Star Wars comic going up against Leia, and then teaming up with her, but she just seems out of place in the Vader comic. She has never seemed like a character Vader would team up with and use. She is painted as an evil Han Solo type. Someone who is out for herself, and can be ruthless. However, for me, there always seems to be a sense of someone with a good heart underneath her exterior. This might be me just reading something into her character that isn’t there, but I keep expecting a turn down a more righteous path for her.

She allows herself to be taken capture in this issue and to be transported back to Vader. I am not sure how I want her story to end in the comic. Vader at this point is still ruthless and killing everyone who either screws up or gets in his way. Aphra is a loose end and should be taken out, but could he spare her and this be the first sign of Anakin coming back to the surface? I’m not sure which way I want the story to end, but this is the most intrigued I’ve been on where the character of Aphra is heading.

Comment and let me know your thoughts on either comic. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Game of Thrones S6E7 The Broken Man Recap/Review (Spoilers!): 62

How many Broken Men can we count in episode seven of season six? Jon, Sandor, Theon, Jamie, and probably more. The episode should have been called The Broken Men instead of man, though I know this was nod to Sandor Clegane’s return. I’m not sure how we will play into the overall conclusion of the show, but he is a fan favorite from both the books and show, and it is good to see him back, even if it cheapens the show a tiny bit. Jon needed to be brought back because his story isn’t finished, Sandor’s was done, but I guess he can go and kill his zombie brother.

The other parts of the episode were all parley’s and maneuvers. Everything was well executed and added to the setup to the conclusion of the season, but it would have been nice to see more actual advancements in the stories. The main story which disappointed was Arya’s. She spent over a year training to be an Assassin and knows how the people operate. They can be anyone at any time, and they warned her she would be a target if she failed in her task. What does she do? She walks around Bravos without a care in the world, like no one can touch her. This made no sense to me with how the character has grown over the past three seasons. She is an extremely cautious person. Why would she let her guard down now? She should have been expecting a fight, and I thought she was with how the last episode ended. Her story has advanced at a snail’s pace, and it should have concluded tonight with her killing The Waif and heading back to Westeros.

No major action took place back in the seven kingdoms this episode either. The best parts were with Jon and Sansa and them building their army. We got a great scene with Jon and the Wildings. Jon did well in every encounter in the episode pleading his case well at each house he went too. Davos saved the day at House Mormont, but they didn’t gain much from their support. Maybe the 62 soldiers from Bear Island will become like the 300 Spartans to Westeros. In the end Sansa is forced to ask for help from The Vale and Littlefinger. She knew she might and is why she ultimately held back on telling Jon about him to begin with. She wanted to see how much support they could gain from the Northern houses first, before she was forced to rely on Littlefinger. She knew if she told everyone about The Vale’s support at first they would welcome it, but she doesn’t want Littlefinger’s help if it can be avoided. She is also counting on Brienne to gain the support of her Uncle in Riverrun.

The scenes at Riverrun with Jamie are some of the best of the episode. He puts the Frey’s in their place, to then be promptly put in place by Brynden Tully. They don’t really have any chance of taking the castle without great loss of life, and Jamie knows it. He’s in a bad position, because Brynden has nothing to lose by holding out. Jamie must secure the castle in order to return back to King’s Landing. Which is where even more political maneuvers are happening.

I was beginning to think Margery had bought into the faith with how she was acting at the start of the episode. We quickly learn she is still loyal to House Tyrell with the picture she slips to her Grandmother. Oleanna then plans to leave the city before the High Sparrow can capture her, which leads to a great interaction between her and Cersei. Oleanna leaves nothing out, and lays the entire blame for the current situation at Cersei feet. She is right to do so, because Cersei did cause the entire mess and now expects the Tyrell’s to help clean it up. I’m not sure where this is all heading, but hopefully it ends with the High Sparrow’s head on a pike. There were good interactions in King’s Landing, but still little actual movement towards the conclusion of the storyline. We are finally going to see some action next week since we get the scene from one of the initial trailers of the season.

The only other minor scene from tonight was with Yara and Theon. It was well done and showed how Yara was going to be loyal to Theon, but gave him a kick on the ass to either live his life or end it. They explain they are going to head to Meereen to try and join forces with Danny and take back the Iron Islands. I thought they may try to unite more people to their cause before heading to Meereen, but they are going to straight for the gold. We will see if it pays off. We know Danny needs the ships.

Overall the episode had great interactions and good setup, but it didn’t advance many storylines towards a conclusion, and introduced one more in Sandor Clegane. This has still been one of my favorite Game of Thrones Season’s, but hopefully the last three episodes cement it as the best. Hopefully they course correct with Arya’s storyline next week, and we finally see her take out The Waif and head back to Westeros.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you like the interactions and the reintroduction of Sandor Clegane? Did Arya’s storyline fit with her character? Comment and let me know. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Race - Movie Review: A Slow Start, but Great Finish

One good thing about a movie about running, is that it gives me good motivation for the next few weeks to get outside and run.

Race starring Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, for some reason Jeremy Irons, and directed by Stephen Hopkins. The film is a biopic about the life of Jesse Owens leading up to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The movie starts with Jesse going to college and leads to his unprecedented performance at the games hosted in Germany under the Nazi regime. The film also tries to tell the story of the 1936 Olympics and the divisive nature competing in the games caused in the United States.
The trouble with Race is the film doesn’t know what story it wants to tell. If this was supposed to be a movie about the life of Jesse Owens, or a slice of his life, it should have just focused on him. If the film wanted to be about the 1936 Olympics, then it should have focused solely on the games. Each story can’t be told without the other, but the focus should have been shifted for a more coherent film. Since the movie was sold as a story about Jesse Owens, the story elements focused on the actual Olympic Games should have been shifted.

Stephan James does a great job in his portrayal of the track star. The actual competitions are exciting and tension filled. Hopkins does a good job of capturing the excitement and loneliness a runner feels before competing. Hopkins was also able to make one of the most boring events to watch, the long jump, into something excising. I just wish there was more actual racing in a movie called Race, but yes I understand the other meaning behind the title. There should have been more events leading up to the Olympics, about how Owens made it to the games, instead of how the US almost didn’t compete in them. There is also a strange storyline about Owens unfaithfulness before he was married to his wife. It tried to humanize him and show he wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t needed for this film. If the film wanted to focus more on Jessie owns as a true character, then it should have cut out the Olympic political storyline.

The politics behind the Olympics and how the US decided if we should compete in the 36 games is interesting, but should be its own movie and not displayed here. Jeremy Irons plays Avery Brundage a prominent Architect in New York and champion of amateur sports.  He wants the US to compete in the games, and thinks the competition should be the main focus. The purity of the games should be maintained and not sullied by politics. This of course was never the case and the Olympics have constantly been used as a political tool, at the expense of athletes. This story itself could be an entire movie, and would be an interesting one, but not coupled with a focus on Jesse Owens. He would have to be a part of a movie about the 36 games, but not the only part.

Race could have easily focused more on the story between Jesse and his coach played by Jason Sudeikis. Sudeikis does a good job in one of his first dramatic roles, and shows he can be more than just a comedy lead. The training montages were well done, and I believed he was a track coach. Over striding is death for the sprinters. The dynamic was explored well in the film, but there could have been more. Every time the movie went away from the two of them at the track I wanted the film to shift back to Sudeikis and James.

Race is still an overall enjoyable film to watch. If you like historical biopics or just sports movies in general then it’s worth seeing. It is disappointing in the fact that it could have been better if it focused more on a singulair aspect of the story. This should have been about Jesse Owens and his fantastic performance at the Olympics. The focus on the actual Olympics wasn’t needed for the film.

With Race now available for rental have you seen it? Do you like sports or biopic films? What is your favorite sport biopic? Comment and let me know. Like, share, subscribe and all that fun stuff. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Star Wars Rogue One Reshoots: These Aren’t the Reshoots You’re Looking For

News dropped two days ago that Star Wars Rogue One’s first cut had not impressed Disney Executives, and the film was going to undergo expensive reshoots. The story came from one article on Page Six, which did break the story about Alden Ehrenreich becoming the new Han Solo. The article reads like a propaganda piece to try and make the movie seem like it is in massive trouble. Today news dropped from The Hollywood Reporter that the film is undergoing reshoots to try and lighten the mood of the film, and make it match more of the tone with Star Wars: A New Hope.

What are we to make of each of these articles? The first is that reshoots happen all the time for big blockbuster productions. Episode Seven went through reshoots. All of the Marvel Film go through reshoots. It is standard practice for films to go through reshoots, and time is scheduled with everyone on the cast to make sure they can be accomplished. This is also a Star Wars film, so I would expect reshoots to be expensive. One thing, which is troubling, is the length of the reshoots. Four weeks is a long time to go back and work on the film, but it is still not unheard of for a big blockbuster.

I don’t think there is really reason for concern as far as reshooting some of the film. The other article which talked about a tonal shift is more of a red flag. Star Wars Rogue One should be different. It should have a different tone than other Star Wars films. I want a darker grittier war story. Granted the source for the article could just be doing damage and spin control from the previous leak, which I think is probably case. Then I wonder why state they are making a tonal shift. They should have stuck to their guns saying reshoots were always going to happen, and they are just tightening things up for the film. Different types of films in the same universe can have different tones. Antman has very different tone than Captain America Civil War. In that same light the Marvel television shows on Netflix are vastly different than the movies and they are set in the same universe. A different tone can and should work for this movie. A major audience is going to show up and watch the film, regardless of the tone.

This also could be a nonstory all around. The reshoots were planned, they wanted to change a few things, and the movie will be great. The trailer got me excited, and it is still my most anticipated film of the year. Maybe both of the sources talked too aren’t credible. Maybe they are, but websites around the world need people to click on their stories, so the more “in trouble” the film seems the better. The second article could be spin control, but it’s poor spin control if it is, which makes me think the source isn’t reliable. Disney and Lucasfilm haven’t come out officially and spoke about the reshoots. It’s all been from “sources” at Disney and “studio insiders.” It could all be true, but I have a heavy amount of skepticism when the driving force for most websites is to drive up site traffic by making sensational headlines. These sources may have even told them this information, but the sites are phrasing it in a way to exaggerate the truth.

I’m not blind to my bias though. I am a Star Wars nut, and I want this movie to be great. I have high hopes, and after loving Episode Seven I think Lucasfilm knows what they are doing in approaching the new films. So I want to spin this to say there is nothing to see here. We don’t have anything to worry about because reshoots are part of movie business and the reshoots will just enhance the already great film Gareth Edwards has put together.

What do you think? Are you worried after reading either of these articles and what has been said about the film? Do you want a tonally different film?  Comment and let me know.