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Okay, yes. It’s been delayed but only by a couple of weeks. Considering it’s been about three years since season four, that’s a drop in the bucket. And as Venture Bros. fans, we forgive that kind lag because we know we’ll get pure gold in return.
But if you’re really hard up, you can check out this 8-minute video that summarizes the first four seasons.
And to make it even more interesting, select cities in the US will get to watch the premiere of season five in theatres a week earlier than it airs on Adult Swim. I don’t live in those cities so I’ve chosen to let my jealousy manifest itself by going to bed now. Good night.
So, the CW’s television adaptation of the DC character Green Arrow actually made it all the way through season one and, much to my surprise, was halfway decent.
When the show was announced, I was concerned I was in for another teen angst ridden super hero show like Smallville. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot about Smallville I enjoyed but it was definitely wrought with the teen angsty vibe the CW likes to bring to the table. But Arrow played it a lot differently.
The show opens with Oliver Queen being rescued from the island he’s been trapped on for five years after the world thinks he’s perished in a boat accident with his father. He survives and returns to his city after promising his father to right his wrongs. He takes on the mantle of an archer called The Hood, taking on criminals at a variety of levels and fighting against a large operation called The Undertaking. I’m still unclear why they just didn’t call him Green Arrow…
The series alternates between the action in Starling City and what happened to Oliver on the Lost-esque island. It was on this island he was trained to fight, use a bow and arrow, and how to survive. And there are a lot of people on this supposedly desolate island.
If you are a fan of DC comics, then there are a lot of Easter eggs in this series. Subtle references to characters and other fictional places are dropped perpetually. Nanda Parabat. Markovia. Keystone City. Ferris Air. Bludhaven. And others are much less subtle as Dinah Lance, Deathstroke, the Huntress, China White and Deadshot are regular characters.
That being said, there is a lot crammed into the first season of this series. It watches like the wrote it before they knew they were renewed for a season two, which they are, and wanted to get in as much as possible. This is particularly noticeable in the first half of the season. If you don’t know a lot of the references they drop already, it’s a little hard to keep up. You also spend a lot of time wondering what of these comic book references will actually pan out into something and which ones are just nods to the source material.
But once it falls into a steady routine and the relationships between the characters are laid out, especially The Hood and his two helpers, the show falls into a groove and becomes quite enjoyable. That being said, The Hood seems to have trouble going an episode without revealing his secret identity.
Arrow might not be brilliant TV but it’s still a fun ride with engaging characters and a bit more personality than you might expect. If you haven’t watched it yet, take a chance and get on board this summer before season two begins in the fall.
Or you could go outside. It’s really your call.
After the lastNext Generation film and the end of Enterprise, the Star Trek franchise was all but dead in the water. It had no direction and no momentum. Until J.J. Abrams came along and released a reboot of the film in 2009, setting up an alternate universe that threw the canon Trekkers were familiar with on its ear. Love it or hate it, this was an elegant way to bring the franchise back into the public eye without disenfranchising hardcore fans.
Well, as many as possible.
And now 2013 has brought the sequel to that reboot, Star Trek Into Darkness. Critics seem to be divided on the film, some loving it and some hating it. Few lie in between. For me, I’m a long term fan of the franchise. Long. Term. And I wasn’t sure how to feel about the 2009 film going into it. I had my doubts. But Abrams proved me wrong and gave me a great film to watch, an effort he’s repeated.
I’m not going to say that this is a perfect movie. There are moments where it feels like they’re trying to cram too many revelations into too short a time frame. Sometimes you need to let the moment breath. That being said, it’s hard not to get drawn in by the action and a storyline that keeps you wondering what’s coming next.
Now for the section of the review with the spoilers. Turn back now or jump ahead if you don’t want to read this part. I’ll let you know when it’s safe again.
After much speculation, we now know that Benedict Cumberbatch plays the notorious nemesis of Captain James T. Kirk known as Khan and plays him well. He’s smart, disturbing and one step ahead of Kirk the whole time, the way Khan should be. The only fault with this performance is that you never feel like Chris Pine’s Kirk is an effective match for Khan. With Shatner/Kirk vs. Khan, you always felt like he was capable of turning the tables when Khan got the upper hand.
While many of the events that take place in this film are unique to Abrams’ interpretation of the Star Trek universe, you simply won’t understand the significance of what Abrams has done with several scenes if you have never watched The Wrath of Khan, still arguably the best Star Trek film of the franchise. And I fear that many recent Star Trek converts have not seen this classic film.
There. The spoilers are over. You can start reading again.
There were two things in this film that made me very happy in particular. First, was the inclusion of the Klingons. Bringing them into this version of the Star Trek universe is important as they are both great villains and allies to the Federation. How will the history between these two superpowers play out? If there’s a third movie, and I’ll be shocked if there isn’t, they seem to be setting up for an all out war with the Klingons. Then again, peace was achieved before.
The second thing that made me happy was the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch. If you want to know who he played, read the spoilers section above. Regardless of the name of his character, Cumberbatch was outstanding. He made you love him, hate him, trust him and revile him, all at the same time. He is one of the most outstanding villains I’ve seen in a film for a long time.
Overall, this is a great, fast paced summer science fiction action film that utilizes its Star Trek heritage and the flexibility of the alternate timeline well. Even if you weren’t a fan of J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek offering, this movie is worth it for all of its Cumberbatchy glory.
I love Futurama. If you want to know why, you can check out my Spectator Tribune column about it. To paraphrase myself, it’s innovative, insightful, witty and unique. Matt Groening’s vision of the future is something to behold. And when it was resurrected from oblivion by Comedy Central after being cancelled by Fox, I quite literally jumped for joy.
Bad news, everyone.
The end of the current season of Futurama will be the end of the series. Again. Lagging ratings spelled the death knell for Fry and friends. But as much as I love the show, its time has come. The core joke of the show has run its course, so much so that I don’t think it could continue to support an ongoing series. But a couple of those straight to DVD films they made prior to the new series would work nicely…
Futurama was absolutely at its best during the Fox run. The Comedy Central run has been good but it definitely has that “you can’t go home again” vibe to it. There’s always a chance that it could find new life on a new network but I hope that if that happens they have new stories to tell and do not simply rehash old plots over and over.
Still, I will miss the Planet Express gang and their insane exploits.
When you ask your average film goer about people who shaped the way films are made, most will answer with a name like George Lucas or Steven Spielberg. If they respond with Michael Bay, please feel free to slap them. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
But for fans of classic films and growth in the field of visual effects, the name Harryhausen will probably be the first on their list.
Inspired by Science Fiction books and the 1933 release of King Kong, Harryhausen began to pursue a film career and focused primarily on visual effects. He worked on commercial and critical successes but will be fondly remembered for 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts. The infamous skeleton fight scene has been blowing the minds of film geek’s for 50 years.
As master storyteller, Harryhausen realized that visual effects are as much a part of the storytelling process as words on a page and forced the field forward by leaps with many of his projects. Without him, there are no filmmakers like Spielberg or Lucas. How much of their work is rooted in and inspired by the visual effects used by Harryhausen?
Ray Harryhausen passed away on May 7th at the age of 92. A legend who associated with legends, he counted the likes Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman, Frank Capra and Ted ‘Dr. Seuss’ Giesel among his friends, peers and mentors. He is survived by his loving family but also by a body of work that will outlive any of us.
Rumors, rumors, rumors! There’s nothing more fun when it comes to comic book movies than rumors. And a big opening for a movie like Iron Man 3 definitely brings them out in droves, particularly leaving a lot of questions behind it. In particular, what’s next? Or, to be more precise, who’s next?
We know that there is another Thor on the way this year, followed by a new Captain America that will bring the Falcon and the Winter Soldier into the fray. The Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring former WWE star Batista and potentially the 10th Doctor David Tennant, is on the way. We might even get an Ant Man film if they can get it together, thought that will probably come later. And an new Avengers will follow that all up. Shockingly.
But there are other things we do know, like the fact that the erstwhile children of Magneto may be appearing in the next Avengers. But how the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will make their appearance is questionable given the fact that Fox owns the film rights to little Marvel things like “mutants” and “Magneto”. As usual, theories abound on how that’s going to work.
Even more interesting are the film rights Marvel has reacquired. Blade, Ghost Rider, Punisher and Daredevil can now make their way into the Marvel films. Should they get their own film franchises, again? No. I’d rather see that effort put into Black Widow. But these characters will be very useful in expanding and filling out a growing Marvel Film Universe.
Barring anything “tied up in rights issues”, Marvel has a lot of content to draw on. I’d love to to see Captain/Ms. Marvel, The Vision, Luke Cage, Nova and more make appearances. But as long as it makes sense in the greater story and the appearance isn’t just shoved in.