Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A new trailer from Avengers: Age of Ultron


Okay, this isn't all new, just the first minute or so, and a few additional frames here and there.

One of those frames includes the glowstick of destiny, which we know Hydra and Baron von Strucker still has.

Mount up. This is going to be freaking awesome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MarvelEvent Talks Black Panther and Inhumans



Help, I can't keep up anymore.

Over at The American Journal, I did an entire article about the Marvel movie release schedule.

Some preliminary thoughts: One, I'm very happy that they've started releasing more than two films a year. They needed to up their game. And I think they just bitch-smacked DC into next Tuesday.

2) It's not that they thought this through enough to include the Inhumans and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) as they both tie the larger Marvel Cosmic universe to the Earthbound Marvel universe. And since Avengers 3 is going to have Thanos (see previous posts) tying them together will help.

However ... Would it have killed them to have a black Widow Movie? I know I'm not the only one who wants it.

3) It seems that, yes, despite what I said the other day, there will be a Civil War element to Captain America 3. However, the only real similarity to the premise is the title, and that there will be legislation about superheroes. It will be a global law, however, not just American. So, guess what, we're going to have Civil War without, well, a civil war. Since the "World Council" in Avengers and Cap 2 seem to be at odds with superheroes, I can't imagine that their successors will be too happy with them.

Does anyone realize that this will put Captain America at odds with the United Nations? Muahaha.

4) Black Panther has been announced. I like the character, and it should be interesting. Supposedly, he might be added to the team in Age of Ultron, but we'll see.

5) To no one's surprise, Avengers 3 is title The Infinity War. And it will be awesome.

 And I have this suspicion that it will include everyone.

6) Despite previous reports, Benedict Cumberbatch has not been confirmed as Dr. Strange.  I just want him on screen so he and Robert Downey Jr. can be on the same screen at the same time.

7) Again, according to the schedule, 2018 will have Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, THEN Captain Marvel, THEN Inhumans, and in 2019, the end of the Infinity War.  Does anyone else think the 2018 movies may all happen at the same time? Or perhaps conclude at the same time?  Just a thought.

For the schedule proper, again, check it out at American Journal.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Avengers, Age Of Ultron ... WTF Was That?

So, that was fun.

Time for my five cents.

Needless to say-- SPOILERS FOR ALL MARVEL FILMS UP TO THIS POINT.

Avengers 2.


WHAT WE KNOW

Ultron is the primary villain of Avengers2. It's really called Avengers: Age of Ultron. So, duh.

We know that Paul Bettany, the voice of JARVIS in Iron Man, is getting his own part as the Vision.  More later.

We know that Pietro and Wanda Maximoff will be in the film.

Dr. Zola, in The Winter Soldier, has an artificial intelligence algorithm that is set to find threats to Hydra, like superheroes, and kill them.

Hydra has the glows tick of destiny from The Avengers.  It has a glowing gem that makes you control people's minds. A mind gem if you will (more on that later).

ADD IT TOGETHER, YOU GET...

Take the AI, stick it into some of Tony Stark's armor, whack it with the mind gem to give it life, and you have a crapstorm ahead called Ultron.

The Maximoff's were seen at the end of Winter Soldier in the clutches of Hydra. Which means that Baron von Strucker and his minions will be part of it. We have another army of darkness ahead.

That was before I saw the trailer.




Now that we've seen The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer ... now what?

Well, a few things.  To start with, the narration was obviously done by the marvelously malicious James Spader, who is voicing the killer robot Ultron. Blaming Hydra aside, we know a good chunk of stuff.
[More below the break]

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Avengers Age of Ultron. The Trailer is here







Doesn't this ending really just call for the soundtrack for Terminator 2?

Seriously, the last image should have been accompanied by "dun dun dun DUNDUN"

Monday, October 20, 2014

The American Journal, GamerGate, and other Insanity

A few weeks ago, I posted links to reviews of brand new shows that I wrote for The American Journal, which is a news site that lets me write for them. Usually, the more ranting and raving I am, the more the readers like it.  So, if you want to see me go bat-guano insane on a semi-regular basis, you can get it out. I think I've officially written over half the articles, so hit something at random, it might be written by Declan Finn.

Anyway, I've done a few articles in recent weeks that some of my readers may like.  In a lot of cases, I just keep a relatively neutral stance -- that stance being "Why can't you freaking morons shut up and leave me alone?"

However, you might want to check out some of these.

Walking Dead Actress Breaks up Sex Ring. Yes, this happened. And what did YOU do with your weekend?

Journalists Conspire to Shape News Over GamerGate This was just .... ARGH

Catholic Church to Support Gay Marriage Yeah, if you had questions about what the HELL is going on about this most recent synod, this is part of it. The other part: Here.

Comic Con Announces Guardians of the Galaxy Cartoon Good luck with that

Sequels for Iron Man and Independence Day in the Works

WB Releases DC Comics Movie Schedule

Video: Liam Neeson Returns in 'Taken 3' 

VIDEO: Viking Rejects Job Applicant Based on Faith -- It's not really politics, it's more of a comedy.  And completely insane. You have to see it to believe it.  Most of it isn't commentary, it's just the news story. Oy.

Zero Tolerance, Zero Intelligence. If you're read my official Amazon bio, you can guess why this is near and dear to my heart.

I think you folks might enjoy some of this.

And if you're wondering what I've been doing with my time.... now you know.

Monday, October 13, 2014

TV Review: The Flash

If you've seen Arrow, you know the premise before you even start the episode.  Barry Allen, CSI, is struck by lightning that had been altered by the explosion of a super-collider. It throws him through shelves of chemicals, just for good measure.

When Barry awakes from this, it's nine months later, the woman he grew up with, Iris, is dating the perfect cop, the world has moved on ..... and Barry can move faster than a ray of light.

The interesting part of the show is how they've decided to develop their rogues gallery. The explosion that created him unleashed all sorts of theoretical elements upon the city, warping and shaping various and sundry people in multiple different ways. It's a nice, simple way of pulling this off, and much better than what was initially done on Smallville -- which, if you remember, consisted of radiation from kryptonite creating a host of different mutations on parts of the population -- which was a cheap way of turning Smallville from Kansis into the Hellmouth from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The short version is that I like this series.  Character traits are quickly and easily set up. Barry is basically a good kid with a backstory that originally had him as the police department's Mulder. We've got the tinkerer, the misanthrope, the mentor (who's looking a little sinister by the end of the episode) and the love interest who friend-zoned Barry in the first three minutes of the episode.

And there are enough little details to satisfy most people. During a monologue, Barry Allen declares himself the Fastest Man Alive, the tag on half his comic books.  The news station is channel 52 -- like the New 52 of the DCU.  There are minor cops brought in from all over the comic books, One of the reporters is a Linda Park, who married Kid Flash in the comics.  Barry's father is played by the actor from the original 1990 Flash tv show.  Ferris air, of Green Lantern fame, makes an appearance.

There's also a giant gorilla cage broken in the aftermath of the explosion. It's labelled "Grodd." If you've read the comics, I don't need to explain. If you haven't, there's no way I can explain it without it sounding stupid.

The short version: I liked this show. The cast aren't as deep as I would have liked, but it's only the pilot. As it stands right this minute, I'll happily watch the rest of the show. But since this is from the same team that brought you Arrow, we can only expect that things are going to get much better from here.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

TV Review: The pilots of the new season, Gotham, Madam Secretary, and more

Some of you might be wondering why it took so long to get some of these DragonCon vides and other blog posts up and running.  Well, I'll tell you. I've been doing a lot of reviews over at The American Journal.  Yes, those people who let me rant and rave and generally carry on cranky.

Anyway, if you've been wondering about some of my rantings and ravings about some of the latest in television watching, here are some links you might be amused by.

Gotham: In short .... was I watching a particularly depraved episode of Criminal Minds? I reviewed 1.5 episodes.

The Pilot, and second episode of Madam Secretary: I've seen worse.  Also better.  At the end of the day, I don't like these people. The writers have some witty banter, but they don't know anything about the political process, or how things work. Period. Avoid.

How to get away with Murder:  This is the worse. More of the same from writer-producer Shonda Rhimes, whose characters are as morally and ethically bankrupt as in her other shows.

Scorpion: This was fun. Just fun. One of the better new shows.

Forever: Also up there as a good new show.

Mysteries of Laura: It's holding up.

Why am I only reviewing six new shows? Because those were the new shows that interested me that aired in September. The October ones are coming up.  However, since the new shows of October are coming up as late as the 24th, don't hold your breath.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Weapons of DragonCon, 2014

I had figured that I'd have the videos of my very own up by now. And I might. But this is a bit of a bonus. Kevin Dockery writes books on weapons. I even have one of them.  At DragonCon, he runs The Armory.   And here are three -- count 'em, three!-- lectures he gave on them.

Yes, these are  from 2013, but I think you'll like it anyway.

Impact weapons




Armor



Swords.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Breakfast with Saul Rubinek and Warehouse 13 @DragonCon, 2014

The show was fun if you could turn off your brain and just watch it.  Saul Rubinek, though, is a character actor I've enjoyed for years. I also saw Saul Rubinek at breakfast in the Hilton buffet every morning, and I swear he wasn't breaking character.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Amy Acker is a Person of Interest @DragonCon2014

I have an irrational love of the show Person of Interest. The main character is basically Batman with guns. How can you not love that premise?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bringing Harry Dresden to life, @DragonCon

Remember when I mentioned that The Dresden Files was a tv show?

Paul Blackthorn, currently on Arrow, played Dresden in the TV show. I think Jim Butcher did an admirable job of not going postal.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, you can refer to previous DragonCon reports, and listen to some of his hesitancy when answering questions about the show itself below.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

@DragonCon, 2014: An Hour with Jim Butcher

It's fun listening to author Jim Butcher, if only to hear someone else be such a nerd.

Butcher is the author of The Dresden Files novels.  There was, briefly, a tv show that ... ended badly.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Adam Baldwin @DragonCon 2014

I'm back from DragonCon.  My usual, typed reports will probably be taking a backseat to videos this year. Some of which I recorded personally. However, to start with, I'm found better video taken from other people.

First up, Adam Baldwin, actor, no relation to the Baldwin brothers.

I enjoy just listening to this guy.  The actor who usually plays thugs and tough guys is actually a lot more interesting in real life. Enjoy

Thursday, September 4, 2014

More Music to write to: Tarja Turunen

This is sung by former Nightwish lead singer Tarja Turunen. I'm not sure I'm crazy about the song, Where were you last night? but I can write to it easily enough. But the video is shiny, and I have obviously run out of things to blog about lately.

And DragonCon is later

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Photos from the Catholic Writers Guild Conference.



There is a lot -- and I mean a LOT -- of photos from the Catholic Media Network conference. You can find them on my Facebook page. But if you aren't a fan of The Pius Trilogy on Facebook, you haven't seen them.

Now you can.

In the beginning, there were Catholic Teddy Bears. Lots of Teddy Bears.




Monday, September 1, 2014

Gone to DragonCon: will be back next week.

The title says it all.

I don't have a sign that says "Gone fishing."

Sadly, I don't have a sign called "Gone fission," because I may need that one.

Starting next week, we'll have videos and reports from DragonCon, including Peter David, David Weber, Jim Butcher, Gene Wolfe, and the ever-present John Ringo.

Also, with Ron Glass, Jeri Ryan, and Adam Baldwin.

It's been a LOOONNGGG weekend. See you all next week. Hope you had a good Labor day.a

Monday, August 18, 2014

PG-13 Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

There will be spoilers, but nothing that you couldn't have figured out from the trailers.

Since everyone in the universe has already seen Guardians of the Galaxy, I figure I would throw my two cents in. After all, I saw it over a week ago now, and I still haven't joined the masses on the subject. Besides, I had nothing else to blog about today.

My thoughts?

Is "Bat-shit insane" two words or three?

From an opening credit that has our lead dancing through an abandoned Temple of Doom set singing along to 80s music while kicking away vicious rats with an attitude problem, all the way to a climactic standoff with a bad guy that even had the bad guy going "What are you doing?" this was a roller coaster of demented from start to finish. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I hear Moulin Rouge won a few academy awards for their purely warped film.

Let's look at our roster of strangeness, even though that was one of the few things the credits conveyed in their The Usual Suspects-style commercials.

Peter "Starlord" Quill (Chris Pratt) was an alien abductee who was pretty much adopted by the abductors known as the Ravagers, almost immediately after his mother died of cancer ... well, that's timing. In the comics, the abductors murdered his mother during the course of his kidnapping, but they needed the Ravagers in the movie to be cavalry-ish, so they couldn't be too evil. In fact, considering that the Ravagers all have Southern accents, it almost felt like it was Duck Dynasty to the rescue. Sort of.  It's a long, strange story.

When the film opens, Quill has decided to betray the Ravagers by getting to the McGuffin device before the Ravagers can.

Anyway, we have Gamora, played by the wide-eyed Zoe Saldana. Yes, there's some chemistry, though she's not really the love interest in this one; but since they're getting a sequel, director James Gunn probably figured that they could stretch it out a bit, which I'm fine with. Gamora is the adoptive daughter of Thanos (big, stoney and purple from the end of The Avengers), modified to wreak havoc at his command. She's been loaned out to an alien terrorist called Ronan the Accuser, in exchange for the McGuffin.

Gamora sees the McGuffin device as her way far, far away from Thanos, who has earned his title of "The Mad Titan." So she's after Quill.

The .... let's call them Mercenaries ... Rocket Raccoon and Groot (walking tree) spot Quill when he goes to cash in on the McGuffin, and sees that the Ravagers have posted a bounty on his head.

When the four of them get together, the ensuing chase / fight is actually very well done. It goes back and forth like a tennis match gone awry. It's everybody versus everybody else, and it's like trying to get leverage on Gumbi.

Then the police arrive and throw everyone in the prison from Face / Off. No, I'm not kidding. It feels like they even took the set.

In jail, they run into Drax the Destroyer. Drax's entire family was murdered by Ronan, and Gamora was working for Ronan. This will not end well. Quill talks Drax down by suggesting that Gamora be used as bait.

If I say that there's a breakout, will anyone see that as a spoiler?

Anyway. Our five-some takes the McGuffin to Gamora's fence, known as the Collector (post-credits on Thor: The Dark World), who explains that the McGuffin is one of the Infinity Gems. Previous Infinity Gems include the Tesseract / Cosmic Cube from Captain America and The Avengers, the Aether from Thor 2, and probably the gem at the end of the spear of fate (The Avengers). This is #4. There are six of them scattered throughout the galaxy. Any one of them individually can wreak havoc.

But Ronan wants the gem, and our protagonists have it.   Hilarity ensues.

I must compliment James Gunn for introducing the insanity that is the Marvel cosmic universe to a mainstream audience. Let's face it, it's a big job. He has to set up five characters, set up the universe, all the while telling a story that will explain the endgame of the Marvel franchise.  Yes, endgame.  Trust me, Thanos is going to be the bad guy for The Avengers Three, probably subtitled The Infinity War. While strange, GotG is going to be necessary for the final product of the overall story arc.

Ronan, in the comics
Are there problems? Yes. Sure. Our adversary, Ronan the Accuser, isn't very colorful. Loki has some depth of character. Ronan is "a terrorist." He's too "traditional," without explaining what the traditions are. Is he someone who wants the return of the Persian Empire, or just wear funny hats? And he's described as a Kree, and at war with the Nova Corps and the people of Xandar ... but the Kree in the comics were at war with the Skrulls. In fact, the Accusers were essentially Judges from the Judge Dredd universe, and he was The Accuser because he was their Police Commissioner.  So, yes, I'd nitpick that Ronan in the comics had become more of a good guy, and had been part of a major war against something called "The Cancerverse," but I don't think anyone cares. He could have used a bit more fleshing out.

Anyway, what else? I suspect there are deleted scenes from the film. Mainly because they hired Karen Gillan of Doctor Who, and barely used her. Gillan plays Nebula, another daughter of Thanos. I expected a knockdown dragout with Gamora, but their battle felt truncated, and I suspect that there's stuff that ended on the cutting room floor.In fact, Nebula seems to only be there so she shows up in Avengers 3 (see above). Also, I wanted some more explanation here and there. For example .... who hired the Ravagers in the first place to find the McGuffin? There's a fence who hired them, yes, but who was it going to? We never knew.

But, overall, James Gunn had to put together the Avengers in space, with none of the backstory, previous movies, or large established fan base, and he did a fantastic job of it in less time than the Avengers did. I've only seen it once, so I may have to watch it a few more times before I decide whether or not there's anything beneath the strange.

But it's a summer movie. Yes, it's not as intellectually deep as Captain America, but there are more moving parts, and probably more going on in the background. Also, it's very meta.  It makes fun of itself, using standard movie tropes, then poking fun at it.  For example, that scene when they decide that yes, we're going to make a stand against the bad guys! Yes, we're going to go out fighting! I'm going to stand with you! (Then literally stand). Then they poke fun at that as they're doing it.

Also -- George Lucas, your special effects suck. You writing sucks. Your directing sucks. Why? BECAUSE YOU GOT OWNED BY A RACCOON. THAT'S WHY.

Yes, time for the acting critique.

The acting was quite good. It was the best acting gig Vin Diesel ever had (insert "he's very wooden" joke here); and they did a good job with someone who had only four words in the entire movie. Yes. Four. Bradley Cooper as Rocket was surprisingly touching at times, which means he's been allowed more acting range in this film than in every other movie combined.

Peter Quill was ... well, if Mal Reynolds had a personality, he'd probably be Peter Quill. Or Nathan Fillion.

Zoe Saldana didn't have a great acting range in this film, but then again, she doesn't need it on her resume, she held Columbiana together with both hands.

However, her stunt fighting was fun. Don't mess with Uhura in the next Star Trek film.

The surprise performance in this one was actually from Dave Bautista as Drax. Drax had emotional depth, the best one-liners in the film, and was a deeply, deeply damaged fellow.

This is more acting in one film than Mr. Bautista was allowed in all his years in wrestling.  (Yes, I sort of follow wrestling. And it's only "fake" if you plan to hit someone with a metal chair "just so," in such a way as you're not making them a rutabaga.)

In short, I liked it.