Thursday, June 13, 2019

TV Show Review - Swamp Thing (2019 DC Universe) Episodes 1 and 2

I've never been a big fan of Swamp Thing, so when I heard he was the star of a new TV series, I was a little disappointed. But Titans and Doom Patrol were really good, so I decided to give it a chance. 

Swamp Thing is an 10-episode DC Universe series based on characters appearing in DC Comics created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. It is rated TV-MA for language, violence, and gore and is appropriate for older teens and up.


The Good


Casting. Everyone in this (minus the swamp witch) is an excellent casting choice. They fit the characters well, their acting is top notch, and they make you feel for them.

Story.
 The story is so tight and so strong. It grips you from the first second and doesn't let you go for a minute. Somehow the filmmakers are able to create a relationship between the two main characters so strong and so natural in less than 50 minutes that when the male lead dies (which you knew he was going to since that is the premise of the whole story) you are still shocked and horrified crying "NOOOO!!!!".

Pacing. The story is paced just right. It never drags, but there is plenty of dramatic pausing.

Art Direction. The visuals are gorgeous. I feel like I am in the swamp. Some of the cgi looks a little fake, but there are enough practical effects that the overall look holds up well.

The Bad


Ummm.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


All thirteen original episodes produced.

Overall


Swamp Thing (2019 DC Universe) Episodes 1 and 2 are pure perfection. The casting couldn't be better, the acting is top notch, the visuals are truly creepy, and the story is so tight and strong. I can't believe the filmmakers were able to create a relationship between the two main characters so strong and so natural in less than 50 minutes that when the male lead died (which you knew he was going to since that is the premise of the whole story) you were still shocked and horrified crying "NOOOO!!!!". I can't wait to see the rest of this series. I give this show 5 out of 5 remotes.

      

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Movie Review - Aladdin (2019 live action film)

I remember seeing the original Aladdin cartoon in theaters and enjoying it, but not as much as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I was excited to see the live-action remake until I heard Guy Ritchie was the director. He does some awfully strange things, so I wasn't sure how this would turn out.

Aladdin
 is a 2019 live action fantasy family film. It is rated PG for action and is appropriate for all ages.

The Good


Aladdin. I really enjoyed the Aladdin character. He was very likable and did a lot of cool stunts and amazing dancing.

Story. The story was solid. The filmmakers did a good job filling out backstory and motivation that was lacking from the animated feature.

Dancing. This movie featured quite a bit of great dancing. I just wish there had been more.

Visuals. This movie was visually stunning to look at. Everyone from the art director to photographer to production designers to costume designers did a top-notch job.

The Bad


Jafar.
 It has been said that a hero is only as good as his villain. Fortunately that isn't true or this movie would have been a disaster. Jafar was not charismatic, whily, menacing, or anything else a great villain needs to be. He was such a pushover.

Singing. The singing was good, but not as good as the animated feature.

Shoehorned Political Message. It's 2019 so the producers felt obligated to shoehorn the current political fad into the movie in a way that felt forced and uninspired. There are a lot of different ways they could have shown Jasmine to be a strong character other than seeking ultimate political power. That actually made her character look weaker, not stronger.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish the singing had been better and the forced political message had been left out.

Overall


Aladdin is a great adaption of a classic animated film and a lot of fun for the whole family. Most of the cast was excellent and the story was solid with good additions filling in backstory and motivation the original lacked. The film was visually beautiful to watch, and the dancing was really impressive. The singing could have been stronger and more on key. The biggest problem was Jafar and what a weak, uninteresting, nonthreat they made him. Fortunately, the Aladdin character was great and carried the movie with his charm, great stunts, and amazing dancing, even if he seemed to overact his awkwardness. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


   

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Movie Review - The Meg

I read the original novel this film is based on quite a while ago completely unaware Hollywood was developing a movie. When I found out they were I scratched my head wondering how they were going to do it. The book has a lot of story, way too much to include in a 90-minute to 2-hour film.

The Meg
 is a 2018 live action science fiction action film. It is rated PG-13 for language and violence and is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good


Limited Scope. This film basically takes the first major scene from the novel, spends a third of the movie recreating it, then creates a new two thirds showing the ramifications and a conclusion. It was a very clever move, because the novel had way too much for a single film.

Action. The action was for the most part really well done and really fun to watch.

Pacing. This film was excellently paced. I never got bored, yet I felt thrills at all the right moments from the excitement and horror.

The Bad


All Action, Little Story.
 While I think it was clever of the filmmakers to focus on the first major action scene and expand on it, the movie didn't feel like a complete movie. It would have been nice to include a little more story content.


What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish there had been a little more story. There were a lot of characters and relationships that could have been developed more even in the context of the limited scope.

Overall


The Meg is an exciting action/horror flick about a team of scientists battling a terrifying discovery they never expected to make. The novel this film is based on has enough story for three movies, so the filmmakers were clever to take the first major scene, film it accurately for the first third of the film, then create a new ending based on what would naturally follow. The action is very well done and the pacing is just right. The story is a little thin. There are a lot of characters that little is done with. The "twists" are also not as shocking as the filmmakers would like them to be. But overall, this is a really fun film. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


   

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Movie Review - Dark Phoenix

I'm not an X-Men fan, and I didn't really like the first cycle of movies, but I've loved the reboot of X-Men: First Class to the X-Men: Apocalypse, so I was really excited to see how they would interpret The Dark Phoenix Saga.

Dark Phoenix
 is a 2019 live action science fiction superhero film based on the comic book story The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. It is rated PG-13 for language and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


Theme. This movie revolves around the theme of how humans view mutants and their acceptance of them. It explores what good relations look like and how bad the relationships can get.

Cyclops. Cyclops has always been my favorite X-Men, and in this movie he finally did more than stand around and shoot a couple of beams. He actual had some action and used his powers in a real fight. It was fun to watch.

The Bad


Boring.
 This movie was really boring. It had a slow pace and nothing really cool or remarkable. It was very bland and mundane. The filmmakers somehow even made traveling into space very blah.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish someone else had written and directed this film. I was shocked someone could turn such an incredible comic book story into such a mediocre disappointment.

Overall


Dark Phoenix is a movie that should be great but is very boring and uninspired. The only highlights are the exploration of the theme of the relationship between humans and mutants and what it looks like at it's best contrasted by what it looks like at it's worst, and Cyclops finally using his powers like he does in the comics. I was very disappointed. It's not a bad movie, just a mediocre one. I give this film 3 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Book Review - Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Grey

Unlike a lot of people, I really enjoyed The Phantom Menace. Qui-Gon Jinn quickly became one of my favorite characters, and I've really wanted to see more about him.

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray tells the story of an early adventure of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and one of those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Story. This book had a solid story that felt like Star Wars. The mystery was intriguing, the action exciting, and the politics not tired.

Characters. The characters felt very true to the films. The new characters felt like they belonged in the Star Wars Universe.

Twist. This book had quite a twist at the end that I did not see coming.

The Bad


Jedi Council Angle. This novel has an offer from the Jedi Council to Qui-gon to join it. This really doesn't fit in with the comment from The Phantom Menace about Qui-gon being on the council if he weren't so rebellious.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I with the narrator had put a little more excitement in his voice.

Overall


Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray is a great novel I couldn't put down. The novel tells an early adventure of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi and explores their relationship. The story was solid. The characters were true to the film. The new characters felt like they belonged in the Star Wars Universe. There was a twist at the end I didn't see coming. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


    

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Book Review - Star Wars Adventures (Free Comic Book Day 2019)

I've been a huge Star Wars fan my whole life, (although the latest trilogy is making me rethink that). I've bought Star Wars comics in the past, but have almost always been disappointed (with the exception of the brilliant Star Wars: Clone Wars in the Genndy Tartakovsky style).

Star Wars Adventures (Free Comic Book Day 2019) is an all-ages comic published by IDW that focuses on an early adventure of Han Solo and Chewbacca.

The Good


Story. This comic contained a complete story that felt the right length--long enough to tell the complete story without any filler.

Fun. This comic was so much fun to read from the first panel to the last. I didn't experience a single moment or boredom or wanting to do something else.

All Ages. This comic was truly for all ages. I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult and would change nothing and felt like I was missing nothing, and yet I'd have no qualms about giving this to a youngster and I'm positive he would enjoy it as much as I did.

The Bad

...


What I Would Like to Have Seen


More comics like this!!!

Overall


Star Wars Adventures (Free Comic Book Day 2019) is everything a comic book should be: a complete story that is fun from page one to the end and is enjoyable and appropriate for ages 5 to 500. I was thoroughly entertained from page one to the last and didn't feel it lacked anything. I give this book 5 out of 5 eReaders.


   

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Movie Review - Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Infinity War was such a letdown, that I wasn't all that excited to see Endgame. But I've followed this story this far, I might as well see how it ends.

Avengers: Endgame
is a 2019 live action science fiction superhero film. It is rated PG-13 for language  and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


Smaller/More Personal. Infinity War was this big fight scene involving dozens of characters that all had to do something. This movie focused on the core group and how they deal with events. It was much more emotional and personal and much better story.

Story. This movie had much more story than the last. Having a smaller cast helped.

Cameos / Tie-in's to Previous Films. This movie did a great job incorporating the characters and even earlier films into this one. It all felt like it was planned from the beginning and all came together.

Appropriate Resolution. I was really concerned with how the filmmakers would resolve such a sweeping story and do it justice without taking any shortcuts or doing anything contrived. Somehow they managed to honor everything that had come before and not cheapen any of it.

The Bad


No End Credit Scenes.
I was really excited waiting for the mother of all end credit scenes. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Captain America's Resolution. I did not like how Captain America's story resolved. It seemed untrue to the story.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish there had been a couple of amazing end credit scenes. I wish they had come up with something else for Captain America.

Overall


Avengers: Endgame is a fitting ending to a 10-year series. The move was much smaller and more personal focusing on the core characters instead of a universe of dozens engaged in an epic fight. The conflicts and struggles were more personal and emotional making for a much more dramatic and satisfying story. Cameos and tie-ins to previous films were plentiful and well handled. All of the stories and journeys from the past ten years were nicely resolved with nothing feeling cheated or betrayed. The only disappointments are the lack of end credit scenes and how they tied up Captain America's story. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


   

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Movie Review - The Perfect Date (Netflix Original Movie)

I was a big Austin & Ally fan, so when I saw Laura Marano, the actress who played Ally, had a new flick out, I was curious to watch it.TV-14

The Perfect Date
is a 2019 live action comedy / teen angst film from Netflix. It is rated PG for language and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


Fun. While this movie is no classic, nor anything we haven't seen before, it is a lot of fun and very entertaining.

Cast. The cast is for the most part really likable and is the reason to watch the film. 

The Bad


Formula. This movie is exactly what you expect it to be--a fun, popcorn flick that follows a very typical formula. There are no real surprises, twists, or anything new.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish there had been more dates and characters for the protagonist to play. Those were really unique and fun.

Overall


The Perfect Date (Netflix Original Movie) is exactly what you expect it to be--an entertaining, teen-angst, popcorn flick with the typical jokes and a plot that follows the typical formula. What makes this worth watching is the cast. They're very likeable and make the film a lot of fun. This isn't a classic and won't be starting any new trends, but if you are looking for an entertaining flick that's just a lot of fun, you won't be disappointed. I give this film 4 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.