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.


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.


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.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Movie Review - Instant Family

When I saw the poster for Instant Family, I instantly wanted to watch it. I'm not sure why--I'm not a real fan of any of the cast, I've never seen a trailer for the film, and I didn't really know what the movie was about, but something about it intrigued me.

Instant Family
is a 2018 live action comedy / drama film. It is rated PG-13 for language and serious content and is appropriate for  most ages.

The Good

Humor. This movie made me laugh as hard as I've ever laughed watching a movie. Most of it is very serious and/or heartwarming, but there are many, many funny parts. What made the humor work so well was how honest it was. This movie didn't try to sugar coat anything (except the ending).

Honesty. This movie isn't afraid to shows the trials, tribulations, and other warts that happen with foster care and adoption. The comedy comes from the honesty.

Story. The story was great. It covered a lot of different aspects of foster care, adoption, and the myriad of things people involved have to deal with.

Casting. Everyone in this movie did a great job and fit the role.

The Bad

Ending. This movie does such a good job showing how hard and awkward parenting, foster care, and adoption can be and yet how rewarding at the same time. Nothing is simple and easy until the end when everything is. It just didn't fit and I felt a little deceived.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I wish the ending hadn't been so quick and easy with everything wrapped up so perfectly. The rest of the film showed the warts of reality; why couldn't the ending?


Instant Family is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. It presents a very honest look at the trials, tribulations, and rewards of foster care and adoption. It doesn't try to sugar coat anything, and that is where the funniest jokes come from. The cast is great, the story solid, and the message felt natural and not contrived. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Movie Review - Shazam! (2019 Film, The REAL Captain Marvel)

I've been a Captain Marvel (the original one, not the joke Marvel put out) fan since I first saw the Filmation cartoon. In college I discovered the 1940 movie serials and golden age comic books and fell in love with the character all over again.

 is a 2019 live action superhero family film. It is rated PG-13 for a few disturbing scenes and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good

Humor. This movie is first and foremost a comedy. There are so many jokes, and they are all so funny. Yet they don't dominate the movie and take away from the story or the action, which is nice.

Uniqueness. This movie is not a thinly-veiled Superman movie, but is uniquely Captain Marvel and could only work form him. I really appreciate that.

Story. The story was solid. It was well paced, and there was sufficient character development.

Casting. The filmmakers cast the perfect people for Billy Batson, Captain Marvel, Freddy, and Mary. They were all very likable, had great chemistry, and had the spirit of the characters in the comic.

Nods. This movie made so many nods to other superhero movies, superheroes in general, and the current comic book movie craze. All were well thought out and felt fresh.

Credits. The end credits was so clever and really captured the fun of the classic Captain Marvel comic books.

The Bad

Black Face. This movie unfortunately followed the same racist trend of putting a character in blackface. It was completely unnecessary, and the character they cast was kind of ridiculous with his overacting.

Bumbling. Most of the movie is spent with Captain Marvel trying to figure out his powers and acting like a bratty kid. A little of that was cool and added to the story, but it was over done and became kind of annoying.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I wish Captain Marvel had been a little more competent and taken his role a little more seriously sooner than he did. The bumbling got old quickly.


The Shazam! film is as much fun as the golden age comic. The jokes were hilarious and plentiful. The casting of the main characters couldn't have been better, nor could their performances. The nods to other superheroes and superhero films were so well thought out and clever. The movie was unique and really played to the strengths of the character. The only real negative was too much time was spent on Captain Marvel trying to take his job seriously. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Video Game Review - E.T. on the Atari 2600

E.T. for the Atari 2600 has been called the worst video game in history and has been blamed for single-handedly destroying the video game industry of the mid-1980s and ending Atari's long run as king of electronic entertainment. An urban legend about a mass burial of unsold cartridges dumped in a New Mexico landfill in the middle of the night later proved to be true. But was the game really that bad?

E.T. is a quest game for the Atari 2600 based on the popular movie of the same name. It is appropriate for all ages.

The Good

Story. For an Atari game, this had a rather elaborate story and mission. You are E.T. and you have to assemble a communicator, find the right spot to call home, then find the landing spot all while dodging FBI agents and scientist. Along the way you can float out of pits, collect Reeses Pieces, and get help from Elliot.

Powers. Unlike most games of this era where you can on do one thing like shoot or move, this game gives you multiple powers from flying to calling Elliot to repelling FBI agents and scientists. You have to be in the right spot to use your power, which can be frustrating to some.

Quest. This game is a quest with a timer and a clear set of objectives. Most games didn't have an ending or such a linear story back in the day, instead being level after level of the same kind of game play. This was so different and so fun.

The Bad

Game Play. The game play can be a little sticky at times between controlling E.T. to finding the right spots to call the ship and get on it.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I love this game and still have no complaints. I even bought a new Atari emulator so I could play it again.


Overall, E.T. for the Atari 2600 is my favorite Atari game of all time. It was the first quest game I ever played, and after all these years is still just as much fun. Yes the graphics are primitive, but the game is over 30 years old so that's to be expected. Yes there is some frustrating game play, but none of it is unfair or impossible to overcome. I give it 4.5 out of 5 joysticks.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review - Clockwork Apple by Osamu Tezuka

I've been a huge Tezuka-sensei fan since I first picked up his science fiction trilogy (The Lost World, Metropolis, Next Word) and Astro Boy. He never ceases to amaze and impress with his wide range of genres and incredible amount of output.

Clockwork Apple by Osamu Tezuka is an anthology of comics book stories. It is available in paperback.

The Good

Miraculous Conception. This story felt like a classic science fiction story from the mid-20th Century. A human and a robot are isolated in space, get married, and miraculously have a child. The story examines the fallout of such an event. It wasn't a great story but was interesting.

A Clockwork Apple. This story was really enjoyable and had a lot of meat. It reminded me of the classic Tunnel at the End of the World. It is about a world that isn't what it seems to be and what happens to an individual who figures that out. The story took a unique spin on a familiar tale, and the execution was well done.

Night on the Bypass. This story involves a conversation between a cab driver and his passenger and the secrets they each have. Short, but really intriguing.

Sack. This was an interesting story about split personalities and medical conditions that can change a persons identity. Not a lot to the story, but an interesting concept.

The Bad

The Execution Ended at Three O'Clock. This was the fist story, but not a great start. It's a generic Nazi-like army killing Jew-like innocents. The only unique point was the secret formula and how it backfired on the main character, which was mildly interesting.

Yellow Dust. This story was very dark about a hostage situation that went very wrong.

Showtime with the Devil. This story is about political intrigue, assassination, and betrayal. It was pretty standard fare. Not a bad story, but not a particularly standout one either.

Homecoming. This is a revenge story about an STD from space. More bitter than clever.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

It's an anthology with more good than bad, so I can't complain.


Clockwork Apple by Osamu Tezuka is an anthology of dark short stories covering horror, war, crime, science fiction, and just plain weird. All the stories are well done (like most things Tekuza-sensei does) with some being more clever than others. There were some interesting twists on familiar stories that were enjoyable, but there were some that were pretty standard fare. I give this book 4 out of 5 eReaders.