Starlight Glimmer/Kerry Sheridan coming to BronyCon 2015!

BronyCon_2015-Guest_Announcement-Kelly_Sheridan-Press_ReleaseHave you been enjoying Season 5 of My Little Pony: Frienship is Magic?  Well if you haven’t had a chance, get to steppin’, because you’ll need to be in the know come BronyCon time.  Why?  Because besides the usual compare/contrast/squeefest that goes on during Baltimore’s penultimate pony party, Starlight Glimmer will be there!  Okay, maybe not the actual pony (maybe not…), but voice actress Kelly Sheridan definitely will be.

Read on for the full deets!  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to re-watch that two-part season opener again…

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Elsewhere Review: Unfriended

As always, click on the link for the original piece!

TwitView: Unfriended

Unfriended onesheet

Found-footage goes social media, with remarkably spooky results.  Though there’s really no build-up of the Big Haunting Bad beyond “she’s dead”, Unfriended lets you feed your voyeuristic tendencies and delivers genuine chills. Grade: B+

Poor Laura. You go to one backwoods kegger and really get sheisse-faced (almost literally in this case), and some douchecanoe posts your horrible night on YouTube.  What’s a girl to do?  Well, Laura killed herself.  And a year later, a group of her friends — who seem to be hopelessly addicted to Skype — find there’s an outsider in their group call.  An outsider with the subscriber info Laura used to use.  As the night progresses, these six friends go from annoyed to horrified…to dead.  Let’s just say I’ll never again play “Never Have I Ever” without getting a slight chill.
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Elsewhere Review: True Story

As always, clicky for the original piece!

TwitView: True Story

True Story onesheet

Once I got past the “are we sure this isn’t a stoner comedy?” thing, True Story drew me in.  Is it awards-season worthy?  Well no, probably not.  And that’s probably why it’s here in April rather than November.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not an intriguing story well told.  Grade: B+

If movies and TV have taught us anything, it’s that America loves itself a good whodunit. Or even a good already-know-who-did-it. Let’s face it, we all love watching true crime. So when Michael Finkel’s memoir True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa got the multiplex treatment?  I had to see what was up.  And I’ve gotta say I was impressed with the way they handled such a convoluted story. IRL, Longo lived a life of the low-grade sociopath (aka “person with antisocial personality disorder”, for the psych majors out there.) Longo was forging checks, committing petty theft and using fake ID.  Soon after he and his family moved to Oregon, his wife and children were found dead. Longo fled the country, and was put on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.  When Longo was found in Mexico, he had been going by the name of Michael Finkel, a journalist that had just been fired from the NY Times for fudging his research. Meanwhile in Montana, Finkel hears about how his name was used by a stone-cold killer, he has to find out why.  And getting a book deal out of the whole sordid mess wouldn’t be a bad thing either…
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The D Train: new poster and trailer

DTRAIN_Poster_rgbI’m fascinated and freaked out by high school reunions.  Isn’t everybody?  But with Jack Black and James Marsden, I think I’d go.  The D Train is all about trying to get folks to come together by getting “the” guy from high school back to town.  I’m sure it goes swimmingly.  Synopsis?  Gotcha.

All his life, Dan Landsman (Jack Black) has never been the cool guy. That’s about to change – if he can convince Oliver Lawless (Marsden), the most popular guy from his high school who’s now the face of a national Banana Boat ad campaign, to show up with him to their class reunion. A man on a mission, Dan travels from Pittsburgh to LA and spins a web of lies to recruit Lawless. But he gets more than he bargains for as the unpredictable Lawless proceeds to take over his home, career, and entire life. Showcasing Jack Black and James Marden’s most intoxicating performances to date, THE D TRAIN serves up the question: how far would you go to be popular? Co-starring Kathryn Hahn and Jeffrey Tambor.

The trailer looks hilarious and uncomfortable, which is exactly how this film should feel. Kinda digging it right now. Except for the whole “D’nice” thing. As any Denise will tell you, that’s the kinda thing that’ll get you cut.

The D Train hits your eyeballs May 8, 2015.

Movie Review: Beyond the Reach

Beyond the Reach onesheet

Nutshell: Beyond the Reach is another one of those riffs on the Most Dangerous Game thriller sub-genre.  The performances are riveting, yet I couldn’t get past the “well, which one of these cardboard characters are gonna survive?” feeling.  An interesting fake-out ending, with the ever-popular “and then…” that ends things for good and all. Go watch Deliverance — or better still, 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game — to see how it’s really done.  Grade: C

Longhorn hunting. It’s early for the season, but when a guy pays 1K a day… Wait, that’s no Longhorn!

And so goes Beyond the Reach, a film that takes the “man hunts man” story and goes indie on it’s ass.  I really wanted to love this film, but I couldn’t get past the basics.  Why?  Because the basics is all we’re given in this film.  Douglas – as rich douchbag Madec – is a bougie idiot that’s always telling everyone how much something costs. He has no respect for anything, and thinks anything can be bought. Travels into the wilderness with an SUV stocked with a convection oven and espresso machine. Basically a 1%er nightmare. Gordon Gecko with a gun. Hey!

Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) is Ben, the kid that is hired to schlep Madec around the desert in the hopes of landing a longhorn.  Ben is broke as a joke, but a good tracker. He’s also got some separation issues, as his GF just left to start school in Colorado.

So cut to the Mojave Desert, where Madec shoots a guy by accident, and instead of doing the right thing – that would have surely had him exonerated with his cadre of high priced lawyers – he frames the boy. Then later, Madec forces Ben to strip (insert gratuitous but highly appreciated six-pack shot here), and forces him to wander under the desert sun. And so the cat vs. mouse game goes, til the movie ends an hour and ten long minutes later. Looooong minutes later. Okay fine; it’s not all desert-bound for the entire film.  But almost.

When does the real desert chase start? Minute 32. But I was done investing in this story by minute 25. Why? Because a Most Dangerous Game story doesn’t resonate with me if there’s no buildup. Viewers are supposed to understand Madec, and feel for Ben in the space of 15 minutes. And the screenwriter and director don’t manage that. So it ends up a One Guy Chasing Another story. Might as well fast forward to see who wins, as these characters don’t mean anything to me. (But I didn’t, because I care about you. And am a movie masochist.) Then there’s the last scene, with the usual “surprise climax” moviegoers have come to expect ever since Friday the 13th. Boo, who cares. At least this film lets the good guy win, and gotta admit I’m always a fan of a happy ending. What? I can’t possibly spoil a movie 99% of folks won’t have the intestinal fortitude to sit through.

The good?  Sure, there’s a couple of things.  There are some absolutely gorgeous landscape shots, and a real feeling of heat and misery in the desert scenes, courtesy of Oscar winner Russell Carpenter (Titanic). Then there’s the amazing FX makeup by Corey Welk (Breaking Bad, The Avengers); Welk is a talent I’d like to see more of.  (Hoping to catch his prosthetics work in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials later this year.)  And the art direction paints a realistic scene of life on the outskirts of a desert.  Bravo, James F. Oberlander (Into the West), Clark Hunter (The Mindy Project) and Edward McLoughlin (Longmire).  Bonus points to Stephen Susco’s paint-by-numbers yawn of a screenplay for a WALL*E reference.

There’s a decent amount of suspense here, and the performances are excellent. But if I don’t care about the characters? Meh.  I just wasn’t all in, and for a film that requires you to care about what happens to the only two folks onscreen for the bulk of the story?  That’s the kiss of death.

Off the Shelf — Harley Quinn Volume 2: Power Outage

harley 2 cover

Nutshell:  I said I’d happily read 200 pages of Harley Quinn.  DC delivered.  I’m still happy.  Conner and Palmiotti deliver the goofy goods, keeping this series from a sophomore slump by pushing the envelope and then ripping it apart.  Gorgeous art, sly in-jokes and more issues than you can shake your badonk-a-donk at. Grade: A

Story:  So far, Harley inherited a cool Coney Island building, and made a bunch of new sideshow/vaudville-type friends.  She’s hit the roller derby, and teamed up with a Cold War superspy.  What’s next?  Well, what isn’t?  Here it’s baby neck-beards, Skate Club, super-hero-ing, and a new career…?

Best Lines:
“Where d’ya think they poop?”
“Are you sure I’m a superhero and not a stripper?”
“Power Girl!  Stop spankin’ — Y’know what?  Even *I* ain’t gonna finish that one.”

Best T-shirt Ever:
“If You Can Read This You’re A Perv”

Thoughts: Power Outage is more of what you loved in Hot in the City, and maybe just a little more bonkers.  Conner and Palmiotti take their tongues, plant ’em firmly in cheek, and let ‘er rip.  The result is a damn fine read.

There are definitely call-backs to previous storylines, but not so many that you can’t enjoy this if it’s your jump-in point.  Because let’s face it, Harley is pretty iconic at this point, and everyone knows the basics.  Still, it’s good to see that things like the scatapult haven’t been forgotten.

The best part of Conner and Palmiotti writing together are the jokes. There are so many good laughs here that even the throw-away lines are gags that other series would kill for. Plus, the NYC/NJ gags are killer too, even for this chick in B’more.  And let’s not forget the 4th-wall busting.  These two also toss in TONS of pop culture and behind-the-comics-scene references throughout, which makes it feel like you’re in the club.
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New Terminator Genisys trailer is so spoileriffic you may wanna skip it…?

Genisys Onesheet Arnold

Ready for the Summer Blockbuster Onslaught? I know I am! So here’s a peek at the new trailer for Terminator Genisys.  And I’ve gotta say that they’re taking the franchise to completely uncharted waters.  How uncharted?  Well, do you really wanna know, or do you want the awesome to unfold in the theater? Yeah, it’s a Red Pill/Blue Pill conundrum.

Here’s a synopsis to give you a little taste without the spoilers:

After finding himself in a new time-line, Kyle Reese teams up with John Connor’s mother Sarah and an aging terminator to try and stop the one thing that the future fears, “Judgement Day”.

Terminator Genisys opens July 1st, 2015. Lemme know what you think of the trailer — or if you’ve decided to skip it and get your Terminator Action on in theaters — in the comments!

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