At least it’s not as scary as the old live action tv show that gave me nightmares. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it.
“Dumbo” hits theaters in March 2019.
Technically, I guess my cousin paid for me to see this. But I still saw “Blue Thunder” during its theatrical run, so it counts.
Anyway, I have vivid memories of spending the day with my cousin because the rest of my family went to a wedding and he was asked to babysit me. I remember watching some “Battlestar Galactica” episodes in the morning, and him saying we should go to the movies after lunch. We looked in the paper to see what our movie choices were, and I remember wanting to go see a Mazinger animated movie that was playing for a limited time.
My cousin said he didn’t want to see an animated movie, so instead he chose “Blue Thunder.” The weird thing is that the R rated “Blue Thunder” opened in May of 1983, meaning that I was only a little over five years old when my twenty-something cousin decided to take me to see it. But hey, it was the 1980’s, and back then I was able to watch anything that didn’t have sex.
The film revolved around Los Angeles police officer Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider), who is a helicopter pilot in LAPD’s Astro division. Murphy is a Vietnam veteran, but he’s not well liked in the department, and was always in trouble with his bosses. I’m not sure, but I think he and his rookie partner Lymangood (Daniel Stern), were assigned to test pilot the super helicopter named Blue Thunder as punishment.
Murphy being Murphy, he breaks the rules again and uses the powerful and heavily armed copter to investigate an old case. That’s when he discovers the true use for Blue Thunder, and a scandal that could lead all the way to the top. Murphy wants to do the right things, now all he has to do is stay alive long enough to reveal the truth. But that won’t be easy, because his old Vietnam nemesis military pilot Colonel F.E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell) is sent to kill him.
While I remember quite a lot about “Blue Thunder,” and what else I did that day, I can’t say I remember the ending of the movie. I recall Blue Thunder fighting it out with another helicopter piloted by Malcolm McDowell, but after that I can’t remember if the truth came out and whether Murphy’s name was cleared or not.
Still, I’m surprised by how much I still remember after 35 years. All I can think of is that “Blue Thunder” stuck with me maybe because it was the first adult movie that I saw. Then again, maybe I was just captivated by the helicopter itself.
You have to remember this movie came out around the same time tv shows like “Knight Rider” and “Automan” grabbed my attention. And about a year later “Airwolf” came on the air, so toy vehicles were my bread and butter at the time.
I’m not sure that I would recommend “Blue Thunder” today, mostly because I doubt it has aged well. I guess it’s an okay action movie for 1983, with plenty of explosions and action to keep someone entertained, but it probably looks cheesy compared to the action movies of today.
The Blue Thunder helicopter lived on after the movie though, in a tv show that I didn’t even know existed. I don’t know if the tv show featured the same characters or if it was an all new story. But maybe the tv series finally answered my biggest question regarding “Blue Thunder,” which was and still is: Why would a police department need a helicopter with gatling guns?
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Tomeu Morey, and Tom Napolitano
Published by: DC Comics
What it’s about…
“THE TOTALITY” part one! A brand-new era begins here!
Comics legends Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung launch the Justice League into a cosmos-shaking mystery that will draw out their most terrible foes…in ways our heroes couldn’t possibly imagine! In this debut issue, Martian Manhunter struggles to protect the team from an incoming threat that will shatter the world as they know it, while a familiar face strikes out on a dark path…
What I thought about it…
This was a strange first issue. while it’s a good comic, Justice League #1 feels like the third chapter of a story. There little to no mention of the events of No Justice. That’s surprising to me, because the damn thing ended only a week before. And wasn’t the point of No Justice to lead into this new Justice League book?
From reading this comic this morning, I get the feeling Scott Snyder is trying to make Justice League THE book to read. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but maybe he shouldn’t have tried to do that in one issue.
I guess part of me wanted to see this team come together in this issue, rather than it already being a season unit. Maybe also see how the roster was chosen. But we’ll see what unfolds in upcoming issues. Maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture yet.
That being said, Justice League #1 still had a lot of good. There is a classic feel to the new team, very similar to the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. Right away you get the feeling these people like working with each other, and that they’re friends when not in costume. Hopefully as the series progresses, we’ll get to see the heroes during their downtime too.
The Legion of Doom is back to wreak havoc too, but we’ll see how long that partnership lasts this time. But if nothing else, their entrance in this issue was pretty damn cool. I also thought it was cool to see the Hall of Justice return, and I liked how its a museum as well as a base of operations for the League.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Cheung’s pencils look amazing. Every character looks larger than life, even the Legion of Doom looks better than ever. I’ve liked Cheung’s work ever since his short run on Force Works in the mid 90’s, but this guy keeps getting better and better. I’m still shocked Marvel Comics let him slip away.
While I didn’t thing Justice League #1 was perfect, it did leave me with a sense of optimism for this series. I like the team, I like the artist, and I like most of what Scott Snyder has done before. Because of those reasons, I’m gonna stick with the new Justice League for a while, and see where this era of the League goes from here.
Justice League #1 score: B+
Possible spoilers ahead!
The second season of “Sense8” left its central characters — a “cluster” of eight “sensates,” or a slightly altered species of human with psychic powers — on the offensive. BPO, the evil corporate entity that’s been after the group from day one, has captured Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), and is experimenting on him. But the rest of the cluster took its own prisoner, BPO’s leader, Whispers (Terrence Mann).
And then some idiot at Netflix cancelled “Sense8.”
Luckily, the show’s fanbase rose up as one an demanded an injustice be in undone. Netflix heard the fans, and greenlit a movie length series finale. And I’m glad Netflix did this, because nothing could beat seeing the cluster join together to save one of their own, battle the evil BPO, and dance to a Depeche Mode song while traveling on a train.
The “Sense8” finale was one hell of a ride, and epic way to the end one of Netflix’s best shows. Almost every character we met over the course of the series returned for the finale. We saw familiar faces, and friends join the cluster as they tried to rescue Wolfgang.
Even more friends showed up to help take down the BPO, which we learn is planning to turn other telepathically linked people into an army of zombie-drone assassins thanks to Whispers (Terrence Mann), the Chairman of BPO, and Lila (Valeria Bilello).
The complicated plot of the finale was interesting, kept you guessing, and led to some amazing action sequences. My personal favorite was a gun battle as the cluster tries to take down Lila’s army. But “Sense8” was always at its best when it focused on the emotional part of things, and the finale is no exception.
Above anything else though, the series finale was a story about love. Not just love between characters like Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita “Neets” Caplan (Freema Agyeman), but love between all eight members of the cluster, and all their friends.
One of my favorite things about this show was how they never once judge one an other, and how their friends and loved ones never think they’re crazy. Even Nomi’s family make a return appearance int he finale, and it was great to see them all hang out and enjoy each other’s company.
“Amor Vincit Omnia,” was the perfect ending to one of the most creative, unique, and entertaining series I’ve ever seen. Maybe one or two of the character could have done more, but this episode still has everything I could have asked for, and in true “Sense8” fashion, there’s an orgy.
While I’m said to see this show go, I’m very happy it got a chance to wrap things up in such a wonderful way.
“Sense8” finale score: A
Possible spoilers ahead!
Marvel’s “Cloak & Dagger” series on Freeform begins when its lead characters, Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen were children. The opening minutes of the premiers episode goes back and forth showing the viewer the tragic events the characters experience on the day their lives would be inextricably linked forever. On this fateful night, Tyrone and Tandy each lose someone important in their lives. The events build to an impressive climax where we witness the first connection between the two characters.
The series then turns to present day New Orleans, where Tyrone (Aubrey Joseph) is a star athlete at a private high school who has never really come to grips with the events of that tragic night years ago. The same can be said for Tandy (Olivia Holt), who has gone from a life of wealth to a life of crime with her boyfriend.
However, Tyrone and Tandy’s lives are forever changed when the two encounter each other at a high school party. This brief meeting unlocks powers neither Tandy or Tyrone knew they possessed.
I had really low expectations going into “Cloak & Dagger.” Not because I don’t like the characters, but because Marvel’s tv output has been rather Meh for the last couple of years. However, I am pleased to say “Cloak & Dagger” won me over with its solid acting, and impressive cinematography and use of music.
“Cloak & Dagger” just looks and feels different from other Marvel shows. None of it looks like it was shot in a studio, and to me that added a lot to the world building in the first couple of episodes. Even the drama of the first few minutes is realistic, and it had me from the start. This is not a CW teen drama, it’s a lot better than that.
The first two episodes of “Cloak & Dagger” focuses on its characters’ domestic situations rather than the powers Tyrone and Tandy are exhibiting. Some fans might find this boring and slow, but I enjoyed it. Not only does it ground the story in the real world, but by spending so much time in their lives, we also become attached to Tyrone and Tandy.
It was also interesting to see how the lives of both leads changed so dramatically over the course of a few years. Today, Tyrone attends a Catholic high school where he plays on the basketball team, while Tandy is a petty thief who spends her nights in an abandoned church and occasionally visits her deadbeat, drug-addled mother who steals money from Tandy to fuel her binges.
Easily the highlight of the show for me were Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph. Both actors are appealing young talents with a ton of potential. It’s hard to say what their chemistry is like, since they’ve only been onscreen together for about 4 minutes. Despite this, their acting is what draws you in the most, and I like what each has brought to their character.
I think one of the surprising strengths of the show is the restraint the show runners used. This easily could have gone down the typical superhero show trap, but allowing things to unfold slowly and naturally, it enhances what the main characters are all about.
That said, “Cloak and Dagger” isn’t a joyful series. If anything, this is actually a rather somber coming-of-age story of two teenagers deeply traumatized since childhood. Both are trying to heal in different ways, and its clear this show will take us through their journey.
“Cloak and Dagger” score: B+
Earlier this week I stopped by a used book store near my crazy in-laws. My wifey got lost in the cooking book section, while I walked around the store for a while, but nothing really caught my eye. Then, in the far left corner of the store, I saw them: 10 long boxes filled with comic books, all for a quarter.
The boxes were filled with a lot of 1990’s Image junk, plenty of Marvel stuff, and a large amount of Justice League books. I didn’t find any hidden gems, but I did pick up a couple of issues of Todd McFarlane’s Incredible Hulk run, and some Frank Miller Daredevil issues from back in the day. I also grabbed a few Marvel and DC Annuals I used to own, but sold or traded over the last few years. One of the annuals I got was X-Men Annual #1 from 1992.
I remember the day I bought X-Men Annual #1 well. It was after my birthday, and my uncle drove me to Quincy Ma so I could spend my birthday money at New England Comics. At the time I was buying anything, and everything X-Men, but I hadn’t picked up an annual yet. So when I saw the X-Men annual and that Jim Lee cover, I had to buy it.
This books featured part one of the Shattershot arc, and featured a superstar creative team. The book was written by Fabian Nicieza, with layouts by Jim Lee, and art by Craig Russell, Brian Stelfreeze, Adam Hughes, Stuart Immonen, Dan Panosian, Greg Capullo, and Mark Texeira.
This would be the first time I saw any of these artist’s work, and I immediately became a fan of all of them, and started following their stuff. Come to think of it, I still follow these guys, I’ve even met a couple of them at conventions. Would love to meet the rest one day too.
Anywats, the main story is, a bit confusing. But it basically revolves around Mojo’s troops attempt to capture the “toy maker” Arize, the creator of Mojo’s humanoid slaves. The troops capture Quark, a rebellion leader who was protecting Arize, but he’s able to teleport to Earth before the troops catch him. That’s where the X-Men come into play, and all hell breaks loose. But the Mojo story wasn’t what made me love this comic back in the day.
What I liked best about X-Men Annual #1, was that the rest of the issue was filled with some great pin-ups by even more superstar artists. The book had pin-ups by Sam Keith, Tom Raney, Andy Kubert and more. I liked the pin-ups so much, than once I’d read the comic, I spent days trying to draw the pin-ups in my own sketchbook.
X-Men Annual #1 also had a nifty handbook-style pages featuring the X-Men’s mansion, and it secrets. There was a similar two page layout that featured information on the team’s newest Blackbird. A back up story saw Wolverine explaining to Jubilee who the X-Men’s top 10 villains were.
This was done in a countdown format, and when I saw who number one was, I thought, “Okay, now I get what the X-Men are about.” All these years later, I still remember the story well. But what I didn’t pay attention to in 1992, was that it was written by Dan Slott.
All in all, X-Men Annual #1 was a great indroduction to the world of annuals. For the next several years I bought every annual from Marvel and DC. But the quality of X-Men Annual #1 was never topped, although the Uncanny X-Men Annual that year was pretty cool too.
Today’s annuals pale in comparison to this issue or even some from the 80’s which I bought years later. And re-buying X-Men Annual #1 for a quarter, was a bargain I could not pass up.