Archive for November, 2012


Dwayne Johnson is a pretty versatile actor.  He can do the straight-up action flick and add some real drama to even the most throwaway movie.  In February’s release Snitch, Johnson stars as a father trying to help get his son out of jail by helping those that put him away get the real guy, based on true events.  Susan Sarandon seems to play the other side of the role she won great critical acclaim for opposite Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking. 

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Review by C.J. Bunce

A few days ago we reviewed the new comic book series Great Pacific and its writer fearlessly taking on real-world topics of protecting the environment from pollution.  In a similar theme TNT Network’s hit series Leverage, in its final episodes of its fifth season, has been known for having a small, crack squad of criminals turned do-gooders–a Robin Hood meets the A-Team, with Academy Award winning actor Timothy Hutton as the mastermind Nate Ford, Christian Kane as tough guy Eliot Spencer, Beth Riesgraf as ace thief Parker, Aldis Hodge as hacker/tech guru Alec Hardison, and Gina Bellman as grifter Sophie Devereaux.  The Leverage crew takes on the real-world bad guys in every episode, from greedy sports managers, to evil scientists, Wall Street, insurance companies, to corporate agriculture and defense contractors, to embezzlers and corrupt government officials, Leverage has conquered them all, so its about time they take on big box stores in the fall return episode, setting the mindset for shoppers just in time for the holidays.

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Bill Murray as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

No matter how many dramatic roles Bill Murray gets behind him, fans of his big comedic roles in Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Scrooged will always have a double take when he tries something new–even after notable dramatic turns in a pile of Wes Anderson movies including The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and an Oscar-worthy performance in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.  But an iconic role like FDR?  It may make sense in the context of Hyde Park on Hudson, an irreverent look at arguably the best and most revered President in U.S. history.  But every major figure must have his/her scandal movie.

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Tomorrow–comic book Wednesday–Dynamite Comics launches one of its biggest events of the year, Issue #1 of the new mini-series Masks, with story by Chris Roberson and painted art by Alex Ross.  We’ve previewed Issue #1 and readers are in for a beautiful book, featuring a stellar mash-up team of some of Dynamite Comics’ best licensed characters: Green Hornet, Kato, The Shadow and Spider, with even a nod to The Lone Ranger.

A new group of leaders called the Justice Party has taken over New York, and their rule includes the creation of a dark, masked police force.  Unlike a typical change in power, this new government is run by mobsters and thugs, swiping people off the street and throwing them in jail simply because the new police force has a quota, with no attention to actual justice.  Our classic heroes enter the picture, now on the other side of the law, fighting for true justice, and hardly no time passes by before their mantra is uttered at some bad guys: Crime Does Not Pay.

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This month Image Comics released a new series aimed at the “science is cool” movement and possibly fans of the Fringe TV series.

Nowhere Men begins by focusing on four men: Dade Ellis, Simon Grimshaw, Emerson Strange and Thomas Walker, each a scientist in his own right, the group has formed a company called World Corp. and their cutting edge science has propelled them to rock star status.  Writer (and Image Comics publisher) Eric Stephenson doesn’t give us any time to know these characters, however, other than via an insert bio of each company founder.  Instead he brings us to them as they are about to “break up the band.”  In a sort of throwback to the opening of RoboCop, where the Omni Consumer Products company there has a major screw-up resulting in a machine killing a man in a beta test, here a World Corp. experiment goes out of control and the deaths serve to form the moral dilemma that will divide the team.

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Not a lot of movies that don’t tie strictly to a single definable genre have intriguing previews that we focus on here at, but one new trailer caught our radar this week for its interesting plot and supporting cast of major league actors.  Now You See Me stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Adventureland), Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac, The Avengers), Woody Harrelson, and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) alongside film legends Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.  And the subject?  A Vegas style spectacular magic act that transports people on stage to Paris to rob a bank, then return to the stage in minutes and share all the cash with the audience–until the cops show up and want to know the secret behind the act.  Check out the first trailer for Now You See Me:

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Available as a free promotional item at comic books stores, the All-New Marvel Backlist Reading Chronology is a new, thick, nearly 100-page, comic book-sized publication that will serve Marvel fans as a reference for years to come. Offering suggested reading chronologies and ordering codes for hundreds of in-print trade editions and hardcovers, readers can view by subject their favorite characters and catch up on missed story arcs and crossovers.

The Backlist Chronology focuses on Marvel’s current most popular subjects: Marvel Events, Avengers, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Punisher, X-Men Universe, Ultimate Universe, and Cosmic Marvel. Each listing includes the creators, the single issue numbers contained in each compilation and a brief subject description.

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By C.J. Bunce

The TV series Arrow has done some surprisingly good things with the classic DC Comics character Green Arrow.  Many elements of Green Arrow’s more than 70 years as a popular superhero at least get touched on in the series, and if you ask around, comic book fans and more mainstream TV viewers are watching, enjoying, and talking about the show.  It blends the best of the superhero genre, a good adventure series, and yes, a bit of the CW Network’s prime time “soap” formula.   Oliver Queen gets his billionaire status, he even has a potential sidekick in a sister with substance abuse issues he calls Speedy, he has his bow and arrows, and one thing that has helped define him for the past 50 years–his love interest, Dinah, now Laurel, Lance.  Without his Black Canary, you don’t really have Green Arrow.  Just look back to the best of Green Arrow’s past via writers Denny O’Neil and Mike Grell.  But if there is one thing missing in the TV series Arrow, it is the most obvious thing of all: the “Green”.  It’s not just a word describing the guy’s supersuit.  At least it doesn’t have to be.  In a time when the green movement should be at its strongest, it’s ironic that the creators of the show have shied away from the concept.  Sure, the new Oliver Queen is all about saving his city.  But the Oliver Queen we have all loved since 1971 is an activist–ever since he first chastised Green Lantern for not watching out for everyman, not just every alien.  Oliver is outspoken.  He is political.  He is progressive.  He’d probably be considered a social liberal today. This defines Green Arrow and it has for years.  Arrow–the series–is getting far closer to the core of Oliver Queen than the writers of the New 52 over the past year.

Granted it is difficult to make a mainstream TV lead be political like Green Arrow has been in decades of the comic books.  But even the New 52 writers have stayed away from the core beliefs behind Oliver Queen in favor of a more safe, merely anti-corporate, frustrated figure, who just happens to wield a bow and arrow (and to be fair the creators are pretty much adapting the modern comic book mini-series Year One, itself a reboot). And Jim Lee even had his artists nix the goatee–a physical element that has come back into style in recent years more than ever.   Why eliminate such elements when they could only help Green Arrow’s mystique–why take away the very traits that can make him modern?

So what does Green Arrow have to do with Great Pacific, a new series this month from Image Comics?

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Pull the turkey TV dinner out of the oven.  Throw some butter on those peas.  Pass around the Twinkies… ooops?  No more Twinkies?  Sounds like an excuse for a new tradition.

Here at we like our Thanksgiving with turkeys.  Not just one turkey.  Several turkeys.  Flying overhead even.  Yes, it is time again for your annual viewing of the best Thanksgiving episode of TV ever.  Finish this phrase:  “As God is my witness, I thought…”  You don’t know the lines to the show verbatim?  Then watch and enjoy here:

(YouTube versions change a lot, so feel free to look around for a better version, unless it’s already carried by one of your streaming providers)

And if you manage to recover from your tryptophan coma today, then check out other Thanksgiving blasts from the past here.

And Happy Thanksgiving!

The Staff

Last year there were rumors aplenty that the story of the original cyborg himself, Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, would be remade into a motion picture.  With a new RoboCop movie now pushed out to February 2014 with an all-star cast (well, except for the borg cop himself, played by Joel Kinnaman) including Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jennifer Ehle, and Jackie Earle Haley, it’s not a stretch to think someone would lay down some real money to make the first big screen adaptation of Martin Caidin’s astronaut-turned-borg novel Cyborg.  The big rumor revolved around Leonardo DiCaprio as set to play Steve Austin.  But even if you don’t think Lee Majors was the perfect running man, it’s pretty difficult to imagine DiCaprio a tough astronaut of the Right Stuff variety who could survive a test craft auguring into the earth.

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