Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on October 13th, 2020
This is a show that always surprises me because it is so far out of the reaches of the type of project that I am usually attracted to, but every time I watch, the cleverness and sharp-wittedness of it always wins me over. Season 4 is no different. Though it can get very political and the series is unafraid to take shots at the President, this season provided quite possibly one of its most well-balanced episodes with the season’s opening. However, before we get to that, let’s have a brief recap of where we left off in Season 3. The end of the season saw the departure of Rose Leslie’s Maia Rindell, who after a rollercoaster season which included her getting fired from Reddick Boseman Lockhart, departing for the capital to lead her own firm. Meanwhile, Diana and Liz joined an underground political opposition group for the purposes of undermining Donald Trump’s presidency. While they both are start off as enthusiastic members of the group, with Diana going as far as to secretly seize the leadership position when a prominent member disappears. However, the missing member is revealed to be a charlatan, causing Diana’s charade to be exposed. Additionally, the group’s tactics change, becoming darker and more ruthless, prompting Diana and Liz to distance themselves from the group. Threatened by Diana’s potential exposure risk, the season ended on a cliffhanger that saw Diana’s and her husband’s lives in danger.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 8th, 2020
I always get a little worried when I’m handed a low-budget western. Despite it being one of my favorite genres, I’m just quickly turned off by a film when it visually doesn’t look authentic. I like my westerns dirty and rugged, so when I see characters in costumes that look too clean as though they were just pulled from the rack, it’s a giant pet peeve. What had me intrigued with the film was the involvement of Joe R. Lansdale, who happens to be one of my favorite writers, and he somewhat specializes in the “weird” western genre. Bubba Ho-Tep or The Hap and Leonard series are what most would be familiar with from Lansdale. He may not have the name strength that Stephen King carries, but I’ve come to expect a good time from Lansdale. Granted The Pale Door only has Joe R. Lansdale attached as a producer, though his son was involved at some point with the writing of the script, so is that enough to make this film worth a watch, or is it a disappointment?
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on October 7th, 2020
While I enjoyed the first couple seasons of Rick and Morty, I wasn’t all that sure about the show’s staying power with Adult Swim. I’d talk about the show with some friends, but for the most part this seems to be a show that finds its fan base more in their late teens. It’s fair to say it’s been more than a few years since I was a teenager, so perhaps it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I was a little hesitant with this season (feel free to check out my review of Season 1). When Season 3 came out, the show blew up in a big way, gaining numerous fans and even managed to make “Pickle Rick” a part of everyday pop culture and make Szechuan sauce at McDonalds a thing. The show for those who may be unfamiliar is something of a blend between Back to the Future and more than a sprinkle of Futurama. If that sounds like a fun ride, well, then this may be the animated series for you.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 3rd, 2020
“You had me worried at first. A new Starman? That’d be big trouble. A real game changer. Imagine my relief. No Starman. Just a silly little Stargirl.”
The original Starman was created by Gardner Fox and Jack Burnley back in 1941. Since that time there have been quite a few DC characters that have taken on the mantle of Starman. When DC executive and veteran comics writer/creator was asked to do a series on one of Starman’s sidekicks, Pat Dugan and his eventual comic Stars And S.T.R.I.P.E., he was given a directive that he could not use the iconic S.T.R.I.P.E. armor, and that just would have made the series so much weaker. Instead he counter-pitched an idea from the same era of the comics. He pitched the idea of a new Stargirl who would be somewhat based and named after his daughter Courtney, who was tragically killed in a plane crash when she was just 18 years old. He wanted to do something to represent the spirit of his daughter, and the pitch also allowed for the Pat Dugan character to appear without the famous armor.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on October 3rd, 2020
The release of this disc comes a bittersweet time, as a prominent member of the cast announced that she was leaving the show. That’s right, Anna Faris announced that Season 7 would be her final one with the series. Such an announcement of the loss of a pivotal character normally serves as the kiss of death for a series. Had this decision came a few years earlier, it most likely would have been the end of the show. However, the show went through a transition a few years back, and Faris’ central role was shared among the rest of the cast, which includes Allison Janney, Jaime Pressly, Kirsten Johnston, and Mimi Kennedy. The decision for the show to continue has been made, but after watching this latest season, it is hard to imagine that the show will continue past its upcoming season. Even with her role reduced slightly, Faris remained an integral part of the show, and though Chuck Lorre is no stranger to trying to keep a show going following the exit of a cast member (i.e. Two and a Half Men), Faris’ absence is guaranteed to be noticed.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on October 2nd, 2020
“My name is Dylan Hunt. My story begins the day on which I died. My last look at my world was to be from inside a pressure chamber at NASA’s underground laboratory at Carlsbad Caverns. Our goal was the development of a form of suspended animation which would allow our astronauts to make longer voyages through our solar system. It had been my decision that our method was ready to test on a human so, it seemed that any risks should be mine…”
Gene Roddenberry was riding high as Star Trek began to grow more in popularity during syndication than it had as a prime-time network series. Suddenly television executives wanted more ideas from the Great Bird of the Galaxy, as Trek fans began to know him. One of those ideas was Genesis II. It tells the story of a scientist who is conducting a suspended animation experiment.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 1st, 2020
Hollywood is no stranger to films about citizens being falsely accused in a foreign land for crimes they didn’t commit or having the charges overly exaggerated. Midnight Express is perhaps the best of the bunch, and in the 90’s there was Brokedown Palace and Return to Paradise. I’m somewhat of a fan of these films, but the problem is that they become a bit formulaic, and really, they are already an offshoot of the “wrongly convicted” prison dramas, so it’s no surprise that we really haven’t seen a film like Most Wanted in a while despite it being based on a true story. Thankfully Most Wanted brings a new take to the table as it shows us how far some dirty cops are willing to go in an attempt to get a high-profile bust.
Posted in No Huddle by Brent Lorentson on September 25th, 2020
You have to go back to the early 40’s for when Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica first appeared in comic book form. Over the years, their characters have changed with the times, though the town of Riverdale always seemed to maintain an innocent charm where nothing bad ever seemed to happen. Well, that is until recently, where the comics took a shift and thrust our characters into various scenarios, one even including Riverdale being overrun by zombies. These changes occurred when Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took over the brand, and now he has brought the town of Riverdale and its inhabitants to the small screen for the CW network. Though this iteration differs from the early days of the Archie comic universe, all the familiar characters are here, and they are showing us the shady underbelly of Riverdale that I’m so glad we are getting a glimpse at, one episode at a time.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 24th, 2020
“I was skeptical when you pitched the idea of putting the legends on television, but they’ve helped pacify the masses. Well? Should we get started then? We don’t want to keep our worshippers waiting.”
Unlike the rest of the Arrowverse, D.C.’s Legends Of Tomorrow did not have their season interrupted by the massive crossover. Because it was a mid-season series, this season of Legends Of Tomorrow actually starts with the final hour of the huge crossover. That means you get thrown immediately into the deep water, and there’s no time to learn how to swim now. So if you aren’t up on the show or the whole Arrowverse thing, you have some serious catching up to do. You need to get caught up on Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and the newcomer Batwoman, and then four previous years of The Legends Of Tomorrow. I can help you with that. Just bang it here to get a look at our previous reviews: Legends Reviews. Once you’re caught up, let’s head straight into that crossover finale, shall we?
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 24th, 2020
Ever since The Walking Dead first aired. it seems the zombie genre was not only revived but milked for all it was worth, and still studios continued to bleed the genre dry to the point even most diehard horror fans are sick of the sub-genre. I’m a sucker for zombie films, and even I have tired of them, but I’ll always hold out hope for some writer or filmmaker to come along and inject some creativity into the genre. It’s possible; I mean, look how long the vampire stories have been around, or even ghost stories, and yet there still are new takes on the subject matter that get us excited about them again. That’s where Blood Quantum gave me some hope. Zombies on a Native American reservation. I was hopeful for some indigenous lore being injected into this, giving us a fresh perspective…but alas, we get a watered-down, unoriginal, snooze-fest with a little bit of gore to keep viewers somewhat interested.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on September 23rd, 2020
So, this film definitely was not my daughter’s cup of tea. In her defense, without the background of watching the Cartoon Network series that preceded this movie, it is hard to become invested in the film. Additionally, I think most of themes that were addressed in the film were a bit over her head. I think if I were to show it to her again in a couple of years, she might vibe with it better, but I’m not guaranteeing that. Based on my own research of the series, the film was intended to serve as the series finale for the television show that ended in 2019. Also, my daughter is more of a YouTube kid rather than Cartoon Network. And based off my own interpretation of the film, knowledge of the original series goes a long way toward emotionally investing in this movie. In order to help you better understand the film, I will provide you with some background based on my own independent research into the television show that facilitated this aforementioned movie.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on September 23rd, 2020
Season 2 of Magnum P.I. offers more of the same as it did a year before: guns, explosions, and Magnum owing people favors. That is not to say that the show isn’t entertaining; however, there is nothing earth-shattering about it. It’s not a must-see show, but if you should happen to see it, you won’t be disappointed. For my part, I am a fan and did enjoy all twenty episodes of the second season. To its credit, this season does spend some time trying to add depth to the secondary characters that Magnum tends to lean on, like T.C., Rick, and Katsumoto. There is also a long-awaited crossover episode with the recently departed Hawaii Five-0 series. Despite not deviating much from its established template in the first season, the Jay Hernandez-led series continues to remain one of the CBS staples, even after being moved to the Friday night slot, which can sometimes serve as the kiss of death for a show.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 16th, 2020
“Look up in the sky…”
He’s pretty much the oldest of the comic book superheroes still fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Sure, Superman has changed quite a bit over the years. From the black and white George Reeves television series and the early 1940’s cartoons to several film versions over the years, Superman has been an American icon since the 1930’s. With the series of DC animated features, we have seen many of the modern incarnations of the Man of Steel. But this time Warner Brothers and DC took a step back from their ambitious ongoing stories to give fans a little bit of nostalgia and a look back to some of the earliest days of Superman. It has quickly become one of my favorite of this series, and I think you’re in for a treat. This one is for the fan who is still a kid, if not in body, then in heart. And while the story might be somewhat “old school”, you get to take advantage of the best of 21st century technology at the same time as Warner Brothers delivers Superman: Man Of Tomorrow on UHD in 4K.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on September 15th, 2020
“This is the way the world ends…”
The Stephen King cycle has turned hot once again. With the enormous success of the two-part It feature at the box office, Stephen King is hitting the kind of popularity he had back in the 1980’s and 1990’s when it seemed anything he put his name to had to be made into a feature film or some other grand project. The trend led to mixed results. Many of the films couldn’t live up to the visceral detail that has become King’s trademark. To do this, his books have taken on a large page count that has been nearly impossible to fit into a 2-hour feature film window. It split the book into two very good films. The Stand has twice made it to the mini-series format. Paramount Studios have had their hands in the Stephen King pot on various occasions. So now they’ve put together an interesting collection from their own library. This 5-film collection includes Stephen King’s The Stand (1994), The Dead Zone (1983), Pet Sematary both (1989) & (2019) and Silver Bullet (1985). It’s a mixed bag, to be sure. There are some hits and misses to be found inside this collection. Each film or mini-series has its own disc with special features only reproduced on the two Pet Sematary films. Let’s take a peek at the films inside, shall we?
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on September 15th, 2020
“I hear if you’re looking for a miracle, now’s the time to ask.”
When Michael Weatherly left NCIS it was like losing an old friend, both for the cast and crew of the franchise and for the millions of fans who had invited him into their living rooms for almost 15 years. But he returned to both. His presence was very much alive in the last season of NCIS. He was discussed, shown in flashbacks, and somehow continued to carry on his teasing war with McGee. But he wouldn’t return in person. That’s because he was busy with the second season of his own show Bull. And while Bull is reportedly based on the early career of Dr. Phil, nothing could be farther from the reality that Bull is 100% Michael Weatherly. I’m not sure if the shows exist in the same television universe, but they continue to be somewhat entangled. Both shows aired an episode with the exact same title on the exact same day. The shows were called Keep Your Friends Close, and there’s obviously a message to the fans in there that however successful Bull turns out to be, we’re not completely done with Tony, and there’s an effort to keep the family bonds close.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 11th, 2020
“I’m a consulting detective of some repute. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? My name is Sherlock Holmes.”
In 1887, readers of the popular periodical Beeton’s Christmas Annual were to receive quite a special treat. There wasn’t much fanfare or hype to the event. Inside the pages of the magazine was a story called A Study In Scarlet. It was a detective story, perhaps like many published before, except for the detective himself, a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Together with his faithful companion and chronicler Dr. Watson, Holmes would win the hearts of those holiday readers. It might have been an ordinary day, but the world was about to change. Sherlock Holmes would become the most famous detective in the world. His stories would remain in print nearly 130 years later. Over 100 films would be made featuring the character. There would be television shows and cartoon spoofs. No other character has appeared in more productions.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on September 11th, 2020
“Mr. Holmes, you must widen your gaze. I’m concerned you underestimate the gravity of coming events. You and I are bound on a journey that will twist the very fabric of nature. But beneath your mask of logic, I sense a fragility. That worries me. Steel your mind. Holmes. I need you.
This was quite possibly my favorite scene from the movie, as it perfectly exemplified the journey that the character was about to embark on. This monolog was perfectly delivered by the film’s villain played by Mark Strong and could be seen as the battle cry for Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes. With an original story from Producer Lionel Wignam, this reimagining of the beloved characters thrust us into the action right away with Holmes hot on the trail of a killer. Hired to find a kidnapped girl, Holmes locates her and prevents her from being sacrificed for a dark arts ritual. Capturing the mastermind, Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong), Holmes forgoes the credit as per usual.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 10th, 2020
“How do you guys change so fast?”
Welcome to what has become known as The Arrowverse. It’s the common name used to describe the DC Universe as it is presented and maintained on television, primarily those shows featured on the CW. It’s named after the first of those shows to hit the air: Arrow. That world has been steadily expanding to the point where it began to include each of the shows as they arrived on the network. On The Flash that expansion went on to include older television shows that featured DC characters, in that case the 1990’s series The Flash. Now that universe is growing to include the films both past and present and was reaching a point where it might all collapse under its own weight. It might have just been too much to handle as the comic-friendly concept of a multi-verse is used to explain these various incarnations of characters and events. It could get confusing, and that’s exactly what started to happen in the DC comics in the 1980’s.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 9th, 2020
“Hey, You Guys!”
It was the summer of 1985 when my mom took me to see The Goonies, I remember standing in front of the movie theater and staring at the poster on display with a little nervousness and wonder. I was only five, and I simply had no concept about what I was about to watch. I remember this day fondly, because this was the day I fell in love with cinema, though it would take me a few more years to wrap my head around these emotions. I had seen movies before this, but the experience of seeing The Goonies simply floored my imagination, and it inspired me to want to know more about pirates, lost treasure, and all the possible adventures one could have. As I’ve gotten older, despite how many movies I’ve seen, this is one that will always remain as one of my all-time favorite films. For those 30 or older who still haven’t seen The Goonies, well, I feel bad for you; you’ve missed out on a cinematic treasure that stands among the other classic films of the 80’s like Back to the Future, ET, Gremlins, and Ghostbusters (sure, there are others I’m not listing, but I think you get the point). When Super 8 came along, then a little later Netflix put out Stranger Things, it started a small revival of the children-in-peril genre that flourished in the 80’s. Despite how good some of these nostalgic revivals have been, they still can’t capture the magic of The Goonies.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on September 9th, 2020
“We live in perilous times.”
He has been called the Father of our Country. Every American history class is replete with his characteristics and important biographic details. In the upheaval of 2020, the name George Washington has taken on a somewhat different tone with populations across the country. A lot of this “cancel culture” movement is a movement of ignorance. I recently read a survey that some of the folks out there trying to bring down statues couldn’t pass a rudimentary quiz on who the person even was. It’s a disturbing situation. We’ve all heard the axiom that those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it. But let’s not reduce this to oversimplistic catch phrases. History doesn’t repeat itself, but as Mark Twain cleverly observed, “It rhymes.” As a history teacher myself, I don’t often point toward a television production for a history education, and I won’t start here.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 3rd, 2020
Before Michael Keaton put on the cowl to become the dark knight of Gotham City, he and director Tim Burton came together to create a film that helped launch a career and a trademark “gothic” style that would catapult Burton’s career. Sure, Tim Burton has made a name for himself doing CGI-bloated films lately, and though they’ve made money at the box office, they don’t quite have the same magic that his films had in the 80’s and 90’s, though I’ll make an exception with Big Fish (2003). It’s impossible for me not bring a little bias to the table when discussing Beetlejuice. I loved the film as a kid and rewatched my VHS copy of it a ridiculous amount of times, and as I watched it again, I still continue to have giddy joy at seeing this film. If for some reason this film has managed to escape you over the years, or perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve dusted off this classic, allow me a moment to reminisce.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on August 31st, 2020
“I was wonderin’ if you were going to come to say goodbye.”
The world said goodbye to Gunsmoke in 1975 after 635 episodes and 20 seasons. But it wasn’t to be quite forever. While most of the cast would never again don the characters that made up the show’s iconic ensemble, James Arness would show up for three films that would carry his story forward. Now that CBS has already released the series in individual sets as well as an impressive full series box that delivers all 635 of those episodes, there remained just one more task to perform in order to make the collection complete. There were three television movies released between 1987 and 1992. Arness would be the only star to return for all three. Deaths and other commitments made a true collection of reunion films impossible. Even Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty would return only for the first film before becoming deceased. Two of the prominent returns were characters who were basically part of a single episode or actors who played other parts along the way. But the center of gravity for Gunsmoke has always been Marshall Dillon, and these films certainly do not disappoint on that front.
Posted in No Huddle by Gino Sassani on August 31st, 2020
“18 years of sustained combat. I learned a long time ago to remain calm in the chaos, so that the fighting doesn’t bother me. But when things go quiet, I hear Father Time coming for me. A new battle on the horizon, and for the first time in my life I’m feeling an enemy I don’t know how to fight.”
What David Boreanaz does is create iconic television characters. He has had no trouble getting work over the years. He has had the ability to jump from one successful series to another and enjoy longevity in those roles. Unlike many actors who have had big television roles, he doesn’t get at all pigeonholed or typecast. In Buffy The Vampire Slayer he originated the role of the vampire Angel, who spun off to his own series for several years. Immediately after that he took on the role of an FBI agent and partner to the title character on Bones. That job lasted a decade. Before the remains of Bones could be laid to rest, he was already working on his next new series. Now he’s the field leader of a Navy SEAL team, and if the first three seasons of SEAL Team is any indication, he’s going to be dodging bullets and RPG’s for the foreseeable future. CBS has a big tradition of long-running shows, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a decade from now I’m talking to you about the 13th season of SEAL Team.
Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on August 27th, 2020
“What’s more important, Frederick? Freedom for one man, or freedom for all men?”
Inspired by a true legend. Emphasis on “inspired”, as this film does quite a bit of deviating from the historical data. Then again, I like to look at from the perspective of the main character: when recounting whether or not the legend that he is descended from kings is true, “It’s true to me.” Emperor is the tale of Shields Green, an outlaw slave in pre-Civil War South who went on to take part in the Harper’s Ferry raid, which is one of the events that sparked the Civil War. Dayo Okeniyi (Shades of Blue) has the momentous task of bringing this little-known historical figure to life. It is a challenge, but I do believe that Okeniyi was up to the task. While the story does have spurts of intrigue, for the most part it is told in a matter-of-fact tone, giving it the feel of reading it from a history book, minus the areas of deviation that is, which do come off as fantastical at times. Okeniyi is joined by Naturi Naughton (Power), Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries), Harry Lennix (The Blacklist) as Frederick Douglass, and James Cromwell as John Brown.
Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 26th, 2020
“Events have been set into motion that you couldn’t possibly understand.”
If you’re thinking of joining The Flash for the first time in season six, that’s not going to work out so well for you. Hopefully you’re a speed watcher, because you have five seasons to catch up on before you start in on this release. In fact, it’s not just The Flash you might want to check out. The Arrowverse DC shows will become more interconnected in this season than they ever have before. It’s all leading to the end of Arrow, the beginning of Batwoman, and a five-part crossover that will blow your mind. This is without question the best show in the Arrowverse television family and has been since the day it aired. You’re going to love what this series has cooking, but you need to start with getting yourself caught up in order to fully appreciate what is in store for you here. In addition to Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman, you can find out what we’ve had to say about The Flash. Check out our reviews of the previous five years here.