My Favorite Blockbuster “Discoveries” Of 2017

Happy New Year everyone. I decided to celebrate by compiling a series of lists celebrating my favorite films and shows of 2017. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, right? Yup, totally. However, these lists will include not just new films from last year, but new-to-me ones that I enjoyed. This one celebrates the glory of big screen blockbusters, most of which I saw on the small screen because, you know, kids.

First off, I’d just like to reiterate how much I enjoyed Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014) and San Andreas (2015) from director Gary Peyton.  I had a great time watching both of those movies earlier this year and highly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for big budget disaster fare. I also had a silly amount of fun watching Vin Diesel in 2015’s The Last Witch Hunter helmed by Breck Eisner. I think this will make a great weekend movie tune-in type of movie.

Continue reading My Favorite Blockbuster “Discoveries” Of 2017

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Got some pretty old and dusty links as usual. Think there’s still some interesting stuff in here so enjoy!

My buddy Kiel Phegley interviewed the wonderful Jim Rugg about his upcoming magazine/comic mash-up Supermag which sounds pretty amazing. (via CBR)

I’ve talked about my pal Alex Kropinak’s blog before, but it’s worth mentioning it again to bring up an animated TTT from our ToyFare days that I had completely forgotten about. Muppets!

I’m really enjoying the DC Showcase Tumblr which, as you might expect, just shows all kinds of DC covers, pin-ups and interior pages.

A game designer invented a game called A Game for Someone and buried it in the desert so future people could play it 2000 years from now. Fascinating. (via Polygon)

Tom Junod’s Esquire piece about how the anti gay marriage talk has negatively tinted adoption is pretty fascinating.

On a lighter note, Esquire also posted a story about The Asylum, the company that puts out all those bullshit mockbusters like Transmorphers.

Horror Movie A Day has come to an end. Thanks for all the years of great reviews BC! Glad to hear he’s going to still review flicks when he as the time and desire, that’s the way to go in my opinion.

My lovely wife sent me this Jezebel piece about how lots of people will be freelancing in the future. Writer Lauren Beck’s assessment of the positive and negative sides of the freelance lifestyle are dead-on in my opinion. I wonder if Jezebel’s looking for another writer…

Once again, Jim Zub is dropping all kinds of creator owned comics knowledge. A must read for anyone interested in taking this route creatively.

I fully support Patrick Duffy’s idea of doing a Step By Step reunion special. Make it so! (via THR)

I always wondered why there wasn’t a Wayne’s World 3, according to this THR piece, it was because there were a few feuds going on between Mike Myers and Dana Carvey and also Myers and director of the first film Penelope Spheeris. It’s been so long since I started acquiring links that this has now already happened and been covered by Deadline.

Hero Complex talked about the evolution of superhero entertainment by way of the old Shazam! show and the Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman TV movie.

Scott Snyder has a new horror comic called The Wake in the works with Sean Murphy. This is very good news. The only negative? It’s not through Vertigo which means I didn’t get to interview them about it for CBR. Don’t worry, Josie Campbell is more than capable and did a bang up job on the piece.

No joke, I was just thinking to myself, “I wonder if there’s anywhere I can download those Mickey Castle/World of Illusion games. And now they’re getting rebooted DuckTales style. This is all very good news. (via Topless Robot)

Buffy’s Anthony Head being on Warehouse 13 makes perfect sense. I have no idea if I’m caught up on that show or not. (via TVLine)

I love a good martial arts tournament movie and Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi looks might it just be that. Cool. (via Collider)

In other movie news, I thought it was pretty interesting and not super surprising that the rights for the Daredevil movies reverted back to Marvel Studios. Not sure how that will fit in with the larger film universe — and I’m not sure it really has to — but here’s hoping for a solid flick. (via CBR)

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Sam Sarkar’s The Vault is a pretty interesting book, check out the story I did on it over at CBR. Same goes for All Nighter, Mysterious Ways and Shinku.

I also did some goodness for Marvel.com about the upcoming Black Panther Point 1 issue!

The hilarious and awesome Rob Bricken of Topless Robot fame did an excellent FAQ based on the never-to-air Wonder Woman pilot.

In the last year, I’ve discovered I’m a big fan of gin, so Esquire‘s Summer Gin Guide was quite informative.

I thought John C Abell’s post on Wired about how eBooks are falling short right now was a fun read.

Ed Brubaker’s Criminal has never really lit me up, but his recent interview with Tom Spurgeon definitely has me curious about this new mini.

I’m linking to my buddy Ben‘s post about Batman being the worst JLAer not only because he name checked me in it, but also because it’s a convincing argument.

This might be a little creepy, but I actually wished I had these kinds of video glasses when I worked in the city because, as David Cross said, when walking the streets of NYC you’re constantly deciding whether to look at the most beautiful woman in the world or the craziest guy in the world. I also would have settled for simple camera glasses. (via Wired)

Anyone interested in comics, regardless of what kind, should be reading Jim Shooter’s blog. It’s fascinating. Take the one about the origin of the Dark Phoenix Saga as an example. I love this kind of behind the scenes stuff.

Speaking of behind the scenes comic book stuff, check out Ron Marz’s latest CBR column where he discusses what went into his decision to leave Witchblade. If you just thought “Pfft, it’s Witchblade, who cares?” I recommend checking out the first trade, it’s good stuff.

Wow, Jimmy Page came out to reprise his role as session guitar player for Donovan’s Sunshine Superman in London. I hope someone recorded it. (via Rolling Stone)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will have a new album out on August 30th called I’m With You with new guitar player Josh Klinghoffer. Their most recent records have been musically amazing, but not necessarily the most interesting records. Hopefully this one brings back more of the funk. (via Rolling Stone)

I’ve never been so interested in a headline and then immediately worried by a subhed as I was with this Rolling Stone.com example: JACK WHITE MAY RECORD MUSIC FOR ‘SCHOOLBOYS IN DISGRACE’ MOVIE Film version of Kings concept album is being developed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Dig this crazy skate park designed like a pinball machine! (via Wired)

Kinect Star Wars looks exactly how I want it to. Can’t wait.

Speaking of lovely time wasting video games, Spider-Man: Edge of Time sounds pretty rad too. The fact that it’s written by Peter David is awesome. I’ve still got to get my hands on Shattered Dimension, but have plenty to keep me busy until the used price drops a little lower. (via CBR)

I’ve listened to and really enjoyed Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi records in the past (she’s an amazing vocalist), so I’m happy to see their new band Tedeschi Trucks Band got a good review for their first record on Rolling Stone.

Will TV’s Loss Be Bootleggers’ Gain?

In the last few days word has gotten out that Fox did not pick up the Locke & Key pilot and NBC passed on Wonder Woman. Being a big fan of the first Locke & Key volume written by Joe Hill and produced by IDW and various incarnations of Wonder Woman, I’m bummed, but as someone who used to jones for bootlegs of unavailable comic book movies and shows, I’m kind of excited. When I was younger I got pretty jazzed whenever I heard about a show or movie that was never released. Whether we’re talking about the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie, the Justice League TV pilot, the animated Gen 13 movie or anything else, I was interested and on the hunt at conventions. As such, I have shitty VHS dupes of all the above as well as the original Buffy pilot and a few other things.

It’s been a while since something like this has happened though. The last one I can remember is the Aquaman/Mercy Reef WB pilot that I got to see when I was at Wizard and even that was released on iTunes, I think. I know these things are more likely to be downloaded now instead of picked up at comic cons for exorbitant prices, but it does give me a tiny thrill knowing that two more shows might be added to the list of “shows you’re not supposed to see.” Of course, it’s possible that these shows will get picked up by another network or legitimately put out on DVD/Blu-ray/Netflix/iTunes. I’m all in favor of that too, I just want to see them, even more so because I’m not supposed to.

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My buddy Ben Morse discusses his history with Justice League comics. I think we might have had the same introductory issue, the one that tied into the Death of Superman.

I loved Esquire‘s interview with Norm Macdonald, one of the most underrated comedians of the past few decades in my opinion. I learned two things about him that I didn’t know before: 1) he used to write for Roseanne, a favorite show of mine and 2) he’s got a sports show coming up on Comedy Central.

Dammit! I wish I would have known that there was a Welcome  Back Kotter reunion on Good Morning America recently. I would have watched that in a heartbeat. (via Pop Candy)

I’ve gone on record as being a big fan of the 70s Wonder Woman issues where she’s just a regular person wearing white jumpsuits (here, here and here), so I’m curious to see Dennis O’Neil return to the character with DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman – The 70s #1 (you think that title’s clunky enough?) with artist J. Bone. Should be interesting. (via The Source)

I’ve owned Music From Big Pink for years and still don’t know if I like it, but reading Rolling Stone‘s story about the Band from 1968 and said record was pretty interesting.

If anyone has an extra $400 and wants to buy me one of my dream guitars from Musician’s Friend, I would be very grateful.

I heard Edgar Wright talk about making collage videos like Gun Fetish when he talked to Kevin Smith on his Smoviemakers podcast, so I’m glad /Film posted the actual video. Excellent use of “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.”

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It was another busy week, so I’ve been saving up links the whole time.

Happy belated St. Patty’s Day! I wore my “Irish I Had A Beer” shirt and my Notre Dame hat, but Phil Noto‘s drawing makes it all the better.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff going live on CBR like a piece about the upcoming Image comic Undying Love. When you’re done with that check out the piece I did with Cullen Bunn and Matt Kindt about The Tooth from Oni. I also talked to Bunn about his C2E2-announced book Fear Itself: The Deep. And finally feast your eyes on Nonplayer from Nate Simpson, that book looks crazy pretty.

I also did a piece over on MTV Geek positing a crossover between Xombi and iZombie.

My buddy Ben Morse summed up my problem with how many writers treat the New Teen Titans in modern comics, by making them the Wooderson from Dazed and Confused of the comics world. This will be the first of at least two D&C references in this Casting Internets.

The best news about the new Superman movie aside from Zack Snyder’s involvement is that it won’t have any connection to the previous Superman movies which I dislike greatly. (via /Film)

On the other side of the comic book movie coin, CBR says that Darren Aronofsky will now NOT be working on The Wolverine because it would take him out of the country for too long.

/Film says that Richard Linklater might be doing a new version of The Incredible Mr. Limpet. I love the original and he’s got a pass for life for making Dazed and Confused so I’m in.

Bloody Disgusting tells me that there’s going to be an Outpost sequel called Outpost: Black Sun by the same guys that wrote and directed the original. I dug the first one enough to come back for more.
The Autumn Society‘s teaming up with Gallery1988 for “The 3B Show” which will feature art based on Bill & Ted, Back To The Future and Beetlejuice. It’s like they asked 8 year old me which movies to draw and complied!

Finally, I like how TLo went through previous Wonder Woman costumes before talking about the one fellow Toledioan Adrianne Palicki sported in the show’s first press photo. For what it’s worth, I dig the costume.

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I know I’m late to the party on this one thanks to dealing with sickness, but my boys Ben Morse and Kiel Phegley interviewed my other boy Sean T. Collins about his rad online comic Destructor. Dig part one and two and then go read the strip. The “Prison Break” story is my favorite of the bunch so far.

Congrats to my fellow Toledoian Adrianne Palicki for landing the role of Wonder Woman on TV. According to IMDb, she went to high school not five minutes from my house. Home town girl does good! (via The Source). According to Esquire, she even likes comic. I wonder if we were ever at JC’s Comic Stop at the same time.

Mitch Hurwitz discusses ways to get a show canceled. His Arrested Development is one of the greatest TV shows ever created. His follow up Running Wylde? Not so good. I know this Guardian UK piece is supposed to be funny, but it comes off as a little more bitter than seems fitting of a man with so much talent.

Esquire’s Chris Raab had a great interview with Chris Rock. Check out the main interview here and the pair’s extended tangent about Labron James leaving Cleveland for Miami here. Why anyone would be surprised about a dude leaving Cleveland for Miami is beyond me.

/Film is reporting that $50,000 was raised for a freaking Robocop statue in Detroit. This smacks of hipsters wasting time and money that could be dedicated to projects that actually help people. Apparently Ron Marz agrees with me and how stupid this whole thing is. I knew I liked that dude. (via Bleeding Cool)Check out this custom Green Lantern of Cybertron figures up for sale on eBay. Looks pretty great.

Amazon has some pretty interesting records on sale for $5 this month.

Geezer Butler says there’s no way that the original Black Sabbath line-up will get back together. Guess I’m glad I saw them in high school then. (via Rolling Stone)

Blogging Big Bang Theory S4 “The Justice League Recombination”

After last week’s incredibly disappointing episode, I wasn’t really looking forward to watching this week’s episode of Big Bang Theory. In fact, I all but forgot about it and actually missed the first minute or so. While I was hoping for something of a Christmas episode, instead we were treated to a New Year’s one which turned out to be one of my favorites of the season. We start off with the guys hanging out and Penny and Zack, her big dumb on-again off-again boyfriend who’s currently on. Penny apparently asked Leonard to try and include him into the gang. Instead, they’re not very nice to him when he says he wants to talk about science and the wind up making fun of him. Penny’s pissed, especially because the guys say they were bullied and yet now they were being bullies. Later, they discuss that Zack wasn’t bullied because he didn’t leave with a wedgie, swirly or with a penis drawn on his face in Sharpie. Leonard thinks they need to apologize, but the others don’t see the need. They only go after he offers to buy them comic books AND points out that he might get punched.

Leonard knocks on the door and Sheldon can’t help but say his traditional “Penny.” Zack comes to the door and they apologize, which he doesn’t accept right away until Sheldon offers him a Milk Dud, which he says are the most apologetic of candies, not Junior Mints as Raj suggests. That smooths things over and he asks if they want to come in for a beer, but Leonard says they can’t because they’re going to the comic shop. Zack says he wants to go even though Penny doesn’t. Once at the shop, Zack reveals his love of Archie comics, which the others make fun of a bit, but he says they’re surprisingly sophisticated with two separate universes. I have no idea if that’s true or not. Shop owner Stewart asks if the guys finally pitched in to rent a bodyguard and then asks if they’re coming to his New Year’s Eve costume party. They then start discussing their annual Justice League costumes with Sheldon noting that Zack might make a better Superman than the diminutive Leonard. This argument continues back at the apartment building. Leonard says that if he can’t be Superman he wants to be Green Lantern, but that’s Raj’s costume. Leonard says he can just be Aquaman, but Raj hates Aquaman. I would recommend he read Peter David’s run on the book. Just saying, that shiz is rad. Anyway, Zack tells Penny about the plan for the party and that she gets to be Wonder Woman, but she’s not super excited about the idea. Raj whispers to Howard that he’ll go as WW if Penny dresses as Aquaman. The day of the party Sheldon’s jogging back and forth in his Flash costume, but says he’s anxiously pacing, it just looks different because he’s the Flash. They’re waiting on Raj and Howard. Howard shows up next with his Batman costume and Christian Bale voice, then Raj comes in in what can only be considered the lamest super hero costume of all time. Then Zack and Penny pop in and Penny looks amazing, but she’s not wearing the wig. Sheldon gives her some trouble for this and she goes back to her place. Zack and Sheldon both try talking to her to no avail, but then Leonard goes over and the reveal to each other that it’s not easy for them to be around one another. If they don’t get together and stay together soon, I’m gonna lose it. Finally, they go the party and it’s time to reveal who won the group costume contest. Stewart–dressed as the Tom Baker version of Doctor Who–announces the JLA won, but then we’re shown that there are actually three versions. Of course, our heroes win because they really do have the best costumes. Sheldon tries to run up and give a speech, but is interrupted by the countdown to the New Year. Zack lays a big kiss on Penny while Leonard awkwardly looks on. At the very end, we get a great little moment of Sheldon pretending to be the Flash so he can run to the Grand Canyon and yell because Leonard wants to turn the heat down a bit. This absolutely proves that Flash movie will work.

I was really refreshed by how good and funny this episode was, plus how much hope it gave me for Leonard and Penny getting back together. Last week I noted that it seems like the writing staff wasn’t able to handle the number of characters they’ve been playing with. I think that, instead of the multiple characters being a problem, though, that it’s the multiple storylines. Having Raj and Howard wrestle like chuckleheads didn’t really add anything to the story, but them being around to toss jokes around this episode worked.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Penny in the Wonder Woman costume.

* Penny and Leonard revealing they still have feelings for each other (I’m just a hopeless romantic, I guess).

* “Junior mints are pretty apologetic. ” – Raj, “You’re embarrassing yourself.” – Sheldon

* Howard and Sheldon telling Leonard that they can replace him with Zack, just like Penny did. Bazinga!

* “Penny there’s no “I” in Justice League.” – Zack.

* The fact that their back-up group costume is Muppet Babies with Sheldon as Kermit and Raj as Scooter.

 

LOWLIGHTS

* Penny not kissing Leonard at New Year’s.

* I realize that I kind of like big dumb Zack. He’s ignorant, but nice and seems like a good guy, but I don’t see him sticking around when Penny and Leonard  hopefully get back together.

Sketchbook Saturday: Batman by Norm Breyfogle & Wonder Woman by Mike Deodato Jr.

I fully intended to post a sketch from my books every week when I laid out my calendar earlier this month. When I was at Wizard some of us brought our sketchbooks in to get scanned for the website. They never saw the light of day, but I thought I still had the files. Turns out I don’t, so I need to go through and scan again. Anyway, I do have these two non-book sketches that I put into an Ikea frame, so I snapped a quick pic to get things started.

On the left you have the very first sketch I ever got. In 1994 I had only been collecting comics for a couple years. I was 11 and I was completely blown away that an honest to God comic book artist was going to be signing and sketching at JC’s Comic Stop in Toledo, Ohio! To be honest, though, I didn’t know who Norm Breyfogle was, but I picked up a few issues of Prime and found a Batman or Detective Comics issue and got those signed too. I remember standing in line with my dad. I’m sure he wasn’t super pleased because nothing at JC’s ever happened on time. I saw the guy in front of me getting a sketch of Batman and I don’t remember if I asked for one when it was my turn or if my dad did, but I was amazed at how quickly he composed this Batman. We’re talking a minute. It was amazing.

On the right is Artemis as Wonder Woman by Mike Deodato Jr.. I think this is from the very first Mid Ohio Con I ever went to in either ’94 or ’95. As I mentioned earlier this week, I was a big fan of Artemis as Wonder Woman so when I saw Deodato I asked him for a sketch and he said yes. I can’t remember if I paid for it or not, but I dug how it came out. Still do. It’s kind of a weird relic from a time in comics that most other people don’t care about, though sometimes I wish I wold have gotten him to draw Diana at the time in that crazy costume.

Animated Double Feature: Coraline (2009) & Justice League Crisis On Two Earths (2010)

I really dug Coraline even though I fell asleep for a few minutes towards the end which was a bummer because I missed part of the ending, but I got the gist of it, so didn’t go back and rewatch it. The movie is based on a Neil Gaiman novel that I haven’t read yet, but I’m a huge fan of his work on Sandman and his other novels like American Gods, Good Omens, Neverwhere and his short story collection Smoke And Mirrors. The movie version is a stop-motion animated flick directed by Henry Selick who also did The Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie that I seem to be the only one in the world who isn’t absolutely in love with.

The story revolves around the titular character who just moved into a new house that is broken up into four apartments. Her parents are jerks wrapped up in their work (kind of a terrifying look at a potential future for someone who spends all day working at home on a computer), so wanders around exploring the house and talking to the other tenants. Eventually she finds a door that was wallpapered over that leads to a mirror universe where everything’s pretty much the same, except better and the people have creepy button eyes. As you might expect, things aren’t as great as they look and the fantastic world turns quickly into a crap hole.

Well, quickly’s not the best word. The movie’s about an hour and forty minutes which according to the IMDb Trivia page makes it the longest stop motion movie of all time. I’d say it could probably use to lose about 10 minutes to make things a little snappier and more taut. As it is, it crawls along at times which probably is what put me to sleep. A lot comes out towards the end that could have been seeded earlier throughout the movie (like the ghost kids), but overall it was a pretty good view. Maybe I’ll give it another view when I’m feeling less sleepy.

The DC Universe Animated movies are amazing. I’ve seen Green Lantern: First Flight and Wonder Woman which I really dug, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and New Frontier which was okay and then Superman: Doomsday and Batman: Gotham Knight which sucked. I’d firmly place Justice League Crisis On Two Earths in the higher echelon of the the flicks. IMDb’s Trivia page for the movie tells me that this was originally written as a bridge movie between the Justice League and JLU series, which explains why it’s the core seven Leaguers (though Hal takes John Stewart’s spot and Martian Manhunter has his old new look) and why they’re repairing the satellite and seem short handed for no apparent reason. This JLA gets put in direct conflict with Earth-2’s Crime Society which gave us pretty cool bad guy versions of random heroes like Vibe and Halo.

The story’s pretty solid, but like with JL and JLU, the fights really take center stage and there are some real doozies that made me actually set my computer down and pay attention which is no small feat. My only problem with this movie, which was also one of my problems with Superman: Doomsday is that when the characters look so much like the cartoon versions I want them to sound like the cartoon versions. Frankly I thought Superman and Batman sounded pretty lame in this one played by Billy Bladwin and Mark Harmon. James Woods as Owlman was solid though.

Unfortunately, I saw this on Netflix which means I didn’t get to see the Spectre short which is a bummer because I’m excited they started doing that. Maybe I’ll put it on the actual queue just to watch that. Next up is Red Hood which came out today so I’m jazzed about that to see if the good streak will continue.