Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The President
Releases June 3rd 2016 (NYC/Lincoln Plaza Cinemeas - Limited)
1 hr 55 mins
Not Rated


Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Writer: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

Misha Gomiashvili as the President
Dachi Orvelashvili as the Grandson
Eka Kakhiani as the President’s wife
Nuki Koshkelishvili & Elene Bezarashvili as the President's daughters

A brutal dictator comes face to face with the injustices committed by his regime when his country is taken over by revolutionists.

Review by Stephen M.

The President is a good chuckle of what life on the lam a dictator may face after being overthrown courtesy of an uprising.  If only Kim Jong-Un, Bashar al-Assad and similar folks could watch this movie and see as The President played superbly by Misha Gomiashvili did in the film.  The Georgian film (the country, not the state) will be playing in limited release beginning this Friday with English subtitles and is worth a watch if you like dark comedies/dramas.

I love the dynamic between The President and his grandson (Dachi Orvelashvili) which joins him on the run.  Dachi as well as the child actress that plays Maria both does a wonderful job in the film.  The plot while clever does at time drags a bit and of course just seems incredibly implausible that the duo goes undetected as long as they do.  The camera work wasn't as good as it could have been and often at times shaky or just panning way too fast.

Overall I would recommend watching it if you can despite its flaws.  Especially with all the news of various dictatorships over the last decade getting their comeuppance, it's not hard to imagine and picture them as the president in the film.  The topics at times are quite stark even though it is not very graphic.  So I wouldn't recommend watching it with a child despite the inclusion of a child in the film as one of the main actors.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Friday, May 27, 2016

X-Men Apocalypse
Releases May 27th 2016
2 hr 23 mins
Rated PG-13


Writer: Simon Kinberg
Director: Bryan Singer

James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast
Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse
Rose Byrne as Moira Mactaggert
Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver
Josh Helman as Col. William Stryker
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey
Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers / Cyclops
Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler
Ben Hardy as Angel
Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe / Storm
Lana Condor as Jubilee
Olivia Munn as Psylocke

Review by Stephen M.

X-Men: Apocalypse shows just how muttered and convoluted a super hero story can get when you throw aside comic book history and play it by ear.  While the movie has some good action and its moments, X-Men: Apocalypse is a film that fails to live up to it's epic title paling in comparison to X-Men First Class that started this track in 2011.

The movie starts off with not an origin story of Apocalypse but with him already as a "God" in ancient Egypt with his four horsemen that unfortunately are much cooler than the later X-Men iterations.  They are ambushed by mortal men who refuse to worship this false god and actually buries him til present day (the 1980s in this X-Men time period).

As we have all seen, Apocalypse appearance wise is just an abomination and not in a good way.  But the butchering of characters just doesn't stop here.  Let's take Angel which we meet early on is apparently a tough super powered cage fighter which is nothing like his comic book character.  A few other instances like misuses of Caliban and Jubilee, and you'll start to cry foul.  How about Magneto being indifferent to being the world cleansed?  Yes humans, but mutants as well?

Overall, I would recommend the film only if you have never read the X-Men comic books and just like seeing super heroes battle it out.  Even with decent fight scenes, it's hard to overlook the long drawn out plodding plot that may put us mortals to sleep.  The bright sides for the film besides the fight scenes are, yes once again, Quicksilver played by Evan Peters, and newcomer, Psylocke played by Olivia Munn.  Go watch if you must, but not at full price.  Be sure to stay for ONE extra scene after the credits that alludes to something sinister they will possibly face in a future movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Phantom Detective (탐정 홍길동: 사라진 마을)
Released May 4th 2016 (South Korea); May 20th 2016 (US, Canada)
2 hr 5 mins
Not Rated
Crime, Noir
South Korea


Writer & Director: Jo Sung-hee

Lee Je-Hoon as Hong Gil-Dong
Go Ara as President Hwang
Park Geun-Hyung as Kim Byeong-Duk
Kim Sung-Kyun as Kang Sung-Il
Jung Sung-Hwa as Innkeeper
Roh Jeong-Eui as Dong-Yi
Kim Ha-Na as Mal-Soon

Private detective Hong Gil-dong has one goal in life: find the killer who murdered his mother and exact revenge on him. It’s been 20 years since he witnessed the murder and he finally has a name – Kim Byeong-deok. But when he tracks down Kim to a hut in the country, several men already came by earlier and took him away, leaving behind 2 young granddaughters. The girls become Hong’s unlikeliest sidekicks as they once again close in on Kim and the shadowy organization that took him. In order to get his revenge, Hong must uncover the truth behind this organization that has very deep connections to every facet of the country. Little did he know that this is the same group that created both him and his nemesis...

Review by Stephen M.

Phantom Detective which has been playing in limited theaters is in theaters til tomorrow May 26th.  The South Korean noir thriller has quite a few interesting elements that makes it stands out from others of the same genre.  The main character Hong Gil-Dong played brilliantly by Lee Je-Hoon, is an anti-hero that is hard to root for considering his tactics.  It plays well against the grandchildren that he reluctantly teams up with of the person he is tracking to kill.

While the film has its humor to it, the overall tone is decidedly dark.  It reminds me a bit of The Man from UNCLE in its presentation and theme but not as humorous.  As mentioned before, Hong Gil-Dong is not someone you would normally would root for.  But that is what makes the film more enjoyable as you try to figure the character out as he tries to figure out his origins.  The children actors also does an amazing job in the film in their supporting roles to Hong Gil-Dong.  They could not have pick any better in those roles.

Overall, I would recommend this film if you enjoy noir films or any other type of dark offbeat film.  The story seems kind of long and confusing at times which would be my only gripe.  But the ending is especially satisfying as the Director puts everything together with amazing performances but the leads.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Friday, May 20, 2016

Preacher (AMC)
Season 1 Episode 1
Airing May 22nd 2016
Directed by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Written by Sam Caitlin
Based on Preacher by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon


Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer
Ruth Negga as Tulip O'Hare
Joe Gilgun as Cassidy
Lucy Griffiths as Emily Woodrow
W. Earl Brown as Sheriff Hugo Root
Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc
Tom Brooke as Fiore
Derek Wilson as Donny Schenck
Ian Colletti as Eugene Root / Arseface

Review by Stephen M.

While I have heard of the comic book Preacher by Vertigo, I have never read it.  I am familiar with Garth Ennis from his book The Boys.  So while I knew to expect a lot of vulgarity and WTF moments, my first encounter with the Preacher is actually the free comic that AMC recently gave out to promote the show.  If you've read the free comic, the show is nothing like the comic.  The biggest change would have to be the pacing of the comic compared to the show.  The screening I attended yesterday included a Q&A with the filmmakers including writer/co-creator Garth Ennis and executive producer/director Seth Rogen.  They explained that the comic would never had adapted well directly to television, an issue for one episode.  Instead the entire first season arc would focus more on the Preacher still trying to be a preacher.  With elements moved around from the comic series brought in earlier in the television and some elements moved back in its timeline.

The Good... The action scenes, especially the fight in the car with Tulip (Ruth Negga) is a great homage to Tarantino, as well as Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) fight scene in the air are amazingly choreographed.   Cassidy's character in particular steals the first episode with his over the top behavior.  Which if you had seen in the Q&A is very much like his real persona!  Incredibly friendly, sticking around for the fans after the panel ended while the others bolted.  His humor and pieces here and there along with the action give us breaks from an otherwise plodding story.  

The bad... Oh where do I start.  The pacing, the formatting of each scene, to the plot was just terrible.  Why do I say that.  The story jumped around a lot from characters and locations, but that in itself is not so bad.  It is the way each segment is presented seem like a compartmentalize skit that didn't flow and gel well between themselves and created for confusion.  Dominic Cooper was okay as the lead character Jesse Custer aka Preacher.  Ruth's character Tulip also seemed very cool.  But aside from Cassidy, the rest of the supporting cast are just forgettable.  Not necessarily horrible but just not entirely impressive or memorable.

Perhaps it is because the show is not targeted toward me even though the filmmakers claim to say that the show is not hold to just one genre.  But I just found that the story telling could have been better given the rich material that Garth Ennis has laid in his books.  It is only one episode that I got to sample and am willing to watch another.  But I honestly will have this series on a very short lease if they don't pick up both the pacing and quality.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Outcast (Cinemax)
Season 1 Episode 1
"A Darkness Surrounds Him"
Airs June 3rd, 2016
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Robert Kirkman


Patrick Fugit as Kyle Barnes
Philip Glenister as Reverend Anderson
Gabriel Bateman as Joshua Austin
Wrenn Schmidt as Megan Holter
David Denman as Mark Holter

Review by Anont C.

From the creator of ’The Walking Dead', comes Outcast, a brand new horror drama series with supernatural elements. Adapted from from the comic written by Robert Kirkman and art by Paul Azacetta, the show focus on the idea of dark elements that has the potential to overshadow anyone for possession of their mind and soul. 

The pilot episode stayed faithful as much as the first issue of the comic itself; from dialogues, scenes and perspective angle views the comic medium had presented. As the story reminiscent of the movie The Exorcist, from its vibe presentation to its fright-moment that would shock any viewers -- while still leaving them in suspense to continue watching. The show utilizes a great deal of the idea of possessions from a dark element, presenting to the viewers what it may be like in an environment where a darker force may be at a higher power. 

What also makes this series interesting is the narrative story that only Robert Kirkman is known for delivering; as each of the cast has a great exchange of dialogues that answered the current situations for the viewers, while still leaving enough mystery for the viewers to speculate on future episodes. Each of the cast members also did an excellent performance on the show; Patrick Fugit as Kyle Barnes, as the protagonist of the show also demonstrated that he can be a great central character for the viewers to follow, and keeping the interest of the viewers to invest in the show.

The show itself can be highly recommended; however, it requires the viewers to subscribe to Cinemax, so it may discourage a few viewers to subscribe to it for the intense purpose of this show. But for those who are already a subscriber, this can be a show to tune in to, as this show has a great quality presentation that Robert Kirkman is known for delivering. The show will premiere Friday June 3rd, at 10pm on Cinemax; so if you're not a subscriber yet, this show may be a good enough reason for you to subscribe to it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Monday, May 16, 2016

(All-New, All-Different Avengers #13 by Kris Anka)

Article by Stephen M.

It was previously announced that Marvel Tsum Tsum would be getting their own limited series.  Based on the popular Disney app game from Japan, Tsum Tsum which translates to stack stack are plushes that you can stack on time of one another.  Their app game which is a puzzle type game recently came out with their Marvel version of the game in both Japan and the US.

Marvel which along with DC Comics has been coming out with theme variant covers just announced the Marvel Tsum Tsum covers which will span 20 different titles.  In the past we have gotten Neal Adams and Looney Toon variant covers from DC while for Marvel more recently we have gotten Hip Hop album variant covers.  In this post you will see fifteen of the upcoming Tsum Tsum variant covers whose images have been released.  Most books will retail for $3.99 at your local comic book shop.

My favorite? Rocket Raccoon & Groot!  What's yours?

 All-New Wolverine #11 by Jake Parker

 Amazing Spider-Man #16 by Chris Samnee

 Captain America: Steve Rogers #5 by Helen Chen

 Deadpool #17 by Javier Rodriguez

 Doctor Strange #11 by Ryan Stegman

 Invincible Iron Man #12 by Brandon Peterson

 Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #10 by Joelle Jones

 Ms. Marvel #10 by Tradd Moore

 Old Man Logan #10 by Mike Deodato

 Power Man and Iron Fist #7 by Ming Doyle

 Rocket Raccoon and Groot #8 by Brian Kesinger

 The Mighty Thor #10 by Natacha Bustos

 Uncanny Avengers #12 by Jeff Dekal

Uncanny Inhumans #13 by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Yet to be release...
The Unbelievable Gwenpool #5 by Emanuela Lupacchino
Black Panther #5 by Sara Pichelli
Daredevil #10 by Ed McGuinness
Extraordinary X-Men #13 by Dave Johnson

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 by J. Scott Campbell

The Angry Birds Movie
Releases May 20th 2016
1 hr 37 mins
Rated PG
Action/Adventure Animated


Directors: Fergal Reilly & Clay Kaytis
Writer: Jon Vitti

Jason Sudeikis as Red
Aidan McGraw and Kallan Holley as Young Red
Josh Gad as Chuck
Danny McBride as Bomb
Maya Rudolph as Matilda
Bill Hader as Leonard
Peter Dinklage as the Mighty Eagle
Kate McKinnon as Stella
Sean Penn as Terence
Tony Hale as Ross/Mime/Cyrus
Keegan-Michael Key as Judge Peckinpah
Blake Shelton as Earl
Noah Schnapp as Jay
Owen Wilder Vaccaro as Jake
Pierce Gagnon as Jim
Charli XCX as Willow
Anthony Padilla as Hal
Ian Hecox as Bubbles

Review by Evangeline G.

The Angry Bird Movie is about Red who is one of the angry birds that is a really angry bird.  who lives on a beach far from the village.  When Red goes to calm class, he (as well as we the audience) meets the others, Bomb, Chuck, Matilda and Terence. 

One day the pigs come to their island and try to steal all the eggs from the birds.  It is up to the birds to save the eggs but going to pig castle and getting them back before they're eaten.   While the movie mimics the game a lot, it is not necessary to have played the game to enjoy.  There nothing that about the film that I can say I didn't enjoy.

I thought it was a very good movie.  They have good songs, is humorous and also has a lot of action.  They have a lot of characters that you might like with each of the birds having different powers.  As a fan of the game and watching the trailers I predicted the film would be good and I was not disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars (Children)/ 3.5 out of 5 Stars (Adults)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

By Stephen M. (Photos by Cynthia M.)

Here's a look at Atlantic City Boardwalk Con 2016 which was its second year.  The con was besieged with talent cancellations and a lack of foot traffic that was noticeable in the otherwise spacious Atlantic City Convention Center.  Here's the good with the bad of our weekend.


1. Wonder Woman Museum courtesy of the Marston Family

Just an amazing assortment of peices from the Marston Family with the permanent collection in the Marston's estate in Connecticut which you can also tour.  This to me was the true highlight of the show.

2. Cosplayers by the fans

There was an abundance of fans in costumes which is always an enjoyment to see passionate fans dress up as their favorite characters.

3. Panels (at least the three we were able to cover)

We were able to attend the Wonder Woman as well as Ben MacKenzie and Teddy Sears panels and all three were well run and entertaining.


1. Lack of A level stars and creators

Not all cons are gonna get the Chris Hemsworth and Stan Lee level of stars and creators for their cons.  And all in all, the stars they did announced was good, even if not awesome.  But when you run into cancellations which of course a lot of times is out of the hands of the convention, than you start to have problems.  Especially when your line up is not strong to begin with.  This I think is the biggest problem that ACBC encountered.

2. Lack of comic book vendors and more of an assortment of other things like cupcakes in a glass jar, laser tag, psychic readings, etc.

When you have all that awesome space that is Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention Center which is easy to get to, close to attractions (not counting the homeless shelter behind the Center), you have to fill it up.  Unfortunately, they just couldn't fill it up with enough comic book or pop culture related vendors so they start opening up to other stuff.  Like travel sites, cell phone companies and psychics.  Some stuff you can understand like the gladiator fight and pirate ship will add to the fun factor for the whole family.  But those should be an after thought after filling up the cons with COMIC related exhibitors when you're calling yourself a "comic con."

While this is only their second year, and they're still learning and trying to see what works and what doesn't, I can only imagine that they don't want the bank to bleed dry.  They have mentioned that a 3rd year is on, and that the focus will be on Golden Age and Silver Age creators.  That will indeed attract the comic book fans that they want hopefully.  And knock on wood, if they can avoid the cancellations that has plague them the first two years.  They have an amazing space, they just now need to fill it up with enough substance to get the fans to come.