31 Days of Sci-Fi and Fantasy-Week 2

March 8th-Rock & Rule from 1983 (Director: Clive A. Smith, Writer: Story by Patrick Loubert & Peter Saudere and Screenplay by John Halfpenny & Peter Sauder, Stars: Don Francks, Susan Roman, Paul Le Mat and Catherine O’Hara, Runtime: 77 min)

This scifi rock musical from Toronto is a cult classic. I guess. Maybe. Anyway its set in a post apocalyptic world with mutants, a rockstar is looking for the perfect voice to summon a demon from another dimension. Or something… The animation is pretty damn good. Apparently this film was in production for years and cost 8 million. Its is a great looking film. The music is pretty good. not a classic rock musical but some good stuff. The movie features singing voices of Lou Reed and Debbie Harry, original song by Earth Wind and Fire. Fascinating.

[Trailer]

March 9th-Forbidden Planet from 1956 (Director: Fred M. Wilcox, Writer: Story by Irving Block & Allen Adler and Screenplay by Cyril Hume, Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen, Runtime: 98 min)

The scifi classic finds a starship venturing to a distant world to find out the fate of an expedition team 20 years earlier. The Commander and his crew meet Robby the Robot, Dr. Morbius and his daughter. The doctor shows off the technology of the planets long dead inhabitants, talks of an evil force that killed his crew years prior. Things start going bad as the movie progresses of course. This film was… Alright. I guess I did see it in my youth. The effects were pretty decent, the acting was fine. Its weird to look at Leslie Nielsen as a young man in a scifi classic. I don’t have much to say about this film, it was fine.

[Trailer]

March 10th-Stardust from 2007 (Director: Matthew Vaughan, Writers: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughan based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, Stars: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Strong, Runtime: 127 min)

A man goes to find a falling star in order to bring it back to a woman he loves. The falling star turns out to be a woman, who many people are after. A group of brothers looking to be king and a few witches. I read this book years ago, actually after the movie dropped, but never saw the film. I liked the book but it was not a favorite. Watching the film… I liked De Niro. The cast was good. But something felt off as I was watching it. I can’t describe what it was. Overall, fine little fantasy film.

[Trailer]

March 11th-Kong: Skull Island from 2017 (Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Writers: Story by John Gatins with Screenplay by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Runtime: 120 min)

A group of monster hunters, scientists, and soldiers hoping to get home after Nam go to chart an uncharted island. Things go very fucking bad. Skull Island was a fun, big, monster movie. Jackson and Reilly were the best players in the film. Hiddleston and many others were low key good. Kong looked cool, cool monster fights. The special effects were top notch, the mass grave design was cool. Check it out, big recommendation.

[Trailer]

March 11th-Golden Voyage of Sinbad from 1973 (Director: Gordon Hessler, Writers: Brian Clemens and Ray Harryhauseny, Stars: John Phillip Law, Tom Baker,Takis Emmanuel, Caroline Munro, Runtime: 105 min)

Sinbad looks to help a Vizier beat an evil Prince to the Fountain of Destiny. Effects, classic stop motion, was pretty good. Story was whatever. Acting was fine. I really don’t have an opinion, my midn tried to tune out after the first 30 minutes.

[Trailer]

March 12th-Dragonslayer from 1981 (Director: Matthew Robbins, Writers: Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins, Stars: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, Runtime: 109 min)

A sorcerer apprentice takes up his final mission to slay the dragon Vermithrax Pejorative. Thats the short of it. One of the great film dragons, Vermithrax Pejorative, is actually a cool looking dragon. The effects, for 1981, are actually pretty damn good. The story dioes drag a little in the opening and the start of the second half. I’m sure in part because the majority of the budget went tot his dragon that they could only afford to use for a small time. The stuff with king and his daughter is interesting. the politics of sacrificing damsels. This is pretty cool little fantasy film, I would have shaved off a few minutes somewhere if I could, and probably kill one character-you’ll know who I’m talking about at the end. The truth is, you want to see this to see Vermithrax Pejorative. Interesting film trivia, this is a Paramount and Disney film. Disney was not comfortable releasing a film with darker tone. So Dragonslayer may have been why Disney founded Touchstone a few years later.

[Trailer]

March 13th-Pete’s Dragon from 2016 (Director: David Lowery, Writers: David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks and Based on Pete’s Dragon by Malcolm Marmorstein, Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford, Runtime: 102 min)

A kid name Pete spends 6 years in the woods with his friend Elliot, a dragon. A chance encounter with a young girl exposes him and soon the dragon. So I don’t remember the original film too well. I saw it on Disney a few times when I was young but for some reason I thought it was Puff the Magic Dragon, which I guess came out around the same time. Whatever. Anyway, this is fine little childrens film. Plays pretty straight forward, I like Pete and Natalie getting along. Pete’s scene running around the city scared is a highlight. The dragon looks fine. Karl Urban seems wasted though, but easy paycheck probably or maybe he just really wanted to do it. Either way, its one of those kids movies that you won’t grown about watching as an adult which is great. One of the best movies I’ve watched thus far.

[Trailer]

1. Logan
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
3. Flash Gordon
4. Kong: Skull Island
5. Pete’s Dragon (2016)
6. Dragonslayer
7. Rock and Rule
8. Forbidden Planet
9. Stardust
10. I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel)
11. Fantastic Voyage
12. Golden Voyage of Sinbad
13. Omega Man
14. Wavelength

Week 1

Posted in fantasy, film, movies, reviews, scifi | Tagged , | 3 Comments

31 Days of Sci-Fi and Fantasy-Week 1

March 1st-Planet of the Apes from 1968 (Director: Franklin J. Schaffner, Writer: Michael Wilson and Rod Serling Based on the Novel by Pierre Boulle, Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell, Maurice Evans, Kim Hunter, Runtime: 112 min)

Starting the month with the classic. Group of astronauts land on strange world where apes rule and men I saw this a few decades ago on basic cable, damn I remember very little of it. I’m actually surprised at how little action the film has. Its a well paced film that’s more about class structure and evolution. Asking big questions. I have mix feelings about Charlton Heston, he has a physical presence but I just don’t like his voice. The thing about the film that really struck was the raid, when the apes attacked the tribe of humans. Its done so well, such a brutal scene. The treatment of the humans at the hands of the ape, its just so brutal. There’s obvious parallels that I don’t feel like laying out because someone smarter than me could do a better job.

[Trailer]

March 2nd-The Omega Man from 1971 (Director: Boris Sagal, Writer: John William Corrington and Joyce H. Corrington Based on the Book I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Stars: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe and Rosalind Cash, Runtime: 98 min)

Another Charlton Heston movie and another scifi classic. A pretty boring movie. I stopped this film multiple times to watch and do other things. This is one of the three adaptations of the famed sci-fi novel I Am Legend but I’d rather rewatch the Will Smith film and I don’t think of that movie with rewatch value. I don’t why this film does not appeal to me, could be I just don’t much care for Heston. Maybe I’m waiting for the film to kick it up a notch. Either way, whatever.

[Trailer]

March 3rd-I Come In Peace from 1990 (Director: Craig R. Baxley, Writer: Jonathan Tydor & David Koepp, Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Runtime: 91 min)

Barely a scifi film, I Come In Peace or Dark Angel as its commonly known now, is about a cop teaming fed looking into missing drugs and strange killings which lead them to an alien extracting human endorphins to sell on his planet. Yep. Anyway this cult classic is pretty good. Dolph doesn’t do a lot of fighting because its played mostly like a detective story. Similar in ways to Predator 2 actually, which came out a couple years later. hey both start with the leads dealing with non extra terrestrial crime. An alien shows up and fucks shit up. Feds show up, investigation continues, showdown with the alien. Predator 2 of course is far better. Anyway, pretty decent, a little cheesy.

[Trailer]

March 4th-Logan from 2017 (Director: James Mangold, Writer: Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green, Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart & Dafne Keen, Runtime: 137 min)

The final Wolverine film for Hugh Jackman finds him in a world where there are no new mutants. He’s trying to protect Charles Xavier, and plans for them to escape out on the ocean. Things change when Lara enters his life, on the run from an evil corporation looking to create weapons. This is the violent, dark, mean Wolverine film people have wanted. Its damn good. Its dark. Its a classic.

[Trailer]

March 5th-Wavelength from 1983 (Writer/Director: Mike Gray, Stars: Robert Carradine and Cherrie Curie, Runtime: 87 min)

A couple sneaks into a compound that is run by the government experimenting on aliens that look like humanoid children. Yeah… Interesting little scifi film with the middle being most interesting as it follows military responding to the recently arrived aliens. The sleep chambers are alright. Rest of the movie, aside from the music is forgettable. The music is great though by legendary Tangerine Dream.

[No US Trailer Available]

March 6th-Fantastic Voyage from 1966 (Director: Richard Fleischer, Writers: Story by Jerome Bixby and Otto Klement, Screenplay by Harry Kleiner and Adaptation David Duncan, Stars: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O’Brien, and Donald Pleasence, Runtime: 100 min)

The scifi classic thats had many knocks offs and homages. A crew and submarine are miniaturized and put inside into an injured scientists to repair damage to his brain. The movie was fine. It plays out how I expected it. Kept thinking I’d be more interested in the Futurama or Archer versions. I bet the special effects were amazing back in the 60s. Look, old scifi ages badly a lot of times. This was alright.

[Trailer]

March 7th-Flash Gordon from 1980 (Director: Mike Hodges, Writer: Lorenzo Semple, Jr., Stars: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Max von Sydow, Chaim Topol and Timothy Dalton, Runtime: 114 min)

Based on the comic strip that inspired serials, cartoons and serials. Flash and friend gets kidnapped by a scientist on a mission to save the Earth from Ming the Merciless. On their adventure teaming with Ming’s daughter and a couple of Princes. There’s a Queen theme song! Anyway, special effects were corny but set design and costuming were fucking amazing. The performances are the right side of campy. Flash himself is the least interesting person in the whole movie and the actor behind the least talented but its okay because this movie is just fun. I finally get it. I really enjoyed this one and wish they would’ve made the trilogy. Now I’m kind of curious of the exploitation film Flesh Gordon, though not inspired by this film and rather previous serials, I am very fascinated.

[Trailer]

1. Logan
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
3. Flash Gordon
4. I Come In Peace (aka Dark Angel)
5. Fantastic Voyage
6. Wavelength
7. Omega Man

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Comics For March and Beyond

DCBS

All New Wolverine #18, Silver Surfer #11-The only two Marvel books I’m buying. Both good books, not my favorites.

Animosity TP Vol 01-A story about animals ‘waking up’ and the world being thrown array. Or something.

Archie #18, Archies One Shot, Jughead The Hunger One Shot, Sabrina The Teenage Witch One Shot-The Archies one just got resolicited so… Anyway liking most of what I read from Archie comics.

Batwoman #1-Reborn relaunch is in my next package and then on to the new series. maybe I’ll like it. Honestly, I keep trying Batwoman but I keep feeling cold to her.

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #6, Mother Panic #5, Shade The Changing Girl #6-Still buying Young Animals books from DC. Now, Mother Panic will not be releasing issue 5 next month as issue 3 just dropped. Its been late like Doom Patrol. Those two my fave books. Cave Carson and Shade been coming out regularly, both are good but mid to bottom of the stack.

Deathstroke #14-15-First or second fave mainstream superhero title.

Detective Comics #952-953-Crossover I don’t care about, should’ve skipped these.

Empowered Soldier of Love #2-First issue was alright, more interested in volume 10. That said, liked Karla Diaz art.

FCBD 2017 DC Super Hero Girls Summer Olympus, Lady Mechanika, Wonder Woman #1 Special Edition-Free comic day books.

Gotham Academy Second Semester #7-Honestly, slipping close to getting cut. despite the grand art and cool ideas.

Green Arrow #18-19-Third face mainstream superhero book.

Jem & The Holograms #25 Jem: The Misfits #4-The Misfits book I got hit by a delay since issue 2 just came out. I yhnk they wanted to time these so they can tie up at the same time but I don’t see that happening. Anyway, Misfits rile. Holograms suck.

Motor Crush #4, Motor Girl #4-Favorite new titles.

Old Guard #2-Waiting on issue 1 of the new title from writer Greg Rucka.

Paper Girls #12, Shutter #28-Good image books. Love Shutter but its wrapping up.

Suicide Squad #13-14-Dropped.

Vampirella #1-The 0 issue was interesting.

Wild Storm #2-Waiting on issue #1.

Wonder Woman #18-19-First or second fave mainstream superhero title.

Skipping Superman #18-19 due to crossover with Action Comics.

Amazon

New Mutants Epic Collection: Renewal (Epic Collection: New Mutants)-Last minute pre-order. Always been curious, hopefully Marvel will release a second volume and not just this one and forget about it.

One-Punch Man, Vol. 11, Skip Beat!, Vol. 38-OPM is great, haven’t really paid attention to Skip Beat in a minute. Wrap it up.

Sunstone Book One-I don’t know why I ordered this, I’ve read it and also have the trades. I guess I love it that much.

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What I’ve Been Doing: Reading, Listening, Watching -2.17.2017

Reading
Recently finished the recent Batgirl volume. The Cassandra Cain Batgirl. It was fine but lacked the punch of the first two volumes. Also finished Tomie by Juni Ito, the horror manga icon. This is the second book I’ve read from him, the other Uzumaki. This man’s stuff is twisted. Uzumaki was about a cursed town and spirals. Tomie is about a girl was viciously murdered and comes back. Again and again. It is creepy, depressing, and definitely dark with lots of body horror. If you like horror you should check it out.

As for comic books, still buying too much. The fave DC comics remain with Deathstroke edging out Wonder Woman and Green Arrow as my favorites of what I’m buying. Made the decision to cut Suicide Squad but I still got at least 3 issues coming my way. I’m on the fence on both Shade the Changing Girl and Cave Carson has A Cybernetic Eye from DC’s Young Animals line up but the intrigue in the story keeps me buying.

Outside DC Motor Crush from Image by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr and Motor Girl from Abstract are worth a look. Motor Crush is a scifi(lite) racer series. Beautiful looking book. Motor Girl about a military vet with PTSD that talks to an imaginary gorilla and works at a junkyard that military contractors want. By Terry Moore, one of the great indy creators.

I also need to say this, with Jem and the Holograms and Misfits wrapping and going on hiatus, the Misfits work without the Holograms but the Holograms do not work without the Misfits. They don’t. Jerrica/Jem is just not that interesting. No matter what they try with her, like her staying in her Jem state and losing herself in it. Its not interesting. I don’t really care much for Aja and Shana and I hate saying that because they seem cool they just don’t pop. Kimber is the most fun to read and Raya is fine, but the Holograms just don’t fly without antagonists. The Misfits are just deeper as a group. Pizzazz and Stormer are the most complex of any of the characters. Jetta and Roxy don’t have as much but their banter elevates them. Blaze is a great addition. Misfits rule, Holograms suck.

Also I have a pile of books to read. Probably start on some neglected trades. Started a Lois Duncan novel month ago but stopped cause… I don’t know. Will get back to it. Been bad about it. I also need to reorganize all my comics again.

Listening
Nothing new has dropped yet.With the exception of a new single from VHS Glitch entitled Passion On Tape. Other than that, basically been listening to whatever. New Marilyn Manson and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult this year so I’m happy about that. Thats my two favorites. New Die So Fluid this year too.

As for older acts I’ll probably check out a Clutch album I don’t have. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll look for some suggestions.

Watching
Lots of stuff so I’m going to do this in sections.

New To Me-Finally finished Inuysaha a few weeks ago, took a while because I really, really stopped carrying half way through. But I finished it and it sucked. Its an anime based on Rumiko Takahashi’s manga about a modern girl trapped in the feudal period with a half Demon trying to gather shards of a sacred jewel. Watching Kimi Ni Todoke. Slice of life about a school girl people think is creepy because she resembles the girl from the Rings. Its about her making friends. Its cute but I’m only half paying attention.

Old Stuff-Rewatched Gargoyles, the seasons with the original creator. Good stuff, for the most part. Wish the series had some sort of ending. Been watching Lucifer over and over again because its background noise while I read or write. Started rewatching X-Men Evolution. Mostly in the background.

TV-So lots of stuff on and Lucifer is my favorite but its on hiatus. Of the Arrowverse stuff Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow have been strong, Flash has been weird, and Supergirl is starting to grate my nerves. Hate Mon-El, wish the Guardian stuff was going somewhere, and Supergirl herself has been unlikable at times. Alex and Maggie the shining light on that show. Agents of SHIELD has the same problems. Parts are good, parts are bad. Makes watching a struggle. Wish they would cut down on the Inhumans stuff, liking the LMD parts. Emerald City is visually cool, well acted, but not sure where I stand on the actual story. I got into Jane the Virgin but recent events almost make me want to quit. Voltron and Lemony Snickett on netflix delivered. Gotham… is okay… Riverdale is a trashy mess and I love it. Its just so over the top and the young actresses are just so damn good.

Movies-John Wick Chapter 2 is the movie to beat for the year, thus far. Lego Batman was fun. Great laughs but I didn’t love it nearly as much as others. Beware the Slenderman is fascinating.

Wrestling
Wrestling has been strong in 2017 thus far. So here goes…

NJPW-I did not do a write up but New Japan Pro-Wrestlings Wrestle Kingdom 11 was a monster. The show may be the first big show of the year but was the companies end of the year spectacle. The show was close to six hours if you did not skip through breaks and between matches. The majority of matches delivered, especially the top five. The triple threat tag title match over delivered because it looked lousy on paper. The NEVER title match between Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto was phenomenal and made my short list for 2017. Then the IWGP Juniors match between KUSHIDA and Hiromu Takahashi was crazy. KUSHIDA may be the divisions ace but Hiormu is the bad boy who is getting the spotlight and deservedly. The semi-main between longtime company ace Hiroshi Tanahashi challenging superstar Tetsuya Naito for his Intercontinental Champion. Great match but people liked it better than me. Finally the main event which has become a huge topic since, Kenny Omega challenged Kazuchika OKada for his WGP Heavyweight title in a match rated 6 out of 5 stars by longtime wrestling writer Dave Meltzer. Amazing match, set the bar waaaaaaaaaaaay too high for the year.

NJPW knocked out some shows with Mexico’s CMLL which were fun and then went on their New Beginnings tour with several stops and big shows in Sapporo and Osaka. Sapporo was okay and I dug Goto defending his title against Juice Robinson. Osaka was the better of the two shows which featured a fun NEVER 6 Man title match between hot Los Ingobernables challenging the mismatched team of Taguchi Japan team of Ryusuke Taguchi, Manabu Nakanishi and Tanahashi. Then current RevPro British Heavyweight champion Shibata defended the title against the insane Will Ospreay in an excellent encounter. Later LIJ member Hiromu Takahashi defended the Jr. title against his Mexican rival Dragon lee in a match that probably should have killed both men. The main event was incredible as Michael Elgin challenged Naito for his IC title. Second fave match of the year and Meltzer gave it 5 stars.

Now some special shows including joint shows with the US’s Ring of Honor and 45th Anniversary Shows before the next big tour.

WWE-The NXT special, Takeover, was alright. Dug Andrade Almas vs Roderick Strong and the main event for the title between Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode was good. Disappointed they took the tag titles of #DIY so early and thought the womens title match would have been better as a one on one instead of a four corners match. Royal Rumble was a very good PPV. John Cena and AJ Styles had another classic. The Rumble match itself was laid out weird but still delivered. I also dug Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens Universal title match. I missed part of the show though. The recent Elimination Chamber was good. Had three womens matches, a first for a WWE PPV. Each delivering in its own special way. The big match of importance was the actual Chamber match. It was the best one I’ve seen and I actually in the minority who like these gimmic matches. Steel cage, four pods, two guys start. Some cool spots and very hard to predict with Bray Wyatt winning and getting the title. This man has been badly booked for a few years so this was cool. Now one more PPV before Wrestlemania.

I got a PWG DVD which was good and I’m sitting on a Sendai Girls show I need to watch.

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Rating and Reacting To Wrestling

Reviews are a strange thing indeed. There are good reviews and bad reviews, and people don’t generally like reviews even though they do seek them out. Whether to try something new, to avoid triggers, or maybe the reviews find them through friends and family. No matter if you seek them out or not, you will always find a review you think is stupid. Over the last week I’ve been scratching my head at a few wrestling match reviews and reactions. Reviews and reactions where good matches are “ruined” because this guy won it and maybe screws up a persons fantasy booking.

Wrestling is far different than any other form of entertainment and sport because its both. You judge a match both on the athleticism and entertainment. Sometimes a match is good more for entertainment, sometimes because of pure athleticism, the best matches are both. Wrestling matches can be part of a bigger story but seen in a vacuum. Like episodic television that has no over lapping. This why I scratch my head at people who go from “This was a great match!” to “Fuck this match, fuck this company, he should’ve won!” Going from four star to two star over an outcome is hard for me to take seriously. This isn’t a movie, where the ending can screw up a film because a movie is constructed over time. Written and molded, tested, reshot, more edits, then advertised and then released. A wrestling match may or may not have a loose structure before the match starts but no matter how much thought is put in beforehand a wrestling happens when it happens. Things change, things alter, things get adjusted on the fly. Its a athletic showing and happens in the moment. This has been gnawing at me because of two matches in John Cena vs AJ Styles and Minoru Suzuki vs Kazuchika Okada. Three if you count the actual Royal Rumble. Lets look at each three and I’ll give my own opinion on them.

Starting with Okada vs Suzuki, there has been a growing anger at Okada. The current New Japan ace has been a point of contention with Western fans. Using imaginary stats to claim he is not the company draw. Mad that he won the title back from Tetsuya Naito, one of the hottest stars in Japan and abroad, a few months after losing the title. Upset he retained the title against Kenny Omega in their Dave Meltzer rated Six Star classic and what many fans see as the standard setting match of 2017. Frustrated that he’s held the title since June. Okada is being seen by a group of Western fans as not the companies real ace. They see him as overrated. Though, lets be honest, every wrestler is overrated to someone. This of course does not reflect the native audience, which Western fans don’t really understand. The native audience love Okada. They have not turned on him. These fans will point to Naito saying he draws better when in reality Okada draws and draws with lackluster cards, like he did at New Beginnings in Sapporo. The show actually drew a few bodies more than their last major show in the city which was the first day of the event tournament G1 Climax. The next major New Beginnings card which features Naito on top is far better top to bottom card with his hot stable Los Ingobernables de Japon in two premiere matches towards the top. So stats are not their friends. Looking at the match, personally I liked it even though I doubted Suzuki would win and before I saw the show got spoiled.

The match itself, I felt at times too long and I can buy some of the complaints that Okada’s comeback should have been more impactful as he was dominated most of the match. Okada came in and worked from under, playing the part of the underdog. Still banged up from his incredible match with Omega weeks prior. Suzuki, the crafty vet working Okada down with the sickest fucking submission wrestling in the world. I ain’t joking, name a submission wrestler in the field and know they are probably shit to Suzuki. Suzuki is a legit Olympic level athlete, was once an alternate to Japanese Olympic freestyle wrestling team. He helped popularize MMA worldwide by co-founding Pancrease, one of the first MMA companies in 1993. Suzuki is the type of ground wrestler many aspire to be and few come close to. A great wrestler, but also a dickish cheating heel too. The cheating and that one short run in from his stable did little for me in the match, as I did not feel Suzuki needed help. Other than that, his work was impressive as always. Every submission he did looks painful. However, being a wrestling match, sometimes prolong holds do make me antsy when I know that’s not where they’ll tap. As for Okada, he’s actually the ideal wrestler in a lot of ways, specifically if you were the type to scout for WWE. Six foot three, good looking, talented in ring with great spots you can build around. He has specific style he sticks to but adjusts and grows as the match continues. Construction wise in this match, I had some problems. But Okada winning? How is that bad? He’s 19 years younger than Suzuki, he’s shown countless times his resilience and drive to win, and he’s the star. Even if he had lost, you fantasy booker types, why lose to Suzuki of all people?

Suzuki and his stable were ran out of Pro-Wrestling Noah where their dominance further hurt a company that has lapsed in popularity. Partly because of dumb booking decisions but why mimic the invasion angle in New Japan even if they had once been an everyday part of their roster. Sure, maybe bringing them in and having them lose three out of fur matches was overkill but did they really deserve to come in and win three titles in their first challenges? Also, where would Suzuki go? The title ultimately has to be contended between Okada and Omega a second time, either before July’s Long Beach shows or at those shows. Suzuki would be a cup of tea with either Okada getting the title back or Omega beating him. Sure there are a lot of NJPW shows between now and then but NJPW is not like WWE, that belt is defended on big shows and not even all the time. Realistically there are only three Heavyweight title matches between now and those July shows. Two for sure, the third depending on the winner of New Japan Cup. That winner might choose to challenge for the IC title instead. At most Suzuki gets one successful defense, just a road stop before the big story. So once again why? I get wanting Suzuki to win, I do, he’s excellent. Yet Okada won, and thats fine. Him winning should not have been that big of a knock against the match.

On to Cena vs Styles which was, as far as I’m concerned, an excellent match that was just a notch or two below their amazing Summerslam encounter. However Cena, the longtime company ace, finally went over. Didn’t surprise me as Styles was 2-0 in singles matches, 1-0 in triple threat matches, and as far as I can tell has only even been pinned by Cena in a trios tag match. That’s an impressive record. How many wrestlers can say they went 2-0 with Cena in singles before Cena got his win back? The thing is Cena elicits strong reactions in people. I remember clearly seeing Cena win 2013 Royal Rumble because I was at Buffalo Wild Wings. There was a negative response to his win, some guy walk out and didn’t return until the main event was part way in. Lets remove the ending, which was in itself an homage to the ending of their Summerslam classic, was it good? Were you on the verge of giving it those five stars? Then why shrink it down anything less than a three? Why say you’re going to cancel your WWE Network subscription over a single match? The PPV had several matches, there is going to be a pair of PPV’s in a months time before Wrestlemania. WWE is providing all this, but the ending to a single match that you liked up until the end is enough to not only dismiss it but to cancel a network you probably enjoy watching?

This also played further into the Royal Rumble itself with Randy Orton winning. More accurately Roman Reigns coming in at 30. People don’t like Reigns, I do, but either way you cut it he lost. So his being in the match is pretty mute in my opinion. I understand people wanted a big surprise, they didn’t get it, and they took it out on Reigns like it was his idea. Blame Vince. Orton winning, I can see complaints on. He’s won it before, they could have given it to someone new, they did not. Here’s a question-if you take away the last half minute-is it an above average rumble? If so-why knock it? Oh, because Orton won. I’m not Ortons biggest cheerleader but the Rumble itself is the star of the match. The match is good or bad regardless of who wins. Its good or bad because the journey to the end. Having a anti-climatic ending happens, having a wrestler who the viewer dislikes win is always a possibility, that’s the rumble for you. Its the lay out and construction that determines if its good or not. Bad reviews about where people were placed or missing opportunities between wrestlers is far more legit reason to complain in my opinion. My biggest beef is the fact WWE did not of anything between Jericho and Goldgberg. Obviously that might be too WCW but its a wasted moment with me. I thought the opening six minutes were lackluster too. These are my biggest complaints. I liked how they handled Braun, a wrestler I’m not sold on. The Lesner, Goldberg, and Undertaker stuff came off better than I expected. Since I like Reigns, no problems with him eliminating Taker. I see Vince using Reigns to troll WWE fans and personally I love it. I say that as someone who thinks Vince McMahon should retire. As someone who does not have interest in watching the day to day shows.

Ultimately one of the sticking points tends to be Orton vs Cena at Mania. At first, I rolled by eyes. The prospect of that match does nothing for me as most of their matches do nothing for me. It does not effect my opnion on cenas match or the Rumble itself because I’m use to outcomes not fitting my personal taste. Its wrestling after all. Look, I like Cena-it took years but I do. I think Orton can be good when paired with the right guy. These two I don’t think work well. Fantasy booking, okay, not a good marquee match for some of us even though Cena is still their biggest draw and merch seller. Even though Orton apparently still makes them good money. It makes sense to some degree but this is WWE, and you should know by now things change and quick. This is not New Japan where they advertise a Heavyweight title match and then deviate for the sake of deviation. WWE loves throwing wrenches and we have two. AJ Styles wanting the title back and Elimination Chamber. Do you think Orton is really having a one on one at Mania? I don’t. You can do your fantasy booking and change this up because it will be incredibly surprising if this turns out to be a one on one. So once more lets look at Cena vs Styles and Royal Rumble, were the good in spite of the fact the guy you didn’t like win? If the answer is yes-then they were good matches.

Its okay not to like a good match. That’s fine. Its about recognizing its a good match, stating its a good enough match, then letting your bias slip in afterwards. Stop letting the bias and initial reaction sour an overall opinion because then you have a bad review that people can’t take seriously. Is the wrestling match good regardless of who won? Yes or no.

Why am I even writing this? Wrestling fans are all about the hyperbole.

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Building A Supporting Cast: Carlton Lassiter of Psych

Supporting casts are important. Especially in long form fiction where the audiences connection to the supporting cast may make or break a viewer. They can get people to watch a show or read a book series featuring a lead that would generally turn them off. A bad supporting cast puts a lot of pressure on the lead and/or the plot and lets be honest, audiences are generally more interested in character driven stories than plot driven stories. I just recently finished the series Psych, about a fake detective named Shawn Spencer and his partner Burton Guster who solve mysteries for the Santa Barbara Police Department. The last two seasons (I actually saw most of the 7th season) just further confirmed the importance of supporting players. Shawn is annoying. He’s amusing at times, and actor James Roday has good comic timing but he’s a hard pill to take of the 8 seasons. He does not grow much until the very end. Burton, played by Dule Hill, is a more rounded character but also suffers from not growing much. He has to be a certain type of partner to Shawn. It comes to the supporting cast to evolve and force changes and movement in the two.

In Psych there really are only three main supporting characters. Shawns dad Henry, played by Corbin Bernsen who plays well off everyone on the show. But he is essentially the retired cop occasionally getting mixed in with the adventures. There is Shawns love interest, Det. Juliet O’Hara played by Maggie Lawson. Being in the “will they/won’t they” can be detrimental to a character and at time it is but Juliet is likeable and fun to watch. Then there is head Det. Carlton Lassiter played by Timothy Omundson. Nicknamed Lassie by Shawn, he’s a jerk. Some what mean spirited, rough, ignorant. However the actor brings great comic timing, physical mannerisms and excellent facial expressions to a role where the character actually evolves. Lassie never deters from his objective which is the law but he does support his partner and cares for her, grows to accept Shawn and Gus as his friends, or better yet allies, even if they bother him. Lassiter is what made me finally choose to finish the series and I am happy with how his story turned out. Actually, the series ended pretty well-but anyway! Here are my top 10 Lassier episodes.

10. Lassie Jerky S7 EP3-Written and Directed by James Roday
This episode, by series star James Roday, barely makes it. Not because its bad-no, its really fum. Its just not a big Lassie episode despite the title. He shows up several minutes in along with Juliet. Shawn and Gus are taking part in a Bigfoot hunt with college filmmakers that brings them into an encounter with dead bodies. Along with Lassie and Juliet, their injured and lost and trying to stay ahead of trouble. Lassie is the one injured in a bear trap, gets delirious, puts his feelings on camera on a standout scene. He also covers his partner, Juliet, in her best scenes of the show with her fighting off Serbians. She’s kicking ass and he’s giving her cover with a sniper rifle. After the episode is over, he gave her much respect. Its a fun episode through, to be honest, just an okay season. Oh, and good work from WWE star Big Show. I’m a wrestling nerd, had to comment.

9. S.E.I.Z.E. the Day S8 EP2-Directed by David Crabtree and Written by Todd Harthan
The last season of Psych looked to grow some characters that had been stalling on the show or reverting to old habits. Lassie however, his series long development continued. At the start of season 8 Lassiter had been demoted to beat cop by the new interim Chief. In this episode Lassiter worked his hardest to get into Chief Trouts good graces, risking life and limb but when his wife tells him she’s pregnant, Lassiter finds himself shaken. The usual gung ho Lassiter freezes up and gets scared. Its always great seeing Timothy play vulnerable and scared. Keeps the character interesting. That is until the end when facing off with the bad guy he pulls it together because Lassie wants to be there for his future child. In the end, he saves the day, but doesn’t get his old job back. Its alright, a few episodes later he returns to being a Detective. By the way, him and his wife Marlowe have a baby girl.

8. Shawn Gets the Yips S4 EP5-Directed by Tawnia McKiernan and Written by Kell Cahoon & Bill Callahan
So season 3-6 is probably peak Psych. There’s some great stuff with the Lassiter character through out and this one is a stand out. After a softball game the Police team is out for food when Shawn spots a man with a gun and Lassiter goes two gun style scaring him off. Shawn and Gus are on the case to figure out who and why this man attacked a restaurant and determine Lassiter was the intended target. Some twists and turns but a lot of the focus is on how Lassiter deals with this. He is gung ho about finding out who did it, and when they land on their first suspect he is of course ready to gear up and kick ass. This not a big emotional episode or super serious, just a popcorn episode with good balance of drama and comedy.

7. High Noon-ish S4 EP3-Directed by Mel Damski and Written by Kell Cahoon
A little bit of a look to what made Lassiter the man he became. The Detective hires Psych to investigate weird doings at a Old West tourist attraction. A place he spent a lot of time at as a young child, looking up the owner Sheriff Hank, played by James Brolin. While they investigate there, the Pysch team discover a dead body. While they investigate there Lassiter investigates outside the attraction. This is a strong look at what shaped Lassiter and Timothy Omundsons chemistry with everyone in the episode is on point. The Old West setting suits him, which he has a little familiarity with due to his short stint on Deadwood.

6. Lassie Did a Bad, Bad Thing S3 EP11-Directed by Stephen Surjik and Written by Kell Cahoon and Tim Meltreger
Lassiter delivers second in command of a dangerous street gang, too bad the PD wants to deliver him to the Feds to make a deal. Before that can happen he’s shot and Lassiter is the prime suspect. As Internal Affairs starts breathing down on him Lassie hires the Psych guys to clear his name. This is a strong Timothy episode and its fun to see Lassiter go from cocky and confident to fall into a funk and then badass his way back to the Lassiter we enjoy the most.

5. Last Night Gus S6 EP2-Written and Directed by Andy Berman
A Hangover riff years too late but still incredibly effective. Shawn, Gus, Lassiter and Police ME Woody wake up at the Psych episode, forgetting what happened the night before. They were at a bar celebrating an officers retirement and then its all blank. When a body shows up and they realize they’re connected, they have to solve the case before anyone figures out they knew the victim, a person they really can’t remember ever meeting. Shawns dad, Henry, also gets into the mix. This is one of the episodes where Timothy Omundson gets to be a fool along with James Roday (Shawn) and Dule Hill (Gus), just delivering one of his best comedic performances on the show.

4. Deez Nups S7 EP7-Directed by James Roday and Written by Bill Callhan & James Roday
Series star James Roday directed this episode that follows the impending marriage of Carlton Lassiter and Marlowe Viccellio played by the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer Kristy Swanson. Shawn and Gus want Lassiter to have a guys night before the big day which includes bringing in Lassiters old high school buddy. But fun and games is out the window when they spot the accountant of a crime boss. This episode has actor Timothy going back and forth from fun and silly Lassiter to his emotional side and even showed a bit of his vulnerability when he admits he did not want a bachelors party because he had so few friends. This series was smart in giving him a love interest and the way Timothy and Kristy is gold. The show has a very big ending for Shawn and Juliet but we’re not here to talk about that.

3. 1967: A Psych Odyssey S8 EP6-Directed by Kirsten Nelson and Written by Tim Meltreger & James Roday
With half the final season already over episode 6 finds Lassiter making his move to become Chief of the Santa Barbara police. The problem is the mayor does not like him so to get into the good graces he attempts to solve a case of one Archie Baxter whose death was swept under the rug by the police in the late 60s. The episode finds the cast playing parts in flashbacks, with Timothy Omundson playing the part of journalist Archie Baxter. With the help of his partner and the guys from psych, of course they solve it but its the ending that really strikes. The mayor makes him Chief but it comes with a catch-he can not keep his partner Juliet O’Hara and make her Head Detective. It breaks him up so much he almost does not take the position but Juliet wants him to. This episode is an excellent cap off for the pair as their final episode together. They had been partnered up since the second episode of season 2 and they’re friendship was one of the best parts of the show. It actually ends with Juliet deciding to take a job with the former Chief Vick in a new city, saying good buy so its also an excellent cap off for Juliet who just cameos in the last few episodes.

2. From the Earth to the Starbucks S1 EP10-Directed by Michael Zinberg and Written by Steve Franks
Show creator Steve Franks wrote this stand out first season episode which was one of the first episodes where I found Shawn Spencer likeable more than annoying. He’s still annoying but less so here as he and Gus attempt to knock Lassiter out of his funk. Lassie believes an astronomer was murdered but he can not prove it. With Det. Juliet O’Hara helping Shawn and Gus feed her info and she works it into conversations with Lassiter. He’s now up, full force and with their help going to find the killer. Sure, Shawn and Gus lead him to the killer but still a win for Lassie. An important episode in the relationship between the Head Detective and Psych.

1. This Episode Sucks S6 EP3-Directed by James Roday and Written by Todd Harthan & James Roday
Series star James Roday seems to love Lassie and why not? The best episode is this Vampire inspired episode which includes Corey Feldman and Kristy Swanson debuting as Marlowe. After a meeting in a bar Lassie becomes infatuated with a mystery woman. A woman who may be tied with a mysterious death that looks to be a vampire. One of the coolest scenes is when Lassie recovers a necklace from the dead body he recognized as looking like the one his mystery lady wore the night before. Shawn and Gus suggest vampires and while Juliet dismisses it, Lassiter says he agrees with them. This episode gets many sides of the character so Timothy performs flawlessly. Serious Lassiter, silly Lassiter and vulnerable Lassiter. His scene where he drunkenly talks to Marlowe, disappointed in her part in a crime at a bloodbank is a favorite. Him talking about his mother and her girlfriend, its both hilarious and sad in his delivery. The scene with him talking to her in prison, telling her he’ll wait for her for six to eighteen months. Yeah, Lassie’s the shows best character and this is not just my fave Lassie episode but my favorite episode of the whole series.

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2016 Favorites: Comic Book

This is it. Last 2016 list. No moving on…

Favorite Webcomics
6. Sandra on the Rocks
4. Go Get A Roomie
3. Octopus Pie


2. Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!-The story of a girl who has been friendzoned by her best friend, who is a guy she’s in love with. Funny stuff. Read 400 strips in like an entire night. This links to an unofficial translation, there is no official release.


1. Sunstone-The BDSM romance comic was the must read all year. Waiting anxiously for Stjepan Sejic to continue with his follow up so I can have more of this world.

Favorite Stories
5. Green Arrow Rebirth #1
4. Dark Jem from Jem and the Holograms #11-16
3. Archie #5


2. Rachel Rising #42-The finale of the epic horror comic has Rachel confront the person who killed her. Also, amazing ending.


1. Betty: RIP Part 5 Interlude with Josie and the Pussycats from Afterlife with Archie #10-The story of the rise of Josie and Pussycats. Except their vampires.

Favorite Writers
5. Brian K. Vaughn for Saga and Paper Girls
4. Grant Morrison for Wonder Woman: Earth One and Klaus
3. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for Afterlife with Archie and Sabrina


2. Stjepan Sejic for Sunstone, Switch-Mainly for Sunstone as Switch barely came out, but damned if those issues weren’t fun. Hoping he finally gets that trade out.


1. Greg Rucka for Wonder Woman, Lazarus, Black Magick-WW is one of my fave DC books, Lazarus my favorite comic book, and Black Magick I’m wiating for to return cause it was getting good. Rucka was killing it in 2016 and with a 4th book for 2017, he’s the man I expect to be my fave. (Unless Empowered totally kills it again…)

Favorite Artists
5. Otto Schmidt for Green Arrow
4. Yusuke Murata for One Punch Man
3. Yanick Paquette for Wonder Woman: Earth One


2. Sophie Campbell for Jem and the Holograms-The reason I bought the book and watched the original cartoon on Netflix. Plus she dropped two of my fave covers of the year. And there were great covers!


1. Stjepan Sejic for Sunstone, Switch-Really, Stjepan is one of the best working. Beautiful stuff.

Favorite Comic Book Covers

10. Deathstroke #5 by ACO


9. Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 by Liam Sharp


8. Sabrina #8 by Robert Hack


7. Revival #39 by Fiona Staples


6. Detective Comics #944 variant by Rafael Albuquerque


5. Deathstroke #3 variant by Shane Davis


4. Jem and the Holograms #16 by Sophie Campbell


3. Green Lanterns #11 variant by Emanuela Lupacchino


2. Afterlife with Archie #10 by Francesco Francavilla


1. Jem and the Holograms #13 by Sophie Campbell

Favorite Continuing Series

10. All New Wolverine by Tom Taylor & Collaborators-I don’t read much Marvel, but when I do, its probably All New Wolverine. Laura > Logan.


9. My Love Story-A twist on shoujo manga. Large, muscled, kind hearted Takeo saves cute Rinka from a groper, they become a couple. Sweet series of the gentle giant and his cute, soft spoken girlfriend and their friends.


8. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples-Come on, you really should know about the most acclaimed scifi epic comic of our time.


7. Shutter by Joe Keating, Leila Del Duca and Owen Gieni-The urban fantasy adventure series of Kate Kristopher and her screwed up family. This one will be wrapping up soon and trust me, its worth it.


6. One Punch Man by ONE and Yusuke Murata-The best selling superhero comic in the world. The adventures of Saitama, a hero so strong he ends a fight with one punch. Him, his cyborg friend Genos and others battle evil deeds and get into various misadventures in between.


5. TIE: Deathstroke by Priest and Collaborators, Green Arrow by Ben Percy and Collaborators-Two of my favorite DC books at the moment. I’d say I’m a little more into Deathstroke but that might be the recent issue. Anyway Deathstroke continues being an asshole and we get a great glimpse into his screwy family including my fave Rose the Ravager. Green Arrow is the bets I’ve read in… A long time.


4. Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott and Collaborators-Taking a slight lead with DC superhero books is Wonder Woman thanks to the clever planning of having the even and odd number issues of this bi-weekly being different stories. Makes the book a bit more consistent artistically. I dig both stories, maybe the Year One a bit better.


3. Archie by Mark Waid and Collabortators-Yes, Archie. This book is great. Well, most the time. And when its great its great. Though the mainstay character is a little less interesting than the ladies Betty, Veronica and now Cheryl. Is that how it always is?


2. Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic-I’ve sopken about this above, so real quick again-BUY THIS GREAT ROMANCE SERIES!


1. Lazarus by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Collaborators-The dystopian scifi series has been the must read for me everytime it drops. Maybe less so in 2017 with an actual dystopia starting… Anyway Forever Carlyle is the Lazarus of Carlyle family in a world where 16 families rule the world.

Posted in comic books, dc comics, female superheroes, green arrow, image comics, independent comics, manga, marvel comics, superhero, wonder woman | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment