Gravity – Review Nov19

Gravity – Review...

When I first saw the trailer for Gravity, I thought it looked stunning. At the same time, I also thought it looked like it might be incredibly boring. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney stranded in space? With no aliens or laser guns? I had the feeling this would be the outer space version of Open Water*. *Note: I have never seen Open Water, but I have always pictured it as the ocean version of what I thought Gravity would be. I wanted Gravity to be a suspenseful thriller. Luckily, if it turned out to be boring, I was in the right theater. I caught Gravity at my new favorite movie theater, the AMC on Broadway and 84th. If the movie was a snoozer, at least I’d be snoozing in an oh comfy recliner for the next two hours. Win-win! Unfortunately for nap time, Gravity is a really good thriller. It’s a classic man-versus-nature story, even though most of the dangers from nature are man made. The premise for Gravity is very simple: an accident causes a chain reaction of satellites to explode, sending deadly shrapnel at 50,000 mph at our stranded astronauts . They need to get to the International Space Station for a ride home before being eviscerated by said shrapnel or running out of air. I wasn’t sure how the story was going to sustain itself for the length of the movie, but it did. I was on the edge of my seat, which is quite an accomplishment for a movie when the viewer is in a recliner. Besides being a great thriller, Gravity is visually stunning. I wanted to see Gravity on the IMAX in 3D, but waited too long. It’s been booted off every IMAX in the New York City area...

New Favorite NYC Movie Theater Nov18

New Favorite NYC Movie Theater...

New York City, say hello to your new favorite movie theater. It’s the AMC on Broadway and 84th. “Wait a second, I’ve been there before. It’s nothing special,” you might say. Oh, but it is. The theater has been completely overhauled and is now AWESOME. You’ll notice the changes as soon as you walk in. The concession area is updated and modern, with a self serve ICEE machine, and that “what-crazy-combination-can-you-come-up-with?” 100-choice soda fountain. Gone are the cramped seats, which have been replaced with rows of oversized, cushioned recliners. The chair are comfortable! And when I say, they go back, I mean they go back. I’m not talking about reclining like coach seats on a plane. I’m talking about reclining like your dad’s Barcalounger, with a footrest and everything. The aisles are huge, like exit row huge. This is the movie theater equivalent of sitting in first class. Most importantly, when you buy your tickets in advance, you select your seats! Yes! I have wanted New York City movie theaters to embrace this for years, ever since my first trip to the Arclight in LA. It is the best! Now you no longer need to arrive at the movie theater an hour beforehand to find five seats together. Unlike the Arclight, the ticket was the same price as other AMC theaters. There was no upcharge for selecting your seat. I hope AMC does a good job of upkeeping this theater. Those reclining seats are awesome, but the control buttons look like they’re easily broken. And I hope the ushers enforce the assigned seating. I saw some self-enforcement going on when I saw Gravity there this weekend, but that was for a weeks old movie in a barely full theater. A blockbuster on opening night might...

Agents of SHIELD S1E7 – The Hub...

I really enjoyed the seventh episode of Agents of SHIELD. I think it is because the usual pairings of Ward and Skye, and Fitz and Simmons were shuffled. Fitz is sent to the field with Ward, and Skye enlists Simmons in a mission of subterfuge within a giant SHIELD facility known at The Hub. Both Fitz and Simmons are taken out of their comfort zones this week. The lab-bound Fitz is enlisted into a heavy-fire field mission with Agent Ward. There is tension between Fitz and Ward. Fitz resents Ward for being the one who saved Simmons in last week’s F.Z.Z.T. Ward feels like he’s babysitting Fitz in the field. I’m glad Fitz wasn’t portrayed as only bumbling in the field. Fitz and Ward both get to save the day at various points during the mission. Though I’m also glad that concern over Fitz’s lack of field experience was used for humor when he lost a fight with a sliding glass door. Simmons finds herself partnering with Skye in an scheme of intra-SHIELD subterfuge. While Skye has no regards for rules, clearance and procedure, Simmons is completely by the book. If this were D&D, Simmons would be lawful good. Or in her own words, “I like following the rules and doing what’s expected of me. It makes me feel nice.” She’s given a great arc in this episode, as by the end of the episode, she’s bragging to Fitz, “I shot a superior officer in the chest.” Of course I’m going to love an episode that focuses heavily on FitzSimmons, as they are my absolute favorite characters on the show. As if I needed another reason to like Fitz, we find out in this episode that the guy has excellent taste in sandwiches. His favorite?...

Thor: The Dark World – Review Nov14

Thor: The Dark World – Review...

It was a bright, sunny Saturday morning when we headed to the movie theater. The boys were seeing Thor 2 and the girls were seeing About Time. I hated having to decide between the two, as Rachel McAdams looks adorable in the About Time poster, but there was no denying the siren song of seeing Thor: The Dark World before it crossed oven with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (next week!). I thoroughly enjoyed Thor: The Dark World. Like the previous Thor movie, the takes-themselves-so-seriously Asgard scenes were balanced out with slapstick comedy during the Earth-based scenes. Unlike the first Thor movie though, I never felt like we needed to get back to Earth right now whenever Asgard was on-scene.  Asgard is fleshed out more in this sequel, and while the individual members of the Asgard supporting cast are not on the screen very long, they are on just enough to make me want to see more of them in Thor 3. There has been rumors circulating recently that Jaimie Alexander, who plays Sif, will be playing Wonder Woman in the upcoming Superman/Batman movie. After seeing her in Thor: The Dark World, this seems like the most perfect of perfect casting. Because her Sif armor isn’t that far removed from Wonder Woman’s current costume, it almost seemed like Wonder Woman was guest-starring in Thor: The Dark World.   Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals every scene he is in. It’s amazing what Hiddleston and the Marvel movies have done for the character of Loki. Before the first Thor movie, Loki was one of Marvel’s lamest villains. With the exception of when Walter Simonson was writing him, I can think of few comic book examples of Loki pre-Thor movie in which Loki didn’t come off as lame....

Agents of SHIELD – S1E6 – F.Z.Z.T. – REVIEW...

Spoilers abound! Read this only if you’ve already watched F.Z.Z.T! Episode 6 of Agents of SHIELD, “F.Z.Z.T,” starts out normally. There’s a new super-powered mystery to be solved. This time, it’s a scout leader whose dead body is both electrically charged and hovering in the air. The good news is that it takes the team only half the episode to solve this one. The source of turns out a be a Chitauri helmet carrying some kind of space virus.   It was cool that the Agents of SHIELD TV show went beyond just passively referencing the Avengers movie here and brought in an actual prop that kickstarted this episode. It definitely helps the show feel like it’s securely grounded in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What was also cool about this plot was that there was no sinister villain hungry for power. The people who died thanks to the Chitauri helmet weren’t murdered. It was just wrong place, wrong time. Of course, it at first looks like one person is out to kill his friends, but when he dies and the SHIELD team recovers the helmet, everything is resolved and there’s no villain lurking in the shadows. What follows is without a doubt the most intense half an episode we’ve had so far this season. I honestly had no idea if Simmons was going to make it out of this one alive. When she and Fitz failed in their final attempt at creating a cure, I was ready to yell at my TV, “You can’t kill Simmons!” But this is Whedon we’re talking about. He totally could. Part of the reason that I love this episode so much is for the amount of screen time that Fitz and Simmons get. There is definitely chemistry between...

Uatu Know About This

I found this postcard in my mail today. The image is a chalk outline of The Watcher, with the tag line “May 2014.” All is says on the back is “From Your Friends at MARVEL.” I believe this was sent to me because I am a Marvel Digital Unlimited Plus subscriber.          For those of you unfamiliar with the character, The Watcher is a cosmic being who shows up when really big events are going down.  Uatu is The Watcher of Earth.  There’s a whole race of Watchers, watching events all over the universe. They’re the ultimate couch potato, sworn never to interfere (though that rarely seems to stop Uatu). How do you know you’re looking at a Watcher? Well, they stand about 50 feet high, like to wear high-collared togas, and have extremely large craniums and pupil-less eyes. It’s those pupil-less eyes that are all seeing. That’s what has be interested about this image. Not only is it the chalk outline of what I presume is a dead Watcher, but some extreme violence has been perpetrated on this Watcher’s eyes. It’s the only part of the image that has bloodstains, and there is a lot of blood there. This has me thinking, “Why would someone want to kill a Watcher?” Is is someone trying to hide a secret? It’d have to be a big secret in order to need to take out a Watcher. What did The Watcher see that he shouldn’t have? There’s no way to tell for certain if this is Uatu or another Watcher. They tend to look and dress alike for the most part. But since Uatu is The Watcher assigned to Earth, it makes sense that this would be Uatu. The high-collared silhouette certainly looks like...

My 2nd New York Comic-Con...

This year, I had the pleasure of attending my second NY Comic-Con. My first one, in 2011, was a dizzying, eye-opening experience of costumes, nerd love, and getting faked out by the promise of cupcakes. In 2012 I, sadly, was attending a wedding instead of witnessing the marriage of geekdom and even deeper niche geekdom. But this year, I was back and so was a beautifully renovated Javits Center. I love traveling to the Javits via subway. Looking around in my car, I was wearing my 10th Doctor t-shirt and looked like the only one heading to this thing. But then as I got out on 7th Ave and walked west, I was slowly joined by more and more throngs clearly heading exactly where I was. How did I know? The capes gave it away, mostly. Also the inordinate amount of spandex. And then, a block away. I witnessed this: Why, yes, that is Boba Fett on an accordion. And he was playing the theme song from Zelda. Anyway, the Javits was a big buzz of excitement, art, merch, and—my favorite part—creative costumes. As someone who throws a yearly themed birthday party, you know I have an appreciation for costumes—most especially the homemade ones. Like this girl who came dressed as a character from Oregon Trail:   Or this homemade Dalek: In fact there were a lot of Doctor Who related costumes this year, which I appreciated. Though, I thought, a dearth of Harry Potter costumes. Something I think I must remedy next year. (Luckily, I have thrown a Harry Potter themed party before so I am prepared.) And speaking of Doctor Who, I was pretty thrilled that I had an opportunity to see John “Captain Jack” Barrowman—especially since I missed him at the convention...

Arrow S2E2: “Identity”...

We left off last episode with Oliver pondering a new identify while staring at an Arrow (CW, you’re so good at being deep). And this episode follows up with the title “Identity.” Ok before we go on here I kind of want to take note of DC Entertainment’s super-hero naming conventions in media other than comics. In Smallville they did everything the could to not call Clark Kent Superman or Superboy. He was called the Blur or the Red Blue Blur. The Red Blue Blur? Really? That sounds cooler that Superboy? Selina Kyle was never called Catwoman in the Dark Knight Rises. Oliver Queen stars in a show called Arrow where he called the Hood. There was even a joke how dumb the name Green Arrow would be in the first season of the show. Now it looks like he will take the name Arrow. To me it feels like DC is slightly embarrassed by the names of their heroes. This Amazon show that is now on hold will feature Wonder Woman as the protagonist  probably won’t call her Wonder Woman. She’ll probably be called the Amazon. Anyway, I hope Oliver takes the name Green Arrow before the last episode of the show. This episode revolves mostly around FEMA trucks not being able to get supplies to hospitals in the Glades after the quake because they are being hijacked. This places Roy as the scene first. It doesn’t go to well for him. This provides the spark for more tension between him and Thea, and for Ollie and his crew to get involved. Now that Oliver is all about being more proactive, not killing, his trick arrows, and figuring out what his new heroic identify will be he decides to reorganize “Team Arrow.” Felicity Smoak who was created for the television show and plays the tech support...