Philomena – Review Feb26

Philomena – Review...

Out of all the movies nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, Philomena may be the most charming. At first look, you might not expect that. Philomena is the real life story of an Irish woman forced by nuns to give up her infant son to adoption, and her quest 50 years later to find him. It’s a story full of heartbreak, but screenwriters  Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope encase that story in a screenplay full of wit and wry humor. The seriousness of the subject matter is never in doubt, but Pope and Coogan’s humor provides a much needed pressure valve on a heart-wrenching story that could sink into despair in the hands of less capable writers.  Philomena is my pick for Best Adapted Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards. Coogan also stars in the movie as Martin Sixsmith, the real life BBC journalist who reported the story that this movie is base on, “The Lost Child on Philomena Lee”. Sixsmith is flawed, but he’s driven. And when it comes time for a reconciliation between the protagonists and the church, it’s Sixsmith that boils over with the outrage felt by probably everyone in the audience over Philomena’s plight. Hint: Forcibly taking her baby and putting him up for adoption is just the first in a list of trespasses by the church against Philomena. Dame Judi Dench plays Philomena with a subtle grace. Philomena comes across the way your grandmother probably would if they made a movie about her. As Sixsmith describes her in one scene, she’s like a walking issue of Reader’s Digest. She comes across both intentionally and unintentionally funny, and I can’t decide which scenes I like better. But it’s Philomena’s grace that really comes through when it’s time...

NYCC: Special Edition NYC Tickets On Sale Today!...

This June, the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City will host the first ever New York Comic Con:  Special Edition NYC. According to NYCC promoter Reed Pop, this will be a much more comic book focused convention than the much more massive and all-encompassing New York Comic Con. Looking at the  Special Edition NYC website gives a telling detail about the size of this new convention. The homepage lists the location as Javits Center North. For those of you who attended NYCC in the past two years, the north pavilion of the Javits Center is the airplane hanger-looking building that hosts Artist Alley. Comparing it to other NYC comic book conventions, this seems more in like with New York Comic Book Marketplace and Wizard World show than the main NYCC in October. What makes Special Edition NYC stand out from Wizard World NYC and NYCBM is the line-up of guests already on board. It’s a strong line-up of comic book creators, and only comic book creators. No wrestlers or actors from 60s sitcoms. Who knows if that will change, but the already announced line-up of guests has me wanting to buy a ticket when tickets go on sale today. Ryan Stegman, Frank Cho, Rafael Albuquerque, Jenny Frison, Dustin Nguyen, Charles Soule, James Tynion IV…From top to bottom, this is a list of creators I’m excited to meet. And I don’t think this is the final list. I wonder who we’ll get next. With his collaborators Rafael Albuquerque and James Tynion IV already announced, and his close proximity to New York City, I wonder if Scott Snyder will be a surprise guest. There are three tickets to choose from: Saturday ($30), Sunday ($30) and VIP ($100). Kids aged 6-12 can get in for...

Tuesday Night Comics Podcast Episode 8...

Dave and Billy are back once again for the Tuesday Night Comics podcast. They each give their picks for which comic books you should be on the look out for in the comic book store this Wednesday, and highlight some of their favorite recent comics. The guys also discuss the upcoming Spider-Man and X-Men movies, the Fantastic Four’s new costumes, and Billy shares a story about a weirdo at NYCC who wanted to beat up Stan Lee. And as promised in the podcast, here is every Stan Lee appearance in a Marvel movie! You can stream the the Tuesday Night Movies podcast below or subscribe to it on iTunes! http://ia600601.us.archive.org/18/items/TuesdayNightComicsEpisode8/Tuesday%20Night%20Comics%20Episode%208.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android |...

Captain Phillips – Review Feb25

Captain Phillips – Review...

Out of all the movies nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, Captain Phillips was the one that I had the least interest in seeing, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s not because it’s based on a true story, or that I knew that Richard Phillips survives the movie. That doesn’t need a spoiler alert, right? The man’s walking around living his life. But I digress…plenty of the other Best Picture nominees are based on true stories, and I made a priority of seeing all of them. I think it’s Tom Hanks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Hanks and think he’s easily one of the best actors of his generation. But something, and I’m not sure what to call it, kept me from needing to see this movie. The best I can call it is Tom Hanks fatigue. A Tom Hanks movie is one of the closest things we have to a blue-chip stock in film. I’m confident it’s going to be good. But I think I’m burned out on Tom Hanks war movies. And this is close enough to a war movie to let that burn out take over. All that said, having now seen Captain Phillips, I can definitely say that if you’re feeling any kine of Tom Hanks fatigue, get over it and go watch Captain Phillips. It’s awesome. Captain Phillips surprised me in the same way that Gravity surprised me. I had no idea how thrilling each of these movies would be. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you want to watch a thriller, you’d be better off renting Captain Phillips than heading to the theater to see Liam Neeson in Taken on a Plane (Note: I haven’t...

Tuesday Night Comics Podcast Episode 7...

Welcome to the 7th episode of the Tuesday Night Comics podcast. In this episode, hosts Billy and Dave preview new comic books being released on Wednesday, 2/19/14 and review some recent comic books, including the excellent She-Hulk #1 and Ms. Marvel #1. The guys also discuss Greg Rucka’s upcoming return to Marvel Comics for Cyclops, and the cool action figures showcased at this weekend’s Toy Fair in New York City! http://ia601200.us.archive.org/25/items/TuesdayNightComicsEpisode7/Tuesday%20Night%20Comics%20Episode%207.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android |...

Tuesday Night Comics Podcast – Episode 6...

Welcomes to the latest installment of the Tuesday Night Comics podcast. Besides streaming the podcast here, you can also subscribe to it for free on iTunes. In this episode, Billy and Dave discuss new comics coming out Wednesday, February 12, 2013. They also review comics from the previous week, including the latest issues of Earth 2 and Forever Evil. http://ia600305.us.archive.org/21/items/TuesdayNightComicsEpisode6/Tuesday%20Night%20Comics%20Episode%206.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android |...

Agents of SHIELD S1E13 – T.R.A.C.K.S. – Recap...

Agents of SHIELD Episode 13, T.R.A.C.K.S., has Coulson’s entire team going undercover on a train travelling through the Italian countryside in order to intercept a package on its way to Ian Quinn. This episode  uses a fun storytelling device. The episode goes along linearly until a certain point, then it divides into four non-linear stories before becoming linear at the end. The four stories are set around the four teams of SHIELD agents on the train: 1. Coulson & Simmons, 2. May, 3.  Fitz & Skye, and 4. Ward. Each story starts at the same place, just as the train is passing through a scenic mountain range, which coincides with the moment when Coulson’s plan goes to crap. Stan Lee makes a great cameo. He’s flanked by two hot women and calls Coulson out for being a terrible “father” after hearing his “daughter” Simmons go on a long and detailed rant as part of her getting into her undercover character. Like many of Stan’s scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this scene provides the episode with a bit of lighthearted fun. Coulson’s team gets made, forcing Coulson and Ward to exit the train promptly while it’s still in motion. An enemy agent hurls a grenade that lets out a blue gas that seems to do nothing to Coulson and Ward, but the train immediately disappears at the same time. As we find out in May’s scene, the grenade paralyzed Coulson and Ward, and they weren’t even aware that any time had passed when they came to. This time-lapse grenade is what necessitated the non-linear story-telling in the episode, as it kept the nature of the blue smoke a mystery from not only the characters, but  the viewers too. The McGuffin that Coulson and company...

Dallas Buyers Club – Review Feb07

Dallas Buyers Club – Review...

Like almost every other Best Picture nominee this year, Dallas Buyers club is a very dark movie. Also like many of the other of this year’s Best Picture nominees, this movie is based on true events. Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a good ole boy from Texas. Ron is one hard partying homophobe. When he’s not hustling at the rodeo, he’s busy having sex, drinking and doing drugs. Unfortunately, his party boy lifestyle lands him with HIV. Ron contracted HIV at a time when it was still widely misunderstood to be a disease that only infected homosexuals. Ron even flies off on his doctor, taking his HIV diagnosis as an affront to his manhood, which Ron really ties with his heterosexuality. Given a 30 day death prediction from his doctor, Ron’s hustler instinct takes over, as he bribes his way into stolen AZT, a then experimental drug. When his AZT supply dries up, Ron makes a trip to Mexico that alters his life and sets him on a new direction of supplying medication to HIV patients (for a tidy profit, of course). It’s amazing how much weight Matthew McConoughey lost to play Ron Woodruff. The man is gaunt! It’s jarring to see McConoughey this skinny. McConoughey really disappears into the role of Woodruff. McConoughey was fantastic in The Wolf of Wall Street, but that was McConoughey being McConoughey being someone else. But here, he seems like a completely different person. I know McConoughey seems to be the favorite for Best Actor heading into the Oscars, but after watching Dallas Buyers Club, I’d give the award to Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave. That”s not a knock against McConoughey at all. I just liked Ejiofor so much in 12 Years...

The Wolf of Wall Street – Review Feb06

The Wolf of Wall Street – Review...

In my review for American Hustle, I said that it seemed like David O. Russell was attempting to do his best Martin Scorsese. The Wolf of Wall Street almost feels like this is Martin Scorsese’s answer back. “No, this is how you do Martin Scorsese.” Mr. Scorsese does Martin Scorsese to 11 with The Wolf of Wall Street. This movie is the most over the top project directed by Mr. Scorsese since the video for Michael Jackson’s Bad. It’s The Wolf of Wall Street’s over the top tone that keeps it so entertaining for it’s exactly three hour running time. Yes, that’s right, 180 minutes. The Wolf of Wall Street is two minutes longer than the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  Thankfully, Terrence Winter’s screenplay combined with Scorsese’s directing made for a much faster moving movie than it’s three hour run time would suggest. At no point was I looking at my watch, wondering how much more we had to go. Following what I would call the classic Martin Scorsese story arc, Jordan Belfort gets really good at doing something bad, is handsomely rewarded for it and then comes crashing down to earth in the end. It’s almost like Goodfellas on steroids. The money that Jordan Belfort makes in The Wolf of Wall Street puts Henry Hill’s biggest heist to shame. Though when the rug gets pulled out from under him, Jordan has a much easier fall than Henry did. They both lose the lives they had, but Jordan’s bounce into his new life seems to have bounced a lot higher than Hill’s, at least in the way that the ending of The Wolf of Wall Street depicts it. The acting in The Wolf of Wall...

Tuesday Night Comics Podcast #5...

In the latest installment of the Tuesday Night Comics podcast, Billy and Dave give their recommendations for comic books being released on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. They also discuss the big revelation in Earth 2 Annual #2, the first two issues of James Robinson and J. Bone’s Saviors, and analyze DC’s mysterious teaser image for Justice League: Dark. http://ia700609.us.archive.org/1/items/TuesdayNightComicsEpisode5/Tuesday-Night-Comics-Episode-5.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android |...