Fantastic Four #22

Fantastic Four (2018) #22 | Comic Issues | Marvel

Fantastic Four #22

You Had One Job”

Writer:  Dan Slott

Artist:  Paco Medina & Sean Izaakse

Cover Art:  Nick Bradshaw & John Rauch

An Empyre tie in sees the story of Franklin and Valeria Richards continuing on Yancy Street with Spider-Man and Wolverine.  Franklin and Valeria are meant to protect the two children, one Skrull, one Kree, that the team had rescued last issue.

Unfortunately, Wolverine got a little stabby last issue, and N’Kalla the Skrull was injured.  Spidey’s spider-sense is going off, but he is more interested in meeting Sky, Johnny Storm’s soulmate.

It seems great that Dan Slott has a chance to write Spider-Man once again.  You can tell he slips right back into a regular feel with the Wall-Crawler.

I enjoyed this issue very much and I am looking forward to the advancement of this storyline.  Spidey and Wolvie are a fun pair to play off and we get to see how Franklin and Valeria continue to progress.

ReadIt

Fantastic Four (2018) #22 | Comic Issues | Marvel

Host

I may never do another Zoom meeting.

Host is an original horror film from Shudder and it is frightening and nerve-wracking.

We have seen films like this before.  A group of friends online wind up being tormented by some spirit/demon, but there was something particularly creepy and anxiety creating about this film.

Host is only 57 minutes long, but it certainly maximizes the time to create a ton of horrific scares that leaves you uneasy and disturbed.

Six friends are getting together during the pandemic lockdown on Zoom to have a seance, which includes a real life Medium.  Despite a warning not to “disrespect the spirits, one of the friends, Jemma, makes up a story about a boy and opens the door for a spirit to come into their lives.

The film would fall into the found footage genre, directed by Rob Savage.  While we have seen this type of film from Unfriended to Unsubscribe, Host pushes those button that tap into the anxiety of the audience coming from our current situation of the pandemic, that has kept us isolated in our homes for months now.

There were a lot of jump scares in Host, but they did not feel as if they were thrown in the film.  These scares felt earned for the story that they were telling.

The characters were reasonably well-developed considering the fact that the film was pretty short.  They did a great job providing the information in a concise and effective manner.  The script here is tightly woven and entertaining.

The film is short, but it takes advantage of every second to mess with the audience’s nerves.  The feeling of isolation the film creates is effective.  The performances are good and the effects are impressive for what these filmmakers had available to them.  Host is on Shudder and is a great, frightening time.

4.1 stars 

You Should Have Left

You Should Have Left (2020) - IMDb

You Should Have Left is a film released this year on VOD.  However, I had heard some negativity about the film so I decided that I would not pay the $19.99 they were asking on Vudu and the other video on demand sites.  I thought that I might come back to it later as the price dropped.  Tonight, the price was much more reasonable and I gave this a try.

Perhaps it is because my expectations were low, but I liked a lot of this movie.  It clearly has its flaws, but this was much better than I thought it would be.

Theo (Kevin Bacon), a former banker, his wife and actress Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) and their daughter Ella (Avery Essex) need to get away from the world.  Theo had a dark past that haunts him and the chance to get away with his famous actress wife and daughter.  They rent a house in the Welsh countryside, and then things start to get weird.

This is in the genre of haunted house horror and comes from Blumhouse.  The recent run of Blumhouse films have not been as rewarding as others.  Directed by David Koepp, You Should Have Left takes that genre and, well, does not do anything really new with it.  Still, the house itself was kind of creepy and had some solid scenes in it.

Kevin Bacon is great with what he has been given.  Young Avery Essex is very capable as well.  Amanda Seyfried is not given much to do.  Because of the lack of depth in her characters, a plot point that is dropped near the end of the second act of the movie feels just completely shoehorned in and was unearned.  It was so out of left field that it hurt the movie that I had been enjoying to that point.

The ending of the film was also too predictable.  It presented a twist to it that you probably guessed way earlier in the movie.  The movie missed an opportunity to do something creative with the end that took advantage of the skill of these actors involved, but it chose to do the typical stereotypical twist.  Much of the final act brought the film down for me.

That is a shame, of course, because there were quite a few point among the first two acts that I had really engaged in.  The acting was strong, especially from Bacon and Essex.  The house had a creepiness to it that could have been something special, but seems to settle for something simple.

I was entertained by the film, which in the end is an important part, but this could have been so much better.  If you like horror movies and approach this with the proper level of expectations, you could do worse that You Should Have Left.

3 stars 

Shark Season

Review: Shark Season (2020) - Voices From The Balcony

You know, I’ve always liked a good shark movie.  I have even enjoyed a few of the not so good ones too.  I mean, they can’t all be Jaws, right?

Seeing this film on Vudu, I hoped that it would be a reasonable entertaining way to pass a Saturday afternon.

Nope.

That is, unless, you wanted some of the most laugh out loud moments of shark attacks that have ever been placed on the screen.  Legitimately, I was cracking up at a scene where a group of dolphins seemingly intervened and attacked the sharks to save our kayakers.

Or, worse yet, when the “rogue” shark jumped through the air and ate the guy on a jet ski who had come to see if he could help.  One of the few times in film history where the movie literally had the shark jump the shark.

Three kayakers, Sarah (Paige McGarvin), Meghan (Juliana DeStefano) and Jason (Jack Pearson), paddled out to a group of islands that are quickly being flooded to take photos for something or other.  After the shark attacks, they are stranded and have to decide what they can do…either stay or try to make it to another island nearby.

As her phone is losing power, Sarah calls her father (Michael Madsen), who is involved in search and rescue.  He contacts the coast guard and other necessary agencies to try and find his daughter.

Poor Michael Madsen.  I mean, all he gets to do is talk on the phone and he does not have anything remotely close to an emotionally compelling reaction.  The most he gets in this movie is, every once in a while, he shouts out “that’s my daughter” to someone over the phone.  Perhaps he is meant to look like a calm professional, but he seems more dispassionate than calm.

They tried to provide some background depth to the characters, but it failed pretty massively.  There was a relationship storyline with the three characters, but since Jason dies quickly, it goes off track without much investigation.  Oh.. spoiler, by the way, but… you’re not going to watch this… so spoiler does not matter much.

This one is not good.  Even these shark movies that are dumb, some have decent shark imagery.  Not here.  There are unintentionally funny moments in here and they all involve the shark.

1 star

Black is King

Black Is King: A Film By Beyonce Is Visually Stunning

In a month that kicked off with Hamilton, this is an impressive way to finish July off on Disney +.

American singer Beyoncé debuted her new film, Black is King, on Disney + today and it is visually stunning, showing looks at black culture and history worldwide.

I am not that familiar with the music of Beyoncé, but, apparently, this movie is the visual presentation of Beyoncé’s 2019 record, The Lion King: The Gift, which was released along with the “live-action” Lion King remake.  The music of the film is impressive.  Beyoncé’s vocals are powerful and strong and the mix of other voices and styles throughout the soundtrack provides a broad example of black music.

The story, for what there is, basically follows the concept of the Lion King, even using some voice over from James Earl Jones’s Mustafa to make the link.  However, the story of this film is not what you are here for.  This is more of a visual medium than it is anything else and this is where the film transcends.

The imagery throughout this film is wonderfully eclectic and imaginative.  The colors, the choreography, the fashion, the display of culture blends beautifully with the music to provide a powerful viewing experience.  My favorite reference to this was to call it “musical art.”  That is a perfect description of the breathtaking visuals.

The settings of the film were scattered across the globe and provided a stunning backdrop to the dancing and the glorious movement.

Black is King is a love letter to black culture and stresses a pride in the depth of being black.  Beyoncé goes out of her way to focus especially on children, showing how they can grow into a strong and confident adult, something vitally important as of this time of the world.

As a white man, I found myself moved by the power of the movie, so I can only imagine how the black community will feel.  There is a healing tone to the film and that is something that we desperately need today.

4.6 stars 

Yes, God, Yes

Yes, God, Yes (2019) - IMDb

Writer/director Karen Maine presents this coming-of-age story of a young Catholic girl who has found the inner desire of personal urges after coming across a racy AOL chat.  These urges made her extremely uncomfortable as she attended a Catholic youth retreat, making her afraid for her eternal soul.

This movie was wonderful and felt real.  The voice of the film was realistic and relatable.  Maine investigates the hypocrisy of the situation and does a great job of showing that many say things that they do not mean and that the sexual urges are common.

There is also a strong message about not believing everything that you hear and know that rumors were not always accurate.

The young girl, Alice (Natalia Dyer), had an innocent aura about her.  She did not even understand what the rumor that was being spread about her and another high school boy meant that she was supposed to have done.  The Catholic guilt was at full steam for Alice, who was feeling ashamed about the thoughts that she was having.

However, she kept seeing others at the retreat committing “sins” despite what they had been saying.

Natalia Dyer was amazing as Alice, as we see her initially uncertain and guilt-ridden and then grow to a confident young lady.  Dyer’s facial expressions are perfectly executed and she draws the audience in to her plight and everyone understands.

The film was paced wonderfully and not one scene in the 78 minute movie was overlooked.

This was a great film with a story that should be able to speak to most watching and was filled with a lot of real-life humor.

3.9 stars

Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers 2 Painting by Movie Poster Prints

Looking through Netflix the other day for something new to watch, I found this animated movie called Animal Crackers that looked intriguing.  There was a massive voice cast of A-list actors including Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, Sylvester Stallone, John Krasinski, Ian McKellen, Raven-Simone, Wallace Shawn, Gilbert Gottfried, Tara Strong, and Patrick Warburton.  With that list of talented actors and, what appeared to be colorful and engaging animation, I was ready to watch this movie.

Unfortunately, the film itself is quite the mess and way too complicated in execution.

Owen and Zoe fall in love and want to get married.  In order to be a good provider and to please Zoe’s demanding father, he leaves the family circus to take a job at Zoe’s father’s dog treats plant.  When the circus winds up in his own possession, Owen returns and tries to bring the circus back to prosperity.

When he discovers the secret behind the animals, Owen dedicates himself to the circus.  However, Owen’s uncle Horatio P. Huntington is trying to steal the secret and the circus for himself.

That synopsis is a little off, but that is because there is a lot of convolution involved in the film.  I believe that a young child will enjoy the movie with the colors and the various animals and they will not be bothered by the lackluster tale.  As an adult, though, I need more from my animation than what this movie provides.  Otherwise, what could have been a wonderful film is very empty and half-hearted.

I did really enjoy Bullet-Man, voiced by Sylvester Stallone.  This character’s running joke was the best one of the entire film.

If you need a “babysitter” for an hour and a half + some day, pop this film on Netflix and your little kids will probably be entertained.  In that case, the film works.  If you want to watch it, there is little to engage anyone over the age of ten.

2.6 stars 

 

X-Factor #1

X-FACTOR #1

X-Factor #1

Suite No. 1″ Prelude: Aurora Moratorium”

Writer:  Leah Williams

Artist:  David Baldeon

Cover Art:  Ivan Shavrin

I have not been a huge fan of the rebooted X-Men series.  I have only continued buying the main X-Men title since coming out of Powers of X/House of X series by Hickman.  So I did not have a lot of hope when I found X-Factor #1 in my pull box today.

Yet, I really enjoyed this book.

Northstar senses that his twin sister Aurora has died and he goes to demand that the resurrection process in Krakoa get started.   However, Hope demands proof of death before they start on the process.

Northstar and Polaris team up and recruit a group to help investigate what happened to her.

Joining Northstar and Polaris is Daken, Prodigy, Eye-Boy, and Rachel and they called themselves X-Factor.

I enjoyed the character interactions in the book.  I must say that the story of Aurora’s death was really underplayed.  I would not have minded if that had been spread out and made a little more substantial than what we got.  It felt like it was tossed in just to justify the creation of X-Factor.

However, the characterization was so good that I can excuse the lack of the plot with the hope that the story improves as the book continues.  The idea that X-Factor will be an investigative team looking for missing mutants and determining if a mutant has died is a solid hook for this comic.

I wonder if this book is just going to blend in with the other X-books and lose its identity.  That is one of the current strengths of this book so far.

It is an interesting and hopeful start at this point.

Itsfine

X-FACTOR #1

2020 Emmy Nominations

The 2020 Emmy Nominations were released on July 28th.  This list was originally shown on EW.com.

Emmy nominations 2020: See which shows made the cut

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul

The Crown

The Handmaid’s Tale

Killing Eve

The Mandalorian

Ozark

Stranger Things

Succession

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dead to Me

Insecure

Schitt’s Creek

The Good Place

The Kominsky Method

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What We Do in the Shadows

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Issa Rae, Insecure

Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday

Ted Danson, The Good Place

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show

Olivia Colman, The Crown

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Laura Linney, Ozark

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Zendaya, Euphoria

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Steve Carell, The Morning Show

Brian Cox, Succession

Billy Porter, Pose

Jeremy Strong, Succession

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

The Masked Singer

Nailed It!

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons, Watchmen

Hugh Jackman, Bad Education

Paul Mescal, Normal People

Jeremy Pope, Hollywood

Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America

Shira Haas, Unorthodox

Regina King, Watchmen

Octavia Spencer, Self Made

Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Nicholas Braun, Succession

Kieran Culkin, Succession

Matthew Macfadyen, Succession

Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale

Billy Crudup, The Morning Show

Mark Duplass, The Morning Show

Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies

Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve

Julia Garner, Ozark

Sarah Snook, Succession

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown

Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Thandie Newton, Westworld

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Mahershala Ali, Ramy

Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek

William Jackson Harper, The Good Place

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Betty Gilpin, GLOW

Yvonne Orji, Insecure

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek

D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Dylan McDermott, Hollywood

Jim Parsons, Hollywood

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen

Jovan Adepo, Watchmen

Louis Gossett Jr., Watchmen

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Holland Taylor, Hollywood

Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America

Margo Martindale, Mrs. America

Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America

Toni Collette, Unbelievable

Jean Smart, Watchmen

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Drunk History

Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

Amy Poehler, Making It

Nicole Byer, Nailed It!

Bobby Berk, Queer Eye

RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race

Barbara Corcoran, Shark Tank

Padma Lakshmi, Top Chef

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Andrew Scott, Black Mirror

James Cromwell, Succession

Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian

Martin Short, The Morning Show

Jason Bateman, The Outsider

Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder

Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black

Cherry Jones, Succession

Harriet Walter, Succession

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale

Phylicia Rashad, This Is Us

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Fred Willard, Modern Family

Dev Patel, Modern Love

Brad Pitt, Saturday Night Live

Adam Driver, Saturday Night Live

Eddie Murphy, Saturday Night Live

Luke Kirby, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Angela Bassett, A Black Lady Sketch Show

Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Saturday Night Live

Maya Rudolph, The Good Place

Wanda Sykes, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Bette Midler, The Politician

Outstanding Limited Series

Little Fires Everywhere

Mrs. America

Unbelievable

Unorthodox

Watchmen

 

 

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Amazon.com: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Movie Poster (27 x 40 ...

There are arguments to be made that this animated version of the Dark Knight is the best Batman film ever made.  I do not think I would go that far, but it is certainly one of the most respected and entertaining Batman movies available.

The animated movie, in the vein of the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon, gives us the best example of the World’s Greatest Detective, a moniker that belongs to the Caped Crusader, though we’ve never really seen that on the big screen.  Rumors have it that the upcoming Matt Reeve’s directed The Batman is going to give us the detective which would be very cool.

In this film, crime bosses in Gotham are being killed by a shadowy, mysterious figure in a black cloak.  The police and the criminals assume it is Batman doing the deeds, but, in truth, it is a person named Phantasm, who has arrived in Gotham with an unknown motivation.  Of course, this brings the Phantasm into conflict with Batman and they wind up facing off with the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker, as well.

EYG Hall of Famers Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as Batman and the Joker, bringing the perfect blend of voice work.  Dana Delany plays Bruce Wayne’s old flame Andrea.  Stacy Keach voices Andrea’s father, Carl Beaumont.

The movie has a theme running through it focusing on revenge and how it can poison a soul.  This is an intriguing idea to deal with when looking at Batman, since an argument can be made that Bruce Wayne falls into that category.  Comparing Bruce to the Phantasm is a well done tag and carries through the film.

I remember being surprised the first time I saw this movie years ago when the reveal came on the identity of the Phantasm, so the film does a good job with that.  I do believe that if I was watching it for the first time now, I would have spotted it before the reveal.

The animation has style, but it is the choppy, 90s-like animation of the cartoon.  If there is a weakness of this film, the animation would be it.  However, at the time, this was acceptable and does not pull me out of the movie.

The back story of how Bruce Wayne takes up the costume is very well done and fits with this narrative.  Although the film adds Andrea into the mix for storyline purposes, it does not detract from our Dark Knight’s arrival.  In fact, it gives Bruce another conflict within him to struggle with.

This is a great Batman movie, for sure, although it is not my favorite ever.  It is a solid story with very good pacing that shows Batman in the style that he really should be shown.

vintage

Amazon.com: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Movie Poster (27 x 40 ...

The Rental

The Rental (2020) - Movie Posters (1 of 1)

Actor Dave Franco has his directorial debut with the thriller/horror film, called The Rental.  Unfortunately, this film is not the stellar debut one might have wanted.

Two couples rent out a vacation home and head out to spend a weekend.  Two members of the couples are brothers, Charlie (Dan Stevens) and Josh (Jeremy Allen White).  Josh is dating Mina (Sheila Vand), a close co-worker of Charlie.  Michelle (Alison Brie) is with Charlie.  The two couples seem happy, but Mina is looking for a fight with the owner of the house, Taylor (Toby Huss), who they perceive as racist.

Eventually, the group begins to believe that Taylor has been spying on them during the weekend.

I am going to talk about this film with SPOILERS because a huge part of the problems with this movie comes about because of them, so be warned.

The first night finds Charlie, Josh and Mina partaking in some drug use, though Michelle is too tired.  This leads to Josh passing out and Charlie and Mina in the hot tub.  What starts out innocent, leads to the two of them kissing.  Instead of continuing out in the open in the hot tub, they take it to the shower and they have sex.

The next day, after agreeing that their encounter could never happen again, Mina goes to shower again, but finds a hidden camera in the shower nozzle.  They immediately jump to the assumption that this is Taylor, being more than just racist.  They also begin to panic, because they had their tryst in the shower, so there is visual evidence of their bad deeds.

Michelle, who is unaware of any of this, calls Taylor to come fix the currently broken hot tub, and Mina cannot help herself.  She confronts him in the bathroom and they get in a fight.  Josh comes running into the bathroom and beats the crap out of Taylor, leaving him unconscious in the tub.  The group gets together to try and decide what they were going to do.  Meanwhile, a gloved hand covers Taylor’s nose and mouth, suffocating him.

This is, of course, one of the biggest issues here.  We did know that someone had been watching this group, but there was no indication anywhere that that person was a killer.  We knew nothing about this man or the situation that was happening.

At this point, the film basically turns into a slasher film, with this killer in a weird mask.  That comes completely out of nowhere and changes the tone of the film 100%.  Amazingly though, after hour plus of character development, I could not have given two craps about these characters.  None of them were worth anything.  I wonder if that was the idea.  Provide the audience with four characters that could be easily bumped off, that you would want to see killed.  That did not work for me, since I did not have any emotional connection to these four, I did not have any feeling of anxiety for them.  The whole slasher film part just felt out of place, if not even just tacked on.

The cast is great.  I just wish they were given something with more substance to it for them to dig their teeth into.

There are some hilarious moments in the film too, and I am not sure it is intentional.

This had the potential to be something good, but the execution of the plot was ineffective and boring, the characters were all unlikable and the movie takes an odd twist from out of nowhere.  The Rental is a disappointment.

2 stars 

The F**k-It List

The F**k-It List (2020) - IMDb

I am not sure that there could be a bigger example of white privilege out there than this new movie on Netflix.  The F**k-It List has come out in the most unlikely time in the history of our society and gives a big F**k-It to everybody.

I mean… high school senior Brett Blackmore (Eli Brown) is the soon-to-be valedictorian of his senior class and has spent his entire educational career studying and placing his nose to the proverbial grindstone to get ahead.  His friends pick on him for his single-mindedness but it does not affect his choices and he was having great success as he had been accepted to 7 out of the 8 Ivy League colleges, with Harvard only placing him on the waiting list.

However, when he was talked into attending senior prank night, things get out of hand.  Several of his friends accidentally unloose a gas main (very easily, for a very expensive looking high school administration building) and they run to get Brett to fix things.  Brett realizes quickly that there is not much that can be done and they get out of the building, moments before it explodes.

The few cameras that survived the massive explosion gave authorities a picture of Brett running through the halls of the building prior to its ignition.   Brett takes full responsibility for the explosion (despite him not being responsible at all) and his potential future opportunities went up in flames with the building.

After this, he unintentionally posts a video to social media of a rant of his saying that he felt free and that he was creating a f**k-it list.  This video, of course, goes viral and suddenly Brett is a social media superstar inspiring other kids to take the attitude of f**k-it.

Brett’s parents (Jerry O’Connell and Natalie Zea) are shocked by their son’s behavior but continue to let him do whatever he wanted to do.  The film wants you to believe that Brett’s entire life was ruined, but watching him think about his life options while floating on a device in their pool kind of defeats that purpose.

The parents are shown to be totally tone deaf to their son and utterly privileged in their thought process as they tried to use their money to get Brett into college.  In fact, the parents here could be the worst characters in the movie as they even cooked up a scheme for the mom to do “whatever” one of the Harvard board members wanted, going more than implying that she would have sex with him to get Brett into the college.

Then, perhaps I missed it, but the fact that Brett took the full blame for the accidental explosion was never referenced by his friends again, even when Brett, who was not allowed to graduate, comes to see them at the graduation ceremony.  If they did express their gratitude to him, it was certainly subtle enough that I did not catch it.

Eli Brown and Madison Iseman, who played Kayla Pierce, Brett’s longtime crush, are both solid and even charming at times, which takes the coming of age story to a little higher level.  The movie’s problem is that it never sets Brett up to feel as if he were ever in jeopardy.  He looked to be nothing more than angry about having mom and dad push him to academic excellence for his youth. Kayla has a more interesting back story which is the strongest part of the film.

At one point in the movie, Brett tells his father, who is preparing to tell his son something he had done as a child,” not to claim that he knows kids because “he was one once”  and that “nobody’s had it like we do these days.”  Could he be a little more pretentious?

The film wants to pretend that it has some deeper message about school and about money, but it is nothing more than surface level at best.  The F**k-It List is the worst of the entitled world these days.  But hey, just float in your pool.  It helps.

2.2 stars 

Eisner Award winners 2020 SDCC at home

 

The Eisner Awards were presented at the San Diego Comic Con at home edition, on YouTube.  The Eisner Awards are present to the top in the area of comics publishing.  Winner listed in red below….

 

Best Short Story
  • “Hot Comb,” by Ebony Flowers, in Hot Comb (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • “How to Draw a Horse,” by Emma Hunsinger, The New Yorker
  • “The Menopause,” by Mira Jacob, The Believer
  • “Who Gets Called an ‘Unfit’ Mother?” by Miriam Libicki, The Nib
  • “You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You,” by Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal

Best Single Issue/One-Shot
  • Coin-Op No. 8: Infatuation, by Peter and Maria Hoey (Coin-Op Books)
  • The Freak, by Matt Lesniewski (AdHouse)
  • Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
  • Our Favorite Thing Is My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)

Best Continuing Series
  • Bitter Root, by David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)
  • Criminal, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
  • Crowded, by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt (Image)
  • Daredevil, by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto (Marvel)
  • The Dreaming, by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely et al. (DC)
  • Immortal Hulk, by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and Ruy José et al. (Marvel)

Best Limited Series
  • Ascender, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (Image)
  • Ghost Tree, by Bobby Curnow and Simon Gane (IDW)
  • Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram (Image)
  • Naomi by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, and Jamal Campbell (DC)
  • Sentient, by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta (TKO)

Best New Series
  • Doctor Doom, by Christopher Cantwell and Salvador Larocca (Marvel)
  • Invisible Kingdom, by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
  • Once & Future, by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora (BOOM! Studios)
  • Something Is Killing the Children, by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera (BOOM! Studios)
  • Undiscovered Country, by Scott Snyder, Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Daniele Orlandini (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers
  • Comics: Easy as ABC, by Ivan Brunetti (TOON)
  • Kitten Construction Company: A Bridge Too Fur, by John Patrick Green (First Second/Macmillan)
  • The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books)
  • A Trip to the Top of the Volcano with Mouse, by Frank Viva (TOON)
  • ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market, by Raúl the Third (Versify/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Who Wet My Pants? by Bob Shea and Zachariah Ohora (Little, Brown)

Best Publication for Kids
  • Akissi: More Tales of Mischief, by Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin (Flying Eye/Nobrow)
  • Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls, by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic Graphix)
  • Guts, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic Graphix)
  • New Kid, by Jerry Craft (Quill Tree/HarperCollins)
  • This Was Our Pact, by Ryan Andrews (First Second/Macmillan)
  • The Wolf in Underpants, by Wilfrid Lupano, Mayana Itoïz, and Paul Cauuet (Graphic Universe/Lerner Publishing Group)

Best Publication for Teens
  • Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh (DC)
  • Hot Comb, by Ebony Flowers (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Kiss Number 8, by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Penny Nichols, by MK Reed, Greg Means, and Matt Wiegle (Top Shelf)

Best Humor Publication
  • Anatomy of Authors, by Dave Kellett (SheldonComics.com)
  • Death Wins a Goldfish, by Brian Rea (Chronicle Books)
  • Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
  • Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)
  • The Way of the Househusband, vol. 1, by Kousuke Oono, translation by Sheldon Drzka (VIZ Media)
  • Wondermark: Friends You Can Ride On, by David Malki (Wondermark)

Best Anthology
  • ABC of Typography, by David Rault (SelfMade Hero)
  • Baltic Comics Anthology š! #34-37, edited by David Schilter, Sanita Muižniece et al. (kuš!)
  • Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival, edited by Diane Noomin (Abrams)
  • Kramer’s Ergot #10, edited by Sammy Harkham (Fantagraphics)
  • The Nib #2–4, edited by Matt Bors (Nib)

Best Reality-Based Work
  • Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, by Mira Jacob (One World/Random House)
  • Grass, by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translation by Janet Hong (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos, by Lucy Knisley (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill & Wang)
  • My Solo Exchange Diary, vol. 2(sequel to My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness), by Nagata Kabi, translation by Jocelyne Allen (Seven Seas)
  • They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker (Top Shelf)

Best Graphic Album—New
  • Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Bezimena, by Nina Bunjevac (Fantagraphics)
  • BTTM FDRS, by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore (Fantagraphics)
  • Life on the Moon, by Robert Grossman (Yoe Books/IDW)
  • New World, by David Jesus Vignolli (Archaia/BOOM!)
  • Reincarnation Stories, by Kim Deitch (Fantagraphics)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint
  • Bad Weekend by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
  • Clyde Fans, by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Cover, vol. 1, by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack (DC/Jinxworld)
  • Glenn Ganges: The River at Night, by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • LaGuardia, by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
  • Rusty Brown, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
  • Giraffes on Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made, by Josh Frank, Tim Hedecker, and Manuela Pertega (Quirk Books)
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry and P. Craig Russell, (HMH Books for Young Readers)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel, by Margaret Atwood, adapted by Renee Nault (Nan A. Talese)
  • HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, vols. 1–2adapted by Gou Tanabe, translation by Zack Davisson (Dark Horse Manga)
  • The Seventh Voyage, by Stanislaw Lem, adapted by Jon Muth, translation by Michael Kandel (Scholastic Graphix)
  • Snow, Glass, Apples, by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran (Dark Horse Books)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
  • Diabolical Summer, by Thierry Smolderen and Alexandre Clerisse, translation by Edward Gauvin (IDW)
  • Gramercy Park, by Timothée de Fombelle and Christian Cailleaux, translation by Edward Gauvin (EuroComics/IDW)
  • The House, by Paco Roca, translation by Andrea Rosenberg (Fantagraphics)
  • Maggy Garrisson, by Lewis Trondheim and Stéphane Oiry, translation byEmma Wilson (SelfMadeHero)
  • Stay, by Lewis Trondheim and Hubert Chevillard, translation by Mike Kennedy (Magnetic Press)
  • Wrath of Fantômas, by Olivier Bouquet and Julie Rocheleau, translation by Edward Gauvin (Titan)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
  • BEASTARS, by Paru Itagaki, translation by Tomo Kimura(VIZ Media)
  • Cats of the Louvre, by Taiyo Matsumoto, translation by Michael Arias (VIZ Media)
  • Grass, by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translation by Janet Hong (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth 25th Anniversary Edition, by CLAMP, translation by Melissa Tanaka (Kodansha)
  • The Poe Clan, by Moto Hagio, translation by Rachel Thorn (Fantagraphics)
  • Witch Hat Atelier, by Kamome Shirahama, translation by Stephen Kohler (Kodansha)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips
  • Cham: The Best Comic Strips and Graphic Novelettes, 1839–1862, by David Kunzle (University Press of Mississippi)
  • Ed Leffingwell’s Little Joe, by Harold Gray, edited by Peter Maresca and Sammy Harkham (Sunday Press Books)
  • The George Herriman Library: Krazy & Ignatz 1916–1918, edited by R.J. Casey(Fantagraphics)
  • Krazy Kat: The Complete Color Sundays, by George Herriman, edited by Alexander Braun (TASCHEN)
  • Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady, by Violet and Denis Kitchen (Beehive Books)
  • PogoVol. 6: Clean as a Weasel, by Walt Kelly, edited by Mark Evanier and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
  • Alay-Oop,by William Gropper (New York Review Comics)
  • The Complete Crepax, vol. 5: American Stories, edited by Kristy Valenti(Fantagraphics)
  • Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love, edited by John Morrow (TwoMorrows)
  • Moonshadow: The Definitive Edition, by J. M. DeMatteis, Jon J Muth, George Pratt, Kent Williams, and others (Dark Horse Books)
  • Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo: The Complete Grasscutter Artist Select, by Stan Sakai, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
  • That Miyoko Asagaya Feeling, by Shinichi Abe, translation by Ryan Holmberg, edited by Mitsuhiro Asakawa (Black Hook Press)

Best Writer
  • Bobby Curnow, Ghost Tree (IDW)
  • MK Reed and Greg Means, Penny Nichols (Top Shelf)
  • Mariko Tamaki, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC); Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan); Archie (Archie)
  • Lewis Trondheim, Stay (Magnetic Press); MaggyGarrisson (SelfMadeHero)
  • G. Willow Wilson, Invisible Kingdom (Berger Books/Dark Horse); Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
  • Chip Zdarsky, White Trees (Image); Daredevil, Spider-Man: Life Story (Marvel); Afterlift (comiXology Originals)

Best Writer/Artist
  • Nina Bunjevac, Bezimena (Fantagraphics)
  • Mira Jacob, Good Talk (Random House); “The Menopause” in The Believer (June 1, 2019)
  • Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, Grass (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • James Stokoe, Sobek (Shortbox)
  • Raina Telgemeier, Guts (Scholastic Graphix)
  • Tillie Walden, Are You Listening? (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
  • Ian Bertram, Little Bird (Image)
  • Colleen Doran, Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse)
  • Bilquis Evely, The Dreaming (DC)
  • Simon Gane, Ghost Tree (IDW)
  • Steve Pugh, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC)
  • Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Painter/Digital Artist
  • Didier Cassegrain, Black Water Lilies (Europe Comics)
  • Alexandre Clarisse, Diabolical Summer (IDW)
  • David Mack, Cover (DC)
  • Léa Mazé, Elma, A Bear’s Life, vol. 1: The Great Journey (Europe Comics)
  • Julie Rocheleau, Wrath of Fantômas (Titan)
  • Christian Ward, Invisible Kingdom (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

Best Cover Artist
  • Jen Bartel, Blackbird  (Image Comics)
  • Francesco Francavilla, Archie, Archie 1955, Archie Vs. Predator II, Cosmo (Archie)
  • David Mack, American Gods, Fight Club 3 (Dark Horse); Cover (DC)
  • Emma Rios, Pretty Deadly (Image)
  • Julian Totino Tedesco, Daredevil (Marvel)
  • Christian Ward, Machine Gun Wizards (Dark Horse), Invisible Kingdom (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

Best Coloring
  • Lorena Alvarez, Hicotea (Nobrow)
  • Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Middlewest, Outpost Zero (Image)
  • Matt Hollingsworth, Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Batman White Knight Presents Von Freeze (DC); Little Bird, November (Image)
  • Molly Mendoza, Skip (Nobrow)
  • Dave Stewart, Black Hammer, B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know, Hellboy and the BPRD(Dark Horse); Gideon Falls (Image); Silver Surfer Black, Spider-Man (Marvel)

Best Lettering
  • Deron Bennett, Batgirl, Green Arrow, Justice League, Martian Manhunter (DC); Canto (IDW); Assassin Nation, Excellence (Skybound/Image); To Drink and To Eat, vol. 1 (Lion Forge); Resonant (Vault)
  • Jim Campbell, Black BadgeCoda (BOOM Studios); Giant DaysLumberjanes: The Shape of Friendship (BOOM Box!); Rocko’s Modern Afterlife (KaBOOM!); At the End of Your Tether (Lion Forge); Blade Runner 2019 (Titan); Mall, The Plot, Wasted Space (Vault)
  • Clayton Cowles, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Heroes in Crisis, Superman: Up in the Sky, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC);Bitter Root, Pretty Deadly, Moonstruck, Redlands, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); Reaver  (Skybound/Image); Daredevil, Ghost-Spider, Silver Surfer Black, Superior Spider-Man, Venom (Marvel)
  • Emilie Plateau, Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin (Europe Comics)
  • Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)
  • Tillie Walden, Are You Listening? (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
  • Comic Riffs blog, by Michael Cavna
  • The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, RJ Casey, and Kristy Valenti(Fantagraphics)
  • Hogan’s Alley, edited by Tom Heintjes (Hogan’s Alley)
  • Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, edited by Qiana Whitted(Ohio State University Press)
  • LAAB Magazine, vol. 4: This Was Your Life, edited by Ronald Wimberly and Josh O’Neill (Beehive Books)
  • Women Write About Comics, edited by Nola Pfau and Wendy Browne

Best Comics-Related Book
  • The Art of Nothing: 25 Years of Mutts and the Art of Patrick McDonnell(Abrams)
  • The Book of Weirdo, by Jon B. Cooke (Last Gasp)
  • Grunt: The Art and Unpublished Comics of James Stokoe (Dark Horse)
  • Logo a Gogo: Branding Pop Culture, by Rian Hughes (Korero Press)
  • Making Comics, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny, by Paul Tumey (Library of American Comics/IDW)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work
  • The Art of Pere Joan: Space, Landscape, and Comics Form, by Benjamin Fraser (University of Texas Press)
  • The Comics of Rutu Modan: War, Love, and Secrets, by Kevin Haworth (University Press of Mississippi)
  • EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, by Qiana Whitted (Rutgers University Press)
  • The Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life, edited by Andrew Blauner (Library of America)
  • Producing Mass Entertainment: The Serial Life of the Yellow Kid, by Christina Meyer (Ohio State University Press)
  • Women’s Manga in Asia and Beyond: Uniting Different Cultures and Identities, edited by Fusami Ogi et al. (Palgrave Macmillan)

Best Publication Design
  • Grunt: The Art and Unpublished Comics of James Stokoe, designed by Ethan Kimberling (Dark Horse)
  • Krazy Kat: The Complete Color Sundays, by George Herriman, designed by Anna-Tina Kessler (TASCHEN)
  • Logo a Gogo, designed by Rian Hughes (Korero Press)
  • Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady, designed by Paul Kopple and Alex Bruce (Beehive Books)
  • Making Comics, designed by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Rusty Brown, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)

Best Digital Comic
  • Afterlift, by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo (comiXology Originals)
  • Black Water Lilies, by Michel Bussi, adapted by Frédéric Duval and Didier Cassegrain, translated by Edward Gauvin (Europe Comics)
  • Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin, by Tania de Montaigne, adapted by Emilie Plateau, translated by Montana Kane (Europe Comics)
  • Elma, A Bear’s Life, vol. 1: The Great Journey, by Ingrid Chabbert and Léa Mazé, translated by Jenny Aufiery (Europe Comics)
  • Mare Internum, by Der-shing Helmer (comiXology; gumroad.com/l/MIPDF)
  • Tales from Behind the Window, by Edanur Kuntman, translated by Cem Ulgen (Europe Comics)

Best Webcomic
  • Cabramatta, by Matt Huynh
  • Chuckwagon at the End of the World, by Erik Lundy
  • The Eyes, by Javi de Castro
  • Fried Rice Comic, by Erica Eng
  •  reMIND, by Jason Brubaker
  • Third Shift Society, by Meredith Moriarty

 

Empyre: Avengers #1

Empyre: Avengers (2020) #1 | Comic Issues | Marvel

Empyre: Avengers #1

Seeds of Conflict

Writer:  Jim Zub

Artist:  Carlos Magno

Cover Art:  Steve McNiven & Morry Hollowell

Marvel Comics newest gigantic crossover event is Empyre and, as most of these type of events, there are a ton of secondary issues outside of the actual Empyre limited series.  Exactly how many issues are unknown because I have heard some of them may have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The fact that some of the issues can be cancelled in this story and not have them affect the overall event tells you something about a lot of these tie-in issues.  They are not necessarily important to the story.

However, there are positives to Empyre: Avengers that, while may not be vital to the story, make for a nice side tale worth reading.

This takes place within the continuity of the Empyre saga and I very much liked the group of characters that are involved.  By doing this, we get a more detailed look at these characters.

There are two prongs to the story.  My favorite part was seeing Brother Voodoo, Ka-Zar, Scarlet Witch, Black Knight and Zabu return to the Savage Land to face off with the the Cotati. In the Savage Land, we get a couple of cool cameos that could lead to some excitement next issue.  The other prong of the story was less interesting which included Quicksilver, Mockingbird and Wonder Man who wind up stuck in the middle between the forces of the Kree/Skull alliance and the Cotati.  There is a short third part involving Vision, Luke Cage and Doctor Nemesis too, but this was a very little piece of the book.

The deep roster of characters allow this book to focus in on other Avengers besides just Cap and Iron Man.

While the book may not be relevant for the overall story of Empyre, I did like the pieces that they are telling us of the outlier of the tale.

ReadIt

Empyre: Avengers (2020) #1 | Comic Issues | Marvel

X-Men + Fantastic Four #4

X-Men + Fantastic Four #4

Welcome to the New World:  The Might of Latveria has been Unleashed

Writer:  Chip Zdarsky

Artist:  Terry Dodson

Cover Art:  Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson

This is one of the many mini series/regular series that have suffered because of COVID-19.  It has been such a long time since we saw the first three issues of this series that it really made this climactic chapter in this mini series feel like an after thought, and that is too bad since I had really been enjoying this series up to this point.

Everybody is trying to get their hands on Franklin Richards for their own reasons.  The series does a good job of presenting the different sides to the argument over Franklin whether it is the plans of Dr. Doom or the X-Men or Franklin’s parents.

I have to say that the art of this book has not been my favorite so far (in particular the faces of the characters), but I really think this issue stepped it up.  Some of the art here is so wonderful, especially with the images of Franklin and his power, so it helps the issue.

However, the ending scene (which I will not spoil) with Professor X and Magneto doing something that made me reconsider those two characters and their motivation.

The series also seemed to wrap up pretty easily.  Made me think about those sitcoms that introduce the story and it gets wrapped up in the half hour.  The characters’ changed their minds quickly.

The series was a decent overall read, and , if you did not have the months in between, I think it would have been all the better.  The minor quips I have are nothing major, but the final issue was not as great as my memory told me about the previous issues.

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