Luce

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Luce makes one think, and that is a rare feat these days.

Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr) is a star high school student.  Quite the distance from where the boy lived until he was 7 years old, in the war-torn and violence-ridden Eritrea.   He was adopted by a white family, Amy Edgar (Naomi Watts) and Peter Edgar (Tim Roth).  After years of challenging behaviors, Luce has settled into an existence of a top notch student.

However, with some incidents involving dedicated teacher Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer), some doubt begins to rear its ugly head.  When Luce writes a questionable paper, Harriet becomes concerned with the boy’s true thoughts.  A search of his locker makes her even more worried.

The best part of the movie, Luce, is that you are never quite sure if what it seems has happened is what actually happened.  Are Harriet’s suspicions realistic or is she reading too much into it.  Is Luce being misjudged or is he manipulating everything to his liking?  You are fairly certain about a scene, and then something happens and you are not sure once again.  I like that in a script.

The performances are tremendous.  I loved the work of Naomi Watts, Kelvin Harrison and Octavia Spencer especially.  These three actors dominated the scenes that they were in and they were able to create deeply imperfect characters whom you can see as real and flawed.  Tim Roth is just as compelling, though not used as much as the other three.

This is a movie that demands attention and leaves you feeling uncertain and uncomfortable in all the best ways.  I realized after a while in the film that I was not sure what the film was about, and that was all the more intriguing.

Is Luce a hero or a villain?  Is he the next best thing or the dark evil of this generation?  Is it possible that he could be equal parts of both?  And is he being given the proper chance?  There are some powerful ideas flowing through this movie and the performances provide some amazing moments.

I’m not sure this is a movie that I want to see again, but the first viewing experience was strong and stick with you for time.

4 stars

 

 

Brittany Runs a Marathon

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Based on a true story, the film Brittany Runs a Marathon has its moments of humor and good will, but it also has times when I really could not care less for its lead star.

That is not to say that actress Jillian Bell who is very good in this role, but the character bounces from funny to downright obnoxious so much that it was difficult to form any lasting emotional connection to her. In fact, I preferred every secondary character in the movie to Brittany.

Brittany, a plus sized 28-year old in New York, wound up at a doctor’s office and the doctor told her that she needed to lose about 45 pounds.  To do so, Brittany started to do some running and before long decided that she was going to run the New York City Marathon.  The movie was her life as she trained for the event.

However, the more weight she lost, the less likable she became.  She clearly had traumas involving her weight from her past, but many of them did not feel as authentic as I wish they had.

As a heavy person in my own right, I kind of resent the theme here that heavy people are failures and unhappy all the time, and, by the time they bring around someone to counteract that image, it is much too late.  Brittany makes her weight be the issue that has cost her so many plans and that is unrealistic.

As she was such a jerk to all of her friends, I just do not understand why this crew of really nice people would continue to want to be her friends.  She was mean and, downright verbally abusive at times, but these people stuck with her for unknown reasons.

However, I would be lying if I said that I did not feel some emotional tug during the third act and that there was no humor here.  There were many good scenes as well.  I just have trouble with films where I can not like the main character.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is a mixed bag of a dark rom-com that misses the mark at times, but ends with a strong finish.

3.1 stars

King Thor#1

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King Thor #1

Chapter One:  Twilight of the Thunder God

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist: Esad Ribic

Cover Art:  Esad Ribic

The final run of Jason Aaron’s Thor arc of nearly seven years is starting with the new issue of King Thor#1 (although this is technically not a new series.  It’s legacy number is #723 so it is considered the continuation of Thor, which is not currently being created).

Not only is this Aaron’s final run, but he is reunited with Esad Ribic, who worked with Aaron in the early parts of the epic run.

We are now in the future and we are featuring a knock down, drag out battle between the older King Thor and Loki the All-Butcher, in the way the brothers are destined to go.

However, I have to say, that I am so loving the new Loki series written by Daniel Kibblesmith, that I was having a hard time seeing Loki in this futuristic manner, and that was a problem with the book for me.  Still, I am able to get past that because this version of Loki feels different than the one in Kibblesmith’s book.

The story also features the Girls of Thunder, returning from their roles in the previous storyline involving King Thor.  It’s funny that these ladies are involved at the Hall of All-Knowing, and so was Loki in the new Loki#3 issue out this same week.  Coincidence?

The King Thor-Loki battle had a bunch of twists and turns and ends with a final page that is just epic if you have followed Jason Aaron’s Thor run.

I have a feeling this may be some of the best Thor we have seen in a while and I am looking forward to seeing how Aaron wraps this whole thing up.

Awesomeness

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The Fanatic

The Fanatic Movie Poster

Sick day.

Not feeling well today, so I stayed home from work and I figured I would go to Vudu and watch what may be the worst movie of the year.

In the Vudu section for the “In theaters now” where they have the smaller, independent features, there was The Fanatic.  I had seen online movie reviewer Chris Stuckmann include this film in his Hilariocity Reviews (of movies that are so bad they are good).  I rented The Fanatic from Vudu and watched it this morning.

It was just terrible.

John Travolta starred in it giving what could be the worst performance of his career.  Travolta played an obsessed fan named Moose who wanted to get an autograph of his favorite action star Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa), but Hunter rebuffed him.  Moose then finds Hunter’s home and begins to stalk him.  However, Moose would become very frustrated and angry if anyone called him on being a stalker.

I really think the movie wants us to relate to and feel sorry for Moose instead of his chosen victim, Hunter Dunbar.  The film goes out of its way to show Dunbar as a jerk, being excessively cruel to Moose.  Moose has friends who tell him what a good person he is.  I really think the film wants us to back Moose.

This is despite the fact that Moose has broken into Dunbar’s house, accidentally killed his maid, eventually tied Dunbar to his bed and tormented him.

I never once felt as if Hunter was too negative towards this guy.  He has probably had to deal with fans before and he had to respond as he did.

The whole film is simplistic and has some of the worst acting, dialogue and plot of the whole year.

I could see this movie being one where RiffTrax would make it more fun.  I can see someone liking this in the way they like The Room or Birdemic.  However, as a feature film, this is atrocious.

0.75 stars

Warrior (2011)

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I actually avoided this movie for quite awhile.  I have never been a fan of the UFC and this just seemed like nothing more than an overblown ad for them.

However, there was much more to Warrior than that.

I heard lots of people online whose opinions I respect say that Warrior was one of their favorite movies and so I decided to give it a chance and rent it off of Vudu.  Yet, I rented it and it sat in my queue for almost a month.  In fact, I almost forgot that I had it available.  The rental period was almost over when I finally decided to watch the movie.

By the end, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over my body.

Warrior is the story of two estranged brothers who both wind up in a huge UFC tournament called Sparta.  One brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton) was a science teacher who needed to do something drastic because he needed money.  He had been a fighter early in his life and gave it up for his wife (Jennifer Morrison).  The second brother Tommy (Tom Hardy) was a Marine who deserted his unit, but came across another unit where he saved someone by ripping the door off a jeep.  Changing his name, Tommy had to deal with his own inner anger from the life he had lived.

Their recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) was estranged from both and wanted to reconnect with his boys.

There was so much emotion in this movie.  You could feel the anger of Tommy and the desperation and determination of Brendan.  It was pretty obvious that these two brothers were on a collision course with one another, but once you get to that point, anything could have happened.

The film was filled with awesome performances from everyone involved.

Of course, Warrior is to the UFC as the Rocky series is to boxing.  The matches in this movie are way more exciting to watch than the ones that are actually presented in the real UFC just as boxing was never as exciting as when Rocky was punching one of his foes.  There may be moments within a match that elevates to this level, but these are thrilling from the start.

I am glad that I was able to make time to watch this movie before my rental period ended.  It is a wonderful film worth the watch.

vintage

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It Chapter Two

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The first It was one of my favorite movies of 2017 so the sequel was one of my most highly anticipated films of 2019.  And it was fine.  Just nowhere near the greatness of the first film which was a disappointment for me coming out of the theater.

Twenty-sever years later, Pennywise, the Dancing Clown returned to Derry, Maine to restart his terror.  The return of the clown brought the, now adult, Losers Club back to their hometown to honor an oath they took to finish off Pennywise should he ever return.

Let’s start with some good things.  Pennywise is amazing once again.  The clown, played brilliantly by Bill Skarsgård, is creepy as can be and he is all over Chapter Two.  Skarsgård does some amazing work as Pennywise and actually provides some humor in the film as well.

The cast as a whole was amazing, especially when you consider that they are representing grown version of the characters that we met in Chapter One.  Each of the actors cast was perfect as an older version of the kid actors.  Jessica Chastain was strong as Beverly and looked just like the only female of the Losers Club should look.  Bill Hader stole the show as the older version of Richie and seemed to be undeniably wonderful as the grown Finn Wolfhard (although as a personal pet peeve, I could have done without the two puke scenes).  Jay Ransone’s Eddie was as troubled and obsessive as Jack Dylan Grazer was.  He looked just like an older version of the young actor.  Isaiah Mustafa’s Mike got to do more in this movie than Chosen Jacobs did as the young Mike.

I will say that I thought James McAvoy, as adult Bill, despite being cast wonderfully, was over-the-top too much and his performance felt forced.  Bill was one of my favorite characters of the first film, but I was not a fan of him here.

I thought this film was more frightening and, perhaps, more disturbing than the first film.  It felt more like Stranger Things with the volume turned up.  This was a much more horror film and it does a solid job of avoiding the cheap jump scares, preferring instead to focus on the atmosphere and the mental anguish.  While some of the scares were diminished some because of some of the failing of the CGI, especially when Pennywise was in other forms than the clown.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending sequence.  I believe this is the ending that was in Stephen King’s novel too, but, for me, I am not sure if this really works for me.  Of course, the whole third act with the ritual was a bit of a stretch for me and felt too much like a B-movie example.

The part I thought was the weakest was the flashbacks to the scenes that are meant to have occurred in down time during the first movie.  They used de-aging process on the kid actors to make them look as they did two years ago.  The problem was that I thought at three of the kids looked like they were all CGI on their face that did not properly move when they spoke.  I have heard people claim that the de-aging here was undetectable and that made me wonder what movie they were watching because it was painfully apparent that Finn Wolfhard never looked like that.

The film was really long, and it felt as if it were long.  If they had removed most of these flashback scenes, I think it would have helped the flow.  I would have liked to see more with the adult Losers Club instead of so much that makes the first film feel lesser than it was.

There were also a few scenes, including the opening scene of the film, that made no sense and felt shoehorned into the film for no apparent reason.  In fact, I would go to say that some of the scenes held no purpose at all.

I felt that most of the humor was out of place, though some of it struck the proper chord.  I believe that they tried to do too much with the funnies, especially with some of the monsters.

I may see this again before too long and I will be interested if a second viewing helps the film or makes it even longer.  As it is now, a film that could have been amazing, was okay and just nowhere near as epic as the first part was.  Great cast and the iconic Pennywise helped make this movie watchable.

3 stars

 

Web of Black Widow #1

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Web of Black Widow #1

Writer: Jody Houser

Artist:  Stephen Mooney

Cover Art:  Junggeun Yoon

A new Black Widow series arrived this week and it was a great start.  The series threw Natasha into the fire immediately, under cover and infiltrating a party where her old friend Tony Stark was attending.

By the way, Tony Stark has suddenly become the 2019 version of Punisher/Spidey/Wolverine as he is guest starring in practically every book Marvel has put out.  Just off the top of my head, besides the books he regularly stars in such as Tony Stark: Iron Man and Avengers, he was guest starring in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, Ironheart, Captain America, The Invaders, Loki, Captain Marvel… are there more?  Could be.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the spy drama of the Black Widow.  Told as a noir, the series really worked with flashbacks and some stunning art.

I feel this is similar to the recent Invisible Woman series, as the series features a more down to earth battle and is a more personal, character-driven tale.  It kept me intrigued the whole issue and makes me really look forward to where they plan on taking the character.

ReadIt

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The Immortal Hulk #23

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The Immortal Hulk #23

The Face of the Enemy

Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Joe Bennett

Cover Art:  Alex Ross

One of the most consistent of the Marvel Comics over the last two years, The Immortal Hulk from Al Ewing continues to be a thrill-a-page and ends again in issue #23 with a final page that causes our jaw to drop.

Who knew that turning the Hulk into a horror monster and placing him in downright frightening situations would be so epic?  Any time this comic has a new issue due, it is one of the first, if not the first, comic I read that week.  It rarely lets me down.

Al Ewing has quickly become a personal favorite of mine and he provides such a flair to the book that this run of Hulk rivals the very best runs on the character over the years, from Peter David to Greg Pak.

This comic really feels like it is building to something big, and with The Immortal Hulk #25 on the radar for October, a double sized issue as well, things look to be really become huge for the immortal one.

Oh, and shout out to Puck in this issue.  He shows that he is a true kick ass.

Another magnificent issue from Ewing/Bennett.  The Alex Ross covers continue to make this book all the more special.

excelsior

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EYG Top 10 Female Action Movies Re-List

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Re-List…re…re…re-list…buzz buzz buzz.

A new Top 10 Re-list this week.  Man, I am waiting patiently to get chosen for this.  I was picked a bunch for the Thunderdome.  I sure hope my leaving the Facebook page isn’t keeping them from choosing e for the Re-List.

Any way, the Re-List this week is Top 10 Female Action Movies. Fellow Patreon members Kristin Kurtz, Daniel Chaput & Laurence Witt are the people who chose the topic and made the lists this week.  This will be the EYG list.

 

Image result for atomic blonde hallway#10.  Atomic Blonde.  I was not in love this this movie, but I put it on the list for that epic battle in the hallway.  It was certainly the best part of that movie.  Charlize Theron has proven herself to be a top notch action hero these days.  Sure this could have been a Black Widow movie, but it did come out first.

 

 

Image result for the hunger games#9.  The Hunger Games.  Katniss was one of the biggest reasons why Jennifer Lawrence became the star that she is.  Lawrence was a perfectly cast role from the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.  These days, when you bring up Katniss’s name, you picture Jennifer Lawrence.  The rest of the series was fine, but this first film was really strong.

 

Image result for Kill bill#8.  Kill Bill.  I have only actually seen this film once, and I am combining the two Volumes into one movie.  When director Quentin Tarantino says the film was supposed to be one story, then that is how you take it.  The Bride, played by Uma Thurman, is iconic and one of the best action heroes in movies.  This is just lower on my list since I have not seen it much.

 

 

Image result for max fury road#7.  Mad Max: Fury Road. Charlize Theron makes her second appearance on the list in a movie that is more her character, Furiosa’s, movie than it is Mad Max’s movie.  This is a great action movie and it has fantastic stunts, but I have to say that I was not as wild about this as most people were.  It was great and George Miller did a masterful job directing it, but it was short on plot for me.

 

Image result for the last jedi Rey#6.  Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Yes, this is a controversial pick (and not my lat one) but Rey’s part of this movie was great.  I did not find the Luke Skywalker stuff as bothersome as many did.  The weak parts of the this movie was on the gambling planet and that had nothing to do with Rey.  Rey and Kylo in the throne room working together was fire.  And the film had the guts not to go the route that everybody thought it was.  I enjoy The Last Jedi much more than many.

 

Image result for rogue one#5.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  Jyn was a great heroine in the Star Wars universe as they fill in wonderfully a period of time before A New Hope.  This was another epic decision by the creators when they turned the mission to claim the Death Star plans into a suicide mission.  All of the new characters bit the big one. I know people who were upset by that, but it was the only choice they had.  Big ups to them following through despite the potential popularity of these new characters.

 

Related image#4.  Captain Marvel.  Yes, this is my second controversial pick as there was a lot of hatred and vitriol over Captain Marvel.  I don’t care what any of them say, I liked this movie a lot and I love Brie Larson.  Could parts of the narrative been written or presented differently for a more effective tale?  Maybe, but you can’t argue with success.  I enjoyed Carol’s camaraderie with Nick Fury and she brought the goods in the end.  Haters are just gonna hate.

 

Image result for T2 judgement day#3.  T2: Judgement Day.  Easily the best film of the series, Linda Hamilton kicked all kinds of butt as slightly (if not more) crazy Sarah Connors.  I might have moved this down a spot or two because Sarah Connors is not really a lead character.  Certainly, Arnold is the lead character in this movie, and one could argue that Edward Furlong has a more important part, but she does her share to make this list.

 

Image result for wonder woman no man land#2. Wonder Woman.  Rocha made an argument that this may not belong on an action/adventure list because it is a comic book movie.  I kind of took offense to that comment.  What else would it be than action movie?  There is action throughout.  He did not comment about T2 or the Star Wars movies being science fiction and not action/adventure.  Gal Gadot was a perfect casting choice, despite my own (and many other people) doubting it.  And the No Man’s Land sequence was utterly thrilling.

 

Related image#1.  Aliens.  Ripley brought the power in this absolutely mind-blowingly tense action thriller.  The action here was off the chart and that was impressive considering the first Alien movie was more of a horror/thriller.  When this list was being compiled, I knew that it was “Game Over, Man” for the top spot.  Aliens is one of the most quotable movies of all time and is just kick ass from the moment they arrive at the colony.  This was the high point of the franchise here. and it never got back to this type of quality.

 

Honorable Mentions:  There are a few left.  Alien was not as much of an action movie as it was horror/thriller.  The Heat was more comedy than action, although there was certainly some action there too.  G.I. Jane was in consideration for the number 10 spot, but I haven’t seen that one in a long while either.  Did not like Salt that much but Hanna wasn’t terrible.  We can add Black Widow to this list next year.

 

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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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You can check another box off the list of movies I need to see.  Just got a big one done.

Yes, it took me the whole afternoon, but it was well worth it to finally see the epic of epics, Lawrence of Arabia, on the big screen thanks to Fathom Events.

Four hours later (after 3 hours 42 minutes of film time and a 15 minute intermission) I saw what one of my favorite online reviewer/personality Dan Murrell claimed was his favorite movie of all time and I could certainly understand why.

While it is not my personal favorite movie of all time, this is a special film that takes a historical figure and immortalizes him to the nth degree in a brilliant manner.  Director David Lean gives us everything we could ask for and more in this film.

British officer T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) becomes involved with the tribes of Arabia during World War I against the Turks, leading these people in an almost mythical manner.

There are some wonderful performances in this movie, starting with Peter O’Toole’s brilliantly soulful lead role.  He was an unexpected choice for the role, but he turned out to be perfect as the British officer.  Obi-Wan himself, Alec Guinness is here too as Prince Faisal.  Honestly, I was trying to find Guinness through most of the movie and I did not see him until late in the run time.  Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif were amazing as heads of individual tribes working tentatively together thanks to the glue of Lawrence.  Fascinatingly, there is not one speaking part for a female in Lawrence of Arabia, a feat that probably would not go over well in today’s society.

I was surprised with how much humor was in this film.  There were some clearly funny lines and moments inside this dramatic masterpiece.

Peter O’Toole’s face sold every scene he was in.  The facial expression and his blue eyes were so on point that it is difficult to imagine anyone else in the role, but apparently the producers wanted Marlon Brando for the role and actually offered it to Albert Finney.  Cary Grant’s name was mentioned as well.  In the end, the proper choice was made.

There is no doubt that this is an investment of time, but I discovered that it is time well spent.  There is a reason why this is one of those films studied in film schools.  Lawrence of Arabia is a master stroke of filmmaking.

paragon

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Batman/Superman #1

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Batman/Superman #1

Who are the Secret Six? Part One

Writer:  Joshua Williamson

Artist:  David Marquez

Cover Art:  Leinil Yu & Tomeu Morey

Once again, I am a Marvel fan.  I prefer the characters and the style of the comics.  That does not mean that I dislike DC, but there is only so many comics that I can buy in a month.  I liked the Lois Lane#1, but decided against continuing that series.

However, Batman/Superman#1 is a different case.

This was outstanding.

I really liked the idea of the Batman Who Laughs.  This was my introduction to that character, even though I know he appeared in another series.  The ideas here were just not what I was expecting.

And the shocking ending literally made me gasp.  I really loved it.  Go read it.  It is a shock for sure.

The best part of the book so far was the interaction between Bruce and Clark.  The way they placed them as opposites sides of the same coin set the stage for a strong narrative.

My copy is the variant cover, which is a lovely piece of art from Leinil Yu and Tomeu Morey.

Can’t wait to see where this goes from here.

Awesomeness

 

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Don’t Let Go

Don't Let Go Movie Poster

The idea of this was intriguing.  The execution of this…not so much.

Police detective Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo) has a close relationship with his niece Ashley (Storm Reid).  Ashley’s parents have issues and Ashley winds up depending on Jack a lot.  However, she, along with her parents and their dog, end up dead by an apparent bloody murder-suicide.  Jack is shaken to his core when he discovered the bodies of his brother and niece, but he is shaken even more when Ashley called him again on his cell phone…after her death.. from two weeks in the past.  Jack tried to help Ashley solve her own murder to prevent it from happening.

The concept was solid, but the story became so convoluted that it really derailed the film, despite pretty solid performances from David Oyelowo and Storm Reid.  Both of these actors did decent emotional work with what they had been handed, but there were too many negatives to be overcome by just good acting.

I’m not sure the story holds up on any sort of examination of what happened.  The time travel rules do not work and, I think, really mess up the story.  of course, we have absolutely no idea how this happened.  Not that I need a lot of explanation of why this worked, but something would be nice.

Ashley’s dad was played by the wasted Bryan Tyree Henry.  The film also wasted an appearance from Alfred Molina too.  Bubba himself (from Forrest Gump) Mykelti Williamson was here too in a role that made little sense as the movie moved on.

There were some decent moments of the film and, as I said, Oyelowo and Reid were really good together.  A scene in a restaurant in the different time lines was really pretty good, but there was just not enough of that to really recommend this film.  It would not be bad for a TV movie on a lazy weekend day, with the movie playing in the background.  If you think too much, it falls apart quickly.

2.8 stars 

Bennett’s War

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I had no idea what Bennett’s War was about.  When I saw it on the list of films opening at Cinemark this weekend, I was truly flabbergasted because I had not seen anything about this.  Not a trailer.  Not a commercial.  Not anything.

So Friday I went to Rotten Tomatoes just to see a score, but there was no score available.  That’s a bad sign the morning of the film’s release.

But I went in without any expectations to see what this was about.

It was about 93 minutes.

That’s an old joke…and not a very good one, but it matches the level of quality that I got from Bennett’s War.

Marshall Bennett (Michael Roark) was a soldier in Afghanistan in a motorcycle unit.  He and another soldier wound up injured in combat and returned home.  Bennett returned to his wife Sophie (Allison Paige) and their newborn child.  Working in motorcycle repair did not seem to be what he wanted so Bennett decided to give motorcross a try despite his litany of injuries from the military.  He had to score enough points for the ability to turn pro.

Oh, and his dad is Trace Adkins.

Wow, I found this to be really boring, especially in the first act of the movie.  Act number two was a giant montage of the races he needed to place in and act three was his return once again after his motorcycle was sabotaged.

I would say I would not spoil the ending, but if you do not already know who was going to win that final race, then you certainly haven’t been watching any movies in your life.

Sadly predictable, Bennett’s War could still be a plucky crowd-pleaser if these characters had any personality to them at all.  They were all just pretty looking people who have little to no acting skills among them.  While those with some acting chops were given some of the worst dialogue of the year.

Former WWE wrestler Alex Riley (real name Kevin Kiley Jr) was here too in a mostly non-speaking role.  I spent most of the third act trying to remember his wrestling name.  I could remember Riley, but all I could think of was Mark Reilly (who is from the Movie Trivia Schmoedown and Collider Live).

I had no idea that there were this many pretty people involved in motorcross.  Nor did I know that part of being involved in public relations for motorcross to have boobs (not kidding, that was a line).

This was a really bad movie.  I see why there were no critic reviews as of Friday.  Best part of the film…

It was only 93 minutes.

1.4 stars

Spider-Man: Life Story

LifeStory

Spider-Man: Life Story #1-6

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Mark Bagley

Cover Art; Chip Zdarsky

I am a huge Spider-Man fan.  He is my favorite fictional character from anywhere…not just comic books but movies, TV, literature…everything.  So there is a pretty good chance that if you put out a Spider-Man book that I’ll get it.

When you add that it is being written by Chip Zdarsky, who I have become a huge fan of recently- especially his transcendent Peter Parker#310, and is drawn from one of my favorite Spidey artist ever, Mark Bagley, then you know that I am in.  Just take my money.

However,looking through the new release comics coming up that week at Marvel.com, I saw that Spider-Man: Life Story #2 was due to be released… and I had not gotten number one yet!  So I made sure that I had #2 on my pull list and my comic shop found me a copy of number one.  I also missed out on number three.

It was strange that this was happening.  So I made a decision.  I was quite behind on my reading and there was a pretty large pile of book I needed to get through.  I decided that I would hold off on Life Story until after I got all six issues of the limited series.  I would sit down and read them all together.  It became something to look forward to.

It was tough too because the cover art on each one, which I know now was done by Chip Zdarsky too, really was attractive and beautiful.  It made putting this series aside all the more challenging, but I continued to do it.

This week, Spider-Man: Life Story#6 was released.  This morning, I sat down with all six issues and read through it.

Actually, it was probably a good thing that I did it the way I did because I did not know that this story was a alternate/non-continuity version of the Spider-Man mythos.  If I had known that, it may have affected my desire to buy the series.  I am typically not a fan of the alternate reality stories that tell the heroes tale in a different manner.  I like What If? but other than that, I have never gravitated to these types of series.  Even things like X-Men: Age of Apocalypse never did it for me.

And this was basically What If Time Moved for Spider-Man Like It Does in the Real World?  Peter Parker gets bitten by the radioactive spider in issue one in 1962 and the final issue takes place in 2019.  Peter Parker ages, people die and the world changes.  I did not know that at the start.

Issue one was very fascinating as it dealt with the Vietnam War and Peter’s sense of responsibility directed towards it.  They dealt with Flash Thompson’s enlistment and how Peter wondered if he should be using his powers in the wake of the war.  I thought it was well done (although some of the sixties dialogue, aka ‘bread’ etc, was distracting), but I did not realize until the very end, with the cameo of Captain America, that this series was going in a different direction.  And it wasn’t for sure until the beginning of issue #2 when Peter was talking to the grave of Flash that the series was going to take the world of Spider-Man, and the Marvel Universe, into a whole new world.

Life Story takes Peter through most of his most major storylines: from the Green Goblin to the Clone Saga to Secret Wars to Kraven’s Last Stand to Civil War.  Each one had parts that were recognizable but were adjusted for the current timeline.

I will say that there were some moments in the middle of the series that Peter Parker felt as if it was not really Peter Parker.  I understand that the events around him may have changed him some, but, even doing these kind of series, you need to keep the core part of the character recognizable and Life Story threatened to take Peter too far off the line.  However, it was able to navigate the problems well and made it through showing the key components to the character of Peter Parker.

Issue six was a classic Spider-Man story of responsibility and sacrifice, showing that the heart of this character is the same no matter what has happened to him over his lifetime.  It was a beautiful conclusion to a series that, at times, I thought felt inconsistent.  Perhaps it was more that I was afraid that the different developments was going to turn Peter Parker into someone who I did not know. There were some moments when it felt as if Peter might step over the edge, whether it be with his family or with his enemies, but Peter always pulled himself back before he turned into someone unrecognizable.  I was thankful for that.

The series is remarkably written and drawn, but that should not come as a surprise with the masters that were behind Life Story.  Chip Zdarsky is quickly becoming a personal favorite and his covers were breathtaking.  Mark Bagley’s Peter is iconic and he does not disappoint here either.

Spider-Man is the best hero in the Marvel Universe and it is awesome when a series comes along that helps highlight that.  Tony Stark specifically tells Spidey (and Cap) that “you two are the best of us” and I agree completely.

Awesomeness

LifeStory

She-Hulk Annual #1

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She-Hulk Annual #1

“Acts of Evil”

Writer:  Alexandra Petri

Artist:  Andy MacDonald

Cover Art:  Mirka Andolfo

I have missed the She-Hulk.

The current version of the character being used in the most recent run in Avengers is one of my least favorite character changes in the last several years at Marvel Comics.  One of the best parts of She-Hulk was that she was really just Jennifer Walters all the time, in the body of a giant green powerhouse.  She was not the dumb, “Hulk Smash” type of character.  We already had that.  I miss the lawyer, fourth-wall-breaking She-Hulk.

With the release of this annual that featured the lawyer version of the character and the upcoming Disney + series called She-Hulk, I really hope that barbaric version of Jen Walters is heading for a revamp.

They have also been calling her just Hulk in the Avengers books and that annoyed me as well.  The name She-Hulk does not put her down.  It is just who she is.  And with that same basic idea being used in the Marvel Comics #1000 anthology book that came out this week, maybe they will soon be calling her She-Hulk once again.

I enjoyed this annual, which included Bullseye and Machinesmith along with She-Hulk.  There was a weird mind swap story going on, but the best part of it was the use of intelligent She-Hulk again and having her narrate the story worked well.

I sure hope that this is a signal from Marvel that they are going to do right by the Green Goliath and return her to the strong and intelligent character that she was.  Please….

ReadIt

 

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