High Life (2018)

Day: January 27th, Movie: 28

Robert Pattinson is a very good actor. He has elevated his game in the years since Twilight, even though many still look at him with that film in their minds. Pattinson has taken some challenging films over the years to escape the shadow of Edward. High Life spotlights his capable skill as an actor.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. They must now rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole.”

As I mentioned in the opening, there is no denying what a strong performance Robert Pattinson gave in this movie. However, I struggled to follow the story. The story of High Life was told in a non-linear narrative structure that was, at the least, difficult to follow. The differing sections of the story felt separate from each other as well, calling the purpose of the narrative into question.

The film looked wonderful, taking the independent feel and making it appear even better.

The story included a plan which sent a group of criminals into space in a mission dealing with a black hole. There was also something dealing with artificial insemination, and there were some very weird and erotic scenes with the criminals and the lead, Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche). There were a couple of freaky moments in the film.

There were positives in the movie, but the story style felt too artsy for me and I had a tough time following it. I wanted more with the daughter and less with the criminals. High Life was intriguing, but lacked a few connections.

Comic Catch-Up #8

January 26, 2023

Tonight I have a list of comics, most of which I read last night. I did not want to do a third entry in a day, so I decided to hold off on the Comic catch-Up until the next day. Now, after completing the Genre-ary Sci-Fi DailyView for Thursday, I get to move ahead with the eighth post of the Comic Catch-Up.

Dark Web: Ms. Marvel #1 & 2. Written by Sabir Pirzada and drawn by Francesco Mortarino, I was neat to read Ms. Marvel again. I like the character and I have missed her adventures. The Dark Web crossover is not a great story, admittedly, but the use of this great character really helps. Issue two has a nice appearance from Miles Morales too, which is always great. Miles and Kamala work very well together. Sure the whole concept of Dark Web provided a bunch of silly things that come to life. That is a flaw for the Dark Web, not the Ms. Marvel part. She brings the strength to the silly.

Sabretooth & the Exiles #1. “Under the Knife” This was surprisingly entertaining. The Exile crew was engaging and Sabretooth continues to be the most vicious of mutants. Written by Victor LaVelle and drawn by Leonard Kirk, we get the classic line, “Exiles Arise!” I laughed at that. The group’s dynamic is the best part of this series. I need to pick up #2 yet, though I have #3 in tow.

The All-New, All-Different Savage Avengers #6. “Escape from Nueva York“. I found this interesting as I was always a fan of the 2099 books and seeing the Savage Avengers make their way to 2099 and tangle with the 2099 Punisher is a lot of fun. Who know who or what else will make its way into the series and I am looking forward to it. This was written by David Pepose with art from Carlos Magno.

Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1. Written by Greg Pak and penciled by Manuel Garcia, was not quite what I had in mind. I always liked Amadeus Cho and I did find the inclusion of a younger kid Skaar to pique my curiosity, but I had some trouble getting into the first issue. I liked the incorporation of She-Hulk in the tale, especially when she was with the young Skaar.

Murderworld: Avengers #1. Another series that was something that I did not expect. I thought that the Avengers were actually invovled in the story instead of it just being part of the Murderworld idea. Once I realized what the book was going to be about, I was able to settle down and get into it. The book had an absolutely shocking moment that I did not see coming and really helped put this on the map. I guess I should not have been shocked at the twist because, looking again, it is right there on the cover. This first Murderworld book was written by Jim Zub and Ray Fawkes and the art was by Jethro Morales, and I did like where it eventually took me.

Murderworld: Spider-Man #1. Once again written by Jim Zub and Ray Fawkes, this issue was drawn by Farid Karami. We were able to now focus on a new protagonist after the previous issue’s gunshot and Eden Abraha is a serious kick ass. We also get a glimpse of Black Widow who seems to be on the case. Murderworld has been a surprisingly good time so far.

Captain America: Symbol of Truth #2. Sam Wilson, aka Captain America, teaming up with Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool? Yes, please. Deadpool has always been the best when playing off of other characters in the Marvel Universe and Sam Wilson is no exception. This issue is written by Tochi Onyebuchi and drawn by R.B. Silva.

Captain Marvel #44.Revenge of the Brood Part Two” This story continued to be gripping, with the involvement of the X-Men. I’m not sure I loved what they did to handle Rogue, but the group dynamic here is worth the time. Carol and Jessica Drew’s friendship is always a strength. And the sudden switch at the end of the issue was unexpected. Writer Kelly Thompson and artist Sergio Davila have begun a story that has been very entertaining and that feature one of my favorite alien races in the Brood.

Hell is a Squared Circle. Written by Chris Condon and drawn by Francesco Biagini, this story about the world of professional wrestling and a wrestler who had done some bad things is really a great book. I believe that this is very much a story that could happen in the independent circuit of pro wrestling. Aftershock’s one shot prestige format book asks the question of “Is Wrestling Noir a Genre?” Moooo-ska! Moooo-ska! Moooo-ska!

Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Day: January 26th, Movie: 27

Before there was InnerSpace. Before there was Rick and Morty. Before there was Osmosis Jones. There was the 1966 Fantastic Voyage, one of the first and most influential films to travel inside the human body.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, “The brilliant scientist Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) develops a way to shrink humans, and other objects, for brief periods of time. Benes, who is working in communist Russia, is transported by the CIA to America, but is attacked en route. In order to save the scientist, who has developed a blood clot in his brain, a team of Americans in a nuclear submarine is shrunk and injected into Benes’ body. They have a finite period of time to fix the clot and get out before the miniaturization wears off.

There is no denying that this is a cool concept. Taking a submarine and a crew of specialists into the human body by shrinking it down is an amazing idea and Fantastic Voyage pulls it off remarkably well. Sure, the special effects do not hold up when compared to the more recent films, but this was 1966. What they had accomplished for the time period is sensational.

Stephen Boyd played CIA Agent Charles Grant, Raquel Welch played technical assistant Cora Peterson, Donald Pleasence played medical chief Dr. Michaels, William Redfield played US Navy officer Captain Bill Owens and Edmond O’Brien was General Alan Carter. The cast was good and did a nice job in the story that was certainly out there. It was fun to see Raquel Welch in a role that was not taking advantage of her looks.

One of the most fun part of the film was the scenes with Arthur O’Connell as Colonel Donald Reid which had to be the inspiration of the scenes with Lloyd Bridges in Airplane! It was a tad distracting and made me want to laugh every time.

I enjoyed the creativity of the film and the story. Fantastic Voyage was a quick watch and was paced beautifully. The special effects are not great for today, but were groundbreaking at the time. There is no denying that this film led to plenty of classic moments from other films.

Comic Catch-Up #7

January 25, 2023, afternoon

Wednesday is new comic book day!!!

With the no school day today, I was able to head up to Comic World, my comic shop, to pick up my books from my pull list (and those books that Todd missed for me. Hey Todd!!!)

It was not the biggest week this week as I wound up with about 8 new books. A couple of those are books that I have not yet read because I need to catch up with the series (Midnight Sons #5- I need to find this 5-issue series in the piles- and Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise- which is on the list to read soon and Sabretooth and the Exiles- which I have to find #2).

That left me a few issues and one standout that was my favorite new book of the week.

Thor #30. “The Legacy of Thanos Part Two” I have been behind Thor so badly. I decided to read the most recent issue instead of tying to go back and catch up on all the missing issues as of now. Hopefully, I can organize the Thor books and get them on a list to read in the near future. This was confusing, which I think is understandable. Written by Torunn Grønbekk and drawn by Nic Klein, Thor #30 had several things happen that I just did not understand, but it had a great final page. Hopefully, as I continue forward with Thor, things will make more sense. I was ready for it to be confusing because of how many books I skipped but I am committed to pushing on.

Amazing Spider-Man #18. The Dark Web storyline seems to be winding down and I will be happy when it ends. I do like how it is building Ben Reilly up as Chasm. It just feels as if the silliness with the demons in limbo (such as Rek-Rap) takes away from the overall stakes of the issue. This one was better than last issue though so with the Dark Web finale in sight, perhaps it will bring it in hot. Zeb Wells is the writer and Ed McGuinness does the pencils.

Sins of Sinister #1. Part 1: “Everything is Sinister“. Looks like the X-Men are screwing up the Marvel Universe again. Once again, I am not a huge fan of alternate futures that the X-Men seem so fond of doing. This book was interesting and I anticipate reading it, but I never feel as if it matters. I have never thought the X-Men have mattered since they could no longer die and be dead. The whole resurrection thing bothered me, but it is intriguing how this book is built around that very concept. Keiron Gillen is the writer and Lucas Werneck was the artist (although it lists a bunch of artists as ‘guest artists’ including Geoffrey Shaw, Marco Checchetto, Juan Jose Ryp, David Baldeon, Travel Foreman, Carlos Gomez, Federico Vicentini, David Lopez, Joshua Cassara and Stefano Caselli.).

Justice Society of America #1 & 2. The New Golden Age storyline begins focusing on Huntress. My friend Todd at Comic World told me that this series sucked. I thought that was a bit harsh. This new look at the JSA is messy. The biggest problem with the series is the use of the different timelines. It does nothing but muddy the waters and cause confusion. The characters are decent, but it spent a lot of time killing characters that I do not think will stay dead. I had very little connection to these characters. The story, from what I could decipher, was fine. I am not a big DC fan and I am not sure if I am going to continue with this book after issue #2. We’ll see.

And now for the best book of the week!

All-Out Avengers #5. I loved this issue. Of course, one of the biggest reasons was it featured Spider-Man vs. the Avengers and I love any book that does Spidey well. All-Out Avengers has been building this story over the first five issues about the Avengers being involved in battles where they do not remember everything about what was happening. It was confusing at the start, but it developed into a storyline that really kicked off with the final few pages of this book, with Captain America giving us the answer to the puzzle. And I was literally shocked with the reveal. It was a wonderful reveal after a book that showed how capable and intelligent Spider-Man is. Just a hoot of a book and I can’t wait to see where it will go from here.

Comic Catch-Up # 6

January 25, 2023

Unexpected snow day.

I got a call early this morning saying that school was cancelled for the day and that opened up the opportunity to do my next Comic Catch-Up post. I hope to maybe get a second one done today later after I get the new comics (since Wednesday is new comics day!). Still, this gave me the chance to dive back into the pile of comics that I have been trying to whittle down.

Captain Marvel #43. I have not read much from Captain Marvel for quite a while and I have not yet gone back and found all of the past issues. That is a job for later. However, this is the new story arc called “Revenge of the Brood” and that sounds like a great place to jump back onboard. Written by Kelly Thompson and drawn by Sergio Davila, Captain Marvel gets a message from Rogue indicating that she is in some kind of trouble. She goes to see the X-Men and a team of the mutants and some of Carol’s friends head off to see what they can discover. I liked the use of the X-Men here, including Gambit, Polaris, Wolverine (Lara) and Psylocke. It is also cool to see Hazmat, who I always enjoyed in the Avengers Academy run, back in the book. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) is another fun addition to the team. This issue is pretty much of a set-up for what is going to be moving forward, but I was always a fan of the Brood from the X-Men books and I am looking forward to continuing this book. I have a few more parts of this storyline already just waiting for the proper time to read.

Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1. Diving really deep back for this issue, we get Sam Wilson back in the Captain America gear and he is teaming up with the new Falcon. Some of the story’s interactions with Sam and Misty Knight were personal favorites for me. The last couple of pages of this issue do set up the series with an interesting note as a character by the name of The White Wolf goes to see the imprisoned Crossbones. This issue was written by Tochi Onyebuchi with art by R.B, Silva.

Wakanda #1. Two stories inside this issue as I learned that T’Challa is on the run from his country of origin. Apparently things happening in Black Panther series that I’ll need to check in with soon. This first story featured Shuri doing battle with Rhino, titled “Shuri” written by Stephanie Williams and penciled by Paco Medina. The second story was “History of the Black Panthers Part One” written by Evan Narcisse and drawn by Natacha Bustos. Rhino here is one of the issues I have with Marvel. I love the continuity of Marvel Comics, but there have been recent comics where Rhino has been less evil and developed more as a character. That does not seem to be included in this story. Some times Marvel does this with their secondary villains where they take on a different personality depending on which book they are in. I’ve seen the same thing with Taskmaster or Juggernaut or Sandman. I want more consistency.

Peacemaker: Disturbing the Peace #1. I picked this up just after the run of the great Peacemaker series on HBO Max. This was written by Garth Ennis with art by Garry Brown. The thing with this is it was nothing like the series. I’m not saying that the book was bad, because it was a very solid story, but it was not what I was expecting. It felt as if this should not have been a Peacemaker series, but, instead, the main character was someone different. Peacemaker was telling his story to a psychiatrist. It was compelling, but it just did not seem like John Cena to me and that was the Peacemaker that I loved.

Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1-4. I did not know that there would be five issues of this limited series otherwise I may have waited to read it until I got number five. I enjoyed this tremendously though. Written by Taboo & B. Earl and drawn by Juan Ferreyra, this had a throwback flavor to Bill Sienkiewicz’s work on New Mutants in the early days of that book. They tap into the Demon Bear again and this works really well. Unlike the new Kraven Spider-Man book, this falls into the actual continuity, which I like so much more. There is a distinct horror feel to the book and Spidey fits right in. I am excited to see how this wraps itself up.

Coherence (2013)

Day: January 25th, Movie: 26

I had low expectations for this film as I played it on Prime. I had no specific reasons to think it was going to be bad, but I just had never heard anything about it. I’m not even sure how it wound up on the list to watch. However it happened, I am so glad that I saw this, because it is one of the best films that I have watched during this Genre-ary Sci-Fi DailyView.

A group of friends were getting together for a dinner party. With the inclusion of a party guest’s plus one, tensions were beginning to rise among the group. Discussion switched to Miller’s Comet which was going to pass overhead, very close to the earth, that night and how previous comets affected human behavior. When the neighborhood lost power, bizarre things began to happen and the group were tested with their friendship.

I loved the story of this movie. It was intelligent and creative. It kept you guessing as it slowly revealed certain details of what was going on. It balanced the weirdness with plenty of relationship drama and character interactions. The script was clever and well developed, keeping the audience uncertain about what was happening and how everything fit together.

It was great to see Nicholas Brendan (who played Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Brendan played Mike, an actor whose house was the location of the dinner party. All of these characters had personalities and were more than just taking up space. Time was given to the development of the characters which make us feel more for them than just a group of random people dealing with strange occurrences.

The main character involved was Em (Emily Baldoni), who was dating Kevin (Maury Sterling). Em was bright and inquisitive as things started to happen. She was one of the major people involved in determining what was happening and speculating on what they should do. She does a fantastic job of showing her confusion and uncertainty of the choices that they make. She also takes the biggest swing in the third act, which was truly unexpected.

The fact that this movie was made with such a low budget and limited effects and was still remarkably effective and filled with anxiety showed how successful director James Ward Byrkit was in, this, his directorial debut.

Coherence grabbed my attention immediately and never gave it up. The film ran for a wonderfully paced 88 minutes and every minute of it felt important and vital to either the development of the story or of the characters. The success of the film is that there was a balance between the character study and the sci-fi elements. I found this movie totally engaging and entertaining.

Enemy Mine (1985)

Day: January 24th, Movies: 25

Enemy Mine was a film that I was aware of, but that I never watched. There may have been a few scenes that I had seen before, but I remember never being that interested in it. This allowed me to watch it for the Genre-ary Sci-Fi DailyView.

According to IMDB, “At the height of the devastating intergalactic war between humans and the bipedal reptilian humanoids known as Dracs, the earthling single-seat fighter pilot, Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid), and the saurian pilot, Jeriba Shigan (Louis Gossett Jr), engage in a furious dogfight. As both sworn enemies crash-land on the desolate, inhospitable planet, Fyrine IV, they will have to put aside their hatred for each other, share knowledge and experience to fight the forces of nature and, above all, work in unison to survive. Can their forced coexistence and uneasy camaraderie pave the way for a genuine inter-species friendship?”

The film feels as if it is split into two distinct sections. The first part is the relationship between Quaid and Gossett Jr. and the second part is with Quaid and Bumper Robison who played Zammis. The first part was decent as the chemistry between the two lead actors was strong. The second half became a bit messy as the story devolved into a series of plot contrivances.

I did like Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr and their characters. Both of them did a great job during the time when the two stranded pilots were slowly learning about each other and learning to trust each other.

Some of the passage of time felt inconsistent. I wasn’t sure how long they were together or how much time they actually spent with each other. Though it may not be the most important aspect of the story, it did had me thinking about it as I watched, which is not ideal.

The culture of the Dracs was fascinating and seemed to be laid out effectively. The strength of the race was important to make sure there was a contradiction to the human race. There was a lot of creativity in the development of the Dracs and that carried the film for the first section.

The second part felt rushed and was disappointing. I would have liked this story to move in a different direction than what they had chosen.

Overall, I found Enemy Mine to be a passable film that I enjoyed parts of. There was nothing that completely turned me off.

Silent Running (1972)

Day: January 23rd, Movie: 24

Today’s Genre-ary Sci-Fi DailyView is a film from 1972 featuring Bruce Dern in a futuristic tale.

There is definitely an environmental flare to the story of a future where plant life had got extinct on the earth and a company attempted to preserve as many species as possible on a space greenhouse attached to a cargo spaceship.

Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) was one of the four crewmen aboard the Valley Forge ship who was the main botanist and ecologist, was involved with the greenhouses. However, the people in charge decided that they could not afford to keep the greenhouses and they wanted the cargo ships running product instead. So they sent an order for the crew to destroy the greenhouse.

Lowell did not want this to happen so he wound up turning on the others, leading to their deaths and he kept a couple of the greenhouses active and he communicates with the mission control that he was lost in space.

Lowell then went ahead trying to keep the greenhouse alive as he reprogramed some droids to help him.

To be honest, I found this fairly dull for most of the film. I did like the wrap up of the film, but it felt very slow and I did not have much of a connection with Lowell. He was a murderer and I had issue with what he did.

Bruce Dern did a nice job. I do think he is a great actor and he had to do most of the work on his own. Lowell seemed as if he was slowly going crazy from the isolation. I mean, he named the three robots and started to treat them like children. He brought this crazed character to reality.

The film also seemed to dismiss the environmental angle after the first act of the movie.

Overall, while I appreciate the shot this took, I was not a fan of Silent Running. It had some moments, but I found it dull and I could not support the protagonist.

The Last of Us (1 x 02)

SPOILERS AHEAD

Infected

Another powerful episode. The Last of Us on HBO Max is just in its second week, but it has already become a must watch show.

Joel and Tess start their trip to take Elle to the people they were supposed to but they discovered that their path was more chaotic than they had hoped it would be.

This episode truly ramped up the suspense with some close fighting with the Clickers, which looked sensational, by the way.

Tess met her fate here. I have never played the game, but I suspected that Tess would not be long for the world, since I knew that the game was focused on two characters. While we do not see Tess get bitten, we do see her sacrifice herself to help give Joel and Elle a chance to get away from the horde. And the “kiss” between Tess and the Stalker was creepy as heck.

The episode began with another flashback, this time in Indonesia. They showed the first known case of infection and how the doctor realized that things were forever changed. When the doctor said the only thing that they could do was to “bomb” was a potent moment.

The Last of Us has so much tension as we see these characters that we have bonded with so quickly going through the horrors Tess’s death was tough to watch and you feel for Joel as he loses yet another person. Elle showed her character with every snarky remark she made.

The visuals of this show are off the charts. The scenes look so great. It must be a green screen, but you would never guess with what they show. The infected look amazing. Everything is going great on this show.

Looking forward to whatever is next.

Comic Catch-Up #5

Still January 22, 2023

Sunday afternoon had some time available and I had done a touch of organizing. I found Thunderbolts#3 which completed that set. I figured I could do a few more comics today.

Thunderbolts #1-5. Written by Jim Zub and drawn by Sean Izaakse, this five issue series featured a new team of Thunderbolts including Hawkeye, Spectrum, America Chavez, the new Power Man, Gutsen Glory, Persuasion and Eegro. This series felt rushed, though I did really like the characters and the basic story. It was just starting to come together and then it was over. This felt like it should have been 12-issues at least to develop things more. I would buy a regular series featuring these characters, but this felt like it was just not enough.

All-Out Avengers #3-4. I found issue #3 and I read these. Written by Derek Landy and drawn by Greg Land, the problem I had in the first two issues is now the running, behind the scenes storyline. The Avengers were realizing that there was something weird happening with their memories. There have been pretty good stories involving the Avengers and I have to say that I am invested in who is behind what is going on.

Blade: Vampire Nation #1. Written by Mark Russell and art by David Wachter. I found this one dull and uninteresting. Half way through the book I was bored and lost my attention. I like the character of Blade, but this did not do it for me.

Little Fish (2021)

Day: January 22nd, Movie: 23

Science fiction works very well for the smaller, independent movies and Little Fish from 2021 is a good example of a movie that has a limited release and is looking to tell a story.

In the movie Little Fish, the world is suffering from a virus that has been spreading across the land that leads to those people who are infected to lose parts of, if not all of, their memory. The film focuses in on the life of a recently married couple, Emma (Olivia Cooke) and Jude (Jack O’Connell) and the struggles of both individuals who had started to forget the important details of their lives.

There is an experimental cure for the virus as well and both partners debate whether or not the cure is worth the risks.

Little Fish is a heart-breaking film with two strong performances from the two lead actors.

The film did not spend much time on the actual virus and how it came to be. I think it is clearly a metaphor for anything that might come between a couple. There is plenty of ties to Alzheimer’s Disease as well. The virus was a tool to explore the relationships between people and see how the outside forces bring such a strain.

Little Fish is a lovely, small movie that is beautifully shot and exquisitely acted. It was a nice gem found on Hulu.

Comic Catch-Up #4

January 22, 2023

This is now the fourth day in a row for the January version of Comic Catch-Up, which was unexpected. The consecutive run should end as of tomorrow unless something unforeseen happens. As I have stated, I plan on having a daily Comics Catch-Up during February.

I have to get some organization done too so I can start to attack these books in some kind of order. I am currently in search of Thunderbolts #3 so I can read that five issue series. I have located #1, 2, 4, and 5, so #3 is a goal for the day.

Got a good chunk of reading done this morning, across several comic companies.

All-Out Avengers #1 and #2. Written by Derek Landy and drawn by Greg Land, All-Out Avengers was confusing for me. Issue one and issue two did not seem to have any tie in with each other and issue two started off with Dr. Doom as a member of the Avengers fighting another Dr. Doom. I do not know where any of this happened. It was not tied to issue one. It was so weird that I was wondering if I had to go searching for other Avengers titles that might tie in to it, but there did not appear to be such a thing. Both stories were good (Spidey was in #1. Yay!) but they confused me.

Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings #1. “Fathers and Sons” Written by Gene Luen Yang with art by Michael Yg. I guess I should have waited for this until I had read the Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings series. This seemed to be a one shot issue that helped tie up the story from that limited series, which meant a lot of it was confusing for me. I’ll have to get that organized and onto the list to read.

Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #1. “Chapter One“. This is the first DC book that I read for the Comic Catch-Up and I liked it. Blue Beetle is a character that I have always liked, especially the new version, Jaime Reyes. He does have a Marvel feel to the character. Jaime has a bunch of troubles and Superman shows up to ground Blue Beetle. Written by Josh Trujillo and drawn by Adrian Gutierrez.

Deadpool #1-3. Written by Alyssa Wong and art by Martin Coccolo, Deadpool is back again. I have been up an down on Deadpool over the years. There have been series that I have enjoyed featuring the Merc with a Mouth and there have been series that I couldn’t care less about. So far, this has been interesting with a piece of the Carnage symbiote implanted and percolating inside of Wade by a villain named The Harrower. Wade is also after Doc Ock as an audition to join a secret society of assassins called the Atelier.

Mary Jane & Black Cat #1 & #2. Two of my favorite Spidey flames team up during the Dark Web crossover event. MJ has superpowers, which I have missed somewhere. Black Cat wants to restart a relationship with Spidey and that is making her uncomfortable in this strange team up taking place in Limbo with Belasco needing Black Cat’s thief skills. This was probably my favorite fo the Dark Web crossovers so far, even if that is not saying much. Written by Jed MacKay with art by Vincenzo Carratù.

The Riddler: Year One Book Two. Written by Paul Dano and drawn by Stevan Subic. I have liked this series so far and this book continues to be dark and gritty. Paul Dano as the writer, who is expanding the story of the Riddler, the character he played in this past year’s The Batman is a cool idea. I have always loved the Riddler and this interpretation was intriguing.

There’s Something Wrong with Patrick Todd #2-4. This is one of the series that my comic shop made me buy. I would not have paid any attention to this book from Aftershock, but my friend Todd said how his name and Patrick’s (another person at Comic World) name were put together in the title. I will say though that the concept of the book was fascinating and I liked the character of Patrick Todd so far. The introduction of the crazed Zeus gives us a mysterious reason to look for as well.

Mimic (1997)

Day: January 21st, Movie: 22

Tonight was the first time during the Genre-ary Sci-Fi DailyView that I have watched more than one movie in a day. During the year-long DailyView I routinely watched multiple films on certain days and even in the June Swoon, I wound up watching one more movie than days in the month.

Last week, I started to fill out the schedule for the remainder of the month and I was noticing that there were more films on my planning sheet than I needed. That was the first time that I considered taking a Saturday or Sunday (or both) and doing more than one for that day.

Since I was already on HBO Max for Journey to the Center of the Earth, I figured this would be the opportune moment to watch another film that appeared on the streaming service. This was 1997’s Mimic, a sci-fi/horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and involved the genetic engineered creation of an amalgam of a praying mantis and a termite into a creature known as the “Judas” breed to solve the deadly “Strickler’s disease” which was killing the children of the city.

Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) was responsible for the creation of the Judas breed, but since they were all female and should have had a lifespan of just a few months, she believed that they would just die out. But as Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park “Life will find a way.” The Judas breed began to evolve and a large colony of the insects lived in the subway station under New York City.

When Susan discovered the existence of the evolving Judas breed, she and her husband Dr. Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam) began their search for the colony hoping to be able to cut the problem off before anything else happened.

Mimic is tense and suspenseful, showing how effective, once again, that Guillermo del Toro is with these types of creature features. The Judas breed bugs were remarkably gross and disgusting and there are scenes in Mimic that are difficult to stomach.

Insects, cockroaches, bugs are a naturally occurring fear among many people and make them the antagonists of this film as smart and frightening. There were some brutal moments during the movie that did not hold back.

There were some notable actors in supporting or smaller roles in Mimic that make the film better. This included Charles S. Dutton, Josh Brolin, Norman Reedus, Giancarlo Giannini, Doug Jones and F. Murray Abraham.

The film looked great for 1997 and the ending was dramatically done. On the whole, Mimic was an enjoyable horror/sci-fi movie that showed the skills at the time of a future Academy Award winning director. Mimic is a lot of horrifyingly gross fun.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Day: January 21st, Movie: 21

The sci-fi film tonight is the classic 1959 film Journey to the Center of the Earth. I started it off and I couldn’t believe that I saw one of the main character was being played by Pat Boone. Then he wound up in front of a piano and singing a song. Weird. It wasn’t the start that I was expecting.

Accordig to IMDB, “Edinburgh university professor Sir Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason) believes he has found an very old message from a long lost scientist who may have found the way to journey to the center of the Earth. With his assistant, student Alec McKuen (Pat Boone), he sets off for Iceland where an entrance in a volcanic range is to be found. They are soon joined by Carla Goetabaug (Arlene Dahl), whose scientist-husband was recently murdered, and Icelander Hans Belker (Peter Ronson) as they descend into the bowels of the Earth.

This was a film definitely of its time. Some of the attitudes of the men in the party directed toward Carla was a bit archaic. Yet, she was fairly competent and not necessarily always a damsel in distress. It did happen a few times, but it was 1959, after all.

The ideas of what was found at the center of the earth was bizarre, yet cool in a “I don’t know anything about science” type of way. The interactions among the characters was decent and the best part was the duck, Gertrude. The end of Gertrude was a true tragedy.

The film had plenty of moments that were clear inspiration for other film-makers. There was a scene of them being chased by a giant rolling boulder which was an inspiration for Steven Spielberg in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Some of the creatures that were found at the center of the earth reminded me of special effects in the original Clash of the Titans films.

This was a lot of fun and I am glad that I was able to watch this classic film on HBO Max. It feels like I was able to check off a box on that list by watching this.

Missing

What has happened to January? Every year, January is the dumping ground for the garbage movies, but something has changed. This month so far there have been three movies that were absolute fire: M3GAN, Plane and now Missing. That is great and it is awesome that I can go to a theater in January without expecting the film I am going to see end up on the worst film of the year list.

A few years ago, there was a fantastic movie called Searching which starred John Cho as a father whose daughter had disappeared and he used social media and her online presence to find her before it was too late. The idea to that film is very similar to Missing, except that this time the missing person was the mother and her daughter was on the computer using her intelligence and online skills to map out the mystery. The people behind Searching are the same involved in Missing.

I think this story in Missing is stronger than the one in Searching. There are some twists happening in the film and they legitimately were keeping me off balance. There were some times that I thought I knew what was going on, but then something flipped and changed my idea. Now, to be fair, because of that, I am not 100% sure that everything fell neatly into place at the end. I would almost like to see it again to see how it played when I was aware of the ending.

The actor playing the daughter, June, was Storm Reid, and I thought she brought it, big time. She handled the difficult scenes and she was able to create tension and emotion while searching though Facebook and hacking into e-mails. Not the easiest of jobs and Reid did it beautifully. I think she has a bright future in movies as her performance here was a highlight for me.

I also loved the character of Javi, played by film veteran Joaquim de Almeida. Javi got involved through a clever idea from June and their relationship over Face Time was one of the best and most supportive of the film. It goes to show that there are good people in the world who will help do what is right.

I loved seeing Ken Leung, who played Kevin. Leung appeared on the last few seasons of LOST as Miles and made me fall in love with him as a performer.

Beside the performances, the story structure was remarkable. I have not felt a story being this active and engaging in a long time, and most of the film was spent clicking on links on the computer or searching through old files for ideas. The script was just so intelligent and clever that it did not fail to be filled with suspense and to push the mystery of the film along. Part of the intelligence of the film was showing how bright June was in finding pathways to clues among the internet and putting her ideas into motion.

As I mentioned, I am not sure everything really links up perfectly at the end, but I did not feel the need to retrace every step of the movie to try and find the gotcha moment. I do believe that if I wanted to nitpick the film, there may be some places where I could.

Do you have to stretch your suspension of disbelief? Sure, but I do not think it has to stretch more than, say, believing Lois Lane can’t tell Clark Kent is Superman because he put on some glasses and combed his hair differently. The implausibility of Missing does not hurt the film at all.

I loved this movie and I was invested in it from the beginning. I love character that are smart and can execute that intelligence effectively and Storm Reid does that in spades.

This is a rare film that could be a Top 10 best film of the year that came out in January. It is my early year favorite movie as of now.

4.75 stars