Category Archives: Uncategorized

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

I’ll be back, 3.5 readers…with a review of the latest time traveling kill bot movie.

After the last Terminator movie of a few years ago, I really thought this franchise had been terminated.  They made two great films a long time ago, and everything else has been garbage ever since.

Generally, they are all the same story.  The robots travel through time, wanting to kill John Connor.  Someone has to save John, usually Arnie in the form of a good terminator, usually with a human helper and so on.

That gold has been mined and nothing but dirt remains.

I’ll admit I was surprised as this latest installment, IMO, didn’t totally suck.  It doesn’t deserve a spot next to the first two, but among the list of garbage sequels, it is the least trashy.  It has great effects, at least an attempt at a plot and action that kept me riveted, even if it is all just the same story told over again.

Linda Hamilton and Arnie are given a break from the nursing home, this time to play Sarah Connor and yet another terminator turned good.  While Hamilton makes the flick, the storyline that gets Arnie back into the picture causes the movie to jump the shark (he’s a terminator who learned the error of his ways and retired from terminating to start a family and um…how the hell does that even work?)

Together, they help an augmented human from the future (that girl from Halt and Catch Fire and I’m too lazy to look up her name) save Dani (again I’m too lazy to look up her name) who will become the leader of the next robot resistance if she can be saved from a new brand of terminator who is able to seperate his robot self from his human-looking self (also not going to look up his name.)

Yes, it’s the same old story jammed into a different wrapper but the best I can say it is if we rank all Terminator films, it is number three on a scale of best to worst, though a distant third from the two originals.  Really, this franchise should have stopped at two.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Happy Halloween, 3.5 Readers

Treat yourself to one of my FREE books.  Yes, they will be free now throughout the weekend:

 

 

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Watching the Old Addams Family Show and Movies

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

After seeing the recent cartoon, I became nostalgic and was pleased to find that a lot of the 1960s original Addams Family TV show episodes are available on YouTube…legit too as in put up by MGM.

Whenever I have 20 mins free, I watch one and am impressed with the wit, the comedic timing, and the overall understanding of how comedy is basically committing to an absurd premise and sticking with it.

I also watched both 1990s movies – The Addams Family and Addams Family Values.  To my surprise, they hold up, though there are plenty of jokes that are funnier to people who were around in the 1990s.  Raul Julia was so full of life as Gomez that it makes me sad (and surprised) that he passed away not long after these movies were made.

Movie Review – Joker (2019)

Put on a happy face, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Joker.

At the outset, I wondered about the necessity of this film.  After all, when we have the Justice League films trying to get off the ground, is it wise to put out a standalone film about Batman’s nemesis set in the early 1980s?

And does a Joker origin story interfere with the Clown Prince of Crime’s mystique?  After all, one of the scarier parts of 2008’s The Dark Knight is that the Joker is a wild card, and we know so little about who he is or what motivates him, so he is unpredictable and can’t be reasoned with.

But oh well.  Screw all that.  The movie was made and if you take it on its own, without delving into deeper comic book nerd considerations, its a rather intense look at how a combination of mental illness and a breakdown of the system can cause a man to snap.

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a socially awkward loner who eeks out a meager living as a party clown while trying to launch a stand-up comedy career, an art form in which he has no talent whatsoever, despite his grand delusions to the contrary.  He dreams of one day being discovered by Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro playing a Johnny Carson-esque late night talk show host.)

Arthur’s reality is much more grim.  He lives in squalor and spends his free time taking care of his equally mentally ill mother, Penny (Frances Conroy) while pining for his neighbor, Sophie (Zazie Beetz of Deadpool’s Domino fame.)

Without delving into spoilers, the majority of the film focuses on Arthur’s descent into madness as little by little, the little he had that kept him going is taken away from him.  The system is the villain of the film, that cold hearted, uncaring, unfeeling bureaucracy that takes away his psychiatric appointments, his medication, his job, his hopes, his dreams and after plunging him into failure, tells him there’s no opportunity left for him, because he’s such a lousy failure.

This movie has been controversial because, well, I suppose I can’t tell you exactly why without spoiling the ending and admittedly, 3/4th of the movie is a bit of a slog, slowly building up to the ending that leaves you on the edge of your seat when Arthur finally stops giving a shit about the norms of the society that stopped giving a shit about him.  Suffice to say, there’s a lot of media concern that this movie celebrates and/or glorifies the idea of people committing violence in attempt to garner attention but…well, at the end of the day, it is a movie and perhaps these concerns miss a point, namely that taking away movies is but a band-aid, whereas developing a comprehensive plan to provide mental health care and opportunities for those who are struggling would be the better solution.

As a comic book nerd, I didn’t like that Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, is portrayed as a villain.  The Waynes are usually portrayed as the only rich people in Gotham who care, so this is a deviation.  However, without giving much away, there’s a do-it-yourself aspect to this movie, in that you can choose what you want to believe and what you don’t.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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A Rap About the Seventeen Cents I Made Selling My Books on Amazon

rappa

Uh.  Yeah.  Uh.  Yeah.

Crank up the bass.

Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Comin’ straight at ya face.

Seventeen!

Three less than twenty,

It sure is plenty.

Seventeen!

Eighty-seven less than a buck,

You know I don’t give a…

Seventeen!  Seventeen!

You know a man can only dream of

Seventeen!

A dime and a nickel, two portraits of Lincoln.

Go to the club and my breath is stinkin…

of Cristal!  Because I’m a baller.

Because I’m rolling up to my crib, still chasin the green.

But until I get some foldin’ cash, I’ll have my seventeen!

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Movie Review – Rambo: Last Blood (2019)

Last Blood?  I sure hope so!

BQB here with a review of one Rambo film too many.

Part of me gets it.  Sylvester Stallone may be old, but he’s still kicking, so he wants to work.  The film franchises he’s made over the years are like multi-million dollar businesses, so you can’t blame a guy for wanting to make as much dough as he can for as long as he can.  Maybe, just maybe, he even loves the characters he’s created and wants to add more to their story.

It worked with Rocky 6 and the spin-off Creed movies.  But in Creed, an old Rocky is passing the torch to a younger fighter, whereas in Rambo…well, Rambo is old now.  The appeal of the original Rambo films was that Rambo was a bad ass who could murder throngs of villains with his pinky finger.

Today?  Not so much, and at least the powers that be realized that a shirtless old Rambo running around, shooting 700 henchmen without reloading his gun once wasn’t going to fly.

Ultimately the film is a mashup of Taken (in that the beloved niece of his housekeeper gets kidnapped by a Mexican sex trafficking gang) and Home Alone (as Rambo lures the bad hombres back to his ranch where he subjects them to a series of elaborate and brutal traps.

Part of me is nostalgic for the 80s action flicks I grew up with.  That part of me enjoyed it.  Another part of me is an adult and that part wonders whether, you know, just because something can be made, does that mean it should be made?

Was there a Rambo film with an elderly protagonist that could have kicked a lot of ass?  Possibly.  Trainers are an essential part of a fighter’s life, so that led to a lot of screen time for Rocky in Creed.  Maybe Old Rambo could have taken the role of a mentor to a younger soldier who goes berserk and, you know, as I say it, no that wouldn’t have worked.  This was probably the best Rambo that was possible.

Still, was it necessary to see our longtime hero tortured in his old age so needlessly?  The film begins with Rambo on a ranch, enjoying the outdoors, being one with nature.  He’s found friendship with his housekeeper because I assume the idea of Rambo marrying an age appropriate woman made Sylvester Stallone want to puke.  He’s even found the daughter he never had in the form of the housekeeper’s daughter that he helped raise so…I guess there wouldn’t have been much of a movie in letting Rambo live out his retirement years in peace but holy shit, it’s just sad this guy keeps getting tortured.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  The violence is a bit over the top, even for a Rambo film.  There were a few parts where the gore was so silly I openly laughed.  If you’ve never seen the films before, the first two are the best and the third acceptable.  This latest, and hopefully last one, is worth a rental, but nothing to rush to the theater for.

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My Online Auction Addiction and What Should I Do With My Punisher Helmet?

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

In recent weeks, I developed an addiction to an online auction site.  I don’t know why, just…so much fun memorabilia and while I’m not rich by any stretch I am finally at a point in my life where I can afford the very occasional frivolity.

Long story short, I bid on and won a Punisher football helmet signed by Jon Bernthal, the actor who plays the Punisher on the Netflix series.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  In retrospect, I don’t like football.  I’m not a huge Jon Bernthal fan.  I think he’s ok. Honestly, I didn’t know his name and always referred to him as that actor who played Shane on The Walking Dead.  By the way, I always thought Shane sucked because his big gripe is that Rick was mad that he banged his wife like literally five minutes after Rick was presumed dead.  Although I guess if I thought Shane sucked then Jon Bernthal did his job.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t dislike Jon Bernthal….I just don’t worship the guy or anything either.

Long story short, I bought it with an eye toward putting it on a shelf that heretofore had nothing on it.  But when it arrived, it came in the helmet’s original box and inside, it was sealed in a plastic bag so….I guess now I’m worried about taking it out.

Will air, dust and fingerprints ruin the Jon Bernthal signature?  Should I just tuck it away in the closet somewhere?  Perhaps in ten years it would have a nice resale value?  In fact, maybe I could secretly root for Jon Bernthal to become an Academy Award winner so its value could increase.  Maybe Jon Bertnhal will score a role in the Toilet Gator movie!

Then again, I don’t know.  Maybe it would be fun to keep it on the shelf and look at it.  Perhaps I could get a glass case for it or something, or is a glass case overdoing it?

It is also signed by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, who plays The Punisher’s technical assistant Micro.  I gotta be honest, I only watched the first season so I didn’t know there was a Micro.  I had never heard of this actor before but I could root for him to be an Academy Award winner too.

Hell, if Bernthal and Moss-Bachrach win in the same year I could retire off this thing.

Sidenote- I gotta be honest, I originally wanted to win an Avengers football helmet signed by Stan Lee, but the bids on that were way too high for a humble blog proprietor to afford.

Double sidenote – This wasn’t totally silly because as a kid, I did like and read the Punisher comics.  I don’t know why, I just thought out of all the superheroes, he was the most believable.  He had no special abilities or powers.  He was just a vigilante who violated all norms of due process and criminal procedure law and just shot bad guys in the face.  Like honestly, I love Batman, but at least Batman would leave a bad guy hog tied so the cops could find him and arrest him and put him on trial.  The Punisher would just extrajudiciously decide that a dude was guilty and blow his head off with a bazooka.  As an adult, I do realize that this lack of due process is wrong though so Batman is probably the better vigilante.

In conclusion, should I leave the helmet sealed in the bag and inside the box and in a closet or should I take it out and put it on a shelf?

(Sidenote – I also bought a first issue, first edition GI Joe comic book that came sealed in a plastic case and a 1966 Superman Comic Book that did not come sealed in a plastic case and that after that, that was it.  OK it wasn’t it, I actually bid on a lot more things but thankfully, I lost all those auctions and then after that I stopped and quit cold turkey..)

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Is this Pug…

pug-801826_1280

…a cold pug who is being swaddled to warmth?

…a wise monk pug?

…a Jedi pug?

…a stoic pug?

…a pug who stole a towel?

…a pug who bought a towel?

…a pug who once was wet but now is dry?

…a member of an ancient order of pug assassins?

…a wise pug elder?

…a wizard pug?

…the keeper of ancient pug secrets?

What do you think this pug is?  Answer in the comments?

TV Review – Stranger Things Season 3 (1980)

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

It took me awhile but I finally got through Season 3 of Stranger Things.

These are probably bland observations but I’ll make them all the same.

#1 – The nostalgia factor for someone who grew up in the 80s is fun.  From the music choices to the overall feel, the Duffer brothers know that decade which is odd because I don’t think they spent a lot of time in it.

#2 – Often in movies about kids who save the day, the kids are usually presented as geniuses and the adults as bumbling idiots who get in the way  Here, not so much.  Hopper and Joyce are integral to the plot and aren’t treated like dummies getting in the kids’ way.  Also, the kids are kids.  They make kid mistakes and they need, or rather even seek out parental help because they know their limits whereas other films would show a kid genius who is just being slowed down by the adults.

#3 – Look away if you don’t want spoilers, but the final mall battle where the kids throw fireworks bombs at the monster is visually stunning and fun to watch.

#4 – Russians are the villains and kids and adults alike really dump on them throughout the season, calling them commies and deriding communism as evil and corrupt.  I didn’t think that was allowed anymore in today’s PC world, even in a period piece.

#5 – They do tend to work 80s era actors into the series.  Winona Ryder, aka Joyce was a popular kid actor in the 80s.  Sean Astin of Goonies fame has a brief role as her love interest in Season 2.  In Season 3, Cary Elwes of Princess Bride fame plays a villainous mayor.  Comedian Paul Reiser plays a scientist that experiments on the evil monsters.

#6 – I think the challenge for the show was trying to keep reinvent itself after an initial plotline that was cool at first but over time became somewhat limiting.  For example, after two seasons of battling evil monsters that inhabit the “upside-down” version of their town (basically, an evil parallel universe) one wonders why anyone still chooses to continue to live in Hawkins, Indiana.  Season 3 upped the game by bringing Russians conducting an evil experiment in the bowels of that 1980s staple, the shopping mall and it looks like (spoiler alert) Season 4 will likely involve a plot to rescue Hopper from the upside-down.

#7 – I’ve run out of observations but if you have any, leave them in the comments.  In the meantime, don’t click on the video below if you don’t want a spoiler.  Otherwise, enjoy the kids’ rendition of “The Neverending Story” theme song.

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