Tag Archives: comic books

Avengers Homecoming Dance Video

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  Just wanted to share this video that’s been making the rounds.  A bunch of kids at an Arizona high school did an Avengers themed dance routine and I have to say, it’s pretty on point.  Everything is so detailed that they had to have spent a ton of time on this.  The songs are keyed into the characters, they do battles, there weren’t any screw ups as far as I can tell, I mean, these kids could go pro.

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Movie Review – Glass (2019)

I’ve got to stop seeing movies in January, 3.5 readers.  I really do.

BQB here with a review of Glass.

It’s funny how things come around full circle.  Nineteen years ago, I saw M. Knight Shyamalan’s Unbreakable and thought it was a ridiculous pile of crap.  Nearly two decades later, the literally waited for by no one sequel is equally crappy.

Hollywood types have got to start asking themselves a key question – just because they CAN make a movie, does it mean they should?  No, I get the free speech argument.  I’m not telling them to not make a shitty movie if that is their desire.  I also get that shit is in the eye of the beholder.  Overall though, I just wonder if there is limited time and money to make a movie, then maybe a movie maker should make a good movie rather than a shitty one.  Worse, maybe take a risk on a movie with a good idea but no history rather than slap together a pile of crap because it has characters who were in the pile of crap years ago and now making endless sequels to everything, no matter how crappy, is the vogue thing to do.

Poor. M. Knight.  I’m really going to take a dump on this movie.  But the twist is that I’m going to pee on it too.

Ironically, 2016’s Split was good…and also a January movie.  I wrote on this fine blog that perhaps it was the start of a Shyamalanassaince.  It was a decent, scary part-horror/part-thriller/part-mystery about a shrink working with the so-called good personalities of a schizophrenic to defeat an incoming monstrous personality.

Top notch, Knight.  Shoulda stopped there.  Take the win. Move on.

Alas, Knight (because I refuse to write Shama…malamalama…whatever…a hundred more times) doubled down.  He decided to pit James McAvoy’s “Split” character against the Bruce Willis character, with evil assistance from the Samuel L. Jackson character, both from Unbreakable.

Though in the ending of Split, it looked like a movie in which Willis’ indestructible vigilante, David Dunn, hunts “The Beast” i.e. the worst of “The Horde” or the collective name for all of McAvoy’s character’s personalities, it turns out to have been a shitty idea.

There’s little hunt to be had.  Instead, Dunn, Horde and Glass find themselves in the same looney bin.  A shrink (Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple) arrives on the scene, claiming to be the world’s foremost expert on convincing screwballs to stop believing they are comic book super heroes…because apparently, that’s a real, legit thing that people study…that or no one in Hollywood wants to tell Knight no.

Dr. Staple subjects the trio to all manner of experiments, drilling it into them that their so-called powers are not real but rather, anything extraordinary they have done is just pure coincidence.  The Beast isn’t really strong.  He just managed to push away some jail bars that were rotting.  David isn’t really indestructible.  He has just been really lucky in avoiding death thus far.  And Mr. Glass may be smart, but so are other people, and his gift really just lies in talking chumps into thinking he’s a genius.

There are way too many logical leaps you have to take.  With three highly infamous nutjobs all under one roof, the mental hospital has ridiculously lax security.  Allusions are made to a showdown at a new, state of the art tower but the trio never get past a show down in the nut house parking lot.

Overall, it’s dumb.  Just plain dumb.  It’s cool that Spence Treat Clarke, Dunn’s son from the first film, is back and all grown up as his father’s assistant in vigilante crime fighting.  In fact, the first twenty minutes of the film make it look like a real treat – that Willis is going to track this psycho through the streets of Philly with the help of his son.  Alas, it just gets dumb after that.  Pure dumbness.

STATUS: Not shelf-worthy.  Seeing this and Serenity in the same weekend just makes me weep for Hollywood’s future.  I feel like Knight shot himself in the foot here, because Split was good, but rather than just take the win and think of a whole new idea, he did the old “Let me take a part of a movie that people liked and put it with a part of a movie that people might remember and serve it up like a three bean casserole and hey, it has a bit of recognizability so maybe people will see it.”  Ugh.  Please don’t see it.  Stop encouraging Knight.  I know he’s got talent.  He just has to stop chasing that twist dragon.  He got on it with The Sixth Sense and then he never let it go.  He thinks he’s going to outdo his past twists and he never will.  Knight, really, it’s ok.  You can make a story that does not have a twist.  In fact, a movie from you without a twist?  That would be the greatest twist of all.

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RIP Stan Lee

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

This is a nerdy blog so you can expect I’d have to say something about Stan Lee.

I guess my first memories of him are when I was a kid, watching Spiderman cartoons on Saturday mornings and hearing him narrate, calling the kids listening “True believer” and using his catchphrase, “Excelsior!”

It’s sad but it is also hard to feel bad because a) 95 is about the best anyone can hope for b) I’m not sure how well he was physically but he was doing well enough that he appeared in cameos in every Marvel movie since 2008 and that’s better than any of my 70 plus relatives were ever able to do c) he was a rare person who not only created something but also did what he wanted his whole life and made a good living at it and d) he lived long enough that he got to see his creations draw big time box office gold.  Sure, they were always possible in comic book form and in cartoons and toys but it wasn’t until just the past couple of decades when Marvel based movies really came into their own.  He got to see it.

Most of all, his heroes were flawed.  While Superman was Mr. Perfect, Lee’s characters struggled with their abilities.  They wanted to do the right thing but they didn’t always know what the right thing was.  They screwed up, made mistakes, felt bad about it, learned how to cope with failure, etc.

When I was a kid I started an autograph collection, writing to celebrities to ask for an autograph to see if they’d write back.  Most didn’t but sure enough, I got an autographed photo of Stan in the mail sent in a Marvel Comics envelope.  I wish I’d saved the envelope.  I’ll have to dig the photo out and post a pic of it.  I’ve always wondered if the signature is real or if it is a pre-printed signature but either way it was cool. I’m sure it was just some assistant who sent it but still, cool.

Finally, here’s a cameo that a lot of people probably forgot but Gen Xers like me remember, Stan in Mallrats, trying to talk Brodie into being a better boyfriend to his girlfriend.

Man, my friends and I watched this movie so many times when we were kids.  Where does the time go?

 

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Movie Review – Black Panther (2018)

Mother of God, 3.5 readers.  Look what some rapscallion posted on Twitter:

Shameless plug: if you follow @bookshelfbattle you can read snarky commentary like that all the time.

And now, on to Wakanda!

Short version – Malcolm X and Martin Luther King (or at least their dueling philosophies on black empowerment) were put into superhero form and left to duke it out.

Longer version – Wakanda has long existed as a hidden utopia of technological greatness, all made possible to large reserves of vibranium, the magic, do-everything metal that makes Captain America’s shield so awesome.

At the core of Wakandan politics is a central question – should Wakanda remain hidden from the world, hoarding its technological secrets to ensure the country’s continued survival, or should it reach out and arm oppressed people of African descent all over the world?

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), newly crowned king, takes the former position.  Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) a Wakandan-American with a desire to challenge T’Challa’s claim on the throne, takes the latter.  The stakes are high as whoever holds the throne is able to claim the power of being “the black panther” i.e. the superhero with amazing abilities that can be wielded for good or evil, depending on who is wielding them.

No superhero is complete without his entourage or “Scooby Gang” as Buffy used to call them.  T’Challa’s feisty younger sister Shuri serves as her brother’s James Bond-style “Q” or master of technology, coming up with all sorts of fun and interesting gadgets for the king to use in his war against evil.

Danai Gurira (“Walking Dead” fans know here as the samurai sword wielding Michonne) gets her long overdue big screen debut as T’Challa’s general, Okoye while Lupita Nyong-o is the big cat’s love interest.  Angela Basset rounds out the royal family as T’Challa’s mother.

Meanwhile, Andy Serkis, long relegated to behind the scenes work where his movements are recorded to create CGI characters like “Lord of the Rings'” Gollum hams it up big time as Killmonger’s partner-in-crime/internationally evil weapons dealer Ulysses Klaue.  I got the impression that Andy was waiting a long time to become a real life character and thus enjoyed every minute of it.

Martin Freeman connects the film to the ongoing Avengers plot line as Agent Ross.  Ross is loyal to America while T’Challa’s allegiance is to Wakanda, so somehow they have to set aside their differences to engage in some buddy cop shenanigans.

You know 3.5 readers, one thing I always notice about a super hyped movie is that it is always a let down if the movie doesn’t live up to it.  This film does.  I noticed a lot of African Americans at the theater wearing traditional garb so I imagine there’s a lot of pride in seeing the first black Marvel superhero on screen.

I mean, there was Falcon (Anthony Mackie) but he’s really Captain America’s sidekick and hasn’t been given his own movie yet.  And there’s Blade (Wesley Snipes) who had a whole trilogy but he’s not an Avenger and his powers are more occult/vampire related whereas the Avengers’ powers usually have less scary origins.

However you slice it, Black Panther is the first blockbuster super hero and he’s raking it in at the box office.  Further, as the Marvel cinematic universe enters its tenth year, the cat is breathing new life into the franchise.  While the older characters we’ve grown used to are a lot of fun, we’ve gotten used to their story lines and new additions like this one will keep interest going into the future.

Special effects wise, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on.  Typically, I don’t like it when movies put a certain brand of car into the film as an advertisement, but there’s a pretty cool chase scene in which a Lexus is driven in an unusual way.  I’ll let you watch it rather than spoil it.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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A BQB Kickstarter?

Hey 3.5 readers.

If you’re a young creative person, you really have no idea how good you have it.  I know, every generation tells the next generation that, but it’s true.

In the 1990s, I thought it might be possible to start your own website and share your writing online while bypassing the traditional gatekeepers.  Some early pioneers with HTML coding skills were able to do just that but for the most part, it was too difficult for the average person.

Today, you have blog sites like WordPress where you type and WordPress codes.  You have social media to share your posts with like minded folks via hashtags.

But what about artwork?  Even as far back as the 1990s, the Internet was a very visual medium.  No one wants to read a block of text without some breakup in the monotony.

People used to read physical newspapers and not every article had a photo.  That’s because if you picked up a paper, you came to read.  Meanwhile, on the Internet, you’re trying to get people’s attention.  Flag them down as they pass by and for that you need artwork.

I was really surprised that an artist, based on my descriptions of two of this blog’s characters, Alien Jones and the Yeti, was able to produce this in a short time and frankly, at a reasonable price:

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I normally use shutterstock for most of this blog’s characters, but I was wondering if a kickstarter wouldn’t be in order?  By raising some funds, I could hire artists to draw Uncle Hardass, Vinny Baggadouchio, Professor Nannerpants, Dr. Hugo von Science, etc.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Generally, I don’t like Kickstarter.  I feel it’s like virtual panhandling and it might be embarrassing to start it and get no support.  However, I think some original artwork could help bring this blog to the next level.

I’ve done as much as I can on the cheap.  The stats have increased every year.  The traffic slowly but surely gets slightly better over time, but that’s comparable to like, wind bringing sand to a beach and every five years the beach gets a quarter of an inch thicker.

Tell me your thoughts, 3.5.  If you’ve done a kickstarter, I’d like to hear your advice.  Is this a viable endeavor?

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – The Accusations Against Stan Lee

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

When I was a kid, I made an effort to start an autograph collection.  I wrote to celebrities, usually to like the network they worked on, the company they worked for, and wrote polite little letters asking for an autograph.

I got a lot of form letters back telling me politely to pound sand…but I also got…a photo signed by the one and only Stan Lee. (Not gonna lie, I have debated for years whether he signed it or if it was a photo with the signature already printed on it, but either way, it was a better response than what I’d received from anyone else.

It made me happy because I used to watch the “Spider-Man” cartoon on Saturday mornings, narrated in his cool voice.

Sigh.  Excelsior, true believers.

He’s denied the accusations through his lawyers.  I think I’ll wait and see how the story develops before I say anything.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Who Was the Best Batman?

A) Adam West

B) Michael Keaton

C) Val Kilmer

D) George Clooney

E) Christian Bale

F) Ben Affleck

Rank them in the comments as to who you think is best to worst.

BQB’s ranking:

Best Humorous Batman = Adam West

Best Overall Batman = Michael Keaton

Best Serious Batman = Christian Bale

Acceptable Batman = Val Kilmer

Worst Batman Ever and the Studio Should Have Never Let It Happen – George Clooney

Blah, I’m Indifferent to This Batman = Ben Affleck

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Movie Trailer – Thor: Ragnarok

Hey 3.5 readers.

The trailer for Thor: Ragnarok is out and it’s pretty fantastic.  The use of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song (“I come from the land of the ice and snow…”) is pretty effective.

What say you, 3.5?

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Movie Trailer – Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

Hey 3.5.

BQB here, still posting behind the Yeti’s back.  Shh!  Don’t tell him.

The trailer for Spiderman: Homecoming is out and it looks like the best Spiderman movie in awhile.

The first two Tobey Maguire movies in the early 2000s were great then they hit a wall with the third one.  Emo Spiderman.  Blah.

The most recent two were fine but didn’t really knock my socks off.

Here, it looks like they’ve come up with a great idea, setting Spiderman in the world of the Avengers and making Tony Stark his mentor.  It makes sense.  Tony is a scientist.  Peter is a wannabe scientist.

We don’t need need to see yet another origin story where Peter is bitten by the radioactive spider and he doesn’t stop the robber and the robber shoots Uncle Ben so from then on Spiderman pledges to never let anyone down again and so on.

We’ve got it.

Yet, while we don’t need an origin story, we do need an explanation as to what this current incarnation of a character is all about.  That’s why the latest DC movies have been struggling.

No, we don’t need another movie about young Bruce Wayne seeing his parents getting shot (shot parents/guardians create so many super heroes).

But yes, we could have used a movie to explain what this version of Batman is all about.

If you missed, SPOILER ALERT – in the latest Captain America film, we were given an introduction to Spider Man.  It was good.  It was all we needed.  Now we know what makes this current version of Spidey tick.  Now he can hit the ground running in his own movie without any need for devoting half the film to the spider bite and the Uncle Ben sadness.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Is It Possible to Make a Good Fantastic Four Movie?

Good morning nerds.

BQB here.

Is it possible to make a good Fantastic Four movie?

At first, I’d argue no. The source material is dumb.  A rock monster and a rubber man, an invisible woman and a guy who can set himself on fire at will?

Well, then again every other comic book movie, in essence, is equally dumb.

The movies that came out in the 2000’s stunk. Then the most recent reboot last year was panned by critics. I didn’t think it was horrible but it didn’t blow me away either.

In all the movies, I feel there was a failure to capitalize on Dr. Doom. A scary character/dictator…really had potential to be super naughty.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Is is possible to make a good Fab Four movie?

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