Friday, February 27, 2015

Random Thoughts #35 - Ice, Ice, Baby

Well, it’s cold, wet, and everything in between. The weather’s been weird this year, hasn’t it? Since I haven’t done this in a while, it’s time for another installment of Random Thoughts.

The Weather
Man, this weather’s annoying. One day, it’s sleeting. Another day, it’s raining. Then, you get the occasional snow day. I bet some bozo and his kids prayed really hard to get stuff to come here. They might have even done some dancing. Whatever the reason, just know that it’s been a challenge. I did have one mishap during the time with the ice a couple of weeks ago. I was already driving slow one night, but I skidded down a hill where a red light was. Thankfully, there were no other cars around and I found a nicely placed ice mound to stop in. It looks like I’ll have to start praying and dancing to get this weather to leave. I know God would at least be amused at my moves.

Uber-Gritty Power Rangers? Eh…”Meh”
So, there is this short film out called Power/Rangers and it’s basically a really grim and gritty version of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. If you’re gonna watch it, wait till you get home. It’s got some noticeable actors in it like Katee Sachoff and James Van Der Beek. Some folk like it and others don’t. Even Jason David Frank (the Green/White/Red/Black Ranger) even chimed in on it.  I saw it and I thought it was a little dull. Apparently, it was a parody that was making fun of Hollywood griming up stuff just to do it. I think it succeeded in that.

Is it possible to make a series or movie that is dark and mature? It is possible to make a series that’s darker but there has to be some lightheartedness to it. The show has had seasons where it’s gotten bleak for the Rangers. Look at seasons like Power Rangers in Space, Power Rangers Time Force, and Power Rangers RPM. Heck, even other seasons that weren’t really dark had some pretty dark moments. I know that someone is actually working another Power Rangers movie, so I hope it’s a bit like some of the seasons I’ve mentioned.

Well, it’s getting to that time and I have some movies that I want to see this year. Now, some of the ones I’ll mention are already in theatres.
  • The Kingsmen Service – It looks like this might be one to see. It’s directed by Matthew Vaughn and the reviews look nice. I may wait for it to come out on DVD though.
  • Jupiter Ascending - I know, I know. The reviews and most folk think this movie is crap. Still, it might be funny crap, so I'll see it when it comes out on DVD.
  • Selma – I know I’ll probably see this when it comes out on DVD.
  • Chappie – This looks like it might be a good sci-fi film. The director of District 9 is behind it, so it might be a watch.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – ‘Nuff Said. I’ll be there.
  • Ant-Man – I’m not sure about this one. I’m not a fan of the character but this could be good. I’ll wait for the word of mouth.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – I might see this one. I’m not sure yet.
  • Jurassic World – I know I’ll possibly see this in theatres.
  • Terminator Genisys – Even though it has that horrible misspelled title, I kind of want to see it. I might wait on the DVD though.
  • Fantastic Four – Yes, I’m somewhat interested in the film. While the Fantastic Four isn’t one of my favorite superhero teams, I do like the team. If the word of mouth is good, I’ll probably see it in theatres.
  • The Man From U.N.C.L.E – Superman and a guy who almost played Batman are starring in a Guy Ritchie movie… I might see this.
  • Straight Outta Compton – You know, I might want to see this and I don’t even listen to N.W.A.
  • Spectre – I’ll probably end up seeing the next James Bond movie in theatres.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I’m already there with my cloak and saber.

Hmm… yeah, I got nothing to say about women this time. I will say that they are a perplexing sort.

The Avengers
Since Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out later this year, I’m going to look at some stuff related to the team. It’s not going to be a themed month since I have one of those coming up in May. Still, I do want to look at some comics and movies/TV shows that involve the team as well as some of the characters in this coming movie like Cap and the Hulk. Stay tuned.

R.I.P., Leonard Nimoy
I had to make this unfortunate last addition to the list. Leonard Nimoy just passed today at the old age of 83 from COPD. As I said on Facebook, the man lived a long and prosperous life. He had a long career in Hollywood, he had many interests, and he helped influence a generation. His contributions to the scifi community won’t be forgotten. He also seemed like a nice guy. He’s definitely going to be missed by a lot of people including me.

Well, that’s all I got for today. I wish I could end it happier, so here’s something that might make you smile. Peace, God Bless, and be safe out there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Music Retrospective - Michael Jackson's Albums Pre-Off The Wall

Remember when I said I was done with looking at Michael Jackson’s albums? Well, I… exaggerated. I started to think about his other solo albums he did before Off The Wall. He actually did four solo albums with Motown while he was also singing with his brothers. Some of the songs are original stuff while some are covers of songs. I don’t even think my sister owns them, so listening to them on my iPod would be pretty hard. Instead of skipping them entirely, I’m just going to briefly talk about them. I was able to listen to them on YouTube and as of now, they’re still there if you want to take a listen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trade Tales! - Icon: A Hero's Welcome

It seems that I’m on a bit of a “black superhero” kick this month because I got another one for today: Icon from the Milestone Universe. In the 1990’s, a group of black writers and artists got together with DC in order to create a universe where the heroes are minorities. One of the writers was the late Dwayne McDuffie, a favorite of mine. Another hero that came from this universe was Static who had his series and later cartoon series, Static Shock. The universe lasted for a few years but died off because of low sales. In the late 2000’s, DC tried to incorporate some of these heroes like Static and Icon into the then-current DCU. DC even had tried to bring Static into the New 52. I’m hearing that the co-founders of Milestone are getting stuff back together, so we might see these characters again.

Anyway, back to the hero of the post. Icon aka Augustus Freeman is pretty much the Superman of this universe.  Icon was one of the first books released by the company. The trade has the first eight issues of that book. I first read this when I found it in the public library. I eventually added it to my collection. McDuffie, who was also writing Static Shock at that time, is the writer. Green Lantern artist M.D. Bright provided the pencils. Mike Gustovich provided the inks for all eight issues. A variety of colorists and letterers did the eight issues.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

TV Talk - Star Trek: Enterprise

Don’t worry, folks. You’re not dreaming about me skipping my looks at DS9 and Voyager. I don’t know why, but something compelled me to re-watch Enterprise aka Star Trek: Enterprise from the beginning. Whatever the reason, I can safely say that it didn’t destroy me. That final episode was close to making me tear up a bit and it wasn’t because it was a crappy episode either. You can find my “essay” on how that finale sucked here.

I was there with the show from the beginning. I vaguely remember seeing the promo after Voyager’s finale aired. I pretty much watched most of the show through the first two seasons. I’d sometime miss it because of something band-related or something else was on. During the second season, UPN started acting weird.  For some reason, the station would go grainy and you couldn’t see a lot. You got to love cable. It was pretty much like that until the show ended.

I was in college during the final season and it was airing on Friday which is usually the final nail in the coffin for most shows. I did get to watch the season as well as the dreaded series finale. Then, it was gone for a while until the Sci-Fi Channel aired reruns of the show for some time. I think it was through some Enterprise (or TNG) episodes where I found out about the Internet reviewer, SFDebris. Let’s just say that he’s not a big fan of the show. When I got Netflix, this was one show I knew I was going to eventually revisit. It took a while, but I was able to go through all four seasons. What’s my verdict? Find out below:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Black Panther (1988)

You know, I realized something back in December during my DC kick: I haven’t looked at anything Marvel-related since April of last year. I knew I liked DC, but dang! I left Marvel out in the cold like a dog. My excuse is simple: I had no time for it. So, I think I need to make up for that time with a hero who I really don’t know much about: The Black Panther. For those who don’t know, T’Challa is the king of the African country, Wakanda. Whenever someone becomes the king, they take the title of the Black Panther. He was also one of the first black superheroes in comics which makes it even nicer since it is Black History Month. If you want to know more about the guy, go to Wikipedia or something  since I don’t know everything about the dude.

I’ll go on and admit that T’Challa isn’t one of my favorite superheroes but I do like him. I’ve tried to get into some of the different runs in the last few years, but I haven’t made the chance to do it. I think I like it more when he interacts with other heroes like the Avengers or Marvel’s Illuminati group. I enjoyed the character in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as well as Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers run which is something I need to catch up on one of these days. I haven’t gone past issue 5 yet since Marvel had the “bright” idea to have their books cost about $4 an issue.

I found this four-issue miniseries in the 50 cent bin some time ago. Since it had Black Panther and all four issues were available, I decided to get it. It was released in 1988. I haven’t heard of any of the creators on this except for the editors and the penciler. So, let’s get to it.

Black Panther (1988)
Writer: Peter B. Gillis
Pencils: Denys Cowan
Inks: Sam de LaRosa
Colors: Bob Sharen (#1-#3) and Max Scheele (#4)
Letters: Rick Parker
Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco