\

Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

New Around the Net!

So, holy shit, I am seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens a week from today!  That a new Star Wars film, featuring the cast of the Original Trilogy, is so close to being a real thing that I can see, is incredible.  I expected that someday there would be new Star Wars movies, but I never really thought we’d see any of the original main cast back onscreen in their roles.  Is the film actually going to be good, or will it be a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull level catastrophe that we’re all going to regret?  I’ll know soon!!  I’m very excited.  I’ve been saying for years that I would love to, in my lifetime, get to see another great new Star Wars movie on the big screen.  Let’s see what happens.

In the meanwhile, in Star Wars news, here is a phenomenal short interview with Oscar Isaac, who has become one of my very favorite actors (in killer roles in Inside Llweyn Davis, Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year, and Show Me a Hero) and who plays X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron in the new film.  (I have successfully avoided spoilers in learning anything other than that about the character!)

The first trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out a few weeks ago, but I don’t think I’ve written about it yet.  For a first teaser, it’s a hell of a thing:

I love that trailer, and I am really pumped for this movie which really seems like it could be called The Avengers 3.  But what I love about the trailer is the way that, despite all the huge number of Marvel characters who will be popping up in it, this film really does feel like a Captain America film, with Cap front and center and the Bucky story-line (begun in The Winter Soldier) moving forward.  I love how it looks like they’ve taken Bucky/The Winter Soldier and used him as the crux point for the Civil War storyline (from the terrific Marvel Comics mini-series written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven in which Cap and Iron Man split the Marvel universe heroes over their differing opinions on a law requiring that all superheroes give up their secret identities in order to be trained and regulated by the federal government).  The trailer looks amazing.  It’s yet another way in which we can see the enormous richness and complexity that has developed in the Marvel cinematic universe so many years and movies into it.  I continue to be thankful that this incredible cinematic undertaking — a sprawling universe of interconnected films — exists.  A film like Civil War can exist … [continued]

Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

Catching Up! Josh Reviews Powers Season One, Star Wars The Clone Wars “Bad Batch”, and Batman vs Robin

On my desk I keep a list of the various movies and TV shows that I’ve watched that I intend to write about here on the site.  Lately that list has been growing very long!  I have fallen somewhat behind on my blogging.  So I’m going to try a new format here and post some “Catching Up” blogs in the coming weeks, with short reviews of some of the stuff I’ve seen.  Let’s dive in!

Powers Season One — For fifteen years Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers has been one of my favorite indie comic books.  For about that long, Powers has been “in development” in Hollywood for a movie or TV adaptation.  It looked like it would never happen, but then miraculously the series became the initial TV show produced by Sony’s Playstation network.  It seemed to me like a perfect fit.  The show would have the freedom to faithfully adapt Mr. Bendis & Mr. Oeming’s profane, sexy, violent, weird, wonderful series.  I was very excited.  But I’m sorry to say that this first season of ten episodes disappointed me.  I wrote about my initial lukewarm reaction here, and unfortunately the series never improved much for me.

Powers should be edgy, it should be cool, and above all else it should have the wonderfully witty & gritty dialogue that Mr. Bendis is justifiably famous for.  But I found the show to have none of those things.  It was stiff.  It was cheap looking.  Shockingly cheap-looking.  The sets looked like sets and what few super-heroic moments we saw were painfully primitive.  (I mean, the wire-work was just horrendously awkward.)  But I could forgive that if the series told a cool story.  Sadly it did not.  The show has a great ensemble of actors but there was never a moment when I felt that the show ever truly came alive and took flight.  There was little momentum from episode to episode.  With the involvement of the talented Mr. Bendis and crime-writer Charlie Huston, I was excited to see a ten-episode super-hero murder mystery.  But that never really came together.  The murder of big-time super-hero Olympia that kicked off the series, was quickly forgotten about in place of a lot of boring soap opera between former friends Walker, Johnny Royale, and Wolfe.  There was never any momentum to the show, just a lot of dithering about and back-and-forth between these flat characters.  Hardly any character actually DID anything.  Worst of all was that the comic’s central relationship, that between partners Walker and Deena Pilgrim, felt ignored by the show.  Deena herself was marginalized in the second half of the season, and that was a big disappointment.  Who’d … [continued]

Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

Powers is a TV Show At Last! So is it Any Good…?

I’m a huge, huge fan of Powers, the self-published comic book series written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming.  I bought the very first issue back in 2000, and I have been following it monthly (or as near-to-monthly as the series gets) ever since.  (I wrote about Powers here and here!)  While I think the series has dipped in quality a little bit in recent years, it’s still a terrific book and one of the more brilliant premises for a series that I have ever come across.  Detective Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim are homicide detectives.  But they live in a world of super-heroes and super-villains, and they investigate Powers-related homicides.  That is a genius-level idea (one that has been imitated in the years since).  Combine that great hook with Bendis’ incredible gift for dialogue and Oeming’s wonderful stylized artwork and you have the recipe for a classic comic book series.

Hollywood clearly thought so too, because Powers has famously been in development ever since the second issue was published.  For years and years it was being developed as a new TV series by FX, and in 2011 they actually filmed a pilot episode.  But I guess it wasn’t that successful, because FX declined to continue on to make a series.  At first they announced that they’d be re-working that pilot, but then the project was dropped.  (I would LOVE to see that original Powers pilot someday!!)  But in a crazy twist, Powers wasn’t dead.  Instead, it was picked up to become the first show for the newly developed Playstation Network.  A new cast was brought in and new writers were hired, and, after 15 years of “development hell,” Powers actually existed as a 10-episode TV series.  The first three episodes were released last week, and a new one will be released every Tuesday (starting tonight!) for the next seven weeks.

So, after this crazy fifteen years of development (and boy, I really hope this means Bendis will get around to writing a sequel to Fortune and Glory some-time soon!!), is Powers the Playstation Network TV show any good?

Powers.cropped

Well, the jury is still out.  It is hood, but it is not the home-run I had been hoping for.  There are a lot of aspects of these first three episodes that are a lot weaker than I’d expected.  However, by the end of the third episode, I could see the potential in this series, and I can envision a scenario in which I will be very, very satisfied by the end of the ten episode first season.  I can also see a scenario in which I will be very, very let down!  We’ll see … [continued]