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So, here’s our first real look at the new X-Men film, Dark Phoenix:

I really want this to be great, but I’m not yet feeling this one.  First of all, the continuity of these X-Men movies makes my head spin.  One of the things I loved about Days of Future Past was the way it adjusted the continuity of the previous films in order to undo some of the damage of The Last Stand and give these characters a happy ending.  Most relevant to this new Dark Phoenix movie was that, in the last moments of Days of Future Past, we saw that Jean Grey was still alive.  So I’m a bit flummoxed that they’ve continued making movies (X-Men: Apocalypse and now this one) set BEFORE the events of that Days of Future Past epilogue.  If Jean is alive in that epilogue, that sort of removes the suspense from this movie, no?  This is a actually a rare case where I wish they’d just do a reboot and start fresh.

Putting that aside and just considering this trailer, my next biggest concern is the degree to which what we see in the trailer seems totally different from the classic Dark Phoenix story from the comics (by Chris Claremont and John Byrne).  I’m not really seeing ANYTHING from the classic comic story here yet.  The Last Stand bungled the Dark Phoenix story, and so I am excited at the potential for a do-over.  But my hope for a do-over would be for the movie to hew much closer to the original comic story, which so far doesn’t seem to be what they’re doing here.  That really disappoints me.

What’s good?  I do really like this cast, and I am happy to see James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence back in these roles (after they all seemed like they were done after X-Men: Apocalypse).  And I’m happy that the new crew introduced in Apocalypse also seem to all be back as well: Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheriden as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler.  I’m particularly jazzed to see Sophie Turner (who I thought was a little underused in Apocalypse) given a chance to shine.  I love the new-look costumes (which seem to be heavily influenced by Frank Quitely’s designs for Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men back in 2001).  I’d love for Dark Phoenix (why have they dropped X-Men from the title?) to be a big, awesome X-Men epic.  Here’s hoping…

Here’s a nice juicy look at Daredevil season three:

After the disappointment of The Defenders, I have fallen behind on the Marvel Netflix shows.  I skipped The Punisher, as I’m just … [continued]

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Catching Up on 2016: Josh Reviews The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years

March 15th, 2017
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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years is a new documentary by Ron Howard, focusing on The Beatles’ whirlwind years spent touring all over the globe between 1962 and 1966.  I’m a huge Beatles fan, so I was immediately interested in this film, even as I wondered whether this documentary would have anything new to say.  I’ve been a Beatles fan all my life, and I’ve read a number of books and seen a lot of Beatles documentaries, including the extraordinarily thorough multi-part Beatles Anthology, so I’m pretty well-versed in Beatles lore.  And yet I was gripped by this film from the first moment to the last.  Part of this is the magic of The Beatles themselves, but it’s also a testament to the work done by Ron Howard and his team.

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There is, of course, a lot of familiar, famous footage included in the film.  Some of the concert footage, some of the interviews, are well-known to Beatles fans.  But there is also a surprising amount of great stuff I hadn’t seen before.

What’s particularly notable about the film is the way Mr. Howard and his team focused in on the Beatles touring performances, presenting a wealth of footage chronologically so as to take us step-by-step through the Beatles’ various tours.  This is a fascinating approach, and it captures for the audience a taste of the feeling of being on that insane ride.

We get to hear from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in new interviews, while John Lennon and George Harrison are represented through older interview footage.  The new interviews are great, with some substantial new insight, and I was happy with the way the older footage and sound-bytes were used to make certain that John and George were represented in the film equal to Paul and Ringo.

There are also some great new interviews with famous Beatles fans, including Curtis Hanson, Elvis Costello, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sigourney Weaver. These aren’t just “hey look it’s a celebrity!” sound-bytes.  No, these interviews were well-chosen as each of the celebrities speaking has an interesting story to tell or something substantial to contribute to the film and the chronicle of events that Mr. Howard is weaving.  Some of these celebrity interview moments were, surprisingly, among my favorite moments in the film!  (I don’t know how they found that shot of a young Sigourney in the crowd at one of the Beatles’ concerts, but someone deserves a raise.)

I also have to highlight the phenomenal sequence in which various snippets of studio chatter were edited together to chart the development of the song Eight Days A Week.  Those were a super-cool few minutes, and a great peek into the … [continued]

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News Around the Net

So Seinfeld premiered twenty-five years ago last week?  Holy cow.  Here’s a great look back at the beginning of the show.  This is an interesting assessment of the show’s influence by noting, counter-intuitively, Seinfeld’s lack of imitators.  This is also worth your time: The New York Post’s list of Seinfeld’s 25 greatest contributions to the English language.

Somehow Community has once again escaped cancellation and is now so close to the attainment of the “Six Seasons and a Movie” dream.  Nice to see this much-loved (though I guess little-watched) show dodge death once again.

Devin Faraci’s reviews of the Transformers film series are absolutely hilarious.  His review of the latest debacle, Age of Extinction, is here.  After reading that, I encourage you to travel back in time through the terrible-ness, and enjoy his review of the third film, Dark of the Moon, as well as the second film, Revenge of the Fallen, which Mr. Faraci correctly identifies as one of the worst films ever made.  These are very funny pieces as well as astute dissections of why these films have been such disappointments.

Alan Sepinwall has another great “TV Rewind” column, this one looking back at “Thanksgiving Orphans,” a classic season 5 episode of Cheers.  (It’s the one that ends with the huge food-fight.)  Now I need to go back and re-watch that episode immediately.

Great article about a great movie: a look back at The Beatles’ A Hard Days Night.  The movie is a minor miracle, something which should have been dreck but instead was gold.  I really love this film.

I still love listening to Kevin Smith spin yarns, but it’s been a bit of a stretch since I was last excited for one of his films.  (I still haven’t seen his last flick, Red State.  I’m curious to watch it one of these days, but it’s been a low priority for me.)  I don’t have any clue what to make of his latest film, Tusk, a horror film inspired by one of his podcasts.  Like the new poster, though.

The apocalypse is un-cancelled!  Pacific Rim 2 is actually happening?  I have mixed feelings.  I love Guillermo del Toro and if he has another story to tell in this universe then I’m game.  Still, while the first film was a visual feast and the action was amazing, I felt the story fell way short.  I hope the sequel, if it really gets made, has more interesting characters anchoring the story.

This is a fantastic interview with phenomenal actor Alan Tudyk, in which he discusses several of his roles in-depth, as well as his commitment to never … [continued]

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News Around the Net

OK, so this is about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of — Star Wars fans worldwide are uniting on a project to re-make the original film (A New Hope), 15 seconds at a time.  Fans can claim individual 15 second moments of the film, recreate them in whatever for they desire (re-enactments, animation, etc.), and then the whole thing will ultimately be strung together.  Wild.  Click here for all the details on Star Wars Uncut, or just watch this bizarre trailer below!

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

After watching Julie & Julia with my wife Steph recently (you can read my review of the film here)  I was interested in learning more about Julie Powell, so I tracked down her Julie/Julia Project blog and her current blog (since she ended the Julie/Julia Project blog in 2003, with only one additional post in 2004 after Julia Childs’ death).  Both blogs were  fun to read through after having seen the film.

Not a week goes by, it seems, that I don’t read about Ridley Scott being attached to yet another movie-in-development.  I’m not the only one who’s noticed, it seems.  Check out this helpful guide: Know Your Ridley Scott Projects That Will Probably Never Happen.

I am an enormous Beatles fanatic.  Thus it is really painful for me that I have not yet had an opportunity to sample the newly remastered versions of all of the Beatles albums that were released last month.  Scorekeeper from AICN’s detailed run-down of each Beatles album, and how the new versions match up against the original CD releases from 1987, has only further whetted my appetite.

CHUD (Cinematic Happenings Under Development) has been running a ridiculously entertaining series of posts entitled “Bad For Us, Worse For Them.”  What is it about?  Let me quote from their intro: This is a list of forty deaths in cinema, twenty of which that have a profound affect on the viewer whether by the sheer tragedy of it, how emotionally impactful it is, or how it is a catalyst for a real descent in the progression of the story. The other twenty are deaths that go beyond the call of duty, not because they’re cool or really well executed FX, but because they are just knee-capping in their immediacy, brutality, or simple visceral impact. Kills that will probably leave a mark.  The whole list is fantastic, but I was particularly pleased to see that Spock’s death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan merited inclusion.

Here’s a great piece from DVDActive.com (one of my favorite DVD/Blu-Ray web-sites) that calmly and methodically dissects everything wrong with … [continued]