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News Around the Net!

How great is this first trailer for Black Panther?

This looks like a fun new direction for a Marvel film to take.  I hope they really go crazy in exploring this new corner of the Marvel universe.  I loved Creed and I can’t wait to see what director Ryan Coogler has cooked up here.

Speaking of Black Panther, here is an interesting bit of speculation as to whether the same character will be appearing in Black Panther and the upcoming season 2 of Luke Cage, albeit played by different actresses.  I am sad that the Marvel films and TV shows are no longer coordinating the way they had planned to when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was first launched.

I am hoping that by the time you read this, I’ll have seen Spider-Man: Homecoming.  In the meanwhile, this is a pretty great video analyzing the reasons Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies worked, while Marc Webb’s two Amazing Spider-Man movies didn’t:

I don’t agree with every single point in that video, and I think the “Spider-Man as Jesus” bit in Spider-Man 2 is one of the film’s few off-notes, but for the most part this video hits the nail right on the head.

Oh man, it looks like What We Left Behind, the Kickstarter-funded Deep Space Nine documentary, is really coming together.  I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Sic Transit Vir (B5 fans get the reference): Sad news of the passing of actor Stephen Furst, who played Vir on Babylon 5 and Flounder in Animal House.  This article is a wonderful salute to Mr. Furst’s great work on B5, and here is B5 creator J. Michael Staczynski’s lament for the far-too-long list of B5 cast members who have passed away, all of whom are missed.

This oral history of Austin Powers is a great read and a fun look back at a film that I used to truly love.  (I haven’t seen any of the Austin Powers films in YEARS, but this article makes me want to revisit at least the first one…)

Is Robotech the greatest love story of the 20th century?  As a kid who first saw Robotech at exactly the right age to fall in love with it, I can get behind this idea!

I loved the first season of Vice Principals, and so I cannot wait for the show’s second (and apparently final) season to air:

James Cameron’s Terminator 2 is being released back to theatres?  I am in!!  I don’t need the 3D conversion, but any excuse to see this great film back on the big screen is very exciting.  Can’t wait:

I lost a decent amount of time exploring … [continued]

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The Top Twenty Episodes of TV in 2016 — Part Two!

Let’s continue my look back at The Top Twenty Episodes of TV in 2016!  Last week I presented part one of my list, with numbers twenty through sixteen.  Onward!

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15. Brooklyn 99: “9 Days” (season three, episode twelve, aired on 1/19/16) – Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) get the mumps and are quarantined together for nine days.  “9 Days” has one of the most ridiculous premises of any episode of Brooklyn 99, and yet, somehow, it also manages to be one of the funniest.  The Peralta-Holt pairing has always been comedy gold for the show, and this episode really lets Mr. Samberg and Mr. Braugher go at it, assisted by some comically over-the-top make-up effects to depict their mumps-swollen faces.  Gems in this episode include watching the two men discuss their testicular pain, hearing Holt yell “CASE” as Jake tumbles to the ground, and this exchange: Amy: “I’m immune to stuff you haven’t even heard of.”  Holt: “But not immune to braggadocio.”  I enjoyed seeing The Office’s Oscar Nuñez pop up as the doctor who gives Jake & Holt their diagnosis, and I loved Boyle’s description of Rosa as having a “motorcycle helmet for a heart,” as well as his advice on grief: “Real men don’t cry for more than three days.”  And let’s not forget Gina’s comment that: “C-minus is the perfect grade. You pass, but you’re still hot.”  Also: the name of Amy’s trivia team is “Trivia Newton-John”?!  Genius!

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14. Luke Cage: “DWYCK” (season one, episode nine, released on 9/30/16) – This episode, late in the run of the first season of Luke Cage, came at a time in which the Netflix show seemed to be spinning its wheels, stretching time to fill out the 13 episode run by having Luke (Mike Colter) and Claire (Rosario Dawson) inexplicably leave town while the bad guys wreak havoc in order to track down the doc who had a hand in Luke’s super-hero origin.  While I didn’t have much patience for that story development, it allowed room for this episode’s welcome and wonderful spotlight on Misty Knight (Simone Missick), the NYPD officer who has been Luke’s friend and also his most dogged enemy.  I have always loved the character of Misty from the comic books, and I never thought we’d ever get to see this wonderful character appear on-screen, let alone as perfectly realized as she was on this show.  Ms. Missick was a revelation, phenomenal at bringing this strong, honest African-American woman to life.  This episode begins with Misty on suspension, having lost her cool when Claire was in police custody.  Over the course of the episode, we follow Misty’s grilling by a … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Vice Principals Season One!

I remember reading about The Foot Fist Way, the 2006 low-budget film directed by Jody Hill and starring Danny McBride.  It got a lot of positive press and so I tracked it down and saw it during the film’s limited run in theatres.  It was very funny and very uncomfortable.  This seems to be the combination of feelings that Mr. Hill and Mr. McBride have continued to pursue over the course of all of their fruitful collaborations.  Honest admission: I totally missed Eastbound and Down (their previous television collaboration) — the first season has been sitting on my DVD shelf for years but for some reason (not lack of interest) I’ve never gotten to it.  Someday.  But ever since The Foot Fist Way I have been paying attention to the work of these two.  Jody Hill directed Observe and Report, a deeply weird and deeply unsettling comedy starring Seth Rogen, and of course Danny McBride has been killing it in a variety of comedic roles in films over the past decade, including Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Your Highness, 30 Minutes or Less, This is the End, and many more.  The two reunited for the two-season HBO show, Vice Principals.

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In Vice Principals, Danny McBride plays Neal Gamby, while Walton Goggins plays Lee Russell.  Both men are Vice Principals at North Jackson High School, and they each believe that they should be promoted to principal when the school’s long-standing leader, Principal Welles (played by Bill Murray in a note-perfect cameo in the first episode) retires.  However, the school board decides to bring in someone else entirely to be the new principal: college professor Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hebert Gregory).  Shocked by this turn of events, Vice Principal Gamby and Vice Principal Russell agree to team up to take down Dr. Brown.

This nine-episode first season (the show is reportedly structured to run for only two nine-episode seasons, with the second season coming some time next year) is, exactly as I had expected, powerfully funny and also profoundly uncomfortable.  This is a raunchy, pull-no-punches show, and this tone is certainly not for everyone.  But I loved it.  I had a great time watching these first nine episodes and I can’t wait to see what sort of craziness the back half brings.

Danny McBride has made a career out of playing this type of character: a profane, low-watt-bulb man-child who comes off as loud and blustery but is sweet and insecure on the inside.  Neal Gamby feels like the apotheosis of these character traits; this is the most Danny McBride character Danny McBride has ever played.  It’s great fun — and often stomach-churningly painful — to watch.  Watching … [continued]