Thursday, 10 January 2019

Movie Review - Bumblebee

   Everyone rates this new Transformers movie highly but, honestly, it’s easy when comparing it to the Bayverse versions.  This is true but it doesn’t really equate to Bumblebee being a great flick, just because they went back to basics.
   The introductory scene on Cybertron IS an absolute delight to fans of the TF toy franchise, of course.  The faces and forms are familiar, even with the modernized look. A bit video game-y, like it could have been a cutscene in the first person shooter campaigns but still totally stunning for the hardcore crowd.  There’s less G1 references to come after that but they dropped the ball on naming the Decepticons.  The three that were in the forefront were not identified.  Even the single Autobot got to repeat his name a couple of times but Blitzwing, Shatter and Dropk were not given the chance.  Why is that?  It’s basic storytelling.  Could possibly be good because we could have the triplechanger Blitzwing make a return next time while Shatter and Dropkick, not having G1 counterparts, are fine as their own entities.  Everybody starting with English was just strange though.
   The rest of the film is actually a boy and his dog story, done as a girl and her companion.  The plot is quite simple, even cartoon-ish but they captured the human element of relatability.  Easier to engage the audience, especially since they did Bumblebee a disservice.

   Yeah, they upped the cuteness factor by regressing Bumblebee himself, making him more loveable as opposed to grooming him to be hip.  The smaller, cuddlier, sillier Bee is adorable to watch as he struggled and bumbled around.  He was a huge puppy.  But they had to damage him to make him this approachable.  No ultra violence for him until it was needed.  This rendered him as a plot device, his losing his voice even more so.  It’s possible to flesh out a character's personality without speech, as evidenced by Pixar's own silent-ish trash compactor, but Bee didn’t get to develop enough.  He could have pulled an Iron Giant when he was finally allowed to unleash his aggression but, no, they didn’t go that way.  It was a step back in advancing Bumblebee's depth but it can only go forward, if the franchise goes this way.
   And hopefully they do.  They succeeded in seeding bits for a revamped movieverse but also keeping the Bayverse elements intact if they decide not to branch away from that timeline.  Bumblebee, as a character, might be considered a prop but he has a spark of heart, hopefully one that ignites explosively to revitalize the Transformers film series. 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Movie Review - Mary Poppins Returns

   I can barely remember seeing the original but this has re-ignited a sort of classical magic, where one wills to return to whimsy.  Perhaps prompted by praise from a galactic guardian or not, but Mary Poppins Returns is the best kind of colorful, frivolous wonder.
   To take her down a peg or two, I wasn’t a huge fan of her contrariness as a character.  She would turn up her nose at an activity then suddenly acquiesce anyway.  Was she this passive aggressive in her first appearance?  It could just be her personality.  

   Then there’s the lesson she's imparting.  Seriously, is it not to be serious?  Yes, there's a disarming charming cuteness to being carefree but her belief in the impossible might have a negative effect on the impressionable.  Let's put our feet on the ground here and not floating up in the clouds!
  But, yes, this is the throwback feeling of the young vs the old, the fun vs the fuddy-duddy’s, rebelling against reality and about sticking it to the man.  It’s amazing to relive this sort of subversive innocence but one can just shrug off the retrospect in favor of the distraction that is…

   The splendid backgrounds, the pleasing animation, the no-nonsense nonsense songs, the precise dancing!  What an experience!  From the first dunk ducking to the breezy finale, what a spectacle!  The colors dazzle and the renders pops.  The return of the traditional (semi traditional?) cartoon over CGI was lovely to see.  There were still computer builds under the sea by the way, not to worry.  The live action performances are no slouch either.  The practical effects are intricate and tripping the light fantastic was on point.  All tied in by sweet, sweet tunes and clever lyrics.  Bravo!
   Side thing but Jack the lamplighter is also a magical being.  He lead some of the musical sequences and he knew all the cues.  He’s on the same level as Mary Poppins, mark my words.

  There are some hiccups like the end of the bowling, the special appearances not holding significance to the uninitiated and my issues with responsibility but Mary Poppins is still a charming treat to treasure.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Contest - Terminating and Blair Witching your Christmas at Comet TV and CHARGE!

   Christmas is around the corner and if you're in one of the snowier parts of the world, how about some Terminator explosions to keep you toasty?  Not doing it for you?  Well, maybe a Terminator shirt can warm you up?  Maybe a Blair Witch ornament for your Christmas tree so Santa won't ever leave your house?  And a Babylon 5 snack box to keep the cookies inside?  All this so you can enjoy a horrifyingly sci-fantastic holiday!

   It's another contest from Comet TV and CHARGE!  Just comment below on your favorite Christmas munchie and a way to contact you and on January 4, 2019, a winner will be chosen at random to win the prize pack.  This giveaway is open to folks with a US address.   No P.O. boxes please.

   Here's what you can win again:

1 – Limited Edition Terminator Muscle Shirt – Show off those guns! Figuratively and literally in this awesome Terminator Tee! Do some flexing and share your pics on the gram! #CometTV

The Terminator (1984)
The original classic that started the franchise is airing on Comet TV! Catch Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton in their classic roles trying to defeat Skynet from launching total human extinction. Relive the first time you heard, “Come with me if you want to live.”
Friday, December 14 at 3/2 C
Wednesday, December 19 at 10/9 C
Wednesday, December 26 at 1/Noon C

1 – Exclusive Blair Witch Holiday Ornament – Deck the halls and ring in the new year with the Blair Witch! This hand-crafted ornament will bring holiday scares to you and those you love!

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
There’s something sinister lurking in Black Hills Forest and missing girl’s disappearance is linked to the legend of The Blair Witch! A group heads into the woods to find out what happened and the footage found after will send a chill down your spine. Don’t turn your back because you don’t know what’s lurking behind you….
Saturday, December 15 at 5/4 C
Monday, December 17 1/Noon C
Thursday, December 20 at MIDNIGHT/11 C
Monday, December 24 at 2a/1 C
Saturday, December 29 at 12:30a/11:30 C
1 – Terminator Dog Tag – John Connor is the leader of the resistance and this promo dog tag set will get you ready to battle the cyborgs of the future!

1 – Babylon 5 and Space:1999 Custom Snack Box – This is the perfect treat to celebrate any trip to space. It might require some popping, but this custom box will satisfy any spacey craving!

Babylon 5 (Christmas Marathon)
This Christmas, after you sip your egg nog and trim the tree, turn on COMET TV for a spacey Christmas Marathon! Starting at 10a/9 C you can catch up on this classic sci-fi series!
Christmas Day Tuesday, December 25 starting at 10a/9 C

Monday, 26 November 2018

Contest - Babylon 5, Flash Gordon, CHiPs swag from Comet TV and CHARGE!

   Comet TV and CHARGE! have another Babylon 5 and CHiPs giveaway for the November 2018 and they're being joined by Flash Gordon.

   The sci-fi series Babylon 5 is shown every day at Noon/11 C and every night at 9/8 C at Comet TV while the law enforcement comedy CHiPs airs weekdays at 11a/10 C and weeknights at 6/5 C at CHARGE!  Comet TV also has AREA 10, which shows cult classic movies ala Flash Gordon.

  To win all these prizes, all you have to do is comment below on your favorite sound effect, be it a futuristic ZAP!(like in Babylon 5 or Flash Gordon) or an old school BANG!  (like from CHiPs).  You would have to include an way to contact you, if you are the lucky winner chosen at random.

  This giveaway is only open to those with a US address.   The winner will be chosen by December 5, 2018.  Good luck!

  The prizes again are:

1 - Limited Edition Babylon 5 Hat: Only available via this promotion, this hat emblazoned with the iconic Babylon 5 logo will make a spacey addition to your collection

1 - COMET TV Flash Gordon Clamshell Pack: If you’re getting ready to check out the original Flash Gordon serials, this clamshell pack, stuffed with binge worthy popcorn will make even the Ming Merciless’ diabolical plans seem like fun.

1 - COMET TV Babylon 5 and Space: 1999 Confidential Lithograph Set: This set of lithographs are fun exclusives featuring the iconic ships from the COMET TV Space Block. Packaged in a confidential envelope, this set will give you the insiders info on your two favorite spacey shows.

2 - Exclusive CHARGE! CHiPs Aviator Sunglasses: How you doin’? When cursing down Pacific Coast Highway pop on these aviator sunglasses and get into the CHiPs spirit!

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Contest - Babylon 5, Nosferatu and CHiPs Giveaway from Comet TV and Charge!'s Hushaween

Halloween might be wrapping up but CometTV and Charge! still has a Hushaween hullabaloo for sci-fright fans. A chosen one will walk away with a swag bag of a Nosferiffic shirt, a watered down bloody water bottle, attractive Babylon 5 magnets, candy(CANDYCANDY!) from Comet TV, with Charge! chipping in with CHiPs memo pads.

How do you win this pulse-pounding prize pile? Just enter a comment below if you'd prefer to visit the PAST (Nosferatu!), the PRESENT (CHiPs!) or the FUTURE (Babylon 5!) if you somehow stumble upon a timewarp of sorts, in case you stumble upon a mad scientist's home if your car breaks down while you go trick or treating. Also leave an email address so I may contact you for your details if you are the chosen one.

The lucky winner will be randomly picked by November 5, 2018. Giveaway open to the US only. The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please.

This gory giveaway is brought to you by Comet TV and Charge!

Hushaween (Halloween Marathon) - Halloween night October 31 starting at 10/9 C

This Halloween tune in to COMET as they bring you the silent horror classics that will send shivers down your spine. Before Buffy, before Edward, and before a certain Count, there was Nosferatu. Catch the classic Vampire film, followed by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Phantom of the Opera.

Babylon 5 (series) - In October, Babylon 5 airs every day at Noon/11 C and every night at 9/8 C

New on COMET in October! Creator J. Michael Straczynski's ambitious and complex futuristic space opera charts five years in the lives of those aboard the titular 5-mile-long space station, where personal drama plays out against a tense political backdrop of looming war between bitter enemies the Centauri and the Narn.


So you can’t sleep? COMET TV has the solution with cult classic midnight movies airing Mon - Fri! You can pencil in Night of the Creeps, get sucked into Vampires on Bikini Beach and do your best to escape The House on Haunted Hill!

The prize pack includes:

1- COMET TV Babylon 5 Magnets: Show off your spacey side with these super fresh Babylon 5 magnets. Perfect for any new recruit looking to sign up for new spacey adventures!

1 - Limited Edition Nosferatu Shirt: Only available via this promotion, this creepy T-Shirt is sure to make your neighbors and friends shriek with envy! AHHHHHHHHH!

1 - COMET TV Blood Bag Water Bottle: I would like some Type-A Negative please. No matter what your flavor, this novelty water bottle is the perfect thing to fill up for an on the go refreshment.

2 - Exclusive CHARGE! CHiPs Ticket Memo Pad: Do you see someone breaking the law and you just have to sound off and tell them? Is someone’s parking THAT bad you want to be like… Dude come on? Now’s your chance! Write them a little note, and maybe mention that CHiPs is heading to CHARGE! as well!

1 - COMET TV Midnight Movies Blood Splattered Candy: Do you have a bit of a sweet tooth? This candy assortment will give you that sugar rush you’re craving! There’s Ghost Poofs, suckers, bugs, lizards and more!

Have a happy, horrifyin Hushaween!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Movie Review - Venom

   So one of Spider-Man's more popular villains got a feature film.  They are such great enemies that they don’t appear in the film together?

  Eddie Brock investigates a corporation supposedly experimenting on humans.  What he got is a close encounter of the dark kind, one that gets under his skin.

   Viewers who are familiar with Venom would have fun either identifying the small references to the comics or nit-picking at the various alternations to this new origin.  A major change, of course, would be missing the main connection of the anti hero to the greater Marvel universe.  But the lack of a certain web-slinger isn’t actually a big factor.  Even with the removal of the spider theme on the character, the film stand alone just fine.  It doesn’t hang by a thread, hoping for a lif aeline from the major Marvel hero.  As it is, Venom simply takes over, engulfing what is given to him and demanding more.  

  The comic Venom has evolved from his original appearances but several mainstays remain like weaknesses.  Adding a personality is new and frankly pretty welcome.  The innovation lent itself to some gallows humor (like wading in a shallow pool of dead bodies) and much needed mirth in the flick.

   This isn’t to say that Tom Hardy was just a puppet on a string.  He cut his teeth on meaty roles.  He made use of it and he looked like he enjoyed himself at some points.  Michelle Williams plays another beleaguered significant other but does get in on some action, even if it got ugly. Riz Ahmed, on the other hand, cleans up very nicely.

  Venom itself is an extension of Hardy, well, altered vocals really.  The use of CGI is expected, which is more than a space suit can contain.  The action and effects are expected to be of high quality and the cover of darkness overshadows what imperfections there are.  The moves they pull off are pretty slick to see, when you can track them through the speed and murk.  

  Despite the threat of brain eating and all the teeth, Venom could have been given more of an edge.  The plot became an already tried and tested superhero origin, which is not exactly fitting for the anti-hero that he is.  The element of hate is missing.  There might not have been enough of the original expected anger for the lethal protector.  Also, with the steady influx of replayed origins that follow the basic pattern with a significant other and getting used to the new powers, they really could have gone the darker path.  Well, darker, wetter, gorier than the PG rating would allow.  I mean, look at him!  This is Venom!  He's not meant for the light.  He’s freaky enough as it is and could do some more car, damage in the future, if he’s given the half the chance.  

Movie Review - Little Italy

   Not everybody is Italian in this flick but it has genuine heart and is a labor of flavor and love.

   Childhood sweethearts Leo and Nikki are broken up by animosity between their families.  They are reunited once again and have the chance to mend broken fences by putting the taste to the test.

   It's a Romeo and Juliet love story with lovebirds torn apart by warring kin.  Except it's a rom com with a ton of food involved.  The actors capture the feeling of family associated with the Italians and their sense of blood and honor but they involved other nationalities in the mix.  In fact, the plot and execution actually has touches what would be a hit with Filipinos.  What results is a heady and aromatic atmosphere thiick with culture and accents, full of flavor and feeling.  Despite laying in the sauce thickly, it's a light and easy to digest affair.  The bad blood is kept thin with glib one liners and suggestive talk.  Humor flows smooth and the tone is breezy.

   The men and women on menu play out their roles well enough as it is established later on that race is not an issue.  Family need not be tied by blood so Italians can be borne in Canadian soil.  Hayden Christianson takes an understated claim to his leading man status but it is Emma Roberts and her easy smile that charms her way to hearts and stomachs.  The background players are a fanciful and interesting bunch, very accommodating and easy to embrace.

   Little Italy is a very sweet little tale.  And also very saucy so watch out with the spice.  The blooper reel during the credits makes for a feast of hilarity, that's for sure.  Savor this meal and be pleasantly filled with love and laughs.