Category Archives: Entertainment

DC – The New 52

I know there are a million opinions out there regarding this subject, but I feel the slight need to add my own to the pot.

So, what could I possibly be talking about? The New 52 from DC. Okay, I know that the internet is filled to the brim with those on both sides of the fence tossing out their thoughts about what has happened, what has happened, and what they expect to happen in the future. I will start out by saying that out of the 52 new titles I currently only read Justice League, Justice League International, Teen Titans, Legion of Super Heroes, and Legion Lost. To be perfectly honest, most of what DC offers simply doesn’t appeal to me. They spend way too much ink and paper on solo heroes, which is not my cup of tea. The team books, and the dynamics that are created by those situations are what I find intriguing. Of course, there are other “team” books in the New 52 that I didn’t pick up, but I did that for various reasons.

I do not like anything having to do with the supernatural, do that ruled out the “Dark” series of titles for me, including Justice League Dark. I avoid magic, vampires, zombies, and all their associated crap like the plague. And don’t even get me started on subpar idiotic ideas like Deadman. What a load of crap that is. That’s one of the biggest reasons I skipped the entire “Blackest Night” storyline from last year. I also shy away from gross and disgusting over-the-top violence and blood, which seemed to be the only thing anyone who read Animal Man and titles like that could talk about.

Comics used to be fun and rewarding experiences. They took you away from your own personal reality to a world where people could fly and see exotic lands and planets and save the damsel in distress. They were the modern forms of chivalry that no longer existed in the real world. Sadly, comics have been reduced to mindless violence, blood, gross sex, and other such disturbing images. Comics used to be for kids, they haven’t been for kids for a long long time. I pick and choose as to what titles I read for various reasons and the few titles that I have picked up from the New 52 have so far met my need for creative inspiration and storytelling without the disgusting things I mentioned. For that, I’m glad.

The Justice League is a true origin tale. It’s starting off slow as the heroes meet one another, not trying to slam all of them into the first issue, but rather raising the stakes as they go along and add more heroes. I like this new approach. It gives you the status quo while not overwhelming you at the same time. I’ve only read the first 2 issues, but if the quality continues as it has, there is little reason to question whether Justice League will continue to lead the sales charts.  Justice League International is the only place currently to catch up on one of my favorite characters, Booster Gold. The book showcases lesser known heroes and ones that were in the Pre-52 JLI. So far it’s been a standard team book, but hasn’t really brought anything new to the party that I was hoping it would.  I will continue to read it, but I can only hope that it improves story wise. Teen Titans looked interesting because of the new take on Red Robin. I like what I’ve seen of Wonder Girl so far but so far I really do not like the fact that they feel the need to introduce brand new heroes at this point. There are so many characters that could have been included that it seems a little stupid to have to resort to never before seen characters at this point. We were looking for a “reboot” or a “reimaging” of the heroes were knew and loved. The jury is still out on this book as well.

Legion of Super Heroes and Legion Lost will always be on my pull list no matter what.  I have been a fan of the LSH since I was a little kid and I have loved every reboot or reimagining that they’ve been put through over the years. What I appreciate about the Legion of Super Heroes is that they haven’t really been that affected by the “reboot” of the New 52. Rather, they continued on right where they had been before. I’m still not a big fan of some of the new members they incorporated from Adventure Comics but I’m sure if they were to give them some new costumes that they might eventually grow on me. Still, this is a comic that is well worth looking into. Forget the crap in the Edge and Dark lines and take advantage of the great work being done in the LSH. Legion Lost stars three of my all-time favorite legionnaires: Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Timber Wolf. For those three alone I would purchase this comic. The art and the story so far have drawn me in and are keeping me there for the long haul. I can only hope that other LSH fans pick up this book and devote as much energy to it.

So, over all, I would give the New 52 a D. A lot of what I’ve seen isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but at least I have found a few books that I can really put on my pull list that still incorporates the great things about comics that I have loved since I was a child.

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The Big Year Review

If you’re looking for a clean, decent movie to take your family to see that has big stars and awesome cameos, then take your family to see “The Big Year.”

“The Big Year” stars Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. Three strangers who begin a quest known to bird watchers, or “Birding” as The Big Year. This quest is to find and see the most bird species in North America in one year. Owen Wilson’s character holds the record for seeing 732 species and is determined to keep his record standing. Steve Martin is a very successful businessman who is retiring and is dreaming of completing his own Big Year, while Jack Black is a young computer programmer working for a nuclear facility who wants to have a Big Year so that he can finally do something big with his life after his failed marriage.

While not a laugh a minute comedy, it is still very light-hearted and manages to show you just enough of each character’s life to make you want to care about them. Steve Martin is charming throughout, making this one of his better performances of the last few years. And the normally crazy antics and jumping around behavior that can make Jack Black annoying disappears in this film almost entirely making Jack look and sound like a normal human being. For that fact alone, I found this film to be one of Jack Black’s better roles. Owen Wilson, on the other hand, plays predictable. You’ve seen this character out of him before and done better. While, I liked the character, he wasn’t my favorite by a long shot and made some really bad decisions that cost him a whole lot during the film.

I won’t give away any spoilers to the film itself but be on the look out for cameos by Joel McHale (NBC’s Community), Paul Campbell (Battlestar Galactica), Brian Dennehy, Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), and Corbin Bernsen (Psych).

I give the film 4 out of 5 Blackbirds. Go see the film. You’ll enjoy it and your family will too!

Weird Al Yankovic – The Awesome Live Show

Okay, let me start by saying that seeing Weird Al Yankovic is an experience that everyone should have. Not only is the man extremely talented when it comes to writing parodies, but he is a consummate showman! I saw him Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando and I will have to say that it was by far one of the most enjoyable live shows I have been to in a long time. The atmosphere of the venue was just fabulous. The crowd was excited but kept to their seats as they listened to Al’s classics “Fat”, “Amish Paradise” and “Smells Like Nirvana.” While not everyone knew all the words to his latest compositions like “Party in the CIA” and “TMZ” the crowd stayed pumped and excited throughout the show.

Keeping us entertained is a craft that Weird Al’s stage team has down to a science. Al had numerous costume changes during the show and while he was off stage a series of large television screens played amusing “interviews” that Al conducted with celebrities. Of course it was obvious that he was taking actual interviews and manipulating them but they were classic comedy bits that I wish I had a copy of. Starting with Eminem and including snippets from over the years with Keith Richards, Madonna, and Celine Dion, the spots were hilarious and had me rolling in the aisle. Snuck in between these mock interviews were TV and movie spots that Al had either had a cameo or was mentioned by name. One of the funniest was a clip from the TV show “’Til Death.” In it Brad Garrett’s character is talking to the wife, played by Joely Fisher and she is complaining that he had said she looked like Weird Al Yankovic from behind. Garrett’s character responds: “The man has great hair and a tiny butt, you should learn to take a compliment.” That was by far one of the funniest lines from a TV show I’d had heard and had me bursting out with laughter. What makes this even funnier is that Al has learned to take such comedic lines as a compliment and incorporates it into his show.

The costumes that Al wore were classic Yankovic fun. From the “grunge” look he wore in “Smells Like Nirvana” to the crazy lounge suit he donned in “Wanna Be Ur Lovr” each look was unique and inspired by the song itself. This was highlighted by the famous fat suit from the “Fat” video. To watch him dancing around on stage in that fat suit was the clear definition of having your cake and eating it too. And yes, that pun was intentional!

To end the show, Al’s encore consisted of “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda,” both Star Wars parodies. During the awesome rendition of  “The Saga Begins” a whole troop of Stormtroopers marched out along with Darth Vader. Watching them dance around, including the one doing the Macarena, was priceless. And the two minute speed chant that Al, Steve Jay, and Jim West participated in was concert gold. It was one of the oddest most insane things I have seen in a long time.

So, long story short. I hated the concert —NOT! Ha, it was awesome! Now if only I could join a caravan of “Weird-Heads” and follow him around on tour! That would be awesome!  (And for those of you who don’t know—that was a reference to the “Dead Heads” that used to follow the Grateful Dead around on tour. I don’t think there is anything like the “Weird Heads” in existence but I think it’s about time there was!)

BC