Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Serenity Review (Firefly Review Part 4).

To continue my Firefly post series, here is the review for Serenity, the film that mostly concluded the series.
Thoughts: Serenity, Joss Whedon's first theatrically released movie and the film continuation of his Firefly TV series. Serenity takes place sometime after the series tying up a few plot threads that the series left hanging. After a scene introducing Serenity's villain, it switched over to one continuous shot of the crew and gave fans the sense that yes, Firefly is back and you are home again. Does Serenity disappoint compared to Firefly? Nope, it is entirely awesome and everything a fan could ever want and then some. While it is possible to see the film without watching the series, it is imperative that you watch the series first. Unlike something like Star Trek, where there are literally hundreds of episodes to watch, Firefly only had 14, all of which are amazing and a must see. Watching the series adds so much emotional payoff that would otherwise be lost. On the subject of TV to film, Serenity actually warrants the big-screen adaptation because it does not have the episodic feel that TV to film often have. Even though it continues the story with all the characters you love, it answers questions and gives fans the big action scenes that only a film (or absurdly over-budget TV) could possibly deliver. To make the film, Whedon had to work with a smaller budget than most sci-fi action films, and with the exception of one dodgy CGI element, he made it work brilliantly.

There were only two minor things that I wish Serenity had, that Firefly did so well. One being the warm and comfortable feel of the ship and surrounding. Since it is a film, it looked more shiny and Hollywood like. The other thing is that the theme song was never used! Not even in the closing credits was the Ballad of Serenity used, that song is amazing, why wasn't used? Despite these minor things, they do not negatively impact the rating.

Directed by: Joss Whedon
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Western, Action Adventure,
Release Date: September 30, 2005
Running Time: 119 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Everything, Legitimately movie quality, Loveable characters, Awesome action scenes, Heart wrenching moments, Everything great about the TV show, Shocking moments, Answers questions, Fantastic soundtrack, Great villain, Top notch performances, More Firefly!, Joss Whedon's awesome direction and script, Endlessly quotable, Shiny,

The Bad:

Plot Summary: Since it would spoil the series, I will not post a plot summary or a trailer, just watch the gorram show and movie.

Plot: 10/10- Perfect and flawless plot, there is nothing I would change. It answered questions and gave closure to the story, yet left it open enough for sequels, which seem unlikely at this time. I would have maybe given Kaylee and Book slightly more screen-time, but that is very minor compliant because the main plot is more important. There were moments in Serenity that utterly shocked me, which I will talk about in the spoiler section at the bottom. The dialogue is impeccable, no one writes and directs better dialogue than Joss Whedon; his script is perfect. Also the opening scene uses some impressive camera work since it had to be film in one or two continuous takes going throughout the ship.

Action: 9.6/10- There were some seriously awesome fight scenes in Serenity. The stunt work is fantastic, especially considering that the actors did most of their own stunts. A few of the scenes could have been edited ever so slightly better, but only an action critic like myself would actually notice that anything was lacking. Even with the smaller budget, the space battle was awesome, one of the better ones put to film.

Acting: 10/10- Just like the series, the actors captured their characters. Among Serenity's crew, they were not acting, they were the actual crew. Their performances were entirely believable. For more opinions on the cast and crew the links for Part 1 and Part 2 of my character analysis. Chiwetel Ejiofor as the antagonist "The Operative," was excellent in his role and his character had some unique character traits that I have not seen all that often.

Special effects: 8.3/10- Due to the film's tight budget, some of the CGI was a little lacking in one scene. Despite this, later in the film, the CGI was excellent, especially in the epic space battle. As for the sets, they were fantastic, very believable just like the series.

Soundtrack: 9.8/10- While it lacked the "Ballard of Serenity" song and a few of the western themes that made the TV series' soundtrack so great, it had a score entirely its own. There were many oriental influences mixed with some classic western and sci-fi. Very unique and original, something hard to find in most films.

Comedy: 9.9/10- Even though Serenity does not quite have the warm feeling of the series, due to the more serious tone of film, it was still hilarious! So many quotable lines of humorous, perfectly delivered dialogue. The wit in the film's humor is spot on every time.

Would I Watch This Again: Already watched it twice in one week, it is that awesome.

Overall: 9.9/10- Basically perfection for fans of Firefly! Serenity is almost everything, except for a continuation of series, that fans could ask for, one of my new favorite films and one of the best I have ever seen.

Closing comments: Watch Firefly, watch Serenity, simple as that, now go do it. Like, right now!

Recommended for: Everyone who has seen Firefly,

*Major Spoilers Ahead Skip to the bottom and comment if you have not seen the film*
Last warning..... OK, why did Wash and Book have to die! Two of the most shocking and painful deaths to watch ever. Joss Whedon is one sick man killing off characters that everyone loves. Some say that Wash's death was unnecessary, and while I almost wish it never happened because he needs to be on the show if it is ever revived, it was entirely worth it for the emotional shock value. When a film kills off a character that you connect with and like, it is so hard to watch.
*End Spoilers*

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Coming Soon: August 2013

Hello once again everybody! Jordan from Rath's Reviews here for another edition of Coming Soon. Let's recap July real quick (click on the titles for my reviews):

Despicable Me 2: An absolute delight and a better animated offering than what Pixar gave us this year. Also one of the funniest movies so far. (Rath's Review Score: 8.5/10)
The Lone Ranger: Not the best movie of the summer by a mile, but still a fun trip to the theaters. The critics definitely missed the mark on this one. (RRS: 7/10)
Grown Ups 2: Didn't review this one and it seems like that was a good call. Panned by both critics and audiences
Pacific Rim: Seeing this in IMAX 3D was an insane experience. Big, dumb, loud...Pacific Rim had everything you needed to make you feel like a kid again. (RRS 9/10)
Turbo: Another film I didn't review, but from the general consensus it didnt sound like anything special. 
The Conjuring: An expertly crafted, old-school horror film that was actually good. And that's coming from someone whos least favorite genre is horror. (RRS 8.5/10)
R.I.P.D.: Another movie that was far too bashed by the critics. Nothing special by any means, it ended up being a somewhat fun, but forgettable comic book adaptation (RRS 5.5/10)
RED 2: Another "fun" time at the theaters. RED 2 didn't do anything new, but it was a good time. (RRS 7.5/10)
Only God Forgives: The most disappointing trip to the movies I have ever had, and I was one of Drive's biggest fans. I will be renting (at best) Refn's next films. (RRS 2/10)
The Wolverine: X-men fans and Wolverine fans rejoice because this was a vast improvement over Origins and is nearly flawless until the third act. (RRS 8/10)

Most Disappointing: Only God Forgives
Most Surprising: The Conjuring
Worst Movie: Only God Forgives
Best Movie: Pacific Rim

Remember to click the title of each movie for its trailer!!

Why It's Worth Seeing: For starters, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. The plot looks interesting enough and the trailer indicates that it could be pretty funny as well. Could be a lot of fun...
What Could Go Wrong: Sometimes with films like this, the star power masks the flaws. It could have a terrible script, plot, etc and people will flock to it simply because of Denzel and Wahlberg.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The trailer is one of the funniest I have seen in a long time. This could be the surprise R-rated comedy of the year and it's certainly packing some funny star power. 
What Could Go Wrong: If all the funny parts are in the trailer, basically the only reason to see this one will be Jennifer Aniston stripping. Count on this to either be "meh" or "hilarious". 

Why It's Worth Seeing: Rath's Reviews has yet to give a "10/10 -- Instant Classic" score to a new release in 2013. If I were a betting man I would say that Elysium will be the first. All of the previews indicate a smart, intense, and awesome sci-fi classic.
What Could Go Wrong: If it's light on the action or overdoes the action it could be an issue. Since it's Neill Blomkamp directing (District 9), I have an incredible amount of faith in that not being the case.
Why It's Worth Seeing: The story of the man who changed the world is certainly an interesting one. And Kutcher was pretty much born to play this role since they look so similar.
What Could Go Wrong: Early reviews indicate that the movie isn't all that great. I think it really all depends on how it paints Steve Jobs. The man DID change the world and give us amazing technology, but he was also a huge jerk. If the film ignores that aspect then it's probably not worth seeing.

Why It's Worth Seeing: This could be a powerhouse at the Oscars. The tale of a butler who served multiple Presidents during some of the most important times in the country sounds really intriguing and there is a ton of star power attached to the film.
What Could Go Wrong: I love Oprah, but she is also attached to this film and usually when Oprah is involved it is ENTIRELY about race. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like given the synopsis of the plot that race issues should be one of many issues throughout the movie. If it's all about race I'm not sure it will be as compelling as it could be.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The first Kick-Ass was fantastic. To this day, it is still the most [pleasantly] surprised trip to the movies I have ever had. If you can get past the extreme violence, copious amounts of language, and the fact that it's kids doing all of these naughty things, there is a comic-book classic to be had here. Kick-Ass 2 is hopefully more of the same.
What Could Go Wrong: Matthew Vaughn, who directed the first one (as well as X-Men First Class), is only producer on this one. If the spirit of the first doesn't carry over to this sequel, it could be a pretty rough ride. Trailers are indicating that's not the case though. Count this as one of my most anticipated for the remainder of the year.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Simon Pegg comedies have a pretty good rap-sheet with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Early reviews are indicating that this is just as funny as those were.
What Could Go Wrong: Pegg's comedy is fairly...niche (i.e. British). Personally, I don't find it hilarious. It makes me laugh, but I'm never about to pee my pants about any of it. The World's End looks to continue the Brit-comedy trend and could alienate audiences that maybe just don't "get it".

Why It's Worth Seeing: Early reviews are pretty stellar, making me think that this may be The Conjuring's biggest competition for best horror film of the year. If it can make us scream with those animal masks rather than laugh at them, look for this one to be a hit.
What Could Go Wrong:'s a horror movie so pretty much everything. It could delve into the stupid territory, turn out to be torture porn, or just be super weird. It's hard to make a classic "slasher" flick. You have to hold your audience in a world between terror and dark comedy, which is far easier said than done.

Why It's Worth Seeing: For some inexplicable reason, I have a good feeling about this film. The trailer is fairly standard and indicates a standard plot, but I'm really intrigued by the duo of the excellent Ethan Hawke and the newcomer, Selena Gomez. Call it a gut feeling, but I think there might be something special hidden in this one.
What Could Go Wrong: That gut feeling could just be my puppy crush on Selena Gomez and the movie could end up being garbage. It's one of those early fall action movies that are hoping to catch the tail end of the summer audiences. Last year it was Joseph Gordon Levitt's Premium Rush...and that was pretty darn forgettable.

And there you have it! These are the movies I'll be keeping an eye on during the month of August! Please remember to come over to Rath's Reviews and follow me either through Blogger or on the Facebook page. Reviews for most all of these movies will be there after their release dates! I would LOVE to have your support because you guys are already AWESOME supporters to James' stellar blog.

Thanks Jordan for another awesome post, if you do not already follow his blog, I would highly recommend you do so, and if you are new here to J and J Productions, Please click here to Like this blog on Facebook and Click here to follow my Twitter account. I am 100% "follow 4 follow" and "Like 4 Like."

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Bloglovin', Facebook, Twitter, and More.

Today J and J Productions is expanding into more social media! J and J Productions is now on Bloglovin', Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Xbox Live, and Wii. Below are details about each new way to follow J and J Productions and if you are on any of these sites, please comment with a link to your site and I will, follow, and/or like. Also if you have any of these accounts, leave a link and I will Like/follow/friend them.
Bloglovin' is a subscription site that works similar to the Blogger Dashboard, except it is easily intergraded into any type of blog, from Wordpress to Blogger. Bloglovin' has features that can automatically post your most recent blog post to your Facebook page for quick and easy updating and the site is growing in popularity. Either click here to check out my Bloglovin's page or use the new "Bloglovin' Follow" button on the sidebar. If you are on Bloglovin', please leave a link to your page in the comments or I will look up your blog on the site.
J and J Productions now has an official Facebook fan page! Previously I only had a Facebook account under the name "James Starslayer," but now I have a fan page for readers to "Like." On the page will be updates on my recent posts as well as videos and other movie and geek news that I find interesting that is not enough to add on the blog. I might give short updates on the movies and TV shows I have been watching lately. Click here to Like my new Facebook page. Also Click here to "Friend" my Facebook account if you wish, I accept any friend request.
About a year ago I made a Twitter account, however, until recently, I neglected to actually post on it. Now I am trying to use it more often to give you updates on the movies, TV shows, and other media I have been watching. Also I will post videos, movie news, and occasional discussion on certain topics that are movie related. For example, right after finishing a movie, I will write something short about it so that you know what I have been watching and what to expect for future movie reviews. If you have any ideas as to how Twitter can be a useful tool in helping the blog, please comment with any ideas. Also I will have a Twitter feed update on the sidebar. Please click here to follow my Twitter account "James Starslayer." 
While not exactly social media, Skype is an easy way to communicate through, text, video, and voice, chat. Since I am considering making a podcast, Skype will be what I use to chat with potential guests, however the podcast is still just a idea in its early stages. My Skype name is "James Starslayer" or "james.starslayer" I am not sure which one Skype uses to find people.
If you do not play video games, just skip this part and go to the bottom of the post.
Again, not exactly social media, but if anyone wants to play some Xbox games like Mass Effect 3, Halo, Minecraft, or any of the many games I own, add me as a friend on Xbox Live because I am always looking for people to play online with. My account name is "J AND J 1809."
Along with an Xbox, I own a Wii, although it is more difficult to other players on it, the Wii does have some fun games to play online with like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Cart, and Goldeneye. Since there is no voice chat, Skype could be used for easy communication.
My friend code is: 4005-6085-1876-5283
Star Wars: the Old Republic is a free-to-play Star Wars MMO (massive-multiplayer-online) video game. If you want to add my character to your friends list my name on there is: "Jamesstarslayer"
That is all for the social media connections, please like my Facebook page, follow my Twitter and Bloglovin'!
If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Sunday, July 28, 2013

John Williams Scoring Star Wars Ep. VII and Posting Schedule.

Finally some awesome news about the Star Wars Ep. VII, the greatest composer to ever live, John Williams is officially signed on to score the new Star Wars film! This is the best news to come from the new Star Wars trilogy since the old cast was returning. Star Wars just is not Star Wars without Williams' legendary score. Hopefully Williams will live long enough to score all three of the new trilogy, although I wonder if he will be involved with the standalone side films also in production. On other Star Wars news, Dave Filoni answered a few questions at a panel, although he revealed almost nothing about the series. What are your thoughts on this breaking news of Williams' return? Please comment below. Also please check back tomorrow for details on how J and J Productions will be expanding into social media. Here are the upcoming posts.
Note: Any day after Tuesday I may go see, and therefore review, the Wolverine, so it would push one of the posts on the list and move Friday's post to the next Tuesday. However, there is a good chance that I will have to wait a few weeks for the movie to be released in a theater near me.
Monday: Bloglovin', Facebook, Twitter, and More.
Tuesday: Coming Soon: August 2013 (by Jordan)
Wednesday: Serenity Review (Firefly Review Part 4).
Thursday: Man of Steel Sequel Villains: Part 2.
Friday: Return of the King: Book Vs Movie: Part 1.
Note: When I stated yesterday that I was going to post my video tribute next week, I meant next week from Sunday, not Saturday, which means sometime after next Monday.
Also click on the link to read the Doctor Who Tag: Part 1.


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Doctor Who Tag: Part 1.

BanrĂ­on An Gheimhridh at Climbing the Alpine Path created a Doctor Who tag and tagged me. It consists of 20 questions about Doctor Who and I plan to answer five questions every week. Also at the end of this post I have tagged a few other Doctor Who fans that I believe might be interested in doing. Allons-y!

Day 1 - When and why did you start watching Doctor Who, and what made you become a fan of it?:
In 2005 my father saw that a new sci-fi show named Doctor Who came on TV and ask me if I wanted to watch it, so we did. Now the rest is history, I have been a fan of the series since the reboot and I have seen every episode since the new series began.

Day 2 - Favorite quotes: So many quotes to choose from! My favorite has to be the iconic:
"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff."
Anytime that I discuss time travel and such I always quote this line. 

Day 3 - Favorite theme songs: "Opening Theme," "Name of the Doctor," "All the Strange Strange Creatures," and "Clara's Theme."

Day 4 - Favorite episodes and favorite scenes/moments: I cannot decide on my favorite scenes and episodes, however a few of my favorite Tennant episodes are: "Blink," and "Girl in the Fireplace." I cannot decide on my favorite Matt Smith episodes because there are so many amazing ones, however "Eleventh Hour," "The Doctor's Wife," "Let's Kill Hitler," "A Good Man Goes to War," and many others would certainly make the list! My favorite Eccleston episode is probably: "The Empty Child."

Day 5 - Least favorite episodes: "The Rings of Akhaten" was the only Smith episode I would consider bad, although it could have been worse. I cannot remember any particularly bad episodes earlier in the series because it has been years since I have seen them and bad episodes are the most forgettable ones. Also most episodes with Slitheen in them are usually not that great.

I am not sure who would actually like to participate in the tag, so if you are not interested, just don't do the tag.

Shena Tokala
T.M. Hall
The Sith Photographer

I know there are a few other Doctor Who fans out there, although I do not believe they are interested  in doing a tag like this. For more information on the Doctor Who Tag click on the link to read the rules.

Below is all the tags questions made for easy copy and pasting.

Day 1 - When and why did you start watching Doctor Who, and what made you become a fan of it?
Day 2 - Favorite quotes
Day 3 - Favorite theme songs
Day 4 - Favorite episodes and favorite scenes/moments
Day 5 - Least favorite episodes
Day 6 - Favorite Doctors (or do you disagree with the idea of having a favorite Doctor, and like all of them equally?)
Day 7 - Favorite companions
Day 8 - Least favorite companions
Day 9 - The characters you relate to most
Day 10 - Favorite villains and the villains that frightened you the most
Day 11 - Least favorite villains
Day 12 - Funniest moments
Day 13 - Moments that made you cry
Day 14 - Saddest episode
Day 15 - Favorite friendship
Day 16 - Favorite couple
Day 17 - Favorite actor
Day 18 - Favorite actress
Day 19 - Favorite writer
Day 20 - What actor you would like to play the 12th Doctor

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Saturday, July 27, 2013


Yes! I have finally reached 100 blog followers! Thank you, all of you for following this blog and commenting over the past two years. Reaching 100 followers has been a goal of mine since I became obsessed with blogging, and now I have finally accomplished it! Actually, now there are 102 followers of the blog! Unfortunately, I do not have anything special planned like a giveaway, however on Monday I will be announcing how J and J Productions will be expanding into new forms of social media. Thanks everyone for following, you and your comments are the reason I continue to post everyday. My next goal, 200 followers! Thanks everyone and guest blog contributors/cyber friends for helping me achieve my goal. Hopefully next week I will actually post my video movie tribute that I have been working on for two and a half years.
If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Wolverine Review Roundup.

The Wolverine is coming out in theaters today, what do the critics think? Well, most say that the Wolverine is a great movie. Despite everyone's expectations, the Wolverine turns out to be the standalone Wolverine movie everyone wanted. Some critics are praising it for its themes, handling of the source material, and fun, and mostly grounded, action scenes. After X-Men: Origins butchered Wolverine's origin story and several characters, the Wolverine actually not sucking it a huge surprise for most critics. Also after Man of Steel disappointed all but the most die-heart Nolanites, it is great to see the Wolverine does not disappoint. It is currently receiving better reviews than Man of Steel and about equal to, or slightly lower, than Iron Man 3. I definitely cannot wait to see the movie and from the looks of it, as long as you have seen the X-Men trilogy (not Origins), the movie should be easy to follow. Now for the critics reviews. 
The Wolverine Review by Jordan Rath: 8.0/10- "If you were worried about The Wolverine, and understandably so, you needn't worry anymore. It's one of the most satisfying trips to the movies you will have this summer and it's great to see Hugh Jackman in a GOOD Wolverine film again. With Days of Future Past looking like it might be one of the all time greats, things are looking up for the X-Men once again."
IGN: 8.5/10- IGN states that the Wolverine was "thematically compelling" and the ninja fight scenes were awesome. To sum up their review, the Wolverine is the standalone movie that the character deserves.  
Chris Stuckmann: -A: Except for the last 20 minutes, Stuckmann loved the Wolverine, saying that it perfectly captured the character and had a perfect mix of drama and action.
Jeremy Jahns: Buy It on Blu-Ray: Jahns gave the Wolverine the same score as Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel. He said that it was surprisingly a lot better than he expected and the only thing he disliked was one of the villains.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%: "Although its final act succumbs to the usual cartoonish antics, The Wolverine is one superhero movie that manages to stay true to the comics while keeping casual viewers entertained."
Film: The Wolverine (2013) by Gypsy King: 4/5- "Most importantly, Jackman is still great to watch as Wolverine and shows no sign of stopping yet." Warning: Review contains spoilers.
Unfortunately, the Wolverine is not being shown at my local theater, so I will have to go out of town to see it hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday.
If you have reviewed the movie, please leave a link in the comments and I will add your review to the list.
Do you plan to see the Wolverine in theaters? Are you surprised by the positive critical reception? Please comment below.
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Firefly Video Game Coming!

At Comic-Con it was announced that there will be a Firefly video game! The unfortunate part is that it will only be released on mobile devices, at least until later. From what has been said, it will probably be an MMO (massive-multiplayer-online) game. While I do love playing the Old Republic, MMOs are not preferred genre of games due to the subscription fees, however I am optimistic about the game and I hope that it makes it way to consoles. What I find slightly confusing is that Fox Media is producing the game, but it is using the music from Serenity, which was produced by Universal. So who actually owns the rights to the Firefly/Serenity franchise? Is it Joss Whedon, Fox, or Universal. I have also heard that Nathan Fillion and some fans where attempting to buy the rights from whoever currently owns, but I believe that it was never ended up happening. If someone knows who owns the rights please comment and tell, but I believe it is still Fox. As for the game itself, I am unsure as to whether I should be excited or angry that Fox is trying to make a cheap cash grab because Browncoats like myself will enviably buy it regardless of how bad the game might be just to experience more Firefly. Either way, "Curse Fox's sudden but enviable betrayal!" Will it turn out to be shiny or a piece of go-se? Please comment below. Also please be sure to check all my Firefly post series. Also look for my review of Serenity next week or later this week.
 Below is a video with more details on the game. 

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter One-Shot Positive Reception.

The pilot episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the new Agent Carter Marvel One-Shot were revealed at the San Diego Comic-Con to a positive reception! While most of us will have to wait until September 24th for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, the reviews from San Diego Comic-Con are a very positive sign. Most are saying that the humor is great and the characters mesh well in typical Whedon fashion. Since watching Firefly and seeing how amazing Whedon can be on television, I am not more excited for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It might be my most anticipated piece of media of the entire year, even more so than the Hobbit and Thor: The Dark World! The time slot is odd because it will be coming on against the most viewed television show, NCIS, and while I will most certainly be watching, why would Disney and ABC make such an odd move?
Now for Marvel's new One-Shot: Agent Carter. As with Marvel's other One-Shots, Agent Carter will be released on the Iron Man 3 Blu-Ray, which I will be pre-ordering. The short had a special screening at Comic-Con and was very well received with many stating that it could pave the way for some more super-heroines to make their way to the big screen and that it is the best Shot-One yet. It was also suggested that the Marvel One-Shot should be shown in front of the Marvel films similar to how the "Paper Man" short was shown before Disney's Wreck-It-Ralph and I am all for the idea. My idea is that Marvel should use these One-Shots to introduce new characters to audiences, like the short previews that can be found in older comic books.
Here is a new clip from the new Peggy Carter One-Shot and it reminds me a lot of Black Window. I cannot wait to see it when the Iron Man 3 Blu-Ray comes out.

Below is a video with a few details about the One-Shot.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Death Note Review.

Thoughts: Death Note is a critically acclaimed psychological fantasy thriller anime. In general, Japanese anime is not my favorite. Other than the Iron Man anime I have yet to actually finish any anime series or film, until Death Note. Even though I did expect Death Note to be good, it took me by surprise because the series was amazing! One of the best televisions series I have ever seen.
The premise is that a brilliant high school senior Light Yagami finds a "Death Note" dropped by a Shinigami (basically a Japanese Grim Reaper). The Death Note has the power to kill anyone whose name is written in the note, however writer of the Death Note must know the person's real and face to actually kill someone. After Light discovers the power of the note he uses to "create his perfect world" by killing every criminal that is broadcast on TV and basically anyone who breaks the law. To catch "Kira," name given by the public to the mysterious killer of criminals, world's greatest detective "L" takes on the task of trying to catch Kira and then possibly the greatest battle of wits ensues. L vs. Light/Kira is one of the best rivals I have ever seen; it is the ultimate game of cat and mouse as each one tries to discover the others secrets. As to not spoil any plot points, which is imperative to enjoying the series, I will not say more about the storyline other than it is amazing and original. A big thanks goes to Stilwater at In the Shade of My Wide-Brimmed Hat for recommending Death Note in her Anime post. After starting the series last Sunday or Monday I watched it obsessively until Thursday when I finished the entire. The show had me hooked after only two episodes and I could not wait to see what happened in the next episode. Fortunately the entire series has been uploaded to YouTube and I will post it below so that you can watch it.

The Good: Shocking plot twists throughout, Extremely suspense, Unique characters, Near perfect first 24 episodes, Excellent voice cast, Well developed characters, Thought provoking, Morally ambiguous, Superb animation, Epic soundtrack, Mostly satisfying conclusion, Intelligent writing, Always keeps you guessing, One of the greatest rivalries ever,

The Bad: Last few episodes were lacking,

Plot: 9.9/10- Although Death Note is a relatively short series only consisting of 37 episodes, the first 25 are masterpieces of suspense and intrigue. Most episodes are engaging at a psychological level because the viewer is trying to figure things out as the series goes along with all its shocking plot twists and turns. The concept, albeit it slightly ridiculous to some, was incredibly original and well paced. Death Note relies heavily on suspense and man is it suspenseful! There where moments when my heart was literally pounding due to the level tension waiting for what would happen next. Throughout the series there are times where the audience hears the thoughts of both Light and L trying to out match other, and it worked brilliantly to convey the battle wits between the characters. Both Light's and L's characters are well developed and surprisingly likeable. It is almost difficult to determine which of the two is the real protagonist, although Light is the true star of the series. Also the story contains themes of "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" because with the Death Note's power Light develops a "god complex" thinking himself as above humanity and therefore fit to rule mankind as he sees fit. Unfortunately, Death Note does not keep this stoke of brilliance throughout the entire series, after episode 26 the show starts to take a drop in quality. However, it is still an excellent show and I found it enjoyable since I was already invested in the characters.

Action: N/A- Other than a ton of death, there is not much action.

Acting: 9.9/10- Superb English dub all around for the series and all the lines translated well and never felt miss placed, except for a few text errors later in the series. Brad Swaile gives an excellent performance as Light/Kira, he voices the role perfectly. Alessandro Juliani as L was even better as a eccentric detective, being the real standout of the show. While some anime fans prefer the original Japanese dub, I highly recommend watching the English dub because the voice acting is fantastic.

Art Style: 10/10- Normally anime's style is off putting to me, however Death Note's animation was amazing. It seems that in most anime when characters are talking, only the mouths of the characters actually move, which I find odd, however Death Note's style seemed more fluid than others. Despite this, in typical anime fashion, there were a few scenes that over-the-top dramatic to the point where it was almost laughable, however those scenes worked surprising well.

Soundtrack: 10/10- The music ranged from epic orchestral music to detective investigating type themes, all of which is perfect for the series. The epic music makes seemingly mundane things feel epic. The opening theme in earlier episodes is quite good, even though I have no idea what it is saying, however the later episode's "Death Metal" opening is annoying. All it is garbled screaming! Fortunately, it is never used in the show.

Comedy: 6.8/10- While far from comedy, Matsudo, Misa, and L can quite humorous at times.

Overall: 9.8/10- Death Note is one of the most original and suspenseful televisions show I have ever seen, and the first anime series that I actually enjoyed throughout. It is smart and always keeps you guessing with many plot twists and turns.

Closing Comments: From someone who does not normally enjoy anime, I have to say that I recommend Death Note to anyone old enough that wants to watch some awesome and smart television. Even if you are not an anime fan or you have never been seen anime before, Death Note is a perfect place to start.

Recommended for: Psychological Thriller fans, Fantasy fans, Crime genre fans, Suspense fans, Supernatural genre fans, Thriller fans, Anime fans, Animation fans, Fans of good television,

Next on my anime endeavor will be the popular Cowboy Bebop. If you also watch anime please recommend me some series to watch, preferably sci-fi or something along the lines of Death Note.

Below is the entire series uploaded to YouTube, except for episode 5, which you can watch part 1 here and part 2 here. Warning, the show is occasionally violent, although I never found any more violent than a PG-13 movie.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Batman/Superman Movie Officially Announced

It is official, Batman will be part of the Man of Steel of sequel! What millions of fans have clamoring for is finally becoming a reality. The movie is set to be released in 2015, the same year as Star Wars Ep. VI, Avengers 2, and Ant-Man, therefore 2015 could be the most epic year in the history of cinema. Zack Sndyer is coming back to direct the sequel, which is not a bad thing nor it is the best thing for the franchise. The actor for Batman has yet to be announced however, there is plenty of time before principle photography begins so announce will not be for a while. It is mostly confirmed that Christian Bale will not be returning to reprise his role of Batman nor will any of the other "Nolanverse" characters be featured in the film. David Goyer is set to unfortunately pen the script again for the sequel. While Goyer can be a solid writer, his script for Man of Steel lacked the human touch and made all but Superman's character feel cold and distant. As for Batman, it has been suggested that he will play part of an antagonist, possibly fighting Superman, at least in the beginning. Unless Kryptonite or something similar is introduced in the Man of Steel universe, Batman stands no chance. Sure, Batman have defeated Superman in the Dark Knight Returns comic, but Superman did not really want to hurt Bruce. Other rumors are that a Flash movie is set for a 2016 release date and a Justice League film in 2017.
This is somewhat off topic but something that I will understand is why everyone was complaining about the recent reboot of Spider-Man before it even came out because people thought it was "too soon" for a reboot, even though Spider-Man 3 was disappointing. Conversely, there was approximately the same amount between the horrendous Superman Returns and Man of Steel yet no one was being jerk and complaining that it was "too soon" for a reboot. Also people are not complaining that is too soon for Batman to be rebooted, it makes no sense! Regardless, Man of Steel and the Dark Knight movie will either be the fun team-up fans have been waiting for, or a complete disaster. What are your thoughts on the upcoming Batman/Superman movie? Please sound off in the comments. Also please check back tomorrow for my review of Death Note.
This is a picture of the official logo shown at Comic-Con.
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Avengers Sequel Revealed! And Posting Schedule.

The sequel to The Avengers has been officially named "Avengers: Age of Ultron"! Wow, that is extremely surprising because I expected the next villain to be Thanos since he was in the after credit scene. However, it appears the film will be loosely based on the "Age of Ultron," which I have yet to read. In the comics, Ultron was created by Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, who will be getting a film in the fall of 2015, and the robot turned on Hank and became one of the Avengers' most powerful foes. Ultron has an army of Ultron soldiers and Ultron himself is made out of some of the strongest material in the Marvel Universe. This is an odd choice for the second film in The Avengers series because the movie would have to introduce both Ultron and Ant-Man into the story, it would make more sense if Thanos was the main villain after making an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy. What are your thoughts on this breaking news? Please comment below.
Monday: Batman/Superman Movie Coming
Tuesday: Death Note Review
Wednesday: Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter One-Shot Positive Reception.
Thursday: Firefly Video Game Announced 
Friday: The Wolverine Review Roundup
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Amazing Spider-Man 2: Electro Revealed!

At the Sand Diego Comic-Con a teaser for the Amazing Spider-Man's main villain, Electro, was revealed! While there is not much to go on, this teaser certainly intrigues me. Jamie Fox will be playing Electro, the new villain in the Amazing Spider-Man 2, and from what it appears, he looks entirely different from his comic book counterpart, other than the obvious ethnic change. There are versions of the character that does look a little closer to this type of Electro, however it is still vastly altered. Since Electro is not a major villain in the Spider-Man verse, the changes are not all that bad. From the set pictures at least, it seems that the character does use a lot of practical effects and makeup to create the character, which great because characters like him are all too often CGed. Albeit short, the teaser gets me excited for one of my most anticipated films of 2014! What do you think? Please comment below. 
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Friday, July 19, 2013

X-Men Review.

Thoughts: X-Men, Marvel's first successful attempt to adapt their comics to film and the one sparked the modern comic book movie craze. It is hard to believe that it has been 13 years since the first X-Men and to think that the X-Men universe is still within the same continuity after all those years is extraordinary, especially considering that most other comic book franchises from the time have rebooted. Despite its age, X-Men will always be among the best in the comic book genre. It brought the first comic book team to the big screen and without it, many of everyone's favorite comic book movies would have never been made like The Avengers, Dark Knight, or Spider-Man. Although some say that Blade started the comic book craze, it was not quote as successful as some might remember. As for the X-Men movie itself, it holds up even today. Hugh Jackman was the perfect Wolverine, even though he is physically much different than his comic book counterpart, because Wolverine is very short and stocky, where as Jackman is a big guy. However, he owned the role and made Wolverine the main reason why the X-Men movies are awesome. X-Men was probably the first comic book movie that I watched in theaters when I was a kid, or at least the one that I remember watching. It and Spider-Man sparked my interest in comic books that is now an obsession, I probably own more X-Men comics than any other franchise, and before the Avengers, X-Men were, by far, my favorite comic book team. What makes X-Men different than superheroes is that they are outcasts; most people do not want to accept those mutants exist. X-Men were brought together because they were the strongest heroes around; they are together because each was born with an ability that made them an outcast.

Directed by: Bryan Singer
Genre: Action Adventure, Comic Book,
Release date: July 14, 2000 (2000-07-14)
Running Time: 104 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Revolutionized comic book movies, Perfect casting of Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto, Great beginning to a great franchise, Excellent soundtrack, Impressive special effects, Magneto is an awesome villain, First serious take on a comic book,

The Bad:

Plot: The film starts in a concentration camp in Germany-occupied Poland in 1944 as a young boy is being separated from his parents upon entry to the concentration camp. When he tries to get back after the gates close, he is restrained by numerous guards whom he easily overpowers as they are sliding towards the gate, which is also curling towards them, as though attracted by a magnetic force. The boy is soon knocked out cold by one of the guards. Jumping to modern day, a girl named Marie runs away from her home in Meridian, Mississippi after almost killing her boyfriend after kissing him. In Congress, Senator Robert Kelly attempts to pass a "Mutant Registration Act", which would force mutants to publicly reveal their identities and abilities. Magneto begins his plans to level the playing field between mutants and humans. Meanwhile, Marie (aka Rogue) meets Logan (aka Wolverine) in Canada. Rogue's mutation makes her temporarily assume the powers of any mutant she touches while Wolverine possesses superhuman healing abilities, heightened senses, and claws that extend from his knuckles. Suddenly, both of them are attacked by Sabretooth, a mutant and associate of Magneto. Watch the movie to what happens next.

Plot: 8.6/10- X-Men does a solid job of introducing each character into the story, however Wolverine, Professor X, Rouge, and Jean Gray receive the most character development throughout the story. While Cyclops is given the shaft, most of the plot works well and delivers a fun experience. Even though some may argue that Tim Burton’s Batman was the first serious adaptation of a comic book, it is far too cartoony for me to take it seriously, I consider X-Men the first truly serious take because it was set in a mostly realistic world, just with mutants.

Action: 9.2/10- Even though it does have the same level of insanely awesome action as modern comic book movies like The Avengers, X-Men’s action are well filmed and impressive considering the low budget of the film. There was one horribly written line in the film, “What happens to a toad that stuck by lightening?” You know the rest.

Acting: 8.9/10- Hugh Jackman killed it as Wolverine. He perfectly captures the inter struggle of the character, and he only gets better in the sequel. Patrick Stewart both looks and plays the part exactly as Professor X is in the comics, no one could have done it better. Ian McKellen brings one of the best villains every created to life as Magneto; he owned the role. Even though Halle Berry is often a fine actress, she has never fit the role well. James Marsden as Cyclops was not bad, but for being an important character in the X-Men universe, he was severally shafted in the film. The other cast member gave solid well rounded performances. 

Special effects: 8.5/10- Considering the budget and time when it was made, the effects still hold up very well, although none of the effects are especially impressive by today’s standards.

Soundtrack: 8.4/10- While nowhere near as iconic as The Avengers or Elfman’s Spider-Man theme, X-Men score fits the mysterious nature of mutants well.

Comedy: N/A: A few humorous remarks, mostly from Wolverine.

Would I Watch This Again: To me, X-Men is a classic, and a movie that I re-watch once every other year or so.

Overall: 8.5/10: X-Men is an excellent film that started the modern era of comic book films and created a foundation that the new X-Men continue to build upon.

Closing comments: If you are a comic book movie fan, watch X-Men and its sequel X2, because both are awesome movies.

Recommended for: Comic Book movie fans, Superhero movie fans, Action movie fans, Patrick Stewart fans, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen fans.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Aliens (1986) Review.

Thoughts: Wow, just wow, Aliens is one of the most pulse pounding, thrilling film I have ever seen! Few, if any, films have had me at the edge-of-my-seat and this among action as Aliens had. After a slow 40 minute buildup, the film became an intense thrill ride. Aliens, the sequel to Ridley Scott's Alien, except Aliens is directed by James Cameron. This movie has made me a fan of the Alien franchise, easily one of the best action films ever made. Compared to its contemporaries, only Indiana Jones and Star Wars have better action scenes and it would rank slightly below Cameron's Terminator 2. Some do not like Aliens because it "ruined the mystery of the first Alien film", to me however, this was the only logical step forward for the franchise. Rehashing the previous movie would have been pointless, Cameron turned a standalone film into an exciting franchise and made Ellen Ripley one of the best heroines in movie history. As a fan of the Halo video game franchise, I noticed many similarities to the games, particularly the technology and character Lieutenant William Gorman.

Directed by: James Cameron
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Action Thriller, Thriller,
Release Date: July 18, 1986
Running Time: 137 minutes
MMPA rating: R

The Good: Awesome action scenes, Very suspenseful, Perfect mix of action and thrills, Excellent performance by Sigourney Weaver, Amazing creature effects, A kid who is not annoying, An epic final throw down, Pulse pounding and intense, Jaw dropping special effects, Memorable quotes,

The Bad:

Warning: This film is rate "R" for language, violence and other mature content.

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the only survivor of the space freighter Nostromo, is rescued and revived after drifting for 57 years in stasis. At an interview before a panel of executives from her employer, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, her testimony regarding the Alien is met with extreme skepticism as she has no physical evidence. Ripley loses her space-flight license as a result of her "questionable judgment" and learns that LV-426, the planet where her crew first encountered the Alien eggs, is now home to a terraforming colony.
Ripley is later visited by Weyland-Yutani representative Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) and Lieutenant Gorman (William Hope) of the Colonial Marines, who inform her that contact has been lost with the colony on LV-426. The company decides to dispatch Burke and a unit of space marines to investigate, and offers to restore Ripley's flight status and pick up her contract if she will accompany them as a consultant. Traumatized by her previous encounter with the Alien, Ripley initially refuses, but accepts after Burke promises that the team will destroy any Aliens found and not attempt to study them. Aboard the warship Sulaco she is introduced to the Colonial Marines, including Sergeant Apone (Al Matthews), Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn), privates Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) and Hudson (Bill Paxton), and the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen), toward whom Ripley is initially hostile due to her previous experience with the android Ash aboard the Nostromo.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 9.5/10- While not groundbreaking in terms of story telling, Aliens got it right where it mattered most, the characters. The plot served its purpose to deliver the thrills, however there were some good plot twists that kept things fresh and never predicable. A few of the Colonial Marines were thinly conceived and their dialogue was a little corn, which is the only noticeable, however their characters were not important to story and therefore not an issue. Somehow the film made a child, Newt, not completely annoying. Actually she made the movie better by adding depth to Ripley's character. The pacing was solid, the first 40 minutes or so, where kind of slow, but it was used as important buildup for the plot and action.

Action: 9.9/10- Aliens is one of the few films where some darkly lit and obscure camera angles actually help the action scenes, opposed to the usual shaky-cam mess of what people call an "action scene". The action had some of the most suspenseful action scenes I have seen in the film and many of the others scenes were just shot excellently. The final throw-down was epic and a perfect way to end the film.

Acting: 9.2/10- Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley was nominated for an Oscar, which she was definitely deserving of. Unfortunately, the Academy overlooks modern action films even though all of the performances are Oscar worthy. Carrie Henn as Newt was excellent in her role. Michael Biehn played a similar role to Kyle Reese in Terminator, and he was good, even though not a main character. Bill Paxton as Private William Hudson gave an over-the-top performance and delivered some of the funniest lines of the film. A few of actors who played marines had some cheesy lines but nothing that detracted from the film.  

Special effects: 10/10: Aliens effects are terribly underrated! James Cameron makes some of the best special effects and Aliens is no different. While some of the effects are dated compared to today, most of the effects did not use CGI, which is usually more believable.
*Spoiler* The Alien Queen was awesome. One of the most impressive effects I have seen in a film. *End Spoiler*

Soundtrack: 7.9/10- James Horner's score adds tension and the military themes sound great. However, it is not one of his better soundtracks.

Comedy: 7.3/10- Bill Paxton delivered some hilarious lines but there was not much other humor in the film.

Would I Watch This Again: Most definitely, Aliens will be a film that I will watch many times in the future.

Overall: 9.6/10: Aliens is like a shot of adrenaline, pulse-pounding and exciting with a perfect mix of action and suspense, and it is one of my favorite movies ever made.

Closing comments: If you like science fiction and don't mind some blood and gore, watch the first Alien and then watch Aliens; it is awesome!

Recommended for: Action fans, Sci-Fi fans, Action Thriller fans, Suspense fans, If you watched Alien, James Cameron fans, Sigourney Weaver fans,

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Firefly Review Part 3: the Characters.

This is the second part of the Firefly characters analysis and the third part of my overall Firefly review, enjoy.
Dr. Simon Tam
Dr. Simon and his sister River are often the cause of trouble within the crew. Since that reason is a spoiler, I will say no more. However, Simon and River's brother/sister relationship is great to see, since siblings are so underuse. He is very protective and selflessly protects his little sister.
River Tam
River is a truly fascinating and complex character. Her background is mysterious and often the focal point of several episodes. At first she is just an odd, shy girl, but later she turns into a fantastic character. In the film, Serenity, and episode "Objects in Space" she becomes infinitely more awesome, and again, possibly my favorite character.
Shepherd Book 
Shepherd Derrial Book, is a Shepherd, a type of Christian pastor, however he seems to know a little too much criminal actives that a one would think a preacher should. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled so his backstory was never revealed, but he will always be one of my favorite characters. It was great to see a Christian on a show where one would not normally expect one. Shepherd is the moral compass of the crew and, like me, he enjoys a quiet theatrical experience.
Inara Serra
Inara is a companion (high class and educated prostitute), which gives the ship legitimacy on land core worlds. With the decline of morals I suppose it makes sense in a wild west type future. As for her character, Inara is perfectly written as are all the characters. Her romantic tension with Mal was spot-on, their scenes and banter, and nice character moments were fantastic. 
 That was Serenity's crew, now for my two favorite side characters.
Among the side characters in the series, Saffron is my favorite. Her debut episode, "Our Mrs. Reynolds" has some of the funniest moments in the series. Spoiler* After discovering Saffron's identity was just a ruse to steal the ship, she turned into one of best femme fatales ever. She is manipulative and cunning. Her reappearance in "Trash" was great to see because is such a fun character to watch. *End Spoiler*  

Jubal Early
Eearly is said to be partially inspired by the universe's best bounty hunter, Boba Fett and there are certainly a few similarities. Early is one of those very entertaining, yet completely despicable villains, where he so a lot of fun to watch but you hate him for what he does to your favorite characters. Even though he was in one episode, his was so memorable, even more so than many movie villains.
Who are your favorite characters? If you have not seen Firefly, does this make you interested to see it? Please comment below and always remember: "Some people juggle geese."
Note: When I first watched Firefly the second half of the first episode "Serenity" failed to record, however it will be airing again soon. Therefore my plan is to hold part 4 about reviewing each episode of the series and skip to my review for Serenity the movie and then post my episode review of Firefly.
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