Home Blog Page 2

The Telelibrary: Literary Portals – An Immersive Review

0
The Telelibrary A black rotary phone whose top receiver is separated and on the left, its cable in a shape of a loop. Photo by Quino Al
A black rotary phone whose top receiver is separated and on the left, its cable in a shape of a loop. Photo by Quino Al

Right before I paid a phone call to The Telelibrary, I had my heart broken. Freshly frustrated from the final exchange over Instagram messages (the absolute nerve), I wasn’t sure if I was open enough to do an immersive experience, especially one as novel as The Telelibrary. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone, but I’ve already secured a time slot and they usually sell out quickly.

Please be advised that there are spoilers in this review. I do recommend going in with as little knowledge as possible, but if you’re curious, feel free to read further.

Billed as part theater, part game, part self-care and created by Yannick Trapman-O’Brien, I did not know what to expect. I knew that it won awards, in 2020 for “Outstanding Achievement in Immersive & Experiential Production” and “Audience Choice: Best Screenless Experience” from No Proscenium. And in the following year for “Innovation in Interaction Design” by IndieCade.

The Telelibrary is a remote, one-on-one, immersive experience played solely through the telephone. Though if you’re not based in the United States, you can call through WhatsApp. Set up in the Eastern Timezone, you call up a number and meet the robot operator. Played by Yannick, he was extremely polite, inquisitive, and delightful. When he asked me for my name, I misheard and when he requested again, I stated it. Throughout the 50+ minutes, he called me “OhI’mSorryEileenPlease”. Unfortunately, when he asked me what to call him, I went with the humdrum “Operator”. It would’ve been cooler if I called him “Hot Dog” or “Glob”.

To start off, he gives you the option of picking a number between 1-6, just like any automated menu. I selected a digit and it led to him repeating a word I didn’t recognize at all. I was confused so he paused and offered an option for the explanation for this selection. I confirmed and he then states that this is from Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders and what the book is about. Thrilled I asked him to continue, and he finished the definition and gave an example. I proceeded to have him read the rest of that wonderful menu. I will note that each number has a varying number of credits you need to use in order to listen. But good news, you can add credits pretty easily. He’ll give you a choice between two questions such as what’s outside your window or share a joke.

I couldn’t resist when I could choose to tell him what I miss. I proceeded to tell him about that heartbreaker, how it ended, and that I shouldn’t miss him but I do. Operator was the first person I told and it felt like a great release. And I earned a credit for my self-pity so yay haha. But something more beautiful (and healthier) happened as I stayed on the phone. As each choice led to a further expansion of the menu from 1-23+, I got to hear other participants besides Operator. I won’t reveal more than that, but I will say that the readings that Operator/Yannick shared with me were healing.

He recited a wondrous poem about springtime during the war written decades ago which made me go “hmm” at the end. He responded, “Can I ask you a question?” I said yes. And he asked me why I went hmm. So I went off about how it’s amazing how nature and the Earth will be fine long after us, despite all the current war and carnage, and how comforting it is despite our despair. He then beautifully and so succinctly summarized how I felt right back to me, asking for my confirmation, like the fantastic robot he is hehe. I said “Yes!” And he replied “I’m learning a lot today!” which he happens to say a lot, making me grin quite often.

Heartbreak is such an inward, internal process, especially when it’s brand new. For me, it always feels like I’m alone in it. But this singular phone call allowed me to open up and see our World beyond this last failure. To view a fascinating range of subjects and creative possibilities. Through Yannick’s gem readings and the participants’ materials, I was able to stave off the pain and experience the wonder of literature, humanity, and storytelling. There are a lot of amazing expansions and sub-menus to explore and the selection of menus changes each week, inviting further play.

It’s important to note that you have the option of being recorded during these phone calls. However, you can state at any time if you no longer give permission to be recorded. I think I’ll always green light mine and maybe, my own thoughts will help another user like how the past participants helped me with my own.

Yannick has created a terrific experience with quality storytelling, performance, and clever innovation. And all with just his voice, some books, and a ukulele. When we mostly seek our entertainment in gargantuan libraries of streaming services, CGI franchises, and viral videos, it’s an utter breath of fresh air when you come across something seemingly simplistic yet incredibly brilliant. I just signed up for the waitlist and I can’t wait to meet Operator/Glob again. Definitely check out The Telelibrary with an open mind and heart, you’ll be sure to be enchanted.

Moon Knight Episode 4 Review: The Tomb

0

Steven and Layla Try and Thwart Harrow Before Things Get Weird

Bear with me, folks. Normally Christian would do his normal fantastic job of covering Moon Knight. But since he’s away covering PAX East, I’m playing pinch hitter this week. And honestly, I welcome the chance to cover Moon Knight, since it’s a very different Marvel series.

The episode mostly deals with Layla and Steven. At first, they’re both dealing with the aftershocks of Khonshu’s imprisonment in stone. As a direct consequence, not only is Steven unconscious, but he’s also bereft of any supernatural assistance. That means no healing, no increased strength, and no suit. Which, honestly, Steven is totally fine with. He just wants his life to go back to before he discovered he was an unwilling superhero. But the problem is that without those very powers, he’s very much at the mercy of Harrow and his men. Or he would be, if not for action-hero Layla.

Moon Knight | The Tomb 1

As Steven lies sleeping on the sands, men in armed vehicles start shooting at him. Layla thinks quickly and rolls him to some cover, but the ruffians keep after them. Using a well-timed flare and some quick maneuvering, Layla manages to blow them to bits, and get Steven away safely. It’s clear that the situation is weird for her since Steven is in the same body as her husband. Hell, she remarks at one point that he even smells the same. But regardless, they’re both very different personalities.

There are some fun romantic moments between Layla and Steven as they arrive at Harrow’s dig site. It’s clear Steven is starting to develop feelings for her, and Marc is not happy about it. He threatens Steven with all sorts of bodily harm, which seems even crazier since doing so would hurt him as well. And after an especially awkward kiss between Layla and Steven, it seems Marc gains temporary control to punish the goofy Brit git.

Moon Knight | The Tomb 2

What I most liked about The Tomb was how much it dialed up the Indiana Jones energy. Normally there’s plenty of that in Moon Knight since it involves studying ancient relics and tombs and fighting zealots and monsters. But it’s even more poignant since Steven / Marc are very fragile human beings without Khonshu to assist them. And just to play on that even more, it quickly becomes apparent Harrow may have entered the tomb first, but he didn’t do so without resistance. There’s something called Heka priests already there, and the best way to describe them is as zombie Egyptian sorcerers with a penchant for carving up their prey.

Moon Knight | The Tomb 4

I appreciated a supernatural foe other than Harrow’s Anubis soldiers. Cause while those are fine, they’ve been overused by now. And it helps how incredibly indestructible the Heka priests are in comparison to the naughty puppies. They’re seemingly bulletproof, very nimble despite the whole undead thing, and super sneaky. After encountering them, Steven and Layla have to frantically race in separate directions, and of course, a priest manages to snag Layla. Unlike Steven, she can handle herself just fine, and she summarily uses another flare to good effect, plunging it into the eye socket of the creature before sending it flailing into a deep, dark pit.

Harrow gets some screen time with Layla, and starts to reveal unfortunate secrets. He tells her that when he read Steven’s aura, he saw his past pain and sin. And most of that contends with Marc being there when Layla’s father was killed. She angrily confronts Marc about this, and he takes control long enough to tell her that he had no hand in her father’s death. It was his partner that murdered him and then tried to kill Marc as well. Which is likely where Khonshu first intervened to make a new avatar.

Moon Knight | The Tomb 3

I also enjoyed watching Steven nerd out in Ammit’s tomb, and deduce the path forward using his keen mind. He eventually finds the sarcophagus that is supposed to contain Ammit’s ushabti, but finds something strange. I won’t spoil the reveal, but suffice to say Ammit’s original avatar was a very unconventional pharaoh.

Moon Knight | The Tomb 6

It’s all going as expected until Harrow catches up with the couple in the tomb, and seemingly fatally shoots Marc twice. As he falls into a pool of water, things get really weird. We see a corny movie with a hero named Steven Grant. Then we’re taken to a blindingly white room that appears to be a mental ward. Marc is doped up and barely able to talk, and his psychiatrist is none other than Arthur Harrow. And while part of me wondered if this was a mind fuck showcasing the depths of Marc / Steven’s mental distress, I suspect it’s something else.

As Marc gets loose, he finds a sarcophagus in the ward. Inside is none other than Steven, somehow in his own body. And as the two men race around trying to escape and find answers, they are stopped dead in their tracks by Taweret, some darling hippo goddess. Which really makes me think the men are stuck in the Egyptian afterlife, though I’m uncertain how they got there without Khonshu’s help.

Moon Knight | The Tomb 7

Overall, The Tomb was another solid episode of Moon Knight. It kept revealing new details at a good clip while allowing the various personalities of Moon Knight time to breathe. And though it appears Harrow is trying to resurrect Ammit using her former avatar, I have my suspicions that somehow Ammit might get brought to life inside Layla. As for how Marc and Steven will escape their predicament, I’m eager to find out!

Be sure to tune in next week for The Workprint’s latest review of Moon Knight. And thanks to Disney for the images used in this review.

Eat Nuts & Kick Butts with ‘Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show!’

0
squirrel girl and friends

Writer Ryan North returns to The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. With actress Milana Vayntrub, of those infamous AT&T commercials, voicing the character.

The beloved Marvel comic The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is getting a surprise sequel in podcast form. Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show! is a scripted podcast released by Marvel Entertainment and SiriusXM radio. Available on all podcasting platforms, this six-episode podcast is written by veteran Squirrel Girl comics writer Ryan North, and directed by acclaimed theatre director Giovanna Sardelli. With original music by Justin Huertas and Steven Tran.

In a shock to fans, the podcast series actually sees actress Milana Vayntrub voice the character of Doreen Green, AKA Squirrel Girl. Having already played Doreen in the “Marvel Rising” animated series, Vayntrub was actually originally casted to play as Squirrel Girl in Freeform’s live-action superhero adaptation. At least, before the New Warriors show became officially canceled.

Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show features performances by Crystal Lucas-Perry (Nancy Whitehead), Davied Morales (Chipmunk Hunk), Peter Hermann (Brain Drain), Erica Schroeder (Tippy T. Squirrel), Tina Benko (Rachel Oskar), and Leo Sheng (Koi Boi). It should also be noted that Koi Boi, the first-ever transgender superhero in comics, is being played by a queer trans man.

As reported in Marvel’s Squirrel Girl press release, the plot for the series is as follows:

“Squirrel Girl has taken down Thanos and Doctor Doom – but now she faces something far more terrifying… living authentically. The new series follows Empire State University college student, Doreen Green, who has recently been outed as a superhero – The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! Hoping to unify her personas in the public eye, Squirrel Girl has created a new student radio show on ESU’s own college station. With the help of her best girlfriend, Nancy Whitehead as producer, and her best squirrel-friend, Tippy-Toe in the booth; Doreen is ready to help more people than ever with her greatest superhero advice. And when the going gets rough, she can always lean on her heroic friends: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Chipmunk Hunk, Koi Boi, and Brain Drain.

However, with a call-in show comes caller anonymity, and not all the folks on the line want help – some want to crime – and crime hard! When a suspicious caller wreaks havoc on New York City, Squirrel Girl and her friends will have to put their heroics to the test and prove that once and for all Doreen Green is the UNBEATABLE Squirrel Girl.”

In an exclusive with Variety, Vayntrub had this to say about returning to the character:

“Doreen has an optimism that’s not based in naiveté. Her optimism is grounded in fairness and trust and justice. I think she — like me and in a way, she’s more of who I want to be like — really believes there is good in all people and that justice is not punishment, but justice is restorative and it’s about people taking accountability and it’s becoming better versions of themselves. People do harm because they are lacking in resources or in love in some way. And she is hilarious because of her honesty and her bluntness and her ability to see the best in people. It’s more of who I want to be like, and I feel like, after a few hours of playing her, I like channel her and then can bring that into my life.”

Fans of the comics should be happy to see that Squirrel Girl’s still the super-positive and fun-loving character that fans have grown to love. Atop of this, North has also released an exclusive Squirrel Girl vertical comic on Marvel Unlimited. All for a Squirrel Girl one-shot prequel to the podcast.

About returning to the series years after his four-year run on Squirrel Girl, writer Ryan North had said, “For me, a lot of the fun of the project initially was getting to work in a new medium, one where everything that happened had to be communicated through sound. Of course, once we started recording, my favorite part was hearing the actors bring these characters to life. Milana and Crystal are Doreen and Nancy, and the way Leo and Davied and Peter brought Koi Boi, Chipmunk Hunk, and Brain Drain to life was just exceptional.” North continues, “The podcast continues right where the comics left off, so long-time fans will feel instantly at home, but it’s also built for new people who maybe have never encountered the world of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl before.”

Episode one of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show! is available right now. For those with the SXM App or a subscription to Marvel Podcasts Unlimited, there is also bonus content, including an early sneak peek of the second episode, “Spider-Sense Didn’t Even Tingle” along with behind-the-scenes work with Vayntrub and Lucas-Perry.

The Endgame Episode 8 Review: All That Glitters

0
Elena reads Sofiva a bedtime story in nbc's the endgame
THE ENDGAME -- "All That Glitters" Episode 108 -- Pictured: (l-r) Paisley Day Herrera as Sofiya, Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

‘All That Glitters’ Truly Ups the Stakes, and Paves the Road For the End of the Season

While I’m still of a mind that last week’s episode of The Endgame was one of the very best, All That Glitters comes in at a close second place. It’s clear now that the show is moving towards its own endgame, and things are heating up real fast. It all starts with a crank named the Serial Skeptic reporting with unnerving accuracy about the whole Federova situation. He seems to have figured out that the people Snow White has moved off the board are all enemies of Elena, and he’s even sporting a Free Elena t-shirt.

THE ENDGAME — “All That Glitters” Episode 108 — Pictured: Noah Bean as Patrick Doak — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

Doak and White House chief of staff Swanstrom are watching the Skeptic’s video, and they’re not happy with what they hear. The Skeptic is getting millions of views, and Swanstrom once again promises Doak a promotion if he starts dealing with the Snow White problem differently. He’s very eager to take Réal’s place, but then something surprising happens. Swanstrom suddenly faints, with a guard close behind. Before Doak nods off, he notices gas coming from a vase of flowers, and men wearing gas masks come and take the unconscious chief of staff.

Meanwhile, Réal is facing pressure from the White House to do something more proactive. He wants to make a big move, and take Federova’s daughter hostage. Val is very much against this plan and tries to convince Elena to stop her games and work with them. She points out that everybody in the picture has been dealt with, but Elena is still up to something. Elena says once the last person behind the church bombing has been dealt with, then they can work together. But first, it’s time for another story.

THE ENDGAME — “All That Glitters” Episode 108 — Pictured: (l-r) Boris Granolic as Vitaly Belok, Costa Ronin as Sergey Vodianov — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

We get a flashback showing Elena and her adorable daughter Sofiya. Elena is telling her the story of a king who wants straw spun to gold, and takes a young girl hostage. As she is regaling her daughter, her husband Sergey is downstairs torturing another Belok agent. The man is tied to a post, and says he won’t reveal the location of Lady Belok. Sergey counters, saying he only wants to know about the gold.

In the present, Val is mulling over the story, and how the gold might be relevant to current circumstances. And then things get really crazy. A video turns up of Swanstrom in a water tank, and gold paint is pouring in, ready to drown her. As a fun side note, the president Wright we’ve heard so much about lately is played by Sasha Roiz of Grimm fame. He does a good job impressing the urgency of recovering his chief of staff to the FBI, and its clear failure will not be tolerated.

THE ENDGAME — “All That Glitters” Episode 108 — Pictured: (l-r) Jordan Johnson-Hinds as Flowers, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

As all this is happening, the fake gold bar placed in the Federal Reserve a few episodes ago has nearly finished counting down. There’s 4 hours left to go until something happens, though the FBI is utterly unaware of this new problem at their door.

In the present, Sergey is talking with his attorney. It’s clear the man is privy to Sergey’s plans and knows that Owen is vital to them going off properly. Sergey says it’s a two-man job, but the attorney makes it clear it might now be a one-man job. He says it would take a miracle for Owen to get out of solitary in time. Either way, Sergey is determined to get back to his wife and daughter.

As the FBI is trying in earnest to figure out why Snow White kidnapped Swanstrom, who was apparently in the Peace Corps at the time of the church bombing, Doak is doing his best to advocate for the woman. Which would make me feel all warm and fuzzy if it wasn’t clear he only wants to save her to guarantee his own promotion to interim Director. He’s sweating with guilt, and unfortunately for him, Val starts to put the pieces together. But that doesn’t stop Doak from horning in on her investigation, which is now focused on the Serial Skeptic and a missing flower delivery van.

THE ENDGAME — “All That Glitters” Episode 108 — Pictured: (l-r) Keith Nobbs as Serial Skeptic, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

Somehow the Serial Skeptic went from a crackpot talking conspiracy theories to someone dialed directly into the schemes of Snow White. So Val and Doak bring him in for questioning. He’s been making trouble, and even sent his followers to Fort Totten protesting outside the gates. When they ask him questions, it’s clear he’s no criminal mastermind, just a conduit of information. Which likely means Snow White is feeding him information to use him for their own purposes. But with his latest tip, the FBI follows a lead from the flower van to a clay mine where Swanstrom is about to breathe her last.

Back in the past, Sergey’s victim gets loose right as young Sofiya finds him. She asks if he’s a prisoner that can spin straw to gold. The Belok agent plays to her innocence and draws her closer to grab her. Just as she screams, we hear a loud sound, and he drops to the ground dead. Mama Elena shot him from the staircase, and Sergey and her take the traumatized child upstairs. Federova is determined to make the world a better place for their daughter.

As Doak and Val drive frantically to the mine, Réal calls. He reveals to Val that he’s sending a HRT team to surveil Sofiya. Doak overhears them, and says if it were up to him, he’d send a helicopter to grab the girl immediately. When Val counters “good thing you’re not in charge”, all Doak says is “yet”.

The pair manage to get to Swanstrom just in time, and prevent her drowning. It’s still unclear why Snow White was after her, but Val and Flowers start to find some incongruous details about the chief of staff’s past.

THE ENDGAME — “All That Glitters” Episode 108 — Pictured: Jordan Johnson-Hinds as Flowers — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

In Peekskill, Owen is miraculously released from solitary. I immediately worried about this, and rightly so. Sergey talks with his attorney, only to find he had no hand in Owen’s release. Which likely means Owen is working against Snow White’s purposes now.

Without revealing the big twist in the episode, all I can say is it’s clear Swanstrom wasn’t Snow White’s final target. And as the timer finally goes off in the Reserve, it reveals something truly game-changing. With only two episodes left for this season of The Endgame, I’m truly captivated and cannot wait to see where those last episodes take us.

New ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Trailer Debuts!

0

New Trailer sees Thor out and about wandering the galaxy and finding himself.

 

The long and anticipated trailer to Thor Love and Thunder is finally here! And it is an easter egg-littered doozy. With Chris Hemsworth returning as the former God of Thunder, this movie, directed by Taika Waititi, is everything fans have been dying to see and more!

This new film features a slew of old cast members including Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Karen Gillan returning as the Guardians of The Galaxy. If this wasn’t a callback to the Thor franchise enough, the movie will also feature Jamie Alexander in her return as Lady Sif, along with Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. Most importantly, is the long-anticipated return of Natalie Portman. Fans have been dying to see her as Lady Thor and if you check out the new trailer, you can see her–albeit briefly–in a pretty butt-kicking role.

If this wasn’t enough to convince you to check out the film later this year, Christian Bale,  AKA Batman himself, will be making an appearance as Gorr the God Butcher. This will be Bale’s first return to comic book superhero type of films since his retirement as the Dark Knight in Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film back in 2012.

The trailer above sees the rockin’ sounds of Axel Rose singing ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ while Thor explores the galaxy with several different companions. It’s promising to be the most introspective journey to Thor’s life and destiny, along with his place in New Asgard.

You’ve got action. You’ve got suspense. You’ve got… Thor getting back into shape and figuring out a new way of living! All for what’s going to be one of the best Marvel movies to date, and hopefully, just the beginning of a new Thor line!

Moon Knight Episode 3 Review: The Friendly Type

0
moon knight surrounded by defeated enemies
PC: Marvel

In one of the most proactive episodes to date, Moon Knight finds some direction heading into its second half of the season. Spoilers Abound.

Let’s begin this review with the episode’s biggest revelation: that Marc Spector is probably the primary personality. In what’s easily the biggest takeaway from this episode of Moon Knight, this revelation changes a lot of what we’ve come to expect of the series because thus far, we’ve seen it all unfold from the point of view of Steven’s perspective. 

Why does it matter? Well, this wholesome vegan museum worker whose humor and irreplaceably terrible British accent is the whole reason the audience should feel invested in. His occasional slips out of consciousness, waking into the mysteriously superheroic and deadly Moon Knight is the hook. Which is why the sudden shift into Mark’s world in this episode has some major implications in that this is evidently Mark’s story. Not Steven’s.

It’s Mark who is the person in a longstanding relationship with Layla. It’s Mark who travels the world for long stretches at a time. It’s Mark that serves Khonshu on assassination missions. It’s Mark, in this week’s episode, who is the one summoned for a mysterious council of the Gods. 

We see all of this unfold in his adventure to Cairo. Featured in Marc and Steven’s back and forth adventure, as the two jump-cut forward battle-after-battle, and later, race to find the tomb of Ammit before Arthur Harrow can. It is in these sequences that we finally get some Khonshu action. Where, after forcing an eclipse, the God of the Moon speaks to the Gods of Egypt. This leads to seeing the beginning of the end as Khonshu’s actions lead to his own imprisonment, and Arthur Harrow’s gaslighting of Marc/Steven’s psychological health.

Layla, meanwhile, is playing the spy on her own in this episode. She gains passports to enter Egypt, and of course, has some moments of sincere backstory about her father who’d passed away. If there was ever a reason to check out her story in an episode, it would likely be this one, as she takes the helm in a fun and assertive way. Hunting leads and kicking some serious butt. Most importantly, we get a hint of her and Marc’s life together as a married couple though are still left uncertain as to what the bigger secrets behind their relationship are: like just how much does Marc know about her father’s death?

Besides these developments, the best things about this one were the city of Cairo street chases, the fight sequences (including an odd round of joust), and the implications of a third more murderous persona (Jake Lockley). It’s a good episode. It’s just mostly a substance episode that builds the overall conflict of Arthur versus Khonshu, along with questions just as to who really is Marc Spector.

Atlanta Season 3 Episode 5 Review – Cancer Attack

0

We’ve all been there.

Maybe a night replete with libations. Maybe a small bump. Maybe just pure, unabashed forgetfulness.

We’ve all been there.

These days, our phone is basically an appendage. If we lose it, we feel incomplete, and though anxiety may rear its ugliest head, we know that all can be found if we look in the right places. Welcome to the fifth episode of Atlanta (FX) titled “Cancer Attack“.

We open on Earn (Donald Glover). He’s got shit locked down and Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) is in the building. His concert is about to pop off and though Earn has eyes on all, Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) has an eye on the building.

It turns out that a few rooms in the blueprints weren’t accounted for, and though Darius wants an adventure, Al just wants to get through the night.

His British agent, Socks (Hugh Coles) injects a bit of levity into what will be the next few rough days. I mean, he’s bankrolling them, right?

What’s the amuse-bouche? A meet-up from the Dream Foundation. A kid with cancer: Marvy. It’s so fitting, even the House of Chanel couldn’t fuck with it.

Though febrile Earn has his shit on lock, he still misses Van. She isn’t responding to his texts and his worried face is wearing the responses.

Wasted time was never en vogue and he knows this. He commands the security, but are things really secure with the crew?

He’s secured Al’s ginger beer, but things need to be spoken. Earn is too busy though and his cousin is too concerned for his well-being.

With a concert in less than thirty minutes, rumination and conversation are out of the cards.

It’s sad because we never focus on what’s of importmental health.

As Darius leads the rap god in prayer, a random Brit Bloke storms the stage, attempting to introduce. He’s not a fan. He’s a stan. And though Earn shoos him off the stage, his stain is indelible, and with taxes.

After the concert, Al is searching for his phone. We’ve all been there. That rush of anxiety when your personal life in carbon is left out to the world. Is there anything more incriminating? Is there anything more personal?

The aether is the scariest thing you don’t know and even more so when you have a brush of fame.

Earn accuses Marvy of stealing what is not rightfully his, but Al can’t believe humans, even on their deathbed, would stoop that low.

Socks throws it out to the Senate as if a kid could steal it. On the precipice of a “cancer attack”, Earn takes the leap and in one of his less elegant moments, searches a dying kid for a damn phone. Marvy knows what’s up and consents to a search. Thankfully, there is no seizure.

Al is restless. He wants that phone. It’s not about the cost of an iPhone, but rather the contents that lay therein.

Socks, witness to all of this suggests the runner backstage and throws him under the bus. He feels the guy was sketchy from the jump. Now they all have a new villain, and when Earn tries to settle up with the owner of the venue, a reference was never so unwanted.

As it turns out, this is the guy’s nephew. It’s Wiley (Samuel Blenkin). The nomenclature was not lost on me.

His uncle vouches for him not taking the phone, but Earn is adamant. He doesn’t have his number, but his rigger does. Earn lacks the wherewithal of playing games and even less patience. His loading time is little to nil.

Through a bit of visual insight, Earn steals Wiley’s resume, nabbing his number.

Al wants in on this, but Socks is a little too extra on what would be a simple interrogation.

Earn sets up a meeting between Paper Boi and his potential thief. Socks STEALS the phone and gives the person on the other end the what for. He’s going scorched earth, which may or (may not) be to the trios’ advantage.

It’s too late. The damage has been done.

Darius’ night is fucked. The captain of coolness, with even a bit of weed, couldn’t help this situation, and it’s about to get worse.

The dude actually showed up.

Smokes cannot be in the room, though. He’s too much of a wild card, so it’s left up to the trio to suss out the sitch.

Wiley is scared and him even asking how they are enjoying Budapest has the anger and frustration bubbling. Even Darius, one of the most gentle people in the fucking world is hyped on this shakedown.

Wiley knows fuck all. Though an admirer of Paper Boi, there’s an air to him that doesn’t sit right.

They aren’t going to kill him, but he’s wanting to maybe die at the hands of his favorite artist. I mean, that says more about the culture of celebrity than the actual celebrity.

This is especially prevalent when Wiley cites Box Top Chevy’s or kissing a thorn on a rose… This is a trigger.

Though his uncle swears the under-investigated is ‘only 19’, Socks can get fitted with a halo only too soon, by the hand of Alfred.

Wiley knows that Al dreamed about a Box-Top in high school and had a girlfriend named Rose, but the only way my dude would know about it would be to know one of Paper Boi’s earliest songs…. which he recorded on that phone.

Do you know when good things arrive in threes?

Earn comes in ‘good cop’, Al ‘bad cop’, and Darius ‘devastated’ cop.

Wiley has a one-up on everyone, though. He brings up Earn’s ‘whiteness’, and Al’s phone number, lying about his age.

What is real anymore? They are all miffed, but it only takes one to level it up.

Socks nearly throws the N-bomb down but knows clearly what company he’s in. He’s not felonious, but he isn’t exactly innocent either.

Marvy knows the game they are playing, but can only talk to Al, not Paper Boi man to man. Person to person.

Al gets his most real with his most real fan. He’s had a bit of writer’s block. Maybe life block. But being lost, he is now found.

That revelation was recorded on his phone and he needs it. His seat at the table isn’t out of the question.

This is special for Wiley. They share a birthday, and naked as the day they were born, honesty has been shared, and foolishness has been shed.

What ensues is a really awkward serenading to the rapper. It turns out Marvy’s life, despite being worlds away mirrored his admiration, isn’t so distant. So he regales him with a song.

The song itself is surfeited with metaphors and nearly sends something off that David Lynch would be proud of. It’s Paper Boi/Alfred trying to let go of himself, just in a different skin.

As the trio attempt to get out to the tour bus, Earn checks in with Van.

She seems ok, but it’s still disconcerting that she only checks out with a thumbs-up emoji.

With ‘Dedicated to the One I love’ by The Temprees firing up, we realize that Socks had the phone the entire time, which he immediately tosses in the trash. At least put some respect on the rightful owner’s name.

What ensues is a gorgeous long shot of Paper Boi enjoying a joint and a thought. Or two. Or three. He’s now hoisted by his own petard.

This is not what you expected, but at this juncture, what is?

This is dreamy and maybe fix up your pumping ventricles before watching this. In any event…

…Enjoy this rollercoaster and hold on for dear life.

Could Rick Grimes Be Joining Marvel Zombies?

0
zombie captain america next to rick grimes

Rumors are that actor Andrew Lincoln, who played the titular character of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead, may be joining The MCU.

In an exclusive from Giant Freakin Robot, there are rumored hints that actor Andrew Lincoln may be joining the MCU. Since leaving The Walking Dead in 2018, The actor has kept a low profile. Having stayed out of the public spotlight to spend time with his family, thus far, the actor has taken on only two acting roles since that time. First in the book-to-film adaptation of Penguin Bloom. Then, in the upcoming Guillermo del Toro horror series: Cabinet of Curiosities

Lately, Andrew Lincoln has been seen around Atlanta hinting at a small return in the final season of the popular zombie series. He also has a contract to do a Rick grimes-centered movie. But what afterward, to Rick Grimes and The Walking Dead series itself, is up in the air at best. This is why Lincoln’s pivot to the superhero world would make a lot of sense.

A lot of former Walking Dead stars have moved onto the superhero world. Shane, played by Jon Bernthal, became Marvel’s Punisher on Netflix. Daryl’s brother Merle, played by Michael Rooker, was Yondu in The Guardians of The Galaxy. Fan-favorite Glenn, played by Steven Yuen, is now the leading character on Amazon Prime’s Invincible. Then of course, there’s the biggest star of both The Walking Dead and Marvel Cinematic Universe worlds: Michonne, played by actress Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye in The Black Panther franchise.

Suffice to say, Lincoln would be in good company if the pivot into the superhero world were to happen. However, details are murky according to GFR and it’s uncertain as to what role Lincoln would play in the MCU. Though there has been a series of Walking Dead-related connections in Marvel as of late, a big one that is often overlooked: is the upcoming Marvel Zombies series for Disney+. 

Debuted in ‘What If…?’ this adapted series from the comics sees fan-favorite Marvel superheroes take on the zombie apocalypse. Often, in dire and escalating situations that sees conflicts like, “What if The Avengers become zombified”? Or, “What if Deadpool were the last human left in a zombie apocalypse?

That said, it should be noted who the original creator of Marvel Zombies story was in the first place. Because that gem began by none other than Robert Kirkman. The very creator who made The Walking Dead. Kirkman has got a bit of a history introducing zombies into other creative universes. Doing so for Disney/Marvel, let alone using a star character/actor that helped rocket his career, doesn’t seem all that ludicrous to me. And though this is a TheWorkprint fan rumor created by yours truly, I will throw this out there: that Robert Kirkman was given the reigns to let both AMC be home of The Walking Dead and let Amazon be home of Invincible. So I personally see no reason as to why Disney/Marvel wouldn’t want Kirkman to have some degree of creative control over Marvel Zombies to establish it as their home for the Disney+ platform?

Rick Grimes dropping in for a cameo doesn’t sound too obscene. Though even better: would be seeing Andrew Lincoln in a starring role in the MCU.

Atop of this, The Marvel Zombies comic line pretty much breaks every rule when it comes to canon anyway. It already had a longstanding Evil Dead crossover in their comics… which, if unrealized by fans, is also an MCU/Disney+ possibility. Because now that Sam Raimi (the evil dead’s creator) is back at Marvel and directing Multiverse of Madness, that door for including The Evil Dead into this, is now open as well.

Truth be told, the possibilities of all sorts of zombie crossovers became endless the second that ‘What if…?’ greenlighted Marvel Zombies. But only time will tell what will happen…

 

 

‘X Lives of Wolverine’ and ‘X Deaths of Wolverine’: Available on Unlimited

0
wolverines in x lives and x deaths of wolverine
PC: Marvel

Announced just moments ago, both the X Lives and X Deaths of Wolverine now available on Marvel Unlimited

Just when you thought the 29,000 comics available on Marvel Unlimited wasn’t enough, fans have been given a surprising Wolverine-themed gift this morning! As subscribers to the Marvel Unlimited app can now access the critically acclaimed X Lives of Wolverine and X Deaths of Wolverine comics. A 10-part saga that concluded just last month.

In an unprecedented move, Marvel comics has decided to make the series available on their Marvel Unlimited app much earlier than their usually expected release window. With delays usually lasting months-long, the series has been made available after just a single month since it’s last issue. Marking a significant change to Marvel’s modus operandi–though it’s uncertain if this is just for this event or a permanent change of release window.

In the ‘X Lives of Wolverine’ and ‘X Deaths of Wolverine’ series–of which you can see a trailer for above–writer Benjamin Percy, along with artists Joshua Cassara, Federico Vicentini, and Adam Kubert journey across Wolverine’s lifelong history and future. Where, in order to prevent a tragedy of catastrophic proportions, Wolverine must travel to various points in time to prevent the death of a key figure in mutant history: Professor Charles Xavier.

It’s a transformative epic packed with action and suspense! With revelations and exciting developments littered throughout the series not just for Logan but for all of mutant-kind.

Likewise, if readers want even more Wolverine, they can check out the 10-part LIFE OF WOLVERINE Infinity Comic. In the series, fans can explore the history of Wolverine in chronological order!

the different wolverines in their constumes in the x lives of wolverine the different wolverines in their costumes in the x lives of wolverineMarvel Unlimited is a one-stop destination for over 29,000 comics spanning the entire Marvel Universe. The app is available for iPhone®, iPad®, Android devices™ and on web. For more information, please visit marvel.com/unlimited

Judgement Day Is Coming: New Covers for A.X.E. Judgement Day

0

The new tie-ins mention the upcoming comics crossover for this July.

A.X.E. Judgement Day, the newest line in the Marvel Comics Judgement day crossover sees the Avengers, Eternals, and X-men locked in a deadly conflict. With a more X-men focused line of the story, after the mutant’s new immortality is threatened by the Eternals, everything changes, as a secret about mutantkind and the Deviants comes to light. These comics are promised to be a game-changing event across all of Marvel, kicking off with A.X.E.: Judgement Day this July, which sees the releases of both issues #1 and #2.

Here’s the scoop from Marvel’s official press release:

The X-Men claim they’re the planets’ new gods. The Eternals know that position is already filled. The Avengers are about to realize exactly how many secrets their so-called friends have kept from them. Years of tension lead to a volcanic eruption as two worlds burn. Who has leaked the X-Men’s secrets to their latest foes? Why is Tony Stark abducting an old friend? And who stands in judgment over the whole world? As the world shakes, an unlikely group of heroes and less-than-heroes gather to find a peaceful solution. Sadly, the best laid plans of man, mutant and Eternal oft go awry…

Gillen will also team up with artist Guiu Vilanova to explore the root of the Eternals’ fury against mutantkind and the schism it’s causing in their society in a three-issue limited series beginning in July titled A.X.E.: DEATH TO THE MUTANTS. The mutants are Deviants. Eternals are coded to correct excess deviation. The mutants are eternal, Mars colonizers, ever-spreading. Eternals know what they should do. Our heroes don’t want to, but can they resist the murderous designs coded into their body as surely as any Sentinel? And if they can’t, can anyone survive the coming judgment?

Afterwards, there are plans to see the series spinoff into various lines listed below:

IMMORTAL X-MEN #5

IMMORTAL X-MEN #5 sees Gillen and artist Michele Bandini write about: Exodus. Born in the 12th century, Bennet du Paris marched forth with a sword in his hand and a shield in his heart to protect what he believes. It’s now the 21st century. What’s changed? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And the Eternals who dared attack Krakoa are going to discover what that means.

X-FORCE #30

Deadpool joins and Kraven’s mutant hunt begins in Benjamin Percy and Robert Gill’s X-FORCE #30. X-Force has taken some lumps, but a new era begins as old-school X-Forcer Wade Wilson makes his grand return! Well, grand for him, necessary for the team, as X-Force needs all the help it can get in the fallout from the Hellfire Gala and the revelations of A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY! Find out why Kraven the Hunter is involved in the start of a landmark storyline titled “The Hunt for X.”

X-MEN #13

Who are the true inheritors of the Earth? The X-Men and Eternals fight over the answer to that question in X-MEN #13 by Gerry Duggan and C.F. Villa. The mutants are the next stage of evolution. Evolution depends on a mutation of genes – the genes of the offspring deviating from their progenitors. Some would call the X-gene EXCESS deviation. Those people are gonna need to be taken down a few pegs.

X-MEN RED #5

And Arakko sees war yet again in X-MEN RED #5 by Al Ewing and Stefano Caselli. No one who is not an Omega-level mutant has ever taken one of the nine seats of the Great Ring. Together, they are the greatest power Arakko has ever known – and it’s nine against one. So, if the nine are losing…what does that say about the one? Judgment Day has come to the Red Planet – and it’s Arakko’s greatest test since X OF SWORDS!

New Stranger Things Season 4 Trailer

0
PC: Netflix

We take a look at the brand new Stranger Things Season 4 Vol. 1 trailer. Premiering on May 27th

Since its premiere in 2016 Stranger Things has been one of Netflix’s greatest hit shows. Season 3 alone had logged in over 600 million user viewer hours of the hit series and in the nearly decade-long history of the network’s original programming, the show’s topped almost every media outlets MUST WATCH lists in the modern era.

Stranger Things has surprisingly lasted for over six years on Netflix. With three seasons–along with a fourth upcoming season that’s being split in two–and a sea of Stranger Fans and even Stranger Conventions having propped up the series, the show has become one of the most talked-about and beloved shows of recent history, and arguably, of all-time.

This 1980s homage to murder mysteries and early science-fiction blockbusters has seen its cast grow up from Dungeons and Dragons-obsessed kids to young adults trying to stop the mind flayer from destroying the universe. We’ve seen the cast grow up in front of our very eyes. It’s launched the careers of almost all of its actors including Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, Joe Keery, Natalia Dyer, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Sadie Sink, and Maya Hawke.

This is why it’s sad but exciting to see it end. Taking place six months after the Battle of Starcourt mall in the season 3 finale, the story will take place in the aftermath of what’s happened to the new separated group while they navigate the awkward moments of high school. It’s here, where a new Mindflayer–featured in the trailer below–presents an upcoming threat. One that potentially might end it all, unless the group can reunite to put a stop to it…

But it all comes down to a now de-powered Eleven.

The first volume of episodes will launch on May 27th. The second volume launches on July 1st.

The Endgame Episode 7 Review: Sleepover

1
morenna baccarin as Elena in a red backdrop talking

Sleepover takes The Endgame to New Places, and Reinvigorates the Series with Some Shocking Events

I’ve been waiting a couple weeks to cover the latest episode of The Endgame, titled Sleepover. And not only is it an tense and exciting episode that totally upends the usually predictable formula of the series, but it’s one that helps me visualize where the story might be going. Plus, thanks to NBC kindly giving us access to this episode in advance, I will be altering my coverage somewhat to avoid any huge spoilers. With that out of the way, let’s talk about Sleepover.

THE ENDGAME — “Sleepover” Episode 107 — Pictured: (l-r) Mark Espinoza as Rogelio Real, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Though the episode starts pretty much where last week’s ended, it’s juxtaposed with scenes of someone in the woods outside Fort Totten. They set off an EMP device, and all the lights are turned off, other than some generator lights installed during the Cold War. Understandably, Val thinks this is the latest attack by Snow White, but Elena assures her that’s not the case. As Director Réal starts to try and retrieve his and Val’s weapons from the lockers, the whole picture starts to come into focus. The electronic locks have been shut for most of the facility, meaning they can’t reach the weapon locker nor traipse about the facility with ease. Worse, there’s only a skeleton crew protecting the base, and that’s not nearly enough to deal with the latest problem, nicknamed The Ghost.

The drama isn’t all at Fort Totten. Peekskill is in chaos after someone lit a fire in B wing, and they’re moving all the inmates away from the affected area. Owen and Sergey are very suspicious, since last week the little weasel they poisoned teamed up with a known arsonist. And things don’t improve after all the prisoners are milling around in one place. Owen and Sergey are very much in danger, possibly as much as Val, Elena and Rogelio.

Because Elena is Elena, she starts talking to Val about how it all reminds her of a sleepover, and she has some adorably twisted one-liners. When Val counters she must not have had many friends, Elena tells a story about one named Natalia. She was there for Elena after her pregnancy, and helped her deal with a fussy baby Sofia. It’s the first time we’ve seen the criminal mastermind as anything other than poised and confident, and it does a great job of showing off Baccarin’s acting chops. And like most stories told by her, it serves a purpose that isn’t immediately apparent.

THE ENDGAME — “Sleepover” Episode 107 — Pictured: Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

As for the assault on Fort Totten, the man behind it is the last one in the picture, who conveniently isn’t showing his face. He’s ex CIA and he’s dangerous. He cuts through the skeleton crew like a hot knife through butter, and seems able to get about with supernatural ease. Worse, his career was known for his dangerous wet work in other countries, meaning he has a real chance of killing Elena and anyone else in his way.

One of the most exciting elements of the episode is how it forces some unusual team-ups. Thanks to a faulty lock, both of the captured Snow White lieutenants escape their cells, and I actually was rooting for Louie as he fought with The Ghost. Rogelio steps up and uses his experience as a Marine corpsman to help said lieutenants when one is injured. And Val and Elena actually work shockingly well together, despite Val’s lack of trust in the other woman.

Though the episode is mostly about the assault on Fort Totten and the strange happenings at Peekskill, Doak and Flowers also have a role to play. And as far as Doak, let’s just say my earlier speculation about him becoming a villain in his own right is looking dead on. As for Anthony, he is investigating a cryptic communication sent to Elena about a potato. When he tries asking Val for help deciphering it, he realizes something’s wrong, since the EMP not only shut down power at the Fort, but also all communication, including cell phones.

THE ENDGAME — “Sleepover” Episode 107 — Pictured: Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

The episode has some chaotic fight scenes, including the weasel riling up the prisoners to make an attempt on Sergey’s life. Val and Elena join forces against The Ghost, and manage to finally put an end to his rampage using some lucky recon and timely use of a landmine. And finally, by the end of the episode we can put a face on the Beloch family, as well as worry how long Réal will remain in charge of the FBI.

Overall, Sleepover was my favorite episode of The Endgame yet, and has me excited again for where the story may take us. Stay tuned to The Workprint for continuing coverage of the latest crime drama from NBC!

Supporting Women In Film: Filmocracy’s Female Film Festival

0

Filmocracy hosted an event in support of funding more women’s film festivals. We talk about its importance along with Filmocracy’s festival streaming platform.

For anyone starting out in the film industry, getting on the festival circuit is important. It’s how you stand out amongst a sea of content. It’s where you go to meet and network with fellow industry professionals. Participating or placing in a film festival helps creatives find an agent or a manager or just anyone scouting for talent. Most importantly, festival circuits are the place to go in the hopes of finding distribution for the release of your film. They’re a critical part of the film industry. One that’s severely undervalued, underfunded, and underrepresented. 

For every type of film festival, there is usually a distinct call to action and search for a particular type of artist out there. Most of these collaborations seek to represent unique voices, with one of the biggest advocacies of late having been those supporting more women in filmmaking.

Yesterday, Filmocracy held a digital festival in support of these female film festivals. These online showcases feature female-centric film fests from all across the world. A space where audiences could visit online panels and even chat with filmmakers and festival heads in Filmocracy’s unique digital rooms.

Co-Founded by CEO Paul Jun and Chief Product Officer Kasia Kaczmarczyk, along with Jon Fitzgerald (former director of festivals such as Slamdance and AFI), Filmocracy is an independent movie streaming platform with thousands of indies and a gamified rewards system approach to ratings. It’s also, one of the largest organizations for attendance at independent movie festivals held online.

For the first quarter of 2022, a dozen all woman-helmed or themed festivals were given a total of $50,000 in funding through this program. Paid half in cash and half through access to Filmocracy’s industry-leading festival technology, including education and VIP admission, and participation in this year’s hybrid Filmocracy Fest.

What The Event Was Actually Like?

The event was also sponsored by some pretty influential organizations that support women in film. This included The Alliance of Women Directors, Women in Film & Video DC, Women Make Movies, The National Film Festival for Talented Youth, The NY Women in Film and Television, Ink Tip, and Film Ink.

Of the nine-film fests selected from across the world, each had a representative share of how their organizations had supported female and non-binary filmmakers in distinctly unique ways. 

Whether it be through helping women make movies on their cellular phones (such as the case in Africa), or just showcasing what’s worked for female and non-binary filmmakers in terms of breaking into the industry, there were a lot of resources made available in this event for filmmakers looking for voices, and more importantly, for financiers who might be looking for the next big female director. There were a ton of networking opportunities all throughout the experience. 

 

The 9 Female-Centric film festivals included in the roundtable talk were:

A big highlight of the evening, which I think should be stressed not just for this festival but in general, was that women-led projects and filmmakers still struggle in overcoming androcentric barriers. This included the obsession with the heroes’ journey approach in Hollywood over more emotionally driven films, but also the need for overcoming the Western views of cinema. Since things can be done in completely different ways, as Bollywood or East Asian cinema has showcased. The biggest highlight across the board for each group was the need for better gender parity, as highest-paid directors, and really just directors in general, are still predominantly male

There was also the stress of increasing visibility, and a desperate need for transparency for funding as both content and marketing play a bigger role than ever before. Toni Williams, the Co-Chair of the Women of African Descent Film Fest, stressed the need for resources for women filmmakers during her talk. “This includes the ability to find funding, access to more production resources, and really, just having more women creatives in the industry across the board.”

During the Expo, where guests could attend separate panels and speak with each Film Festival’s organization, a lot of information was discussed in each group about what each festival had been working on. 

This included a showcase of some of each festival’s directors, and also, just engagement with the audience curious about anything regarding their festival. Really, just anything about women trying to gain visibility via the festival circuit. Even someone like myself, who was very much trying to just cover the event in private, ended up talking with some of the leadership at Cinema Femme, as I’m going to likely write about and attend one of their events this year. Which I didn’t intend but that’s sort of the magic of this type of networking.

Some of the biggest discussions by the event’s end were in overcoming imposter syndrome as an up-and-coming female director, the need to learn quickly and adapt, and surprisingly, the generational creative gap. There was a surprising amount of young women filmmakers in the final panel who felt like their generation isn’t properly being written by people who knew their stories. Stressing the unfortunate feelings of feeling unseen while hinting that there is a fix to this – get more women in the film industry that can speak with their own generational voices.

What’s The Platform Like?

Before we talk about the end, let me stress really quickly that the Filmocracy Streaming platform works surprisingly well! I wasn’t sure what to expect because so many organizations have done online formats since the pandemic began, and, having attended BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, and DC FanDome all online in 2020, I must say Filmocracy’s user interface was easily the best application I’ve experienced. 

With the main stage, several panel rooms, and places to network and genuinely talk to each other online. This was the most conventional I’ve felt in an online convention. For people like myself who love panels and networking, this was an absolute steal. The platform allowed for this to be a surprisingly encouraging experience that I think is perfect for what they’re trying to do in both being safer than in-person conventions, but also, in being applicable as a cost-saving networking opportunity. There were even some side chat applications that could also feature both video and audio where you can get to know people more independently, as I’d learned with Cinema Femme. 

Final Panel Discussion with Quinn Shephard: Girls Make Movies

To conclude the evening was a final panel discussion of the evening. You can read about what it was taken directly off their Eventbrite page:

All the panelists are girls and non-binary persons under 20 who have completed multiple film projects, and received recognition during festivals, film camps, and film programs for youth. We’ll talk about what inspired them and explore the most rewarding and most challenging parts of the process of making a movie as a female or a non-binary person. We’ll discuss the role of filmmaking in today’s world, and how they would like to leverage their artistic visions to create change.

Hosted by Quinn Shephard and Andee Kinzy

At 20 years old, Quinn Shephard wrote, directed, and starred in Blame, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival–making her the youngest female filmmaker to ever screen a feature there. She is also the writer and director of the upcoming satire feature film Not Okay for Searchlight Pictures and Hulu, starring Zoey Deutch and Dylan O’Brian. Quinn was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay for Blame, and is a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list maker. She was also a metuchen grad.

Founder and Director of the Girl Improved Film & Television Festival, Andee Kinzy is a multi-hyphenated Renaissance woman who writes, produces, and directs – both in film and youth Shakespeare productions. Her favorite herb is cilantro and she has more curiosity than a cat.

 

Panelists

Ashleigh Lawless

Ashleigh Lawless is a 19-year-old directing film major at the Los Angeles Film School. She started making movies around her neighborhood at the age of 10 and hasn’t stopped since. Most recently, Ashleigh has had two self-written & directed films complete festival runs, created content for companies like the Boston Bruins and MIT, and has found a love for production and post-production sound mixing.

Paola Perez

Paola Perez is a long-time student filmmaker. She is from Miami, Florida, and started making movies at 6 years old. She has been nationally recognized for her documentary skills by C-SPAN and has founded a film club at her high school. She aims to return love in the movies, while also exploring the nooks and crannies of the human mind.

Kate Saltel

Kate Saltel is a Canadian-American filmmaker and writer from Austin, Texas. Her short experimental film “Metamorphism” was screened at SXSW, NFFTY, and the BFI Future Film Festival during its worldwide festival circuit. She currently studies film and TV production at Loyola Marymount University – writing weekly satire for the Loyolan and sketch comedy for Sorry In Advance.

Michelle Tang

Michelle Tang is a 17-year-old filmmaker from Metuchen, NJ. As a storyteller, she is interested in youth perspectives when facing adverse situations and neurodivergent experiences. Her short film “Hunter” has screened at the DC Independent Film Festival, winning awards from the Barrymore Film Center, the Garden State Film Festival, and Scholastic. She is currently working on a science fiction film with her school’s filmmaking club and writing a screenplay about the psychological effects of the foster care system on a young girl.

Arianna Williams

Arianna Williams is a teen activist and organizer based in NYC. As a photographer and filmmaker, Arianna has dedicated their art to creating spaces and telling stories that are often misrepresented or disregarded in mainstream media. Throughout her work, Arianna explores themes of growth, self-reflection, and the elaborate interconnections between themselves and those around them.

The Take

Filmocracy’s film festivals seem to be a great networking opportunity. I suggest fellow creatives or film makers try them out, especially if you’d like to get involved with or network with the indie film circuit.

Also, support more female filmmakers!

 

Atlanta Season 3 Episode 4 Review – The (big payback)

0

I once stole. “Only once.” It was in the second grade. It was from a girl I liked, but I was more interested in her pencils with cool Nintendo toppers. I used that pencil to draw a lot of things and write a lot of things, but to this day, I still remember that. It never felt right. That one pencil got me into art for the first time and writing, but it wasn’t mine to take. No matter how much I flourished from that singular, solitary fusion of lead, wood, and plastic, it wasn’t mine to wrest and my mind was never at rest.

Welcome to the fourth episode of Atlanta (FX) titled “The Big Payback”.

We open in on a white man waiting in line at a coffee shop, drowning his ear canals with NPR. Before him stands a black man, talking on the phone. The white man spots a packet of Madelines and pockets them, surely with the full intent of paying for them. The white barista (Ashlyn Stallings) calls on the said white man to order, unabashedly ignoring the black man ostensibly in front of him.

Though offering his spot, the black man frustratingly blows it off, continuing on his day as if this shit wasn’t anything that novel.

In his car, the white man realizes that he didn’t pay for the treat, but instead of returning it, he brushes the ‘happy accident’ off, eating one as he drives off. The white eats something white and thinks naught of it. He took something that wasn’t his, but hey, they can afford it, right? After all, the company was presumably owned by some white billionaire, right?

I mean petty larceny isn’t a thing when both parties know that they’re both in the black, right?

Meet Marshall Johnson (Justin Bartha). This passive paragon of privilege is tailed by another vehicle all the way to his separated wife, Natalie to pick up their daughter, Katie for school.

On the ride, NPR relays the breaking news that the Tesla Trial had arrived at a landmark decision. A black litigant had won his case against Josh Beckford, an early investor in the brand on account that Mr. Beckford’s relatives had enslaved the plaintiff’s ancestors. This direct correlation between human capital and profit is commensurate to the financials of people like Josh and Oh! the best is yet to come…

Just before dropping her off, Katie (Scarlett Blum) seems to think her mother Natalie (Dahlia Legault) wants to get back with him. Consider it the brightest part of Mr. Johnson’s day, because things are about to go downhill at breakneck speed. He gets a phone call from an unknown number but ignores it.

The same tailing car waits ominously outside the office but that’s nothing compared to what awaits inside…

On the elevator up, the man’s co-worker thinks the watershed moment is ‘unfair’ but there’s bigger fish to choke on, as the office is alight with a rumor that the layoffs being handed down from higher-ups are all because of the Tesla verdict.

Correlation does not imply causation. Are you going on the elevator down (assumedly with a cardboard box in hand)?

Marshall’s coworker Paula (Madison Hatfield) is assuredly anxious. She lets him in on a little secret.

Even if he’s not partaken in any DNA tests if anybody in his family has, the lineage is easily accessible. If he’s won that lineal lottery, well, the descendants of his forebears’ slaves have just won the literal lottery.

All the whites in the office are chattering teeth as the blacks are excitedly chattering among themselves.

Marshall shrugs it off with nervous aplomb. In his words, he doesn’t ‘yell fire unless he sees flames’ with ‘no smoke’ on his end. Oh, pobrecito, there will be smoke. SO, so much smoke.

With a woman wailing in front of her pristine BMW, Marshall’s entered a near-fugue state to his car. This is especially true when passing the gas station, observing a black couple fueling up their luxury sports car. Is this some fever dream?

His daughter is eerily quiet in the back seat before shattering the ice, asking ole’ dad if they are racist because a kid at school told accused her of that.

Worriedly, he shuts that notion down, citing that not only did ‘that stuff’ transpire a long time ago but also because of his side being of Austro-Hungarian descent, as his people were enslaved during the Byzantine Empire. He shoots down that flight of fancy by saying demanding compensatory damages would be downright silly. Umm, yeah, my guy. Die on that hill.

Settling down for a meal with his kid, the phone once again buzzes. As before, he ignores it. To be fair, you can only ignore shit for so long before someone leaves a big flaming bag of it on your doorstep.

In this case, it’s in the form of a Served Notice. The cherry on top is the one who put the process into motion: Sheniqua Johnson of the St. Louis Johnsons.

Livestreaming his gobsmacked mug, she catches him up to speed. His family owned her great-great-grandparents for 12 years and it’s high time HE ponies up.

Before he could drag up his slacked jaw from the floor, she enters what is now her house, surveying the layout and though he threatens to call the authorities, they’ve already been notified, courtesy of the new tenant.

Katie bears witness to this and Marshall is without an alibi. At this moment, he probably wishes he were dead to the world rather than being dead to rights.

The next day Paula informs him that besides Willie and Lester, none of the black people came to work. She’s nothing to worry about, being of the Tribe, mostly Ashkenazi Jew, and though he tries to feed her the Byzantine Empire schpiel, she feeds back to him what he and others like him have asserted to most: it was so long ago.

In the bathroom, seeming to wash his hands for an extended period as if he was trying to clean the residual blood off, Marshall comes across a coworker wearing a t-shirt bearing the simple sentiment of “I OWNED SLAVES”.

Tim in accounting got off easy with that penance from the family about to sue him, just wanting him to acknowledge it twice a week.

Marshall’s day is only starting, as Sheniqua’s outside the edifice, megaphone in hand, demanding the $3M she’s owed in light of his surname’s iniquities, and though he pleads with her, dues are dues and the silence will be no longer.

Do you remember realizing that something was your birthright? I don’t, but this would be fucking all holidays wrapped up in one to me!

In the breakroom, Marshall goes to Lester (Exie Booker) for advice on his ‘situation’ and as my man savors Sheniqua’s shouting as if it were a lullaby, he dispenses advice in two simple steps: admit wrongdoing and commence payment.

Things aren’t looking so sunny for Marshall at the moment and even less so when Natalie messages him.

And though he tries to leverage her whiteness, deftly flaunting her Peruvian heritage as proof of being out of the crosshairs, he asserts that she ‘passed’ as white before that gavel came down, but it matters none.

The game is changed, the script is flipped and their marriage is now officially over as her finances cannot take the fallout.

Marshall is now living in a world where nothing makes sense, only left to the only sanctuary that belongs to him, but Lo!

Sheniqua and her family are out on the lawn, camping out and awaiting lawful entry, and before Marshall can even process the sins of his father’s father’s father’s father, he peels out.

Physically exhausted and mentally drained, he sits on the edge of the bed of his newfound home, a nice hotel room. He flickers on the lamp in a daze. Off. On. Dark. Light.

Noticing the complimentary cookie on his nightstand, he opens it only to find it to be a Double Chocolate Chip. Black? Meet the gaping maw of White.

Taking a bite, his tears flow, continuing to consume what is this painful and tasty metaphor.

Hazily treading into the lobby, he notices a fellow white man, Earnest (Tobias Segal), and orders whatever he’s imbibing. “E” just flew in from somewhere else. They conveniently “can’t find his luggage” though, so he’s just enjoying the libation with nothing but the clothes on his back.

The bond they share is only skin deep. Marshall, unaccepting of this new reality is wrought to his core. Earnest simply “doesn’t know.”

He regales that his grandfather told him that the foundation on which his family was built was from the ground up, but it all turned out to be more than just a white lie. ‘Twas a White Lie.

Marshall still feels the blood that nourished the roots of the crops their relatives subsisted on shouldn’t have any bearing on their present ‘situation’. “E” views it differently as he sees the reality for what it is.

That history in fact does have a price and a very steep one at that. In his words: “Confession is not absolution.” Truer words were never spake.

Earnest knows that to the black people of America, slavery isn’t a curious past but rather a painful present. It’s an omnipresent specter they can see in ways others cannot possibly fathom. You can give all the feather dusters you want. Bleach? We got too much of a contact high to see it as pretty.

To “E”, because Natalie and Katie are without Marshall, they can start anew, build anew, untainted without him.

Earnest believes the white man has been set free. What was once in the DARK has been brought into the LIGHT.

“E” excuses himself out to the pool area. I already knew what was coming as “It Never Entered My Mind” by Miles Davis softly ambled softly in the background.

Earnest finds zen. He makes peace with his mind.

It better be, because the pool staff must then observe pieces of his mind splattered all over the area as his watery grave serves as the most beautiful thing in Hiro Murari‘s beautiful mind.

And though Marshall is shocked awake, one of the servers isn’t in the least bit phased, knowing this is only a beginning, not an end.

Remember what I said before about Marshall wanting to be dead to the world rather than dead to rights?

“E” actually had the fucking bandwidth to make good with his maker rather than deal with the reality. He put that bullet where his head was.

Maybe his wealth was finding out the truth. Rather than doling it out, he’d more or less selfishly perish with it…

We cut to the future, where a waiter on a bus driven by a blonde white woman isn’t the new but rather the now.

A manager rallying his team on what to expect for a good night’s work is on deck. There isn’t any ego. Everybody is all hands-on.

Before the huddle breaks, he makes mention of anybody owning a portion of their paycheck to ‘Restitution Taxes’ to momentarily stay behind. Marshall is among those in line among the other white men that will be bestowing a percentage to the law.

It’s 15%, which is pretty hefty compared to the others’ 10%. That hurts, but it’s still a drop in the bucket to what the suffering had to accomplish.

Washing his hands for the day ahead, he’s teased by a Latin waiter.

Though both are cool, the co-worker jokingly threatens Marshall’s salty speech and threatens him into a busboy position. In this new world, jape against minorities may land serious repercussions. The white man isn’t a strawman anymore. He’s just a testament to how the chickens can come home to roost.

As Minnie Ripperton’s “Les Fleurs” fires up, so does dinner service. The kitchen is filled with people of ALL ethnicities. Marshall grabs his first two plates and saunters into the main hall, where minorities of all kinds are being served by whites. This isn’t minatory. It’s exemplary.

It only took one trickle to burst that dam, but DAMN if the rightful balance wasn’t restored.

This episode was a doozie, but a good and very thought-provoking one. When we think Atlanta wants to zig, they zag. This may reflect in reality in zugzwang. We can’t move ahead before catching a little bit of flack on either end, though some pieces need to be moved.

Remember that Blue/Gold dress controversy? This too may lead to much discourse, though in the court of public opinion, this shit couldn’t be more nebulous.

I see this episode as coming out fucking GOLD.

Addendum: I don’t typically cite writers on TV shows I recap and review, but I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Francesca Sloane. She’s a fellow Salvadoran, and I haven’t seen or known any in this industry, so I just want to give out personal props.

Rogue Legacy 2 Release Date Announced for PC and Xbox

0
Rogue Legacy 2 Release Date

Rogue Legacy 2 is headed out of early access!

Rogue Legacy 2 is headed out of early access and on to PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S on April 28, 2022. The good news doesn’t stop there!

To celebrate the anticipated launch of Rogue Legacy 2,  developer Cellar Door Games have released a brand new animated cinematic and announced the original Rogue Legacy will be available for free on the Epic Games store between April 7-13th.

“Our goal for Rogue Legacy 2 was always to make “Rogue Legacy 3” because we didn’t want to settle for just more,” the developers said in a press release. “It had to stay true to the original, but also stand on its own as something new.  After nearly four years of development, bringing it to the fans is the final step in this long journey, and we hope they find it as special as we do.”

Rogue Legacy 2 will introduce Heirlooms that will offer a “unique metroidvania feel by permanently giving heroes new abilities.”

A list of key features for Rogue Legacy 2 can be found below:

  • Every Adventure is Unique: New monsters, new traps, and new layouts await you every time you enter the Kingdom. This is a world where improvisation, and not memorization is the key to success.
  • Wildly New Classes:  No two classes play the same. Hide atop Ivy Canopies as the Ranger, and rain poisoned arrows down onto your foes. Take to the skies as a Dragon Lancer and fly across the skies striking foes at massive speeds. Or sing and dance through your enemies, as the joyous bard, leaving only a trail of bodies behind you. Rogue Legacy 2 supports 15 new classes, with 15 distinct styles of play.
  • Brand New Style: We’re taking a whole new artistic approach to Rogue Legacy 2. The sequel features 2.5D stylings, with 3D characters against hand-drawn backdrops.  The art uses heavy shading and all animations are done using stepping techniques to keep the familiar RL look and feel.
  • Revamped Biome Generation: We went all-out with biome generation to make each area in RL2 feel completely new.  Each biome adopts different “build strategies” to create completely unique yet-still-randomly-generated regions.
  • True Metroidvania: To really push the metroidvania flair, RL2 introduces heirlooms: special items that permanently give your heroes new abilities that fully reveal the world’s secrets.  These are not basic lock-in-key abilities, but powers that fundamentally change how you play.  And heirlooms are not simply handed to you.  You must prove your worth, provided you can find them.
  • Traits 2.0: Though fun the first time, the traits in RL1 often wore their welcome later in the game.  We’ve now added gold modifiers to entice players to take on new challenges.  The more debilitating the trait is (in-game), the bigger the reward.  This makes choosing your heirs a meaningful decision every time.
  • Relics and Resolve: One of the most exciting new features to Rogue Legacy 2 is the ability to pick up Relics, which are unique items that change how your run is played.  Gain stat modifiers, complete special challenges, and even gain brand new abilities as you traverse the kingdom.  But be careful, the more Relics you obtain the more your resolve is shaken, and all Relics are lost if your hero perishes.
  • Improved Accessibility: We’ve taken accessibility to the next level with the introduction of House Rules.  Toggle contact damage, tweak global damage and health, and even give yourself flight for difficult platform sections.  You have complete control over how you want to play the game.  We’ve also introduced new mechanics such as Off-shore Banking to give struggling players more ways to succeed.
  • A Rich Narrative: Not only is the lore to the world of Rogue Legacy greatly expanded in the sequel, but it runs deep. New lore awaits you all the multiple NG’s in. Beating the game once is only the beginning.  Learn about the inevitable collapse of a once thriving kingdom, and discover the dark secrets of the ones responsible.  And connect and build relationships with the characters you meet along the way.
  • New Game+ for Days: Your journey has only begun after beating the final boss in RL2.  There is a ton more to explore and discover on multiple playthroughs.  You must choose how the game gets harder, from unique biome hazards, to special boss fights.  The experience keeps changing for near infinite replayability.
  • More of Everything: Of course we’re also adding more of everything people loved from the original Rogue Legacy.  More traits, more spells, more classes, more biomes, more enemies, more equipment, more rooms, more story.  More secrets… Just more everything.

Hellcat No Fury in Iron Man/Hellcat Annual #1

0

A new variant cover by Artgerm, is featured in June’s IRON MAN/HELLCAT ANNUAL #1

This June’s Iron Man/Hellcat Annual#1 will be a major turning point for the superhero heroine and her iron-clad paramour. Continuing his work from the pages of Iron Man, writer Christopher Cantwell and artist Ruairí Coleman delivers a story that talks about the character’s history, in a foresighted issue that looks into where her relationship with Iron Man with be going.

Picking up from that jaw-dropping marriage proposal in Iron Man #20, the couple decides to travel to the tech capital of the world: San Francisco, where Patsy meets up with some familiar faces, catches up with old friends, and most importantly, confronts the darkest parts of her past she’d thought was long left behind.

To celebrate this groundbreaking issue, Marvel will debut a collection of variant covers by some of the industry’s most acclaimed artists. Including an original piece by Artgerm.

“Hellcat has one of the most unique—and at times inscrutable—origin stories in Marvel Comics, but also one of my favorites,” Cantwell said during Marvel’s press release. “I love that Patsy got her start in teen romance comics in the 40s and yet was still somehow able to ride the wave into the rise of superheroes, becoming Hellcat. With an epic and circuitous backstory that now spans more than 75 years, I’ve had a blast exploring the rich tapestry that is Patsy—first in IRON MAN, and now with even more depth in this annual.”

IRON MAN/HELLCAT ANNUAL #1 hits the stands on June 1!

Some Assembly Required: The Avengers And Moon Girl #1!

0

Debuting this July, The Avengers and Moon Girl #1 is a one-shot featuring the young super genius’ team-up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. 

Coming to a Marvel Universe near you, Moon Girl is featuring another one-shot following June’s Miles Morales and Moon Girl#1. Called upon by The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in order to save the world, this special Summer issue will see Lunella Lafayette join Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and the entire Avenger’s team in Avengers and Moon Girl#1.

For those unfamiliar with the character, Moon Girl is one of Marvel’s newer heroes that debuted in 2015. She is a nine-year-old supergenius that fights with her own customized-crafted gadgets, along with a psychically linked Red T-Rex known as Devil Dinosaur (Think Clifford The Big Red Dog but terrifying).

The character is so popular that Disney Channel is actually adapting her story for an animated TV series this summer. She is also, arguably, one of the biggest young black women role models in the Marvel Comics Universe. And one of the most prominently used Inhumans featured in the Marvel line of comics today.

As noted in Marvel’s press release, the acclaimed novelist Mohale Mashigo will be joined by artist Diogenes Neves for this latest one-shot. A perfect entry point for readers curious to learn more about the young hero, where in it, Moon Girl goes looking for Devil Dinosaur after having spent last month’s issue scouting with Miles Morales to find her T-Rex. Thankfully, The Avengers can help!

“Writing Moon Girl is a dream come true,” Mashigo said. “Lunella is fun, quirky, smart, and full of energy. I’ve enjoyed seeing her get out of her comfort zone and shine even brighter.”

Written by MOHALE MASHIGO

Art by DIOGENES NEVES

Cover by ALITHA E. MARTINEZ

Variant Cover by JAHNOY LINDSAY

The Avengers and Moon Girl Goes On Sale 7/13

A Shape-Shifting Nine-Tails? White Fox Debuts on Marvel Unlimited

0
white fox

Making its official debut yesterday, this 4-part Infinity Comic publishing throughout all of April focuses on the White Fox.

Exclusive on the Marvel Unlimited App, White Fox #1 follows the story of the last of the mystical shape-shifting Kumihos. Written by Alyssa Wong and drawn by Bruno Oliveira, with colors by Andres Mossa, this four-part series follows the adventures of Ami Han, known as the White Fox

A striking tale revolving around the mysterious death of a sword master, in issue #1, White Fox has been running herself ragged to help an old friend and find the truth. Because Seoul has a secret supernatural community – and they’re under attack! 

Taken from Marvel’s Press release, which features a full interview with White Fox’s creators, writer Alyssa Wong said about the series: 

“I have a soft spot for White Fox. She’s the first hero I solo-wrote for Marvel. I’ve always loved shape-shifters and monsters, and a question I’m always asking is, ‘Who gets to be a monster, and who has no choice? Who decides what is monstrous?’ Ami Han is a Kumiho who grew up without a Kumiho community, surrounded only by stories about how her kind is evil, heartless, and vicious. There’s certain grief that comes from that kind of cultural isolation, loss, and external hatred, and it’s something she’s had to grapple with her entire life. I find that deeply compelling and resonant.” 

On drawing the series in the Infinity Comic vertical format, artist Bruno Oliveira elaborated, “I can go as long as I want to convey a scene and get a certain feeling, and as you scroll and find out more about a panel… it is always surprising. With this format, we can constantly surprise the reader! The reader can never tell if the next panel is going to be a small square or if it’s going to take 3 “screens” of length to show a beautiful setting or a cool fight scene. I love to be able to surprise readers in that way!

white fox

Writer: Alyssa Wong

Artist: Bruno Oliveira

Colorist: Andres Mossa

Editor: Tom Groneman 

Summary: Ami Han is White Fox, the last of the mystical shape-shifting Kumiho! After her mother was murdered, Ami forged her own path in fighting injustice. Now another murderer stalks the streets of Seoul’s hidden supernatural community. What revelations about White Fox’s past will the hunt for the killer reveal?

New stories of White Fox are available every Wednesday on Marvel Unlimited. 

Marvel’s Stormbreakers Showcases Some Landmark Variant Covers

0

We get to look at some of the Marvel Stormbreakers variant covers, featuring art of many fan-favorite Marvel locations like Madripoor, Wakanda, and More!

In the latest four Stormbreakers variant covers, we see the latest collection of art produced by some of Marvel’s most elite artists. Where fans can feel like they’ve been transported into the Marvel Universe itself! 

In the Stormbreakers Variant covers, we’ve got the advanced society of Wakanda, the dangerous and dangerous jungles of the Savage Land, the criminal underground of the Streets of Madripoor, and the small but fearsome country of Laterveria. Yep, home of the dictator and Marvel Alpha villain: Doctor Doom.  

These images are all brought to life in postcard-style by artwork from R.B. Silva, Peach Momoko, Carmen Carnero, and Natacha Bustos. Marvel’s Stormbreakers represents the comic book industry’s most acclaimed and visionary artistic talents. 

As told in Marvel’s Press release, though they’ve been proud to uplift Carmen Carnero, R.B. Silva, Natacha Bustos, Peach Momoko, Patrick Gleason, Iban Coello, Joshua Cassara, and Juann Cabal for the past 3 years, Marvel is also looking forward to introducing a new generation of Stormbreaker’s to be introduced later this year!

“Congratulations to the 2020-2022 class of Marvel’s Stormbreakers artists!” Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski said. “The work of all these titanic talents has been and will continue to be absolutely outstanding! I cannot tell you how excited I am to see what comes next for these eight incredible illustrators. And while this celebrated class may be drawing to a close, our Stormbreakers program isn’t going to end here.  A new class of industry-shaking talent is just around the corner, and I just can’t wait for you to see who’s next!”

On Sale 5/4

X-FORCE #28 STORMBREAKERS VARIANT COVER by PEACH MOMOKO – 75960609467702821

X-MEN #11 STORMBREAKERS VARIANT COVER by CARMEN CARNERO with colors by ROMULO FAJARDO JR. – 75960609999301141 

On Sale 5/11

CAPTAIN AMERICA SYMBOL OF TRUTH #1 STORMBREAKERS VARIANT COVER by NATACHA BUSTOS – 75960620279900131

On Sale 6/8

BLACK PANTHER #7 STORMBREAKERS VARIANT COVER by RB SILVA with colors by DAVID CURIEL – 75960620042900731

 

The ‘X-Men: Green’ Story Continues With X-Men Unlimited #29 

0

Continuing from the X-Men Unlimited comics issues #5-12, this Infinity Comics series following the story of Nature Girl continues with X-Men Unlimited #29! With new issues every Monday! 

The ‘X-Men: Green’ story continues with a new anthology that kicked off this past Monday. As noted in Monday’s press release, this 5-issue arc that begins with X-Men Unlimited #29, follows the adventures of Nature Girl, Curse, and The ‘X-Men Green’ team. 

After their imprisonment and getaway from Krakoa, the team continues their personal mission to protect the natural world… by eliminating any human threat. So, after taking control of a ship with the mind-controlling Sauron, and with the former police dog Saoirse at their side, the group teams to follow a lead from the MaraudersPyro

Their target? Some poachers are on the hunt for some defenseless whales… 

And while their true whereabouts may be unknown to the Quiet Council, how long can Nature Girl and her radical renegades go unnoticed? Especially, once they attract the attention of a certain sea-dwelling sea-lord… fans of Marvel are all-too-familiar with. 

You can check out more every Monday on the Marvel Unlimited App to find out more. Details below.

X-MEN UNLIMITED #29

Writer: Karla Pacheco 

Artist: Emilio Laiso

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg 

Editor: Jordan White  

The “X-Men: Green” storyline continues! In the first part of its second arc, Nature Girl and Curse, fresh off their escape from Krakoa, commandeer a ship with Sauron (and Saoirse). Now, with, only each other to call a crew, the foursome accepts their mission from the Marauders’ Pyro: stop a pack of whale hunters by any means necessary. 

 

Moon Knight Episode 2 Review

0
oscar isaac as moon knight
Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios' MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

It’s Steven versus Marc and a new set of threads in this week’s episode. Loads of spoilers inside.

The second episode of Moon Knight gives us more answers as to how Marc and Steven’s ability works. Filled with moments of conflict, laughter, and genuine fear: Moon Knight has been a unique journey thus far in that it’s really Marvel’s first real foray into horror. With cults and Gods and boogeyman-like, Khonshus. There’s really just so much to unpack in this episode. 

How much of what we see is happening in Steven/Marc’s head versus not, we don’t fully know. But we’re starting to get the picture. Continuing from last week, we do see Marc’s battle with the jackal shows how nobody else seems to see this battle unfold. It’s really the switch between both Steven and Marc that makes this one entertaining. It also serves as an insight into how it looks to the rest of the world, as there’s a lot of D.I.D. conflicts between the two men and goes back and forth rather often in this episode. 

You can hear my take with special guests Victor Catano, Karissa Laurel, and Mary Fan on The Workprint Podcast.

What’s surprising: is that we learn how Marc has a bit of a life of his own. This episode sees a full introduction to Layla, Marc’s wife, and possible living tomb raider, with whom, Steven seems absolutely smitten with. We also get an elaboration as to the nature of the Scarab being the compass to find the goddess Ammit and an explanation as to the nature of Khonshu. 

To be honest, it’s a LOT of exposition. Though it’s done in clever ways that don’t stall the story progression. If that wasn’t enough, we get even more badass Moon Knight battle scenes, the coolest thing of which, is easily the Mr. Knight costume that Steven’s variant of Moon Knight gets to utilize. Because a pretty snazzy all-white costume of a three-piece suit just looks sublime.

Atop of this, we get clear-cut motivations regarding Ethan Hawke’s Arthur, who was a former avatar for Khonshu as well though now fights to mostly keep the peace. Again, good introduction. As Hawke has done great work in the few moments we get of him on screen.

So it’s a good episode, right? Where is the actual problem?

At six episodes I think the problem is they’re forcing a comic script’s pacing into a tv show format. That there’s definitely a pacing issue within the series. Because there’s a lot to enjoy in Moon Knight, but I have to wonder if episodes would’ve been better had they been divided into two? 

That instead of doing 45 to 52 minute-long episodes, the series might have actually worked better if they extended into 22-minute drops of two episodes, giving us more space to digest some of the material would have definitely helped.

Because the problem with Moon Knight isn’t that it’s not working as a series. The writing is hitting the beats and progressing forward in fun ways and the acting is rather excellent. The issue is that we’re supposed to feel conflicted in the Steven versus Marc story arcs; particularly, in the fear that Steven has that Marc’s a stonecold killer. Or a secret agent of Khonshu of sorts. 

The problem is though that it doesn’t really work? There are just too many moments of Steven being upset at Marc, but to be honest, we’ve never really developed the time to truly understand why he’s distrustful. That despite all that set up in episode 1, I think this one just tries to do too much in a short runtime. Because Steven versus Marc on who’s in control and whose lives are being ruined? I’m not entirely sold. But I do find this entertaining.

 

After The Slap: Will Smith Left, But Nobody Cares About People with Alopecia

0

Alopecia areata is a condition that affects 6.8 million people. It isn’t talked about much in the public eye, nor is it considered a disability or a treatable illness. Alopecia is a rare but non-life-threatening autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles leading to baldness in random patches, and sometimes, throughout the entire body. It can affect people of any age and there is no cure. 

What most people don’t talk about alopecia is that living with the condition can lead to major identity crises. This is caused by the inability to adopt a natural new look, or worse, wake up to see sudden chunks of hair loss. The stigma associated with balding, or the fears of being treated as having something much worse like leukemia, is very common. 

Alopecia leads to some pretty severe psychological issues for almost everyone affected. Common mental health problems for those affected include depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, especially in women, where hairstyle is often seen as a symbol of beauty. Even more so for black women of color, of which, alopecia is much more common.

People with alopecia make a lot of cosmetic changes to their appearance in order to fit in and feel normal. There is a need for wigs, fake eyebrows or hair implants (which often get rejected, mind you). Things that instill a physical feeling of belonging using artificial means, or else drawing ire from others as if something was wrong with you. I know this because I’ve lived with Alopecia Universalis almost my entire life. And just like Jada Pinkett Smith confessed in 2018, I have to admit, it’s really not something easy to talk about

Now, I pitched this story to every major news outlet and source in the country minutes after the event happened. The truth is, just like always, nobody cared. What happened was that the media gave us a bunch of explainer pieces from doctors and experts, explaining to me my own fucking story. Then out of pity, shared the occasional sob pieces and feel good bits of less than 200 words about how we mattered, until after they were done using us for some explainer click-bait traffic agenda, they proceeded to focus in on exactly what they actually cared about: Will Smith, Chris Rock, and Jada. 

We had a moment here to talk with the community regarding people with alopecia. Why this matters, this moment, meant so much to us but then got tossed to the side. Instead, the public obsessed over every take regarding Will Smith slapping Chris Rock over an insult against Jada Pinkett Smith. What was going to happen and what it meant for their respective communities: whether it be the Academy’s take, black culture’s take, the comedian’s take, or just people who suffered from alopecia. It’s been a controversial topic talked about with no end all throughout the week, culminating with Will Smith officially retiring from the academy just days after winning his first Oscar. 

Will Smith | Slap

People will remember this for how it ended.

But how it began is a different story. 

Early reports, conveniently within the first few hours of the event, spoke about Jada’s medical condition but never actually talked about alopecia until the morning after. This, despite it being something Jada Pinkett has openly struggled with for years. That Chris Rock poked fun anyway, is endemic to a lack of knowledge regarding the struggle of people living with this condition. Though there have been some talks about it, overall, it still misses the issue by a mile.

Because despite there being a large number of us with alopecia, there really isn’t that large of a community support network in the public eye. The NAAF, historically a small support structure, has tackled this issue for so long, but was never really given that many resources nor built as big of a reputation. Being bald seems like a lifestyle choice and visibility for people with the condition is poorly seen. 

In fact, Jada Pinkett Smith isn’t even the only person in Hollywood with alopecia. 

Anthony Carrigan | Alopecia

You have Anthony Carrigan, who plays NoHo Hank on HBO’s Barry, and whose career is heavily known for playing eccentric villains such as Victor Zsasz on TV. Matt Lucas, the British actor, and comedian with Alopecia Universalis is known for his oddball science fiction roles on TV series like Doctor Who. Both men have struggled for years in entertainment, finding the only way out, was to embrace it and sort of fulfilled the role–which to be frank, is often a bad guy, eccentric, or oddball joke. Then, of course, there’s Viola Davis, one of the most prominent black women actors in the industry, who’s struggled with her alopecia for half her lifetime. Occasionally, you’ll find gems such as dancer Christine Valdiserri, who actively brings about alopecia awareness regarding just about everything that she does. These are powerful people in entertainment with this condition. All of them have had career derailments because of adjusting to this disorder and have had it shape both who they are and what they do.

There are loads of people condemning Will Smith saying that he could have resolved this issue with a civil discussion behind the scenes. But if that hasn’t worked for Jada in 4 years, let alone all of these people in Hollywood, what chance do the rest of us honestly have? 

In terms of comedy, baldness is an easy and semi-safe potshot to take as a comedian. People with this condition have been made fun of for years and more often than you think.

The MAD TV comedian Stephanie Weir with comedian Michael McDonald, had a socially awkward sketch poking fun at people with alopecia on the MAD TV series. SNL has been poking fun at baldness for decades from Brogaine to Bosley Hair Restoration sketches. Most of us with this condition take jokes in stride over years of abuse without honestly saying what truly bothers us: that at some point, especially in the public eye, it absolutely hurts.

Most people think being bald is a public choice without realizing that this is anything but, and alopecia, in many ways, is an inability to control what’s happened to our bodies. We didn’t want this nor ask for this, but it is also not objectively hindering us in obvious ways. So often people with my condition just take the jokes in stride due to poor discourse about an issue no one seems to want to talk about. Let alone, think about.

I’ve had Alopecia Universalis since I was 10 months old. As a result, I have always felt like an outsider. Not a Filpino, not an Asian American, not a suburban middle-class New Jerseyian, but as a bald kid trying to be his friendliest, hoping that no one says anything about how I am visibly and very blatantly different looking than everyone else. 

Michael Jordan | Baldness

Thankfully, my childhood was in the 1990s, when Michael Jordan chose to shave his head and made this look a lot more acceptable for men. But for women, there really hasn’t been that sort of cultural acceptance. The community for people with alopecia is pretty fragmented and there is very little open discourse about how this condition can devastate your life. You see people like Bill Maher say it’s lucky that we just have this disorder compared to something more serious. Let me tell you what it’s been like living like this my entire life.

I’ve been bullied, made fun of, and questioned as to if I was dying my entire life. I didn’t get to try out different hairstyles in my teens. I didn’t get to experiment with different looks or fit in social cliques or circles. Alopecia sort of kills that sense of progressive growth in puberty. It’s hard to fit in when everyone’s changing and you more-or-less just look the same.

When you have alopecia, you trust the people that do accept you, and then you find it really hard to fit in or feel a sense of belonging. Your identity is just utterly fucked from the moment it happens until the rest of your life really.

I’ve gotten into fights over the way I look. Once, at a bar, I was asked to stop looking at someone in the face because my lack of eyebrows made them feel uncomfortable. Not a little fight mind you, but over three drinks in, ready to toss haymakers outside kind of fight. Do you know how hard it is not to look somebody in the face when you’re talking to them? I’m pretty certain that under different circumstances this would have been considered a hate crime.

Jada | Alopecia

I’ve had things thrown at the back of my head for being bald. My high school bully used to play games of slap-head every day in gym class, which is exactly what it sounds like. One day, he spit a piece of gum at the back of my head as a joke, until I, rightfully so, took that same piece of gum and shoved it directly into his own hair. This is the cruel world that we live in. I took all of these insults in stride for a lifetime because who was I going to confide in or talk to about this? 

The only organization that showed any sort of alopecia sympathy I’d encountered in my lifetime was in my 20s. They were a group of white fellow-bald alopecians who’d asked me if I were one of them. And if I was, then maybe I’d like to talk in private. Which was sort of my first red flag. You’d be shocked to hear who these people were.

They were skinheads. A group of white men and women who had alopecia too. I met them in my university of all places. They thought I was white (I’ve been confused as every background you can imagine, from Black, Indian, white, to Asian thanks to not having hair, and depending on how much time I spend outside, having too light or too tan of a skin tone) and asked for me to attend a rally. Because that’s what it’s like for all of us. We’re not the color of our skin, we’re just the bald-headed freaks in a world that doesn’t want to address that it’s an issue. 

Now, to be fair, every case of alopecia is different. I think the media was right in talking to women of color with Jada’s condition and giving light to the struggle of black women losing their hair along with their identity in the process. I just wish there was more said about this outrage and why, I personally think it’s warranted. I mean, even now I still get anxious when people ask me about it over 30 years later, so I have no idea how you expect actors to handle it. Whose job it is to operate in the public eye. 

Having alopecia is living in a world where everybody pities you because they think you have cancer. Your image is concealed all the time whether it be through wigs, make-up, or glasses. Nothing about you feels natural. And people spend loads of money and chunks of their entire lives hiding the fact that they have alopecia. 

Chris Rock | Oscars

For Chris Rock to just openly draw attention and make a bald joke at someone who openly struggled about it? If I could, yeah, I would have slapped him myself. And I love both Chris Rock and Will Smith and their bodies of work.

I’m tired of everyone making light of people with my condition for what everyone thinks is just a minor issue. Unless people honestly speak out about what it’s like having alopecia in droves, nothing is going to change. Discourse about this topic from Jada or Viola Davis has not done enough regarding awareness of this issue. 

I’d ask anyone else out there who’s lived a troubling lifetime with this disorder, such as myself, to speak up about it. Let people know what it’s honestly like: which is… rough.

 

‘The Bubble’ Netflix Review

0
the cast of the bubble scream during a cg situation
Credit: Laura Radford. Netflix

For a Judd Apatow comedy movie made about making a movie during the pandemic… the comedy seems in poor taste.

The Bubble is a Netflix original movie directed by Judd Apatow starring Karen Gillan and an ensemble of A-list actors, such as Keegan-Michael Key, Leslie Mann, David Duchovny, Pedro Pascal, and Samson Kayo. It is a parody of Covid-19 lockdown conditions, where a group of actors are forced to live in an isolated pandemic bubble together and are driven to the edge due to isolation, human neediness, and the desire to escape their oppressive Hollywood film shoot. That despite being paid millions, the actors are meant to be the victims due to the unruly demands of a Hollywood studio that seeks to profit off yet another unwarranted franchise sequel.

In The Bubble, Karen Gillian plays Carol Cobb, an actress returning to the Cliff Beasts franchise that made her career. This is after doing a distasteful move called Jerusalem Rising, in which, she made a career-ending portrayal of a character so far removed from her own nationality that it offended both Palestinians and Jews. 

She returns back to the Cliff Beats franchise in an effort to revive the films that made her career, and at the same time, reunite with her more than upset at her cast members, who’d never really forgiven her for leaving. The group is forced to live under bubble-like lockdown conditions to keep safety covid protocols and the movie is a parody documentary told much in the style of Tropic Thunder. 

What works for ‘The Bubble’ is that it delivers on the promise of its premise in that it makes a lot of uncomfortable commentary about lockdown conditions, the need for human connection, sex, drugs, and weed. Because… why not? It’s the entertainment industry.

Perhaps more importantly, The Bubble villanizes a recurring Hollywood franchises’ studio sequel model–a parody of what’s likely the Jurassic Park franchise–poking fun at a tone-deaf of the pandemically privileged Hollywood, without ever looking at itself: as being just as guilty of this entitlement.

At best, the Meta-comedy works as a critical self-take on celebrity self-indulgence inflated by its own grandiose set of importance. For a movie that’s meant to be a parody documentary about a throwaway action film in the story; it’s ironic that this is also, as a Netflix film, very much a throwaway comedy. And while it’s filled with silly gags, obscene moments of shock, and  stellar performances of its cast, there’s just one glaring issue that bombs the film:

It belittles the dangers of Covid-19. Nobody seems to die from the disease. The biggest antagonist of the movie seems to be the bubble itself. 

Where ‘The Bubble’ then fails as a film then, is that honestly, nobody wanted a pandemic-themed parody as a form of entertainment right now. Not while we are barely past the latest wave back in January, with historic Omicron waves just behind us and, as many such as myself fear: the possibility of another wave right in front of us soon to come thanks to Omicron stealth variant cases on the rise worldwide.

Why anyone would think this movie would be a good idea is beyond me as 2021 had a larger death rate in the Covid-19 era than 2020

Now, this is not to say that you couldn’t poke fun at the pandemic. I think Mythic Quest did a fantastic job of it. I think, with some distance and some actual signs of hope, then yes there can be a pandemic-themed movie or event again. But now is not that time. Not with the country divided with what the past few years have even meant, and especially, not through the voices of some privileged Hollywood actors who’d never really lost much due to the pandemic in the first place.

That said, let’s focus on the positives.

The actors in this movie are stellar. Everyone does their part well, including Iris Apatow, who plays a social media influencer-driven celebrity that does everything she can to upkeep her public image, or else be shunned by her mother/agent. Part of me wants to argue that the entire reason this movie was made was to help launch Iris’ career, but she does a great job in her role as a Gen-Z’er where I can’t really say this was outright nepotism. There are enough laughs and moments of awkwardness where Iris Apatow delivers outside of her family’s reputation. the Apatow family is pretty powerful in Hollywood.

I also think Karen Gillian plays a decent every woman you’re supposed to understand, but not sympathize with, in terms of beginning to age Hollywood actress doing all she can in the prime of her career before the industry, unceremoniously, ages her out. 

Mann and Duchovny have a fun Hollywood couple relationship with multiple levels of complicated, Keegan Michael-Key is a fun fake-positive health guru, and easily the best performer: Pedro Pascal, fills in what likely was going to be the James Franco role in that he’s a hyper attractive sex addict looking for vices of indulgence, but is only able to find: romantic love in Annika (Maria Bakalova, who is stellar again, just as she was in Borat 2).

There are moments of funny in the movie. I think when the actors are given room to play into their roles, meaning their arguing, improving lines, and working together: the film works. Surprisingly really liked Duchovney and Leslie Mann. Absolutely loved Karen Gillian as the lead. What doesn’t work, however, is the actor’s progress with their own individual story beats, as the jokes don’t hit well, and in so many ways, these ‘character arcs’ are just a means of forcing the plot forward and raising ‘stakes’ that feel entirely forced? 

This movie is fun seeing the actors play off each other but horrible when it comes to deriving any sense of meaning from their struggles.

Again, the problem is that they antagonize quarantine without ever showcasing the cost of breaking it. And, if we’re going to rip the band-aid off entirely if you’re doing a covid-19 movie? You probably should have killed a few people from Covid-19 in the story? Or at least, talked about the riots or race issues or government overthrow. Really, just highlight, any of the innumerable amounts of bad things that have happened in two years that revolved around the pandemic and could’ve easily been poked fun at. 

Instead, we’re supposed to empathize with overpaid celebrities about getting to work in a dream industry? All while watching them live in a luxury hotel, do drugs, bang each other, get served whatever they want, and crack jokes? 

But you know… we’ll throw a TikTok reference so you know it’s a movie for the youth.

The Bubble is available on Netflix

 

5 Adorable Critter Comics Exclusive To Marvel Unlimited

0
jeff the landshark dressed as a dolphin on the beach
All Images Credited: Marvel Unlimited

Every Friday features adorable new Infinity Comics based on your favorite animals from Marvel. Here are 5 you had no idea about.

Since the launch of the Marvel Infinity Comics line in the Fall of 2021 Marvel has gone out of its way to deliver exclusive content on its Marvel Unlimited App. From podcasts to vertical comics, to special events, and even, short comic adaptations: there’s something special for every Marvel fan out there. Including some specials featuring some of your favorite Marvel critters. 

These critter comics are adorable little shorts made by some of the most talented artists and writers in Marvel. They often feature little dialogue and reading them is sort of like watching adorable cat videos but set within the Marvel universe. Atop of all this, each one of these stories is centered on a trending topic featured in Marvel. They’re adorably heartwarming reads with new issues for your Friday evenings.

Here are five comics about Marvel animals exclusively on the Marvel Unlimited App

 

ALLIGATOR LOKI 

Yes, that’s right, we’re beginning with Alligator Loki. Written by Alyssa Wong, with art from Bob Quinn and colors by Pete Pantazis, Alligator Loki features the adventures of this reptilian god of mischief and his misadventures with his brother, Thor. 

In issue #1 of Alligator Loki, we see the brothers bond in an Amusement Park. In issue #2, we see Alligator Loki attempt to steal Mjolnir. There really isn’t much else to say except that the colors are vibrant in these stories and the storyline: is hilarious, as it’s mostly thus far been Thor and an Alligator Loki bonding.

Writer: Alyssa Wong

Artist: Bob Quinn 

Colorist: Pete Pantazis

Editor: Katelyn Gregorowicz 

Description: For his entire life, Thor has only known one brother, Loki. Known to all as conniving, sneaky, and cunning! But a new Loki is ready to take his place. He may be smaller, he may be cuter, and… an alligator?! But don’t be deceived, Alligator Loki has all the same attributes as his human counterpart and is ready to get into some trouble! 

So far they’ve only released 2 issues out of this 12-part series. So you can check it out now and follow along, Fridays.

 

MARVEL MEOW

Hitting that demographic paw on the nose! Marvel Meow, written and drawn by Japanese artist Nao Fuji, features the misadventures of some of your favorite Marvel superheroes’… cats. Yes, their cats. Along with the mischief that they get into together.

In Marvel Meow issue #1, we find out what happens when Black Widow, Winter Soldier, and Carol Danvers leave their cats alone together in an apartment while the heroes go off to save the world. Because what can go wrong when two cats and Flerken spend an entire afternoon in an apartment together? (Everything… everything can go… so horribly wrong.) In Marvel Meow issue #2, Spider-Man gets recruited to catsit for the team but runs into cat problems of his own: Black Cat and her own thieving little kitty.

Writer & Artist: Nao Fuji 

Editor: Caitlin O’Connell 

Description: Marvel’s most Pawsome characters take on their toughest challenge yet: cat sitting. In Issue #1, Black Widow and the Winter Soldier need a safe place for their cats while they go on a mission. Spending time with Captain Marvel’s pet Flerken is the perfect solution… right? 

Like Alligator Loki, we’re only 2 issues in out of this 10-part series, with issue #3 available on April 1st! So it’s not too late to start reading them right Meow. 

 

LUCKY THE PIZZA DOG

This one was a one-off issue that was released around the same time as its Disney+ Hawkeye show. Created, colored, and drawn by artist Jason Loo and edited by Caitlin O’Connell, Lucky Delivers followed the story of Lucky The Pizza Dog, a short about everyone’s favoritewell at least the Hawkeyes’best buddy. A brief short about an one-eyed crime-fighting dog that loves eating pizza and his adventure in saving said delivery person of his beloved pizza. 

Jolt, the dog who played Lucky for the Hawkeye TV series, even has his own Instagram (see above). This little holiday comic arrived just before Kate Bishop’s small-screen debut, this is one comic meant for only the best of boys that you’re not going to want to miss. 

 

SPIDER-BOT

This one is also cheating but technically, Spider-Bots are robots based on animals just with more gizmos and gadgets, so why not? In this 12-part Infinity comic series that was written by Jordan Blum with artist Alberto Alburquerque and color artist Dono Sanchez-Almara, we learned a good deal about Spider-Man’s little sidekicks. Robots that feel an awful lot like the Tachikomas from Ghost in The Shell.

Writer Jordan Blum had this to say during its original run (as taken from Marvel’s press release): “It has been an absolute blast to work with Alberto and to explore the Marvel Universe through the digital eyes of the Spider-Bots. Being a life-long Spider-Man fan and a father of two, I leapt at the chance to create all-ages stories for both longtime Marvel Zombies and new readers alike who are ready to thwip their first web!” 

Artist Alberto Alburquerque added, “It is such a great experience to get to work on this project from every aspect. It allows me to experiment with a new format, gives me the chance to work with Jordan, and it’s an opportunity to draw some of the characters I’ve always wanted to draw. I hope the readers get as surprised and entertained as I do with every issue!”

Writer: Jordan Blum 

Artist: Alberto Alburquerque 

Color Artist: Dono Sanchez-Almara  

Editor: Edward Devin Lewis 

Description: For most of his crime-fighting career, the one and only Amazing Spider-Man has worked on his own – but some jobs are too big even for a wall-crawling, web-slinging wonder like Spidey to handle by himself! Luckily, he’s got a team of technological wonders called the SPIDER-BOTS, who’re equipped with some of the most cutting-edge tech this side of Avengers Tower (and GREAT battery life) and by his side, ready to stop trouble in its tracks across the Marvel Universe! 

 

IT’S JEFF!

Of course, we can’t end before talking about the one that started it all in Jeff The Landshark! Jeff is a pet shark that kind of operates like a pet dog despite being a Shark. A master of both land and sea, whose 12-issue run took the comics world by storm, there was a lot to love about IT’S JEFF! as the comic featured a good amount of easter eggs, callbacks, and homages to classic comics such as the Peanuts, as Jeff, much like Snoopy, can’t actually speak. In the Infinity run of the comics Jeff was living with Kate Bishop.

The storylines are filled with funny concepts about a shark wanting to fit in. So I can’t stress just how much of a feel-good fun series this is as Jeff mostly just wants to make friends. 

The artwork is laugh-out-loud phenomenal. With fun ideas such as Marvel superhero pool parties to Snow Days sledding with Captain’s shield, Thanksgiving nom-noms, and really, just all the fun little adventures a Landshark, whom everyone is afraid will bite, can do.

If that’s not enough, you’ll also see a lot of Avengers or Squirrel Girl or Miles Morales cameos and cosplays of characters out of their usual costumes, and in either seasonal or issue-themed attire. If you like Marvel design work and a lot of hilarity: this comic is for you.

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: G Gurihiru

 

Like These? Then Check Out Marvel Unlimited!

And that’s all 5. See something you like? These comics are exclusive to the Marvel Unlimited app, which hosts the Marvel Infinite line along with a library of over 29,000 comics. All featuring the most up-to-date comic runs of what’s out there and trending in the latest Marvel movies and Disney+ series. 

If you’ve got X-Box GamePass Ultimate, you can try Marvel Unlimited for 3 months free.

 

Wanna Work At Dunder Mifflin from Home? The Office has a Calm soundscape for that

0

The Calm Mindfulness App has partnered with Peacock to create a sounds from The Office soundscape.

Fans of NBC’s The Office rejoice! If you’ve ever wanted to feel like your own assistant to the regional manager, Peacock has partnered with the Calm app to create The Office Soundscape. Which is a calming and motivational sound application featuring the relaxing sounds from the Scranton branch office directly taken from the US hit television series. And while, yes, that might sound strange to some folks outside of The Office fandom community, oddly enough, it does work rather well.

Imagine, instead of just posting your favorite Office Friday memes online or leaving an episode on for the millionth time in the backdrop, you could actually feel like you were in the Scranton branch. In an ambiance filled with sounds from the series. Like papers being gently shuffled or Pam answering calls at the receptionist desk phone. 

It’s kind of like an ASMR recording but set to the tunes of your favorite Office TV series. A little safe place to feel calm where you can close your mind for a quick break and feel like you’re in the TV series itself. The Office Soundscape is filled with easter eggs, games, and a motivational soundboard taken from moments straight out of the show. This includes a game of Dunderball along with quotes from Dwight, Jim, and Michael themselves. 

Available through the Calm app, this guided meditation and sleep story application focuses on mindfulness, finding your zen, and enjoying your living. Rated one of the top apps of 2017 and 2018. Download it now and listen to The Office Soundscape to give it a try. If you want more from the Dunder Mifflin Office, feel free to check out all nine seasons of The Office available now, exclusively on Peacock.

 

Atlanta Season 3 Episode 3 Review – The Old Man and the Tree

0

Parties. They are still a thing, right? Ostensibly, in the U.K., they are the toast of the town if you can get your toe in before you can get turned up. With the pack back, we’ll join them on yet another adventure, this time in the confines of one of the most exclusive happenings in London with the third episode of Atlanta titled “The Old Man and the Tree”.

The avenues of an alien land, especially when looking for the weed hook up aren’t as simple as cinema makes it out to be… that is unless you know somebody. Earn (Donald Glover), Al (Brian Tyree Henry), Van (Zazie Beetz), and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) go into that great unknown, however. Welcome to London.

Approaching something akin to a trap house, the four enter what is to be the best/worst nights of their life.

Earn is met with an estimable person and they are all granted passage. Now, this is Al’s type of joint. He’s in his element. Each one has its own, with Van heading to the bar and Earn heading to find out why this is a thing. Apparently, the invitee is renting a space in this art collective. This dude Tooting is trending, and he’s the biggest artist in the house. Van and Earn agree to meet him.

While others pursue unknown pleasures, Al and Darius are partaking in the known. Namely, grub, baby. As they chomp down on free sustenance, Al is greeted by the owner of the space, Fernando. While Darius breaks off to find a drink and a bathroom, Fernando (Daniel Fathers) shows Al his tree, from which the foundation was built around. Al isn’t allowed to smoke around it, at it’s one of the oldest in London. There’s a special floor for that and we’re only about to go on that path.

This palatial estate was created for inviting creative types to exchange ideas in hopes of changing the world. This isn’t unlike a Dada and surrealist event. Everything counts in small amounts. Right? On the tertiary floor, all can smoke and gamble and that’s good. Al is happy for once. As Darius gets a gin, he runs into what might have been a meet-cute but is met with an even more interesting observer/stalker. It’s Socks. Hey, if it isn’t an alibi, it’s a least a friend for the night.

With Earn and Van scoping out the third floor, the painter’s floor, they are met with TJ (Sheyi Cole). The back of his shirt signifies an expand/close-off thing in Windows. (By the way, his art is shit, but what is art?). His installation is literally a picture of a homeless Santa with his dick hanging out in Supreme gear. Oh, they show it. Supreme’s so fallen off of what it used to be, it can be now used as a joke. Which it is.

Paper Boi is introduced to their third floor along with Bruce (Darrell D’Silva) and Yonathan. After sharing a toke, the buy-in is 20k and you can’t ignore a price like that! As Earn has his ideas about the idiot’s art, Socks has bigger plans in play. The space to be free for all artists isn’t sustainable. Earn knows it. This isn’t an artist commune in the middle of nowhere, where taxes don’t exist. This is London.

All TJ wants is subscriptions. He wants something that is the dumbest thing in the world. Free-living, which is a counterweight for the moment. Up until this point, it’s been about grinding. Making that dough, the pause on paucity. Now, it’s about the opposite? There needs to be a little perspective.

Earn caves in and fucks off, because he knows the money put forth for some asinine thing might pay off. He even cites Doja Cat doing the same thing, so as to throw the scent off. The thing is is he that flash to toss out that cash? While Alfred is yucking it up with Fernando, stories are spake, including a break-in that might have been a ghost. A specter. A shadow person. This goes down pretty quickly with the mention of ghosts jizzing. This isn’t that simple though. Though the table has a simple buy-in, the stakes are higher than he thought.

What was all jokes and japes turned real serious when the guy questioned Alfred about God, the Devil, and his life choices. And though Al won that round with a bon mot and a good hand, the cards may not play in his favor this time. As he attempts to cash out, Darius is having a moment with being iced out at the bar. This is not of his volition. A group believes it’s some racist shit she said to him. He might be fine with being rejected, but he isn’t with being accosted by a group that is using them as their reverse white savior faire.

Al is now Earned 40K for beating the odds, but he’s not going to seem a penny for it because the dude was a chickenshit. Now Al is LIVID. He wants some retribution but it would be at a loss, despite what he’s owed. Earn understands it. TJ’s art blows, but he’s taking advantage of Will. Al readjusts his thinking, figuring that they need to be scamming more. I for one concur.

TJ is on board as well. He wants the rich white person to fund it all. They are down to clown. With Fernando not coming down to show his goddamn face or pay up the pretty penny, Al has no other option. This tour has been stressful enough, but fuck with money and learn the lesson. As Earn observes Van commiserating with other guys at the party, he also sees another side in her. She tosses a waiter in the indoor pool with aplomb. That must be a strong strain.

Earn asks if everything is copacetic and if she’s mad at him. Jeeze, I get why her mother and he were worried about her, and though she swears she’s okay, taking time for herself, she is more than okay.

She realizes that his job, literal job is to take care of people, but she seems to be zen for the moment. She knows that he’s too in his head and needs to take a moment to live IN the moment before tossing a waitress into that same pool with a smile. Though this decamps from her other actions, I’m willing to fuck with this new side of her.

While Darius attends some semblance of a white guilt meeting as produced by his rejection, he is met with something more awkward. The Asian girl he was iced out before. The others proceed to harangue her for just saying no to a dude (them thinking it as racist and being hypersensitive, leaving him to sit simply sit and contemplate. Racism and capitalism are hard to differentiate sometimes. And this ain’t fucking classism. With Fernando cowering in bed and Al knocking on his window and Earn recognizing the First Bank of Cape Town photo with a black man in the back, this party is done. That is before Will approaches him.

The thing is, Earn goes up to bat for TJ, requesting his representation. A manager for 30 percent. Earn will take it for 25 and thus a new person is brought into the fold. Well, another new batter on deck. Earn is introduced to Socks via Darius. He proposes they BookIt! because shit is about to go down and there won’t be any more free pizza.

With Al chopping down Fernando’s fucking tree with a goddamn chainsaw, the piper is paid. We also see that Will’s fiancee is the one that fucked over Darius. A cab will be called, as Al basically steals what’s taken from him and dips with the rest. As they all laugh it off, taking what may or may not be rightfully theirs, they forgot the diamond in that rough- Van.

The funny thing is she’s doing perfectly fine, in a chip shop all on her lonesome. She could give two shits either. Maybe she is finding herself after all!

Everybody has roots. These four are uprooted for their own reasons, but to kill a tree hundreds of years old isn’t a task- it’s a mission. With Al having a chip on his shoulder, that seed will fall into the ground and grow into something bigger, no matter in what land it lands. That is what we call an Aralia spinosa.  Earn only may only one place to plant, but it’s back at home. He blossoms and complements, even when not needed. He’s what is considered a Carpinus caroliniana. Van, though still finding herself, is a beautiful soldier through any season, deserving of the title of Betula negra. Darius is ever-changing, the most learned, and henceforth can only have the honor of being of the Trident maple.

The Spider-Smasher Revealed in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #38

0
miles morales: Spider-man

Spider-Smasher makes their debut in MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #38, on sale May 4

Part of Miles Morales: Spider-Man #38, the Spider-Smasher is a new hero that’s making its Marvel debut. Created by writer Saladin Ahmed–of Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales acclaim–along with artist Christopher Allen, Spider-Smasher takes Miles on a future dangerous inter-dimensional quest. One that will change everything as it’s soon learned that Spider-Smasher is in actuality… his own badass sister from the future, Billie Morales! AKA Capitán Billie.

As noted in Marvel’s press release, Miles will meet her when he finds himself in the EMPIRE OF THE SPIDER storyline. Which is a timeline where Miles’ evil clone Selim was victorious and rose to power. The only thing standing in the evil Spider-Man’s way Billie Morales, the leader of the rebellion hellbent on stopping her evil clone brother.

“It blows my mind that, not only do I get to draw a chapter in one of the greatest sagas of all time, but I get to add something this significant to the story of one of my favorite characters!” Allen said.

Fans can actually see SPIDER-SMASHER in action now in a series of variant covers for the issue listed below. These include drawings of Allen’s original design sheet for the character. You can see some really interesting design choices, such as some with a new haircut and a large trenchcoat. There is also a noticeable red spider logo in the style of Miles, along with a pair of retractable spider arms attached to her limbs.

MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #38

Written by SALADIN AHMED

Art by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN

Cover by TAURIN CLARKE – 75960609123203811

Design Variant Cover by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN –75960609123203861

Variant Cover by SERGIO DÀVILA – 75960609123203831

Spoiler Variant Cover by SKAN – 75960609123203851

Variant Cover by JEN BARTEL – 75960609123203841

Skrull Variant Cover by ERNANDA SOUZA – 75960609123203821

Available in Stores On 5/4

New Shang-Chi And The Ten Rings: Re-Launch on July 20th

0
cover art of the latest chang-chi and the ten rings to launch in july

Writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Marcus To relaunch their Shang-Chi saga this summer with a brand-new #1 refocused on the ten rings.

Despite being one of the best Marvel action movies of all time, Shang-Chi has always had a stigma behind its troublesome history regarding its brand, sourcing back to early depictions of Fu Manchu. As such, Marvel comics and comic creators Gene Luen Yang and Marcus To have worked hard at acknowledging the issue. At the behest of actor Simu Liu, and the actor’s recent refusal to sign any Master of Kung Fu comics due to its racist origins, the comic series will now be re-releasing their comics line. Cutting their run at #13 and debuting as Shang Chi and The Ten Rings #1 beginning on July 20th.

Since Yang began their run in 2020, so much has changed regarding Shang-Chi. This includes a revelatory origin and family backstory, a new Shang-Chi rogues’ gallery, and an overall bigger role in the Marvel Universe. With the incorporation of the ten rings, a power now revealed to rival that energy of the infinity gems, new villains seemed to have taken notice. Causing everyone from Hydra to the Hand to want a part of it in this ever-changing new Shang-Chi story.

The remaining issues continue this story of Shang-Chi fighting off every villain from taking the ten rings from him, as he learns more about their powerful origins and the deep responsibility needed to be its caretaker. The debut issue will also see Shang-Chi in a showdown with Razorfist, more trouble for the Five Weapons Society, and the first appearance of a new foe—RED CANNON!

“It’s been such a joy to work with Marcus To over the last couple of months.  He’s a brilliant artist.  His characters are vibrant and full of energy, and he’s so good at fight choreography!” Yang said during Marvel’s press release. “We’re all really excited about the new #1!  And about bringing in ten of the most powerful items ever into the Marvel Universe!”

“Gene and I are gearing up to give the fans one hell of an action-packed book,” To added. “Shang-Chi is the greatest hand-to-hand combatant in the Marvel Universe, and we’re gonna show it in this story.”

Morbius Sucks and Not In A Good Way

0
jared leto as morbius as he rises in smoke

The Jared Leto Vampire movie is not looking good as Morbius’ Tomatometer ranking hints that it’s close to becoming the worst superhero movie of all-time  

Currently, at the time of writing this, Morbius is sitting at a depressing 19% fresh rating. That is not good by any means. For reference, that’s just a few mere percentage points higher than Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Batman and Robin, Jonah Hex, and even: Catwoman. Yes, Catwoman, the movie meant to be a spinoff for Michelle Pfeiffer before it was sold around and drained of its soul before becoming the Halle Berry leather dominatrix enthusiast film directed by a visual effects director named Pitof. Yep, just Pitof.

It’s not for lack of trying. It takes a lot of effort to create any sort of movie. Let alone, one rated so low that it hopefully, becomes somewhat of a guilty pleasure film. Jared Leto has not been very welcome in the superhero community since his portrayal of The Joker in the Snyderverse. His portrayal is without a doubt, one of the weakest when compared to the captivating performances by Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix.  

But in Morbius, Leto plays the leading scientist taken from the Spider-Man stories. Whom, after suffering from a rare genetic blood disorder, hopes to save himself by messing around with genetic vampirism in the hopes of finding a cure. Though it works, he becomes a vampire, and the movie’s exploration of finding a cure and satisfying his thirst for blood, makes it seem an awful lot like the original Blade movies. Which is a bad thing given that there have been 20 years of superhero films since.

Morbius has been delayed numerous times due to the difficulties of filming during the pandemic. As to why Sony keeps adapting Spider-Man-related intellectual properties, this actually has more to do with their complex and longstanding Marvel comics contract than it does anything else. Keeping the rights to Spider-Man for Sony means adapting as many spin-offs as possible. Thankfully, the webhead has one of the best galleries of rogues in the superhero universe, arguably second only to Batman. 

So far Sony has been successful in hits such as Venom, its sequel: Let There Be Carnage, and the amazing animated movie: Into The Spider-Verse. Next up for Sony will be Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven the Hunter and as was confirmed, an adaption of Madame Web featuring both Sydney Sweeney and Dakota Johnson.

Still, if Morbius is this bad, one has to wonder if this strategy will prove successful the more unknown Spider-Verse heroes get adapted. I do wonder, why they don’t just make solo movies based on the Spider-Verse IPs though. I’d personally love to watch a Ben Riley, Miles Morales, Spider-Punk, Spider-Man 2077, Spider-Gwen, Gwen-Pool, Silk, or Spider-Noir movie.

 

The Endgame Episode 6 Review: Judge, Jury & Executioner

0
THE ENDGAME -- “Judge, Jury and Executioner” Episode 106 -- Pictured: Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val -- (Photo by: NBC)

Corruption Is The Name of the Game In The Latest Endgame

The latest episode of The Endgame:Judge, Jury & Executioner, does a good job of putting the show on a more stable track. It begins immediately after the events of last week, and Val is not happy with Elena. She believes the written address that supposedly shows where Isaac Bigby lives is a mind game and says as much. When Elena smugly counters she’s never been anything but honest with Val, the sign of true friendship, Val bets she could strangle Elena to death before anyone could stop her. I really like this side of Val, and it helps both humanize her and keep her interesting. Plus, it helps show how the death of her mother motivated her rise in the FBI since she was there when she was gunned down.

Just as Val is about to leave, Elena says she’s trying to help exorcise her demons and asks if Val is getting much sleep. Val puts on a brave face, but we quickly see that she’s being dishonest. She has a fake-out nightmare sequence where it looks like she’s awake. But then bullets come tearing through her building, and she screams “mom” as she sees an older woman dead on the ground. Only to wake up and look once more at the address given to her by Elena. She and Anthony scope out the building and see someone living there, though they go by another name. She’s still convinced it could be Bigby, and the fact her mother’s murderer might be alive is tearing her apart.

Meanwhile, the next person on Elena’s list is kidnapped. Her name is Caroline Walsh, and she’s a federal judge already under the protection of the FBI, since she was photographed in the same scene with everybody else Snow White has gone after. And it probably doesn’t hurt she has history with the FBI Director, Rogelio Réal. But none of that saves her from Elena. Once Réal leaves, Snow White makes their move. They knock out the security detail, break into the house, and take Walsh. More interesting is that they have a new face with them, a man named Alfonso who just broke effortlessly out of prison and who was put there by none other than Judge Walsh.

THE ENDGAME — “Judge, Jury and Executioner” Episode 106 — Pictured: Noah Bean as Patrick Doak — (Photo by: NBC)

The main thrust of Judge, Jury & Executioner deals with two concurrent missions. One by Val and Anthony, to investigate the kidnapping and see what they can find. The other involves Doak. And though he’s normally an arrogant, bumbling fool, he finally gets his act together here. He has a plan to liberate the second bank of its hostages and kidnap the Snow White lieutenant holed up there. She’s busily hacking into Federova’s account and transferring millions into cryptocurrency. The FBI has a phantom program watching them, but they’re confident they have the upper hand. So they’re surprised when Doak offers to trade Louie, another Snow White lieutenant and the boyfriend of the woman running that bank, for all the hostages.

As for Val, she starts to see something isn’t right about the Walsh kidnapping. She keeps finding clues and breadcrumbs that lead her to suspect something wasn’t kosher in the Alfonso case she oversaw. Val is also haunted by memories of her mother, who taught her that lying is not only wrong, but leads bit by bit to corruption. Which, incidentally, is what Elena’s latest note tells her – to follow the corruption.

THE ENDGAME — “Judge, Jury and Executioner” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Mark Espinoza as Rogelio Real, Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova — (Photo by: NBC)

Réal isn’t happy at all during the episode. He outright threatens Elena at one point, telling her not to underestimate him. Elena says he started as an honest man, but who knows how quickly that can change. She also implies that Caroline Walsh isn’t as trustworthy as Réal wants to believe. Something he can’t wrap his head around, at least until Val starts putting the pieces together.

Doak brings Louie into the FBI van and offers some incentive before the hostage operation. He says if there’s no funny business, he’ll give him the wedding ring they found, which is meant for his girlfriend. Then they move on to the bank, and at first, it’s going well. Then Louie’s girlfriend peeks her head out the door and nearly gets shot. In the confusion, the hostages getaway but Louie reunites with his lady love. When the FBI goes in guns blazing, they find a hole that allowed Snow White to escape. Worse yet, the wedding ring, Doak’s leverage, is missing. Somehow Louie palmed it when he wasn’t looking.

THE ENDGAME — “Judge, Jury and Executioner ” Episode 106 — Pictured: Karl Joseph Co as Louie — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

Sergey and Owen are having some problems as well. The man they put in the infirmary with eye drops last week, Horek, is up and talking. Sergey pretends to still be friendly with him but tells Owen he should have allowed him to kill the man. And to complicate matters further, there are only a few days before their big operation happens, and the ferret-faced weasel man has teamed up with a serial arsonist for muscle.

Val and Anthony finally find where the judge is being held hostage by Alfonso, on the heels of discovering that Alfonso is an innocent man. Even more egregious, the judge apparently has been doing the work of the sinister Beloch family, putting away innocents to hide crimes committed by the Belochs. She finally confesses to her captor, right before they both fly out the window. Somehow they both landed safely on a skylight, and the man escaped. When Réal comes and asks Walsh how long she’s been dirty, she tries to be evasive first, and then threatens she’ll take his job. Furious and disappointed, Réal tells his men to put her in cuffs.

THE ENDGAME — “Judge, Jury and Executioner ” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Ryan Czerwonko playing Horek, Costa Ronin as Sergey Vodianov — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

Doak finally does something right near the end of Judge, Jury & Executioner. It looks like Louie and his girlfriend have escaped, and are boarding an airplane when he appears behind them. Turns out, he had the foresight to put a tracker on the wedding ring, and he manages to take them both into his custody. Granted, he misses Alfonso hiding on the same plane, but I don’t mind an innocent man escaping.

THE ENDGAME — “Judge, Jury and Executioner ” Episode 106 — Pictured: Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

Val finally discovers the courage to confront Bigby, but he refuses to admit his identity. After a long and tearful discussion about how wonderful her mother was, Val is about to leave when Bigby gets his nightly delivery. He lights up, and then starts choking to death. Turns out, Elena laced his cigarette with cocaine, and it was a fatal dose. Val is angry and confronting her, when the lights in Fort Totten suddenly go out. It looks like the Beloch family is making a move to take out Elena, but we’ll have to wait a couple weeks for the resolution. Be sure and check back then for our coverage of the second half of this episode of The Endgame.