“We almost pulled it off, despite what everybody thought.”
                    -- Floyd Lawton, Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad is so achingly close to working as a movie that I quite enjoyed it when I saw in theaters back in August. But watching it again as part of the Suicide Squad Extended Cut Blu-ray release, available today from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, it is easier to see the seams in the storytelling and the conceptual errors that drag it down into a film that almost pulls it off.

The holidays are coming,
And the turtle’s getting fat!
Please put a penny
In the old, talking rat!

Happy belated Thanksgiving, Turtle fans!  Hopefully, no one served you turtle soup for the holidays.  Is that even a popular Turkey Day appetizer?

Author's Note: This game was played on Android.

Mobile games are one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment in today's gaming marketplace. Most people have smartphones, using them to check the internet, social media, and spend a few minutes at a time playing a game to keep them occupied. Comic books and their related media are also one of the biggest pieces of the entertainment marketplace, and their entry into the world of mobile gaming has been not only extremely popular, but with the introduction of micro-transactions, incredibly lucrative.

Rockstars is a brand new comic book series from Image Comics, created by writer Joe Harris (The X-Files; Millennium) and artist Megan Hutchison (An Aurora Grimeon Story: Will O’ the Wisp). Harris and Hutchison are joined by Kelly Fitzpatrick (colors), Michael David Thomas (letters), Tom Muller (designer), and Shawna Gore (editor), and the first issue will premiere this Wednesday at local comic book retailers. The cover collage of issue one is vivid and unique; it is a semiotician’s nirvana of symbols, signifiers, and signs, representing the always suspected occultism that fuels the image of rockstars with long hair, playing loud boisterous guitars that scream at a fever pitch and set women’s hearts afire. 

Well that's another fine mess you've gotten us into.

I’ve never quite understood the aversion many people have to film musicals (or stage musicals for that matter).  One of the biggest reasons people give for going to the movies in the first place is a desire for escapism from everyday life.  The movie business boomed during the Great Depression, as people wanted a retreat from the hardships of that era.  What could be more escapist than people bursting into spontaneous song and dance numbers accompanied by an invisible orchestra?  Yet the same people who revel in the unreality of Star Wars, people who will literally go out in public dressed as aliens, reject the unreality of a musical.  It makes no sense to me.  For whatever reason, audiences seem more inclined to accept musical numbers in animated films but not live action.  (Incidentally, “How Far I’ll Go” from the recent Moana is a pretty good example of a song that informs both her character and advances the plot of the film.)  Even one of the most successful musicals form the past 15 years, Bill Condon’s Chicago, worked to hide the production numbers and, in a way, apologize for them – they all took place in Roxie Hart’s imagination and not in the real life of the film. 

When you live with a group of “magical humanoid aliens,” it’s necessary to teach them some of the basics about life on Earth…like setting up tents, making s'mores, and telling scary stories around the campfire.  In the recently released Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems trade paperback from KaBoom!, Steven sets out to introduce Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl to the joys of outdoor vacationing and ends up getting more than he bargained for on the scary story front.

Each year, the winter holidays bring with them countless traditions and customs that help to make the season more memorable and festive.  Likewise, the formation of new traditions can make the holidays that much brighter for generations to come.  One such tradition that should find its way into your holiday activities is to attend the annual performances of Theatre Unleashed’s A Very Die Hard Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play.  The North Hollywood-based theatre company’s dynamic productions offer a wide range of raucous, good cheer and sincere warmheartedness, ensuring that there will surely be something for everyone to enjoy. 

Tall tales and tall deeds.

When I was a kid, I loved the Jim Henson's Storyteller series.  I didn’t quite know what it was. I only caught a few episodes, and it never quite entered my consciousness as to who Jim Henson was, though I loved watching The Muppet Show on summer mornings after Gomer Pyle and F Troop. (I have since continued my eclectic taste for programing from multiple decades, but that’s a tale for another time.)  The Storyteller was pitched a little above my age group, but it was one of those shows that stayed with me, resonating without me realizing why.  When I came back upon it on DVD eight years ago, I was enraptured.  It was somehow nostalgic and yet completely new, as I had not seen the majority of the episodes.  The series found the magic of myth and storytelling in a perfect mix that managed to invoke something primal in my consciousness, a forgotten time where stories were told over many days by an elder around a fire, when stories were something more than just an entertainment. They had a life all their own.

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