Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from May 22nd to 31st, 2022 - Update #41

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE NEWS:

BOX OFFICE - From Deadline:  In the final tally, the Memorial Day holiday weekend domestic box office take for "Top Gun: Maverick" is a record 160.5 million dollars.

From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 5/27 to 5/29/2020 weekend box office is Paramount Pictures' "Top Gun: Maverick" with an estimated take of 124 million dollars.

From TheWrap:  With an estimated 156 million dollars at the domestic box office, "Top Gun: Maverick" has broken the Memorial Day weekend box office record. The surpasses "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" which grossed 153 million dollars during the 2007 Memorial Day weekend.

From Here:  Here is my review of "Top Gun: Maverick."

From THR:  On review aggregator, "Rotten Tomatoes," "Top Gun: Maverick" has tied "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" (2018) as the best reviewed Tom Cruise movie of all time.

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MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Indie entertainment company, A24's horror films ranked from best to worse.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Here is a first look at Oscar-nominee, Bradley Cooper, as legendary Broadway composer, Leonard Bernstein, "Maestro."

MOVIES - From WorldofReelDavid Cronenberg says that he has an idea for a movie starring "Twilight Saga" costars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster will appear in the fourth season of HBO's anthology series, "True Detective."  Entitled, "True Detective: Night Country," it will be Foster's first major adult TV role.

SCANDAL - From CNN:  Former reality TV star, Josh Duggar ("19 Kids and Counting") was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and 20 years of supervised release, during which he cannot have contact with minors.  In December 2021, Duggar was found guilty of "receipt of child pornography" and "possession of child pornography"

ANIMATION - From DeadlineSamuel L. Jackson will join Chris Pratt's in Alcon Entertainment's animated "Garfield" film.

TRAILERS - From TheWrap:  Paramount Pictures has debuted the first trailer for "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (the seventh film).  The film is due July 14, 2023.

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  The winner of the 5/20 to 5/22/2022 weekend box office is Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" with an estimated take of 31.6 million dollars.

From Here:  My review of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

NETFLIX - From TheWeekNetflix is apparently trying to end its "war" with movie theaters, but the streamer will have to make deals with its adversaries, AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas.

POLITICS - From WashPostRussia has permanently banned 963 U.S. citizens from entering the country.  The list includes President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris and even actor Morgan Freeman.

CANNES - From Variety:  "Three Thousand Years of Longing," the new film from director George Miller ('Mad Max" series), received a six-minutes standing ovation during its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.  The film stars Tilda Swinton as a solitary academic and Idris Elba as the genie she finds.

OBITS:

From Deadline:   Tytyana Miller, the daughter of rapper Master P, has died at the age of 29.  Paramedics found her unresponsive early Saturday, May 28, 2022.  She had appeared in the WE TV series, "Growing Up Hip Hop."

From Deadline:  The television and film actor, Bo Hopkins, has died at the age of 84, Saturday, May 28, 2022.  He was best known for appearing in films such as "The Wild Bunch" (1969), "American Graffiti" (1973), and "Midnight Express" (1978).  I remember him for his appearance in two mid-1970s films, "White Lightning" (1973), with Burt Reynolds, and "Posse" (1975), which was led by Kirk Douglas. A prolific TV actor, Hopkins appeared in over 100 films and TV series.

From Deadline:   Actor Ray Liotta has died at the age of 67, Thursday, May 26, 2022.  Liotta was best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film, "Goodfellas."  He was also known for playing Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams" (1989) and "Ray Sinclair" in "Something Wild" (1986).  He was currently experiencing a career resurgence.

From Deadline:  Hollywood mourns and remembers Ray Liotta.  This article includes comments from co-star Robert De Niro ("Goodfellas").

UVALDE, TEXAS MASS SHOOTING:

From YahooAP:  An 18-year-old gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers on Tues., May 24th, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.  All 21 victims were in the same 4th grade classroom at Robb Elementary.

From DallasNewsJoe Garcia, the husband of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, has died of a heart attack two days after the murder of his wife.  They had been married for 24 years and had been high school sweethearts.

From Axios:  Texas gubernatorial candidate, Beto O'Rourke, interrupted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's gaslighting press conference on the Uvalde elementary school mass shooting.

From USAToday:  Beto O'Rourke's outburst at Gov. Greg Abbott's Uvalde news conference shows the spine Democrats need.

From BostonGlobeSteve Kerr, head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, asks "When are we going to do something?"

From NBCNews:  A Robb Elementary teacher describes "the longest 35 minutes of my life" and the terror she now feels.

From NBCNews:  The Uvalde school district had an extensive safety plan, but 19 children were killed at Robb Elementary anyway.  Even security plans that appear to be up to the latest research-based standards may have gaps and fall short of preventing the worst-case scenario, experts said.

From MSNAngeli Rose Gomez, the mother who was handcuffed outside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, was able to get inside the school and rescue her two children.

From YahooNews:   Daniel Defense, the maker of the rifles used by the Uvalde massacre killer, has used "incendiary ads" in the past, including one in which a toddler holds one of its rifles.

From TheIntercept:  The police aren't obligated to protect anyone NOT in their custody, as the Supreme Court has ruled twice.

From RollingStone:  Right wing lies about the Second Amendment and why they tell them are killing America's childrne.

From Vice:  The law enforcement personnel in Texas that arrived at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on Tues., May 24th did the opposite of what their own training documentary videos show.

From Vox:  Uvalde police keep changing their story.

From TheDailyBeast:  The families in Uvalde, Texas who lost loved one in the Robb Elementary massacre say that the cops there are "Nothing more than cowards" and that they need to pay for doing nothing while a gunman rampaged through the school last Tues, May 24th.

From TheNewYorker:  Thoughts and prayers, Uvalde, Texas. This is the America that Republicans and the right wing have being thinking about and praying for all these decades.

BLM-BUFFALO:

From ABCNews:  A 18-year-old white MAN shot 13 people, killing 10 at a Buffalo, New York Tops Friendly Markets supermarket on Saturday, May 14, 2021.

From Truthout:  The racist attack in Buffalo at the Tops Friendly supermarket was crafted to terrorize us.  We can fight back, and here’s how we fight back.

From WGRZ:  Who are the victims of the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets grocery store shooting. This comes from local station WGRZ Channel 2 and includes video and some victim photos.

From BuffaloNews:  One of the 10 Black murder victims of the Buffalo massacre was Katherine "Kat" Massey.  She was a leader in her community and civil rights activist and advocate for education.

From NewYorkPost:  One of the 10 Black murder victims of the Buffalo massacre was Andre Mackniel. He was at TOPS Supermaket to pick up a birthday cake for his son.

From Truthout:  The racist attack in Buffalo, NY at the Tops supermarket was crafted to terrorize us, so here is how we fight back.

From CNN:  What is known about the 18-year-old MAN, Payton Gendron.

From NPR:  198 mass shooting this year ... so far.

From Truthout:  White supremacist massacre of 10 people in Buffalo, NY shows that the “Alt-Right” ideology leads to murder.

From RollingStone:  Buffalo rampage killing is "Straight Up Racially Motivated Hate Crime."

From InformedCommentRene Binet, the originator the "great replacement" was a French Nazi, and he saw all American as "Negroes," an "impure mestizo 'race'."

From WashPost:  Only 22 people saw the live-stream of a white terrorist kill Black shoppers at the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets supermarket, but millions have seen it since...

From GuardianUK:  Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets shooter may have been motivated by "eco-fascism," a focus on overpopulation and environmental degradation.

From RSN:  "What Lessons Have We Learned From the Buffalo Shooting?" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

From Truthout:  “Innocent” White People Are Also Complicit in the Anti-Black Murders in Buffalo by George Yancy.

From Truthout:  "Black Lives Matter" cofounder discovered that Alicia Garza has learned that her name is mentioned in the Buffalo Tops supermarket killer's manifesto.

From GuardianUK:   Cornell West says, "Trump isn't out there with a gun, but he's enabled this war against Black people.

From Slate:  From the Tulsa Race Massacre to the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets shootings: the legacy of anti-Black violence.

From Truthout:  After mass shootings, Republicans shield white supremacists from scrutiny

UKRAINE:

From TheDailyBeast:  Russian soldiers allegedly raped and killed a 1-year-old Ukrainian boy and have reportedly raped or sexually abused children as young as 9 months old.


Comics Review: DIE!NAMITE Never Dies! Volume 3 #4

DIE!NAMITE NEVER DIES! VOLUME 3 #4
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Fred Van Lente
ART: Vincenzo Carratù and Jordi Perez
COLORS: Kike J. Diaz
LETTERS: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Tony Fleecs
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Tony Fleecs; Lesley “Leirix” Li; Lucio Parrillo; Arthur Suydam; Gracie the Cosplay Lass and Jim Donnelly (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2022)

Rated Teen+

“Zombie Master of Mars”


DIE!namite is a series of zombie apocalypse comics from Dynamite Entertainment that utilizes some of the publisher's most popular characters and licensed properties.  The latest is DIE!namite Never Dies!  It is written by Fred Van Lente; drawn by Vincenzo Carratu and Jordi Perez; colored by Kike J. Diaz; and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.  This time, Tarzan (John Clayton II, Viscount Greystoke) and Jane, his wife, join the cross-company zombie crossover.

DIE!namite Never Dies! Volume 3 #4 (“Zombie Master of Mars”) opens in the sanctum of Ras Thavas, the “Master Mind of Mars” (Barsoom).  There, Ras is close to perfecting a ray that will control the zombies of Mars.  However, Carthoris, Jedwar of Helium and the son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris; Thuvia, Princess of Jasoom; and their new partner, Tarzan, and his White Apes have vexed him with a visit.  If those new guests are really bothering him, he should wait until he meets Captain Future.

Meanwhile, back on Earth (Jasoom), Evil (Red) Sonja, Vampirella, and Pantha finally confront Issus, the goddess of death of Barsoom.  They are no match for her, but she offers them a deal...

THE LOWDOWN:  In July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is DIE!namite Never Dies! Volume 3 #4.  It is only the seventh DIE!namite comic that I have read, although I've known of the series since it first began.

This fourth issue is also the penultimate issue of the series., and writer Fred Van Lente has been presenting his best work of the series with this and the previous issue.  There is a lot of humor here, but also excitement and pulpy craziness.  Van Lente's imagination grows more fertile the more zombies that spring from the garden of his imagination.

The art team of artist Vincenzo Carratu and Jordi Perez and colorist Kike J. Diaz are doing really good work here.  Their work is also growing stronger with each issue with the melding of the natural pulp fiction with the weird fiction of vintage comic book characters like Vampirella and Captain Future.

The third and fourth issues of DIE!namite Never Dies! Volume 3 deliver on the first two issues' potential.  I like this interplanetary fun, and I suspect some of you will, also, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of DIE!namite will want DIE!namite Never Dies! Volume 3.

[This comic book includes “Dynamite Dispatch” May 2022, which features an interview with writer Jordan Clark.]

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Monday, May 30, 2022

BOOM! Studios Shipping from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

BOOM! STUDIOS

MAR228774 GRIM #1 2ND PTG FLAVIANO $3.99
APR220727 JIM HENSONS STORYTELLER SHAPESHIFTERS #4 CVR A WARD $4.99
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APR220713 ONCE & FUTURE #26 CVR A MORA $3.99
MAR228775 VAMPIRE SLAYER (BUFFY) #1 2ND PTG MONTES $4.99

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Dark Horse Comics Shipping from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

DARK HORSE COMICS

APR220327 AVATAR ADAPT OR DIE #2 (OF 6) $3.99
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Dynamite Entertainment Shipping from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

DYNAMITE

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IDW Publishing Shipping from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

IDW PUBLISHING

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Image Comics Shipping from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

IMAGE COMICS

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Marvel Comics Shipping from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

MARVEL COMICS

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Comic Books, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for June 1, 2022

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

APR221778 # BLESSED GN VOL 01 $19.99
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MAGAZINES

MAR221537 COMIC SHOP NEWS (90CT BUNDLE) #1815 $PI
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BOOKS

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APR222059 BY THE GRACE OF GODS LIGHT NOVEL SC VOL 09 $14.99
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APR222062 UNWANTED UNDEAD ADVENTURER LIGHT NOVEL VOL 06 $14.99

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DC Comics Shipping from Lunar Distributors for May 31, 2022

DC COMICS:

Action Comics 2022 Annual #1 (One Shot)(Cover A Francesco Francavilla), $5.99
Action Comics 2022 Annual #1 (One Shot)(Cover B Steve Rude Card Stock Variant), $6.99
Batman #125 LED Acetate Poster, $24.99
Batman 2022 Annual #1 (One Shot)(Cover A Mikel Janin), $5.99
Batman 2022 Annual #1 (One Shot)(Cover B Chris Burnham Card Stock Variant), $6.99
Batman Beyond The White Knight Showcase Edition #1, $5.99
Batman Reptilian HC, $24.99
DC Connect #25, AR
Death And Return Of Superman Omnibus HC (2022 Edition), $150.00
Hardware Season One #6 (Of 6)(Cover A Mateus Manhanini), $3.99
Hardware Season One #6 (Of 6)(Cover B Caanan White Card Stock Variant), $4.99
Justice League Road To Dark Crisis #1 (One Shot)(Cover A Daniel Sampere), $5.99
Justice League Road To Dark Crisis #1 (One Shot)(Cover B Chris Burnham Card Stock Variant), $6.99
Justice League Road To Dark Crisis #1 (One Shot)(Cover C Rafael Sarmento Card Stock Variant), AR
Nice House On The Lake #9 (Of 12)(Cover A Alvaro Martinez Bueno), $3.99
Nice House On The Lake #9 (Of 12)(Cover B Kelley Jones Card Stock Variant), $4.99
Shadow War Omega #1 (One Shot)(Cover A Jonboy Meyers), $5.99
Shadow War Omega #1 (One Shot)(Cover B Mikel Janin Card Stock Variant), $6.99
Shadow War Omega #1 (One Shot)(Cover C James Stokoe Card Stock Variant), AR
Superman Son Of Kal-El Volume 1 The Truth HC, $24.99
Teen Titans By Geoff Johns Omnibus HC (2022 Edition), $150.00

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Comics Review: "VAMPIRELLA DRACULA UNHOLY #6" Comes to an Unholy End

VAMPIRELLA  DRACULA UNHOLY VOLUME 1 #6
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Christopher Priest
ART: Donny Hadiwidjaja
COLORS: Mohan
LETTERS: Willie Schubert
EDITOR: Matt Idelson
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Shannon Maer; Rose Besch; Zoe Lacchei; John Royle and Jagdish Kumar with Candice Han; Peach Momoko; Celina; Lucio Parrillo; Rachel Hollon and David Turner (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2022)

Rated Teen+

“Misery”


Vampirella is a vampire and female superhero created by the late author and science fiction and horror expert, Forrest J Ackerman, and designed by comic book artist, Trina Robbins.  Vampirella first appeared in Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), the debut issue of a black and white horror comics magazine from Warren Publishing.  Writer-editor Archie Goodwin changed the character from a hostess of horror comics to a leading character in her own stories.

In 2010, Dynamite Entertainment obtained the character and has been publishing new Vampirella material since then.  Dynamite's latest Vampirella comic book series is a follow-up to the recently concluded Vampirella Volume 5 and is entitled Vampirella Dracula Unholy.  The new series is written by Christopher Priest; drawn by Donny Hadiwidjaja; colored by Mohan; and lettered by Willie Schubert.  The series follows Vampirella and her new husband, FBI Agent Mathias “Matt” Ecsed, who carries the “Dracula virus,” which might allow Dracula to return.

Vampirella Dracula Unholy Volume 1 #6 (“Misery”) opens at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in QueensLilith Ogden Eastaughffe, Vampirella's mother, is holding vigil by her daughter's bedside when Detective Imogen Craig of Brooklyn Homicide (also a character in Draculina) arrives with her questions.

Where is Matt?  Where is Eriq Cannes, the man that was supposed to be Matt's husband?  Can Vampirella heal enough in time for a final face-off with Dracula, Lord of Evil?  And who is really going to be the “Bride of Dracula?”  The conclusion is here...?

THE LOWDOWN:  In July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Vampirella Dracula Unholy #6.  It is one of many Vampirella comic books that have engaged my imagination these last few months.

Writer Christopher Priest is killing it with his two series, Vampirella Dracula Unholy and Draculina.  The sixth issue of the former emphasizes the intimate ties between the two series.  Unfortunately, Vampirella Dracula Unholy ends with this issue #6.  It is a good ending, but for me, it only proves that this could have been a long-running series or, at least, one that ran longer.

Throughout the series, artist Donny Hadiwidjaja has translated Priest's dark and moody storytelling into even darker and moodier comic book or graphical storytelling.  Hadiwidjaja's compositions and sense design also got stronger.  He captures the craziness of this last issue, balancing the violent battle with the poignant closer.

Well, I think Vampirella Dracula Unholy is going to give way to a new series, but it will make a good trade paperback collection for you, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Vampirella comics will want to read Vampirella Dracula Unholy Volume 1.

[This comic book includes “Dynamite Dispatch” May 2022, which features an interview with writer Jordan Clark.]

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Friday, May 27, 2022

Review: "TOP GUN: Maverick" Surpasses the Original and is Hugely Entertaining

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 34 of 2022 (No. 1846) by Leroy Douresseaux

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Running time:  131 minutes (2 hours, 11 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some strong language
DIRECTOR:  Joseph Kosinski
WRITERS:  Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie; from a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks (based on characters created by Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr.)
PRODUCERS:  Tom Cruise, Jerry Bruckheimer, David Ellison, and Christopher McQuarrie
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Claudio Miranda (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Eddie Hamilton
COMPOSERS:  Lorne Balfe, Lady Gaga, and Harold Faltermeyer

DRAMA/ACTION/MILITARY

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Bashir Salahuddin, Jon Hamm, Charles Parnell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Glen Powell, Jack Schumacher, Manny Jacinto, Kara Wang, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jake Picking, Raymond Lee, Jean Louisa Kelly, Lyliana Wray, Ed Harris, Chelsea Harris, and Val Kilmer

Top Gun: Maverick is a 2022 action and military drama film directed by Joseph Kosinski and starring Tom Cruise.  The film is a direct sequel to the 1986 film, Top Gun.  Maverick focuses on a veteran U.S. Navy flight instructor ordered to transform a group of the Navy's top young aviators into a fighter squadron that can take on an impossible mission.

Top Gun: Maverick opens over three decades after the events of the first film.  Former “Top Gun” candidate, Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) currently serves as a U.S. Navy test pilot.  Over his 33 years of service, he has purposely dodged promotion in order to continue flying for the Navy.  A stunt with the “Darkstar scramjet” program looks as if it is going to be the thing that finally gets Maverick grounded.  However, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is Maverick's former rival and his friend.  Iceman saves Maverick from being grounded by giving him orders to return to where they first met, the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program in San Diego, CA.

There, Maverick must train an elite group of 16 Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission – a dangerous and practically impossible mission.  However, there are plenty of ghosts from his past waiting for him there, including Penelope "Penny" Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), Maverick's former lover, who is a single mother, a bar owner, and the daughter of a former admiral.

The most troubling ghost from Maverick's past, however, may be one of the young aviators he must train, Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller).  He is the son of Maverick's late best friend and RIO (Radar Intercept Officer), Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.  Maverick still blames himself for Goose's death during a training flight (as seen in Top Gun), and, in a way, so does Rooster, who also blames Maverick for hurting his career as an aviator.  As he pushes this elite group of aviators to test their limits and beyond, Maverick wonders if he may finally be grounded and fears that he may also end up causing the son's death as he believes he caused the father's death.

I don't like Top Gun.  I think that it is not a very well made film.  I love Top Gun: Maverick, which is a direct sequel to the original film and is intimately tied to it.  In a way, Maverick takes some of the best story elements of the first film and gives them dramatic heft, depth, weight, and a gravitas that they really did not have in the original.

Top Gun: Maverick is just all-around well made.  Joseph Kosinski does a much better job at directing the sequel than the late Tony Scott did with the original.  Maverick's screenplay, which like the original, is the result of several writers, nonetheless comes across like a seamless work produced by a single talented story mind.  The film editing is superb, so Maverick's editor, Eddie Hamilton, should also get an Oscar nomination next year, because the editors of the first film were Oscar-nominated for their … problematic work.  Even Maverick's musical score is better, although quite a bit of Harold Faltermeyer's music from the first film does make it into the sequel.

Top Gun: Maverick may also be Tom Cruise's best dramatic performance in over two decades.  Not only do his emotions seem genuine, but his emotional range is shocking.  Cruise has award-worthy moments in this film, especially a pivotal scene between Maverick and Iceman.  Cruise and Miles Teller also seem to work very well together, and Teller once again proves that he has some serious dramatic chops.  Jennifer Connelly, an Oscar-winner, as Penny, makes the most of what comes across as an extraneous token female character.  Actually, quite a few actors make the most of their roles and screen time in this surprisingly heartfelt and genuinely emotional film.

Top Gun: Maverick is, of course, an intense action-thriller with some amazing flight and combat scenes and sequences.  It kept me on the edge of my seat, worrying that one of the young pilots or Maverick would be killed in a crash or in combat.  And no, the filmmakers apparently did not use computer-generated effects for the flight scenes.  This is all advanced cameras, fighter planes, and human pilots, making the film a masterpiece of practical filmmaking and U.S. Navy flying.  Top Gun: Maverick surpasses Top Gun as a military-action film, and is something the first film was not, an emotionally resonate and real military drama.

Yes, it does seem to work a little too hard at pushing our buttons with dramatic conflict and melodrama.  But I honestly enjoyed the heck out of this film in a way that I did not expect – even after hearing so many good things before I saw it.  Top Gun: Maverick is … well, awesome, and this time, I really feel the need for speed and for more Top Gun.  And Tom Cruise still looks good on a motorcycle.

8 of 10
A
★★★★ out of 4 stars


Friday, May 27, 2022


The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Review: Original "TOP GUN" is Still a Bad Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 33 of 2022 (No. 1845) by Leroy Douresseaux

Top Gun (1986)
Running time:  110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG
DIRECTOR:  Tony Scott
WRITERS:  Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. (based on the magazine article, “Top Guns,” by Ehud Yonay)
PRODUCERS:  Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Jeffrey Kimball (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Chris Lebenzon and Billy Weber
COMPOSER:  Harold Faltermeyer
Academy Award winner

DRAMA/ACTION

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Tim Robbins, John Stockwell, Barry Tubb, Rick Rossovich, Whip Hubley, James Tolkan, Adrian Pasdar, Meg Ryan, and Clarence Gilyard, Jr.

Top Gun is a 1986 action and drama film directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise.  The film was inspired by an article entitled, “Top Guns,” which was written by Ehud Yonay and published in the May 1983 issue of California Magazine.  Top Gun the film focuses on a daring young U.S. Navy pilot who is a student at an elite fighter weapons school where he competes with other students and learns a few things from a female instructor.

Top Gun opens on the Indian Ocean aboard the vessel, the “USS Enterprise.”  The story introduces United States Naval Aviator, Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer), Lieutenant Junior Grade Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards).  While on a mission flying their fighter aircraft, Maverick and Goose have an encounter with a hostile aircraft.  As a result of the incident, Maverick and Goose are invited to the U.S. Navy “Fighter Weapons School” in Miramar, California (also known as “Fightertown U.S.A.”).  The top one percent of naval aviators (pilots) get to attend Fighter Weapons School, also known as “Top Gun” (or “TOPGUN”).

Naval aviators have to complete a five-week course of classroom studies and flight training (called a “hop”).  The top graduating aviator receives the “Top Gun” plaque.  Maverick's rival for Top Gun is top student, Lieutenant Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who considers Maverick's attitude foolish and his flying dangerous.  Maverick also becomes romantically involved with Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), an astrophysicist and civilian instructor, an unwise move for both.

Will Maverick earn the Top Gun trophy?  Or will his reckless ways and tendency to disobey orders endanger those around him and cost him his future.

Until recently, I had never watched Top Gun, not even a minute of it.  From the first time I saw a trailer for it, I thought Top Gun looked stupid, although I was a Tom Cruise fan at the time of its release (as I still am).  I only recently watched it in preparation for seeing the long-awaited sequel, Tom Gun: Maverick, which has a good looking trailer and has received glowing early reviews.

But I was right.  Top Gun is stupid.  It is poorly written, especially on the character drama end.  Writers Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. are credited as the film's screenwriters.  The film's credited “Associate Producer,” the late Warren Skarren (1946-90), was a screenwriter known for rewriting the screenplays of big Hollywood projects (such as Beetlejuice and the 1989 Batman film).  Skarren apparently did some heavy rewriting for Top Gun's shooting script.  However, the film seems to be made from the parts of several screenplays that were combined to form a new script.  That especially shows during the character drama scenes, which are sometimes awkward, sometimes nonsensical, sometimes inauthentic, and sometimes all three at the same time.

To me, the film looks poorly edited (which was Oscar-nominated), once again, mainly on the drama scenes.  The film's musical score, composed by Harold Faltermeyer, is mostly atrocious.

However, the flight action sequences and the aerial stunts are quite good.  When the film is in the air with those fighter jets or when Maverick is riding his motorcycle, Top Gun can be entertaining and invigorating.  The drama is just so bad that it makes me forget the film's good stuff.

In 2015, Top Gun was added to the “National Film Registry” because it was considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  For me, the only reason that would be true is because of its lead actor, Tom Cruise.  I think Top Gun is the film that made  Cruise a celluloid god.  He became his generation's biggest movie star and remains so.  Top Gun began a decade (1986-96) that gave us “peak” Tom Cruise.  Yes, he is still in his prime, but that was the decade that saw him give his most acclaimed and memorable performances, and in 1996, he began his most successful film franchise with the first Mission: Impossible.  Yes, Cruise has given other memorable and acclaimed performances, but never so many as in that time period of 1986 to 1996.

So Top Gun is significant because of Tom Cruise.  He is so handsome and fresh-faced here, and his youth, dynamism, and screen presence save this thoroughly mediocre film.  Even with the great action sequences, this film would have been at best a cult film had any actor or movie star other than Tom Cruise been the lead.

Yeah, I could talk about the other actors who were in Top Gun, but what they did could not rise above the mediocrity of this film's drama – both in screenwriting and in directing.  Tom Cruise – in a fighter or on a motorcycle – is Top Gun.  As much as I am a fan of his, however, I wouldn't watch this shit again.  But yes, I will see Top Gun: Maverick.

4 of 10
C
★★ out of 4 stars


Wednesday, May 25, 2022


1987 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win: “Best Music, Original Song” (Giorgio Moroder-music and Tom Whitlock-lyrics for the song “Take My Breath Away”); 3 nominations: “Best Sound” (Donald O. Mitchell, Kevin O'Connell, Rick Kline, and William B. Kaplan), “Best Film Editing” (Billy Weber and Chris Lebenzon), and “Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing” (Cecelia Hall and George Watters II)

1987 Golden Globes, USA:  1 win: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Giorgio Moroder-music and Tom Whitlock-lyrics for the song “Take My Breath Away”); 1 nomination: “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (Harold Faltermeyer)

2015 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  National Film Registry


The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Paramount Debuts the First Trailer for "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7"

Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for the film, “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” on Monday, May 23rd, 2022.  The stars Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Henry Czerny, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, and Frederick Schmidt, all of whom will reprise their roles from the previous films.  Newcomers include Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Esai Morales, Rob Delaney, and Cary Elwes.  The film is written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

The film opens in theaters on July 14, 2023.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Comics Review: "KILLADELPHIA #22" - How Many of Us Have Them

KILLADELPHIA #22
IMAGE COMICS

STORY: Rodney Barnes
ART: Jason Shawn Alexander with Germán Erramouspe and Nicole Palmquist
COLORS: Luis Nct
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon
EDITOR: Greg Tumbarello
COVER: Jason Shawn Alexander
VARIANT COVER ARTIST: Elia Bonetti
28pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (May 2022)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Killadelphia and Elysium Gardens created by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander

“The End of All” Part IV: “The Conversation”


Killadelphia is an apocalyptic vampire and dark fantasy comic book series from writer Rodney Barnes and artist Jason Shawn Alexander and is published by Image Comics.  At the center of this series is a police officer caught in a lurid conspiracy in which vampires attempt to rule Philadelphia, “the City of Brotherly Love.”  Colorist Luis Nct and letterer Marshall Dillon complete Killadelphia's creative team.

Killadelphia focuses on James “Jim” Sangster, Jr. and his father, revered Philadelphia homicide detective, James Sangster, Sr., thought to be dead.  He is actually a vampire.  Now father and son lead a ragtag team comprised of a medical examiner (Jose Padilla), a dead president, and a rebellious, but special young vampire (Tevin Thompkins a.k.a. “See Saw”) in a bid to save Philly from an ambitious and murderous former First Lady, Abigail Adams.

As Killadelphia #22 (“The Conversation”) opens, Abigail and her coven are having an unpleasant conversation among themselves.  It gets more unpleasant when (vampire) George Washington, See Saw, and Aelio arrive for a deeper conversation.  It seems that these different factions must come together because the one true vampire king has returned to claim his throne and to lay waste to America.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Tituba, the Stregherian witch, are still searching for See Saw.  They may have to throw more light on the situation than they expected... and they are also due for some conversation.

THE LOWDOWN:  We have entered the second half of Killadelphia's fourth story arc, “The End of All.”  It is an outta sight arc, and individually, so is Chapter Four, which resides under Jason Shawn Alexander's sexy-back cover.

Writer Rodney Barnes is a writer and executive producer on HBO's event series, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.”  Reading Killadelphia is also a winning time because pretty much every issue introduces something entirely new that is entirely consequential, and totally amazing.  Killadelphia #22 is a basket of dark fantasy delights, featuring characters that could carry their own series, especially Tituba.  Here, what makes the characters rich is not so much their personalities as it is what they want.

Killadelphia #22 may also be the first time that I realized how artist Jason Shawn Alexander and colorist Luis Nct have managed to create such a menagerie of vampires and individual characters.  The characters with speaking roles have a unique look, and the coloring gives each one a visual and graphic personality.  It is a feast for the eyes and for the imagination.

Killadelphia #22 makes me feel like I have rediscovered the series, in a way.  Dear readers, I want you to discover it, also.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of vampire comic books and of exceptional dark fantasy will want Killadelphia.

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douressesaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Comics Review: ELVIRA in Horrorland Volume 1 #1

ELVIRA IN HORRORLAND VOLUME 1 #1
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: David Avallone
ART: Silvia Califano
COLORS: Walter Pereya
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
EDITOR: Joseph Rybandt
COVER: Dave Acosta
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Dave Acosta; John Royle; Silvia Califano
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (May 2022)

Rated Teen+

Chapter One: Bloch Party


In 1981, actress and model Cassandra Peterson created the “horror hostess character,” known as “Elvira.”  Elvira gradually grew in popularity and eventually became a brand name.  As Elvira, Peterson endorsed many products and became a pitch-woman, appearing in numerous television commercials throughout the 1980s.

Elvira also appeared in comic books, beginning in 1986 with the short-lived series from DC Comics, Elvira's House of Mystery.  In 2018, Elvira returned to comic books via Dynamite Entertainment.  Elvira's latest comic book series is Elvira in Horrorland Volume 1.  The series is written by David Avallone; drawn by Silvia Califano; colored by Walter Pereyra; and lettered by Taylor Esposito.  The series finds Elvira trapped in the Multiverse of Movies.

Elvira in Horrorland Volume 1 #1 (“Bloch Party”) opens in the aftermath of Elvira's adventures with the ghost of the late, great film legend, Vincent Price (see Elvira Meets Vincent Price).  Part of those adventures included the discover that all movies create their own little “pocket dimensions.”

Now, Elvira finds herself in the pocket dimension belonging to one of the most famous horror films of all time, directed by one of the most influential and greatest filmmakers of all time.  That should be wonderful for Elvira, except that the movie includes an infamous and famous brutal murder in a shower.  To return to her own world, Elvira just has to find a “magical remote control” (Hello, Pleasantville), but can she really let things play out in this pocket dimension the way they are supposed to?  Well, there wouldn't be an entire comic book if she didn't.

THE LOWDOWN:  In July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Elvira in Horrorland Volume #1, one of many Dynamite Elvira comic books that I have read and enjoyed.

By now, anyone who is a regular reader of my comic book reviews know that I adore Elvira comic books written by David Avallone and published by Dynamite Entertainment.  So, it is best just to move on, although I should note that I was surprised to see David make an extended reference to the notorious and pointless remake of the film that Elvira visits this issue.

Artist Silvia Califano superbly captures the spirit of this “pocket dimension” and conveys a sense of humor that I think only the best MAD Magazine satirists and parody masters could pull off.  Califano's art even resembles Howard Chaykin's peak art from the 1980s, especially the 1986 miniseries now known as The Shadow: Blood and Judgment.  Califano's sense of style and mood are superb, with the storytelling really having a sense of movement.

Taylor Esposito's lettering stabilizes the storytelling, bring order to the madcap, and colorist Walter Pereya certainly adds a jarring note at the right time.  Of course, I expected this creative team to pull this off.  Of course, I expected Elvira in Horrorland #1 to be good.  Now, I expect you to go out and buy it and other Avallone Elvira productions.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Elvira and of David Avallone's Elvira comic books will want to read Elvira in Horrorland Volume 1.

[This comic book includes “Dynamite Dispatch” May 2022, which features an interview with writer Jordan Clark.]

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


https://twitter.com/DAvallone
https://twitter.com/DynamiteComics
https://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/
https://www.facebook.com/DynamiteComics/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNOH4PEsl8dyZ2Tj7XUlY7w
https://www.linkedin.com/company/dynamite-entertainment


The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Comics Review: JOHN CARTER OF MARS #2

JOHN CARTER OF MARS, VOL. 1 #2
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Chuck Brown
ART: George Kambadais
COLORS: George Kambadais
LETTERS: Jeff Eckleberry
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Dave Acosta
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Jonathan Case; George Kambadais; John Royle; Dave Acosta; Rachel Hollon and David Turner (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (May 2022)

Rated Teen+

Based on the characters and stories created by Edgar Rice Burroughs


John Carter is a character that first appeared in the serialized novel, Under the Moons of Mars (The All-Story, 1912), written by Tarzan creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs.  When it was first collected and published in hardcover, the novel was re-titled, A Princess of Mars (1917), the first of Burroughs' “Barsoom” novels, which were set on Barsoom, a fictional version of Mars.  The novel also introduced Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars.

John Carter is a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War who is transported to Mars via “astral projection.”  There he gets a new body that is similar to the one he leaves behind on Earth.  John makes several trips back and forth between Earth (which the Martians call “Jasoom”) and Barsoom, and Dejah and John eventually marry and have two children.

John Carter first appeared in comic books in the early 1950s and continues today as a comic book character via Dynamite Entertainment.  His latest comic book series is John Carter of Mars.  The series is written by Chuck Brown; drawn and colored by George Kambadais; and lettered by Jeff Eckleberry.  In the new series, a re-imagining of and a sequel to the original “Barsoom” novels, John Carter is back on Earth and discovers that Martians are being transported to Earth while humans are being transported to Mars.

John Carter of Mars Volume 1 #2 opens on Barsoom.  Humans and their motor vehicles are being hurled down to the planet, and the humans are desperate.  Luckily Dejah Thoris, Princess of Barsoom is there to answer desperate pleas.

Meanwhile, John Carter continues his boogie-woogie with the Green MartiansLieutenant Fred Hines will fight with Carter in order to find his own missing wife, Thai, who is now on Barsoom.  But can Fred and his partner, Charlie, help a princess find her husband?

THE LOWDOWN:  In July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is John Carter of Mars Volume 1 #2.  It is the second solo Dynamite John Carter comic book that I have read.

Writer Chuck Brown created in John Carter of Mars #1 the kind of comic book that I could not stop reading.  I couldn't stop reading John Carter of Mars #2.  What a blast!  This series may be the freshest take on John Carter, if not ever, then, in a long time.  Brown simultaneously reinvents Burroughs influential series and revitalizes it with fast-paced cross-planet action.  He balances the action energy with strong characters, making each chapter a great read.  There are, of course, some interesting new characters that hopefully will play a larger part in the narrative.

George Kambadais's art and coloring remind me of the work of Bruce Timm and of the graphic design of the Cartoon Network series, “Samurai Jack.”  Kambadais' compositions contain an energy that seems to bounce off the walls of the panels like a careening ball of fire.  He super-charges Brown's script and transforms it into powerful and attention-grabbing storytelling.  This is also a new look for the John Carter property, and I welcome that freshness.

I hope that these first two issues are not flukes.  After only two issues, I am highly recommending John Carter of Mars.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Dynamite's Barsoom comic books will want to try John Carter of Mars.

[This comic book includes “Dynamite Dispatch” May 2022, which features an interview with writer Jordan Clark.]

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


https://twitter.com/DynamiteComics
https://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/
https://www.facebook.com/DynamiteComics/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNOH4PEsl8dyZ2Tj7XUlY7w
https://www.linkedin.com/company/dynamite-entertainment


The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

----------------------

Amazon wants me to inform you that the affiliate link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the affiliate link below AND buy something(s).