Comic Book Review – The Flash by Mark Waid Finale

The Flash by Mark Waid Finale
Includes The Flash #142-159, 162, 1 Million, Speed Force #1, The Flash 80-Page Giant #1
Written by Mark Waid & Brian Augustyn, Michael Jan Friedman
Art by Pop Mhan, Josh Hood, Paul Pelletier, and Jim Aparo

Two years ago, I started reading through and reviewing Mark Waid’s run on The Flash. When I decided to wrap up my George Perez/Wonder Woman run, I also chose to do the same with this series. Because there isn’t an omnibus out, I used the DC Universe app’s comics library to find the remaining couple years of issues that brought Waid’s landmark run to an end. I found myself enjoying these last three arcs a lot more than some of the previous storylines; however, Waid signs off in such an anti-climactic fashion. The story just sort of ends, he jumps on four months later for a last go, and then it’s over.

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TV Review – The Best of the The X-Files Part 2

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season Three, Episode Four)
Original airdate: October 13, 1995
Written by Darrin Morgan
Directed by David Nutter

This was the period where X-Files was reaching its sweet spot. The show was firmly submerged in the pop culture zeitgeist, so the writers started to play around with the one-off Monster of the Week episodes. This might be the best episode the series ever produced. It has a tightly written, clever plot with genuinely surprising & well-earned twists. Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein, Everybody Loves Raymond) guest stars as Clyde Bruckman, an insurance salesman who gained the ability to see every person’s death. He becomes caught up in a case where Mulder & Scully are chasing down a serial killer who targets psychics and fortune-tellers. This entry into the series is incredibly dark & bleak while still injecting big doses of sly humor. Little touches like the injection of celebrity psychic the Stupendous Yappi and revelations about Mulder’s extracurricular activities help lighten a weighty & poignant study. The conclusion of this episode is just so satisfying and bittersweet. 

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Movie Review – The Indian in the Cupboard

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)
Written by Melissa Mathison
Directed by Frank Oz

Frank Oz is one of my favorite comedy directors of the 1980s and 90s. I consider Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and What About Bob? among my favorite movies from that period. He was also no stranger to making family-friendly fare with The Muppets Take Manhattan directorial credit as well as being one of the top performers among Jim Henson’s Muppet troupe. That’s what makes The Indian in the Cupboard feel so strangely disappointing and lifeless. The movie isn’t horrible, but it feels like it’s missing a critical emotional component that ends up leaving the picture ultimately forgettable.

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Movie Review – Assassins

Assassins (1995)
Written by Lana & Lilly Wachowski, and Brian Helgeland
Directed by Richard Donner

I’ve previously mentioned Richard Donner when I reviewed Ladyhawke and discussed how he is a perfect example of a journeyman filmmaker. Assassins is yet another example of this. Here we have a story that is rife for stylish exploitation, but instead, we get a very by the numbers shooting. The cinematography is mostly standard except for a few interesting choices here and there. Donner just simply isn’t anywhere close to being an auteur, and that’s not a bad thing. In the case of this film, it really could have used a filmmaker with a more inventive touch.

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Movie Review – Clueless

Clueless (1995)
Written & Directed by Amy Heckerling

I was fourteen when Clueless came out, and like most adolescent boys of the time, I acted like it didn’t interest me, that it was for girls. I couldn’t avoid it, though, and I can remember how it permeated culture that summer. I never saw the movie until now. Clueless is such a product of its time and word that Paramount is talking about remaking; it feels tone-deaf. You cannot remake this. It was based on Emma so you could do another contemporary retelling of that story, but Clueless is such a specific tone and look that captures an exaggerated version of the mid-90s. Better to let this film simply exist as an artifact of its time then try to recreate the feeling you had first seeing it as a teenager.

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Movie Review – Friday

Friday (1995)
Written by Ice Cube & DJ Pooh
Directed by F. Gary Gray

I haven’t laughed watching a comedy film like this in a very long time. This was a couldn’t stop, tears in my eyes, perpetual motion machine of laughing. Friday was an independent picture made by people that were figuring out how to be filmmakers and showing some of the best promise of any debut I’ve ever witnessed. Yes, there are weak points, and not all the jokes hit, but this is an instance where gags are being thrown at the screen every second. When ones do hit, they connect hard, and you’ll find yourself uncontrollably losing it.

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Movie Review – Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Written by Emma Thompson
Directed by Ang Lee

I am not against Jane Austen, I just do not find her style of writing matches with my personal aesthetic and narrative tastes. That said, I really enjoyed the tone of this year’s Emma adaptation with all of the stylistic flourishes that the director brought. 1995’s Sense and Sensibility feels exceptionally flat in its presentation. I think Ang Lee is a pretty good filmmaker, not the best in the world, but he has made movies I’ve enjoyed or at least find interesting. The actors in this film aren’t bad at all, some fantastic performers, but I was never drawn in by the story they were telling. If this is a movie you love, then, by all means, love it, it may just not be for me.

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Movie Review – Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking (1995)
Written & Directed by Tim Robbins

In the last couple of weeks, I have felt so much anger & hate towards the police. I won’t repeat things I’ve said in the privacy of my home with my wife, but they have been rancorous things I never thought I would say about anyone. There is a part of me that knows this depth of hate isn’t good for the human psyche, and yet it is so easy to give in to these violent thoughts. I’ve watched over 300 videos of police brutality done on protesters, which has had a powerful effect on me. The police shouldn’t be let off the hook for a single act of cruelty and murder, but I think I needed to see this film right now to help temper my justified outrage.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Volume 3

Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Volume 3 (2018)
Reprints Wonder Woman #46-62, 168-169, 600, and War of the Gods #1-4
Written by George Perez
Art by George Perez, Jill Thompson, Romeo Tanghal, Mindy Newell, and Cynthia Martin

I reviewed volume 1 of the Wonder Woman by George Perez collection three years ago this month, and instead of waiting for the standard sized books to finish coming out I would pick up the already published omnibus and bring the reviews to a finale. Perez started rebuilding the Wonder Woman mythos in 1987, restarting her history from scratch. Because DC Comics didn’t do a full line-wide reboot in the wake of the continuity shuffling Crisis on Infinite Earths, there were lots of unresolved questions lingering. One of these was who is Wonder Girl if Wonder Woman just debuted to the public? Wonder Girl, aka Donna Troy, was a prominent member of the New Teen Titans whose origins were wholly tied to the older heroine. Perez finally has the former sidekick meet Wonder Woman, but don’t wait for any answers because there are none, just hints at a mystery surrounding them.

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Movie Review – Bad Boys

Bad Boys (1995)
Written by Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland, and Doug Richardson
Directed by Michael Bay

At this point in my life, I have seen five Michael Bay films, and I can confidently say that I hate him and his stupid movies. The only way to enjoy a Bay picture is to literally become braindead and not process films beyond the surface level. He’s like is a pile of cocaine that became sentient, frenzied & overconfident but ultimately lacking in any substance. I get why a picture like this one might have wowed audiences. In 1995, this style of filmmaking was brand new. He was taking a genre that wore out its welcome in the 1980s, the buddy cop movie, and injecting it with a more contemporary vibe. You have two Black lead actors as the heroes which wasn’t happening in big-budget film then. There is so much here that feels fresh, but when you go beyond that immediate feeling, you find a picture mired in old-fashioned misogyny and unfunny attempts at jokes.

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