TV Tryouts – Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot
Season 1, Episode 1 – “eps.1.0_hellofriend.mov”

Written by Sam Esmail
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

There is so much television I hear I should watch and with 24/7 streaming services abounding it can quickly become overwhelming. To finally get a taste of all these great shows I will start doing TV Tryouts. Each month I will watch a couple of pilot episodes of series I have been hearing rave reviews about and see if that first episode can hook me to keep watching. Now, an argument you might make is that you have to view the first six or entire first season before a show “gets good.” To that, I say, “I just don’t have the time.” A television series should be well written enough that it’s characters, dialogue and plot naturally compel me to keep watching. If it doesn’t then that’s ok, plenty of shows for everyone.

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Ride Review – Fast & Furious: Supercharged

Fast & Furious: Supercharged (2015)

During the summer of 2017, I subjected myself to the current eight films in the Fast & Furious film franchise. By the end of July, my brain had become as mushy as the dialogue that flows from Vin Diesel’s pie dough mouth. I witnessed the bizarre transformation of the movie series from small and stupid undercover cop movie to a mad dash across the Arctic while a nuclear submarine breaks through the ice. Quite a transformation. However, even after watching the eight films, plus the unofficial tie-in Better Luck Tomorrow, I felt a void. Something was missing. There was a piece to the puzzle I’d somehow left out. Then I realized it: Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Studios. I had to get to Florida, which I did this November. Here is what happened:

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Comic Book Review – Hail Hydra! and Avengers: Rage of Ultron

Hail Hydra! (2015)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Roland Boschi

Avengers: Rage of Ultron (2015)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jerome Opena

The Marvel Universe has collapsed at the hands of Doctor Doom and been reconstructed as Battleworld. This mosaic planet features alternate pasts, presents, and futures. One such region is Manhattan if Hydra and the Nazis had won World War II. Captain America is a symbol of fascism, and Arnim Zola rules over all in his most expansive consciousness to date. The presumed dead Nomad finds himself alive in this bizarre reality thanks to SHIELD’s Infinite Elevator. He’s faced with his duplicate in this world as well as a Steve Rogers who never raised him. Once Secret Wars is resolved, a new Avengers team is formed and find themselves reliving the sins of Hank Pym’s past. Ultron returns from deep space and wants to punish his “father” in profound and horrific ways. The conclusion of this story will change the lives of Pym and Ultron forever.

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Comic Book Review: All-New Captain America Volume 1 & Uncanny Avengers 2 Volume 1

All-New Captain America: Hydra Ascendant (2015)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Stuart Immonen

Uncanny Avengers: Counter-Evolutionary (2015)
Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan)
Art by Daniel Acuna

Sam Wilson is Captain America. And he has teamed with the new Nomad to take down a resurgence of Hydra. This involves facing down EVERY rogue in Cap’s gallery, from Batroc to Armadillo to Baron Zemo to Baron Blood. Over the course of this all-out assault, Sam learns of a Hydra conspiracy that has infected every superhero team on Earth. The Uncanny Avengers have reformed, adding Sabretooth, The Vision, and Brother Voodoo to their ranks. Their first mission is to travel to the bizarre Counter-Earth. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have gone there to uncover their roots after learning the truth about their parentage during the events of AXIS. The team is fractured and is forced to face the near god-like power of the demented High Evolutionary.

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Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers: AXIS Prelude & Avengers/X-Men: AXIS

Uncanny Avengers: AXIS Prelude (2015)
Written by Rick Remender (with Cullen Bunn)
Art by Sanford Greene, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Javier Fernandez, Salvador Larroca, Daniel Acuna, and Paul Renaud

Avengers – X-Men: AXIS (2015)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Terry Dodson, and Jim Cheung

The Red Skull has been building his internment camps on the ruins of Genosha, once a mutant paradise. He plans to use the power of the deceased Professor X’s brain to turn man and mutantkind against each other. Havok, Scarlet Witch, and Rogue, the last remnants of the fallen Avengers Unity Squad have journeyed across the world to Genosha to stop the villain. Magneto has also made his way to the devastated island to settle his grudge as both a mutant and Holocaust survivor, remembering the Red Skull from the camp where he was a prisoner. The scope of the battle grows until Red Skull unleashes a deeper, darker power within Xavier’s mind and the heroes of Earth gather on Genosha to stop him.

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Comic Book Review – Captain America Volumes 4 & 5

Captain America Volume 4: The Iron Nail (2014)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Nic Klein & Pascal Alixe
Captain America Volume 5: The Tomorrow Soldier (2015)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Carlos Pacheco

The Iron Nail has toppled SHIELD and unleashed the secrets of Weapon Minus. More specifically he’s let loose the trippy Doctor Mindbubble. Steve Rogers must face the allure of a fantasy whipped up by the manipulative villain while learning that SHIELD abused the secret soldier serum for decades. Meanwhile, Jet Black newly arrived in the Marvel Universe is adjusting to life as a superhero, fighting the instincts implanted inside her by Arnim Zola. She is targeted by Red Skull who wants to use her as one of his S-Men (as seen in Uncanny Avengers). Little does everyone know, Zola still preparing to invade from Dimension Z and does just that in the concluding volume of Remender’s Steve Rogers run.

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Movie Review – Mississippi Grind

a24 visions

Mississippi Grind (2015)
Written & Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

mississippi-grind

Gerry is a gambler who finds himself losing more than he wins, but he earns just enough to keep himself hooked on the game. During a Texas hold ‘em at a casino in Iowa, he meets Curtis. Curtis is a fellow gambler, though not as concerned about winning as he is with the rush of the game. The two men strike up a friendship quickly, and as Curtis is shuffling off down New Orleans, Gerry convinces him to travel down the highway, following the Mississippi and gambling as they go. The goal is to make $25,000 to buy into a high stakes private game in NOLA. However, Gerry doesn’t know when to quit and always pushes against the odds.

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