The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Reviews

Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb_Raider_(2018_film)The Tomb Raider movies prior to this year’s film of the same name with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, weren’t much to remember.  They were just fun popcorn flicks.  It’s because of those that I went into this movie with low expectations, but as a huge fan of the video games I had to give it a shot.  I’m glad that I did.

With a surprisingly long run time for this film (just under 2 hours), it felt refreshing and human.  Vikander’s Croft is much more relatable, giving the audience a character they care about.  You can see her humanity.  She’s not a super hero, and while she does perform some impossible things, she doesn’t come out of it unscathed.

This really shows the origin of a great character, and how she became wrapped up in the archaeological world.  Tomb Raider 2018 may not be as good as the Indiana Jones movies, but it separates itself as a solid stand alone piece that is highly enjoyable.

I personally look forward to a sequel, and who knows… with all these crossovers, and an inevitable Indiana Jones reboot some day, maybe we will see Indy and Lara team up.  In the mean time this will keep audiences pleased.  I rate it with 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It’s not the best movie out there, but it certainly ranks high on the fun film scale.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts.

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Review: Gotham season 4

GOTHAMUnlike the other DC TV shows that I reviewed a few days ago, Gotham has potential.  Sure, it’s been eye rolling and frustrating to comic book fans at times, but season 4 makes up for a lot of that.  Warning that there are some spoilers ahead.

This season did a great job of really delving into some of the lore that makes Batman who he is.  Although there were some episodes that dragged (Barbara getting the Demon’s Head was a horrible plot point), most of them kept me wanting to watch more.

By the season’s end we get to see who will actually become the Joker.  He isn’t the Joker yet, but this take on him really shows him as the Red Hood without wearing the hood.  We’ve got multiple cliffhangers.  Butch will surely become Solomon Grundy again, Penguin will have his empire back, Riddler and Lee will be in debted to Hugo Strange and Penguin, Selina will undoubtedly have survived and used up one of her nine lives, Gotham is looking to be “No Man’s Land” straight from the comics, villains like Firefly and Mr. Freeze are on the loose and ready to make their marks, Bruce Wayne and Gordon standing on the rooftop near the spotlight is a bit of a foreshadowing, and everything is set up for a good conclusion to the prequel show.  The next season is said to be the final one with Bruce finally becoming Batman, probably resulting in Jeremiah becoming the Joker, and so much more anticipated comic book accurate points.  At least that’s what we can hope for.

For Season 4 of Gotham, I have to give it a high score of 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Perhaps it’s because the CW has left such a bad watching experience that I’m willing to accept what Gotham has given us, but I think that the writers of this show really care about what they are working with, at least to some degree.  What did you think of this season?  Do you agree or disagree?  Comment below and share your thoughts.

 


Review: Lethal Weapon season 2

Lethal-Weapon-season-2-poster-Fox-key-artWhile the first season was a great interpretation and reinvention of one of my favorite movie franchises, Lethal Weapon season 2 goes beyond that.

In a quick review that will have some spoilers I must say that season 2 makes a very emotional connection with the audience.  I’ve found myself invested in the characters and really enjoying the story telling.  The mixture of action, humor, and ongoing plot points continues to reel me in.

Then I heard that co-lead actor Clayne Crawford would not be returning as Martin Riggs after being fired.  Originally I was mortified that this was true.  How could you have Lethal Weapon without Riggs and Murtaugh?  Well while we don’t have definitive answers short of Seann William Scott replacing Crawford as a lead, I think the finale of season 2 gives us a hint of what we will have.  Perhaps there will be a new Riggs coming aboard, related to the main character and in a tasteful and hopefully non-forced sort of way.  We can only hope there will be chemistry between him and Wayons (who continues to be outstanding in his role).  I’m assuming Murtaugh will not take the Captain position in order to solve the murder of his former partner?

For season 2 I give it 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show and where do you think they can and will go from here?


Review: DC CW TV shows 2018

arrowThis review will cover the current “Arrowverse” seasons including: Arrow (season 6), The Flash (season 4), Supergirl (season 3), Legends of Tomorrow (season 3), & Black Lightning (season 1).  This excludes the crossover episode that I reviewed a few months back, but focuses on the main series’ separate story arcs.

Arrow this season had quite a few high points, and very little low.  High points are Ricardo Diaz (Richard Dragon), the breakup of team Arrow, Ollie’s solo crusade, Detective Lance’s goal to turn Black Siren into someone more like his Laurel, Black Siren’s story arc, Oliver as a father, Diggle becoming an Argus agent, Rene being more like a father and his emotional side, Christopher Chance as the Human Target, and the pace of the season leading up to an explosive and shocking finale with some really great decisions albeit heartbreaking ones.  The parts of this season that didn’t work… Everyone complaining about Oliver as the Green Arrow.  His decisions might not all have been perfect, but the man’s crusade has definitely been for the greater good.  Oliver and Felicity getting married.  Just stop already.  It’s annoying, and she works better as a separate entity not with him.  Also are we just supposed to believe she will jump in and play mommy role to Oliver’s son?  I guess so.  Two Black Canary type figures.  They need to decide who to get rid of because it’s too much.  Make the new Laurel what the old was supposed to be, and it’ll work better.  And finally, Mister the-flash-season-4-poster-amunet-1106525Terrific.  He’s so clichéd at this point its not even enjoyable to watch him.  He barely has a role other than to fill in the gay guy part, and that is over played in bad taste.  All in all, I give the season 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash like arrow this season was overall enjoyable.  The good parts of the show were the mystery girl who turned out to be Iris and Barry’s daughter from the future.  It was short but kept me wondering.  Ralph Dibney (Elongated Man) as an addition to the team is far more enjoyable than some of the other members.  He adds a new personality that differs from the rest of the cast making him a breath of fresh air.  The Mad Thinker as the villain worked in so many ways and finally gave us someone who wasn’t a speedster.  Here’s what didn’t work… The whole Killer Frost thing.  It felt very forced as if they just didn’t know whether to choose to keep her as a hero and piss everyone off or have her stone cold villain and lose their precious Kaitlyn.  Get over it already and do the thing actual comic fans want.  Iris as team leader is just stupid and takes away from that character.  H.R. was great as usual, but there were times where I felt he just didn’t fit into the story.  I give this season 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings for the fact that they finally did something different, and didn’t get too involved in controversial things.

legendsLegends of Tomorrow was better than its previous seasons but I still wonder why it’s on.  It began strong with me thinking they were going to address how they have no concept of time travel and how it logically would work, but they scrapped that right after the first episode and went back to pure garbage.  If anything at this point they shouldn’t even exist in the same reality as the other shows because they’ve screwed things up from their actions… but that is all ignored by lazy story telling.  The writers only care to push their agendas from anti-Trump nonsense to shoving lesbian plots into places where a relationship doesn’t work no matter what the character’s orientation.  As a man who is very middle ground, open minded to all, and offended at any extreme left or right political push, this bothers me a lot.  It’s to the point where a guy who has loved comics from when he was a kid can’t even get away from this real life problem by watching a show that’s supposed to be enjoyable.  One good thing they did was to bring Constantine in for a few episodes, and give Wally West a role that is much better suited than on The Flash.  I give Legends 1 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

supergirlSupergirl is slightly better now that they’ve focused less on relationships and more on story.  My problem with this season is that it fell flat with the rip off Smallville Doomsday plot.  They just keep reusing Superman’s villains or doing a new take.  It’s not even creative at this point.  What saved the show this year was the introduction of the Legion, and having Martian Manhunter’s father losing his memory.  That is something that connects with all viewers and not just a certain crowd.  Supergirl was overly hard to watch though because it focuses less on the main character and more on her supporting ones.  I give it 1 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Black Lightning is the new addition to the universe, but he’s not much more than a wannabe Luke Cage.  Sure, the characters are different, but the theme of the show goes for that feel.  Here’s where it shines… The actors are all very excellent in their roles and Tobias Whale is a great villain.  Where it falls is everywhere else.  The political things that I’ve mentioned earlier go even more here to the point of making it seem like every cop is bad, most people are racist, and in order to stand up for what we believe we should condone violent protests.  It’s just downright appalling to me that the writers Black-Lightning-Season-1-Poster-Key-Artreally think this is okay.  Touching on a subject is fine, but making it something for you to spread your message is not entertaining by any means.  Black Lightning is a little bit better than the other two shows, but not by much.  I give it 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

In Conclusion I must admit that I don’t know if I’ll be watching the last three shows mentioned next season.  I’ve almost given up on Arrow a few times, but it reels me back in.  The Flash is stale at times, but has interesting rogues.  These others though are just a platform for close minded liberal attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  I mean who are they gearing this toward?  I honestly think that they believe everyone needs to think like they do or F%#$ off.  From a man who is open to all beliefs and people, who is also a comic book nerd from youth, people like me should be one of the target audiences.  Sadly we are not.  In fact I’m sure most people can’t even stomach watching it even when we agree (and yes there were times when I agreed).  It just shouldn’t be what it is and they’ve taken a great idea and universe and made it painful to watch.  Even worse is that I just don’t care about it any more.  I have seen how many people have just stopped watching these things, and now I know why.  For what might be my last review of these shows with writers who have no concept of how entertainment works, I give the whole DCTVCWverse this season a 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think?  Feel free to comment below whether you agree or disagree.


Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool-2-International-PosterThe Merc With A Mouth is back, but did the sequel keep up with expectations?  The answer could go either way.  If you have knowledge of the other comic book movies out there, or are just a comic fan, then yes yes yes… this was as good if not better than the first.  For those who might not be up to speed on all the spandex wearing superhero films, some of the jokes may go over your head… but it would still be a fun and enjoyable movie to see.

There are a few spoilers I’ll mention, so if you just want the rating, then scroll down to the bottom, otherwise… be warned.

Loaded with shocking moments, and cameos by actors and other comic book characters, Deadpool 2 literally had me laughing so hard I was in tears.  This time though, it isn’t just Wade Wilson who is the highlight of the film.  Cable, Domino, and Colossus equally dominate with their own unique personalities.  This works well with Deadpool, and I especially can’t wait for this to come out for home release.

I know a lot of people complained about Juggernaut’s CGI effects, but I barely noticed because I was thrilled to see him portrayed properly, and it’s still way better than some of the other CG I’ve seen in recent films.  I do have one complaint however, and this is the common themed problem throughout all of the X-Men films.  The continuity.

When does this take place and in which time line?  For example… Deadpool’s music box in the beginning directly references the Logan movie.  Is this just him breaking the 4th wall (which was done expertly a dozen times or so)? The answer is no… it’s not after Logan, but before.  How do I know?  Because all of the X-Men are still alive, and it’s very evident that they are.  Then we just assume that it is running along side a modern day theme, but then again, the X-Men aren’t portrayed by their older actors, but by the younger ones.  hmmm.  Oh, and then the time travel thing during the credits adds to the confusion because in the current timeline X-Men origins Wolverine never happens.  So, that being the case, does time travel let them go to different pasts?

The continuity thing can be forgiven and overlooked.  It doesn’t bother me that much because of Wade and his 4th wall breaching.  It sort of makes things better in some ways.  The other issue is that they killed of Black Tom Cassidy before he even got to be a threat.  That was a huge disappointment for me.  Other than that I’ve no complaints.

From here I guess they’d do an X-Force movie over a Deadpool 3 because it would just make more sense.  The name “Essex” has been in 3 movies so far, so having the X-Force up against a villain like Mister Sinister would probably end up being the best film in this universe yet.

Deadpool 2 gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  I loved it and will definitely own it at some point.  What were your thoughts?  Comment below and let’s discuss.


Review: Once Upon a Time Ssn 7

170914-onceuponatimeseason7posterOnce Upon a Time there was a show that caught a lot of attention from episode 1.  It was hugely successful with its take on fairy tales and other books of legend by incorporating those characters in the real world.  Flash backs to their lives in the enchanted forest captivated young and old.  It was strong for 4 seasons but hit a lull in story telling that became repetitive.

Season 7 returned to its roots by hitting a reboot by aging some of the characters, and bringing in different versions of ones that already existed.  It was confusing to say the least, but for the long time fan, it was a breath of fresh air.

The format was roughly similar, but with a little tweaking made it less predictable and with new likeable characters.  The main complaint I have about this final season is that it didn’t utilize non-fairy tale characters as they had done in the past.  Centering mostly around Rapunzel, Mother Gothel, Cinderella, and Princess Tiana, the show could have used something else.

That being said, as far as series finales go, Once Upon A Time ended in one of the best ways.  There was closure to everything.  There were flashbacks to many characters stories that I’d forgotten, and there was even a little hint that maybe… just maybe… there might be a reunion miniseries or made for TV movie at some point.

Season 7 stood out as a little above average, but that’s far from bad.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show’s farewell season?  Comment below.


Review: MacGyver season 2

macgyver_big_58861MacGyver was one of my favorite childhood shows.  After being pleasantly surprised by season 1 of the reboot, I kept with it and watched season 2.  So how does it hold up?

Let me say this…. there are very few shows that I can watch any more with my kids.  There’s either too much sexual content, language or graphic violence to subject them to at their current ages.  But that’s the kind of stuff I also enjoy seeing in moderation.  When MacGyver came along I wanted them to watch it as I had when I was younger.  The original doesn’t hold up as much, so this modern take makes it fresh and new.  Happily, it is written in a way where all ages can appreciate and enjoy it.

From its non-stop funny moments, thrilling story telling, interesting dilemnas, and character interactions, this show really has become a favorite again.  Season 2 of MacGyver brings more of the same, but throws in a few guest appearances of actors from the original (Jack Dalton and Murdoch original actors cameoed).

This season put a lot on the line, and had a great build up to a point where I thought I could predict where it would lead.  I’m glad in a way that I didn’t but was also half way disappointed.  When MacGyver finds his father (I’ll stay away from spoilers on that) I was expecting Mac Sr. to be played by actor Richard Dean Anderson (the original show’s MacGyver).  When he wasn’t there as that character I was sadly let down, but I can see why they didn’t get him for the role.  Mac’s dad probably has a more significant role from here on out, so getting Anderson to do the spot was probably too hard with his schedule.  Still, I hope he pops in for an episode as some other character.

All in all season 2 was a blast.  It was highly enjoyable for myself and my two kids, and with that cliffhanger of an ending I really can’t wait until it’s back in the Fall.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of season 2?  Comment below and let’s discuss.


Review: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season 5

shield.jpgThis show has come a long way since it’s freshman year.  Characters that were once annoying and served little purpose have become favorites.  Season 5 cements this show firmly in the Marvel cinematic universe in my opinion.

Where it faults is only in things I feel they could have done.  That isn’t to say that the story was bad at all.  In fact, the Graviton twist with Talbot, and use of Absorbing man was unexpected and movie villain worthy.  So where is my complaint?

It’s not really a complaint but instead a missed opportunity.  As a comic book fan, I loved the idea of the 2099 comics.  For those who may not know, this was a line of stories that took place in the year 2099 (which later we find out doesn’t necessarily mean it is our 2099 A.D.)  I won’t go into that, but what I can say is that the whole premise to the first half of this season took place in an alternate future.  I wish they’d have tied it into the comics with those specific stories, instead of what we got.

That being said… What we did get was highly entertaining on a Star Trek level.  The show didn’t feel like the SHIELD of old, but kept true to its nature.  When they finally returned to present day, it was like they hit the reset button.

With plenty of twists and turns, references to what has happened in the movies (including Infinity War) and all out shocking moments (no one is safe in this show), I feel that this was the best season of the show.

I look forward to season 6, and rate season 5 with 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?  Where do you think they can go from here?  Comment below and let’s discuss.


Review: Avengers Infinity War

avengers-infinity-war-1I’m a little late with the review for this because I really didn’t want to say much after seeing it.  This will be a short overlook, as I feel that people need to see this with as little spoilers as possible.

Was it worth it?  Yes yes and yes.  The film was outstanding in so many ways, BUT I wonder if someone who isn’t familiar with the other Marvel movies will be somewhat lost.  There’s so many characters that its hard to keep track, but the Russos did a great job of not making it feel crowded.

The narrative played out quite well and unexpected with plenty of surprises and shocking moments.  Thanos IS THE BEST MARVEL Villain yet.  I literally have no complaints about the film, except that I have to wait for the next movie to see what happens.

Here’s where we get into little SPOILERS with my speculation:

– Is Red Skull the movie version of Death now or after the Soul Stone was grabbed did he revert to his former human status?  I’d like to think the latter would be better, but it isn’t necessary.  At least we got closure to that.

– The stones are at least drained of power, which makes me think that the snap will be reversed.  The Russos did claim that the deaths will stay, so that means goodbye to Loki and Heimdall.  Notice how I didn’t say any others.  Here’s why.  The snap only erased people from existence.  It didn’t technically kill them.  Gamora was sacrificed to retrieve the soul stone, so if it’s anything like the comics she wasn’t killed but instead trapped within it.  And Vision, well he was a grayed out husk at the end, but Shuri probably retrieved enough to have a less emotional version of him live on without so much color.  Maybe she will even use what’s left to build Jocasta or something.  Either way, Vision as we know him is gone, but there is room for an offspring of sorts.

I give the movie 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It made me laugh, get choked up and had me on the edge of my seat for the non stop thrill ride.  What did you think of Infinity War?  What do you think will happen next?


Review: Black Panther

new-black-panther-movie-poster-2018--1064120When it comes to Marvel movies, it’s no secret I’ve been entertained every time.  Going into this one I had high hopes as usual, and I wasn’t let down.  Minor Spoilers ahead.

The Good:

This is a totally fresh movie that is far different than the other comic book superhero films out there.  It’s political without pushing any agendas.  It’s got a great mix of action, humor, and sincerity that make it an all around great standalone movie.  You don’t need to see any of the other films in the MCU to see this one (although you might get confused by the final end credit scene if you are not watching all of the films).  The main characters of T’Challa and Killmonger are perfect with the latter even donning his comic accurate costume in the beginning, only to get a much better upgrade.  Finally, the usage of characters like Klaw, Man-Ape, Shuri, Nakia, Everett Ross, and Okoye are done well as a supporting cast.  Oh, and how could I forget another outstanding cameo by Stan Lee.

The Bad:

I am a little upset with Klaw’s fate, but realize why they did what they did.  Some of the things like Black Panther jumping from a plane without a parachute don’t sit well with me, but the explanation of how Vibranium absorbs kinetic energy makes me suspend disbelief just enough to let the ridiculousness pass.

Overall:

Black Panther was just fun from opening until end.  It had weight in the series, and was relatable to the real world on some levels.  I put it up there with the Captain America Trilogy as my favorite so far giving it a 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  So what did you think?

On a side note here’s some speculation and clarity btw:

Antman and The Wasp will be here soon, and it looks like that will be another stand alone movie to give us more back story and introduction of characters.  Bucky is looking like he will get a cybernetic vibranium arm and is a hero again.  Maybe we will see him as Captain America.  And though people are saying “Where is the 6th Infinity Stone?” let me explain to you where they all are.  The Tesseract is the SPACE Stone, and is floating in space with the SOUL stone, which was the Eternal flame from Thor Ragnarok.  Thanos shows up at the end of that, so I’m assuming he has both now.  The REALITY stone Aether is in the Collector’s possession after Malekith was defeated.  The MIND stone is in Vision’s head.  Doctor Strange has the TIME stone in his Eye of Agamotto amulet.  This leaves the POWER stone with the Nova Corps after they got it back from Ronan.  All the stones are there.  I don’t get why people are saying the Soul stone hasn’t been represented yet.  They did the same thing with the mind stone when it was still in Loki’s staff.  Think about what the Souls stone might do…  It restores or takes life presumably.  That is exactly what the flame did in Ragnarok.

Thoughts?