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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.

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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?

Think, Sip, Write: ep 50 – Chillaxin’

Roberta and I discuss various ways to relax, and get some viewer feedback on what they prefer to do.

Check it out in the video below, and let us know what you think in the comments.

For anyone looking for a unique relaxing experience check out http://www.halcyonfloats.com

Local paper dubs us the “Dynamic Duo”

My wife and I had the pleasure of sitting down with a local reporter to discuss juggling our careers, parenting, and more.  It’s a fun read that you can check out here:  https://feastervilletrevosetimes.com/dynamic-duo-79d5ae23776d

Interview with Bookaholicanonymous

untitled.pngI talk about characters, my upcoming novel THE THIRST OF CAIN, and my journey so far as an author in a new interview with Smita Singh.  Bookaholicanonymous has lots of great interviews and articles so be sure to check out their other posts.  Here’s the link to my interview:  http://bookaholicanonymous.com/author-interview?id=40

Think, Sip, Write: ep 49 – Habits start early

We recorded this episode from the Woodloch resorts in Hawley, Pennsylvania.  This time on #thinksipwrite we discuss the eating habits of kids, and how you can get them and yourself on the right track to enjoying a variety of foods instead of plain old chicken fingers and French fries.

What foods did you enjoy or hate as a child?  Do you have any input on this topic?  Chime in with your thoughts below.

 

 

Think, Sip, Write: ep 48 – I learned that in school?

In episode 48 of #thinksipwrite, Roberta and I chat about subjects that are required school learning, and if they actually are used in our every day lives.

What experiences have you had with this?  Watch the episode and feel free to comment, like and share.

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?

Knocking out the Rocky / Creed movies: Review

KDRS3126[1]I grew up watching Sly Stallone’s movies, and since my hometown Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs in the SuperBowl this year, I wanted my kids to see some great underdog stories.  We watched the whole franchise, so instead of rating individual movies, I’m going to go with the boxers in each, and rate them that way.  I’ll give a spoiler warning, but if you haven’t seen these movies shame on you anyway 😛

In the first ROCKY film, Sly’s character had a decent story.  Rocky “The Italian Stallion” Balboa struggled to make ends meet.  He was relatable in every sense of the term, albeit a bit annoying at times with his incessant ramblings.  That just added to the character.  He comes off a bit strong, and even uncomfortable in his approach to Adrian.  Now I won’t get into Adrian as I’m focusing on the boxers themselves, but she is Rocky’s backbone, and their relationship is fun to watch and build.  The build of getting to see him rise up to take on a challenge from the Boxing champion of the world, is a long but enjoyable journey starting with his bout against Spider Rico (who shows up later in the 6th film again).

Apollo Creed is a cocky type of character, but it’s hard to hate him.  He has used his fame to give a nobody a chance.  Although he wins by split decision, he knows he was underestimate Rocky.  This is where ROCKY 2 comes in for the rematch.  My problem with the first movie is that Rocky doesn’t guard his head at all.  I boxed for a short time, and know that leaving yourself open the way he does in the first film makes for quick matches.  This was slightly corrected in the second movie, and the fight is a bit closer to realistic.  Apollo, despite being angry at Rocky throughout the film still respects the man.

We will skip ROCKY 3’s opening match with Hulk Hogan’s “Thunderlips,” because although entertaining it’s obviously done with humor, and not to be taken seriously.  On to Clubber Lang.  Now the movies have gone from boxers for sport to having a real bad guy, and it works.  Mr. T is way more intimidating than Apollo was, but having Apollo at Rocky’s side as trainer brings a nice full circle to it all.  And yes the beach scene with them training is downright hilariously cheesy, but when you’ve got “Eye of the Tiger” playing you can’t lose.  Literally in this case.

ROCKY 4 takes a drastic turn here by killing off the still pompous Apollo Creed.  I meanCPVC6752[1] we haven’t recovered from Mickey’s death yet, and another favorite bites the dust.  There is purpose though because it fuels the hate for the seemingly unstoppable Ivan Drago.  Of all the series, this one was always my favorite because it had my attention as a kid and stayed with me.  It’s now my son’s favorite of them all as well.

ROCKY 5 is definitely the low point of the series, but it’s not one you should skip.  Tommy “The Machine” Gunn is a turd right from the start, but that’s not what these films are all about.  It’s about Rocky’s struggle with returning to a normal life after being told he has brain damage, losing his house, and being betrayed by a kid he takes in as his own.  It also shows the heart of fatherhood, and how he doesn’t realize he is failing with his son, by taking in this other youth.  In the end it sorts out well for the Balboa family, or so it seems.  The street fight with Balboa and Gunn is probably what turned people off the most.  It isn’t really a boxing story, despite having that as a root element.  Still, it’s fun to watch the beat down.

ROCKY BALBOA was an unexpected return to the series over a decade later, and it makes up for what 5 wasn’t in plot.  Rocky’s wife Adrian is dead, his best friend Paulie  loses his job, his son Robert Jr does what he can to get out of his father’s shadow, and Rocky deals with a lonely life of pain while managing a restaurant.  When I saw this in the theater I was overjoyed at having the character return, but in rewatching it I realize how it doesn’t quite hold up as well as the older ones.  Sure, it’s one of the best stories about Rocky’s life, but I’m talking about the fight.  Rocky jumping back into the ring at 60 years old is a bit of a stretch.  Even the training sequences show that he’s no way near as in peak shape as he used to be.  His body just can’t do what it used to.  Still, watching him trade blows with Mason “The Line” Dixon was fun enough.  The much older boxer was able to prove that age shouldn’t hold you down from what you enjoy, and the younger boxer was able to prove to the world that he could handle an icon and isn’t just fighting nobodies.

Now comes CREED, and just when you think the franchise might get stale, we have a successful reboot that brings the saga to a whole new generation.  For one, I hope it keeps going, because Adonis Johnson Creed is a very likeable character in much the same way that Rocky is.  I find the fight with “Pretty Ricky” Conlan an entertaining enough bout.  Apollo Creed’s son seems to have his father’s footwork and some of Rocky’s power.  It’s the best of both worlds making each new match feel unique.  I love the throwbacks and references, I hate Pretty Ricky because he’s a punk, and even more so I love that Rocky fights once again (though this time against cancer and not an opponent in the ring).  The ending is touching, and brings everything full circle.  Rocky is the new Mick, and Adonis “Donnie” is the new Rocky.

Speaking of Mickey “Mick” Goldmill, I could easily see a prequel movie about the rise of Jewish boxers in Philadelphia.  I have a great story idea that would be a perfect tie in to the franchise featuring a younger Mick, but be separated enough to be something totally new.  Call me, Sly!

This franchise is about heart, never giving up, and dealing with the struggles of life.  It can’t get any more real than that.  After watching the movies, I took my family down to the Art Museum in Philly to run the steps, pose with the Rocky statue, and see the sights.  I didn’t even realize that Rocky’s (Stallone’s) footprints are there.  My wife grabbed this shot of the city from the top of the steps with the plaque.  It was fun to see countless people doing the same thing that we did, and it’s still over 40 years since the original movie came out.

IMG_9431[1]

Photo credit: Roberta Pipito @homemadedelish.  Rocky’s footprints at the top of the art museum steps looking out over Philadelphia.

I’ll do a review of CREED 2 when it comes out in October of this year.  If you haven’t heard, Ivan Drago is returning sure to put up an interesting interaction between him and Rocky, while Donnie Creed takes on Drago’s son.

What do you think of this series?  Which one is your favorite?  Do you want to see it continue for years to come?  Chime in with your thoughts below.