Monthly Archive: September 2021

0

The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 6 by Herge

I forget, between volumes, just how much work it is to read the small-format Tintin omnibuses. Herge worked for a much larger page-size, and took advantage of that: his pages typically have at least a dozen panels, and are packed with dialogue that these editions set in a slightly fussy italic pseudo-handwritten font. So I find myself peering much more closely than I expect, and sometimes needing to take off my glasses to focus on on panel in isolation.

They’re also fairly involved, intricate stories: each one is 64 pages long, and, again, those are big pages full of talking and action. Sure, the talking is often vaudeville-level humor and the action is early-blockbuster spy thriller, but there’s still a lot of it. And a little bit of the supposedly humorous secondary characters – Jolyon Wagg, who first appears in these stories, I am looking straight at you – goes very far, but we never get just a little bit of them.

So perhaps I’m happy to be getting close to the end with The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 6 . There’s something melancholic about reading old adventures stories from other people’s childhoods to begin with, and I’ve read fifteen previous adventures even before I got to this point. (Obligatory links to volumes one , two , three , four , and five , each of which reprinted three books. The first two in the series, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo, are mildly suppressed these days for reasons of tendentiousness and/or racism.)

Tintin, who was set up to be a boy reporter early in the series but never even feints in the direction of filing a story or having any kind of stable job by this point in the series, first appeared in 1929 at the age of twelve and, in the manner of adventure-story protagonists, was still twelve when The Calculus Affair first appeared in serialized form from 1954-56. (The other two books collected here are The Red Sea Sharks from 1956-58 and Tintin in Tibet from 1958-1959; this appears to be the point where Herge stopped working on Tintin stories basically continuously, at the age of about fifty-three, and did just three more discrete tales over the next decade-and-a-half.)

The three stories here are all entirely separate, though they have the standard Tintin furniture: Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, those supposedly funny detectives, and so on and so on. Calculus and Red Sea are more-or-less spy thrillers: the first details a Cold War-ish battle between the standard two Herge fictional countries (Syldavia and Borduria) over a potential superweapon developed by guess-who, and the second is another one of Herge’s long-chain-of-coincidences plots that leads to Tintin foiling an operation to take African hajjis and sell them into slavery. (The book never uses the term “hajjis,” but they’re going to Mecca. Also, Herge’s drawing is a bit caricatured for the African characters, but he’s generally not racist in his depiction of them.)

Tibet is an odder book: Tintin has a prophetic dream about Chang, a boy of about the same age he met way back in the book The Blue Lotus, who has not been mentioned since, and who has supposedly just died in a plane crash in the Himalayas. Tintin is sure Chang is not dead, and has various omens that he is correct; the story is driven entirely by the boy’s pigheadedness and insistence on finding Chang. Oh, and there’s a Yeti in it, but mostly as a background character. It gets cited as a book about the power of friendship, but no real-world friendship I’m aware of includes ESP powers to infallibly rescue one another from far-away continents, so I’m a bit dubious.

Herge is still really good at adventure-story hugger-mugger; he throws additional complications in as well as anyone in the world. And his comic relief, though very hokey, is generally at least moderately amusing. (And that’s good, because these books are roughly forty percent comic relief by volume.) As I’ve said before, this is not exactly my thing, because I am an adult and because I grew up a generation or two later, but this is still really solid work and would probably be nearly as appealing to young people these days.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Karate Kid Original Macchio Trilogy makes 4K Debut
0

Karate Kid Original Macchio Trilogy makes 4K Debut

THE KARATE KID

From Academy Award®-winning director John G. Avildsen (1976, ROCKY) comes the highly entertaining, coming-of-age classic that will have you cheering! Starring Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki “Pat” Morita in his Academy Award®-nominated performance (Best Supporting Actor, 1984) as Mr. Miyagi.

THE KARATE KID PART II

Returning with Daniel (Ralph Macchio) to his Okinawa home for the first time in 45 years, Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita) encounters Yukie (Nobu McCarthy), the woman he left behind when he immigrated to America.

THE KARATE KID PART III

Daniel is in danger of losing it all when he places pride before principle in this powerful sequel to the hit feature films.

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIALS

THE KARATE KID

  • 4K ULTRA HD DISC
  • Mastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative, with Dolby Vision
  • English Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1 + theatrical stereo audio
  • NEW: Deleted Scenes
  • “Remembering The Karate Kid”– A reflective look back with stars Ralph Macchio, William Zabka and Martin Kove
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • BLU-RAY DISC™
  • Feature presented in high definition
  • English 5.1
  • Blu-Pop™ Pop-Up Track
  • Commentary with Director John G. Avildsen, Writer Robert Mark Kamen and Actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita
  • “The Way of The Karate Kid” Multi-Part Making-Of Featurette
  • “Beyond the Form” Featurette
  • “East Meets West: A Composer’s Notebook”
  • “Life of Bonsai” Featurette

THE KARATE KID PART II

  • 4K ULTRA HD DISC
  • Newly remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative, with Dolby Vision
  • English Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1 + theatrical stereo audio
  • NEW: Commentary with Ralph Macchio and Tamlyn Tomita
  • NEW: Deleted Scene
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • BLU-RAY DISC
  • Feature presented in high definition
  • English 5.1
  • Blu-Pop™ Pop-Up Track
  • Original Featurette: “The Sequel”

THE KARATE KID PART III

  • 4K ULTRA HD DISC
  • Newly remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative, with Dolby Vision
  • English Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1 + theatrical stereo audio
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • BLU-RAY DISC
  • Feature presented in high definition
  • English 5.1

CAST AND CREW

Directed By: John G. Avildsen

Produced By: Jerry Weintraub

Written By: Robert Mark Kamen

The Karate Kid Cast: Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove, William Zabka

The Karate Kid Part II Cast: Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Martin Kove, Yuji Okumoto

The Karate Kid Part III Cast: Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Robyn Lively, Thomas Ian Griffith, Martin Kove

SPECS

Run Time: Approx. 127 minutes / 113 minutes / 112 minutes

Rating: PG

Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 1.85:1

Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA | English Stereo DTS-HD MA

George Miller’s Mad Max Films Come to 4K
0

George Miller’s Mad Max Films Come to 4K

BURBANK, CA, September 28, 2021 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that The Mad Max Anthology, featuring 1979’s acclaimed post-apocalyptic action film Mad Max, 1981’s Mad Max The Road Warrior, 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and 2015’s Mad Max Fury Road will be released together on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD on November 2. Created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy, Miller directed or co-directed all four films. Mel Gibson starred as Max Rockatansky in the first three films and Tom Hardy took over the lead role in the fourth film.  Additionally Mad Max The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome will also be available individually in 4K, joining Mad Max and Mad Max Fury Road which are already available in 4K.

The Mad Max Anthology 4K UHD release, along with the 4K UHD releases of Mad Max The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, are from scans of the original camera negatives. The 4K UHD remasters were supervised by the mastering team at Motion Picture Imaging (MPI).

4K Ultra HD** showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, and more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.  

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of the Mad Max The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max Fury Road will feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

The Mad Max Anthology will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack for $89.99 SRP and features Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with the 4 feature films in 4K with HDR and remastered Blu-ray discs of Mad Max, Mad Max The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max Fury Road.

Mad Max The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack for $33.99 SP each and feature an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature films in 4K with HDR and remastered Blu-ray disc of the films.

Fans can also own the Mad Max Anthology, Mad Max The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on November 2.

Mad Max (1979) was directed by Miller from a screenplay by Miller & James McCausland and a story by Miller and Byron Kennedy.  The film was produced by Kennedy and stars Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky, Joanne Samuel as Jesse Rockatansky, and Hugh Leays-Byrne as the Toecutter.

Mad Max The Road Warrior (1981) was directed by Miller and written by Miller, Terry Hayes & Brian Hannant.  It was produced by Kennedy and stars Gibson as Max, Bruce Spence as the Gyro Captain, Mike Preston as Pappagallo, Max Phipps as Toadie, Vernon Wells as Wez, Emil Minty as the Feral Kid, and Kjell Nilsson as The Hummungus.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) was co-directed by Miller and George Ogilvie and written by Miller and Terry Hayes.  It was produced by Miller and stars Gibson as Max, Tina Turner as Auntie Entity, Bruce Spence as Jedediah, and Angelo Rossitto as Master.

Mad Max Fury Road (2015) was directed by Miller and written by Miller, Brendan McCarthy & Nico Lathouris.  It was produced by Miller, Doug Mitchell and PJ Voeten.  The film stars Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky, Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux, Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe, Rose Huntington-Whitely as The Splendid Angharad, Riley Keough as Capable, Zoe Kravitz as Toast the Knowing, and Abbey Lee as The Dag.

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements

The Mad Max Anthology Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

Mad Max The Road Warrior

  • Introduction by Leonard Maltin
  • Commentary by Director George Miller and Cinematographer Dean Semler
  • Road War: The Making of Road Warrior

BASICS

PRODUCT                                                                             SRP

Mad Max Anthology Ultra HD Blu-ray                                $89.99

Mad Max The Road Warrior                                                $33.99

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome                                          $33.99

Standard Street Date: November 2

Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese

Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese

Running Time: Mad Max:93 minutes; Mad Max The Road Warrior: 95 minutes; Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: 107 minutes; Mad Max Fury Road: 120 minutes

DOLBY ATMOS [CC]

Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye Comes Next Week
0

Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye Comes Next Week

New York, NY — The Marvel’s Wastelanders adventure continues! Marvel Entertainment and SiriusXM announced their latest original scripted podcast series, Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye, will premiere on Monday, October 4.

Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye is the second installment in the Marvel’s Wastelanders audio epic. The 10-episode original scripted podcast series is written by J. Holtham (Jessica Jones), directed by Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), with original sound design by One Thousand Birds, and an original score by James Harrison Monaco and JJJJJerome Ellis.

The series stars Stephen Lang (Avatar) as Hawkeye, Sasha Lane (Loki) as Ash, and features performances by Jess Barbagallo (Max), Michelle Hurd (Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird), Bobby Moreno (Junior), Joe Morton (Ringmaster), Tracie Thoms (Kate Bishop), with Lea DeLaria (Raven/Mystique).

Thirty years ago, the villains of the world rose up and killed all the heroes. Well, all the heroes that mattered. The sole survivor of the Avengers, Hawkeye (Lang) is now a sideshow freak, re-living the worst day of his life for paying audiences. He’s surly, broken, and losing his sight, but there’s still that fire in him to be a hero, to avenge his friends. And he’s ready to do what needs to be done: killing every last person responsible for the deaths of those he loved the most.

When the Brotherhood Traveling Circus, Carnival and Ringmaster’s Road Show arrives at the Kingdom (in the territory formerly known as the southwest desert), Hawkeye gets an unexpected visitor, his estranged 17-year-old daughter Ash (Lane). On her own mission for vengeance after losing her best friend, Ash insists on following Hawkeye on his secret mission. In a world without heroes, Ash learns what a true hero can really be. Listen to the series teaser here.

“I’m thrilled for this next series set in the Wastelands! We were lucky enough to work on the show with a top-notch creative team, writer J. Holtham and Tony Award-winning director Rachel Chavkin, along with actors Stephen Lang and Sasha Lane to name a few members of the incredibly talented cast,” said Jill Du Boff, Director of Audio at Marvel. “This show is such a fun and wild ride, and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”

The series will be available exclusively on the SXM App and Marvel Podcasts Unlimited on Apple Podcasts. Episodes will be widely available two weeks later on Pandora, Stitcher, and all major podcast platforms in the U.S. Learn more at siriusxm.com/wastelanders.

Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye follows Marvel’s Wastelanders: Star-Lord, the first installment in the multi-part original scripted podcast series set in the Wastelands. The audio series featured a star-studded cast including Timothy Busfield (Peter Quill), Danny Glover (Red), Chris Elliott (Rocket), and Vanessa Williams (Emma Frost).

2 eek Delay for Superman: The Complete Animated Seires
0

2 Week Delay for Superman: The Complete Animated Series

BURBANK, CA (September 23, 2021) Due to a slight delay in production, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) has pushed back the release of Superman: The Complete Animated Series by two weeks – the fully remastered Blu-rayTM box set now arriving October 26, 2021.

WBHE and DC are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Superman: The Animated Series with the remastered release of the acclaimed series. The box set includes several hours of bonus features headlined by an all-new documentary detailing the creation of one of the most beloved animated Super Hero cartoons in history.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation (WBA), the Emmy Award-winning Superman: The Animated Series was the perfect follow-up to the landmark Batman: the Animated Series. Producers Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett elevated The Man of Steel’s animated presence with an imaginative, heartfelt look at Superman’s adventures in Metropolis alongside Lois Lane and opposite the villainous likes of Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Darkseid and more. Premiering on September 6, 1996, the series continued WBA’s dominance in Super Hero animation, once again setting new standards for storytelling, art direction and acting performances – and garnering 11 Emmy Award nominations and two Emmy Award wins, including top honors as the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program of 1998.

The remarkable Superman: The Complete Animated Series box set features more than 19 hours of entertainment spread over six Blu-ray™ discs, including all 54 exciting episodes, an all-new series-defining featurette entitled Superman: Timeless Icon, a special video commentary episode and three specially selected episodes with audio commentaries by the showrunners.

All 54 episodes have been remastered from the original 35mm Interpositive sources, giving special attention to extensive color correction, dirt and scratch clean up, and adding a grain reduction pass to create a pristine picture, all while making sure not to affect the original lines in the artwork of the animation. The audio was retransferred from the original audio masters, and the series is presented in its original aspect ratio (4×3).

Injustice Red Band Trailer Promises More
0

Injustice Red Band Trailer Promises More

BURBANK, CA – An unthinkable tragedy propels Superman into a dangerous new mindset, ultimately pitting Justice League members against each other in Injustice, an all-new DC Animated Movie. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the feature-length animated film is set for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP), Blu-ray (US $29.98 SRP; Canada $39.99 SRP) and Digital on October 19, 2021.

Inspired by Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios’ popular video game, and the best-selling DC graphic novel based on the video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One by Tom Taylor, the animated film Injustice finds an alternate world gone mad – where The Joker has duped Superman into killing Lois Lane, sending the Man of Steel on a deadly rampage. Unhinged, Superman decides to take control of the Earth for humanity’s own good. Determined to stop him, Batman creates a team of like-minded, freedom-fighting heroes. But when Super Heroes go to war, can the world survive?

Justin Hartley (This is Us, Smallville) and Anson Mount (Star Trek Discovery, Hell on Wheels) lead the Injustice all-star cast as Superman and Batman, respectively. The massive cast also includes Janet Varney (The Legend of Korra, You’re The Worst) as Wonder Woman, Brandon Micheal Hall (God Friended Me) as Cyborg, Kevin Pollak (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as Joker & Jonathan Kent, Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and the Frog, The Good Wife, Dreamgirls) as Catwoman, Reid Scott (Veep, Venom) as Green Arrow & Victor Zsasz, Edwin Hodge (The Tomorrow War, Mayans M.C.) as Mr. Terrific & Killer Croc, Gillian Jacobs (Community, Invincible) as Harley Quinn, Oliver Hudson (Rules of Engagement, Nashville) as Plastic Man, Laura Bailey (Critical Role, Avengers Assemble) as Lois Lane & Rama Kushna, Faran Tahir (Iron Man, Star Trek) as Ra’s al Ghul, Derek Phillips (Friday Night Lights, 42) as Nightwing & Aquaman, Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10 franchise, Young Justice, RWBY) as Mirror Master, Flash & Shazam, Zach Callison (Steven Universe, The Goldbergs) as Damian & Jimmy Olsen, Brian T. Delaney (Fortnite, Batman Unlimited) as Green Lantern, Fred Tatasciore (Family Guy, American Dad!) as Captain Atom, and Andrew Morgado (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) as Mirror Master Soldier.

Matt Peters (Justice League Dark: Apokolips War) directs Injustice from a screenplay by Ernie Altbacker (Batman: Hush). Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is Producer and Alyessa Ornelas (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge) is Associate Producer. Producer is Rick Morales (Mortal Kombat Legends franchise). Sam Register is Executive Producer.

The Injustice 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition and a digital version of the movie.

Catch a sneak peek at Injustice whenDCFanDome, the ultimate global fan experience, returns on Saturday, October 16 at 10 a.m. PDT, with an all-new, epic streaming event. The free virtual event will once again welcome fans from around the world to immerse themselves in the DC Multiverse at DCFanDome.com and celebrate the stars and creators of their favorite feature films, live-action and animated television series, games, comics, home entertainment releases and more. DC FanDome 2021 will also be available on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, giving fans more ways to watch the events unfolding in DC FanDome’s Hall of Heroes.

InjusticeSpecial Features

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital

Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict (New Featurette) – The storytellers behind the new Injustice animated film discuss how all the intense drama and unabashed action was brought to life.

  • DC Universe Movies Flashback
    • The Death of Superman
    • Reign of the Supermen
  • From the DC Vault
    • Justice League – Injustice For All, Part I
    • Justice League – Injustice For All, Part II

Looking for a refresher course on animated Super Hero entertainment before seeing Injustice? HBO Max has a rich catalog of DC Universe Movies and DC-centric films and series.

Injustice will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

0

Minecraft: Wither Without You Vols. 1 & 2 by Kristen Gudsnuk

I don’t have tags for either video games or sharecropping, since I don’t read enough books in either category to make those useful, but this book would have both of those tags, if they existed. I’m also not 100% sure the “for kids” applies: the CIP data on the copyright page says these books are “Ages 8+,” but so are a lot of other things. The Minecraft graphic novels are at least not not for kids, if that makes sense.

Most people will be reading this book, and the burst of other Minecraft graphic novels that Dark Horse has been publishing under an arrangement with Mojang over the past couple of years, because they like the video game Minecraft: maybe the building/crafting elements, maybe the grinding/fighting mobs elements, maybe something social about being on a server with friends. But I only played Minecraft a very little bit myself, way back near the beginning, so I’m one of the few people here because I’m following Kristen Gudsnuk’s career.

(Sidebar 1: said career consisting, as far as I’ve seen, of the awesome Henchgirl  graphic novel, mostly for adults, and two books in the Making Friends  series for middle-grader readers. Those also contain awesomeness, but said awesomeness is more finely tailored to an audience of tween girls. A third Making Friends book has just been published; I haven’t seen it yet. I recommend adults start with Henchgirl: as previously mentioned, it is awesome, and I will keep saying so until everyone admits it.)

(Sidebar 2: I think I liked what I played of Minecraft. It’s just that I think I want to play building/crafting sims – I spent decades thinking I really really wanted to play Sim City or Sim Universe or whatever, but never got around to any of them, and did buy The Sims but left it moldering in my Steam folder after setting up two separate households in one evening – but, on the evidence, I actually want to do some crafting/building in my RPGs, as evidenced by nearly 3k hours in Fallout 4 to date. So nothing against Minecraft, and I may get back to it someday. But I bet it’s totally different than my vague memory.)

I say that to orient you the reader: the Minecraft stuff here is vaguely familiar to me, and I have definitely played other video games. But I may misunderstand some pretty basic stuff, and I apologize ahead of time if I do.

Anyway, Kristen Gudsnuk, of previous awesome comics fame, is in the middle of a trilogy of short graphic novels set in the world of Minecraft, the popular video game. I recently read the first two: as far as I can see, the third is not yet scheduled to be published, but my guess is that it should hit in mid-2022. The series is called Minecraft: Wither Without You, and Volume One  was published in April of 2020 and Volume Two  followed this May.

So this is an incomplete story, obviously. It’s set-up and middle, but the ending is not available yet. But each of the two books to date has an arc of its own – as all trilogies should – so I think I can say coherent things about the two of them.

We’re in a fantasy world that will be very familiar to Minecraft players and deeply weird to anyone else: the world is made of blocky elements than can be mined for materials used to build other things, and monsters run around randomly. Some of the people are rounded, but most of the villagers (whisper NPCs whisper) are blocky just like their world and creatures. Adventurers fight monsters to save villages, but even more so to get experience orbs and rare materials and probably some valuables the monsters have themselves.

Cahira and Orion are twin teenage monster hunters, traveling with their mentor/teacher Senan the Thorough to learn the ways of monster hunting and get epic loot along the way. In the first book, a Wither – a big nasty flying monster – attacks them when they trigger a trap in some monster-filled castle they’re exploring. It swallows Senan, and the twins chase it across the landscape, thinking they can save their mentor from its belly if they can do it quickly enough.

They are correct, though they need the help of Atria, a teen girl they meet along the way: she’s been cursed to attract monsters, and ends up both luring the Wither to them and figuring out what the Wither really wants.

The second book begins with our four heroes seeing that same Wither fly over, which it should definitely not be doing given the end of book one. (Trying to be at leas slightly vague here.) They’re on their way to Whitestone City to resupply after their epic battle, and they decide to also consult the great sorcerer Lucasta while they’re in town.

Unfortunately, Lucasta is also Senan’s great rival, so there’s some tension there. She also farms monsters, and is most interested in setting Atria up in a room with some monster death-traps to harvest their stuff – which is not the most pleasant thing for Atria. And there’s a self-proclaimed great monster hunter, Elvicks, in Whitestone, and his arrogance and attempted thievery leads to a zombie infestation, as it sometimes does.

So most of the back end of book two is devoted to getting rid of the zombies and working out the other problems. But they all end the book newly geared up and ready to go out and stop that Wither…which I presume they will do in the final book.

These are both fun and zippy in Gudsnuk’s usual style: her people have big emotions and reactions, which is excellent for slightly goofy melodrama where the reader knows it will all end well eventually. You probably do need to be a fan of Minecraft or Gudsnuk to want to read them, unless you’ve got a thing for books-based-on-video games. (And maybe you do: I don’t judge.) But both of these books are very good at what they set out to do, and what they set out to do is be vaguely positive but silly entertainment.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: F9: The Fast Saga
0

REVIEW: F9: The Fast Saga

Since 2001, long before Tony Stark got shelled, a kinetic shared universe was quietly taking shape and across the last two decades, the Fast & Furious franchise has become a homegrown phenomenon. This testosterone- and diesel-fueled series has become increasingly popular worldwide but has grown like kudzu, uncontrolled and able to entangle all who come near.

The series has suffered from the lack of a blueprint despite the obvious need to tend to the growing roster of characters and interrelationships. As a result, the series feels as chaotic as its stunts, as characters come and go, relationships merge and evolve, and all are in service to a complicated series of stunts with a thread of plot to tie them together.

Needing to top what came before, each film has grown in challenging stunts that rock your understanding of physics. Whereas the bar is raised by Tom Cruise in each Mission: Impossible film, you never shake your head in disbelief. Instead, it’s wonder.

F9: The Fast Saga opens with a signature stunt but one that tells you right from the start that reality is something to wave at in passing. This is not a film for newcomers as it is entirely dependent on what came before. What the film, written by director Justin Lin and Daniel Casey, does nicely is let the characters age and have lives between films.

But old grudges die hard and once again, the fate of the world is at stake thanks to Ares, a device that can access any computer system in the world, this film’s MacGuffin.

All your familiar faces are back along with cameos from others from throughout the preceding films including one specific surprise appearance. We even get flashbacks allowing us to see key players at earlier stages of their lives.

It’s frantic and frenetic, the stakes ever higher, and the jokes just as lame as before. The stunts make the films worth watching with its core stars—Vin Diesel, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez—having fun despite how tired some of the material has come to feel. It should be noted that the regulars made room for new faces including Michael Rooker, MMA Fighter Francis Ngannou, Ozuna and Cardi B. Even the creators know it’s time to make a final pit stop with the franchise ending after the next two films.

Universal Home Entertainment has released the movie on a variety of formats including the now-standard 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD code combo. The 1080p transfer is very sharp, nicely capturing the colors and shadows. For a movie built on sound, the Dolby Atmos audio tracks are superb. The 4k Ultra HD 2160p is just that much sharper.

For fans of the series, the extras certainly deliver some fine entertainment including both the Theatrical (2:22:52) and Director’s (2:29:55) cuts. The extra six minutes is more mayhem. Additionally, there is the requisite Gag Reel (3:34); F9: All In, a nine-part behind-the-scenes piece, The Family Returns (3:19), New Breed of Bad Guy (6:12), Building the Land Mine Chase (5:42), A Woman’s Touch (5:10), Vin, Helen, and the Queen (6:07), Growing the Family (4:27):, Controlled Chaos (9:10), Tokyo Drift Reunited (2:48), Raising the Bar (3:22), Practically Fast (7:52), Shifting Priorities (3:59), Justice for Han (3:37), A Day on the Set with Justin Lin (10:00), and John Cena: Supercar Superfan (4:36). The disc is rounded out with Audio Commentary from Justin Lin.

Shyamalan’s Old Arrives on Disc in October
0

Shyamalan’s Old Arrives on Disc in October

Universal City, California – Take a thrilling trip from the mind behind The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002) and Split (2016) in M. Night Shyamalan’s OLD, available to own on Digital October 5 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD on October 19 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Take a seat behind-the-camera with never-before-seen deleted scenes and bonus features that offer a deep dive into this mystery of a family vacation that quickly turns sinister.
 
Starring an impressive international cast including Golden Globe winner Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist, A Knight’s Tale), Alex Wolff (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Thomasin McKenzie (JoJo Rabbit), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Jupiter Ascending), Ken Leung (‘The Sopranos’, ‘Lost’), Eliza Scanlen (Little Women), Aaron Pierre (‘Britannia’), Embeth Davidtz (Schindler’s List, Matilda) and Emun Elliott (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens). OLD is directed and produced by critically acclaimed filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.
 
This chilling, mysterious new thriller follows a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day.
 
BONUS FEATURES ON 4K Ultra Hd, BLU-RAYTM, DVD and digital:

  • DELETED SCENES
  • SHYAMALAN FAMILY BUSINESS – We look at what Night’s two daughters, Ishana and Saleka, contributed to the film and how collaborating with family made filming outside Philadelphia still feel like home.
  • ALL THE BEACH IS A STAGE – Shooting a film in a wide-open space is challenging because angles have to be created, much like theatre. Night explains the significance of his camera movements and the cast discuss the unique experience of filming without coverage.
  • NIGHTMARES IN PARADISE – When making a film like OLD, finding the right shooting location is everything. Hear the story of why Night took the production to the Dominican Republic and how Mother Nature both challenged and helped the production.
  • A FAMILY IN THE MOMENT – Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff recount one very special, emotional night of filming that brought them closer than they ever imagined.

.

OLD will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital.

  • 4K Ultra HD delivers the ultimate movie watching experience. Featuring the combination of 4K resolution, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR).
  • Blu-ray Combo Pack includes Blu-ray, DVD and Digital copy.
  • Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can buy or rent instantly.
New images released from Night of the Animated Dead
1

New images released from Night of the Animated Dead

Four key characters – Ben (voiced by Dulé Hill), Barbara (Katharine Isabelle), Judy (Katee Sackhoff) and Tom (James Roday Rodriguez) – get the spotlight in new images released today from Night of the Animated Dead. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will distribute the animated remake of George A. Romero’s 1968 horror classic on Digital starting next Tuesday, September 21, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on October 5. 

The four new images from the film are:

Barbara’s journey opens the film – in an ominously quiet graveyard with her brother Johnny – and the intensity ramps up from there in Night of the Animated Dead. Scream queen Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) takes on the iconic role of Barbara in the film.

Ben discovers quickly that zombies are not fond of fire in Night of the Animated Dead. Dulé Hill (The West Wing, Psych), whose new series The Wonder Years premieres on ABC on September 22, provides the voice of Ben. 

Attempting to escape from their boarded up house, Judy, Tom and Ben try getting their truck to an abandoned gas pump in a key scene from Night of the Animated Dead. Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Battlestar Galactica) gives voice to Judy, playing opposite the Psych tag team of James Roday Rodriguez and Dulé Hill as the voices of Tom and Ben, respectively.

Escaping their fortified house, Tom leaps behind the wheel of a truck – with zombies hot on his trail – in a frightening scene from Night of the Animated Dead. James Roday Rodriguez (A Million Little Things, Psych) provides the voice of Tom in the film.