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REVIEW: Frozen II

REVIEW: Frozen II

REVIEW: Frozen IIBetween Walt Disney’s death in 1966 and 1988’s released of Oliver and Company, the namesake company’s animated output was stale, unimaginative, and paralyzed by execs whose manta was “What would Walt do?” Then came a second Golden Age of animation and generations have been entertained anew as they embraced bolder storytelling, more diverse characters, and even CGI versus cel animation.

And yet, I wonder how Walt would have felt about sequels. The direct to video sequels to films like The Lion King were sheer cash grabs and diluted the core properties. He would have been pleasantly surprised at how good the Pixar sequels to Toy Story have been. But, would he have approved a Frozen II? We’ll never know and it had to be a risk to bring a second adventure to the big screen considering the phenomenal success of the 2013 original.

Thankfully, the current team didn’t rush out a hasty sequel to squeeze every last nickel from their audience. Instead, they took their time to ensure a sequel was strong enough to handle the pent up expectations. There was no way the sequel, out now on disc from Disney Home Entertainment, could measure up but one would have hoped for something with a bit more zest.

The movie is pleasant enough as it builds on the world established in the original, giving us insight to the politics that beset Arendelle, which Else (Idina Menzel) now governs. She hears a call, one last heard in childhood, that brings her to the mythic forest. Accompanied by Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven, and Olaf (Josh Gad), the adventure begins. They find a misty barrier and once they pierce it, they find Arendelle’s long lost warriors, including Mattias (Sterling K. Brown). Secrets are revealed, the true nature of the conflict with Northuldra included, and the Queen must sort things out.

There are gasps and guffaws and the overall story is a good one, just not great and far from magical. Partly it’s familiarity, and partly there was no way they could live up to the anticipation.

The 2160p is a step above the Blu-ray but not enough to justify the extra cost (the combo pack here is your friend). Colors and details are crystal clear, the animated figures move fluidly and the effects are strong. Both 4K and Blu-ray come with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 or Dolby Atmos track and they both sound strong, but could be better.

The Special Features are usually where Disney shines, especially for their younger viewers but here it’s all just so ordinary. The 4K disc merely contains the movie with a karaoke-style lyric track. The rest are on the Blu-ray and there are plenty:

Outtakes (2:26) from the voice recording sessions; Did You Know??? (4:27), The Spirits of Frozen 2 (12:02), Scoring a Sequel (3:49); Deleted Scenes (17:58) with Director Chris Buck and Writer/Director Jennifer Lee introductions; Deleted Songs, including “Home” (4:22) and “I Wanna Get This Right” (6:24); two Gale Tests (3:56); “Into the Unknown” (3:07) seamlessly intercut in 29 Languages, which inspired the wonderful piece we see at the Academy Awards; Music Videos: “Into the Unknown” (Panic! At the Disco Version) (3:16) and “Lost in the Woods” (Weezer Version) (3:06).

Kristen Stewart’s Underwater DVD Details Unveiled

Kristen Stewart’s Underwater DVD Details Unveiled

Kristen Stewart gives a powerful performance in this action-packed sci-fi thriller. The crew of the Kepler undersea mining rig knew there would be hardships on their current mission, but nothing prepared them for the terrors they’re about to face. The heart-stopping adventure begins when a devastating earthquake damages the rig, including its communication devices and escape vehicle. Although quick-thinking mechanical engineer Norah Price (Stewart) manages to temporarily stave off imminent disaster, the need to evacuate escalates quickly. Their only hope is to walk across the ocean floor to an abandoned vessel, in hopes that its communication equipment still works. As if their journey isn’t treacherous enough, they begin to sense that they’re not alone in the murky ocean depths. Also starring Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller, Underwater is a chilling, suspenseful adventure that’s filled with nonstop action from start to finish.

Dive into a digital exclusive alternate ending with audio commentary, and a wealth of other bonus content when you redeem your digital code. Add UNDERWATER to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere™ and buy it on Blu-rayTM and DVD April 14.

UNDERWATER Blu-ray and Digital Special Features:

  • Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary*
  • Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary:
    • Rock Garden
  • Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary:
    • Crew Suit Up
    • Gantry Exit
    • Baby Clinger
    • Midway Station
    • Ocean Floor Walk
    • Smith Departure
  • Featurettes:
    • Real Bunny Montage
    • Making Underwater
      • Design
      • Production
      • Creatures & Visual Effects
  • Feature Audio Commentary by William Eubank, Jared Purrington and Phil Gawthorne
    *Alternate Ending available on Digital only. 

UNDERWATER Blu-ray Technical Specifications:
Street Date: April 14, 2020
Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 (16:9)
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Total Run Time: 95 minutes
U.S. Rating: PG-13

UNDERWATER DVD Technical Specifications:
Street Date: April 14, 2020
Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 (16:9)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo     Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Total Run Time: 95 minutes
U.S. Rating: PG-13

Warner Releases Details on all-star Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

Warner Releases Details on all-star Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

BURBANK, CA (March 4, 2020) – The World’s Greatest Super Heroes square off once-and-for-all against the despotic Darkseid – with the fate of all humanity hanging in the balance – in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting May 5, 2020, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on May 19, 2020.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will be accompanied by the all-new DC Showcase animated short, Adam Strange. The thrilling tale, which offers insight into the space adventurer’s fascinating backstory, features Charlie Weber (How To Get Away with Murder) as the voice of title character.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $29.98  SRP) as well as on Digital. The 4K Ultra HD 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 Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie.

Culminating a six-year animated journey that began with the release of Justice League War in 2014, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War finds Earth decimated after intergalactic tyrant Darkseid has devastated the Justice League in a poorly executed war by the DC Super Heroes. Now the remaining bastions of good – the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and assorted others – must regroup, strategize and take the war to Darkseid in order to save the planet and its surviving inhabitants. This is truly the war to end all wars, and only the victor will live to enjoy the spoils.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War features the largest Super Hero cast in the history of DC Universe Movies with dozens of actors/characters spotlighted in a grand ensemble of talent reprising their roles from this six-year story continuum. Matt Ryan (Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine), Jerry O’Connell (Carter, Bravo’s Play by Play, Stand by Me) and Taissa Farmiga (The Nun, The Mule, American Horror Story) anchor the cast as Constantine, Superman and Raven, respectively – the triumvirate determined to assemble the forces necessary to lead humanity’s final attack. Alongside that trio are the long-running core of Justice League voices — Jason O’Mara (The Man in the High Castle, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Batman, Rosario Dawson (Briar Patch, Daredevil, Sin City) as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg and Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, Insatiable, Ugly Betty) as The Flash – as well as JL-adjacents Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians) and Rainn Wilson (The Office, The Meg) as the voices of Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively.

Tony Todd (Candyman) is the voice of the film’s key villain, Darkseid. The cast also boasts appearances by Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy) as Zatanna, Ray Chase (Justice League Dark, Final Fantasy XV videogame) as Jason Blood/Etrigan, Roger R. Cross (24, The Strain, Arrow) as John Stewart & Swamp Thing, Liam McIntyre (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Flash) as Captain Boomerang, Hynden Walch (Teen Titans Go! Vs. Teen Titans) as Harley Quinn, Stuart Allan (Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood) as Robin/Damian, Sachie Alessio (Batman: Hush) as Lady Shiva, and John DiMaggio (Futurama, Batman: Under the Red Hood) as King Shark.

Directors Matt Peters (LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters) and Christina Sotta (Young Justice) helm Justice League Dark: Apokolips War from a script by Ernie Altbacker (Batman: Hush, Justice League Dark) and Mairghread Scott (Wonder Woman: Bloodlines), who is also credited with creating the story. Amy McKenna (The Death of Superman) is producer, and Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is co-producer. Executive Producers are Sam Register and James Tucker (Reign of the Supermen, Justice League Dark).

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is an epic story of supernatural proportions. A blockbuster, battle royale of a film filled with intense action and heartfelt emotions, serving up spotlight moments for our cast of unique characters,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Senior Vice President, Originals, Animation and Family Marketing. “This incredible thrill-ride takes us to the edge of the DC universe and sets the stage for an exciting new chapter.”

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War Special Features

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

  • DC Showcase: Adam Strange (Animated Short) – On an asteroid mining colony, mysterious drifter Adam Strange is dismissed as an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open a fissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long. Charlie Weber provides the voice of Adam Strange, alongside with Roger R. Cross, Kimberly Brooks, Ray Chase and Fred Tatasciore. Adam Strange is produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited franchise), who also conceived the original story – which is written by J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons).
  • Darkseid: New God/Evil Classic (New Featurette) – This documentary explores the machinations of one of fiction¹s greatest Super Villains as we learn more about what fuels Darkseid¹s drive to becoming a galactic Atilla the Hun and the importance of Deities in our classic and modern fiction.
  • Filmmaker Audio Commentary – Observations and behind-the-scenes insight from Executive Producer James Tucker, Directors Matt Peters and Christina Sotta, and Screenwriter Ernie Altbacker.
  • Look Back: Justice League Dark (Featurette) – John Constantine leads a group of misfit characters that use magic to vanquish their opponents. This is the dark version of the Justice League taking on the malevolent forces that go beyond our plane of existence.
  • Look Back: Batman and Harley Quinn (Featurette) – Take a peek at the animated feature film, Batman and Harley Quinn, featuring the creators and talented voice cast.
  • From the DC Vault: Justice League Action, “Zombie King”
  • From the DC Vault: Justice League Action, “Abate and Switch”
  • From the DC Comics Vault: Teen Titans, “Nevermore”
  • A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Superman: Man of Tomorrow – An advanced look at the next animated film in the popular DC Universe Movies collection.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War 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.

BASICS

PRODUCT                                                                  SRP

4K UHD Combo Pack                                                $39.99 USA, $44.98 Canada

Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                  $24.98 USA, $29.98 Canada

Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French

Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

4K Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French

4K Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Running Time: 90 minutes

Rated R for bloody violence, language and some sexual references.

REVIEW: Knives Out

REVIEW: Knives Out

­After a lackluster summer where there were far more misses than hits, audiences were hungry for something fresh, something different. Lionsgate met that need with the surprise hit, Knives Out, which is out now on disc.

It’s a contemporary take on the kind of murder mysteries Agatha Christie made a career out of and like the film adaptations of her works, this comes with a stellar cast. Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed the feature, serves up an incredibly enjoyable tale, letting familiar performers work outside their familiar character types.

We have world-famous author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) and his immediate family gathering for an 80th birthday party, but by midnight, he’s dead with all four children suspects in the crime.

Lieutenant Elliott (Lakeith Stanfield) and a trooper Wagner (Noah Segan), perhaps the weakest written characters in the film, have been taking statements and investigating but seem to be getting nowhere. Sitting quietly in the shadows, observing is Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a private investigator mysteriously hired to ferret out the real killer.

Could it be Harlan’s daughter Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), or her husband Richard (Don Johnson) or even Richard’s ne’er-do-well son Hugh Ransom (Chris Evans)? Maybe it was Harlan’s son Walt (Michael Shannon) or his wife Donna (Riki Lindhome), or Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette), the widow of Harlan’s deceased son Neil. Or we could skip a generation and cast a jaundiced eye at Walt and Donna’s alt-right son Jacob (Jaeden Martell), Joni’s daughter Meg (Katherine Langford), or even Harlan’s elderly mother Wanetta (K Callan).

Helping fill in some of the gaps while hiding secrets of her own is Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), who the family treated as one of their own until their true selves were teased out through Blanc’s questioning.

We get plenty of flashbacks until the truth is revealed to the audience and then the fun begins with the weakest car chase of all time, projectile vomiting, and plenty of scenery-chewing. A great time can be had with this delight of a film.

Johnson clearly had fun crafting this and his cast gave it their all, turning de Armas, next seen with Craig in No Time to Die, into the current It Girl. The box office success h meant work already has begun on a new Blanc mystery to solve.

The film is out on a variety of formats including the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo. The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 works fine and only the most discerning may quibble at some of the color changes. Really, it looks fine and the Dolby Atmos audio track is crisp and clear.

I wish the special features were a little more special but they’re okay. We have In Theater Commentary with Rian Johnson, Deleted Scenes (4:57) complete with optional commentary from Johnson; Making a Murder (1:54:07), a fine behind-the-scenes look; Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder (6:17); Director and Cast Q & A (42:09) derived from a 2019 screening in Westwood, California; Marketing Gallery, three Trailers, viral ads for Thrombey Real Estate (00:34), Blood Like Wine Publishing (00:56), and Flam (00:34); and Ode to the Murder Mystery (1:43).

Cancelled Comic Convention Cavalcade? Count On It!

Cancelled Comic Convention Cavalcade? Count On It!

This may be the big one, folks. This may be the year that the San Diego Comic-Con gets cancelled.

You think I’m kidding?

The word came out from C2E2 this past weekend: People slated for Emerald City Comic Con Artist Alley in two weeks are publicly cancelling. A rumor that the whole dang con is cancelling is also doing the rounds.

Why? Because the first casualty from COVID-19 is from the Seattle area. There’s a cluster of people there who are already infected.

And neither the coronavirus nor the cancellations going to stop there.

The week after ECCC? ACE in Boston and Planet Comicon in Kansas City. Two weeks after that? Great Philadelphia, Big Apple and MoCCA.

And that just gets us to April.

Guests will cancel. The comics industry is filled with people who simply don’t have health insurance, and can’t risk the costs, the time out of work, or (obviously) their lives for the worst con-crud ever. Old-timers won’t even dare to leave their homes, nor should they. And all of this is before there are mandatory shutdowns by hotels, convention centers– even government order.

There’s no way to avoid it: if you’re expecting to go to any more conventions this year, you’d best be preparing alternate plans. If you’re expecting to make money at a show, you’d best be exploring mail order options or other sources of income.

I expect we’re going to start hearing about official cancellations of major conventions in ten days, possibly less.

How long will it go on? Hard to say, but if they’re talking the cancellation of events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, you can’t believe that San Diego Comic-Con International isn’t going to be on the list to avoid like the– well, to avoid. At the very least, it’s not going to be nearly as international as in years past.

But that’s just the beginning of the troubles for the comics industry.

Are you going to be able to get to your local comic store on a regular basis? Is that store in a mall that’s in danger of quarantine? How many of those stores are getting books from overseas? (Assume anything from China will be an extra month late at minimum.) What happens if there are road closures? Travel restrictions between states?

And you’re going to have strange happenings. It just might be that Birds Of Prey is going to be the only comic book movie that is released to theaters directly this year– a number of people may check what’s at their local theater in two weeks and see the signs saying NO TIME TO DIE, and take the hint.

This is going to be a crazy year, folks. Be prepared. Keep checking CDC.gov. And for heaven’s sake, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You even know the length of time… it’s the time to sing this to yourself:

And no, we’re not sorry that song will be stuck in your head for the next year.

THE INFLUENCE FACTOR:  Dan DiDio, Andrew Rev, & Studio 54 Philosophy

THE INFLUENCE FACTOR: Dan DiDio, Andrew Rev, & Studio 54 Philosophy

“NO Bridge or Tunnel people.”

Steve Rubell, owner, Studio 54

That meant if you were not from Manhattan, you had little chance of ever getting into what is now known as the world’s most famous nightclub.

Studio 54.

Back then and even now, only the very rich or very poor live on the isle of Manhattan. I’m neither, although I’ve been poor and have had a bit of wealth.

Wealth, in this case, being able to afford a Manhattan residence. That by no means is a declaration of endless Benjamin’s. The thing about being from no money when you get some, you either blow it (done that) lose it (done that) or finally learn to make it work for you.

If you’re wondering what the difference between losing it and blowing it is, you’re blowing it.

(more…)

Brian Hibbs: Speculeeches vs. Actual Readers of Comics

Brian Hibbs: Speculeeches vs. Actual Readers of Comics

There’s a return of an old pestilence upon the comics landscape. Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience is sounding the warning alarms. Reprinted with permission. —CM

Once again there is a speculator-driven comic coming out this week that forces us to limit sales or change our natural way of doing business.

This week it is YEAR OF THE VILLAIN: HELL ARISEN #3.

Brian Hibbs: Speculeeches vs. Actual Readers of Comics

Here’s the thing: unlike last week’s BATMAN, where there were a good number of potential people-who-bought-earlier-issues-from-the-rack, my point-of-sale system shows me that virtually none of you bought copies of #1 or #2 from the shelf — this comic was a massive flop. And so, really, the only reason for most of the phone calls and such we’re getting is because we’ve got a bunch of greedy people trying to buy it from us for $4, and flip it for $40+.

I can’t countenance this as a retailer (seriously folks, we’re not suckers), and so I have to try to deflect you all. This week our plan is this: if you’re not already subbed for YOTV:HA (and you aren’t), THEN IN ORDER TO BUY #3, YOU HAVE TO BUY #1 & 2 ALONG WITH IT. We’re only interested in facilitating the reading of a story.

Let me go one step further: I’ve owned a comic book store since 1989, and I’ve worked comics retail since like ’85. I’ve heard this same record many many times before: In point of fact I’ve personally watched the comic book industry ALMOST BE DESTROYED MULTIPLE TIMES by speculators and greed — through the B&W boom, through the 90s spec crisis, and it’s happening again right now. People trying to “flip” comics are making it so PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT TO READ THEM CAN’T DO SO.

It’s not right; and it’s certainly nothing I’m willing to participate in.

Please listen: if you are buying comics with the goal of flipping them for a greater price you are HURTING the comics medium, you are HURTING small businesses, you are HURTING creators and publishers….. and, more importantly, I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY TO DO SO.

Seriously: Fuck the fuck off. Go shop somewhere else. You don’t like comics, you’re not good for comics, and your money is worthless to me because what I, and every other, comic book retailer needs are ONGOING READERS. Your spending $4 today is dwarfed by a regular stable purchaser spending that every single month. On the non-returnable comics that form the backbone of the Direct Market your ONE TIME purchase is genuinely HURTING comics and comics stores who then have a harder time figuring out how to serve their regulars. Your purchases are WEAKENING the market, and so you are not welcome in our doors.

When I opened in 1989, there were 24 comic book stores in San Francisco, and now there are (barely) 8 — that two-thirds went out of business largely because of these bullshit speculator games that hollowed out the actual readers market, despite the local economy BOOMING beyond all rationality in that time.

You suck. You destroy the thing you claim that you value. And Comix Experience simply won’t stand for it (nor have we, consistently, for the last thirty years!)

And more than that…. honestly? You’re an idiot. I sell comics for a living, and I watch these variant flash-in-the-pans and they NEVER (ever) hold their value. There are a small cartel of folks who are using public-facing apps, and trading back and forth between puppet accounts to MAKE IT LOOK like there’s demand for these comics featuring “Punchline”, but as a guy who has been selling this stuff for decades: this moment is 100% false and manufactured. We’ve yet to have a SINGLE reader show the slightest amount of non-fiduciary interest in the character, and any comic that “every knows is going to be worth money” never ever is a month or three after it drops.

Maybe “Punchline” will be an interesting character, with an involving storyline that leads to dynamic story-telling and tales for the ages. I sincerely hope so. But speculeechs driving up the price before anyone has ever read a single page of content is a massive red flag that “Punchline” will end up no better than “The Joker’s Daughter” (which was also white hot for about 45 days in 2013, and now no one would give you a dime for her eponymous comic)

Don’t be a sucker. Don’t help destroy what is left of the periodical comics market (idiot!) And don’t think you’re welcome in our stores. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we’ve had it proven again and again and again that you are the stone cold enemy of the Medium of comics.

Right now, you have a LOT of people trying to sucker and shake you down and get you to buy their comics because so many of them see a Hollywood Play, and are willing to use speculators and the worst excesses of the “Collector’s Market” to try and leverage that play. They too, are the enemy. Don’t fall for it! Don’t support them!

If you have any issue with any of this, take it up directly with me. I can always be reached at brian@comixexperience.com. Leave my staff out of it, please — this is a top-down statement.

-B

Brian Hibbs
Head Cheese, Comix Experience
San Francisco

DC’s REAL Doomsday Clock: Dan DiDio, 5G, and the End of the Trinity

DC’s REAL Doomsday Clock: Dan DiDio, 5G, and the End Of The Trinity

By now, you’ve probably heard that Dan DiDio is out as the co-publisher of DC Comics. Heidi covers a lot of it:

The departure of Dan DiDio as DC Co-Publisher on Friday was both long expected and shocking. His exit was rumored many many times over the years, and every contract renewal was a will he or won’t he suspense movie.

Originally at ComicsBeat.com

Rob Salkowitz over at ICV2 notes that this could be the first clear sign of some major changes in direction since DC’s parent company, Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), was acquired by AT&T last summer.

DiDio was something of a polarizing figure because of the direction of DC’s publishing strategy over the past few years. That has led to a lot of speculation about what was behind the sudden move, and whether it’s related to specific issues like DC’s impending “5G” initiative or some pent-up dissatisfaction within the company over his leadership.

Originally at ICV2

But what is/was 5G? Rather than that new wireless spectrum that’s being talked about for phones and wifi, DiDio had something else in mind:

The basic idea has been floating around since the middle of last year, and is seemingly yet another response to flagging sales. The idea was sort of to Ultimatize DC: all of the main heroes would be replaced by new younger versions, a tried and true comic book procedure which ends up giving you a great wave of cheers when the originals return AND new refreshing characters with youthful appeal.

Originally at ComicsBeat.com

Rob goes into detail about some of the financial issues behind this, focusing on AT&T’s purchase of WarnerMedia for $85 billion, doubling their debt to $170-odd billion, making them the most indebted publicly-traded company in the world by a factor of at least two, and about $70 billion in BBB-rated debt is coming due in the next 4-5 years, which must be repaid on schedule to maintain investment-grade status for its bonds.

But Rob missed the giant concrete block suspended over the wizard’s head…and the thread breaks in 13 years.

Because in 2033, unless there’s a big change in legislation… Superman enters the public domain.

Followed by Batman, Sandman, and the original Captain Marvel in 2034; Robin, the Flash, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Hourman, the Spectre, and Johnny Thunder in 2035; and Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman in 2036.

What percentage of the overall value of DC Comics is made up of those characters? 50%? 75%? 90%??? Whatever it is, it’s a lot. And it’s going to start going away very soon.

Now, DC won’t lose all of that value immediately. But there’s not going to be a lot preventing anyone from reprinting those stories, or making new stories from them. Or new movies and TV shows. Heck, there won’t be anything preventing Marvel from publishing Superman stories.

My take on 5G is that Dan was trying to get out from under by creating new characters that could still be held under copyright, holding on to value for the company going forward. And now that Dan’s gone… what are they going to do?

Tick-tock… tick-tock…

Visually Stunning 1917 Arrives on Disc March 10

Visually Stunning 1917 Arrives on Disc March 24

Universal City, California, February 20, 2020 – 1917, the critically acclaimed, multi-award winning action spectacle including Academy Award® winner for Best Cinematography arrives on Digital March 10, 2020 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD March 24, 2020 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.  Hailed as “One of the most extraordinary cinematic achievements of the year” (JoBlo), the universally acclaimed film combines groundbreaking film making, memorable performances, and an unforgettable insight into the human experience against the shattering background of war. Additionally an Oscar® winner for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing, 1917 is “a new war movie classic” (NY Post).

In 1917 at the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (MacKayand Blake (Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them. 1917 comes to Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD with bonus content showcasing the incredible craft and artistry behind the immersive feature, including a detailed look into the production design, how the film engineered a one shot, 360-degree format and interviews with the cast and crew.

In 1917, Academy Award®-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Spectre, Skyfall) brings his Golden Globe® and BAFTA award-winning directorial performance to a script co-written alongside Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“Penny Dreadful”). The film stars breakout actors George Mackay (Captain Fantastic, Pride, Sunshine on Leith) and Dean-Charles Chapman (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”). Accompanying Mackay and Chapman are standout performances by Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor, Kingsman, The Imitation Game), Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”, Sherlock, Spectre), Richard Madden (Netflix’s “The Bodyguard”, Rocketman, HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Kingsman, Bridget Jones) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr. Strange, The Imitation Game). The film was produced by Mendes, Pippa Harris (“Penny Dreadful”, “Call the Midwife”), Jayne-Ann Tenggren (SpectreExtremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Callum McDougall (Spectre, Skyfall, Casino Royale) and Brian Oliver (Rocketman, Black Swan).

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:

  • The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes – Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War 1.
  • Allied Forces: Making 1917 – Learn how the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academy Award® winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Sam Mendes’ vision to life.
  • The Music of 1917 – Composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award®-nominated score.
  • In The Trenches – Go behind the scenes with the cast of 1917.
  • Recreating History – Filmmakers offer a detailed look at the production design challenges of recreating the First World War.
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Sam Mendes.
  • Feature Commentary with Director of Photography Roger Deakins.
1917 will be available on 4K Ultra HD combo pack, which includes 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, & Digital Code.

  • 4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K resolution for four times sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.
    • 1917 4K Ultra HD is available with HDR10+™, providing a premium HDR picture quality. HDR10+ transforms your movie watching experience with incredible brightness and contrast for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deepest darks.
  • Blu-ray unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
  • The Movies Anywhere Digital App simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere.  Movies Anywhere is available only in the United States.
For artwork, please log onto our website at www.uphepublicity.com

Website: https://uni.pictures/1917
Trailer: http://uni.pictures/1917Trailer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1917Film
Twitter: https://twitter.com/1917
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/1917
#1917Movie

FILMMAKERS:
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Cast: George MacKay, Dean- Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch
Music By: Thomas Newman
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran, David Crossman
Editor: Lee Smith, ACE
Production Designer: Dennis Gassner
Director of Photography: Roger Deakins, ASC ESC
Produced By: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall, Brian Oliver
Written By: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns

TECHNICAL INFORMATION 4K:

Street Date: March 24, 2020
Selection Number: 61209848 (US) / 61210170 (CDN)
Layers:  BD-100
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1
Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language.
Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish
Video: 2160p UHD Dolby Vision/HDR10+/HDR 10
Languages/Sound: English (Dolby Atmos), French Canadian (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1)
Run Time: 1:59:00
TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAYTM:

Street Date: March 24, 2020
Selection Number: 61209847 (US) / 61210172 (CDN)
Layers:  BD-50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1
Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language.
Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish
Languages/Sound: English (Dolby Atmos), French Canadian (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1)
Run Time: 1:59:00

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD:
Street Date: March 24, 2020
Selection Number: 61209846 (US) / 61210171 (CDN)
Layers: DVD 9
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1
Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language.
Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish
Languages/Sound: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French Canadian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Run Time: 1:59:00

Michael Davis: What Happened, Part 2

In part one of this article, I asked what happened to that fun-loving silly bastard who lost his mind when he met Mickey Mouse at Disneyland?

This happened…

Sadness happened.

Sadness killed that pain in the ass lovable (YEAH LOVABLE) bastard. The grief felt over the loss of my mother, the end of my marriage, and friendship with Denys Cowan. Sadness over my inability to shield people I care about from my (then) undiagnosed bipolar behavior. Sadness helped along by my (then) undiagnosed severe depression.

Anger happened.

Anger over the constant ridicule from the friends of my ex-wife who’s elitist posture pissed me off to no end. Yet, for the most part, I let it go, which made me angrier. The insult from Milestone.

The criminal (YES criminal) treatment from DC Comics. The two false racist arrests by LAPD. The seemingly purposeful attempts to distance me from my contributions as the lead creator of Static Shock.

“If you think Michael is the creator of Static just because his mom’s name is Jean. You should meet Dwayne’s cousin.”

Matt Wayne.

“Matt, if you think Dwayne is the sole creator of Static, you should meet my mother, Jean, my sister, Sharon, my father Robert, my childhood friends Wade and Richie, my cousin (yep cousin) Dee Dee…I could go on and on and on….”

Me

OR you could just peek at the creative bible Dwayne edited, BUT I WROTE.

Wait, I misspoke.

You can’t meet any of those people I named as characters I created.

They are all dead.

In the case of Sharon and Dee Dee murdered.

So I’m a wee bit ticked when people talk shit about the family who was the real-life models for those characters. I did that so my family would live on in some way.

NO ONE gets to rewrite that history.

Anger at a boldface horrible lie put on social media. A woman claiming I threatened her and felt she had to be escorted out of Comic-Con by her friends. She was preparing to write an in-depth ‘tell-all’ expose of my crimes against Gays and Black women, aka Me Too. She then recruited others to tell their ‘truth to power’ story.

There might be more, but all you need are two for a criminal conspiracy.

The unfortunate thing for those involved is you don’t have to commit the crime to be convicted of it. All you have to do is plan it and be stupid enough to put it on Twitter.

Here’s a tip for those who try to set me up. It can’t be done. I ALWAYS HAVE PROOF of where I am and what I’m doing and, most importantly, who I happen to be with.

Usually, I’d spend a few paragraphs examining the juicy piece of bullshit like this. Not this time. The rest of the article has a declaration that will NOT include those damning claims.

I’ll just say this: the claims made by that woman is laughable although not funny. I have proof she’s lying so strong that the VIDEO proof is the weakest of the evidence.


Sadness and anger, I brought on myself.

 

Yeah-I did. Even the failed attempts by DC’s former boss to discredit me sabotage my business. The stupid plot to cast me in the role of sexual predator hater of Gays and Black women, even those lies I’m responsible for.

I could have sought help earlier. I make no excuses, but I’m from a generation of Black men unless bleeding from a severe injury (sometimes not even then) don’t go to the doctor. I wrote article after article describing some of my I now know as systems and never gave it thought there was an issue.

Why am I responsible for those who hate my swagger so much they feel they have the right to try and destroy me? Lacking that, they hack my Facebook and tell the world I committed suicide. Why is that my responsibility?

My mother is why.

My mother was a remarkable woman. I’m sure most sons would say that about their mom, so I’ll tell you a bit about mine so you know I’m not whistling Dixie.

She took a horrible beating as punishment for me drawing (with a permanent black magic marker) all over the only TV set at the boarding house we were staying in.

I was 6 or 7, my sister, and I witnessed the entire thing. I knew it was my fault. We moved out of the boarding house, packing nothing going back to my grandmother’s house. We lived there when my mom broke up with my step-father. My step-father came over under the guise of reconciling. That subject was tabled when my mother was choked.

My step-father had beaten my mother there and promised to do it again. Putting herself back in harm’s way so her kids would be safe is standard procedure for any mother.

What makes my mom remarkable is what she did the day after the beating. I was a wreck, crying uncontrollably each time I thought about my mother trying to shield herself from her attacker. My mother came home after work, smiling through a swollen jaw, and presented me with an art set.

She knew. She knew the pain and anguish from the guilt I suffered. She knew how high the cost would be to my life if she didn’t act. But most of all, this remarkable soul knew her big mouth silly child found something he loved.

She knew I loved to draw. She gave me back my love with that art set because I’m sure I never would have drawn again.

That and about a zillion other reasons is why my mom is remarkable.


“Don’t back down when right do not let people dim your glow, Mike. Be yourself above all.”

My mother told me that in fourth grade, when bullied again in ninth grade when rejected by the High School of Art and Design and on what turned out to be her death bed.

Each time she said that to me, she was wiping tears from my eyes.

I am who I am. I don’t back down when I am right, and I’m always right.

That’s not bravado its truth. Every wrong done to me is retaliation against me, justly standing firm speaking truth to power. I can and have proved it.

No one cares.

Thus the anger bitterness and constant bitching.

Now, I see Micky Mouse as a guy in a suit when once I saw Mickey as another opportunity for a bit of fun.

I have to stop.

I gotta let it all go, or it will destroy me. It already consumes me at times my anger driving my blood pressure to deadly numbers

So I am letting it go after I state for the record a few things.

DC Comics TWICE under the leadership of Paul…nope.

That would defeat the entire purpose. Everything I would write here I’ve written before. My fans (both of them) have seen that narrative from me many times.

I wish DC well, yes that includes Paul. No, there is no joke coming. I respect what he’s done in comics. How could I not? I defended him when he was called a racist. Paul’s not a racist. No Paul, no Milestone, PERIOD. I did something that soured him against me personally, and he reacted. That’s not racism that’s good old unethical  American resentment.

He has little or no respect for me.

That’s ok. I am no longer losing any sleep over him.

He’s welcome to think anything he wants.

Everyone can conceive whatever hated view of me they want.  However, if it comes to my attention, I’m being slandered, and my business is affected to paraphrase Bruno Mars; “I’m a dangerous man with some lawyers in my pocket.”

I’ve already let the Milestone slight go. A few months ago, I had an hour-long conversation with Reggie Hudlin, who offered me the lead in his next movie. It’s called ‘Missing.’

JOKE! I did have an hour plus call with Reggie and still consider him a friend. Hung out with Mr. Denys Tesla Cowan over Thanksgiving. The only person I haven’t reconnected with is Derek Dingle. That’s on him.

Like the old south, I am officially letting all the pain, and righteous anger go.

Also, like the old south, I will occasionally react badly. Unlike the old south, I’m only human.

JOKE!I’m told there are many humans in the south!

Everyone gets a pass, EXCEPT those who with malice and forethought tried to harm me in some way. That’s out of my hands. They will hear from me through legal channels. They get no more of my time on-line.

For better or worse, as long as my new meds and outlook are working for me, I’m back to being a lovable bastard.

It’s hard letting pain and anger go. I can now because I realize that it will kill me. I’ll be dead soon enough; I don’t need any more help. I miss the person I once was. I owe it to my beloved Jean and all those who love me to bring that guy back.

Besides, comics need the true Master Of The Universe.  He-Man? Close but no. I’m talking about me, man. Damn! I’m so witty!


NEXT WEEK: I dismantle an Entertainment Weekly opinion piece claim of what the greatest Romantic Comedy is and school them on their comics ‘coverage.’