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Billie Holiday by Munoz and Sampayo

Billie Holiday by Munoz and Sampayo

I should tell you their first names, though the book doesn’t: Jose Munoz and Carlos Sampayo. Munoz is the artist; Sampayo is the writer. They’re both Argentine, though they mostly worked in Europe, over the past forty-plus years. Both still alive, as far as I know, now in their upper seventies.

Billie Holiday  was written in Spanish, originally published in 1991. It’s had editions in English since then – I have no idea if it’s always been the same translation. This one is from NBM, and came out in 2017. It includes a long discursive introduction about Holiday by Francis Marmande, who I gather is a prominent French writer on jazz. The introduction tells us her story in an in-your-face, demanding style – not unlike the book itself, though in a different way – probably in part because the comics pages themselves will only lightly touch on that story.

This is a biographical graphic novel, or bande dessinee – Holiday was a real person, and this book tells stories from her real life, as true as any other book about historical people. But it’s not her whole life, or a carefully-organized life: it’s scenes from her life, mostly out of context, as understood or experienced much later.

Holiday was a jazz singer, and writer of her own songs – among the best of all time in the former, and not too shabby at the latter. She was Black and a woman in a time when either of those things was a burden and both were an iron cage. She was an addict and a stormy personality, I think – the book and the introduction are more poetic about it – which didn’t help, but who ever min-maxes their own life to be the most successful version of themselves? She achieved a lot. She fought hard. She died young.

This book is about her only at a distance, for all she’s on a majority of the pages. A reporter is working late at night, thirty years after her death (so in 1989 – farther back from our today than Holiday’s death was from his), suddenly having to write a feature article about her for the anniversary, for some unnamed publication that clearly is really bad at planning out their editorial calendar. The book we read is…his thoughts as he writes that article? What he learns about Holiday that long night? Somehow that article as transmuted into comics pages? I’m not sure the frame story actually makes any sense, or is necessary: we don’t need to have Holiday’s story mediated by some white guy thirty years later.

But it’s the way Munoz and Sampayo told this story: it’s the way we get it.

Think of it as a jazz improvisation, I suppose: talented creators stepping up into the spotlight, picking up their instrument, and playing the melody, but doing it their way, however feels right, that night and on that stage.

We only see Holiday as an adult, only after she’s already famous. The scenes are not dated, but seem to be basically in chronological order. Call it mostly the 1950s; the last decade of her life. It’s mostly set at night, mostly at times when things aren’t going well for Holiday. Almost as much about her great collaborator and friend Lester “Prez” Young, as about her alone – maybe what I mean is that it’s largely about his influence on her, though Holiday comes across as someone who would not let herself be influenced, who did what she felt she had to do (songs or men or drugs or whatever) at the time, no matter what the consequences.

Sampayo provides that quirky structure, the story that flows around and through her life, the frame-story of someone presumably not all that different from Sampayo himself, considering this story so many years later. Munoz provides the atmosphere: he’s one of the most distinctive artists in the world, tormented sweaty faces emerging from his blocky, utterly compelling slabs of ink.

This is probably a book largely for people who already know at least the outline of Holiday’s life; you won’t learn things very clearly here. Or, more obviously, for fans of other works by Munoz and Sampayo.

The best way to discover Holiday is through her songs: I’d recommend “Strange Fruit ” or “Crazy He Calls Me ” or “Easy Living ” as places to start.

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

Firestarter Remake to Light up Homes Next Week

Firestarter Remake to Light up Homes Next Week

Universal City, California – Blumhouse reignites Firestarter with this explosive adaptation of the classic Stephen King thriller, arriving on Digital June 12, 2022 and on Blu-rayTM and DVD June 28, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In this suspenseful thriller, a girl with extraordinary pyrokinetic powers (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) fights to protect her family (Zac Efron and Sydney Lemmon) from sinister forces seeking to capture her in Firestarter. Hailed as “ferociously impressive” (Chicago Sun-Times), Firestarter features a never-before-seen Alternate Ending and exclusive bonus content which includes deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, and a feature commentary with the director.

From producers Jason Blum (Halloween Kills, The Invisible Man) and Akiva Goldsman (Doctor Sleep) and director Keith Thomas (The Vigil)

, Firestarter stars Zac Efron (The Greatest Showman, The Disaster Artist, Neighbors), Ryan Kiera Armstrong (Anne with an E; IT: Chapter II), Gloria Reuben (Mr. Robot, Lincoln, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), Sydney Lemmon (Succession, Helstrom, Fear the Walking Dead), Kurtwood Smith (That ‘70’s Show, 24), John Beasley (The Purge: Anarchy, Rudy) and Michael Greyeyes (Rutherford Falls, True Detective).

Protected by her parents (Efron and Lemmon), Charlie (Armstrong) has lived her childhood on the run and has kept her extraordinary pyrokinetic powers in check. But now that she’s turning 11, the flames are harder to control, and sinister forces are seeking to capture her. Charlie must learn to embrace the fire from within and fight to control it in order to protect her family and freedom.

With the purchase of Firestarter on disc or digital, fans are eligible to earn points towards digital movies via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, swag and more! For registration and details please visit www.MyUniversalRewards.com.

BONUS FEATURES on BLU-RAYTM

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, DVD & DIGITAL:
• ALTERNATE ENDING*
• DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES*
o Andy Reflects in Mirror
o Andy’s Lot Six Nightmare – Extended
o Wanless Gets a Visitor – Extended
o Rainbird Scare/Wildlife Hunt
o Charlie Treks to Find Andy
o Charlie Counts Down “Five, Four, Three, Lies”
o Andy’s Visionary Escape From the Cell
• GAG REEL*
• A KINETIC ENERGY – Filmmakers and cast discuss how stars Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong worked closely with director Keith Thomas to bring this new FIRESTARTER to life.
• SPARK A FIRE – A look at how the story and themes of FIRESTARTER were adapted from the famous novel.
• IGNITING FIRESTARTER – A behind-the-scenes look at how some of FIRESTARTER’s most extreme fire effects and stunts were accomplished.
• POWER STRUGGLE – A breakdown of the physical stunts and practical effects that came together to craft the fight scene between Rainbird and Vicky.
• FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR KEITH THOMAS*
*Exclusive to Blu-ray, DVD & Digital

Firestarter will be available on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital.
• 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.

REVIEW: Tin Man

REVIEW: Tin Man

Tin Man
By Justin Madson
Amulet Books, 224 pages, $17.99/$29.99

As coming of age graphic novel go, Tin Man is above average, a fine story of some other version of Earth with a young teen struggling to find his place in the world after the death of his grandmother. His older sister, Solar, has less time for him now that she has an, ugh, boyfriend, who happens to be a jerk. So, Fenn is left to tinker in the garage, hoping to complete a rocket ship and visit space.

While scavenging for spare parts at a junkyard, he meets up with Campbell, a tin woodsman who thinks there is more to life than merely chopping down trees in the forest. They become friends and the adventure takes off.

The book description calls it “equal parts The Iron GiantThe Wizard of OzEdward Scissorhands, and Freaks and Geeks” but it is heavily layered with Oz elements, making it very much an alternate reality from L. Frank Baum’s world. And it doesn’t need to be. In fact, all the reimagining of Oz, the wizard, the witches, etc., are actually distracting. Madson seems almost afraid to create his own story, relying on the Oz tropes to get him through, get him noticed. 

The story of friendship, wanderlust, and growing up is perfectly fine although we’ve seen all these elements before. Madson’s strength is in making us feel for Fenn, Solar, and Campbell. The sibling relationship is one of the freshest aspects of the book as is the family’s easy acceptance of a mechanical being

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, accepting the other.

Madson’s artwork and color is effective and his dialogue smooth. The book is fine YA addition to the GN library and might get some to go back and sample Baum’s original work.  

Crazy 8 Press Launches PRISM on Vella

Crazy 8 Press Launches PRISM on Vella

Crazy 8 Press’ latest project, PRISM, takes the 11-year-old publisher in a new direction. This time they are exploring the storytelling possibilities in Amazon Kindle’s Vella program. Five of the ten partners have been working for the last six months on the project, which debuts today.

Hildy Silverman, one of the most recent recruits to the self-publishing hub, helped brainstorm the project and then volunteered to steer it as editor. She is joined by Mary Fan, Russ Colchamiro, and cofounders Aaron Rosenberg and Robert Greenberger.

PRISM supposes that the crew of Apollo 17, the final crewed visit to the moon, found an alien artifact and secretly brought it back to Earth. Over the next decade, other odd pieces of metal began to “activate”. PRISM was formed to find and locate all the pieces to understand how they fit together and what the combined device might do. Of course, others are also interested in these artifacts, so the race is on, taking the agents around the world hoping to secure the pieces before they possibly become weaponized.

The series is set in the mid-1980s and Silverman explains why this period was chosen. “We decided to set our PRISM stories back when investigations couldn’t be quickly conducted and resolved via Internet and/or cellphone, to make locating the shards more of a challenge,” said Silverman. “That way, we could have fun sending our agents off on adventures around the world doing the legwork required to find the shards–and get into all sorts of trouble while they’re at it.”

Each of the authors was given free rein to create the characters for the series

, providing the chance to develop agents and foes of various backgrounds and also tell a wide variety of stories. In the introductory episode,  Greenberger’s “Partners”, readers will meet an established agent, a former New York cop, while Fan’s agent is an 18-year former ballerina.

“We all had fun developing agents of varying ages and personal characteristics at different stages of their careers,” Silverman said. “Their unique backgrounds inform their reactions to missions and interactions with friends and foes alike.”

C8 has released the initial running order of stories:

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June 9             “Partners” by Robert Greenberger

June 16            “The Mind Game” by Hildy Silverman

June 23            “The Junkyard Gambit” by Aaron Rosenberg

June 30             “Sound of the Sea Part One” by Russ Colchamiro

July 7                “Sound of the Sea Part Two” by Russ Colchamiro

July 14              “The Golden Gambit Part One” by Mary Fan

July 21              “The Golden Gambit Part Two: Pointe Blank” by Mary Fan

The Vella system makes the first three installments free to readers and then subsequent episodes are paid for using tokens

, each episode charging an amount based on the word count. The stories are available on the web at Vella and in the Kindle app. Readers receive 500 free tokens to use as they please and can then buy additional tokens in bundles starting at 200 for $1.99. Readers also have the option of voting for their favorites and responding to surveys from the authors.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Unveils Bonus Clips

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Unveils Bonus Clips

To celebrate the release of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, check out these clips from the film’s special features!

Celebrate the world’s hero and prodigal movie star Nicolas Cage when The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent arrives on Digital June 7 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand June 21 from Lionsgate.
Easter Eggs

I’ll Take It

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The Amazing Everything, Everywhere All At Once arrives July 5 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD

The Amazing Everything, Everywhere All At Once arrives July 5 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The mind-bending action-adventure Everything Everywhere All At Once arrives on 4K Ultra HD™ + Blu-ray™ + Digital, Blu-ray + Digital, and DVD July 5 from A24 and Lionsgate. The film stars Michelle Yeoh as an unlikely hero who must channel newfound powers to fight fearsome dangers from the multiverse. Directed and written by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

, the writing-directing duo collectively known as the Daniels (Swiss Army Man), Everything Everywhere All At Once will be available for the suggested retail prices of $42.99 for 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital, $39.99 for Blu-ray + Digital, and $29.96 for DVD, respectively.
 
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a flustered immigrant mother, is contacted from a parallel universe and told that only she can save the world. The unlikely hero must learn to channel her newfound powers and fight through the splintering timelines of the multiverse to save her home, her family, and herself in this big-hearted and irreverent adventure. With Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
 
4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY / DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary with Writers-Directors Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
  • “Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Everything Everywhere All At Once” Featurette
  • “Putting Everything on a Bagel: Cooking up the Multiverse” Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary
  • Outtakes
  • Music Visual
  • Theatrical Trailer

CAST
Michelle Yeoh                         Crouching Tiger

, Hidden Dragon, Gunpowder Milkshake,Crazy Rich Asians
Stephanie Hsu                        Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Ke Huy Quan                          Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,  The Goonies,Encino Man
Jenny Slate                             Obvious Child, Zootopia, Gifted
Harry Shum Jr.                       Crazy Rich Asians, Glee, Shadowhunters
with James Hong                    Big Trouble in Little China, Kung Fu Panda, R.I.P.D.
and Jamie Lee Curtis             Halloween, True Lies, Freaky Friday

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 2022
Title Copyright: Everything Everywhere All At Once © 2021 A24 Distribution, LLC. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2022 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical release
Rating: Rated R for some violence, sexual material and language
Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Adventure
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish and Chinese (Traditional), English SDH
Feature Run Time: 139 Minutes
4K Format: 2160p High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation with Dolby Vision
4K Audio: English Dolby Atmos
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation
Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos
DVD Format: 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Audio

Enigma: The Definitive Edition by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo

Enigma: The Definitive Edition by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo

There will probably be spoilers. If you worry about such things on a thirty-year-old obscure Vertigo comic, well, I wonder how you manage to live in the modern world, but go off and read something else on the Internet instead.

I don’t think I read this the first time out. I think I’d remember it. But it also is very much the kind of thing I was reading in 1993: I followed nearly all of Vertigo, and was a fan of Peter Milligan’s writing. So I both don’t know how I missed it and can’t figure out how I could have read it and utterly forgotten it.

I’m talking about Enimga: The Definitive Edition , a spiffy new-ish edition of an eight-issue comics series from those heady early Vertigo days, when it was “superhero comics with adult themes” and not “HBO-style shows in comics form.” Ah, were we ever so young! It was written by Peter Milligan, in the middle of his Shade the Changing Man run, and drawn by Duncan Fegredo with colors by Sherilyn Van Falkenburgh.

And, to be reductive, it’s the story of an sociopath. A mass-murdering sociopath, who either has never been socialized at all or is the usual pulp-fiction mutant who is better than humanity and so entitled to treat us as we treat ants. (Or, perhaps, both.) We think he’s a superhero, throughout most of the story, because he wears a funny costume, because someone very much the same was in an old comic book, and because he seems to be killing villains. But we learn – and, if we’re any good readers at all, we suspected this much earlier – that he made every one of those villains, and so is both directly a murderer and someone who has deliberately created mass-murderers. I don’t think there’s even a word for that. 

We are supposed to be on his side, because He Is Sad, and because he has a sexual relationship with the narrator. I say “has a sexual relationship,” clinically, because I doubt he feels anything like “love” – I’m pretty sure he feels no human emotions of any kind – and the guy he has sex with is in love with him for those same manipulating-humans powers that he used to create mass-murderers.

Yes, I’m talking about Enigma: our title character. This is the story of a young man with fabulous powers and a bizarrely impossible upbringing, whose interactions with the outside world are about 95% murder, but, on the other hand, he’s a tall attractive man with cool clothes. And apparently that is enough to make a mass-murderer into a hero.

I don’t even want to get into whether this was a positive or negative depiction of a gay man. (Wait. Am I kidding? A mass-murderer who literally turns another man gay to love him? I would struggle to find anything positive there, other than “it was 1993, and a gay man existed in comics. Yay!”)

OK. It is stylishly written, and even more stylishly drawn. Fegredo starts out scratchy, maybe even shaky, but he settles down, and the style suits the story very well. It is full of mysteries, and the reader does not realize how horrible Engima is until said reader is near the end of the book.

And our viewpoint character is, thankfully, not a mass-murderer. Michael Smith is instead one of life’s small losers: not very important, not very interesting, not very memorable. But he’s at the scene of a murder by a bizarre villain, and remembers that villain from his old childhood Enigma comics, and that sets off the whole plot, as he starts to think he’s central to all of the craziness. He’s not wrong

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, but he’s not exactly correct, either.

As I said above, he does find Enigma – the live person now using that name, as well as the crusty old writer who made the comics stories twenty-five years earlier – and fucks the former. He learns that Engima has massive, bizarre powers, but none of us learn why. Perhaps just because it was 1993 and this was a DC comic book; there had to be someone with superpowers in it.

This is a well-crafted, smart, intricate story that seems, at this distance, to be an apology for an appallingly horrible person. Enigma would be a villain in any other comics story, and rightfully so. A pitiable villain, and one that could potentially be redeemed, but, still, the mass-murder thing is hard to overlook.

I’m not sorry I read this, but all of the praise as a “lost classic” seems vastly overwrought to me. It was an attempt to have gay men in comics, yes, and it was not entirely a failure. I do have to say that, of the three gay men here, one is a middle-aged alcoholic failure, one is a mass-murdering sociopath, and the third was turned gay against his will by the sociopath – and that strikes me as not entirely a positive and loving and realistic depiction.

Such is Enigma. Consider yourself entirely spoiled.

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

Well-Regarded The Northman Comes to Home Video June 6

Well-Regarded The Northman Comes to Home Video June 6

Universal City, California, May 31, 2022 – After witnessing firsthand the murder of his father, a Viking prince (Alexander Skarsgård) devotes his life to avenge his father’s death, save his mother and reclaim his kingdom in THE NORTHMAN, available to own for the first time with exclusive bonus content on Digital June 6, 2022 and on 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition, Blu-rayTM Collector’s Edition and DVD June 7, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Visionary director Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) creates “an absolute beast of a movie” (Phil de Semlyen, Time Out) with his latest film, boasting an 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Featuring epic action sequences and “packed with phenomenal performances” (Ross Bonaime, Collider) by Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, and Ethan Hawke now with exclusive never-before-seen bonus features including nine deleted and extended scenes and exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The film is written and directed by Robert Eggers, and stars Alexander Skarsgård (Godzilla vs. Kong, The Legend of Tarzan), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies, Moulin Rouge), Anya Taylor-Joy (Queen’s Gambit, Emma), Willem Dafoe (Justice League, Spider-Man), Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Before Midnight), Claes Bang and Björk (Dancer In The Dark).

EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURES on DIGITAL*, 4K UHD, BLU-RAYTM AND DVD:
• DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES
• AN AGELESS EPIC – An in-depth look at how filmmakers, cast, and crew immersed themselves in Norse history and mythology in an effort to make THE NORTHMAN the most accurate Viking epic ever filmed.
• THE FACES OF VIKINGS – The cast of THE NORTHMAN, alongside director Robert Eggers, discuss the depth of the characters and their experiences working together.
• FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH CO-WRITER/DIRECTOR ROBERT EGGERS

EXCLUSIVE COLLECTOR’S EDITION BONUS FEATURES ON DIGITAL*, 4K UHD, and BLU-RAY™:
• AMLETH’S JOURNEY TO MANHOOD -Aurvandil’s initiation of Amleth into manhood is one of the most pivotal points on his journey. Take a deeper look at how filmmakers and cast crafted this mysterious ritual.
• SHOOTING THE RAID – Go behind-the-scenes of the raid and learn how different departments worked together to pull off this intricate sequence.
• KNATTLEIKR GAME – Learn all about this little-known game

, how the scene was filmed, and why it’s an essential moment for Amleth.
• A NORSE LANDSCAPE -We explore the spectacular shooting locations of THE NORTHMAN and discuss how filmmakers were able to overcome the unique challenges of shooting the film in Northern Ireland.
*Digital bonus features available from select retailers

THE NORTHMAN will be available on Digital, 4K UHD, Blu-ray™ and DVD
• Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly buy or rent.
• 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.
• 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.
• 4K Ultra HD delivers the ultimate movie watching experience, featuring the combination of 4K resolution and the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR).

FILMMAKERS
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, with Ethan Hawke, Björk and Willem Dafoe
Original Score By: Robin Carolan, Sebastian Gainsborough
Produced By: Lars Knudsen p.g.a, Mark Huffam p.g.a, Robert Eggers p.g.a, Alexander Skarsgård p.g.a, Arnon Milchan
Written By: Sjón, Robert Eggers
Directed By: Robert Eggers

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD:
Street Date: June 7

, 2022
Selection Number: 1962214979 (US) / 1000814963 (CDN)
Layers: DVD 9
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.00:1
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some sexual content and nudity
Languages/Subtitles: English, French Canadian and Latin American Spanish
Sound: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 for Feature and Dolby Digital 2.0 for Bonus Content), French Canadian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Run Time: 02:16:50

TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY™:
Street Date: June 7, 2022
Selection Number: 1962214980 (US) / 1000814964 (CDN)
Layers: BD 50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.00:1
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some sexual content and nudity
Languages/Subtitles: English, French Canadian and Latin American Spanish
Sound: English (Dolby Atmos for Feature and Dolby Digital 2.0 for Bonus Content), French Canadian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1)
Run Time: 02:16:50

TECHNICAL INFORMATION 4K UHD:
Street Date: June 7, 2022
Selection Number: 1000814606 (US) / 1000814962 (CDN)
Layers: BD 100
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.00:1
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some sexual content and nudity
Languages/Subtitles: English, French Canadian and Latin American Spanish
Sound: English (Dolby Atmos for Feature and Dolby Digital 2.0 for Bonus Content), French Canadian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1)
Run Time: 02:16:50

Nicholas Cage’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is Unleashed for Home

Nicholas Cage’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is Unleashed for Home

SANTA MONICA, CA – Celebrate the world’s hero and prodigal movie star Nicolas Cage when The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent arrives on Digital June 7 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand June 21 from Lionsgate. The adrenaline-fueled comedy stars Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage (Best Actor, Leaving Las Vegas, 1995; National Treasure Franchise, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Rock), Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Narcos, Game of Thrones), Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, with Primetime Emmy® Award winner Neil Patrick Harris (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Glee, 2010; How I Met Your Mother, Gone Girl, Harold & Kumar franchise), and Primetime Emmy® Award and GRAMMY Award® winner Tiffany Haddish (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, Saturday Night Live, 2018; Best Comedy Album, Black Mitzvah; Like a Boss, Night School, Girls Trip).

In this wildly entertaining, action-packed comedy, Oscar® winner Nicolas Cage plays…Nick Cage! Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage accepts a million-dollar offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal). Things take an unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and he must use his legendary acting skills, channeling his most iconic and beloved characters to become a real-life action hero.
 
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.96

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, respectively. 
 
4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES  

  • Deleted Scenes (with Optional Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive producer Kevin Etten)
  • The Mind
    Meet the filmmakers and learn about the creative decisions behind the film. A film made with love

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    , passion, and massive talent.
  • Glimmers of a Bygone Cage
    He’s back. Not that he went anywhere. Go back in time in this behind-the-scenes featurette and relive Nicolas Cage’s journey as an actor and see how a legendary career inspired both filmmakers and cast to create a new era of Cage.
  • Everybody Needs a Javi
    Nick Cage meets his ultimate fan. Discover why Pedro Pascal was the perfect choice to play the charismatic, lovable, and eccentric fan with a dark, dangerous secret.
  • Nick, Nicky, and Sergio
    The man, the actor, the legend. Take a look inside Nicolas Cage’s mind and find out how this film is the culmination of a legendary career, but also a new beginning for one of the most versatile actors of our time.
  • Second Act Action  
    And . . . action, and more action! Immerse yourself in the exciting world of stunts and special effects that helped to create incredible, well-choreographed action sequences with the help of the latest in high technology for filmmaking.
  • Cages 5 and Up
    Don’t kids say the darndest things? What if what they said were lines from some of your favorite Nick Cage movies? We thought you’d never ask.
  • SXSW Film Festival Q&A Featuring the Cast and Filmmakers.
  • Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive Producer Kevin Etten

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES 

  • Deleted Scenes (with Optional Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive Producer Kevin Etten)
  • SXSW Film Festival Q&A Featuring the Cast and Filmmakers
  • Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive Producer Kevin Etten
Rain Like Hammers by Brandon Graham

Rain Like Hammers by Brandon Graham

Genre fiction in comics tends to be straightforward: it explains the world and the stakes up front, then sends a generally pretty obvious Protagonist off to Do the Thing, which far too often is Saving the World.

Brandon Graham, in his afterword to Rain Like Hammers , describes that as being like a Japanese game show where the goal is to get someone to eat a hot dog as soon as possible after waking up. And he’s not into speed-eating hot dogs.

Graham’s stories tend to start in a more leisurely fashion. His camera-eye is focused, but not insistent. Hey, look over here, it says. Something is going on; I wonder what it is?

Rain Like Hammers collects a five-issue comics story – the issues were published in the first five months of 2021, and this collection came out in August. They’re long issues, too – the book is unpaged, but I think they’re 48 pages each. So my first question is: how serialized was this? Clearly, Graham created it in five chapters, but I really doubt he did that during those five months. But those afterwords – there’s one for each issue

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, two pages each of sketchbook-style comics – do show the process of making the book; he seems to have made it in order, finishing each page in turn and not going back to rework based on better ideas later.

At one point he mentions his initial plan was to have five loosely-connected single issue stories – maybe, I think, ones that all came together in the final issue? – and that’s clear in the transition between the first two issues, which are entirely different, about entirely different people in entirely different places. But, in the end, this is mostly one story, seen from a couple of angles, with a second story as a way in and a bit of parallax later.

We start out in a mobile city, on some alien planet in some future. Eugene is new in Elephant City: he finished his schooling recently, and came here on purpose, to do some keeping-the-city-running job that Graham doesn’t explain in detail. Eugene is a bit lonely, finding his footing in a new place and new to adulthood. But he seems like a sensible, devoted person: we think will be OK, we want to trust him, he hope he will do well. His story for the first issue is mostly low-key, but something from outside this world is causing trouble for many of the animal-named crawling cities, and we see a little of that here.

The second issue begins what then seems to be the main story, and we may wonder what happened to Eugene, for many pages. (We will find out.) A supercriminal, Brik Blok, is heading to Sky Cradle, a space habitat of some kind that is the seat for the rulers of this part of human space: a group of self-selecting immortal families. We think he is dangerous, we think he is exciting, and we are not entirely sure if we are on his side.

What Brik Blok is coming to do on Sky Cradle is something we learn quickly, but we learn more and more details over time: we learn it iterated, first the headlines and then the depths, eventually getting to things Brik Blok didn’t know himself. Brik Blok’s initial plans, whatever they were, fail before he even reaches Sky Cradle: he’s in a different body, in an society he doesn’t know well, with a new uncertain ally or friend.

Brik Blok is coming to save El. Or maybe retrieve her, or maybe support her. She is young and smart and, we believe, on the side of right. She’s part of a program of “candidates” for immortality: they are tested and twisted and transformed to become more of the ruling class. We start to think we don’t like this ruling class, and start to feel more positively towards those who resist. We quickly learn she did not choose to join this program…though we learn more details later.

Rain Like Hammers is mostly the story of Brik Blok and El. Two people fighting against the power structure, or trying to – both with incomplete information at this point in their lives. (This is the kind of SF where people can live a very long time – maybe even if they’re not officially one of the “immortals” – and who they once were and what they once did could be forgotten or lost or mislaid.)

They do not foment a revolution. They are not even trying to topple the immortals: their aims are smaller, more specific than that. As I said at the beginning, this is not that kind of comic: they are not going to Do the Thing, not going to Save the World.

But they, and Eugene, may be able to save themselves, and get away.

Graham tells this story from the inside, with pages full of quiet moments and strange details of this far-future world. His SF is always deeply distinctive, with things he never explains, a big lived-in universe full of odd creatures and people, all living their own lives and wandering across his pages. He tones down the wordplay these days, especially in more serious, grounded stories like this one, but there’s still some of that joy in the complications of language.

SF that requires the reader to think about it and make up his own mind about it is rare in comics – it’s not all that common in prose, frankly. That’s what Graham does; that’s what this is. Any reader who likes that kind of SF should check it out

, or anyone who likes stories with a bit of gnarl to them.

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