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REVIEW: Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth
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REVIEW: Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Tales of Great Goddesses: Gaia: Goddess of Earth

By Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

96 pages/Amulet Books/$14.99

Billed as being similar to the Nathan Hale historic biographies, this new series from Amulet takes a look at the goddesses throughout history. In this, the second offering from the Greenbergs, we get the Greek goddess Gaia. We have her story, including the creation of the world and its inhabitants along with her participation in the battle between the Titans and her offspring, led by her youngest, Zeus.

In a brisk 96 pages, we get her story along with a nice glossary and bibliography so enchanted readers can find more to read.

Today, adult authors have been rewriting the classic Greek tales for modern readers, starting with Madeline Miller’s brilliant Circe. It’s become quite the cottage industry and it makes me realize that despite being the mother of Gre4ek creation, Gaia is a secondary character in her own story and it makes me wish the Greenbergs focused more on her. They pick up after she exists, not at all referencing the chaos that preceded her, and they more or less gloss over the cosmic incest that resulted in other beings of great power that arrived.

We get the various beings she and her son Uranus brought to life, leading to the war between her children and Cronus.

The writing has some snark to it which younger readers will appreciate but they are also expecting her to be the focal point of the narrative and a far more active participant and here the book fails to meet that.

Isabel Greenberg’s art is crude and off-putting and does a disservice to the great beings of myth, from the cyclops to the fifty-headed Hecatonchires (a mere four heads are shown). The review copy was in black and white while the finished work will be in color which may bring more zest to the pages.

There are plenty of interesting goddesses for such a middle grade series and I hope the prominent ones from around the world, not just the more familiar Greek and Norse, get their due in subsequent volumes.

Starship Troopers Debuts on 4K with Steelbook
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Starship Troopers Debuts on 4K with Steelbook

SYNOPSIS
From the bridge of the Fleet Battlestation Ticonderoga, with its sweeping galactic views, to the desolate terrain of planet Klendathu, teeming with shrieking, fire-spitting, brain-sucking special effects creatures, acclaimed director PAUL VERHOEVEN crafts a dazzling epic based on Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi adventure. CASPER VAN DIEN, DINA MEYER, DENISE RICHARDS, JAKE BUSEY, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, PATRICK MULDOON, and MICHAEL IRONSIDE star as the courageous soldiers who travel to the distant and desolate Klendathu system for the ultimate showdown between the species.

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIALS
• 4K ULTRA HD DISC
• Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision
• Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1
• Special Feature:
o NEW: Starship Troopers 25th Anniversary Reunion – an all-new virtual reunion featuring screenwriter Ed Neumeier and actors Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Clancy Brown, Michael Ironside, Jake Busey, Patrick Muldoon and Seth Gilliam
BLU-RAY DISC™
• Feature presented in High Definition
• Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio
• Special Features:
o Director and Cast Commentary
o Commentary with Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier
o FedNet Mode Picture-in-Picture
o “Death From Above” Documentary
o “Know Your Foe” Bug Featurettes
o “The Spaceships from Starship Troopers” Featurette
o “FX Comparisons” Featurettes
o Storyboard Comparisons
o The Making of Starship Troopers
o Deleted Scenes
o Screen Tests
o Scene Deconstructions
CAST AND CREW
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Screenplay by Ed Neumeier
Based on the book by Robert Heinlein
Produced by Alan Marshall, Jon Davison
Cast: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Muldoon and Michael Ironside

SPECS
Run Time: Approx. 129 minutes
Rating: R for graphic sci-fi violence and gore, and for some language and nudity
4K UHD Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 1.85:1
4K UHD Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Celestia by Manuele Fior
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Celestia by Manuele Fior

Some books tell you their background in exquisite detail, laying out all of the world-building carefully and clearly, so the reader knows exactly what has happened.

I generally prefer the other kind. I’m a grown-up; I don’t need someone to hold my hand.

Manuele Fior, I think, does entirely stories of the other kind – 5,000 km per second was a great story about people, told sideways and indirectly, and the shorter pieces in Blackbird Days  were also non-obvious. His new graphic novel Celestia  is also one of the other kind: a modern story with no thought bubbles or long explanatory speeches, set in a nearish future world that was utterly transformed by something that I doubt anyone left in the world understands.

Here’s all the background we get, before the first page of comics:

The great invasion came by sea. It spread north, up the mainland. Many fled. Others took refuge on a small island. An island of stone, built in the water over a thousand years ago. Its name is Celestia.

We never know who or what invaded. I tend to doubt it was anything human, but it never gets any clearer than that. What happened to those who “fled” is also unclear. Unless they fled the planet somehow, though, they don’t seem to be there anymore. Take that as as you wish.

I suppose it’s possible that this was relatively local: maybe just this continent, this land. But that’s not the sense I get.

Celestia, a generation later, must be self-sufficient by definition. It has no contact with the rest of the world, if there is a rest of the world. A new, post-invasion generation has grown up: this story follows two of them, Dora and Pierrot, the two characters on the cover. They both have telepathic powers, not entirely under control – and I would say that is not uncommon for this new generation. Maybe even more so as time goes on.

This is a story about humanity transformed, but that story is mostly in the background. The Great Invasion perhaps had something to do with the transformation: in the best possible scenario, it was some kind of Childhood’s End thing. The worst possible scenario? Whatever your biggest fear is. Whatever is the most horrible thing you can think of.

Pierrot’s father, Dr. Vivaldi, is one of the leaders of Celestia. At least, he has followers, so he’s leading them – it’s not clear if there’s any real government on Celestia, and the back cover describes it as “an outpost for criminals and other outcasts.” (As I’ve said before: if you’re the only people left, there’s no other government and you are not criminals, by definition.) Vivaldi has some kind of plans; I’m pretty sure they have to do with self-aggrandizement and power and likely some underlying theory of the outside world.

Pierrot is privileged, respected. He can reject his father and still come and go in his father’s circles as he pleases. And his telepathy is mostly a positive thing in his life.

Dora, on the other hand, is being chased. She’s in hiding, her telepathy lighting up unexpectedly, her mind only half her own. Vivaldi’s group wants her, for something that the reader may suspect will not be good for her.

Before long, Pierrot and Dora flee Celestia, with the threat of violence behind them. They are the first to do so, we think, though Vivaldi talks about exploring the larger world, all the time.

Pierrot and Dora find people outside Celestia. But very few. And most of them are from the new generation: even younger, and even more different than their elders than Dora and Pierrot. (More Childhood’s End, with maybe a touch of Midwich Cuckoos or creepier stories about transformed children.)

As they must, Dora and Pierrot visit a few places on the mainland, and will eventually return to Celestia for a confrontation with the people chasing them. We still don’t quite know why they are in conflict, what the factions in Vivalid’s group are, and why some of them would dare to threaten their leader’s only son. But we come to the end, even without that knowledge.

Fior tells this story mostly quietly, in soft colors on large pages. Even the scenes of violence seem frozen; his panels are each a moment in time, inherently still. He will not tell you how to think about this; will not tell you everything that you want to know. If you only like the kind of story in which everything is explained five times, with captions including everyone’s code names, this is not a book for you. But I hope more of you are grown-ups than that.

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

REVIEW: The Lost City
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REVIEW: The Lost City

The rom-com was considered a dead genre when it began to consume itself, generating imitations that paled with each iteration, the predictability unable to overcome the star power. There have been a few sparks of life here and there, but as a film genre, it’s more moribund than not.

So, it’s a bit of a surprise to see one of its queens, Sandra Bullock, starring in a glossy, big budget rom-com after moving away from them for so long. Here, she’s a producer and star and at one point considered it dated given the seven years it was in development (never a good sign). She was right, it is dated and somewhat tired and still as predictable as one would imagine. Still, The Lost City is the first of its kind in a while and when it arrived in March, we could all have used something light and dairy.

The film features Bullock as Loretta Sage, a best-selling writer of romances who feels a little bothered that the readers seem to be buying the books not for her prose but for the cover art, featuring model hunk Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum). She is coerced by her publisher Beth Hatten (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to take Caprison on her latest book tour, something she hasn’t done since her husband died.

While on tour, she is taken by an eccentric billionaire, and criminal, Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who believes her historic research used for the new bool can help him locate an actual lost city where the fabled Crown of Fire is located.

It’s Caprison to rescue but he’s just smart enough to know he can’t go on his own so he recruits a human tracker, Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to help find her. The action and mild hilarity ensue.

Clearly, writers Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, and Aaron Nee (from a story by Seth Gordon) aspire to be as fresh and quirky, and fun as Romancing the Stone. The Nees also direct and it is certainly visually lush, but they fall short on the freshness. Bullock is fine, Tatum is solid, and Radcliffe is chewing the scenery with a laugh but it’s not marking any new territory in the genre. With so few rom-coms these days, and with Bullock still a crowd-pleasing performer, this is winds up as a slight diversion, a fine popcorn film where only the scenery deserves the big screen. This works just as fine at home.

The film is streaming and available on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack from Paramount Home Entertainment. Given the lush settings and high gloss the story and cast deserve, the 2160p/Doby Vision UHD disc is superb on every level. It glistens on a home screen so every blade of grass and drop of water is pristine. This is a case where the 4K is markedly improved over the fine Blu-ray. We should be thankful that the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is equal to the challenge.

We have the usual assortment of special features, all in 1080p, none of which are extraordinary. We start with Dynamic Duo (10:42), focusing on Bullock and Tatum; Location Profile (7:09); Jungle Rescue (6:25); The Jumpsuit (3:41); Charcuterie (3:32); The Villains of The Lost City (5:29); Building The Lost City (7:23); Deleted Scenes (8:52 total); and, of course, Bloopers (5:33).

REVIEW: Adventure Game Comics: Leviathan
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REVIEW: Adventure Game Comics: Leviathan

Adventure Game Comics: Leviathan
By Jason Shiga
144 pages/Amulet Books/14.99

Jason Shiga has been keeping readers guessing since his first Choose Your Own Adventure book, 2001’s The Last Supper. He’s gone on to produce similar works, including a wonderful maze for the cover of McSweeney’s. He’s back with a new one, Leviathan, aimed for 8-12-year-olds.

This time we’re taken on an odyssey across the Cobalt Isles as you attempt to defeat the dreaded Leviathan. These types of stories are hard enough to do as prose, made more complicated by making these graphics. Each page offers two to four options, keying you to go to the appropriate page. It’s cleverly constructed although you find yourself doing more page flipping than actual reading. This being a hardcover helps with the wear and tear. You may find yourself going back to the same page one once so familiarity can quickly occur.

The two-tone artwork is simple and easy to follow, with just enough detail to differentiate characters and settings. You are certainly not reading this for in-depth characterization and deep lessons on the human condition but it is a fun story with some nice twists and turn, seasoned with some humor.

Peter David and Joe Fixit Reunite in 2023
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Peter David and Joe Fixit Reunite in 2023

New York, NY— July 20, 2022 — Known for his legendary and impactful run on INCREDIBLE HULK, superstar comics writer Peter David is proving his acclaimed work on the Hulk mythos is far from over! Having just finished an epic trilogy of limited series that told the grand saga of Hulk villain MAESTRO, David will now turn his attention to another iconic creation of his—JOE FIXIT! The fan-favorite Hulk persona that muscled his way through Las Vegas as a hedonistic bodyguard will star in his very own limited series set during David’s original time on the INCREDLBLE HULK. Joining David in this Sin City adventure will be artist Yildiray Cinar (The Marvels).

“When I created Joe Fixit decades ago, it was merely as a means to shake up the standard formula,” David explained. “Typically Bruce would have set up some sort of situation and he would be worried that the Hulk would inevitably show up and screw things up. The storyline with Joe flipped the formula on its head, and set up the Hulk with his great situation in Vegas and he was worried that Bruce would show up to screw things up. I had no idea that the character would have this much staying power, and that so much would eventually be done with him in the pages of the IMMORTAL HULK. I’m thrilled that Marvel has given me this opportunity to revisit with an old friend.” Check out an issue #1 cover by Cully Hamner below and stay tuned in the coming months for more news about JOE FIXIT’s long-awaited return.

JOE FIXIT #1

Written by PETER DAVID

Art by YILDIARY CINAR

Teaser Cover by CULLY HAMNER & JORDIE BELLAIRE

On Sale 2023

MARVEL CELEBRATES HALLOWEEN WITH TERRIFYING STORIES IN CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1!
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MARVEL CELEBRATES HALLOWEEN WITH TERRIFYING STORIES IN CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1!

New York, NY — This October, join Marvel Comics and some of your favorite heroes for tales of fangs, claws and silent, stalking swamp creatures to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve in CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1! Paying homage to the original 1970s CRYPT OF SHADOWS anthology series, this giant-sized one-shot will feature a collection of stories that showcase just how creepy the Marvel Universe can be! Fans can expect supernatural adventures starring Moon Knight, Wolverine, Elsa Bloodstone, Man-Thing, and Werewolf by Night, plus the return of Bloodline, the daughter of Blade who made her first appearance earlier this year in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN #1! Bringing the horror will be an incredible lineup of talent including former Marvel editor Chris Cooper, known for his groundbreaking work on the original DARKHOLD series, with a story featuring Morbius and the star of Cooper’s DARKHOLD saga, Victoria Montesi. Joining him with spine-chilling tales of their own will be creators Al Ewing, Danny Lore, Rebecca Roanhorse, Adam Warren, Chris Condon, Karen S. Darboe, Geoff Shaw, Ibrahim Moustafa, and more!

The heroes of the Marvel Universe spend most of their time in the bright sun, flying high above it all…but every once in a while, they venture into the darkness that lurks in the hidden corners of the world. There lurk the creatures, the monsters, the vampires…the ones who prey on innocence and goodness… Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about CRYPT OF SHADOWS including story details and creative team announcements. In the meantime, check out the main cover by Leinil Francis Yu and prepare yourself for the most terrifying comic book of the year when CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1 arrives in October!

Superman & Lois: The Complete Second Season Available on Disc 9/27
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Superman & Lois: The Complete Second Season Available on Disc 9/27

BURBANK, CA – Ahead of the recently announced third season, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is set to release Superman & Lois: The Complete Second Season on Blu-rayTM and DVD September 27, 2022. Featuring all 15 action-packed episodes from the exciting second season plus brand-new bonus features, Superman & Lois: The Complete Second Season is priced to own at $19.99 SRP for the DVD ($24.99 in Canada) and $24.99 for the Blu-ray ($29.99 in Canada), which includes a digital copy (U.S. only). The show is also available to own on Digital via purchase from all major digital retailers and is streaming on HBO Max.

Season two of Superman & Lois opens with the dust still settling in Smallville following the shocking outcome of last season’s confrontation between Morgan Edge and Superman. With Smallville on the national map for the first time in the town’s history, Lois Lane faces fresh challenges in her latest journalistic endeavors, while Jordan and Jonathan also find themselves dealing with change.

Superman & Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin (Supergirl, Arrow), Elizabeth Tulloch (Supergirl, Grimm), Jordan Elsass (Little Fires Everywhere), Alex Garfin (New Amsterdam), Erik Valdez (Graceland), Inde Navarrette (13 Reasons Why), Wolé Parks (All American), Tayler Buck (Tyler Perry’s Assisted Living), Sofia Hasmik (All the Bright Places), with Dylan Walsh (Blue Bloods) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage). Based on the DC characters, and Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the series was developed by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Batwoman, Supergirl) and Todd Helbing (The Flash, Black Sails), who executive produce alongside Sarah Schechter (All American, Riverdale), Geoff Johns (Titans, DC’s Stargirl, Wonder Woman) and David Madden (Kung Fu, Save the Last Dance).

BLU-RAY & DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Fractured: The Heart of Bizarro
  • The DC Heroes: Path to Glory

15 ONE-HOUR EPISODES

  1. What Lies Beneath
  2. The Ties That Bind
  3. The Thing in the Mines
  4. The Inverse Method
  5. Girl…You’ll be a Woman Soon
  6. Tried and True
  7. Anti-Hero
  8. Into Oblivion
  9. 30 Days and 30 Nights
  10. Bizarros in a Bizarro World
  11. Truth and Consequences
  12. Lies That Bind
  13. All is Lost
  14. Worlds War Bizarre
  15. Waiting for Superman

DIGITAL

Superman & Lois: The Complete Second Season is currently available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and others.  

BASICS

Street Date: September 27, 2022

BD and DVD Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Running Time: Approx. 705 minutes

EC Run Time: Approx. 27 minutes

DVD

Price: $19.99 SRP ($24.99 in Canada)

3-Discs (3 DVD-9s)

Audio – English (5.1)

Subtitles – English SDH

Blu-Ray

Price: $24.99 SRP ($29.99 in Canada)

3-Discs (3 BD-50s)

Audio – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 – English

BD Subtitles – English SDH

WIFELIKE – In Select Theatres & Available On Digital August 12
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WIFELIKE – In Select Theatres & Available On Digital August 12

A grieving detective in the near-future (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) hunts down criminals who trade artificial humans on the black market. In the fight to end AI exploitation, an underground resistance attempts to infiltrate him by sabotaging the programming of the artificial human assigned as his companion (Elena Kampouris) to behave like his late wife. She begins to question her reality as memories of a past life begin to surface in a world where nothing is as it seems.

Written and Directed By James Bird                           

Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Elena Kampouris, Doron Bell, Agam Darshi, Sara Sampaio, Alix Villaret, Fletcher Donovan, CJ Perry, Stephen Lobo

Produced by Scott Karol, Steven Paul

Run Time: 105 minutes

Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, violence and language

Synopsis: A grieving detective in the near-future (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) hunts down criminals who trade artificial humans on the black market. In the fight to end AI exploitation, an underground resistance attempts to infiltrate him by sabotaging the programming of the artificial human assigned as his companion (Elena Kampouris) to behave like his late wife. She begins to question her reality as memories of a past life begin to surface in a world where nothing is as it seems.

American Carnage arrives August 30 on Blu-ray and DVD
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American Carnage arrives August 30 on Blu-ray and DVD

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The new horror-comedy American Carnage arrives August 30 on Blu-ray™ and DVD from Lionsgate. The political satire features Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Night Teeth), Jenna Ortega (Scream, X, You), and Eric Dane (Euphoria,” “Grey’s Anatomy). American Carnage will be available for the suggested retail prices of $21.99 for Blu-ray (+ Digital), and $19.98 for DVD.
                                    
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
After a governor issues an executive order to arrest the children of undocumented immigrants, the newly detained youth are offered an opportunity to have their charges dropped by volunteering to provide care to the elderly. Once inside the eldercare facility, the volunteers discover the governor and the facility’s supervisor have cooked up a horrifyingly depraved conspiracy that endangers the young and the old in this twisted thriller-comedy.
 
BLU-RAY / DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Diego Hallivis, Writer-Producer Julio Hallivis, and Producer Andrés Rosende
  • Behind the Scenes of American Carnage
    • The Story
    • The Meat of American Carnage
    • Latinx Representation in Hollywoood
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Big Splash
    • Spitting Facts

CAST
Jorge Lenderborg Jr.                 Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Night Teeth
Jenna Ortega                            Scream, X, You
Allen Maldonado                     Black-ish, The Last O.G.
with Brett Cullen                     Lost, Devious Maids
and Eric Dane                          Euphoria, The Last Ship, Grey’s Anatomy

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 2022
Title Copyright: American Carnage  © 2021 Don’t Look Back Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 
© 2022 Saban Films LLC. Artwork & Supplementary Materials. All Rights Reserved.
Type: New Release
Feature Run Time: 101
Rating: R
Genre: Twisted Thiller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 101 Mins.
BD Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (2.39:1) Presentation
BD Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™
DVD Format: 16×9 (2.39:1) Presentation
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Audio

Street Date: 8/30/22
Blu-ray™ (+ Digital): $21.99 SRP
DVD: $19.98 SRP