Even when you thought you could get away from watching the news that was on every other channel by watching a rerun of Deadpool on FX, you couldn’t get away from the concept.
Four or five moments – that’s all it takes to be a hero. Everyone thinks it’s a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime, there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you’re offered a choice – to make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend, spare an enemy. In these moments, everything else falls away.
Which leads us to John McCain.
Asked how he wanted to be remembered, McCain said: “He served his country, and not always right — made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors — but served his country, and, I hope we could add, honorably.”
And he was right to criticize himself. He made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors. Cheating on his first wife. His time with the Keating Five. Rude jokes about Chelsea Clinton’s parentage. Picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, thereby introducing her to the rest of the world and coarsening the standards for high public service. Ditching an appearance on David Letterman’s show claiming he was needed in Washington, then staying in New York to do an interview with CBS News instead.
But still. Four or five moments. Here are some of them.
During the Vietnam War, he was injured, captured, held prisoner, and tortured. Yet he refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer, and would not consent to release unless every man taken in before him was also released.
When he ran for President in 2008, during a campaign rally Q&A in Minnesota, Gayle Quinnell, a 75-year old McCain supporter said she did not trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.” McCain took the mic back and replied to the woman, “No ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” He knew his base well enough to know that making that statement would cost him votes, and he made it anyway.
When Donald Trump was elected, McCain took it upon himself personally to try and reassure world leaders, visiting multiple countries in the first six months of 2017 at the age of 80, exhausting himself before he got his cancer diagnosis.
Two weeks after brain surgery, on July 28 of last year, he cast the decisive vote against the Republicans’ final proposal that month, the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, which failed 49–51.
It can be hard to praise things for being small without sounding condescending.
Oh, what a quaint house!
Aren’t you a darling little man!
What an adorable book!
I’m going to try to avoid that pitfall today. But what I like best about this graphic novel by writer Jamie S. Rich and artist Megan Levens is that it’s not trying to do too much. Ares & Aphrodite tells the story of one couple — well, one potential couple — and how they got together, if, eventually, they do get together enough for that to be a story.
In a world of comics that seem to want to be widescreen media-spanning epics, Ares & Aphrodite aspires to be a really good small movie, the kind made for a TV channel that churlish men avoid or that plays in that one theater two towns over. It’s about two people, their professional connection, and a low-stakes bet they make with each other.
Will Ares is the top divorce lawyer in town. Gigi Averelle runs Aphrodite’s, the most exclusive wedding-planning service in town. “Town,” in this case, is Los Angeles, which would normally mean both of these two are massively important, with egos to match — but they’re both awfully normal and down-to-earth. Both seem to be somewhere in their thirties: old enough to have succeeded, old enough to want something better, young enough to still have time ahead of them.
Evans Beatty is Ares’s current big client — and has been several times in the past. He’s a big Hollywood producer, currently disentangling himself from a writer to marry Carrie Cartwright, the currently hot teen-queen actress. (Evans looks to have a good three decades on Carrie, but Ares & Aphrodite does its best to ignore that and focus on their individual personal issues. I thought that was fine; others may find it harder to ignore.)
Evans is Will’s client; Carrie is Gigi’s. So they’re currently running into each other a lot. Will asked Gigi to go on a date with him — she shot him down. So he proposed a bet: if Evans and Carrie do get married, she’ll go out with him. And Gigi accepts.
That’s the central thread of the plot — one lawyer, one wedding planner, one too impetuous aging producer, one not-as-sweet-as-she-seems ingenue, and a few friends and hangers-on. It ends at the big wedding, at a mansion by the sea. And their bet is decided there.
They don’t battle ninjas; they don’t even save a movie from ruin. They’re people living their lives and doing their jobs — and those jobs are mostly giving honest, professional advice, to help their clients achieve what they want in the best way possible.
It’s a sweet story, no bigger than it has to be, courtesy of Rich. Levens makes the art equally clean and transparent, like we’re looking through a window into these people’s lives, and this is how they must look at any moment.
Ares & Aphrodite is small — but, as the old saying goes, it’s also perfectly formed. We can always use more stories like that.
As I made clear with Deadpool, while I love the creators, I have always been lukewarm towards the Merc with a Mouth. I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining the film adaptation was and that Ryan Reynolds was right to stick with the plan to make the character work on film.
Now we have Deadpool 2, out this week on disc from 20th Century Home Entertainment and it cleaned up at the box office, making in excess of $770 million worldwide. I think there’s a place for the character and the cheeky sendup of the oh-so-serious superhero fare. Frankly, better skewer yourself than let someone else do the honors. It’s certainly a proven success for Marvel the last decade.
The super-thin plot basically has a despondent Deadpool, in the wake of his sweet Vanessa’s (Morena Baccarin) death come to the aid of a young mutant, Russell Collins (Julian Dennison), hounded by an orphanage and its nasty headmaster (Eddie Marsan), that has been abusing mutants. This could have been subtitled How Deadpool got his Mojo Back.
Along the way, he gets a wakeup call from Colossus (voice by Stefan Kapicic), forms X-Force, and fights against or with Cable (Josh Brolin) as the prey becomes the prowler as the kid, pushed to the limit, fights back. Cable’s back from the future to kill the kid to protect his own family, creating the usual temporal headaches. X-Force features many familiar mutants including Domino (Zazie Beets), and you either love or hate how they’re used (abused?) in this film.
That’s pretty much it. Along the way, we get the overstuffed meta jokes and Easter Eggs, some of which are utterly brilliant and others are just so much filler. Brolin and Beets sell their new characters well although her Domino looks better in comics, here she looks generic.
Director David Leitch keeps things moving at a fine clip and makes certain the fun supporting players from the first outing, including Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and Weasel (J.T. Miller) are there for good bits. Less useful was the superfluous use of Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who is now playing kissy face with newcomer Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna), who smiles and waves a lot.
Really, it’s amusing but not the thrill a minute freshness the first film was. The action set pieces are prolonged, notably the X-Force chase/battle sequence. The climactic battle between everyone at Juggernaut (a CGI amalgam of multiple performers, voiced by Reynolds) was just so much destruction without humor. Better are the post-credits sequences that offer up some of the best meta humor in the entire film and well worth sticking around for.
The film most clearly sets the film and character in the Fox corner of the Marvel universe thanks to a brilliant blink-and-you-miss-it cameo. The question becomes, where do you go from here? The answer may reside more with Kevin Feige than anyone else and it’s still too early to tell.
The Blu-ray comes with two discs, one with the theatrical release and special features while the second disc has the fifteen minute longer Super Duper Cut. The best that can be said of the new cut is that it provides a fascinating study in editing considering line reads and sequences are edited differently as are the musical cues. Basically, the fifteen minutes is merely more. The 4K Ultra HD comes with the theatrical release as both 4K and Blu-ray plus the bonus Blu-ray disc. All versions come with a Digital HD code.
The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 is just fine, with good color and detail (pointing out how cheap some of the CGI looks in comparison with other moments). The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is excellent.
There are plenty of special features, some fun, some interesting, some utterly superfluous. We start with the Deleted/Extended Scenes (2:36) and Gag Reel (3:11) before we get to the film’s theme explored in Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters (15:09). Then we have David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2 (11:39); Deadpool’s Lips Are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs (12:52); Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes (9:25); Roll With the Punches: Action and Stunts (6:57); The Deadpool Prison Experiment (11:28); The Most Important X-Force Member (12:21); Chess With Omega Red (1:16); Swole and Sexy (2:12), which focuses on the red necks (Matt Damon and Alan Tudyck); and, “3 Minute Monologue” (2:14), Brolin riffs during makeup.
There’s an Audio Commentary by Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese and Paul Warnick that is occasionally interesting and revealing.
Deadpool’s Fun Sack 2: Videos (35:22) has an amalgam of bits filmed for the film including the hilarious first teaser and Stills (2:23).
Get behind the wheel of one wild ride when the Vestron Video Collector’s Series releases Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive on limited-edition Blu-ray™ on October 23 from Lionsgate. Written for the screen and directed by the original Master of Horror – Stephen King – this marks the first time ever that this horrifying film about sentient, homicidal machines has been released on Blu-ray in the U.S. Maximum Overdrive is loaded with all-new special features, including interviews with Producer Martha De Laurentiis and Special Make-Up Effects Creator Dean Gates; on-set vintage interviews with Stephen King, Emilio Estevez, and Laura Harrington; behind-the-scenes footage; and more! The Maximum Overdrive limited-edition Blu-ray will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.97.
Get ready for the ultimate battle of man vs. bloodthirsty machine in this terrifying Stephen King classic! For three horrifying days, the Earth passes through the tail of a mysterious comet. The skies glow an eerie green as humanity waits to see what the fallout will be. But what they imagine is nothing like the nightmare they find — the comet’s magnetic fields cause all the machines on Earth to suddenly come to life and terrorize their human creators in a horrific killing spree. Now, it’s up to a small group of people trapped in a desolate truck stop to defeat the killer machines — or be killed by them!
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW: Audio Commentary with Writer Tony Magistrale, Author of Hollywood’s Steven King
NEW: Audio Commentary by Actor and Comedian Jonah Ray and Blumhouse Film Executive Ryan Turek
NEW: “Truck Stop Tales” Featurette – An Interview with Producer Martha De Laurentiis
NEW: “Rage Against the Machines” Featurette – An Interview with Actress Laura Harrington
NEW: “Honeymoon Horrors” Featurette – Interviews with Actor John Short and Actress Yeardley Smith
NEW: “Maximum Carnage” Featurette – An Interview with Make-Up Effects Creator Dean Gates
“A Kid in King’s Court” Featurette – An Interview with Actor Holter Graham
NEW: “The Wilmington Factor” Featurette – A Look Back at the Filming of Maximum Overdrive with Members of the Production Crew in North Carolina
NEW: “Who Made Who?” Featurette – An Interview with Murray Engleheart, Co-Author of AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll
NEW: “Goblin Resurrectus” Featurette – The Restoration of the Happy Toyz Golbin
Emilio Estevez – St. Elmo’s Fire, Young Guns, The Outsiders, The Breakfast Club
Pat Hingle – Batman, Batman & Robin, Sudden Impact
Laura Harrington – The Devil’s Advocate, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Christopher Murney – Barton Fink, The Last Dragon
Today’s story is about reading procrastination, or about good intentions, or maybe just how there’s more things we want to do in the world than there are things we have the time to do.
Fifteen years or so ago, Dark Horse was humming along with its Star Wars comics program — a few things tied to the prequel trilogy, which was about to wrap up, but mostly in the “Extended Universe,” in-continuity stories that stretched across comics and videogames and the novels Bantam and others published. Someone remembered that there was also an old series of Star Wars comics — the ones from Marvel that ran from 1977 through 1986 and were solidly out of continuity by that point — and decided to reprint them.
I guess they were pitched to the Science Fiction Book Club, where I worked at the time. I was the resident Star Wars guy then, reading and acquiring all of the novels and getting to go to a licensor showing of Phantom Menace a few years earlier.  I don’t think we did them, but I ended up with copies of the first two collections, Doomworld and Dark Encounters.
At the time, I thought I’d be doing a lot of reading on the nice comfortable couch in our dining room/kitchen/maybe a great room if you squint. So the two Star Wars books, along with some other stuff, migrated to an end table next to that couch, and sat there. Somewhere in the middle, before this blog started, I did read Doomworld.
But Dark Encounters lingered, and wandered around the house, in search of a reading spot where I actually would read it. Eventually, it ended up on a shelf, which would have been the sensible place to begin, and I finally got to it — forty years after the comics themselves and over fifteen since the book was published — as part of this Book-A-Day push.
These stories are not part of any continuity anymore. They only vaguely qualified when they came out, since it was only the dawn of the Era Of Continuity, and it’s clear whoever held the license issued occasional diktats to Marvel, asking them to tack over in this direction because the new movie was coming up, or to slim down the new additions and have the next big plotline be set on Tatooine again.
But even that vague, OK-maybe-it’s-sorta-canon sense of the original comics was firmly jettisoned first by the Extended Universe (which, as far as I can tell, is mostly called that in retrospect — at the time it was just a bunch of other Star Wars stories in different media) and then by whatever we’re calling the spiffed-up Nu Wars continuity where Han and Leia only had one mopey son rather than three odd kids. So these stories are doubly out of continuity — they’re not even part of the old one, that various sectors of the Internet are loudly proclaiming is obviously better than this new version with way too many icky girls and not enough boys playing with their lightsabers.
And, frankly, these are odd stories: very comic-booky, obviously done quickly to deadlines and trying to spin out what was a fairly thin thread from the first Star Wars movie. (At this point, it was still called Star Wars. Please remember that.) If none of the ideas from these comics — the giant gambling space station The Wheel, ray shields, the villainous and aristocratic Tagge family, cyborg bounty hunters, Imperial industrial planets, the idea of the Empire as a long-running thing with a family one could marry into, the winged Sky’tri people of Marat V, the Sacred Circle religious organization — turned out to have anything to do with George Lucas’s actual future Star Wars stories, well, how could any of us have known? (George didn’t know himself, despite all of the many “I meant to do that” retcons since then.)
Dark Encounters collects issues 21 to 38, and the first Annual, of that Marvel series. Those comics originally appeared from March 1979 through August 1980 — Empire was in production for most or all of that time, but how much of the details flowed out to the comics team is harder to say. These were the days before tight licensing integration, in a world where communications were slower and less ubiquitous than now. Stuff just happened.
The comics here are mostly written by Archie Goodwin, with Chris Claremont tackling the Annual. Carmine Infantino draws nearly all of the issues, inked by Bob Wiacek most of the time and Gene Day the rest. (Mike Vosburg and Steve Leialoha did the Annual with Claremont.) The very last issue here much have some kind of interesting story behind it: issue 37 proclaims that the next issue will start the Empire adaptation, but the actual issue 38 has a shorter story “written” by Goodwin but “plotted” by penciller Michael Golden, which smells like a last-minute rush job to me. The issue (inked by Terry Austin) is also very much a one-off fill-in, of the “hey! did we tell you this story? it happened a little while ago, in between other stories…” style. And then it, too, says the next issue will begin the Empire adaptation, which actually did happen.
Characters often look off-model here, particularly Chewbacca, who has a flesh-colored face for a lot of the book. Whether they act off-model is a more complicated question: you have to consider only the original Star Wars movie, and that doesn’t giver us a lot of guidance. But they’re all pretty recognizable as the people they kept being in the later movies — depth of characterization is not really a George Lucas core concern.
So these are weird, funky ’70s Star Wars stories, set in a universe that’s vaguely like the later Star Wars universes, but not all that much. Sadly, the giant green bunny Jaxom doesn’t show up in this book — I think he was in the first collection — but we do have a planet of blue-skinned flying people to compensate. (Frankly, a lot of this Star Wars feels more like the 1980 Flash Gordon than like what Star Wars turned into.) The core audience, obviously, is people who were there at the time, but there’s appeal to anyone who likes the oddball corners of space-operatic universes.
 True fact: I only got to go to two movie screenings because of the SFBC. One was Phantom Menace and the other was Batman and Robin. So, yeah, the glamor was real.
The romance of monkeys in tin cans continues to elude me. It was one of my pet peeves back when I was working at the SFBC — an endless stream of stories, all by men (it was always men) who imprinted on an Apollo launch early, with another piece of special pleading about how Man was Destined to Go To The Stars because it was His Destiny Goshdarnit and We Can’t Put All Our Eggs In One Basket and The Frontier Breeds Real Men and Man Must Go Ever Onward and similar piffle.
I thought I’d left that all behind a decade ago when I was cast out of paradise lost my SF job, and that was one of the few bright spots of the transition. 
But I still read SF, some of the time. And those same guys — mostly my generation, more’s the pity, so I can’t gratuitously insult their entire cohort — keep writing stories about how, this time, sending warm bodies into space is both really, really important and justified by some new piece of handwaving they’ve just discovered or invented.
It’s almost enough to make a man swear off near-future SF, I tell you.
And it somewhat infects the book I have to tell you about today. Ocean/Orbiter: The Deluxe Edition collects two entirely separate SFnal graphic novels from the mid-aughts. Both are written by Warren Ellis; Ocean is drawn by Chris Sprouse and inked by Karl Story while Orbiter has art by Colleen Doran. There is also an afterword by Ellis, specifically about Orbiter, which is the full monkeys-in-cans hoo-hah with a side order of Columbia sadness. 
(I have another rah-rah monkeys-in-space book that I’m still reading; it will come up here eventually. Do not expect me to have my mind changed.)
Anyway, the two stories are completely separate: both near-future SF, yes, but one about a hundred years on and one a now-alternate day-before-yesterday. Not set at all in the same SFnal universe, and with entirely different artists. The one that’s not about the importance of monkeys in tin cans, unsurprisingly, is more successful.
Ocean originally appeared as a six-issue miniseries in 2004-2005. It’s the one a hundred years on, and is set mostly around Europa, where a UN research station has just discovered the usual impossible, dangerous alien artifact.
In this case, it’s a huge array of what seem to be cryopods, with billion-year-old humanoid sentients (99% human, of course) in them, floating deep in Europa’s ice-covered ocean. Sent to investigate is Nathan Kane, a special weapons inspector for the UN, since the alien humanoids have quite impressive and very deadly technology.
Also close by is a “Doors Corporation” (wink wink nudge nudge) station, because of course a computer company has a lot of research that can only be done in Jovian orbit. (I would have preferred a slightly more plausible evil corporation.) And they, being computer whizzes with better, newer tech than the government folks, have tapped into the official telemetry, figured out what’s going on, and (accidentally?) started the wake-up sequence for this billion-year-old alien army.
This is a mildly cyberpunky future, so Doors replaces the free will of its employees with its own software for the duration of their contracts, which makes their local manager (far from home and far overdue on his required software updates) less amenable or available for negotiation than he might be.
So it does not come down to negotation, as one would expect in a near-future SFnal comic about a weapons inspector. One must have weapons to inspect, right?
Sprouse and Story make this a crisp-looking tale, in a solid Big Two look. Ellis hits the expected story beats, but does it well, and doesn’t throw in the titillation that you might expect. I didn’t find Ocean particularly surprising, but it’s a solid, and mostly “hard,” SFnal story in comics form, and there are damn few of those.
Orbiter, on the other hand, has a softer, more people-centric visual look, driven by artist Colleen Doran. And it is very much the story of how we are Destined to go into space, and how an enigmatic event — yes, another one of those — pushes that to happen.
Ten years before the book begins, and a few years in the future from 2001 when it was written, the space shuttle Venture disappeared just after achieving orbit. Now, suddenly, it returns to land at a Kennedy Space Center overrun by what seem to be shanty-town refugees for no reason the story deigns to give us. (Well, obviously, everything in a society goes to shit when they turn their backs on manned spaceflight! Everyone knows that!)
Only one man, the commander, is on board, and he’s insane. The outside is covered with something that looks like the original covering, but is actually skin. And there’s all kinds of weird stuff inside.
A colorful group of ex-astronauts and other science-y types is quickly assembled to investigate, and they act colorful and throw out crazy theories for fifty pages or so. And then they all realize they they really really want to go to space, because that’s where monkeys belong, and the nice aliens have set everything up so they can.
(I may be exaggerating, but I’m not really joking.)
Of all the kinds of special pleading for monkeys in cans, the “super-powerful benevolent aliens will totally do all of the hard stuff for us!” is by far the most special.
I have a hard time taking anything in Orbiter seriously, though I have liked Doran’s work in the past. The story is too fond of itself, and too sure of its own righteousness, to need me or anyone to take it seriously, though. So I’ll just let it sit over there, in its smug self-satisfaction, dreaming of kids watching Apollo moonshots and growing up to have jobs in space themselves.
 Well, that and money. There’s hardly any jobs adjacent to print book editorial that don’t pay substantially better than it does.
 Yes, the Space Shuttle was a horrible design, as seen by the fact that two of them blew up in barely over a hundred missions. One of the main reasons it was horrible was because it had to take monkeys into space.
Relive the terrifying film that launched an entire genre when Halloween arrives on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™) September 25 from Lionsgate. Starring Golden Globe® winner Jamie Lee Curtis (Best Actress, True Lies, 1994), Donald Pleasance, Tony Moran, and P.J. Soles, this edition of the horror classic delivers four times the fear with four times the resolution of Full HD with 4K, which also uses Dolby Vision™ HDR to bring to life the stunning cinematography of this supernatural horror film. When compared to a standard picture, Dolby Vision can deliver spectacular colors never before seen on a screen, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original 1978 theatrical release, and arriving just in time before the theatrical release of the newest film in the series, the Halloween 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack is loaded with special features and will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.
On a black and unholy Halloween night years ago, little Michael Myers brutally slaughtered his sister in cold blood. But for the last fifteen years, town residents have rested easy, knowing that he was safely locked away in a mental hospital — until tonight. Tonight, Michael returns to the same quiet neighborhood to relive his grisly murder again…and again…and again. For this is a night of evil. Tonight is Halloween!
Jamie Lee Curtis True Lies, A Fish Called Wanda
Donald Pleasence The Great Escape, Escape from New York, Halloween II
Tony Moran Beg, American Poltergeist, Dead Bounty
and P.J. Soles Carrie, Stripes, Rock ’n’ Roll High School
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actor Jamie Lee Curtis
SANTA MONICA, CA (August 21, 2018) – Based on the beloved book series by Stephenie Meyer, and one of the most successful feature film franchises of all time with over $3.3 billion in box office, celebrate the tenth anniversary of Twilight’s theatrical debut with the release of Twilight on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital) and all five of The Twilight Saga films on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (2 Blu-rays, 1 DVD, plus Digital) and Digital 4K Ultra HD™ on October 23 from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Red Riding Hood) from a screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg (TV’s “Dexter,” TV’s “Jessica Jones”), Robert Pattinson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Water for Elephants) and Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman, Still Alice) star as the iconic couple Edward and Bella alongside Taylor Lautner (Valentine’s Day, Abduction), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect Franchise, A Simple Favor), Billy Burke (Fracture, Drive Angry), Peter Facinelli (TV’s “Nurse Jackie,” TV’s “Supergirl”), Nikki Reed (Thirteen, TV’s “Sleepy Hollow”), Jackson Rathbone (The Last Airbender, TV’s “Finding Carter”), and Kellan Lutz (TV’s “The Comeback,” The Expendables 3). Fathom Events will also celebrate the tenth anniversary with a two day movie event on October 21 and 23 on approx. 450 screens nationwide. Fathom will give away mini-posters (while supplies last) to fans and will treat them to an introduction from Director Catherine Hardwicke, an exclusive sneak peek of a brand-new special feature, and more!
Bella Swan (Stewart) doesn’t expect much when she moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, until she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Pattinson) — a boy who’s hiding a dark secret: he’s a vampire. As their worlds and hearts collide, Edward must battle the bloodlust raging inside him as well as a coterie of undead that would make Bella their prey.
The Twilight 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack includes hours of in-depth special features and includes a brand-new, never-before-seen featurette, “Twilight Tour…10 Years Later,” which follows director Catherine Hardwick and actor Jackson Rathbone through memorable sets from the film. Experience The Twilight Saga in four times the resolution of full HD with the Twilight 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and all five films on Digital 4K Ultra HD, which includes Dolby Vision™ HDR to bring the epic romance to life through ultra-vivid picture quality. When compared to a standard picture, Dolby Vison can deliver spectacular colors never before seen on the screen, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker. The release also features Dolby Atmos® audio mixed specifically for the home to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. The Twilight 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.
All five of the Blu-ray Combo Packs feature new unique box art designs from renowned illustrator Justin Erikson, who brings to life the epic saga with his distinct illustrations. Whether you are Team Edward or Team Jacob, take home all five of the Blu-ray Combo Packs and own the entire collection plus hours of special features including deleted scenes, character featurettes, cast interviews, music videos and more. For additional value, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 also include both the Theatrical and the Extended versions of the film for the ultimate fan-viewing experience. Each of The Twilight Saga Blu-ray Combo Packs will be available for the suggested retail price of $14.99.
TWILGHT 4K UHD COMBO PACK SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW: “Twilight Tour…10 Years Later” Featurette
“A Conversation with Stephenie Meyer” Featurette
“Music: The Heartbreak of Twilight” Featurette
“Becoming Edward” Featurette
“Becoming Bella” Featurette
“Catherine Hardwick’s Vampire Kiss Montage” Featurette
“Catherine Hardwick’s ‘Bella’s Lullaby Remix’” Music Video
“Edward’s Piano Concert” Featurette
“Twilight Cast Interview: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson” Featurette
Last week, I looked at what Jaime Hernandez did right after the ending of the first Love and Rockets comics series in 1996. At the time, that could have been anything: completely different comics work, gallery paintings, film work, becoming a hermit in darkest Upper Slower Slobbovia. But, as it turned out, Jaime continued the same story sequence in basically the same tone and style in a series of related comics series.
And his brother Gilbert did the same thing: Luba and Her Family collects comics from mostly 1995 through 2001 (with one 2011 story up front just to confuse bibliographers of the future) that originally appeared in floppy form in Luba and Luba’s Comics and Stories and Measles and New Love. It follows most obviously from the latter clump of stories in Human Diastrophism and from the two graphic novels in Beyond Palomar; the focus is on Luba and her sisters Fritzi and Petra, and their extended families in Southern California — particularly on Petra’s precocious daughter Venus.
They’re not stories set in Palomar, but they’re stories of that now-extended cluster of people with connections to Palomar. Besides the cluster of stories about Venus, there’s also the short serial “Luba in America,” presented here in something like its original serialized form, each installment interspersed between other stories, though feeling like it was originally going to be longer. And the rest of the stories are less defined: they’re mostly about Luba’s daughters, particularly TV-show-host Doralis, and there’s a minor thread running through about how nearly all of them are lesbians and haven’t managed to tell their mother yet. But, mostly, they’re Gilbert family stories: each showing another moment or series of moments, another set of interactions in this big family full of prickly complex people, and how they’re bouncing off each other this time.
The Venus stories are probably the most interesting and distinct: Hernandez had been doing complicated-family stories for twenty years at this point, and he was definitely good at them, but the outlines and details were familiar. Venus, on the other hand, was a smart kid — probably nine or ten in these stories — in a rich-kid LA setting, equally concerned with her friends, her family, and comic books. She gives us a different perspective on her family — particularly her deeply selfish mother — in an almost unreliable-narrator way; Venus sees or is close to things that we’re not sure she understands or can process correctly. Venus herself mostly keeps a light tone: she’s young, and deliberately happy, and surrounded by a big loving (sometimes loving too much with the wrong people, but that’s a different point) family. But the reader is presumably older and more experienced than she is: we see and understand things she glosses over.
But, mostly, this is middle-period Hernandez: he’s moved beyond the magical realism-tinted village stories of the early days to something more traditionally soap-operatic, with the central elements sexual affairs and old secrets and family ties. These particular stories are all domestic, without the gangster flourishes of Poison River or the noir stylings of his later “movie” books of this century. This book might be the best example of that kind of pure domestic Gilbert Hernandez story available now, and close to the beginning of the stories of these people.
People who have stuck with Gotham since its inception will admit it is over-the-top, over-packed, and incredibly messy but they can’t stop watching. Thankfully, an increasing number of people have gotten wise to the nonsense and the ratings dictated that the forthcoming short season five will be its last.
Gotham the Complete Fourth Season, out Tuesday from Warner Home Entertainment, presents all 22 episodes on four Blu-ray discs and you can see for yourself the chaos that masquerades as a prequel to Bruce Wayne becoming Batman (an act we’re promised we’ll prematurely see in 2019 when the series returns).
From the outset, the villains have always been outsized personalities, with grand schemes, unable to spread their criminal behavior to neighboring cities. Something roots them to Gotham even though none never clearly win. They would rather fight with or betray one another, each with some ambitious plan that seems to smack up against someone else’s plan.
Then you have the civilians with the women a collection of off-kilter kooks and the men relatively flat and uninteresting. The titular focal point, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) spends the season regaining his moral center, setting him and Bruce (David Mazouz) as Gotham’s savior as it descends into No Man’s Land. While producers Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon will tell you, the season was loosely following the Batman Year One and Batman: The Long Halloween storylines, you’d be hard pressed to see how.
I suppose the whole Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed) power play can be traced to the latter event, but in name only. Her scheme to rule Gotham with Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), Tabitha Jessica Lucas), and Selina (Carmen Bicondova) pits her against the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and his Iceberg Lounge, where he doles out permission to commit crimes like a lord. To fight back, he summons Sofia’s dad, Carmine (John Dorman) to handle his scion only to lose his life.
GOTHAM: Camren Bicondova in the “Pax Penguina” season premiere episode of GOTHAM.
Once the pieces are in place after the first half season, we then move things into high gear, tearing the city further apart, creating the finale as Gotham is cut off from America and everyone carves up the streets into fiefdoms. Behind the scenes, the would-be-Joker Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) casts a cackling shadow. His shooting of Selina at the end echoes Killing Joke and takes her off the board for now.
As the chaos descends. Bruce is in a teenage funk, an emo-boy as opposed to a vigilante in training, refusing help from Alfred (Sean Pertwee). Thankfully, he has enough sense also to not kill Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), who sees something in the kid none of us do.
Thankfully, the city is large enough so there’s plenty of scenery for every actor to chew. They all get choice moments and good lines now and then, but everything is moving at such a fast clip, you’re riveted to the screen so you don’t miss a twist. And I suppose that’s the mad genius behind this wreck of a series.
The high definition transfer to 16×9 1:78:1 audio with DTS-HD Master Audio are fine for watching the madness on any screen.
The special features are scattered across the four discs starting with deleted scenes for four episodes on the first disc; and one deleted scene on the second disc; and no deleted scenes on the third disc. Disc four, though, has no deleted scenes but you have Solomon Grundy: Born on a Monday, The Sirens Take Gotham, and The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017 (58:25).