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Book-A-Day 2018 #295: Love and Rockets: New Stories, No. 4 by The Hernandez Brothers

2011’s installment of Love and Rockets was very much the continuation of the year before: Jaime finishes up “The Love Bunglers” here, in four devastating chapters, and Gilbert continues to circle Hollywood with his characters Fritzi and Killer in two stories, one of them “fictional” within the world of Love and Rockets and one of them “real.”

That’s a good question, though: what is real? I still have my questions about the end of “Love Bunglers,” which has an element that I’m afraid is not exactly real.

(From poking through The Love and Rockets Companion, I’m guessing it is real, but I’m still withholding final judgment until I actual read later stories. It is so parallel to the end of L&R Vol. 1 that I don’t trust it. It’s also so much a wish-fulfillment for both characters and audience that it’s deeply out of character for Jaime’s work.)

So this is Love and Rockets: New Stories, No. 4 . The stories more or less alternate here, though it starts and ends with Jaime.

I’ve written about “Love Bunglers” twice recently in this series — just last week and when I read the revised version in Angels and Magpies  a few weeks before that. I don’t have much new to say about it this time, though it lays out interestingly in this book: Part Three opens with a one-page vignette about two unnamed long-married characters — I don’t think we’ve ever seen them before, or are meant to recognize them — with the woman’s thought overlaid as captions. And that moment is strongly parallel with the end of the book, a scene with Maggie and Ray. That’s not as obvious when the whole story is collected, and speaks to how Jaime planned the effect of the stories in a particular serial installment of L&R.

On the Gilbert side, “King Vampire” is another movie presented in comics form. Confusingly, it seems to star Killer as the young vampire wanna-be and Fritzi as an older vampire in a parallel plot, but the other Gilbert story in this volume, “And Then Reality Kicks In,” is a discussion between Fritzi and an unnamed guy about “the vampire project,” which won’t happen until she gets out of her current seven-year contract. So “King Vampire” is a movie from the future of Gilbert’s continuity, or something.

“King Vampire” is pulpy, violent, and full of sex, of course — that’s generally the point of Gilbert’s “movie” stories.

“And Then Reality Kicks In” is quieter, showing one long conversation that’s about more than it shows on the surface. If I remembered who that guy was, it would probably be a bit more meaningful to me, but I find the men of this era of Gilbert’s work to be pretty colorless and interchangeable.

Next week I’ll have a full book Love and Rockets stories from 2012 that I’ve never read before: this one was half-new, but from here forward it’s all stuff I haven’t read. It’s weird how you can realize you haven’t read one of your favorite comic series for close to a decade….

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

Book-A-Day 2018 #294: All the Answers by Michael Kupperman

Anyone who does a graphic novel about his father’s secrets and history has a long shadow to contend with. (It’s art spiegelman’s Maus, in case you’ve forgotten.) The closer that father was to WWII, the clearer the parallels. If the father was Jewish…even more so.

Now, a creator doesn’t have to engage with that at all: it’s probably best if they don’t, actually. But it’ll be there in the back of every reader’s head, just like any story with a  whale will evoke Moby Dick and a guy wandering around Dublin Ulysses.

Michael Kupperman’s father Joel was a child prodigy, nationally famous at the age of five for appearing on the radio show Quiz Kids. He was shoved into it by a domineering mother, and basically lost his childhood to performing as a child genius. And, once he got out, he tried to ignore it for the rest of his life, never talking about his time in show biz. And, obviously in retrospect, Joel Kupperman was guided and “controlled” in his career as a boy genius in part because it just made a good story and partly because he was Jewish.

Michael always wondered about that history, and finally dug into it in the last few years, as his father retired, slowed down, and slid into dementia. All the Answers  is the result: as much as he could pull together fifty years later from the memories of a reticent, failing old man, from yellowing hidden scrapbooks, and from his own research.

Kupperman has a stark, almost blunt art style, with a look of being based closely on photos and other reference. That gives a documentary air to the proceedings most of the time, though he draws himself subtly differently than the other characters, with hooded, staring eyes. (Is that just how he draws himself? Or is a particular metaphor for this book? I’m hoping the latter, since it’s a subtle, ingenious device if deliberate.)

There’s a framing story set in the current day, but most of All the Answers tells the story of young Joel during WWII and the years right afterward. Since Joel never did talk about those days, Michael was left to piece it together from news reports, family stories, and the scrapbooks he discovered while searching his father’s office. That also adds to the documentary feeling: this isn’t a story Joel is telling us — he couldn’t tell it to anyone, and spent his life trying to forget it — but a story that had to be figured out by others. This is a reported story rather than an eyewitness story.

What Joel had seems pretty nice from the outside: adulation, minor fame, hobnobbing with the  famous and glamorous. But he seems to have hated it almost from the start, and did any of it purely because of his mother. And then there’s the whole question of how honest any of those early quiz or game shows were — Quiz Kids seems to have been on the relatively honest side, which is to say they didn’t actively hand answers to the kids they preferred. But all of those shows had things that were more important than honest games — making a good show, excitement, promoting the right kind of people — and even Quiz Kids fell into that.

All the Answers isn’t the story of who Joel Kupperman was as a kid: that’s lost forever. It’s not personal; Michael Kupperman had to pull this all together from secondhand sources. Joel is himself the hole at the center of his own life, the thing his son is trying to fill and understand. So this book will tell us what happened, and something of what it might have meant. But it can’t tell us what Joel felt; there’s nothing in the world that can tell us that anymore, since Joel himself is incapable of it.

But this book will tell us what we can know. And that’s going to have to be enough.

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

Book-A-Day 2018 #292: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

This is not a collection of the Squirrel Girl comic. Somehow, in 2016, while I think they were also putting out the regular comic monthly, creators Ryan North (words) and Eric Henderson (pictures) also created this unpaged-but-clearly-at-least-a-hundred-pages-long OGN as well.

I’m not totally clear on where it fits into continuity, if you’re looking to read it in sequence with the regular comic — I came to it after Vol. 5 , which feels a little late. (Doreen’s newish friend Brain Drain is completely missing, through Koi Boy and Chipmunk Hunk are here.)

What is this thing? Well, it’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe , and SG’s tone is much closer to Fred Hembeck than the Punisher in the piling-up-the-bodies-on-the-cover competition. (Deadpool, as usual, wants to have it both ways: to be gritty and funny.)

And there is an asterisk: it’s not our Squirrel Girl, the indomitable Doreen Green, who beats up all of the heroes in the MU, but her evil twin.

Well, maybe not evil twin. Will you accept misguided? Single-minded? Squirrel-obsessed? Well-meaning but unwilling to compromise? Maybe all of those things.

Anyway, that’s the deal: there’s a mysterious science artifact, which of course Tony Stark is poking at, since that’s what he does. And it sucks in our heroine Doreen Green and spits out two of her.

Foiling the usual expectations, they both know which one is the original: the one on the right. (Because they both remember being the one on the right, and one of them is now on the left.) Similarly, the duplicate, swiftly calling herself Allene from their shared middle name, is not obviously evil, and the two of them joyfully team up to fight crime…and then hatch an even bigger plan to use squirrels to make the world a utopia, using the language of computer programming.

(It all makes sense in context, trust me. Though the context is “a Marvel Universe book substantially sillier and more obsessed with computer science than its peers.”)

But, inevitably, Doreen and Alleen fall out over means and ends, as good and evil twins always must. And Alleen is possessed of all of the spunk and gumption and unbeatable-ness of the original, so she does — as the title promises — defeat ninety-nine-point-something-or-other percent of the heroes in the MU and send them into the Phantom Zone Negative Zone. And all seems lost.

But all can’t be lost for the heroine of an ongoing series, so you know it works out right in the end, with all of the MU folks brushed off and returned to their rightful places in time for the next issue of their own comics, never to speak of the time they were banished to the Negative Zone by Evil Squirrel Girl.

This is a pleasant exercise in the “my character can beat up your character” derby, but the superhero-furniture stuff (oh, no! all looks blackest before the dawn! how can I manage to defeat {insert overwhelming villain here!}) has always been the weakest and least interesting part of Squirrel Girl, and that’s the core focus of this book. We don’t get a lot of characterization of the main cast, since Ryan and Henderson have to shoehorn in every MU character they were approved to mention, and the book is a long collection of short fight scenes.

They’re funny fight scenes, granted. Beats Up is amusing in the Scintillating Squirrel Girl manner; it’s just not as good as the heights of the regular book. It’s just that we’ve seen this “everybody fights” plot so many times before, and there’s only so many changes North and Henderson can ring on it.

If you like Squirrel Girl, grab this in the middle — I’d suggest trying it after Vol. 4 of the regular series. But it’s not the place to start and it may be faintly disappointing.

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

Catch a Sneak Peek at the “Auntie Edna” Short Right now!

Catch a Sneak Peek at the “Auntie Edna” Short Right now!

Edna Mode, voiced by direcotr Brad Bird, was a surprise brewakout star in The Incredibles. Of course, that meant she had to return for The Incredibles 2 which saw her bond in an amusing way to Jack-Jack. As a result, the pair star in a new short, which will be available exclusively on the home video release of The Incredibles 2, streaming next week and on disc Nov. 6. 

BURBANK, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2018) — It’s not a stretch to say audiences have missed their favorite family of Supers over the past 14 years. Disney•Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” the sequel to 2004’s beloved Oscar®-winning “The Incredibles,” received a mega-strong reaction from critics and audiences — earning a 93 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, rocketing atop the list of highest-grossing animated films, and surpassing $1 billion at the global box office. Fans can reunite with this incredible family of Supers instantly on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and on Movies Anywhere on Oct. 23, and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD,™ Blu-ray,™ DVD and On-Demand on Nov. 6.

Family members of all ages will be hypnotized by hours of delightful entertainment, with never-before-seen “Incredibles 2” bonus material highlighting the beloved characters in the film and the  filmmakers who bring them to life. When audiences instantly bring home the film two weeks early on Digital, they will receive additional exclusive featurettes, including two SuperScene Breakdowns and Samuel L. Jackson discussing his character Frozone a.k.a. “The Coolest Guy in Show Business.” Overall bonus includes an all-new mini-movie “Auntie Edna,” which gives  a glimpse of fashion visionary Edna Mode’s all-night endeavor to design a suit to best harness baby Jack-Jack’s expanding super powers. Also included are an inside look at the impressive production team at Pixar Animation Studios; documentaries highlighting the film’s relatable characters and stand-out scenes; 10 never-before-revealed scenes; filmmaker commentary; the touching theatrical short “Bao” and a corresponding featurette about how the dumplings sprung to life; and much, much more.

“Incredibles 2” is packaged and released in several different ways, offering families the flexibility to watch the movie instantly and on a variety of devices of their choosing, including Digital 4K Ultra HD, HD and SD and physically as a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Copy), a Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy) and a single DVD.  Additionally, the Digital HD/SD, Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film have been modified in an effort to accommodate photosensitive viewers, however individual sensitivities may vary.

In “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.

BONUS FEATURES (may vary by retailer)

Digital Exclusives:

  • The Coolest Guy in Show Business – In this partially illustrated documentary, Samuel L. Jackson reflects how his childhood and love of comics shaped his passion for film and imaginative storytelling.
  • 2 SuperScene Breakdowns – Casual commentary-style pieces looking at specific scenes in the film (The Racoon Fight and Mrs. Incredible) through a particular creative focus like action choreography, set design or story.

Blu-ray & Digital:

  • All-New “Auntie Edna” Mini-Movie – When Bob Parr visits super-suit designer Edna Mode looking for help with his high-energy toddler Jack-Jack, Edna pulls an all-nighter designing a suit to harness the baby’s seemingly limitless powers.
  • 10 Deleted Scenes With Introductions – Suburban Escape,  Kari Revisited, Return of the Supers, Chewed Out, Late Audition, Slow Day, Frozone and Honey, Restaurant Robbery, Fashion Show and Security Breakdown.
  • Super Stuff – From buildings and vehicles to costumes and props, every action movie requires a lot of really cool stuff. Meet the makers and learn what it takes to design and build such a uniquely incredible world.
  • Heroes & Villains – A collection of mini-docs about the backstory and major design ideas behind the “Incredibles 2” characters — featuring voice actors, director Brad Bird, and Pixar artists talking about the many elements that make these characters feel real.
  • Ralph Eggleston: Production Designer – This short piece explores the many ways a single production designer has influenced the look, feel and character of the Pixar universe, culminating in “Incredibles 2.”
  • Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird – Brad Bird’s passion for animation dates back to his childhood and mentorship under Disney’s Milt Kahl, and that enthusiasm and powerful insight emanates from every film he’s made. Take a deep dive into Brad’s early years at Disney Animation Studios and his time at Pixar.
  • Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes – At its heart, “Incredibles 2” is about family dynamics and the challenges of being a working parent. Meet the parents of Pixar as they discuss their personal connections to the film and their experience with stretching to balance work and family.
  • SuperBaby – A documentary/hip hop music video hybrid hosted by Frankie and Paige from Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. This piece explores how Jack-Jack came to life onscreen — from design to special effects to animation — all set to a hot beat.
  • Commentary – Get inside commentary from animators Alan Barillaro (supervising animator), Tony Fucile (supervising animator, story artist and character designer), Dave Mullins (supervising animator) and Bret Parker (animation second unit and crowds supervisor).
  • Theatrical Short: “Bao” – An aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy.
  • Making “Bao” – Director Domee Shi shares her secret recipe for making an animated short — discussing how her rich cultural heritage, unique relationship with her mom, and her love of food all informed the making of the food-fantasy “Bao.”
  • Outtakes & Stories – Raccoon Fight Story, Evelyn Animation Outtakes, Puppet Animator Interview, Outtakes Goofy Arms Story and SuperBaby Music Video.
  • Character Theme Songs, Vintage Toy Commercial TV Spots , Toolkit Montage and Global “Incredibles 2” Trailers


  • Theatrical Short: “Bao” & Commentary

“Incredibles 2” Cast and Crew

Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson return as the voices of Helen and Bob Parr, who still struggle to juggle their duties as parents and Supers. Sarah Vowell once again provides the voice of the teen-queen of sarcasm Violet, while Huck Milner joins the cast as the voice of 10-year-old Dash, and Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as the voice of Lucius Best – aka Frozone. “Incredibles 2” also features the voices of Brad Bird as fashion visionary Edna “E” Mode, Bob Odenkirk as savvy businessman and Super fan Winston Deavor, Catherine Keener as tech pro Evelyn Deavor, Jonathan Banks as Rick Dicker, Sophia Bush as up-and-coming hero Voyd, and Isabella Rossellini as an influential ambassador and advocate for Supers.

Written and directed by Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and Nicole Paradis Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer), “Incredibles 2” is executive produced by John Lasseter. “The Incredibles” was the film that introduced Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino (“Up,” “Tomorrowland”) to moviegoers, and he returns to the Incredibles universe to create the score for “Incredibles 2.”

Disc Specifications
Product SKUs: Digital = 4K UHD, HD, SD
Physical = 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (4K UHD+Blu-ray Feature+Blu-ray Bonus+Digital Copy), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray Feature+Blu-ray Bonus+DVD+Digital Copy) and DVD
Feature Run Time: Approximately 118 minutes
Rating:  PG in U.S., PG in CE, and G in CF
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Resolution: 4K UHD = 3840 x 2160, HD = 1920 x 1080, SD = 720 x 480. Some flashing-lights scenes in 4K UHD (physical and digital) versions may effect photosensitive viewers.
Audio: 4K UHD Blu-ray = English Dolby Atmos, English, Spanish and French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
4K UHD Digital = English Dolby Atmos (platform dependent), English 7.1 (platform dependent), English, Spansih & French 5.1, English, Spanish & French 2.0
Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDHR, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
DVD = English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
HD Digital =  English 7.1 (platform dependent), English, Spansih & French 5.1, English, Spanish & French 2.0
Subtitles: Blu-ray = English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Closed Captions:Digital = English; DVD = English

Book-A-Day 2018 #291: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage Per Second by Wilson, Andolfo, Miyazawa, and Herring

This will probably be the last time you see me grumble about Ms. Marvel. I just checked the local library system, and they do not have the next volume — the NYPL might, since it is vast and contains multitudes, but I don’t have the easy access to that system that I had when I actually worked in NYC. [1]

And that’s fine, because Ms. Marvel seems to have lost whatever was particularly distinctive about it in the beginning, aside from the bare fact that the heroine is brown and Muslim. (And even that is mostly stated at this point, rather than actually being germane to the plots and characterization.) Yes, Kamala Khan is officially a teenage Muslim girl from Jersey City, but the stories here don’t feature her family at all, her community is shown in very generic ways, and it’s leaning much more into the teenager-ness than anything else — which, as you know Bob, does not particularly distinguish Kamala from other teen-genius heroes like Nova and Spider-Man.

Anyway: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage Per Second . Written as always by G. Willow Wilson, and collecting issues 13-18 of the 2016 series, with art by Mirka Andolfo (#13), Takeshi Miyazawa (#14-17) and Francesco Gaston (#18).

In which the stretchy Jersey girl drives voter turnout (in an issue cover-dated January 2017?), battles the ultimate Internet troll, and then briefly cedes the spotlight to her former best friend Bruno Carrelli.

That first story…well, it means well, I suppose, but it is very comic-booky in all of the bad ways, from a transparently villainous plot by transparently villainous actors to a happy ending based entirely on the fact that Kamala is the title star of the book. And its message — that you can stop all of the bad political things you hate and get the perfect snowflake candidate you absolutely love — is stupid and wrong-headed and entirely contrary to the actual world of real politics. But, yeah, vote for the librarian who has no chance of winning if a girl in a mask tells you to….

The long title story is one of those standard superhero exercises: how do you fight someone you can’t punch? And for a girl who is supposedly really smart and going to a super-sciencey school, Kamala has a really hard time coming up with any strategies to fight this new dastardly villain (a sentient computer virus, basically). Of course it all works out in the end, and of course it will have no effects on anything — it is a superhero story.

And then the book wraps up with a solo adventure of Bruno at Golden City Polytechnic Prep, Wakanda, where he is apparently both the token White Guy and the token Dumb Guy. Sadly, this issue tends to argue against my fervent hope that Bruno will turn up in another dozen issues as a super-villain with a gripe against Kamala, but I suppose I can keep hoping for a lucky lab accident. Instead, he learns Lessons About Life, mostly that every important character in a superhero comic is rich, powerful, connected, or some combination thereof.

With this volume, we see that Ms. Marvel can be dull and mediocre even without a crossover, which had been the initial source of the dullness in the title. I suspect, at this point, the stories inherent in this setup have been exhausted, and it’s time to actually let life move on for Kamala and her friends and family. But, since this is a Big Two comic, I’m sure instead we’ll get a Shocking Reversal, with someone dead or depowered or Superhero No More! or gender-swapped. But it’ll have to happen without me; I think I’m done here.

[1] I do still have a NYPL card, because every self-respecting reader knows that you never give up a library card unless forced to.

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

Elf gets 15th Anniversary Sing Along Edition

Burbank, CA, October 15, 2018 – Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the modern-day holiday classic Elf when Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition arrives on DVD and Digital on November 27th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.  Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Chef), the beloved comedy Elf stars Will Ferrell (Old School, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers) as Buddy the Elf.

Directed by Favreau from an original script by David Berenbaum (The Haunted Mansion), the film features an all-star cast including Ferrell, James Caan as Walter Hobbs, Zooey Deschanel as Jovie, Mary Steenburgen as Emily Hobbs, Faizon Love as Wanda, Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch, Amy Sedaris as Deb, and Andy Richter as Morris, with Edward Asner as Santa Claus and Bob Newhart as Papa Elf.

Elf: Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition will be available on DVD and brand new Elf-inspired extra content, including a bouncing elf hat singalong with Buddy and his friends and all new fun, family-friendly interactive special features.  Also included in the DVD package are the original theatrical film and previously released special features.

Fans can also own ElfBuddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition via purchase from digital retailers beginning November 27th as a new standalone feature, as part of iTunes Extras, or in a bundle with the original film depending on the digital retailer platform.

ElfBuddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.


Will Ferrell stars as the ultimate fish out of water, Buddy, who as a baby crawls into Santa’s toy bag and is whisked off to the North Pole, where he is raised as an elf.  A cheerful misfit who grows to be three times the size of his elf family, Buddy ultimately heads to his birthplace – New York City – to seek out his roots.

Unfortunately, they turn out to be a “Scrooge”-like father and a cynical eight-year-old half-brother who doesn’t believe in Santa.  Worst of all, everyone seems to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.  But using his simple elf ways, Buddy sets out to singlehandedly win over his family and save Christmas in New York, hoping at last to find his true place in the world.


Elf: Buddy’s Sing and Cheer Edition Special New Interactive Features:

  • Sing Along version – Follow Buddy’s elf cap as it bounces over the lyrics when one of the glorious and goofy songs comes on.
  • Buddy’s Best Lines – As Buddy blurts and bellows his lines, watch the words dash, dance and scream on screen.
  • Buddy’s Big Book of Elf Culture – Be tickled by entries and anecdotes from his Big Book of Elf Culture, everything from toy-making tips to popular elfin dance steps.
  • Sweet Treats – Throughout the movie you will be treated to Buddy’s recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • The Clausometer – Track Buddy’s holiday spirit every time you see the Clausometer in the corner of the screen.
  • Buddy’s Buddies – During special moments in the movie, one of Buddy’s North Pole playmates will animate on screen.
  • Fun Facts and Trivia – Amusing factoids randomly pop-up with tidbits on Buddy’s humorous and heartwarming adventure.

Previously Released Special Features:

  • Commentaries by Will Ferrell and Jon Favreau
  • Deleted/alternate scenes
  • Nine featurettes including Tag Along with Will Ferrell, Film School for Kids, How They Made the North Pole, Kids on Christmas, Santa Mania, and more.

Evil Dead 2 gets 4K Ultra HD treatment in December


Ash returns in one of horror’s greatest sequels when Evil Dead 2 arrives on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital) December 11 from Lionsgate. Written and directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Army of Darkness), and starring Bruce Campbell in the role that cemented his place in horror history, Ash must, once again, battle the deranged dead after returning to the same cabin from The Evil Dead and unleashing Hell on Earth. Experience four times the resolution of Full HD with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes Dolby Vision HDR, bringing the stunning cinematography of this supernatural horror film to life. 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. Available for the very first time in this absolutely stunning format, the Evil Dead 2 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will include a brand new, never-before-seen 52 minute featurette, “Bloody and Groovy, Baby! – A Tribute to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II” featurette and will be available for the suggested retail price of $22.99.


Ash, the sole survivor of The Evil Dead, returns to the same cabin in the woods and again unleashes the dead. With his girlfriend possessed and his body parts running amok, Ash must again single-handedly battle the damned in this unhinged horror classic!


Bruce Campbell                      Army of Darkness, Ash vs Evil Dead
Dan Hicks                               Darkman, Intruder, Spider-Man 2
Kassie Wesley Depaiva         One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives
and Ted Raimi                        Spider-Man 3, The Midnight Meat Train, Ash vs Evil Dead


  • NEW “Bloody and Groovy, Baby!” – A Tribute to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2 Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero


  • Audio Commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero
  • “Swallowed Souls: The Making of Evil Dead 2” Featurette
  • “Cabin Fever – A ‘Fly on the Wall’ Look Behind-the-Scenes of Evil Dead 2” Featurette
  • “Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood” Featurette
  • Evil Dead 2: Behind-the-Screams” Featurette
  • “The Gore The Merrier” Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Galleries

John Cho and Debra Messing go Searching at home in Nov.

CULVER CITY, Calif. (October 15, 2018) – Dive deep into the virtual world of social media with a mystery-thriller for the digital age, SEARCHING, debuting on Digital and redeemable via the Movies Anywhere App. on November 13, coming to Blu-ray and DVD November 27 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. A unique take on society’s pervasive use of technology, SEARCHING is the feature film debut for writer-director Aneesh Chaganty, and writer-producer Sev Ohanian. Chaganty and Ohanian’s script constructs a new form of cinema inspired by the connection between parent and child in the Internet age. Stopping at no lengths to find his missing daughter, a determined father, played by John Cho (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar), explores her social media accounts, emails, pictures, videos and more to aid in the police investigation. Cho is joined by an impressive cast including Emmy Award® winner Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”), Joseph Lee (“NCIS: Los Angeles”) and Michelle La in her feature film debut.

Since winning the audience award and the Alfred P. Slogan Feature Film Prize at its Sundance debut, SEARCHING has riveted audiences and critics alike, with a 93% Certified Fresh score, and critics calling it a “groundbreaking” (Den of Geek, The Wrap) film in the vein of classic Hitchcock thrillers (“Hitchcock levels of suspense” CNET). Expertly blending innovative storytelling and modern technology, Chaganty has crafted an enthralling missing person story bookended by an endearing opening sequence and stunning conclusion. Keep your eyes peeled for clues that lead to the movie’s shocking finale and don’t blink if you want to uncover additional subplots to unravel those hidden mysteries within the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital bonus features.

The SEARCHING Blu-ray, DVD and Digital bonus features uncovers this innovative storytelling through the commentary of the director and three exclusive behind-the scenes featurettes. Explore the creative process of producing a film told entirely on the screens we use every day in “Changing The Language Of Cinema”. Delve into the film’s challenging cinematography in “Update Username: Cast And Characters”, featuring interviews with the cast and the filmmakers. Finally, in “Searching For Easter Eggs”, where filmmaking duo, Chaganty and Ohanian reveal the compelling “blink and you missed it” Easter Eggs hidden in the ancillary screen space throughout the film.

SEARCHING was executive produced by Maria Zatuloyskaya, Ana Liza Murayina, Igor Tsay and co-produced by Congyu E. The film was produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Sev Ohanian, Adam Sidman, and Natalie Oasabian.

After David Kim (John Cho)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.

Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Bonus Materials Include:

  • “Changing The Language Of Cinema”
  • “Update Username: Cast and Characters”
  • “Searching For Easter Eggs”
  • “Audio Commentary with Aneesh Chaganty & Sev Ohanian”

SEARCHING has a run time of approximately 102 minutes and is rated PG-13 for strong violence, bloody images, and language.

Emmy Award® is a registered trademarks of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

REVIEW: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Lafayette

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Lafayette
By Nathan Hale
Abrams Amulet, 128 pages, $13.99

There really is a Nathan Hale providing guided tours through American history, neatly playing off his namesake’s name recognition. The Eisner-nominated creator has explored the first Hale, the Donner party, and World War I. Here’s back with his eighth fun volume spotlighting the French adventurer and American patriot Marquis de Lafayette (revitalized thanks to Hamilton).

We get the Frenchman’s aristocratic background and upbringing, explaining how he found himself coming to America early during the War for Independence, well ahead of France’s more formal declaration of support,

Hale uses a masked version of himself to narrate the tale, pausing to help us identify the supporting figures in Lafayette’s life, enriching the overall narrative. The Frenchman arrives, seriously sea sick, in 1777 and is initially dismissed by the Continental Congress, considering him a dilettante. He’s dispatched to General George Washington, who welcomes him with open arms, making him an aide-de-camp, and puts him right to work while the military leader is also feuding with a frustrated Congress, some of whom are trying to remove him.

Lafayette, not yet twenty, is off to do battle, accompanied by Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s right-hand man. They grow to respect one another and Hale takes us through their various battles, demonstrating how Lafayette was more helpful than the Americans ever could have imagined.

Hale’s pages are filled with detail, using black, white, and shades of red to vividly bring the past to life. While aimed at middle grades, this would certainly be a fine supplemental work for slightly older readers. There are helpful maps and a useful bibliography along with a cheeky author’s note of sorts.

For people who claim history is boring, Hale through his works proves history is anything but.

REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ten years ago, Iron Man was released and was hailed as brilliant interpretation of a B-list hero few outside of comic shops knew. Just three years ago, Ant-Man was lauded for taking an even more obscure hero and making the same magic. Where the former’s sequel stumbled, the latter’s soared.

Ant-Man and the Wasp, out today on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment, is possibly even more enjoyable but wouldn’t be that way without having the first film to build on. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) was the first diminutive hero, using the Pym particles to shrink and perform feats on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., eventually sharing his adventures with his equally brilliant scientist wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), until there was the mission where she didn’t return.

Heart-broken, the mercurial Pym withdrew, overly protective of his adult daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), who yearned to be a hero. Instead, she watched over her father’s company until circumstances forced Hank to bring in Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) for help. The first film, reviewed here, was charming and focused on family and redemption as sub-text.

But we got a glimmer of Janet in the Quantum Realm and rescuing her became the launch point for the sequel. Wisely, they pick up two years later, with Scott under house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords and participating in Captain America: Civil War. While he made the most of his time with Cassie (Abby Ruder Fortson), the Pyms were building a quantum tunnel to attempt a rescue. When things go sideways thanks to unscrupulous antics of Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), the Pyms need Hank’s help once more.

All the threads from the first film are extended and enriched here, from Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), and Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris) struggling to keep X-Con Security afloat to Cassie’s strong bond with her father. There’s a weird frenemy relationship that has formed between Lang and his keeper, FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and their final scene together is a delightful study of awkwardness.

Added to the cast is Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), a former friend and rival with Pym, who once adventured as Goliath. He’s been harboring and aiding Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen), whose molecular structure was damaged in a Pym experiment gone wrong that also killed her parents. When Foster and Pym need the same piece of tech, held by Burch, competing needs clash and the fun begins. Ava, known as Ghost, proves a damaged, desperate woman trying to survive much as Hope needs to find her mother, adding a nice level of pathos to the conflict.

The size-changing is amped up throughout the film, mostly for comedic effects and it works but there’s little consideration of the physical toll this must take on Lang and Pym. It seemed to stop Foster at some point, but it never comes up.

Despite there being five credited writers — Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari – we learn from the special features that director Peyton Reed wisely allowed a certain amount of improvisation. As a result, the finished film is funny, action-packed, heart-warming, and vastly entertaining. The mid-credits sequence also dramatically establishes exactly where the film fits in with Phase Three.

The film has been released in a variety of formats including retail exclusive editions with varying content. The one under review is billed as the Cinematic Universe Edition. The dual-layered UHD66 disc brilliantly shows off the vivid colors with a stunning HEVC H.265 encode. Filming used digital photography allowing the 4K disc to be noticeably superior to the Blu-ray. Accompanying is a fine Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The Blu-ray has a satisfactory 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio track.

Special features found on the disc includes Audio Commentary from Reed, complete with an intro (1:08). From there, we have a series of interesting but not terribly informative Making of Featurettes (22:30): Back in the Ant-Suit: Scott Lang; A Suit of Her Own: The Wasp; Subatomic Super Heroes: Hank & Janet; and Quantum Perspective: The VFX and Production Design of Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Additionally, there are surprisingly short Gag Reel (1:31) and Outtakes, featuring Stan Lee adlibbing for his cameo (:46) and Tim Heidecker (1:29). We have just a two Deleted Scenes, with Optional Commentary by Reed (1:38).

There are some Digital Exclusives, with Movies Anywhere offering It Takes Two (:59) and Vudu including the previously seen 10 Years of Marvel Studios: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (10:19) and Leader of the Colony (2:36), spotlighting Reed