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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

DVD:

  • 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.

SYNOPSIS

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.

DVD ELEMENTS

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

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

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.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

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!

CAST

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

4K ULTRA HD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • 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

BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

  • 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.

Synopsis:
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

Book-A-Day 2018 #288: Love and Rockets: New Stories, No. 3 by The Hernandez Brothers

Comics are not movies: obviously. The two forms do have some things in common, and can use similar visual language — they’re both storytelling mediums with limited space for dialogue and various ingenious ways to show time passing, among other parallels.

But, even at best, they’re parallel: they can do similar things in different ways. So when a creator continuously evokes cinema in his comics, as matter and style, the reader starts to wonder what is up.

By 2010’s Love and Rockets: New Stories, No. 3 , Gilbert Hernandez had been telling movie-inspired stories for about a decade. His major character Fritzi had become a B-movie star, in at least a minor way, and he’d not only told stories about her life and work, but he’d “released” several of her “movies” as separate graphic novels: Chance in Hell (2007), Speak of the Devil (2008), The Troublemakers  (2009). And, in the previous year’s No. 2, he’d launched another young buxom starlet on a Hollywood career, in Dora “Killer” Rivera, daughter of Guadalupe and grand-niece of Fritzi.

Killer is back in Gilbert’s two stories in No.3: “Scarlet in Starlight” is the comics version of what in-continuity is a ten-year-old SF movie that Killer is being considered for a sequel/remake of, and “Killer * Sad Girl * Star” explains that. They’re both intensely late-Gilbert stories, full of people talking about the things that they want to talk about, having endless meta-conversations about the things they’re doing and feeling and saying to each other. I’m finding this is getting more airless and hermetic at this point, as if Gilbert is circling the same material ever closer — the re-run of Fritzi’s movie career in miniature with Killer is another example — and I hope he broke out of that cycle between then and now.

Jaime’s half of No. 3 is the first two pieces of “The Love Bunglers” (set in the modern day) and the flashback “Browntown,” part of the same overall story. I’ve already read the second half — both in the Angels and Magpies  omnibus a few weeks ago and in No. 4 this morning before I got to typing this very post — so I’m mostly going to save my thoughts about that overall story for the conclusion.

But I will repeat what I said before: “Love Bunglers” is Jaime’s masterwork, even more so than the previous high points like “Flies on the Ceiling” and “The Death of Speedy.” And if you think this first half is emotionally strong, you don’t know what you’re in for.

(And I note that I, like nearly everyone else, found “Browntown” the standout when I read No. 3  new in 2010: none of us realized it was part of the same story of “Love Bunglers” and that the latter was not nearly as light as it seemed.)

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

REVIEW: Constantine: City of Demons

John Constantine, done right, is one of DC Comics’ strongest characters. The current incarnation in the Rebirth universe is a pale comparison to his Vertigo roots and the NBC series didn’t push the horrific elements far enough (being a prime time series, after all). Matt Ryan’s wonderful interpretation has been further watered down for the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, so hearing him in all his weary glory in Constantine: City of Demons is most welcome.

This is one of the best animated adaptations of a comic book character, thanks to letting it be an R-rated film ensuring the horror/supernatural elements were true to the source material and not just curse words tossed in for “authenticity”. Kudos to J.M. DeMatteis for bringing Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben’s character to proper life. His original script loosely adapts Hellblazer: All His Engines graphic novel by Mike Carey and Leonardo Manco.

We open with hints of what happened in the past, sending a young, irresponsible Constantine to Ravenscar. His guilt, especially as the past is revealed throughout the 90-minute film, drives his actions and decisions, building to a most satisfying climax.

Constantine is cursed to fight the good fight but at a terrible cost and that has never been truer here. His longtime pal, Chas Chandler (Damian O’Hare), seeks him out to help find out what’s ailing his young daughter Trish. Of course, it’s supernatural in nature and off we go.

While Constantine and Chas jet from London to Los Angeles, Chas’ estranged wife Renee (Emily O’Brien), watches over their comatose child. Watching over her though is Asa the Nightmare Nurse (Laura Bailey), who is, of course, not what she appears.

This is the Constantine who practices magic, who smokes too much, drinks too much, carries too much pain with him, and is at his best when his back is up against the wall. While he tries to free Trish’s soul from Beroul (Jim Meskimen), he also has to contend with the Aztec god, Mictlantecuhtli (Rick D. Wasserman). The only assistance he receives is from the enigmatic Angela (Rachel Kimsey), who acts like Deadman, but has less altruistic motives. He makes deals, double-crosses whoever or whatever he needs to, all for the right reasons. However, there’s a price, always there’s a price. You suspect you know who pays it but it’s far steeper than imagined.

In Director Doug Murphy’s capable hands, the film is dark, atmospheric, and graphic in its violence. Whatever awkwardness existed when it ran on CW Seed in six parts is gone in this compilation.

The film has been released by Warner Home Entertainment in a 4K/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo set. Obviously, the 2160p, HEVC/H.265-encoded UHD definition is sharp, but here, it’s noticeably better than the Blu-ray disc, with more subtle colors popping off the screen. It is well served by the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track.

Both 4K and Blu-ray come with a scarcity of bonus features. The most interesting is The Sorcerer’s Occultist: Understanding John Constantine (13:38), exploring the character with director Doug Murphy, producer Butch Lukic, executive producers David Goyer and  so-called “Occult Expert” Jason Louv. Entertaining but less interesting is the WonderCon Panel—2018 where we hear from Ryan, DeMatteis, and Blue Ribbon Content’s Peter Girardi. There are also trailers for other animated fare all of which pale in comparison.

Note: Some version of the film will air tonight on the CW, but I suspect some of the gore and language will be scrubbed.

Book-A-Day 2018 #287: The Imitation Game by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis

I’m going to start out with a potted rant; regular visitors may want to skip it.

A graphic novel is not “by” the writer. It is not “illustrated” by the artist. It is an inherently collaborative work equally created by both of them. (Assuming there are only two: it could easily be more.) Crediting a book that way is a mistake: even if the writer does detailed thumbnails of every single page and the artist follows them scrupulously, what the artist brings to the table is crucial to the telling of that story. It is not secondary; it is not “illustration.”

The Imitation Game  is a biography in comics form of British mathematician Alan Turing. The copy I have is credited as “by” Jim Ottaviani and “illustrated by” Leland Purvis. Now, I have an uncorrected proof, so the final book may have changed that.

But, if not, this is me looking sternly over my glasses at Abrams ComicArts and saying “tsk-tsk” while I do that little one-finger wave. This is Not Proper. This is Not Done. And we are Not Amused.

But on to the book itself. (If skimming to find the end of the potted rant, this is it.)

Alan Turing, I think, was born at either the exact right time or the exact wrong time. Professionally, he couldn’t have turned up at a better moment to turn his particular genius into reality. But socially and personally, he might have had a quiet happy life in some earlier time and he definitely would have been better off born a decade or three later, when his condition would be better understood and accepted. (I mean his mental condition, since he seems to have been somewhere on the autism spectrum, but his homosexuality would obviously have been less of an issue.)

Ottaviani tells Turing’s story at a slant, or at least starts that way: he opens with (and occasionally returns to) a conceit that he, or someone, is interviewing Turning’s friends and family after his death. But most of the book is just his life dramatized, with lots of explanatory captions (sometimes voiceovers from those interviewees) and a tight focus on his work during WW II.

Imitation Game doesn’t get into the math; it just shows what Turing did, and is particularly interested in the title experiment, better known to us as the Turing Test. It’s also very much a serious biography in comics form, and isn’t afraid to get a little artsy in presentation here and there. Turing’s suicide — I might note that there is now some scholarly doubt as to whether it was suicide — is presented in a particularly elliptical way, and readers who don’t know what he actually did will probably not be able to tell what he actually did.

(On the other hand, I read this in a black-and-white proof, and sometimes color can make things clearer in comics.)

I think biography, particularly of a thinker, is an odd subject for comics: it’s harder to show interior life in comics than in prose, so it’s a slightly less useful tool for the job than the usual one. That said, Imitation Game is a good, thoughtful biography of an important, quirky man, told well and using the form’s strengths well.

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