Inside Pulse » Star Wars http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Star Wars http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com The Weekly Round-Up #245 With Archer & Armstrong, Abe Sapien, Armor Hunters, Dark Ages, FBP, Sex Criminals, Star Wars, Unity, The Walking Dead & More http://insidepulse.com/2014/08/18/the-weekly-round-up-245-with-archer-armstrong-abe-sapien-armor-hunters-dark-ages-fbp-sex-criminals-star-wars-unity-the-walking-dead-more/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/08/18/the-weekly-round-up-245-with-archer-armstrong-abe-sapien-armor-hunters-dark-ages-fbp-sex-criminals-star-wars-unity-the-walking-dead-more/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:00:24 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=364564 Best Comic of the Week:

Archer & Armstrong #23It’s hard to find the words to express how much I’m enjoying Archer & Armstrong.  In this issue, Fred Van Lente wraps up his American Wasteland arc, which features Jim Morrison as the head of a Hollywood religion attempting to use the Wheel of Aten to give himself great power, only to have to deal with a time travelling Archer and naked Armstrong, who put together a very interesting and amusing plot to stop him.  This book is hilarious (I love the scene where Elvis Presley steals a woman’s car) and very intelligent at the same time, with tons of little asides that reward long-time readers.  Brilliant stuff.

Quick Takes:

Abe Sapien #15 – This month we get a flashback issue illustrated by the wonderful Juan Ferreyra, whose art I haven’t seen a lot of since Rex Mundi ended.  Anyway, this issue takes place a while ago, when Abe had pulled himself from field missions with the BPRD, and when Captain Daimio and Roger were the heavy hitters in the Bureau.  It’s nice to see Roger again, just as it’s nice to see Abe in his classic look.  This was a good issue.

All-New X-Men #30 – Remember when Chris Claremont used to take an issue of Uncanny X-Men after a particularly long storyline or a really big event, and just have the team hang out together (usually there was baseball)?  It worked really well as a way to advance subplots and check in with characters that hadn’t been getting a lot of attention.  That’s basically all Brian Michael Bendis does with this issue, although no subplots move forward at all.  Past Warren and X-23 hook up (Bendis has been determined to get her with one of the Past team), Past Jean and Emma have a long conversation and start bonding, while Kitty and Star-Lord use holographic FaceTime to flirt.  Basically, that’s all that happens this issue, until Storm and a few of the other Jean Grey School X-Men show up to invite everyone to a back issue of Uncanny X-Men.  In a lot of ways, this is the most Brian Michael Bendis issue of X-Men ever written, and I’m not saying that in a good way.  At least Sara Pichelli’s art is pretty…

Amazing X-Men #10I’ve liked this Wendigo storyline (it has Alpha Flight in it!), but am getting frustrated with the extreme level of decompression being used to tell the story.  For example, to explain why Doctor Strange is not around, we get a whole page shot of him doing some magic stuff back in his house that adds nothing to the story.  I’m also getting a little tired of how hard the writers, Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, are working to keep the tone light while telling a pretty horrifying story.  Still, Alpha Flight…

Armor Hunters #3 – Recognizing that they have very little chance of winning the conflict with the Armor Hunters, the Unity team and their allies decide to attempt turning the tables, which doesn’t go all that well for Los Angeles.  Robert Venditti has done a great job of maintaining a real sense of consequence to this event, as well as making it a great read.

Avengers Undercover #8 – With three issues remaining in this series, Dennis Hopeless finally kicks his story into high gear, as the kids have to decide if they are going to take down Baron Zemo’s whole operation, or join it.  The story has jumped three months forward in time, and more than a few of the kids have gotten a little too used to the villainous lifestyle.  A new artist, Tigh Walker joins the book, and I really like his work, which reminds me a little of Becky Cloonan’s art.  My interest in this book just spiked again.

Avengers World #11 – I’ve really lost the thread of this series, as a group of Avengers children from the future (because every Marvel book requires visitors from the future these days) come to help Maria Hill fight AIM on their island, while not addressing the fact that Smasher is being held prisoner there, and while complaining the whole time about how much they do not like Hill.  I felt like this series had some grand plan to it before, but somewhere in the handover of this title from Jonathan Hickman to Nick Spencer, I fear that the plot has gotten lost.  It’s nice to see artist Raffaele Ienco get a higher profile book at Marvel – he’s a talented artist.

Dark Ages #1I preordered this new fantasy mini-series from Dark Horse on the strength of The New Deadwardians, a cool Vertigo comic for a while back by Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard, who have reunited for this new comic.  I’m getting a little worn out by the rush of fantasy books that have popped up in the wake of Game of Thrones, but Abnett is a comics master, and Culbard has a very cool minimalist approach to his art that I enjoy.  I’m not all that clear on what’s happening in this comic yet – we meet a large group of unemployed mercenaries hoping to find a war, who are surprised at their campfire one night by items falling from the sky, which hatch dragon-like things that attack them.  There’s also a strange monastery.  Not a whole lot more happens in this issue, but it does look nice.  I’ll see where this goes…

Dream Merchant #4 – I’d pretty much forgotten about this mini-series, written by Nathan Edmondson, which is over a year late.  Edmondson has been pretty busy at Marvel, writing Punisher, Black Widow, and the upcoming Deathlok, so I can see how his Image books have fallen by the wayside (Where is Jake Ellis? also suddenly reappeared this week), but I would much rather get a new issue of The Activity, his excellent special ops book with his Punisher collaborator Mitch Gerads than an issue of this mini-series, which wasn’t working for me before it went on hiatus.  There are some creatures that are invading the Earth through a dream dimension or something, and there’s a kid who can see them, but he’s on the run from a mental institute.  I felt pretty lost reading this issue, and don’t know how much I still care about this book.  Sometimes, preordering works against you…

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics #13I think it’s a bad thing that I don’t really know what’s going on in this comic anymore.  I enjoy the characters, and I like Robbi Rodriguez’s art, but the story is either confusing me, or is just not holding my interest enough to make me care about what’s happening.

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #5 – Kaare Andrews adds a little more to the mythology around the Iron Fist with this issue, but my interest in this book continues to decrease.  I find that Andrews isn’t saying anything new or interesting enough about this character, and were it not for the high esteem in which I hold his art, I’d have dropped the book already.  I just feel that after the classic Fraction/Brubaker Iron Fist, there was no need to return to the character in a solo setting for yet another story that is too focused on K’un-Lun.

Justice League United #4 – As the first arc finally winds down, Jeff Lemire gets around to establishing this new team as an actual thing, although the reasons for the heroes choosing to come together feel a little forced.  I’ve been a little surprised at how this series has turned out so far, having expected a lot more from this title than some by-the-numbers plots about villainous aliens.  Even the sacrifice of a particular hero has felt more like a necessary plot point than an actual event.  I usually really enjoy Jeff Lemire’s writing, and want to support a team book set in my home country, but am not sure I see myself sticking around much longer.  I have preordered the next few issues (not counting the Futures End thing, because I don’t care about that at all), but I’m quickly losing interest in this book (which is weird, because I love Lemire on Animal Man and Green Arrow).

Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster #5 – Two Tonci Zonjic books in the same week is a big treat (see below) as the Lobster chases down the radio-control doctor guy, and they have a fight on a zeppelin.  The visuals are great in this issue, although the story does tend to follow all the usual Lobster Johnson tropes.

Original Sin #7I’m not all that clear on how Nick Fury, aging and wearing a battle suit, is able to hold off against the most powerful of Avengers, even accepting that he has a few tricks up his sleeves to take out some of the biggest guns.  This title just gets stranger and stranger as it nears its big conclusion, and I feel badly that poor Uatu had to meet such a dishonorable fate.  It now seems like this book is just working through a checklist of important events to set up already announced initiatives like ‘Girl Thor’ and the new Winter Soldier title.

San Hannibal #3 – I’m really glad I decided to stick with this interesting mystery comic.  There’s a lot that’s still not very clear, but as Avery gets closer to tracking down the missing photojournalist he’s been hired to find, it’s clear that she got herself into some very weird stuff that involves the upper crust of San Hannibal society.  Dan Schkade’s story is interesting, and I like his art, but what really makes this title stand out is Jesse Snavlin’s colours.  Most of this issue is told using only yellow (with a bit of blue), until Avery is apprehended, and then blues and magentas start busting out all over the place.  In a lot of ways, this book reminds me of Casanova, as Schkade’s art is reminiscent of Bá and Moon’s work from that classic series.

Sex Criminals #7 – This continues to be one of the most entertaining and thoughtful comics on the stands, and that’s largely just because of the letters page.  The comic itself is terrific – Suzy reconnects with her best friend, which involves letting her in on a big secret, while Jon decides to visit the home of the woman who runs the Sex Police, while using his time-stopping powers.  Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky balance humour, sexiness, and very real-feeling depictions of the characters very well.

She-Hulk #7 – This title is really pretty delightful.  She-Hulk and Hellcat need to rescue a scientist (who only apparently dresses in vintage Star Trek cosplay) who has shrunk himself in a backyard.  Hank Pym gets in on the action, but the book’s two heroines are at the centre of things.  Javier Pulido does a terrific job on the art, while Charles Soule keeps the script quick-paced and amusing.  I love that Marvel has books like this.

Skullkickers #30I’ve often enjoyed the ‘Tavern Tales’ issues of Skullkickers, but this one is easily the best yet.  Between story arcs, writer Jim Zubkavich usually gave over an issue of the series to a number of different creators to just have fun with his creations.  This time around, he’s worked up four stories set in alternate universes, showing our two heroes in different lights.  The book opens with a Chinese Wuxia-style story.  We also see a classic science fiction rocket adventure, and a biker zombie story.  The best part of this comic, though, is the story that casts Rolf and Rex as Batman and Robin type heroes, using their vast wealth to fight against the poor.  Lots of slapstick humour, and terrific, genre-appropriate art by Jeff Cruz and Royce Southerland really make this issue a winner.

Starlight #5 – Mark Millar and Goran Parlov are getting close to the end of their ‘Old Buck Rogers’ sci-fi epic, so we are given an issue that has a lot of action.  The bad guys raid the rebel’s base unexpectedly, and it seems like Duke McQueen may be the last chance the entire planet has for freedom.  I wonder what might happen next…

Star Wars #20 – I’m very sad to see that Brian Wood’s run with Star Wars, as well as Dark Horse’s, is finished.  I’ve really enjoyed this return to the original movie continuity, and the focus on building and maintaining the Rebellion after the events of the first movie.  This issue shows the core cast working to rescue an old friend of Leia’s, an undercover agent who has been gone so long as to be under suspicion.  I like the way this story sets up the logical move to the ice world of Hoth without even mentioning that planet, as well as shows some of the growth the Luke Skywalker undertook between the first two movies.  It’s a little strange that the flagship Marvel Star Wars title will be mining the exact same time period; I’ll be curious to see how similar the two books are, although I don’t know that I’ll stick with the Marvel title after John Cassaday either leaves the book or causes it to become ridiculously delayed (I’m predicting four issues, tops).

Thief of Thieves #23Redmond is in full-on vengeance mode, and so this issue is much bloodier than what we usually see in this comic.  I’m still interested in what’s going on, but feel like this title must be getting close to being finished, as I can’t see the series going much further after this arc is over.

The United States of Murder Inc. #4 – Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming are doing some really good work with this alternate history mob book.  It’s been a long time since their Powers (or Powers Bureau, if you need to be absolutely current) has held my attention like this series is.  Valentine and his protector go looking for help at the World Trade Center, which is a giant casino in this world, but instead find a hit squad from one of the other families.  The level of intrigue is growing, and we are still not totally clear on what the FBI has planned.  I also love that this book is coming out on a monthly schedule – it’s been a long time since these two have attempted something like that.

Unity #10 – This may be the first real misstep in the Armor Hunters saga, as almost nothing happens in the entire issue.  We get a confusing series of flashbacks involving Gin-GR (stupid name), the sentient ship that the Hunters fly around in, and a bunch of scenes that fit between parts of this week’s Armor Hunters, but which don’t really add much to the mix.  Disappointing.

The Walking Dead #130 – Rick and Carl make it to the Hilltop, and we get to check in with Maggie, meet her son, and see just how much Rick is worshipped as a hero there.  I’ve been enjoying this jump in time, although it does seem like there’s not a lot of drama in the world any more.  To address that, Robert Kirkman introduces a possible new twist on the dead, but I’m pretty sure that’s going to be an example of misdirection.  I still really love this comic, but it’s getting close to time for something bad to happen again.  I do really like the way the newcomers to Alexandria react to Negan.

Westward #8Ken Krekeler’s very interesting self-published series is really moving quickly now that it’s getting close to its big finish.  A lot is revealed in this issue, as the plans of CLAW, an anti-technology terrorist group, are laid bare, as is the identity of the mastermind behind all of the West family’s problems.  I am glad I stumbled across this book, as Krekeler is a very good writer.

Where is Jake Ellis? #4 – This comic was solicited to come out in February of 2013, so I guess I can be forgiven for not fully remembering all that was going on with Jon and Jake.  Still, Nathan Edmondson is very good at writing espionage-driven action stories, and Tonci Zonjic is an incredible artist, so I quickly found myself wrapped back up in the story.  Jon, Jake, and the woman from the state department try to escape their captors, but run into some trouble along the way.  Here’s hoping it’s not going to be another year and a half before we get to read the resolution of this good comic.

Wolverine and the X-Men #7 – I have not been too impressed with this series since it was relaunched under Jason Latour’s direction, but this issue is a step in the right direction.  Having finished off the confusing first arc, Latour takes a bit of a breather, checking in on a few different characters, and focusing on Wolverine’s loss of his healing factor.  I still feel like some of the characterizations (especially Idie’s) are way off, but I appreciate that at least some effort is being made to recognize that the strength of the X-Men books has always lay in the diversity of the characters.  It would be nice if something could be done about the art on this title – I’ve lost count of how many artists have worked on this title already, and this issue has three different artists credited.  It helps underscore what a mess this title is.

Zero #10Ales Kot uses this issue in a different way from the rest, showing us where Edward Zero hid himself for a while after leaving the Agency.  He spends the issue hiding out in Iceland, trying to figure out how to have a regular life.  Michael Gaydos drew this issue, which did not strike me with the same force as the last few.  It’s hard to make a regular, boring life visually interesting.

Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4 (or More):

Amazing Spider-Man #5

Batman #34

Captain America #23

Captain Marvel #6

Deadpool #33

Fantastic Four #8

Hulk #5

Nightcrawler #5

Red Sonja #11

Wolverine #11

X-Men #18

Bargain Comics:

Batwoman #31&32As much as I like and respect Marc Andreyko’s writing (especially his Manhunter), I feel like his Batwoman is going nowhere.  Kate is not a detective-type now, nor is she particularly interesting as a hero.  Her personal life is a little more interesting, as she is helping her fiancée fight for custody of her daughter, but Andreyko is tossing a lot of new minor characters into the book that aren’t particularly memorable (or visually distinctive).  I feel like this book could be a lot better than it is, but I no longer know what Kate dresses up to fight crime, and find the villains that she encounters, Wolf-Spider and Nocturna, to be pretty dull, to say nothing of the bad idea that is Kill-Shot.  At least she’s not tripping in every second issue now…

Conan the Avenger #4 – I really want to like this Conan series, because it’s written by Fred Van Lente, who nails just about everything he writes.  I know that the Brian Wood series, which was my gateway to Conan, was not always liked by the purists, but I found the character to be interesting.  Here, he feels like a vehicle to drive the plot, which is not something I care that much about, with its wizard manipulating things in a kingdom where a sneaky vicious sister controls her hedonistic and stupid brother, who is the King.  What I did like was the way in which Eduardo Francisco drew a wizard to look like Dr. Strange, and Van Lente had him use the word ‘hoary’.  That part made me smile.

The Week in Manga:

20th Century Boys Vol. 13 – Things are really heating up in this series, as the death of the Friend causes a purge among the highest ranks of his organization, and the sparking off of a plague in an attempt to wipe out most of the world’s population.  As always, this massive series is an exciting read, and I’m always amazed by the way Naoki Urasawa weaves in new story elements in a way that still feels natural and not forced.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Chicanos Vol. 2

Written by Carlos Trillo
Art by Eduardo RissoCarlos Trillo and Eduardo Risso had a long and prosperous partnership together, creating some very interesting comics like Vampire Boy and Borderline, but their Chicanos is probably one of the stranger and more memorable projects they worked on.Chicanos tells the story of Alejandrina Jalisco, a short and awkward private investigator who can barely rub two dimes together, who lives and works in a poor Latino area of New York.  She is cursed with terrible luck – she has a tendency to get hit by buses whenever things start to go her way, which isn’t often – and is generally mistreated by almost everybody she knows, yet she maintains a level of optimism and goodwill about her.This second IDW volume collects the second half of Jalisco’s stories, I believe for the first time in English.  The collection is interesting – the stories stay pretty bleak but are humorous at the same time – and Risso’s art looks very nice, in the way that his work always does.  I wish IDW had done a little more to separate the various chapters, as it’s not always clear where one story ends and the next begins (plus, I’m sure there are some beautiful Risso covers that weren’t collected).

If you’re looking for an oddball graphic novel to entertain you, you could do a lot worse than this.

 

That’s everything I read this week.  How about you?  Let us know what you’re feeling lately in the comments section below.

 
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SDCC 2014: Interview With Hasbro’s Star Wars Toys Brand Team http://insidepulse.com/2014/08/01/sdcc-2014-interview-with-hasbros-star-wars-toys-brand-team/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/08/01/sdcc-2014-interview-with-hasbros-star-wars-toys-brand-team/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:38:57 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=363970 The Insidepulse team of Sal Barragan, Mike Kaye, and special subject matter expert Rick Rivera were invited to spend some time with the Star Wars brand team. We were able to spend a few minutes talking with Star Wars Global Marketing Director Jeff Labovitz and Product Design Manager Bill Rawley. Both had a lot to say about Rebels, the Black Series, and their favorite toys! Have fun geeking out with us and the Star Wars team!

…and yes, I accidentally called it Star Trek.

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Check out our interviews at the bottom of the page after you go through all the galleries!

The Black Series

Rebels

Star Wars Panel The Black Series

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SDCC 2014: Star Wars Rebels Photo Gallery http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/31/sdcc-2014-star-wars-rebels-photo-gallery/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/31/sdcc-2014-star-wars-rebels-photo-gallery/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:21:21 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=363679 Check out the latest figures from Hasbro’s Star Wars Rebels from the Hasbro SDCC booth. These will start hitting shelves in the next few months to coincide with the new show. Stay tuned for more from SDCC.


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SDCC 2014: Star Wars The Black Series Photo Gallery http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/31/sdcc-2014-star-wars-the-black-series-photo-gallery/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/31/sdcc-2014-star-wars-the-black-series-photo-gallery/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:23:43 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=363660 Here is the Star Wars: The Black Series from the Hasbro booth at SDCC. Included are both 6 inch & 3 3/4 inch figures. We will have more from SDCC through the week!

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SDCC 2014: Star Wars The Black Series 6″ Figures Panel Images http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/29/sdcc-2014-star-wars-the-black-series-6-figures-panel-images/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/29/sdcc-2014-star-wars-the-black-series-6-figures-panel-images/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:17:46 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=362251 Check out the Star Wars: The Black Series prototype images used during the Hasbro Star Wars Panel at SDCC. Among the new images are Luke with a Wampa & Han with a Tauntaun! We will have more from the Star Wars panel from SDCC!


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Hasbro Exclusive Items Appear on Walgreens.com (Star Wars, Marvel, My Little Pony) http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/22/hasbro-exclusive-items-appear-on-walgreens-com-star-wars-marvel-my-little-pony/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/22/hasbro-exclusive-items-appear-on-walgreens-com-star-wars-marvel-my-little-pony/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:39:32 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=358341 It appears as if the wave of Hasbro exclusives that Walgreens will be carrying will be available online, and maybe NOT in stores. All 3 of the Hasbro Exclusives now have listings on Walgreens.com:

Hasbro Legends Infinite 6-inch Agent Venom
Agent Venom

boba-fett-prototype-black-series
Prototype Boba Fett

Nurse Redheart
Nurse Redheart

There is no timeframe for the release, however Hasbro has made it clear that more information on these will be made available at SDCC this week.
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Star Wars: Episode VII News: Revamped X-Wing Revealed By J.J. Abrams http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/21/star-wars-episode-vii-news-revamped-x-wing-revealed-by-j-j-abrams/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/21/star-wars-episode-vii-news-revamped-x-wing-revealed-by-j-j-abrams/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:12:31 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=358084 starwarsxwing500<

J.J. Abrams showed off a spacecraft in a video from the set of Star Wars Episode VII, a vehicle he explained is the latest incarnation of the X-Wing.

The video shows Abrams and an orange uniformed pilot next to a large aircraft, with space dents and blue detailing.

Some fans have been quick to respond that the spaceship in the video is actually called the “Z-95 Headhunter”. However, official Star Wars twitter has confirmed that it is in fact the new X-Wing:

The video is the second on set video that is part of the “Star Wars: Force for Change” charity drive. The first video showed off a new creature on the planet of Tatooine.

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First Look At Star Wars – The Black Series Walgreen’s Exclusive Prototype Boba Fett http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/07/first-look-at-star-wars-the-black-series-walgreens-exclusive-prototype-boba-fett/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/07/07/first-look-at-star-wars-the-black-series-walgreens-exclusive-prototype-boba-fett/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:40:38 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=357631 It looks like Hasbro is going all in with exclusives going to Walgreen’s. On the heels of the Marvel Legends Agent Venom, Hasbro as also revealed that a Prototype Boba Fett will also be exclusive to Walgreen’s this fall.

boba-fett-prototype-black-series

Just like Agent Venom, there will be pre-order information at Hasbro’s booth at SDCC later this month.
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Month in Review: June 2014 http://insidepulse.com/2014/06/29/month-in-review-june-2014/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/06/29/month-in-review-june-2014/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 21:00:10 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=357245 In what we hope becomes a monthly feature, Inside Pulse Movies will look back on the month and discuss in brief the top stories, trailers, and Blu-ray releases.

Best Movie Trailers

The theatrical trailer is the backbone of movie advertising. As such, a trailer can elevate or deflate an upcoming release depending on its presentation. The month of June included so many good trailers that it was difficult to decide on the top five.

5. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (Trailer #2)

Nine years after Sin City became Robert Rodriguez’s biggest non-Spy Kids hit, and perfect graphic novel fodder that Zack Snyder would emulate with 300 and Watchmen, he and Frank Miller return with four more tales from that sinful city. Favorites Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis return, and they are joined by newcomers Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green.

4. Fury

After the misfire that was Sabotage, David Ayer (End of Watch) looks to return to form with the WWII tank drama Fury. We covered this trailer already, but just know that Brad Pitt plays “Wardaddy,” commander of a battalion consisting of Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Shia LaBeouf. If anything, the tank warfare should be top notch.

3. The Drop (Trailer #2, International)

Three years after his Academy Award nominated Bullhead, Michaël R. Roskam makes his English-language debut with a crime story written and adapted to screen by Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River). James Gandolfini, in his final role, plays Cousin Marv, the operator of Brooklyn bar involved in organized crime that is robbed one evening. The robbery sparks an investigation that entwines Bog Saginowski (Tom Hardy) as it digs deep into the neighborhood’s past.

2. The Interview (Teaser)

Normally, a Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy wouldn’t rate this high, but when The Interview caught the attention of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, who sees the comedy as a declaration of war, well that elevated it near the top of the list. Make sure you have those nuclear fallout shelters ready by October.

1. Birdman

Alejandro González Iñárritu, who previously directed Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, and Biutiful, turns his attention to a washed-up actor looking to reclaim past glory. Birdman, which has no correlation to Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, looks like the perfect vehicle for any star actor that has fallen from grace and is trying to find a way back into the limelight. The fact that the star of Birdman once played Batman is not lost on this writer. Ensemble piece includes Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, and Zach Galifianakis.

Big Developments in Hollyweird

There are three types of movie project developments worthy of remembrance at the end of every month. They are: A) directors hired, B) actors hired, C) projects that are greenlit, scrapped or delayed.

rian-johnson

The biggest story for June without question was Rian Johnson hired to direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. Scott Sawitz covered the development in his Monday Morning Critic column (from June 23rd) and the misinformation that was derived from industry sources saying that Johnson would be directing both Episode VIII and IX. Johnson wasn’t the only Star Wars hiring, as Josh Trank of Chronicle and the forthcoming The Fantastic Four would be directing a Star Wars spin-off that is currently listed on IMDb as Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone Project.

Warner Brothers, having seen how its Edge of Tomorrow was tracking for opening weekend, got cold feet and decided to push the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending back to February 2015. In terms of marketing dollars spent this is setback, since the film was a few months away from release (coincidentally at the EoT promo screening I attended, a trailer for Jupiter Ascending was shown). The studio may claim it was for reshoots or special effects work, which is like polishing a turd then showing it off anew. Then again there might be silver lining in all this. G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which was pushed back from summer 2012 to spring 2013, actually made more – albeit $75 million – globally than its predecessor. I don’t see the same happening to Jupiter Ascending but that may be on account of the Wachowskis having wasted the built-up goodwill they received with The Matrix.

Marvel Studios is quickly trying to make people forget about Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man by announcing that Scott Derrickson (Sinister, upcoming Deliver Us From Evil) will be directing a Doctor Strange movie. Now the question is who will play Doctor Strange. I’ve read casting rumors that have the likes of Edgar Martinez, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch up for the role.

More comic book casting goodness. As the cast of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to increase by the day, it was announced that Jason Momoa would play Aquaman (Ari Gold was furious and Vincent Chase was devastated by the news). Later in June, Scoot McNairy (currently in The Rover) joined the cast in an unnamed role.

Thanks to a hefty international sum, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim can now be labeled a franchise thanks to Universal Pictures. Originally a Warner Bros. release, Universal has greenlit a sequel and it is planned for a April 2017 release. This isn’t the first time Universal has aided Del Toro when it comes to one of his properties. The studio also picked up Hellboy from Sony Pictures and released Hellboy II: The Golden Army in 2008.

Probably the most intriguing casting isn’t the fact that Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum would be joining George Clooney and Josh Brolin in the Hollywood satire Hail Caesar from Joel and Ethan Coen, it’s that Tom Hiddleston will play Hank Williams in a biopic about the country singer. Can you imagine Loki singing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in fringed western attire?

Other odds and ends in Hollyweird. Shane Black is writing a treatment for a Predator reboot that he will direct. The biggest hurdle now will be getting a kick-ass team. But I don’t want it to be a team consisting of those that have appeared in Stallone’s Expendables franchise. The star may in fact be someone Black has pegged to headline his long-gestating adaptation of Doc Savage, one Chris Hemsworth. And it looks like a Snow White and the Huntsman sequel is now a go with Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) at the helm. But the sequel may just be called “The Huntsman” since Kristen Stewart will not be Snow White.

Top Blu-ray Releases

Lego-Movie_BD

June had plenty to offer fans of TV and film, but if I had to pick the singular must-own title of the month the honor would go to The LEGO Movie: Everything is Awesome Edition. From the creative team that also gave us Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street (and its sequel 22 Jump Street), The LEGO Movie just clicks in all the right places. The animated movie doesn’t feel as if it was made simply to move Legos off store shelves. An entire universe is created with these little blocks, plus it has some of the best visuals and gags of any movie I’ve seen this year. One of the few movies I’ve seen more than once in theaters this year, the home release includes some creative special features. How about a spoof trailer of Michelangelo and Abraham Lincoln teaming up as History Cops; or a sample of what the movie would look like if ninjas were added; or fan-made LEGO movies; and of course a “Everything Is Awesome” sing-along!

Grand-Budapest_BD

A close second for new release movies making their debut on Blu-ray is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. When describing this movie to others, I call it Anderson’s version of an action-comedy. It has traits that are similar to his stop-motion animated Fantastic Mr. Fox. It is also a refreshing treatise about one author allowing others to share in the melancholy nostalgia of the misadventures of a lobby boy named Zero Moustafa and Monsieur Gustave H (played to aplomb by Ralph Fiennes) in the fictional republic of Zubrowska and the pink and rose-colored Grand Budapest Hotel. The video transfer is tops with a special alert to viewers to ensure their television monitors are set to 16×9. The reason is because Wes Anderson and cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman play with the ratios throughout the comedy. Alexandre Desplat’s score is highlighted by the lossless DTS audio, plus the manic sequences of Gustave outrunning enemies and alluding authorities are quite robust. The extras are sorely lacking (a few vignettes, EPK pieces, and a quick tour of the locations with guide Bill Murray), which is a clue to expect a special features heavy Criterion Collection release in a few years.

True-Detective-Blu-ray-Cover

Other great titles that came across my desk this month include the HBO anthology series True Detective. I don’t watch many television programs, and I am not frequent to binge-watch, but there was something about this show that made me want to keep watching. The combination of a complicated murder mystery, superior acting from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, plus the striking visuals made it addicted viewing. As someone pointed out to me as I was beginning to sit down and view the first of eight hour-long episodes, True Detective is looked at best as a super-length film. Can’t say I disagree. It is a masterful show made into an exceptional release from HBO.

finalmember

Documentary-wise for the month you can’t get any better (or is that stranger?) than Drafthouse Films’ The Final Member. Having watched this doc way back at the 2012 Fantastic Fest, its arrival to Blu-ray assures that some segment of the population will see a bizarre, yet at times heartfelt, doc about one man’s quest to complete a phallus museum. Upon initial viewing I thought this was a spoof but was surprised to learn that Sigurður “Siggi” Hjartarson has been collecting different mammalian penises for his Icelandic Phallological Museum. The one glaring omission is a human specimen, hence the “final member” of the title. Siggi is one of three primary characters, but by the time it is over the most remembered will be Tom Mitchell, a Texan who is willing to have his penis removed before he is deceased. He also calls it “Elmo.” Well, if America can’t be first in education it might as well have the first human penis on display, right? The Blu-ray isn’t loaded with supplemental material (mostly trailers of other Drafthouse Films releases and a tour of the museum) but the best is a pledge application to the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Not a monetary sum, more like something the length of three to five inches.

Honorable Mentions: Magnolia’s Journey to the West with Stephen Chow returning to his Kung-Fu Hustle ways in a fantastical action-comedy; Joe with David Gordon Green making Nicolas Cage look like a decent actor for a change in this Larry Brown adaptation; Sony Pictures television repackaged the superb Breaking Bad into a more affordable box set; Warner Bros. delivered Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders as a “complete novel”; Shout Factory! made audiences remember the cult hit Ravenous, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle; and the Criterion Collection delivered in spades with The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock, Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, and Judex from Eyes Without a Face auteur Georges Franju.
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Funko Reveals First Batch Of SDCC 2014 Exclusives http://insidepulse.com/2014/06/27/funko-reveals-first-batch-of-sdcc-2014-exclusives/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/06/27/funko-reveals-first-batch-of-sdcc-2014-exclusives/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:23:34 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=357177 Funko is the king of SDCC exclusives. Last year they had over 50 (that fifty) exclusive items. Albeit, many were simple or metallic repaints. This year, they are releasing new information on their SDCC exclusives over the next 3 weeks. Here are this weeks reveals:

Buffy Battle Damage
POP! Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Battle Buffy

Flintstones Color Pop
POP! The Flinstones – Fred & Barney Colorway 2-Packs

Ghostbusters Glow Slimer
POP! Ghostbusters – Glow in the Dark Slimer

Ghostbusters Glow Staypuft
POP! Ghostbusters – Glow in the Dark Stay Puft

Ghostbusters Marshmallow 4Pk
POP! Ghostbusters – Marshmallow Splatter 4-Pack

Ghostbusters Metallic Peter Slimer
POP! Ghostbusters – Metallic Slimer & Slimed Peter 2-Pack

Star Wars Luke Wampa
POP! Star Wars – ‘Hoth’ Luke Skywalker & Wampa 2-Pack

Reaction Predator Clear
ReAction Predator – Stealth Splatter Predator

Reaction Rocketeer BW
ReAction Rocketeer – Black & White Rocketeer

Look for more Funko SDCC Exclusives to be revealed next week!
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