Movie Review – First Man

I went to an early screening of First Man, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t blown away.  It should be noted, this is a biopic about Neil Armstrong, so the technical details about the space program are in the background.  What you have is a deep dive on Neil as a civilian pilot and father, and how that affected him getting to space.

We learn about Neil Armstrong through the lens of his family.  He struggles mightily with the death of his 2 year old daughter from a tumor, leaving his wife Janet (Claire Foy) to try and cope with little support.  She lives with the constant stress of how dangerous Neil’s job is, even before he becomes an astronaut.  At one point Janet mentions that they attended ‘four funerals at Edwards’ which drives that home.

Armstrong (as played by Ryan Gosling) is a fairly reserved fellow; he’s “pleased” to be chose as the commander of Apollo 11.  Damien Chazelle made an odd choice to film a lot of the emotional scenes super-close to Gosling’s face.  It’s a stark contrast to the action scenes, which are mostly first-person Paul Greengrass-esque shakycam.  Not that it isn’t appropriate for a rocket blasting off, but it is a shift.

First Man is well acted from the leads, and has some recognizable faces supporting.  I like Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin. He would definitely punch out a moon landing denier.  I don’t know that I’d give it the Oscar but it’s a good way to spend an afternoon.


Comic Book Review – Airwolf: Airstrikes

Yet another IDW/Lion Forge comic that exists in a strange netherworld between reboot and continuation (much like the previously reviewed Knight Rider), this Airwolf: Airstrikes trade paperback is an anthology of mostly-unrelated stories starring a helicopter that sort of resembles the Airwolf you remember, starring people that at least have the same names as the ones you remember from the show.

In case you are unfamiliar with the TV series, Airwolf is a super-powerful stealthy attack helicopter stolen by it’s creator (a psychopath) until recovered by Stringfellow Hawke (and you thought Star Wars names were nuts!).  Instead of returning the chopper to ‘The Firm’ Hawke and co-pilot Dominic Santini hold the machine hostage.  Hawke demands that The Firm search for his brother, MIA in Vietnam, in return he will fly missions for them.

The comic series seems similar at first glance, but the devil is in the details.  Hawke seems more like the standard action hero than the tortured loner from the earliest episodes of the show.  Dominic Santini isn’t Ernest Borgnine, but a young black man (adopted by Dom).  This change fits fine, as Dom raised Stringfellow and St. John Hawke after they were orphaned, but it does raise questions about the timeline if you are including the show as a reference.  Is it still set in the 80’s?  Was it shifted forward, Marvel style?  The ‘Archangel’ here is also female, though the Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III version makes an appearance at the end.

Much like the Knight Rider series, Airwolf: Airstrikes seems like a simplified Michael Bay version of the show.  Lots of explosions and butt-kicking but light on actual character development.  Your hero is a pilot of the most advanced combat helo in the world, why does he also need to be a crack shot, hand to hand combat expert, and snarky quipster?  I can’t imagine this String sitting on his dock playing a cello.

I wonder if I’m hoping for too much out of these creators on the licensed comics like this.  I don’t think so, though.  The Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls both have similar comics – but they are clear continuations especially in the case of Samurai Jack, and are handled a fair bit more skillfully then here.  Anyway, click here if you want your own copy to see for yourself, and as always, thanks to Netgalley for the review copy.


Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E04 Devils You Know

The action-packed fourth episode of Agents of SHIELD starts with…domestic bliss?  A happy Inhuman couple making dinner gets a knock at the door and it’s Alisha, the Inhuman who can make duplicates of herself.  She’s there to recruit them to Coulson’s team.  A big change from when she was on the side of Jiaying.  Unfortunately it turns into a bloodbath when Lash drops in to wreck them.  Daisy and Mack move in to assist, but they are too late to save the Inhuman couple, and Alisha has some mental trouble when her duplicate gets killed.  Coulson calls the ATCU for backup, leading to more Rosalind/Phil banter.

We get a brief interlude with Ward and his second-hand man Kebo, talking over the guns that Hunter brought as part of his recruitment.  Hunter and May argue as he’s not getting enough information, and she’s worried he’s taking too many risks and not thinking clearly because of what Ward did to Bobbi.  She’s right, or course.

Next up is Simmons, talking over her experiences with Dr. Garner.  Man, he’s a great addition to the cast.  Jemma mentions she gave up hope on the alien world at one point, and when Garner says her ordeal was over, she says it’s not.  More mystery!  Dr. Garner is also taking no shit from Coulson as he sees Alisha who he’s never spoken to, let alone cleared to go on missions.  But Agent May’s return leaves both men speechless.

This leads to Phil and Melinda having a moment, he offers to replace Dr. Garner if it gets her back – but she’s just there to get Hunter some backup.  Some good stuff for Philinda shippers.

Fitz and Bobbi are analyzing some samples from Lash when Fitz finds Simmons’s notes on the monolith.  Simmons freaks out a bit.  We also get a hint as to what happened between May and Garner.  Daisy goes back to her hacker roots and finds a guy that could be tracking the Inhumans.  She also skewers Phil on being sweet on Rosalind.

The ATCU combine forces with Daisy and Mack to find the guy…cowering in a closet.  Apparently proximity to other Inhumans kind of…burns him?  Strange.  The guy tries to run, and Coulson grabs him with the robot hand.  We get Lash named, and we get some backstory.  That Lash doesn’t like what he’s doing, but he WILL do it.  The ATCU takes the Inhuman, and Coulson sends Daisy and Mack along to see what their ‘containment’ facility is like.

Lash has other plans, busting through the roof of the truck carrying them and dragging the poor dude away…”I’m not merciful, I’m necessary.”  Daisy sees a big clue as Lash walks away – HE TRANSFORMS.  But into who?

Hunter is made by Ward immediately, and a huge gun battle breaks out.  May comes in for backup while Hunter and Ward trade barbs.  But…Ward has the trump card – Dr. Garner being taken down by the Strucker kid.  Hunter attacks putting Andrew in danger.  Ward and Kebo get away (but not with the guns Hunter brought) but the last thing we see is SOMEONE bleeding out on the floor of the market where Garner was cornered, little Strucker escaping and the place in flames.  Fake out?  Feels like a fake out.

Fitz confronts Simmons – he saw that she wants to rebuild the portal.  She tells him that she has to go back and needs his help.  Something happened to her there, she says…but what?  We find out next week!

  • “Yes, mum”  Hunter, you are on thin ice man.
  • The robot hand makes it hard to tie a tie.  A great little detail to include.
  • Daisy uses her powers to open the door, but then switches to a gun?  Come on.
  • “Always in the bloody boot”  I love Hunter.
  • The look Bobbi gives when she finds out she’s left behind on the mission to get Ward.  Ice cold.
  • Remember when Ward was some boring dude?  Me neither.

I’m glad we won’t be waiting a year to find out what happened to Jemma.


Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E03 A Wanted (Inhu)man

Agents of SHIELD continues to spin multiple plates each episode, but all of the storylines are still interesting.  This time around, the ATCU outs Lincoln as an alien threat on TV, and Daisy and Mack try to go to the rescue.  Lincoln reaches out to his AA sponsor for help, and it seems to go okay until the guy turns on his TV.  Oops.  Lincoln gives him a little zap to knock him out…but it gives his buddy a heart attack.  He’s unable to save him, and it leaves our blandest Inhuman standing over a dead body when the ATCU and SHIELD arrive.  While this is happening, Coulson meets up with Rosalind, and after a humorous moment where Phil’s caught ogling…her car (get your mind out of the gutter), they get down to brass tacks – Rosalind has pictures of Daisy at the hospital too, but hasn’t released them yet.  This leads to some tense moments where Lincoln almost gets handed over to the ATCU, and when that fails, they nearly take off with Daisy.  In the end, Coulson trades away something potentially more valuable to Rosalind – his knowledge.  This morally gray dealing is a solid build-up to Civil War, and very reminiscent of the SHIELD from the comics.

The next spinning plate is the May and Hunter show.  Hunter’s got a buddy with an in to HYDRA, but Lance has to fight in a no-holds-barred fighting tournament.  All well and good until his opponent is revealed to be that buddy.  Hunter and ‘Spud’ beat each other to a bloody pulp, and Lance is about to lose until he slips on some brass knuckles and unloads on Spud.  In a parallel to Lincoln’s story, Spud ends up dead.  This apparently is enough to get Hunter an audience with Ward’s second in command.  And don’t worry about May, she got to beat the snot out of three guys who tried to corner her to assault her.

The final spinning plate is the Fitz/Simmons saga.  Simmons is back but is still jumpy as hell, every bright light and noise setting her on edge.  Six months on an alien planet being hunted will do that to you.  Fitz tries to get her back to work – after all, that helped him – but comes to realize after a chat with Mockingbird that maybe Simmons needs something different.  They go to a nice dinner, and bond over a good cry.  So it’s a surprise when Bobbi finds Simmons in the lab, poking and prodding the remnants of the monolith.  But Simmons doesn’t want to hear it’s inert – she WANTS to go back!

  • Obviously the big questions is, why does Simmons want to go back to the alien world?  Is someone else there?  Some other discovery?  An important artifact?  BRUCE BANNER?
  • Lincoln still being in the wind is a surprise too – I think most of us assumed he’d be the first ‘Secret Warrior’ recruited.
  • I definitely get an Abigail Brand vibe from Rosalind – I’m not sure if she’s available to the MCU since she was created in an X-comic but that’s who I think of when she’s on screen (or the comic version of Maria Hill).

Next week brings back Lash, and sees at least one more new Inhuman appearing.


Lightning Book Review – Itty Bitty Hellboy

It might seem like an odd combination, Hellboy getting the cutesy ‘Itty Bitty’ treatment, but if you enjoy HB and want to get your younger ones in early, this is a good way. The bright, simple shapes are indeed cute, reminding me a bit of the Powerpuff Girls. Art Baltazar and Franco do a solid job with the art and stories, most of which are a few pages long and have simple kid-friendly jokes (Johann sneezes himself out of his suit, jokes about Roger’s underwear, and so on).

I reviewed this TPB via NetGalley, collecting 5 issues of the comic.  You can pick it up now, at Amazon.


M & M's – Tell Me I'm Not Alone In This

Holiday colored M &M’s taste different.  Most notably the Easter-themed ones, in the pastel colors.  People keep telling me that I’m full of it, but I can’t be.  The holiday ones that are still the right color (red or some such) seem fine.  Anyone else like that out there?


Gameday 2009-2010 – Sabres at Penguins

The Buffalo Sabres take the quick trip down to Pittsburgh to face Crosby, Malkin and the Penguins, 7pm on Versus. The Pens played yesterday against the Red Wings in a Cup Final rematch, winning in a shootout with some sick goals from the two guys mentioned above. Buffalo has a pair of 2-1 wins in the bag since the rough road trip ended.

There is a Sabres blogger meetup at Casa-di-Pizza which I may or may not be able to make. Hope it’s a win, whether or not I get there.

Boring site stuff Random

Fun With SPAM: Most Important!!!

As a slightly popular blogger, I get a good amount of spam comments, though most is caught by the filters. The rest vary from ugly linkfests to sneaky-sly advertising. Here’s a recent favorite (note, may be some swearing):

name: step ladders

Hello, Mr. Ladders! The lowercase name is edgy. And ‘step’, your parents were unique. I like it.

I wanted to post this warning: The country is being flooded with cheap imported scaffolding, ladders, and step ladders made in China from poor quality materials that are not up to the job,

Oh SHIT, stop the presses! I am appalled that any product manufactured in that country would be poorly constructed. Please, tell me more. I beg you.

they even carry fake Quality and Safety Standards marks.

watch city of god movie in high quality

My love of this fine government requires me to be angry about this.

DO NOT BUY cheap equipment like this, it is dangerous and could collapse without warning.

Collapsing with a warning is A-OK. The CPSC requirement is to put a bell on each end of the scaffolding, so you know if it’s falling.


Spammers are always so polite.

Life Random

Eggertsville Hose Fire Safety Day

We went (as we seem to every year) to the open house at the Eggertsville Hose Company. Thomas loves it there anyway, and where else can you see a house on fire, a helicopter land and a car cut into pieces all at once?

requiem for a dream movie wikipedia

He just won’t give up that fire truck Jeep. One thing that was funny, it actually took several minutes for the couch to catch fire in their little house – I guess it was pretty wet. Thomas and Mattie both love the fire trucks, and Mattie got licked by a police dog (a big step for her, she used to be afraid of big dogs – she liked this one!).


Five Things

With apologies/thanks to Kate at the Willful Caboose:

  1. Shut up, Favre. NOW
  2. I have an obsessive desire to click spam links before I delete them, even though I know that would just feed into the spammer’s ego.
  3. Being a real user of Facebook/Twitter instead of an idle one really helps make the connections.
  4. Good job, Versus. Come back for the last 2 words of the Anthem.
  5. Must see Star Trek.

BONUS number 6. I find it oddly hilarious that, thanks to Firefox 3’s Awesomebar, I can type ‘anal’ and the Google Analytics page is what I get. Bet that’s safer than the page that loads for the rest of you degenerates. ;)


Remeber That?

That’s how you feel when you watch a winning team. The UB Bulls defeated the 12th ranked Ball State Cardinals 42-24 last night at Detroit’s Ford Field. I didn’t start watching until I read some of the stuff at the WNYMedia LiveBlog, which was about the end of the first half. It was great fun, and a good break from all the stuff hovering around the Bills and the Sabres. My congratulations go out to the Bulls, who have accepted an invite to the International Bowl up in Toronto.


Soupy: Missed This Originally

I do so love Coach’s Corner. Preissing is even gripping Soupy’s sweater a little. Let’s hear it: AWWWWW.