‘Angel’ flashback: ‘Only Human’ and ‘Fallen Angel: Reborn’ (2009) (Comic book reviews)

IDW was champing at the bit to continue Illyria’s story upon acquiring the “Angel” license, both because her character arc was left hanging and because she cuts a fine figure as a badass comic-book heroine (or villain, or anti-heroine, or whatever). She appears on the cover art of a lot of the early issues, even if she is just on hand to make a jab or two about the pathetic weakness of humans.

Continue reading “‘Angel’ flashback: ‘Only Human’ and ‘Fallen Angel: Reborn’ (2009) (Comic book reviews)”

‘Never Goin’ Back’ isn’t funny enough, but two hot stoner girls have oddity value, at least (Movie review)

Recent Hollywood offerings remind us that any stupid thing guys can do, girls can do just as stupidly, from the “Hangover”-esque “Girls Trip” to the “American Pie” update “Blockers.” The latest offering in this subgenre is “Never Goin’ Back” (on Amazon Prime), the answer to stoner comedies such as “Pineapple Express” and other entries from the Rogen-Franco oeuvre.

Continue reading “‘Never Goin’ Back’ isn’t funny enough, but two hot stoner girls have oddity value, at least (Movie review)”

Annoyances bring down brisk and otherwise solid actioner ‘Mile 22’ (Movie review)

“Mile 22,” directed by Paul Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, comes on the heels of “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriot’s Day,” all of which were really good movies.  In fact, “Lone Survivor” and “Patriot’s Day” were in my top 10 for their respective years.  However, that may change with Wahlberg’s newest entry.

Continue reading “Annoyances bring down brisk and otherwise solid actioner ‘Mile 22’ (Movie review)”

‘Buffy’ flashback: All 4 stories from ‘Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 3’ (2003), ranked (Book review)

It’s like an all-star writing contest when Yvonne Navarro, Mel Odom, Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder get together to write four novellas for “Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 3” (November 2003). At this point in my reread, they are four of the five best Buffyverse writers (with Jeff Mariotte filling the other spot). Here are my rankings of their contributions in this third “Tales” volume:

Continue reading “‘Buffy’ flashback: All 4 stories from ‘Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 3’ (2003), ranked (Book review)”

‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 2 a delightful romp through Paris, the Catskills and NYC that loves all its crazy characters (TV review)

Saying a TV show spends a lot of money might be an odd way to extoll praise, but that’s what pushes “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” from great into the stratosphere of “I might cry if it gets canceled before the story is over” in its sophomore year. Season 2, now available on Amazon Prime, takes various members of the Weissmans and Maisels to Paris, their annual summer vacation in the Catskills Mountains, comedy clubs around the Northeast, and of course the familiar haunts of New York’s Upper West Side.

Continue reading “‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 2 a delightful romp through Paris, the Catskills and NYC that loves all its crazy characters (TV review)”

Preston & Child take readers to Egypt and through the sands of time in the gripping ‘Pharaoh Key’ (Book review)

It has become comfortingly familiar at this point: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child take us – via their adventurous leads – to some corner of the Earth that still holds mysteries in the 21st century. Or that we can imagine still holds mysteries, if our knowledge of the place is sketchy enough that we can fool ourselves. The latest locale is southeastern Egypt in “The Pharaoh Key” (June 2018, hardcover), a novel that does its part to get the correct spelling of “pharaoh” back in the lexicon after the success of that darn horse.

Continue reading “Preston & Child take readers to Egypt and through the sands of time in the gripping ‘Pharaoh Key’ (Book review)”

‘Angel’ flashback: IDW ‘Angel’ Issues 18-27 (2009) (Comic book reviews)

When IDW first picked up the “Angel” license, it delivered hesitant stories – with the exception of the “Spike” titles – up until the canonical Joss Whedon-plotted “After the Fall” (Issues 1-17 of the ongoing series). Embarking on the remainder of the “Angel” ongoing series (which will go up to Issue 44), IDW is back to being unsure of how it wants to proceed. The opener, “Aftermath,” is the worst “Angel” comic arc up to this point, and while it gets better after that, there’s little forward momentum for the main title in 2009.

Continue reading “‘Angel’ flashback: IDW ‘Angel’ Issues 18-27 (2009) (Comic book reviews)”

All 6 ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, ranked (Movie commentary)

In honor of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” hitting home rental this week, I thought I’d do a ranking of all six “M:I” movies in which Tom Cruise plays Agent Ethan Hunt.  As an action movie junkie, my views may differ from the typical critical rankings. Cruise does almost all of his own stunts, and they are just as much the star of the show as he is, so I’ve included a nod to the best action sequence in each film.

Continue reading “All 6 ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, ranked (Movie commentary)”

‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘Mortal Fear’ (2003) (Book review)

I was intimidated by this latest “Buffy” novel on my shelf, “Mortal Fear” (September 2003). It’s 479 pages, and it had a bookmark toward the front, so apparently I hadn’t actually finished it back in the day. As it turns out, this novel by husband-and-wife Scott and Denise Ciencin is the most pleasant surprise of my re-reading project.

Continue reading “‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘Mortal Fear’ (2003) (Book review)”