First Stop – Smackdown: The Undertaker’s Last Ride

This past Tuesday marked the 900th Episode of WWE Smackdown LIVE. It also marked the return of perhaps the greatest performer in WWE history, The Undertaker, and The Deadman from Death Valley sure made his presence felt.     In the final segment of the show, WWE Hall of Famer Edge hosted an interview segment with Team Smackdown ahead of their Survivor Series showdown against Team RAW this Sunday. As Edge addressed the Smackdown team – Smackdown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, and WWE World…

The Undertaker & Wrestlemania: A Comic Book Legacy

The Undertaker and Wrestlemania. To your Average Joe, these names are familiar but carry very little weight. To a wrestling fan, they are names spoken in reverence. Wrestlemania, “The Showcase of the Immortals”, has been the premiere showcase of sports entertainment for just shy of 32 years, and for 25 of those years, The Undertaker has been its symbol of excellence. The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania history reads like a comic book series. His various incarnations as The Phenom, The American Badass, The Last Outlaw or his villainous turn as the Prince…

Alan Rickman: Always…

There will be many things shared today regarding Alan Rickman. Those who knew him will mourn his passing on a personal level. From an outsider’s perspective, he was a very reserved but charming individual, and watching interviews with him it is easy to imagine him as someone most people would instantly find likeable and charming. His friends and family will I’m sure miss him dearly, think of him fondly, and take comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain. For those of us who only knew him…

How to Live in Peace: The Doctor’s Plea

The last few months have been chaotic and divisive ones for our little blue planet. A series of synchronized attacks in Paris, a mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA, and another gunfight in and near a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs are only recent examples of the terrorism that is becoming all too commonplace. To make matters worse, these events have thrown kerosene on the fires of national security, racism, gun control, and abortion rights amongst other controversial topics. I have had a bit of an epiphany regarding the reason…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.08 “Many Heads, One Tale” Review

“Many Heads, One Tale” gave me the best news so far this week: The bad guys are getting interesting again. After a slight misfire with the handling of Lash (though the fallout of his alter identity is bound to provide some excellent popcorn moments down the road) and after losing his “trusted right hand” to a revitalized Bobbie, Ward has a new ally in Gideon Malick (played with the trademark cool sleaze of Powers Boothe) who has nothing but A-game. In a single episode Malick has revealed himself as the last…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.07 “Chaos Theory” Review

Tis the season for aptly titled episodes on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Chaos Theory” was exactly that. After a balanced and snappy offering with “Among Us Hide…” last week, which ended with a helluva reveal, the staff of Marvel’s prime time superpower opted to throw a little bit of everything against the wall to see what would stick, and with mixed results. Overall, the episode was a success. The best bits came about when Coulson and his team were all on screen together, best illustrated by the taut conversation surrounding…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.5 “4,722 Hours” Review

“4,722 Hours” condensed into 47 minutes of pure television leaves the door open for shitty storytelling. Something is bound to be missed…in lesser hands. Not with this group. The showrunners for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” provided an incredibly lean and engaging story centered around one character, and while many people deserve credit for the episodes success, it really comes down to one person that was leaned on the most heavily to deliver: Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons. It will never be said that she missed the opportunity the showrunners gave her to be…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.04 “Devils You Know” Review

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” – Jack Heath At first glance, the title of this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., inspired by the quote from Mr. Heath, is a reflection of Coulson’s willingness to partner up with Rosalind and the ATCU. It is a fitting title given the dynamic his team finds themselves in, once again answering to the Federal Government. The lack of trust between Coulson’s and Rosalind’s crew is painted nicely with verbal and tactical one-upsmanship as S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU work towards the…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Wanted (Inhu)man” Review

As much as I love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “A Wanted (Inhu)man” was an example of many things that has caused the show to struggle. For starters, there are too many things going on and too little time to make the audience care. Multiple plot-lines is a great thing…when they play off one another. What we receive in this week’s episode is the disjointed trio of the team tracking racing against the ATCU to bring in Lincoln, Hunter and May attempting to infiltrate Ward’s rebooted HYDRA, and Simmons trying to find her footing…

Doctor Who 9.3/9.4 Review – “Under the Lake” and “Before the Flood”

In Moffat I trust. In Moffat I trust. IN MOFFAT I TRUST! …le sigh… I love questions. I believe with my whole heart that questions are what drive a story. They have to be asked by the characters, and, hopefully, the audience is right there with them. I believe if the audience is asking the same questions as the characters they are watching, then the writer has successfully performed their task of engaging the audience and making them care about what is unfolding before them. I love, love, LOOOOOVE questions.…

Doctor Who 9.1/9.2 Review – “The Magician’s Apprentice” & “The Witch’s Familiar”

If “The Magician’s Apprentice” & “The Witch’s Familiar”are any indication of where Doctor Who is heading in Season 9, Steven Moffat and his crew need therapy. I don’t mean this in a bad way. Simply, they are posing questions and addressing emotional content that a therapist (or counselor, or life coach, or whatever the hippies call it these days) is typically able to give direction. Moffatt and his crew are talented enough that they provide just enough of the direction to tell the story without getting in the way of…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Purpose in the Machine” Review

Give Fitz an inch and he’ll take the team a mile. That is what the creative forces behind this week’s episode reminded us of by focusing the bulk of the episode on Fitz’s crusade to save Simmons from the end of whatever universe she was transported to by the Monolith: Fitz is the Machine, and saving Simmons is his purpose. When I say ‘the bulk of the episode’, it was probably only a third. It carried the show largely due to the reintroduction of Asgardian Elliot Randolph (the always wonderful…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review – “Laws of Nature”

Unlike the first two seasons, Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. acts as an exercise in lean writing, and the effect is glorious. In the space of one hour (minus commercial time) the creative team lays out in the simplest way possible where we left off, where we are now, and where the season is going. It is a logical progression for a season opener that so many shows stumble on, but Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and their crew handle it deftly here. We start with an introduction to…

Wes Craven: 1939 – 2015

My mother worked 3 jobs when I was growing up. As a result, and in a cost-saving measure, I spent a great deal of time at my Aunt Cathy’s house watching movies with my cousin Samantha. These movies were typically collections recorded from some other medium (cable?) onto BetaMax cassettes, but my favorite cassette had only one film on it, one film that I would watch on an almost daily basis: “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. The film enthralled me. I couldn’t have been more than six years old at…

A New Nightmare

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…again. New Line Cinema is going to try, once more, to breathe life into the franchise that built it. Instead of developing a sequel to the 2010 remake, however, they are going back to the drawing board and rebooting the series entirely. This may be for the best, as the 2010 version failed to connect with audiences and, outside of one truly inspired sequence featuring the Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do is Dream”, lacked any real scares. Blood and guts may be enough…

A Monster Undertaking

  Dracula. Frankenstein. The Wolf Man. From 1931 to 1945 these names struck fear into the hearts of moviegoers. Through fourteen years and eleven movies, this Triumvirate of Terror, and the artists that brought them to life, created some of the most lasting moments and iconic images in cinematic history. Throw in some wonderful supporting franchises in the forms of The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and you have the most prestigious horror dynasty in the brief history of film and a studio, Universal,…