The 389th film I have seen in theaters…

Sabotage-2014-Movie-Poster This was a fairly “blah” movie. No real need to ever see it again. The gore was incredibly detailed, almost obscenely so. Wife hated it, called it one of the worst shes ever seen. I cannot go that far. I do fear that the days of Arnold being a box office leader are over.

A group of DEA agents turn bad and try to steal 10 million from a drug cartel. It goes south as the money vanishes. The team all suspect each other of taking the loot. The DEA investigates them, but finds no evidence to prove the crime. One by one, team members start turning up dead. The cartel is after them for the stolen money. As is always the case with these movies, the murders are not what they seem.



Arnold is a living cinematic legend, despite his turn as a politician. This movie would have been far worse without his contributions. He’s still a movie star, but I think he is pretty much done as far as box office goes. His big franchises might do well (especially the new Conan movie) but its the end. I will continue to support his movies though, he was probably the biggest star of my childhood, a modern John Wayne.


Each of the other cast members contributed equally to this, and I cannot fault the performances, all were very good. Then again, its not that tough to be good when you have a team like Sam Worthington (Terminator 4, Clash of the Titans), Olivia Williams (Dollhouse), Terrence Howard (The first Rhodey in Iron Man), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Harold Perrineau (Lost- “WALT!”), and Josh Holloway (Lost- Sawyer).


The best of this supporting cast is Mireille Enos (The twins on Big Love) who brings the right amount of crazy to the movie. Her character is starting to crack due to the pressure of the heist gone wrong and is turning to drugs. The movie could have used more of her.

In the end, this is not a bad movie, despite what my wife thinks (yes, I am in trouble lol). It is an okay movie that tried to be “training day”. That’s not a bad thing to aim for, especially with the writer of that movie involved, but its incredibly raw. The violence comes so strong, so often, that it actually detracts from the performances. Yes, I cannot believe I wrote that about a Schwarzenegger movie either, but its true. One thing I must say, the ending of the film is about perfect. I have zero doubt that the final scene is the reason Arnold did this movie. I’d wait for red box though.

Star Wars Revisited 4: Star Wars: The Clone Wars 1

A long time ago… I discovered Star Wars. It would define my life. It’s time to rediscover it.

1: The Phantom Menace | 2: Attack of the Clones | 3: Clone Wars season 1 and 2 | The Clone Wars 1


This show is truly astounding. While I generally enjoyed the prequels, no hate here, I understand the issues they have. Serious mistakes were made in the conception stage by George Lucas that hobbled the films, particularly Episode I and II, with some major problems. This series fixes them almost immediately. I am doing something a bit crazy for this show. I am not watching them by season. No, I am going chronologically. The series actually jumps around quite a bit in the war. Some episodes from seasons 2 and 3 take place before season 1! A few episodes actually happen before the Clone Wars movie that was in theaters. I am not going to go hog wild on these reviews, just give you guys a taste, every 10 or so episodes, of how the show plays out.

The major strength of this series is the writing and direction. A lot of this is due to Lucas, who worked with the creative team to bring this to life and commented on everything. The real hero is one man, Dave Filoni.


Filoni was the Supervising Director of this series. He understands Star Wars, how the stories work, what we want to see, and how to execute it. He churned out 20 episodes a year of some of the best Star Wars ever made. Lets see how his story plays out.

Cat and Mouse and The Hidden Enemy: These two episodes tell the story of the battle of Christophsis. Starting in space with Anakin in his stealth ship and then back on the ground Anakin and Obi discover that there is a traitor in their base, and it is one of the Clone Troopers!

The Clone Wars (film): The world’s first taste of the show. Essentially 4 episodes strung together. It starts with the final battle of Christophsis (where watching chronologically really pays off, as you already know the planet and the battle). After winning, Anakin is presented Ahsoka Tano- his Padawan! Ahsoka is easily the greatest new Star Wars character in a decade. She has spirit, energy, is likable, and more importantly is the logn sought after female role model that Star Wars needed. When I saw little girls dressing as Ahsoka at conventions, I knew something had changed. Their first mission is to rescue Jabba the Hutt’s baby son from kidnappers and get the Hutts to assist the republic. It is a good first story, and having Christopher Lee present as Dooku was really cool.
Clone Cadets- this story shows us the Domino Squad, a group of clone troopers in battle school trying to make the grade. Old Number 99, the defective clone, was pretty awesome. One of the best of the series.

Supply Lines- Bail Organa and Jar Jar Binks travel to Toydaria to convince the King to break the Separatist blockade and give humanitarian aid to the people of the besieged planet Ryloth. Arguably the best Jar Jar Binks story ever told. Seriously, Filoni redeems jar Jar in this. Amazing.
Ambush- Now we jump into Season One proper. Master Yoda lands on Todaria to convince the King to give more than just medical support. Asajj Ventress also arrives and makes a proposal- if Yoda escapes her forces, Toydaria joins the republic. If not, the Separatists. Yoda accepts the challenge, and wins.
Rising Malevolence/Shadow of Malevolence/Destroy Malevolence- General Grievous is on the Malevolence, a massive Spearatist cruiser equipped with an experimental Ion Cannon is destroying whole fleets. Anakin and Master Plo Koon fight through several battles to take the ship down.The final battle of this story is better than all of Episode II. Filoni manages to take Obi Wan, Anakin, and Padme and give them an adventure reminiscent of the Original Trilogy. Star Wars at its best.
Rookies- We return to the troopers from “Clone Cadets”, although this is technically our first meeting with them! They are on a Republic outpost facing Separatist attack. Cut up and Heavy, two of the better characters are killed. The survivors join Captain Rex’s squad. Heavy was a tough loss, especially after the character work in Clone Cadets.
Downfall of a Droid/Duel of the Droids: R2D2 is captured by the Separatists! Anakin and Ahsoka mount a rescue operation as R2 has valuable info in his memory. Obi Wan’s opinion of droids is expressed here. He sees droids as not being important, disposable. This helps explain his lack of recognition of 3PO and R2 in A New Hope.


Well, the first batch was fun viewing! See you back after I watch 15 or so more!


5: Clone Wars 2



CTW: 03/22/14

In the late 90’s, a group of friends were avid comic book readers. Every Wednesday, we would pick up our comics, read them, and share quick reviews with each other. It was fun and we did it pretty much every week from 1996 to 2005. Eventually, we tapered off, some stopped reading, some of us lost touch with one another. As this blog has grown over the last 4 years, I feel a need to write more things for all of you to read. So, Comix this week is reborn. As with my movie reviews, this is not comprehensive. I cannot afford to read every comic, nor will I illegally download them, I respect the artists and writers too much for that. Every week there will be a “pick of the week”. At the end of the year, we will have a retrospective and choose the best comic of 2014.

I use the cover images of these comics in my reviews. These images are from various comic companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image in today’s case. They own this stuff. I do this for fun, not money. Enjoy.

This week is going to start differently, with an admission… I have rediscovered a passion for back issue collecting.


The image you see above is from a secret comic store in New England that sells them for 10 and 25 cents, with some boxes at .50, 1.00, 2.00 and 3.00. I am under a solemn pledge to my new comic friends to never divulge the location, and I won’t. Suffice it to say that this is not an actual comic store, and is totally off the grid. Below is about a quarter of my haul for the past two weeks.


After spending some dough, I amassed approximately 5-600 new (old) comics for the resurrected collection. Not too shabby! Now, the releases!

Sovereign 1


This new release from Image did little for me. It is being billed as a “Game of Thrones” type of story. I can see that influence as it is a fantasy story that jumps around a lot, covering several different stories at once. Therein lies the weakness. This comic needs to slow down, focus on one set of characters for a while and then broaden the world. When you are throwing 3 separate sets of new characters/stories at the reader all in the first issue, it is going to get a bit tough to follow/care about. Even that first Game of Thrones novel mostly centered on the Stark Family and a central story. While it did bounce around a bit, the framework of Ned Stark in King’s Landing held it together. This issue does not have that cohesion. The art was not to my tastes either. One and done for me.

Rocket Girl 4


The story of Rocket Girl continues! The security officers from the future have followed Rocket Girl back to the 80’s. The larger story is still being flushed out, but is satisfying. The Art by Montclare is very good, quite dynamic. One of the better comics this week.

Uncnany X-Men 19


S.H.I.E.L.D., or someone impersonating them, is releasing Sentinels against Scott Summers (adult version) and his group of teachers/students with the New Xavier School. Someone is hunting them down, and Cyclops has had enough, declaring war on those responsible. It is fascinating to see him follow a path similar to Magneto. Summers is done with the BS humans are slinging at the mutants. It makes for great stories.

All new Invaders 3


Namor has been captured and the original Invaders reunite to save him, all the while trying to get back a secret weapon from aliens that allows them to control GODS! Good stuff.

Iron Man 23


The start of the new Iron Man story is here. The 10 rings of the Mandarin have been dispersed and are being given to people that hate Tony Stark. Maliketh, the Dark Elf, has hatched a plan to collect as many as he can, killing their current wearers if necessary, and it’s always necessary. With all the attention The Mandarin is getting lately, I cannot help but wonder if we are going to see the Big Screen “REAL” Mandarin in the near future.

New Avengers 15


A strange issue that delves a bit deeper into the “Black Swan” and the destruction of the multiverse that is currently happening in Marvel Comics. I have no doubt that the seeds are being sown for the next HUGE crossover. It will almost certainly be “time” related as nearly every single major Marvel title is dealing with time travel stuff, and the concept of time/space continuum being somehow broken.

cooltext1462977738Superior Spider-Man annual 2


This story follows Ben Urich, the long time Daily Bugle reporter as he deals with the ramifications of the actions of his nephew Phil Urich. Back in the 90’s, Phil became a heroic version of the Green Goblin. He then became a villain and was Hobgoblin for a while before becoming one of Norman Osborn’s Goblin Knights. Ben is trying to come to terms with the fact that he, the great journalist, had no idea that his own nephew had turned to evil. He grapples with the dilemma before deciding to take action. He acquires some antidote that can cure Phil of the Goblin serum. In facing off again him, though, Ben realizes that Phil is not being corrupted by the Goblin serum, he enjoys being evil, and is lost.

A damn good comic.

CTW: 03/12/2014

In the late 90’s, a group of friends were avid comic book readers. Every Wednesday, we would pick up our comics, read them, and share quick reviews with each other. It was fun and we did it pretty much every week from 1996 to 2005. Eventually, we tapered off, some stopped reading, some of us lost touch with one another. As this blog has grown over the last 4 years, I feel a need to write more things for all of you to read. So, Comix this week is reborn. As with my movie reviews, this is not comprehensive. I cannot afford to read every comic, nor will I illegally download them, I respect the artists and writers too much for that. Every week there will be a “pick of the week”. At the end of the year, we will have a retrospective and choose the best comic of 2014.

I use the cover images of these comics, and they are owned by the various comic companies- Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image in today’s case. They own this stuff, I do this for fun, not money. Enjoy.


I am going to preface this week’s column with a disclaimer: I bought a bunch of back issues today. I’ve been tiring of the normal superhero fare and have been craving something new, especially something a bit more challenging, aimed at adults. Delving into the Independently owned paradise of Image Comics has more than satisfied me. Although a differing format, there is a “pick of the week” chosen from this week’s releases.

The Superior Spider-Man 29


Plot by Dan Slott, Script by Christos Gage, Pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli

The saga of Superior Spider-Man draws near to it’s end. The Green Goblin has launched an attack on the city, the mayor has unleashed the Spider Slayers, and everything has fallen apart for Otto Octavius- in the body of Peter Parker. Peter is fighting his way out of Doc Ock’s mind as the end of Spider-Man draws near! Good stuff. I’ve immensely enjoyed this run, but it’s time to return to form.

Batman 29



Writer- Scott Snyder, Art- Greg Capullo

The Zero year story has been going on WAY too long. A part of me did not think that this would be a literal year long arc. I assumed it would be a “Year One” 4-5 issue story and that’s it. I was mistaken. While the art is great, and the story okay, it needs to end. Much discussion was had at the comic store this evening about the need for this comic to move on. Once Forever Evil ends, this will be the LAST DC Comic on my list. I’ll stick with Snyder for now, but they’ve lost me. I hold out hope for a return to favor, but with the current mindset of the New 52- not a chance.

Walking Dead 123


By Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

Negan is the worst Walking Dead villain. His story needed to be over 20 issues ago. Instead we are slogging through a tale that has gotten beyond boring. What was once the strongest Image title is now one of the weaker. There is some hope with the final pages of the issue- is Rick FINALLY going to die?

Manifest Destiny 1


Writer- Chris Dingess, Art Matthew Roberts

What if Lewis and Clark were not just explorers, but an armed team tasked by President Jefferson to kill all monsters inhabiting the American West?! That is the hook of this title. I will probably not subscribe to this one, but it was pretty good. The art was somewhat reminiscent in places of the art of the late John Severin, high praise in my book.

Sidekick 1 and 2


Written by J. Michael Straczynski, Art- Tom Mandrake

So good. So damn good. This is the tale of “Flyboy” a sidekick to Red Cowl- the greatest Superhero. As a parade is being thrown in their honor, an assassin kills Red Cowl. Flyboy devolves into alcoholism and being a general dirtbag, while hoping to be a hero again. My description does not do it justice. Some of Straczynski’s best work in years.

The Mercenary Sea 1 and 1


Written by Kel Symons, Art by Matthew Reynolds

It is the late 1930’s and Captain Jack Harper is the leader of a group of Mercenaries on a submarine during the war between Japan and China before WW2 breaks out. He takes on various jobs as a Chinese general puts a bounty on his head. Fantastic stuff. Well drawn, and tightly written. I love stories set in this time period.

Velvet 1-4


Written by Ed Brubaker, Art by Steve Epting

The team that revitalized Captain America unleashes Velvet a super spy in the 1970’s. After a 007 style agent is killed, an elaborate plot is set to blame secretary Velvet Templeton, former secret agent, who is forced to return to the life of a spy to solve the agents murder and exonerate herself. amazing work. Brubaker excels at this sort of story. Teaming him up with Epting is always worth checking out too.

Jupiter’s Legacy 1-4


Written by Mark Millar, Art by Frank Quitely

Holy moley, what a comic. If this released this week, it would be the top pick. In the 1930’s an American and his friends charter a boat to find a mysterious island he saw in a dream. They land there and are given super powers by aliens who have been waiting to bestow these gifts upon someone. There follows 50 years of history where the Superheroes work to make life better, all under the watchful care of Utopian, the man with the dream. In 2013, they are still alive, granted longevity by their powers. Some of those original explorers became villains, most heroes and they had children- who inherited the powers. Utopian’s brother leads a revolution with the offspring and they kill their leader, and his wife. Only their children remain- Chloe, who has a baby boy and is in hiding, and Brandon- who has been manipulated into becoming leader of Earth by his uncle. This comic is incredible. The quality here is astounding. Read it!


Stray Bullets: Killers 1


By David Lapham

9 years ago, Stray Bullets 40 came out. Today, issue 41 was released- finishing that story. I never read that title, but based on this first issue of the 2nd volume, I will be- soon. This is a tale of lust, lies, and murder. A great comic, not for everyone, but very good. Just read it. Give Image your money…




Star Wars Revisited 3: Clone Wars Season one and two

A long time ago… I discovered Star Wars. It would define my life. It’s time to rediscover it.

1: The Phantom Menace | 2: Attack of the Clones


Today we explore the first 2 seasons of Star Wars: Clone Wars, the animated series from 2003-05 directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Lab, Samurai Jack). The series was created for Cartoon Network during the wait between Episodes II and III. each episode was about 3 minutes long, and told a larger story of the Clone Wars, and specifically the battle of Muunilinst, the home of the Banking Clan. These are kind of tough to rate on an episodic basis, so I will give a run down on each episode, followed by my thoughts.


1: The story is set as the Clone Wars rage and the Jedi take leadership roles, defending the republic from the separatists.


2: The Jedi attack the planet Muunilinst, and a gunship carrying Arc Troopers, an elite squad, is shot down in the capital city.


3: The troopers fight off sniper attacks and make their way to the central gun and take it out, allowing reinforcements to arrive.


4: Dirge, a Separatist general is unleashed on the Republic forces, causing serious damage.


5: Taking a break from the main action, we follow Kit Fisto as he leads the Mon Calamari in a battle against their neighbors the Quarren for control of Mon Cal.


6: In an important installment (especially for the future of the Clone wars) we find Dooku traveling to a gladiator event. He is looking for an apprentice to train and send after Skywalker. He discovers Sith hopeful Asaaj Ventress, one of the nightsisters of Dathomir. He is impressed and takes her in.


7: Dooku tests Ventress and takes her as a disciple, with Sidious’ blessing. He gives her an assignment- Kill Anakin Skywalker.


8: Obi Wan rides out to face Dirge on the battlefield of Muunilinst. He defeats Dirge, chopping him in half. unknown to Kenobi, Dirge can heal such wounds.


9: After taking the Banking Clan citadel, the heroes relax until Dirge returns and reveals his tendril like body that can heal from dismemberment. Kenobi jumps inside him and uses the force to make Dirge explode- an injury he cannot survive.


10: The battle won, Anakin is mopping up the droid fighters in the space above Muunilinst when a strange ship attacks from nowhere. Anakin proclaims- “This one is mine”.

Season One of this show was pretty solid for what it was- about 30 minutes of adventure. It bounces around a lot, but the art is well done and the voice actors get their first crack at these characters. Several would continue on with the CGI Clone Wars. Now season two.


11: The dog fight all over and the ship jumps to Hyperspace. Sensing a trap, Kenobi orders Anakin to stand down. He ignores the order and chases after the ship…Asaaj Ventress has set the bait.


12: On Dantooine, a battle rages. A young boy watches as Mace Windu fights off the droids. Mace faces incredible odds as a massive ship appears in the sky.


13: Having lost his saber, Windu finishes off the Army bare handed, get his saber back and takes out the massive piled river ship. The young boy gives him a drink of water after the battle.


14: Luminara Unduli and her apprentice Bariss Offee fight off a droid attack on the Temple on Illum- where the saber crystals are mined.


15: Yoda comes to Illum to save the Jedi trapped in the temple.


16: Padme and the droids venture into the snows of Illum to find Yoda. They defeat the droids, and save the Jedi,  but the temple is no longer secure.


17: Anakin and the troopers land on Yavin IV, after chasing the ship in season one. Ventress strikes, killing the troopers and prepares to fight Anakin.


18: Anakin and Ventress begin their fight in the jungle of Yavin. Mid-fight, a rain starts to fall.


19: Ventress and Anakin fight atop the temple on Yavin IV. Anakin defeats Ventress and knocks her into a chasm, presumably dead. Anakin screams, his rage consuming him.


20: Several Jedi are trapped in a battle with a new Separatist Leader- General Greivous. He handily defeats the Jedi until only Ki Adi Mundi is left to fight…

Season two was far superior to the first season. Asaaj Ventress was a credible threat (who would resurface in the later series). This was an admirable show, and fun to watch. Tomorrow, we delve into the better known, and far superior spin off…



Yes, I was at this convention when the show was unveiled for the first time. I also have this poster, and was the 2nd ever person to get a clone wars autograph (Matthew Wood, Grievous.)


4: The Clone Wars 1

Star Wars Revisited 2: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

A long time ago… I discovered Star Wars. It would define my life. It’s time to rediscover it.

1: The Phantom Menace


10 years after the events of Phantom Menace, The Galaxy is being torn apart by thousands of Star Systems who are seceding from the Republic. Their leader is Count Dooku, former Jedi Knight, former Master of Qui Gon Jinn, who left to lead the Separatists. An assassination attempt on Senator Padme Amidala causes her to cross paths with Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. Anakin takes Padme back to Naboo to protect her from further attempts on her life. As they journey, the fall in love, and ride giant ticks.


Anakin is haunted by dreams of his mother and interprets these as prophecy and travels with Padme to Tatooine to find her. He finds his way to the Lars homestead and is reunited with C-3PO, and asks about his mother. He discovers that she has been kidnapped by Tusken Raiders. He sneaks into the camp but she dies after being rescued. Anakin takes a dark turn and slaughters the entire Sandperson village, sending a shock wave through the force.

Obi Wan tracks down the trail of assassins to the planet Kamino- the best cloners in the galaxy. There he discovers a clone army is being grown to defend the Republic. They used Bounty Hunter Jango Fett as the clone template. Knowing that things are off, Kenobi warns the Jedi of what is happening and Jango makes an escape to the planet Geonosis. There, Count Dooku is leading the Seperatists and plotting war with the Republic. Kenobi i captured.

Anakin and Padme travel to Geonosis to save Kenobi, but are themselves captured. The face off against monstrous creatures in an arena as execution. As things look most dire, the Jedi arrive with the Clone Army and the first battle of the Clone Wars commence.

Dooku fights the heroes, and escapes. Coruscant mobilizes for war. Anakin and Padme are secretly married.


Ewan McGregor returns as Obi Wan. He fits into the role well, and is the bright spot in these prequels.


Natalie Portman tries so damn hard to rise above the writing, but fails miserably.


Hayden Christensen. An actor highly regarded for his portrayal of emotional young men. He displays none of that here. In later examinations of the character, we discover that the approach to Skywalker was that he was damaged goods. He was raised a slave and joined an order that repressed feelings, causing some sort of twisted Aspbergers’s syndrome in Anakin. He has no idea how to relate to other people and thus the wooden acting. Young Anakin was a weak character, but at least he was friendly and social. This makes no damn sense. Anakin needed to be someone we liked. The later Clone Wars cartoon series got him 100% right.


Sam Jackson returns as bad-ass Mace Windu- Jedi Master. He is a great actor, and that they underutilized him is a great tragedy in this series.


Christopher Lee appears as Count Dooku. Another missed opportunity. At one point in the film, it appears as if Dooku might not be evil, he claims that the Sith have infiltrated the Republic and that he is fighting against them. Imagine if THAT was the angle they took. The Jedi rebel against the Republic and fight the Sith, whom the public has no idea about. It would make the Jedi purge all the more palatable. Anyway, Lee is magnificent.


Ian McDiarmid turns in another good performance as Palpatine, now leader of the Republic nearing the end of his term of office. He uses the crisis to create the Stormtrooper Clone Army- setting up the Empire for #3.


Yoda takes center stage in an epic light-saber battle with Dooku. It is both awesome and very sad at the same time. Yoda was always about “wars not make one great”, yet here he is jumping around like a maniac.


This film sees R2D2 and C-3PO teamed up again- forever this time. They were onscreen fairly little in the first, but here they return to their classic comedic relief roles in the action scenes.

Oh my. Where to begin?

This is the weakest of the Star Wars films. There were so many bad decisions made on this film. The dialogue was amongst the worst of the series, and that’s saying something. They brought in other writers to fix the romantic scenes as Lucas was not happy with the initial drafts. What on earth did Lucas write where “You are in my very soul…tormenting me!” is pillow talk. Padme keeps pushing him away but dresses in S&M gear and actually mounts him during the tick scene. He remarks that she turned the cameras off in her bedroom because she does not want Anakin watching her. She tells him that he makes her feel uncomfortable when he makes “googly eyes” at her. He smiles and somehow finds this amusing. Goddamn Stalker. He admits to slaughtering a whole village of Tusken Raiders, including women and children, and she hugs and then marries him. Seriously, he slaughters innocent people, like animals as he says in his rant, and she tells him it’s cool, I still love your murdering ass. WTF. This “love story” comes closer to single handedly destroying the movie than anything else.

So, what worked?

They pretty much got rid of Jar Jar, he was beyond saving at this point.

The Jango/Obi Wan stuff was pretty good, but little Boba definitely raises some questions. The battle/chase scenes were well designed and executed excellently. Basically, everything when Anakin and Padme aren’t romancing. That’s the most infuriating thing about the film…it is SO COOL. The imagery and basic story are awesome, they just botched the delivery.

It is a major misstep in the series, and it is unfortunate that it had to happen in this crucial stage in the Saga. Luckily, they are able to turn it around in Episode III, but before we see that, we need to take a detour into one of the best animated series (2 actually) made of the last 10 years.


3: Clone Wars season 1 and 2