Monthly Archives: January 2012

Alcatraz Review


I watched the series premier of Alcatraz tonight and I kept waiting for Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage to show up but apparently this movie has no connection to the 1996 Michael Bay classic.

But that’s okay because the Alcatraz we got served tonight isn’t half bad. Sure it had a couple of goofy moments and lines came off corny every so often but for the most part it was an exciting introduction to this new show from Geek King, JJ Abrams.

I am not going to unravel the mysteries of the show or spend a lot of time writing on it because I only watched the episodes (it was two one-hour episodes back-to-back) once, so there may be things I missed. I just wanted to get a couple of quick thoughts on paper and let people know if it is worth their time. There might be some minor spoilers ahead but nothing to ruin the show.

Quickly, right up front, I am just going to say it, the death of Sarah Jones’ partner is lame. It was no surprise that he was going to die, because it was the start of the episode, they were running on the docks, and apparently for any cop to ever move to the FBI, their partner must die (hello Fringe). But the ledge he fell from, at least to me, looked like he fell maybe 30 feet but his scream sounds like he fell into the Grand Canyon. As Maroni told Batman in the Dark Knight, “a fall from this height isn’t going to kill me”. But it did kill her partner. The show does later adds a nice to twist to the scene but nothing to solve the problem of his 30 foot death.

Secondly, my only other beef with the show is the “Welcome to Alcatraz” line that is thrown around any time anyone comes on the Rock. In the 60’s, in current day, in secret basement rooms, off the tour boat, this line was said with the most drama imaginable, like the person just landed on the moon. Now this is really a minor gripe because overall, I thought the show was nicely paced and the characters seem very likable, but it did bother me.

I appreciate that Sarah Jones’ character Rebecca Madsen didn’t come off to cold and uncaring. It seems that female FBI agents are often portrayed as women with no sense of humor so it was nice to the relationship between her and Hurley… oh I am sorry, Doc. I joke but Jorge Garcia is a sold addition to the cast, though I doubt if he would actually be allowed to join the FBI on such a top secret investigation but I’ll let it slide. The way he meets Madsen is a little stretched but again, I can let it slide. Finally, we round our team off with Sam Neill of Jurassic Park fame. He came off a little overly dramatic at times but for the most part, I enjoyed his character and the secrets he keeps. Which personally, I wonder how much more he really knows about this investigation, because it doesn’t seem like much.

While this poster may suggest a connection, a keen advertiser will note that it is in fact just clever marketing.

Lost fans will be disappointed because this is not the same island they’ve come to know and love. This show is clearly meant to attract them but not at the risk of losing more casual fans. I’ve said it since I first heard of this show, it reminds me more of Fringe than Lost. Not that that’s a bad thing, Fringe is a great show but if you are looking for something you can delve into with a passion of Lost, I don’t know if you’ll find as much of that here. Though, I did see little connections in the two episodes but it’s not quite to Lost standard… yet.

I picked the show apart a little but I really did enjoy it. While, I don’t want the mythology of the show to overwhelm, I also hope they don’t leave it off to the side completely. We want new viewers to be able to come in but I also want to find a reason to care for this show above a show like CSI. This show needs to be more than a “villain of the week” but I am fine if they use that has a starting template.

So far things look good and  I’ll keep tuning in for now. My one suggestion: Let’s just drop the “Welcome to Alcatraz” bit, we get it.

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The most anticipated of 2012

The world’s ending. Bummer. But before we all go to our flaming deaths there are some great things coming this year. So here are the top things I am most excited about for my final year on Earth.

The Dark Knight Rises

Let’s start this list off right. This tops my list for a reason. I got the opportunity to see the prologue in front of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol this year. It was a really awesome six minutes and while Bane was difficult to understand, I have complete faith in Chris Nolan. Seeing the ending of this trilogy will leave me happy and content that if there was never another decent Batman movie at least I’d have these. How will it all end? No one knows for sure until July, but I have a feeling it will be epic.

Avengers Vs X-Men

While this isn’t my most anticipated comic of the upcoming year, I am pretty excited for it. I recently started reading the Marvel Universe after 15 years of almost only DC Comics. So far, I have just been hitting the best storylines, New X-Men, DareDevil, Captain America, The Ultimates, etc but I have really enjoyed pretty much everything and as I am starting to catch up to current, this storyline looks pretty enticing. We’ll see what comes from it.

Comic Book Men

Over the past year I have began to really enjoy Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, etc. So when I heard about Comic Book Men from AMC. A show based on Kevin Smith’s comic book shop in New Jersey, I couldn’t help but feel a little excited. Following the Walking Dead (which while not on this list is a show I am very excited to see return after an amazing finale), this show could take everything I love about Pawn Stars and focus on my favorite thing, Comic Books. Perfect combo in my book.

The Avengers

Terrible trailer music aside, this is a very good trailer to get fanboys excited for the several years in the making epic, The Avengers. I have loved what Marvel has done with their movies in the past few years. Thor and Captain America were two of my favorites from 2011. So to see them with Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow? Count me in.

BioShock Infinite

I haven’t always been a gamer. In fact, until I started working for Nintendo, I didn’t really pay much attention to the gaming world but there was two games that grabbed my attention early on. One was the amazing Arkham Asylum and the other was Bioshock. I picked the sci-fi game up a few months ago and really enjoyed it. It got lost in my move to Chicago but I plan on finishing up the last bit in the next couple of months. But the trailer for the third game in the series looks fantastic with a story that really appeals to the science fiction nerd in me. Very excited.

Batman: Earth One/ Batman: Death By Design/ Batman by Scott Snyder

It is always a pleasure to read Batman outside of the regular comics world because that world get so complicated. That’s why I am thrilled that two of my three anticipated comics from Batman take place outside of his regular universe. Batman Earth One is one of those two. A partner of sorts to the fantastic Superman Earth one, I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the caped crusader written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Gary Frank.

Batman: Death by Design is the other. When I was kid, one of my most treasured possessions was a copy of a book called Batman: Animated. It was a collection of art and interviews about the fantastic Batman: The Animated Series. I took this book with me everywhere. It was complied and designed by graphic designer Chip Kidd. He would show up many more times, recently with the Bat-Manga: The secret history of Batman in Japan. Frankly, the man knows Batman which is why I am thrilled that this year he gets to write his own Batman story with fantastic art by Dave Taylor, this is one to look forward to.

But not every Batman story has to be outside the core universe to be good. Batman by Scott Snyder is a perfect example. When he took over for Detective Comics last year, I don’t think anyone knew what to expect but no one expected to have one of the best Batman stories in recent years. Snyder’s run on Detective was amazing and his recent shift to Batman shows no signs of stopping. The Court of Owls is an intriguing story and with the recently announced crossover, I am excited to see where it all goes. As a side note, I want to toss out a call to Batman and Robin by Peter Tomasi. It is a close close second to Snyder and should not be passed up.

Alcatraz 

New Lost? I doubt it. New Fringe? Very possible. With the great Fringe on the verge of being cancelled, I am excited to see Alcatraz on schedule in hopes that this Fox show will take place of Fringe should in fall into the unknown. If not, well hey, two great shows is just as good. There is a two hour premier which I am hoping will set this show up nice and high. We need some good genre television with failures all around us every season. So fingers crossed for JJ Abram’s new show.

Prometheus

With so little about this possible/maybe/confirmed/unconfirmed Alien prequel, you can’t help but get excited. Alien is one of my favorite science fiction movies and I am very excited to see what writer Damon Lindelof and director Ridley Scott can do with the Alien universe. Directly connected or not I am sure we’re in for a thrill ride. Also for the record, I think this and Alien are connected pretty tightly, I mean look at the trailer for Pete’s sake.

The Killers 2012 Album

Not much is known about this fourth studio album from my favorite band but rumor has it dropping this summer. Produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2) and Brenden O’Brien (Brandon Flowers Solo Album), we have much to look forward to.

Rick Remender 

Rick Remender is a comic book writer who is relatively new on my radar but I am really liking what he is doing with his books. He is working on the amazing Uncanny X-Force and Venom. Plus he just added Secret Avengers to his catalog so it looks like we are in for more of a treat. If you haven’t been reading his runs on Uncanny X-Force and Venom you need to hit that right away. He is one to watch in 2012.

Mad Men

Finally we’ll see the return of Don Draper this year. About time. The plus side is we get a “Mad Men movie” with a two hour premier that is not two episodes shoved together but one long episode. This is great. Little is known about how much time will have passed but I am sure we’re in for some genuine (sorry, Pan AM and Playboy Club) sixties drama.

Skyfall

Fifty years of Bond. What better way to celebrate than a new movie? There is no better way to celebrate. Oh wait, maybe that complete Bond box set is.

The River

This found footage horror show gets me excited for several reasons. One is that it is only 8 episodes long. That might seem weird but the formula of found footage isn’t really made for TV. There is no really logical way for someone to “find” 100 hours of footage. So keeping it short shows the show has logic which gives me hope. Plus the premier is being buzzed as one of the scariest in recent years. Also, the amazon is like space. It is vast and creepy and you know I love space. So maybe I’ll love the amazon just as much.

Mark Millar / Millarworld

Writer Mark Millar isn’t a new name to comics… or movies. But for all his years in the business, he is still an awesome writer. He has tackled pretty much everyone in Marvel and now is off writing his own comics. You might have heard of some: Kick Ass, Wanted, Superior, Nemesis, etc. Well this year, he has got several new pieces coming out including Secret Service with Dave Gibbons. You know Dave Gibbons, the co-creator of Watchmen. There is also Super Crooks and Jupiter’s Children with Artist Frank Quietly. So much to look forward this year. Oh and let’s not forget that Hit Girl spinoff we’ve been promised.

The Amazing Spider Man

Color me cautiously optimistic.

Wii U

Maybe it’s because its my job now but I am excited to see what Wii U will bring. Sadly, doing the advertising for Nintendo hasn’t made me privy to much more info on the Wii U than the average person but I think it will be interesting to see what this new console will do for the gaming market and if it will have the same success as the Wii.

And then…

So these are my favorites but that doesn’t mean I am not excited for others like Men In Black 3, the Hobbit, Grant Morrison’s run on Batman Inc., Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Dark Shadows, Gravity, and my many favorite returning shows like Parks and Rec, Modern Family, 30 Rock and the hopeful return of Community. But like I said, among all these favorites the thing I am looking forward to the most is this guy.

I’ve lived my life moving from event to event. I’ve often thought, it’ll be okay if I die in a freakish accident as long as it’s after Lost is over. Or The Dark Knight. Or Paul Dini’s run on Detective Comics. Or anything like that but since he was born, my whole world has changed. The only thing I am really looking forward to seeing is this kid grow up. The rest of this stuff is just icing on the cake.

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