Category Archives: Movie Reviews

The Walking Dead Celebrates A Milestone

The Walking Dead’s season 8 premiere will mark a milestone. The debut episode will also be the 100th episode of the season. When the “zombie apocalypse” series first appeared on AMC, few expected it to flop. Horror fans definitely would have tuned in. The massive success of the series surely has taken everyone involved with it by surprise. The 100th episode truly is a monumental achievement.

The celebratory nature of the 100th episode is in the air at the San Diego Comic Convention. A banner honoring the 100th episode hangs at the convention for all to see.

The banner’s visuals are impressive. On the left side, images from earlier seasons are prominent. On the right side, the present and future of the series are depicted. In the middle, a proclamation about the 100th episode is joined by a simple “Thank you” to fans.

The series definitely is relying on the consistent approval of its long-time fans. Ratings have been dropping for the series, which is no real secret. While current ratings remain strong, the numbers are dropping. If the ratings continue to drop further, this could prove to be a very serious — if not disastrous — situation for the series.

The combination of poor pacing and an uptick in violence along with fewer zombies has been blamed for the series’ woes. Hopefully, all this will change in the next season. Really, changes do need to be made or else The Walking Dead probably won’t last on the AMC lineup for much longer.

Riverdale Gets A Season Two Premiere Date

The CW has announced its fall premiere dates, and Riverdale fans are in luck. No longer a midseason show like it was for its freshman season, Riverdale will be back on the network in October, though it is on the move.


The series, inspired by Archie comic books, aired on Thursdays during its inaugural season. It followed Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and friends Betty (Lili Reinhart), Veronica (Camila Mendes), and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) in the small town of Riverdale after it was rocked by the unexpected death of one of it teenagers. The mystery of just who killed him played out over 13 episodes and brought to light student-teacher affairs, incestuous relationships, and financial scandals, not to mention another attempted murder in the season finale.


For its sophomore set, it’s moving to Wednesdays at 8PM. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead will return for more soapy small town mysteries on October 11.


Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been giving fans hints at what’s to come by releasing episode titles on his twitter account while the show’s team is back at work in the writers’ room. Their first foray back into television will be “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying,” picking up not long after the season one finale left off. That will be followed up by “Chapter Fifteen: Nighthawks.” The titles continue the method of naming the episodes after classic films that the writers have used since the pilot, so fans will have plenty of fun dissecting those episode titles over the next few months to see if they can learn anything about what’s next for the Riverdale residents.


Riverdale fans can currently relive season one on Netflix, where it became available to stream in its entirety in May.



Time After Time Fades Away

The modern television version of Time After Time is a remake of a classic science-fiction film from 1979. The TV show shares an additional connection, a dubious one, with entertainment from the 1970’s. The TV was canceled after six episodes aired. 12 episodes were filmed for the first season. The remaining six won’t be given an airing on the ABC network.


The original 1979 film featured an intriguing premise. H.G. Wells invents a time machine in order to travel into the future to chase Jack the Ripper. The evil Ripper plans on continuing his murderous ways in the United States of the 20th century. The film was quite enjoyable and did well at the box office. After nearly 40 years of building a small cult following, the movie was resurrected as a TV show. The result were underwhelming and akin, ironically, to failed TV shows of the 1970’s.


In the 1970’s, competition for TV viewers was fierce. A show that did very poorly in the ratings would be shelved quickly. The networks would often cut their losses by removing a television show from the prime time schedule even if original episodes had yet to be aired. Quick cancellations are not uncommon in the present day, but this very abrupt cancellation of Time After Time is somewhat shocking. The show was pulling in 2.2 million viewers. Fear the Walking Dead draws about as many viewers on AMC. Yet, the zombie apocalypse show is deemed a hit and is hyped for an upcoming third season.


Time After Time, of course, is born of a different genre and has a different fan base. Zombie and action-oriented science-fiction fans are going to buy tie-in merchandise related to their favorite programs. A lower-rated show can still generate revenue. Time After Time is more of a melodramatic time travel series. No one is going to produce a video game based on the program.


The unaired episodes of Time After Time are sure to turn up on home video or streaming. The mere fact the DVD collection contains unaired episodes should appeal to sci-fans and collectors.


Kong: Skull Island Does “Fine” at the Global Box Office

The box office receipts are in for Kong: Skull Island. The film performed in a decent manner. Ticket sales, however, were not great. Above average would be the best way to sum up the movie’s impact with audiences around the world.


The new King Kong film, a prequel of sorts, was produced by the same company that remade Godzilla to massive success. Legendary Pictures, working with Warner Bros., came up with the brilliant idea of a “MonsterVerse” that would bring back King Kong and set up a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla.


The trouble here is King Kong is not as hot at the box office as Godzilla.


In the 1930’s, King Kong ruled the box office. The original film was an incredible sight to behold. The film pulled in millions of dollars when a movie ticket could be purchased for ten cents. The sequel, titled Son of Kong, did not do anywhere near as much business. King Kong would live on in remakes, sequels, and Toho giant monster movies.


None ever surpassed the success of the original King Kong. Still, Kong: Skull Island needed to earning around $400 million at the worldwide box office to break even. The film is going to top the $400 million mark, but not by much. There are other sources of revenue such as home video and television that will eventually roll in. Kong: Skull Island is far from a flop. The film will go down as a modest hit. Sadly, the film’s ticket sales reveal King Kong can’t carry a movie on his own anymore.


With King Kong vs. Godzilla on the horizon for 2019, the giant ape won’t have to carry a film by his lonesome. Godzilla has remained a much more bankable pop culture icon thanks to consistent appearances in television programs, video games, cartoons, and, of course, movies. Scores of Godzilla toys on shelves assisted with keeping the radioactive dinosaur popular with kids.


King Kong is still an iconic character in his own right. Kong will continue to be part of the entertainment landscape for years to come. Maybe one day he will show up in Jurassic Park.


DC’s Batgirl Film Continues Rolling to Production

On the heels of DC Films’ announcement of a Batgirl movie, rumors have been circulating that Lindsey Morgan will be playing the starring role. Known for her performance as “Raven Reyes” on The CW’s The 100. Although it’s not a sure-fire pick for the upcoming movie, her twitter account continuously retweets messages regarding the choice.


Although, it’s not fully known if this film will be part of the burgeoning DC film universe, but it has been announced at the same time as a Nightwing film. Releasing live action versions of Batman’s supporting characters is not unprecedented in recent years. FOX’s prime time show Gotham has been a big success for the network and introduced a number of characters to the average viewer’s lexicon.


Warner Brothers, DC’s parent company, is seeking Joss Whedon to write and direct this latest superhero outing. Since he’s had ample comic book film experience, Whedon’s addition is being looked at because of his commercial successes. He took the helm on Marvel’s The Avengers, but fans are hoping it will be another along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a tough, acrobatic girl who is also naive and adventurous.


Whedon is believed to bring one major thing that he’s well-known for, namely a sense of humor to the situations. Batgirl can add a bit of the fun that has lacked in DC’s film universe to date. Due to the timing, it may also cross over with the Nightwing film, since both characters are very tightly-knit in the comic books.


The real question thus far for fans of the character is how they intend to present her. The character started in the comic books in 1961 but became a household name due to her addition for the final season of the Batman television series in 1967 as portrayed by Yvonne Craig. She later ended up paralyzed by the Joker and took up the mantle of Oracle, a computer hacker and spy. The comics returned to her roots in the late 1990s and 2000s. While most are convinced that the Barbara Gordan version of the character will be represented as a way to tie it into the current films.


Batgirl Moves Forward And Expands The Batman Movie Franchise

The D.C. Extended Universe features a number of lesser-known heroes soon to make a big splash on the big screen. And then there are iconic characters that everyone knows and loves. Heroes such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are always going to be prominently featured. The news of a Batgirl film should raise eyebrows. The character is known to many thanks to the incredible performance by Yvonne Craig in the 1960’s.


Batgirl absolutely deserves her own film. In the near future, she is going to get one. Maybe Batgirl can provide the spark capable of extended the Batman franchise. The publication history of Batman comics is loaded with a number of outstanding characters. Many should be able to do well in their own features.


Batgirl has a track record of success. The only reason the 1960’s Batman TV series was renewed for a third season was due to the introduction of Batgirl. Millions of people have fond memories of Craig’s portrayal of the heroine. Those memories may translate into enthusiasm for a Batgirl feature.


D.C. Comics and Warner Bros. want to succeed where Sony faltered with the Spider-Man franchise. Sony wanted a host of Spider-Man spinoff projects including Venom, The Sinister Six, Black Cat, and even a bizarre Aunt May spy film. When Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed, the plans were scrapped.


The massive popularity of Harley Quinn shows Batman characters can carry films. This is why Harley Quinn is getting her own standalone film and will appear with other Batman characters in Gotham City Sirens.


The adult Dick Grayson drops his Robin persona to become Nightwing, another Batman character getting a film. Nightwing may need to be introduced in The Batman film or another project since the character is not known to many non-readers of D.C.’s comic books.


Strangely, as plans for the expansion of the Batman franchise role forward, the solo project dubbed The Batman is going through a page-one rewrite. That means the screenplay is being scrapped and a new one being written. The production start has been delayed.


Let’s all hope every Batman and Batman-inspired movie is worth the wait.


DC Comics Pulls Ahead of Competition in Female Superhero Movies

Boys around the world have plenty of heroes to look up to when they go out to the movies. From watching Captain America fight Hydra to looking on in awe as Batman defeats the criminals of Gotham City to Superman vanquishing General Zod and his cronies, there is no shortage of male superheroes on the big screen. Little girls around the world may have been wondering where their superhero role models have been.


There was a lot of disappointment when it became clear after the first Avengers movie that the character of Black Widow would not be getting her own standalone movie. The degree to which she thrashed the bad guys in that movie and in “Iron Man 2” certainly seemed to have earned her a place in her own film.


Female superhero fans around the world were given cause to rejoice with the appearance of Wonder Woman in the latest DC movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Unlike poor Black Widow, Wonder Woman will be getting her own movie that is scheduled to be released this June. Trailers are out for it, and it looks like it will be a box office winner for DC Comics.


In the latest female superhero news, Joss Whedon has signed on to direct a standalone film for Batgirl. This is fantastic news for fans of this character from her debut in DC Comics back in 1967 and her appearance in the old television show “Batman.” Joss Whedon is, of course, famous for directing such Marvel Cinematic Universe films as “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Now that he is crossing over to the DC Comics film franchise, it will be interesting to see how his new movie compares to the ones he has already done for DC Comics’ biggest competitor in this industry. One thing is certain, DC Comics has a leg up over Marvel in terms of shining a spotlight on strong, powerful female leads in their franchise.



IT Trailer Breaks All Viewing Records

Anyone who doubted the potential box office success of the updated version of Stephen King’s IT now has less of a reason to doubt. The teaser trailer was released online and quickly smashed all records. The number of views tallied by the end of the first 24-hour period logged in at 197 million views. That number absolutely and totally crushes the numbers held by previous record holders. Star Wars: The Force Awakens “only” drew 127 million views.


IT may need a title change to HIT. The film has the potential to be one of the biggest horror hits of all-time.


IT is a remake of the classic TV movie version of Stephen King’s outstanding novel. The lengthy TV movie was critically acclaimed, faithful to the source material, and quite scary for a TV outing. The cinematic version is also going to be faithful to the original novel. This time, however, the project comes with an R-Rating. The visceral horror of the novel will be presented on the silver screen and without any censorship filters.


The horror genre has been slumping the past few years. Get Out was a massive box office success showing that fears the genre was on the way out were overstated. A project that is not a useless sequel or a rehash of cliches always has the potential to connect with audiences.


IT is something a bit more intriguing than the traditional horror movie. Yes, creepy clowns are all the rage these days. A newfound interest in insane clowns positively played a role in stirring up similar interest in IT. IT is also one of those rare films that may draw in old and new fans. Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, IT can attract audiences who sat in front of the TV and watches the classic miniseries 25 years ago while also drawing in young ones who want to learn what all the hubbub is about Pennywise the Clown.


All will unravel when the first film is released in the coming months. In a year or so, the second chapter of IT is slated for a debut.



Better Call Saul to Experience A Change in Tone

Better Call Saul is a great title for a television series. The title for the AMC series pretty much tells the viewers people call on Saul when things get really bad. Maybe the next time someone calls Saul they will need to do so to cheer the poor guy up. The upcoming third season of the series is going to take on a more ominous and darker tone. Reportedly, the lighthearted series will venture into thematic and tonal territory similar to Breaking Bad.


In a way, this is a logical progression. At some point, the timelines of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad do need to connect. The descent of Better Call Saul into foreboding territory definitely would craft the perfect connection to the strange world of Breaking Bad.


Cable television shows do take a lot more chances with their characters and storylines than most network shows. Network shows nefariously like to keep programs going from season to season. A program may enter its 11th season even after being stale since the seventh season. As long as there is a segment of viewers willing to tune in and watch a show, the networks are going to keep it alive.


Cable television is a bit different. The strategy with pay and basic cable channels is to craft a solid narrative, develop it over time, and bring a series to a logical conclusion. If audience interest remains, plans for spinoffs are put in motion. Breaking Bad probably could have survived several more seasons and experienced dwindling numbers. What would be the point of that if a new and fresh series such as Better Call Saul can be made instead?


Ironically, AMC is experiencing ratings troubles with The Walking Dead. The series is trudging onwards with declining ratings and boring plots. AMC might see the value in ending a series at the right time, but ending a series that is a cash cow isn’t exactly a high priority.


Better Call Saul, like Breaking Bad, is a way different program than The Walking Dead. Better Call Saul is also far from stale and can thrive for many more seasons. Changing the tone of the series could help it maintain interest for a number of additional years.


Anson Mount Returns to TV with The Inhumans

The last television viewers saw of Anson Mount, he was traveling across the Pacific Ocean at the closing moments of the final episode of Hell on Wheels. Mount, a fantastic actor, is returning to television quicker than many imagined. Mount is slated to star as Black Bolt, the superhero who hold The Inhumans team together. The Inhumans may have been canceled as a movie project, but the concept comes to television on ABC.


The move to television seems to be a wise move. The Inhumans would be competing with The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, and The X-Men. The Inhumans are not exactly “A-list” heroes. Putting the team on television is a wise move. So is casting Mount in such a vital role. During his run on the AMC western, Mount displayed he could handle both action and complex drama with great skill. While Hell on Wheels was not a massive hit with the ratings, the program maintained a strong cult following. Hopefully, fans of his previous series will migrate to The Inhumans and help the show become a success when it debuts.


Likely, the popularity of superhero TV shows will still be strong when The Inhumans appears on the ABC lineup. In time, Marvel and DC Comics are going to lose their box office and ratings appeal. That time seems to be quite far off. For now, fans of superhero movies and television programs can be thrilled about all the new products emerging from the creative pipeline. The Inhumans is one of the newest — and most interesting — to emerge.