LanternCast
Archives

Hercules

Brett Ratner’s “Hercules” is a solid if unspectacular swords and sandals epic that rises and falls on the broad shoulders of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. While the movie is slow to develop and the creative decision to attempt to demystify the beginnings and labors of Hercules is questionable, the film does pick up considerable steam in its second half.

Many of the twists in the final act are predictable, though Johnson’s presence is able to still make the experience fun and as believable as possible.  It is also a testament to his popularity and his relentless use of social media that “Hercules” has even been as moderately successful as it has (considering an overall lack of interest in the project by movie-goers).

Dwayne Johnson has proven to be a shot-in-the-arm to many existing franchises, but creating one of his own has thus far been elusive.  ”Hercules” is unlikely to change his fortunes anytime soon.

Mark J. Marble

LanternCast Episode #192 – San Diego 2014!

In between review episodes, Mark and Chad use their time to discuss the recent news out of the 2014 San Diego Comic Convention! Arrow, The Flash, Batman Vs Superman, Ant-Man, Avengers 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Legos, Revival, Godzilla and a WHOLE lot more! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

If Hollywood wants a blueprint of how to reboot a franchise, they need look no further than Fox’s last two “Planet of the Apes” pictures.  Despite presenting a different way for the Apes to rise to dominance, the new series pays respect to the themes, legacy and heart of the original five films.

Much like its predecessor “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Dawn is driven by the performance of Andy Serkis as Caesar.  Caesar is such a noble and honorable character that not only is it  almost impossible not to root for him, but you truly want to see more of his story.  As an Ape messiah who was raised by loving humans, he truly is a child of two worlds.

While natural expectations (and marketing) would lead you to believe this was simply going to be another case of the bad human/good ape morality play, the plot itself is a great deal more gray than black and white.  Director Matt Reeves powerfully delivers home the belief that there always is good and evil on both sides of every conflict.

Caesar’s human counterpart is Malcolm, played by Jason Clarke.  He becomes an ally and unexpected friend to the Ape leader, proving that there are still good people left despite the aftermath of devastating war and disease.  The closeness between the two echoes back to the loving and respectful relationship between Caesar and James Franco’s Will in “Rise,” especially in one touching scene towards the end.

While the ending points to a future that we knew was probably unavoidable, the final acceptance of this fact is still a bitter pill for Man, Ape (and movie-goers) to swallow.

With great writing, direction and acting, this classic sci-fi series has been reborn and the next chapter is definitely something I’m looking forward to.

Mark J. Marble

LanternCast Episode #191 – Sinestro Corps War!

Rebirth was the opening bell, but Sinestro Corps War was the knockout event that spawned a frenzied focus onto Green Lantern. Listen in as Mark and Chad are joined by LanternCast co-founder Jim Ford and longtime listener Corwin Crowl to discuss this timelessly epic Green Lantern event! Sinestro, Anti-Monitor, Cyborg Superman, Superboy-Prime, Parallax and the revelation of the Emotional Spectrum! All of this and more awaits you in one of the LanternCast’s most requested episodes! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

LanternCast Episode #190 – Sinestro 1-3!

Sinestro got his own series and surprise, surprise, it’s FANTASTIC. So what makes it so good? Listen in as the guys talk about the first three issues of the new series! All of this and the MOST LISTENER FEEDBACK EMAIL we’ve ever received! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

‘The Flash’ Season 1 Pilot – Review

By Chad Bokelman:

To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to believe in the impossible. Can you do that? Good.

These are the opening lines relayed to us by Barry Allen. In a small handful of sentences, the writers of this fantastic show have issued viewers and critics alike a challenge, “Just BELIEVE”. In a world where most modern popular DC adaptations are set in “real world” scenarios, fans weren’t sure the general public would buy into a guy who could run REALLY fast.

And then Barry spoke. And you’re invited into this world on “just shut up and enjoy it” terms.

There are several things about this pilot I enjoy. Unfortunately most of them are HUGE spoilers and this episode doesn’t premier until October 8th. But now that audiences are getting a chance to view this episode out in San Diego Comic Con 2014, I figured it was time to post MY review.

I saw this weeks ago when it leaked online. I’ve watched it over a dozen times since then. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. But I don’t want to spoil things, so I’ll just hit some bullet points…

  • It’s no secret that the explosion at the Central City Particle Accelerator(CCPA) plays into Barry’s origin as the fastest man alive. When Barry is explaining the importance of the CCPA to Iris, he pulls up a dry erase board. IMMEDIATELY I was washed over with a time I’ve seen a similar dynamic. In ‘Fringe’ when explaining the “science” behind many of Walters theories, the writers would use the board as a way to dumb down high concepts so the audience could understand the premise upon which that episode would be based around. With Barry as a forensic scientist AND a metahuman, it’s no surprise that we will most likely be dealing with several high concept scientific theories and such. The use of the “board” idea is a proven method that I’m THRILLED to see incorporated in this series.
  • When Barry is struck by lightning, the entire origin sequence is amazing. Mostly the score. It adds mystery to the whole process AND somehow adds gravitas. Not just that something important is happening to the character, but…ok look, Barry’s origin is CLASSIC Silver Age. I mean, CLASSIC. When you watch this, you get that sense. It’s the perfect TV origin scene.
  • The explanation of introducing other metahumans to this universe (including Weather Wizard seen in this episode) is short, simple and concise. It seeds so many future characters (including Grodd) that it’s a heckuva teaser sequence.
  • When Barry visits Ollie in Starling City, the scene is incredible. Mostly because you see TWO classic DC characters standing together having a heart to heart, not a BS versus sequence. There’s even clear admiration as the two characters watch one another depart.
  • Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow (eventually Vibe and Killer Frost respectively) are a great “support” team for Barry. There are kinks in their system but, admittedly, this is the first time you see them working in this capacity. I assume it’ll get more streamlined.
  • The Barry/Iris tension is there from the get go, but we won’t see it delivered on immediately. I like that. Barry should end up with Iris, but not RIGHT out of the gate.
  • Barry attempting to unravel a tornado by running around it in the opposite direction…so…freakin…cool. Such a classic Flash move to see interpreted to the screen and it WORKS.
  • One criticism, Barry and his father. Not sure if that’s a dynamic I want to see in EVERY episode. Sure, visit your dad, but we don’t need that every episode or every other episode. Keep the strong connection, but don’t overdo it.
  • The ‘end credits’ type scene at the end of the episode is a TOTAL geekgasm moment. Seriously, fans of historic DC comics…don’t be in the process of eating or drinking anything at the end of the episode. You’ll choke and die in your excitement.

Overall, this episode is one of the best TV pilots for a show I’ve ever seen. It’s made very well and although I think, ironically, there are some slight issues with pacing, it will really impress fans. It’s thrilling to have been able to watch this show and KNOW that, come fall, I’ll have TWO incredible DC shows to watch AND they take place in the same universe at the same time. I can’t wait for more cross overs!

P.S. The recent news that Robbie Amell will be joining the cast as Caitlin’s fiance Ronnie Raymond (aka FIRESTORM) make me even MORE excited for this TV show!

LanternCast Episode #189 – Game of Thrones Season 4 Talk!

No Green Lantern talk this time around kiddos! But never fear, Mark and Chad are discussing something equally epic! GAME OF THRONES SEASON FOUR! What happened? What’d we think about what happened? What do we hope will happen? All caught up on the hit HBO series? Then listen in! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

LanternCast Episode #188 – Issue #31′s and an Annual!

Living abomination constructs, Black light lanterns, sudden familial closeness, Oblivion junior, non-coincidental New Gods references and much, MUCH more! All of this and LISTENER FEEDBACK! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

Transformers: Age of Extinction

The expression “Seen one, Seen them all” could have practically been invented to describe Michael Bay’s “Transformers” franchise.  Each film gives you pretty much the same thing: state of the art special effects, explosions, poor screenwriting and mostly uninteresting human characters.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” takes this formula to the extreme, including in running time as the movie clocks in at nearly 3 hours long.   While Mark Wahlberg is definitely an upgrade from Shia “My Career is Imploding” Labeouf, he isn’t entirely believable as a struggling inventor/ repairman who is barely keeping his head above water.  Still, he’s the only interesting human in the film (at least until Stanley Tucci begins to get more and more screen time).  Tucci is clearly above this material.  He steals the show in the second half of this overly long “epic.”

The plot this time around revolves around a government conspiracy to eliminate ALL Transformers (Autobots & Decepticons) while learning enough about their DNA and power source to create their own homegrown Transformers (which is where Tucci’s character comes into play).  Throw in an alien bounty hunter (Lockdown) for good measure, and you pretty much have it.

The much-hyped Dinobots only appear in the movie’s final hour and they don’t really get to do very much, though they are visually impressive.

How you feel about this film will greatly depend on how much you enjoyed the previous three.  While I’ve never loved any of them, I did think “Dark of the Moon” was the best of the original trilogy.  ”Transformers: Age of Extinction” feels like a big step down in the wrong direction though.

LanternCast Episode #187 – Future Shock!

Green Lantern and the Legion of Superheroes! That’s right, Chad and Mark talk about FUTURE SHOCK from the 1990′s Kyle Rayner run of GL! Ganthet and his affinity for dank alleys! Rayner’s and their affinity for inebriated homelessness and self inadequacy! Fantastic art and short, sweet, self contained story lines! All this and LISTENER FEEDBACK! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!