A Series of Unfortunate Events

Warning…The article before you may contain spoilers…Reader discretion is advised

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While Lemony Snicket will always have the voice of Tim Curry (pre-stroke) in my head from the audio book series, that’s no reason not to try the unlucky premier of Netflix’s Series of Unfortunate Events. The extreme colors and striking camera angles that made us enjoy the 2004 film version are not lost in this new series which has an artistic Pushing Daisies whimsy feel. I’m sure if you’re a fan of the books you’re a bit apprehensive to the role of Count Olaf switching from Jim Carrey –who was perfect- to Neil Patrick Harris. But there’s nothing to fear, I can assure you this series isn’t a horrible mistake.

It’s unfortunate that the film which was perfectly cast made such Hollywood mistakes of plot faux pas, so another attempt is more than warrant. Especially now that all the books and plot twists have been published Netflix manages to stay amazingly true to the text.

There’s many dissuasions not to watch the series by Lemony Snicket himself (played by Patrick Warburton) but none from me. I say enjoy the hidden gems tucked in the background as one of the darkest children’s texts comes to life. There’s loads of disguises, antics with the frustration for children wanting to be taken seriously by adults and wordplay. Oh the wordplay, a term here which refers to a use of vocabulary that is beyond the usual intelligence. The use of language is by far the best part of this show.

lead_960.jpgBut just like all book adaptations. There are some issues. First being that it ends after only eight episodes with each book in the series getting two episodes this means we hardly get half way through the story. But I suppose that’s not really an issue so much as a complaint that Netflix wants to keep us dangling a bit longer.

My major criticism is the heavy use of the eye symbol. While the eye is an important and prominent symbol surrounding Count Olaf and the mystery that the Baudelaire orphans journey to solve, it comes to their attention much too soon and much too often before Olaf even makes his first appearance.

A lesser criticism is the music. Oh, but that’s one thing the 2004 film did so well, the music was eerie and playful like the story and Daniel Handler himself. But what is with that intro song NPH is yammering in the opening credits? If you can muddle through that ear-splitting flop at a Shakespearian device and are still sitting when Lemony tells you to choose a different show for your weekend well then, you’re in for a good time.

Overall I find our fears of failure for this Netflix feature are founded without fact. What’s more I will be rewatching this for all the hidden secretes I can spy throughout this series.

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Fantasy Football Clique

#NFL Week 11 Match-ups!

Saturdays I like to focus on this weekend’s match-ups and throw in a few Sleepers.

Top 3 Rushing Match-ups:

vs  – I’m sorry to pick on the Browns so much, but damn is their Defense weak and always makes the opposing team’s Offense look so great on paper.

vs  – Cincinnati has been allowing a lot of FF points against them on the ground, and unfortunately for them, the Bills have Matt Forte who is primed to have a big day.

vs  – Spencer Ware is back and will be carrying the RB load against the Buccaneer’s 25th ranked Defense in the NFL against the run.

 

Top 3 Passing Match-ups:

 vs  – Tom Brady is going to make his big return to ‘the city by the bay” a memorable one.

vs  – Big day for Big Ben and Antonio Brown.

vs  – Marcus Mariota is quietly becoming one of the top FF QBs right now and the Colts don’t have a strong secondary to stop him. Don’t forget that his favorite target is TE Delanie Walker.

 

Sleepers:

QB – Joe Flacco

RB – Dion Lewis

RB – Thomas Rawls

WR – Jamison Crowder

TE – Ladarius Green

News and Notes

Rob Gronkowski is out this week with some sort of lung/chest injury. Martellus Bennett will have a good game.

Jeremy Maclin is out again this week with a groin injury. He has had a disappointing FF season this year and I wonder if he is even worth keeping on your roster.

I don’t know why, but I’m liking the match-up of Luck and Hilton vs the Titans Defense.

It’s that time to start looking ahead to the last 4 weeks of the season and the 3 FF playoff weeks. You are going to want to acquire the strong Offensive players that are matched up against the weaker Defenses. For example, during the FF playoff schedule ( weeks 14-16 ) Tampa Bay plays New Orleans TWICE! You are going to want Tampa Bay players, trust me.

Las Vegas over/under has Green Bay at Washington Redskins game as the highest scoring game of the week. Kirk Cousins should have a big day.

Good Luck!

 #FFGeek

Geek Down

Denver Comic Con is this week and we wanted to thank our sponsors who donated items for the raffle held by Cap for Kids an official 501C3 charity. Stop by our booth to register for a chance to win them in addition to a #StanLee signed Captain America shield. #DCC2016 Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro Time Warp Comics Meents Illustrated Gerry Mulowayi

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Gotham

This Ball of Mud and Meanness

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I am afraid. My fear is this, if I start to expand on how good of a turn Gotham has made over the last few episodes I worry it will revert back and start to disappoint and only frustrate me further. With the last three weeks’ worth of episodes behind us I am finding it more difficult to be as heavy handed as I have in the past about the events in the show. This could be a small reprieve, the same thing did happen last season with the introduction of a serial killer and Barbra going around the bend.

We leave the story of Freeze for now as we transition further into Arkham and just what Hugo Strange is up too. The extreme experiments he is conducting on the patients wondering what his end goal truly is while he works over Penguin. Using Dr. Cranes fear formula mixed with some very twisted visual virtual reality goggles makes short work of the King of Crime. Turning the once violent and manipulative fowl villain into some timid little parakeet. At first I wondered who was playing whom? Was Penguin just going along, playing the role? We have seen how clever Penguin has been in the past, calculating his moves and just what the outcome would be but after this week I have to say he was out of his field. Hugo Strange is just wicked! Is everything he does for the betterment of Gotham? I think the show has finally got what it so badly needed, an arch villain. He just exudes diabolical evil, right down to the creepy smile and sinister tone in his voice. Declaring Penguin “Sane” by the end of the episode and setting him free was a shock making him nothing more than a pawn setting the board for a bigger move.        

gotham-ep214-scn17-5670-hires1-172702.jpg The bigger story this week is following up with Bruce after finding out the identity of his parent’s killer, Matches Malone. There are a lot of things I really liked about this story and I was waiting for it to go so horribly wrong and to my surprise it didn’t. It’s hard to follow the comics sometimes, I get that and there have been so many different takes on Bruce Wayne in the early years it’s hard to say what is the most accurate picture. The portrayal we got is what I would consider the most accurate and well laid out story in the show so far. This was the whole reason I wanted to watch the show in the first place, to see the boy become the bat and Bruce becomes the mask. It starts out perfect with Selina brining the gun to him, Bruce ready in his convictions that he can pull the trigger, but when faced with the choice he shows a sterner side. That aside for the moment, the buildup for this is remarkable as Bruce starts to see the whole of the Gotham underworld, a place he has never been nor could imagine. The conversation between Bruce and Jeri (Lori Petty who is no stranger to the DC world having done a lot of voice work in the animated series) is gold. Showing us some of the edge, the outright crazy that exists here and how ill-equipped he is to dealing with it as it looks like Lori is channeling a great mix of Joker and Harley in her character. She knows where matches is but won’t give him up right away, toys with Bruce makes a game of it for her own amusement and to see how far Bruce will take this, hard to take a kid seriously. Her parting words to him as she tells Bruce where matches is are sinister, the hand of fate and Matches will be happy to see him.      

At this point is when my doubt began to creep in, but it was more than I could have hoped for as Bruce comes face to face with Matches. Playing the role of needing a gun for hire asking question about Matches score card. I thought they were going to do it, I really thought for a moment this was going to be one more departure from what we know of the character sending me into a fan frenzy of disappointment. But it didn’t happen, the rage, and frustration all there on the face, the hurt of being nothing more than a forgotten or blocked memory in the past of a known killer. Matches wanted to die, it would make sense for it to be by the hand of a kid whose parents he had killed almost poetic; “A man gets tired of doing wrong and going unpunished…you start to wonder if there really is a god.” The only comforting words Matches has before Bruce leaves the room and lets fate take its course. But I think this calls back to the earlier part of the episode as funny as it is to see Alfred going toe to toe with a big bruiser named Cupcake. The mantel of the bat starts right here with this small but important lesson as Alfred tries to teach Bruce the importance of picking your battles and letting them pick you. It’s a great fight, I watched it a couple of times but the end result is Alfred winning but back in Hospital which Bullock is happy to point out, for a butler he spends a lot of time there. The end result is the most significant, Bruce decides to take to the streets to learn and better understand this world and it’s about damn time.    

On a side note Nygma talking to himself thinking Gordon is onto the fact that he killed Ms. Kringle is fantastic. Can’t wait to see the Riddler!

Gotham

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After the long midseason break Gotham returns and in a very impressive and immersive episode as it starts off with giving us flashbacks of the last episode. Gordon answering questions from Harvey Dent in front of a review panel about the final moments with Galavan. If there was any question or doubt that Gordon executed Galavan or pull a last moment we didn’t see forget about it, they showed without a doubt he pulled the trigger. As he sat before the committee creating a story that removed him from the situation and leaving town with Dr. Thompkins because he was fearful of her life after finding out she was pregnant. You can see during the entire proceeding that Captain Barnes wasn’t buying any of what Gordon was saying and through the entire episode was doubtful of his word and motivation. Maybe the Captain is as just a good cop, very passionate about the job he does and upholding justice and the code above all else. Gordon crossing that line still is a raw nerve for me and something I can’t see the character ever doing but maybe Penguin got into his head a little more than anyone had thought.

NE0Xf32uHdU731_3_b.jpgThat does put a few things in question but sets up some fantastic story lines if they do it right along with some much needed character development. Penguin goes to ground after that night with Galavan and is hiding out on the streets, somehow is discovered by GCPD and brought in by the Captain. I honestly thought that Penguin was going to point the finger at Gordon but instead claims to have killed Galavan and Gordon had nothing to do with it. Two fantastic points here that impressed me, Gordon holding the bluff with the Captain after he questioned Penguin. I was waiting for the Captain to call BS but accepted Penguin at his word this setting up Penguin to get shipped off to Arkham. The second part of this is the introduction of Hugo Strange who I have to applaud the casting on this. I know in the comic he isn’t Asian but the mannerisms, is speech patterns, the creepy beard and glasses all working so well. The character in the comic in my mind has always been a tier two villain, but with a lot of undiscovered potential. You get the feeling Penguin is a little lost after all of the events from the first half of the season and maybe has given up, you almost feel sorry for the little guy as all the inmates start to throw food and make fun of him. We know Penguin has his issues but how much more of a mess is he going to be after Hugo starts to experiment on him with his new wave treatments? With Penguin on the run that leaves one guy in charge and I loved this idea since they hinted at it in the first season. Butch! Butch with a drill in place of the hand that Penguin lopped off! Butch was great, no idea why he was killing someone this week with his new drill hand but it’s a cool affect that’s for sure raising the question did Penguins men just desert him or did Butch just take over. Then guess who wants to be his second in command as Tabitha Galavan emerges from the shadows wanting in on what Butch has going on, still disappointed by her brothers failure she is looking for the big score and yes it’s Butch.

It was a night for introductions that’s for sure, as we see the love story of Victor Fries and his ill wife Nora. I had my doubts about this, a few questions and trying to figure it out on the Batman timeline. In the comic Nora already was sick and the only way to save her was for Victor to freeze her while looking for a cure and one day bring her out of stasis. If I’m being completely honest I liked the story, I like the twists they added and how they portrayed the character. All of the elements from the comic were there, he was missing the big lab that he ran all of his experiments in but they did explain that with him being let go by Thomas Wayne. The character desperation to save his wife because of his love for her, crossing lines he normally wouldn’t but given little choice because of the severe situation and ticking clock. What I loved was his cold gun and flash freezing people to negative 162 degrees then trying to find a way to bring them back. All of his victims suffering the fate of an ice-cream cone on a July afternoon was a great twist and how she reacted to discovering it was humans Victor was experimenting on instead of mice. Even after her discovery she was still unwilling to give Victor up to Gordon and Bullock regardless of the consequences to herself. I’m anxious to see where they take the character and just how close to the comic they will bring him, for now we just have to deal with him looking like a bad Captain Cold knock off.

Geek Down Gallifrey One

I have been a Doctor Who fan for as long as I can remember and if I didn’t know any better I would wager a guess it was my first word. There have been moments in Who history that I thought I would never see and events I would never get to go and Gallifrey One is such an event. For one reason or another things never worked, or the stars just never lined up but for the first time the sky opened up and the Towers Sang and just this one time all was right with the world.
The question that always plagues me when dealing with cons that focus on just one show; will there be enough to do and enjoy? With the larger cons that I have been to over the years there has always been an assortment of different geek loves to indulge in from dealers room, panels, celebrity guests and artists. The rising levels of cons that center on just one niche is as awesome as it is scary wondering if the life of the con will survive as the big cons continue to consume both guests and attendees. You have Supernatural and Walker Stalker Con that have come along over the years but don’t have the benefit of the amount of years on the air that Doctor Who has. As I sit in the lobby typing this I watch the groups start to take form and then I start to think to myself…What’s there to worry about, Doctor Who will go on forever.
IMAG1078.jpg It is amazing the fandom this show has been able to generate over the last five decades and just what it says to all the different people. Each person walking through the door identifying with different aspects of the show and different passion and a different way the show has touched them and continues to do so as the Doctor travels through space and time. I have been to many cons over the years but I have to say this is the most unique as the evening gets underway and everyone pulls out ribbons. Most everyone in attendance has their own ribbon with different phrases and images on them to trade with other people at the con that sick to the pass and as the night progresses you can amass a very large collection. By the time the end of the weekend comes you have a ladder of ribbons that could reach the second floor of the hotel from the ground. It’s not just the fans that take part in this ritual but the celebrities that are attending participate as well. Michelle Gomez and Ingrid Oliver actively trading their own ribbons as you go through the autograph lines even the restaurant having one of their own to contribute. Listening to many of the return attendees talk about their collection from years past begins to sound like a few conversations I have had with comic collectors as they must collect them all.

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The advantage of the smaller cons as always is time with the stars and a chance to chat for a moment or two with them. The layout is simple enough and the crowds not pressed against one another gasping for personal space. The different autograph tables set up in the dealers room makes it simple and easy to see the guests and even with the lines it seems to move a lot faster than I have experienced at other cons. Being able to chat up John Hurt was fantastic, I wish I could have been able to do a full on interview but being able to just talk to him before being pushed along was refreshing. The picture lines were a different animal entirely but I would recommend that team to any con on how they dealt with the volume and people while coordinating with the rest of the celebrities schedule (Opal you rock). It’s not only the celebrities that are being pulled for photos, there are still wall to wall cosplayers and it’s hard not to turn your head and see a Weeping Angel or one version or another of the Doctor walk by a few radio controlled Daleks but no kid in a gasmask. The best part of the con for me has to be the moments with John Hurt at the autograph table and on stage as he took questions and recalled tales of his past projects. You could see a particular love for his moments on the Harry Potter set as Ollerander the wand shop owner then came the opportunity for him to read some of the other Doctors lines. Most significantly for me was the Peter Capaldi speech at the end of Zygon Inversion delivered War Doctor style give it a listen.

I have seen small cons grow to unimaginable sizes pulling people from across the nation, even different parts of the world. I have seen them disappear in a blink or swallowed up by a larger one or different owners. Is there a con bubble? Will the goliath model win? Is there room for both? As long as there are fans, an unwavering love for the characters I doubt that it will change much just your choices of where to go and who to see. Like most cons the days fly by and before you know it the tear filled goodbyes begin. It’s a little bit different than most as some feel more like family that you look forward to seeing again rather than acquaintances that you run into year after year at the different cons around the country. Where it’s everyone’s love that’s the focus and not just the culture or just one specific guest from the dozens making an appearance. There will always be the big name draws of course but at the core of it all there is just one name, one love and it’s the Doctor.

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Legends Of Tomorrow

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I have to say that Rip Hunter…not a very good Captain as we travel to the late 80’s in the hunt for Savage. According to Gabriel this is where the trail leads but to proceed they need to get a redacted document from the Pentagon, which I thought was a fantastic idea. How the group went about getting it left a little to be desired. You have the Atom, he can shrink, like super small shrink and instead of doing that they make him a janitor and partner him up with Cold. I know there has to be a bit of drama for the show and play it up a bit but shouldn’t you play to some of the strength of the characters. I don’t want this to appear as me picking on Ray Palmer The Atom but I don’t understand where they are trying to take the character. He is portrayed with a kidlike innocence to an almost stupid level. He is supposed to have one of the greatest minds on the team, similar to Professor Stein if not smarter but seems almost sabotaged at every turn. He tries his best but falls short of the mark through both episodes and story but does have a powerful message for Heatwave towards the end and maybe that’s the point. It’s one thing for Ray to get shown up by Cold (who is the voice of reason again for the story) and is just smooth in all of his actions no matter the situation. Ray just seems so far out of his league in every situation and perhaps that’s the point of his story; to see him become the hero that he is meant to be as he stands up for everything he believes in no matter what. From the guy in the yard getting picked on to taking a beating for Heatwave, the one thing that needs to happen for sure is someone better teach Ray how to fight soon.

It’s not only Ray that we see the focus on character development for these two episodes we get a look at two sides of the same coin in White Canary and Hawkgirl. One trying to find her humanity and the other one trying to find the warrior inside. With the loss of Carter (Hawkman) makes you wonder if it will have a lasting effect on the progress of Kendra becoming Hawkgirl and fully realizing her powers and memories. I think Rip has the same thoughts hence why pairing the two up and a way to balance one another out. After seeing Hawkgirl go full on warrior priestess at the Pentagon I am sure she will be fine and even reminded me a bit of the comics and even the cartoon with the bad temper with the only thing missing was her mace. After that Hawkgirl plays a smaller roll but we still have White Canary’s demons to deal with and what lines she is will to cross. Is she an assassin? Will she smoke one of their own to save the future? This is all called into question as the group goes to Russia needing to save Stein, Heatwave and Ray from a Gulag Savage has put them in. If there is a chance Canary is to take Stein out and the voice in her ear, persuading her to rethink it is Cold.

snart-400x255.jpg If there is one thing that will come out of this show its just what a bad ass Captain Cold really is and his less than good guy approach to things. The man will operate in the gray area and has his loyalties but there are lines that he will not cross. He won’t leave a man behind and he won’t kill if he doesn’t have to but there is always time to steal something. His loyalty and trust in Heatwave is commendable as he storms the cells solo looking for his partner, even during the fight that led to their capture he was calling Rip for reinforcements. Every call he has made is spot on and all of his strategies are solid it’s not till you put everyone else in the mix that things start to fall apart him and Heatwave best team ever and then you have Firestorm. The most powerful member on the team and Stein and Jefferson fight like an old married couple and you don’t know which one has the bigger ego. Truth be told his character has been the biggest disappointment so far in the story, the two separate haven’t been bad and the focus on Stein was rather eye-opening. Not wanting to lose another partner like he did Ronnie but not willing to give Jackson the chance to be a hero. Granted it’s his mistake that botches the job at the Pentagon and lands Stein in Russia with the chance to create and army of Firestorms but it was almost like time was trying to fix itself. Thanks to the team showing up 11 years earlier and giving Savage the idea of a nuclear man could have led to the destruction of the world much sooner. Stein is brave, got it, and one of the biggest adventures in the group but I don’t see him standing toe to toe with Savage and my only hope is they start to explore his powers a little further and pull more from the comic on him. We saw what happens when a Firestorm goes boom and what happens if he is on the wrong end of Savages sword?

legends-4-thumb.jpg So what has been accomplished? Mucking up the time line for sure and only because Rip is not the greatest leader. What keeps annoying me the most is the wishy washy, we are a team on a mission were not story. We are dealing with it every week and it’s getting tiresome. Everyone has said they are in and Rip for all of his bravado is just being a wimp. I love that Cold let him get beat up a little by the Russian mobster. It’s because of his botched efforts that Carter is dead and Savage almost created an army of nuclear men. He almost sacrificed the team and mission to the Time Masters if it was for Cold to reason with him. Rip had his one big chance to kill Savage and couldn’t do it and if he gets the drop on him I doubt he could do it even knowing that Savage is coming for his family. In the meanwhile the Time Masters will continue to hunt him and the team as next week we finally get to see what the future looks like as we go to the year 2046.