‘League Of Super Pets’ Is Not Super, But Still Worth Watching

Courtesy: Warner Brothers/Warner Animation Group/DC Entertainment

In 2005 when Warner Brothers brought Superman’s canine friend Krypto to the small screen in his own series, it marked the first time ever that any of the DC Entertainment Universe’s animal superheroes had ever gotten its own attention.  Prior to the series’ premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers had only focused on DC’s human and superhuman stars, so it was a key step in the companies’ attempt to expand DC’s comics to screen universe.  The series less than two years from March 2005 to December 2006, spanning just two seasons and even incorporated Krypto’s original Legion of Superheroes cohort Streaky the cat.  After the series ended, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment largely abandoned any plans for any future Super Pets properties on TV and in theaters.  However, late last month, the companies brought some of DC’s super pets back to the screen again, this time in theaters in the form of League of Super Pets.  The movie, which made its theatrical debut July 29, is a mostly entertaining presentation, though is not perfect.  The main positive in this movie is its story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story is enjoyable for the whole family (albeit not entirely accurate to the comics), the story does have one troubling aspect, that being the use of some adult language.  This will be discussed a little later.  It is not enough to doom the movie, so to that end, there is at least one more positive to note in the form of the cast’s work.  This will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered they make League of Super Pets a mostly successful new take on DC’s Legion of Super Pets comic book and new family flick.

League of Super Pets, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers’ latest addition to the ever-expanding DC Entertainment Universe, is a mostly successful overall presentation.  The movie’s story is really the key to its success.  The story in question finds Krypto, Superman’s canine friend having to assemble a group of super powered animals to help save the big blue boy scout after a guinea pig named Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters, Saturday Night Live, Bombshell) bent on world domination kidnaps him and the rest of the Justice League members.  The other animals (which are not original members of the League of Super Pets from the 1962 comic book), gained their powers thanks to some orange kryptonite that broke off of an orange kryptonite meteorite and was captured by said megalomaniacal guinea pig.  The unexpected group of heroes ends up saving the day after Lex Luthor turns on Lulu, and Krypto learns a valuable lesson about friendship along the way.  Meanwhile, the other Super Pets – Ace, Chip, Merton, and PB – all end up being rescued and adopted by the other Justice League members.  There is some accuracy and inaccuracy here.  Ace has always been known to be Batman’s dog, while Chip has had a tie to the Green Lantern Corps.  PB meanwhile was never Wonder Woman’s pet.  She was Circes’ pet in the comics, but that can be forgiven.  The very message about the importance of rescuing shelter pets that is clearly tied into the story makes that forgivable.  Shelter pets need forever homes, so having that accented here in a less than preachy fashion is so welcome.  The friendships between Krypto and the group will resonate with audiences of all ages as the group takes on Lulu and Lex.

While the story featured in League of Super Pets is engaging and entertaining, there is at least one problem within the story.  That problem is the use of some adult language throughout the movie.  The language in question comes from Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne – Orange is the New Black, American Pie, Slums of Beverly Hills).  Lyonne is not to blame here, but rather the movie’s writers.  There are points where Merton clearly is meant to be using a certain foul word since it is bleeped out.  At other points, she uses clearly other foul language that is also bleeped out.  Merton is not the only one who uses some questionable language.  There is a young kitten (yes, a kitten – IE child) who says to the super pets, “See you in heck” as it tries to kill them.  Considering that this movie is rated PG and is meant to be a family friendly flick, having that language in there, even censored, is still disappointing.  That the movie’s writers and creative heads felt the need to go blue in a family movie really does detract from the movie’s appeal, and parents need to be aware of this aspect. 

While the questionable language that is peppered throughout the movie is problematic, it is not enough to make the movie a failure.  The work of the movie’s cast works with the story to make for more appeal.  Dwayne Johnson leads the way as Krypto.  At first, the announcement that he was going to take on the role was questioned by many, and justifiably so.  That is because of his current body of work.  His current body of work is composed of action flicks and very specific tough guy type roles.  It leads one to imagine Johnson giving Krypto such style persona.  Thankfully that was not the case.  He actually made Krypto endearing, showing his ability to adapt to the role. 

On a related note, Kevin Hart, who has also developed himself into a very specific type of actor, pulls back here, too.  His typically annoying, over the top approach to his roles is nonexistent here, which is appealing.  The vulnerability that he brings to Ace as Ace talks abut how he ended up at the shelter balances well with Ace’s more confident side to make Ace a well-rounded character in his own right.  McKinnon really does well in her own right to bring out Lulu’s megalomaniacal nature, too.  She does so well to make Lulu’s diabolical nature so funny and believable at the same time.  Between the performances put on by Johnson, Hart, and McKinnon, and those of the rest of the cast, the whole makes the cast’s overall work just as engaging as the movie’s story.  Those two items together make the movie in general worth watching at least once, even with the concerns of the occasional unnecessary foul language in mind.

League of Super Pets, the latest addition to Warner Brothers and DC’s ever-expanding universe, is an interesting presentation.  It succeeds in part because of its story.  The story finds Krypto having to form a new group of furry super powered friends to save the Justice League.  Along the way, he also has to learn about friendship and teamwork, which will resonate with plenty of audiences. While the story featured in this movie is accessible for audiences of all ages, the occasional use of some questionable language is disappointing.  That is the case even with it being censored.  There was no need for the movie’s writers to go blue and ruin what is otherwise a family friendly atmosphere throughout the story.  It is not enough to doom the movie but is certainly a concern.  The cast’s work pairs with the story to make for more engagement and entertainment.  That is because the cast’s performances are so believable.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered League of Super Pets proves maybe not super but still worth watching at least once.

League of Super Pets is playing now.  The movie’s home release date is under consideration.  More information on this and other titles from Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment is available at https://dc.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

‘The Batman’ Is The Most Unique Batman Movie To Date

Courtesy: Warner Brothers/DC Entertainment

More than 83 years ago, Batman, one of the world’s most famous comic book characters, made his first appearance in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics (Issue #27).  In the nearly 85 years since the Dark Knight made his debut on the printed page, he has had countless stories told both in print and on screen.  Fans of all ages have their favorite version of the big, black bat (longtime fans will get that reference) throughout that time, too.  Audiences got a whole new story of Batman in March when Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment debuted The Batman.  This take of the Batman mythos is the most unique addition to the Batman universe to date.  That is due in large part to its collective presentation style and story, which will be discussed shortly.  The cast’s work on screen makes for its own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in is recent home release is just as much of note as the movie’s primary content and will also be examined hater.  Each item noted here plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered they make this movie one more of this year’s top new theatrical releases.

The Batman, the latest addition to Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment’s decades-long series of Batman movies, is the single most unique entry in that realm.  It is completely separate unlike any of its predecessors both in terms of its stylistic approach and its story, both of which are tied together.  It is the first time in the franchise’s history that a Batman movie has been so gritty and that one of the franchise’s movies has focused more on story than say special effects and Batman’s gadgets (including the Batmobile).  As writer/director Matt Reeves points out in the movie’s bonus content (which will be discussed later), the intent here was to craft a movie that was in fact a detective story, not just another comic book to film tale.  It was meant to present Batman doing what he has done best for decades, solving mysteries.  In this case, it found Batman trying to solve the mystery of The Riddler’s sadistic, homicidal quest to bring his own justice to Gotham City before The Riddler can commit his crimes.  It is more of a hard-boiled film noir style presentation than the movies that audiences have come to know over the decades, and that is wholly a good thing.  There is no 1960s-era cheekiness here.  There is not even any of Tim Burton’s approach here.  If anything, this clearly Hush-esque story feels more like a natural progression of the gritty approach taken by Reeves’ predecessor, Christopher Nolan, in his Batman trilogy.  As noted, the focus is on Batman/Bruce Wayne’s abilities as a human detective and less on his toys (again, longtime Batman fans will get that reference), and that really is a nice change of pace.  That unique approach really gives the movie its own identity separate from the other Batman movies out there.  What’s more even being as long as it is (clocking in at just shy of 3 hours), the story still manages to keep audiences engaged and entertained even despite the issues posed by that length and related pacing.

Speaking of the movie’s run time and pacing, that really does collectively detract from the viewing experience.  From beginning to end, there is so much brooding, even more than ever before.  What’s more, there are so many plot elements and so many twists and turns that the story really does get bogged down in itself by the end.  Speaking of the end, it seems like Reeves and company could not seem to figure out how to end the movie.  From Falcone’s arrest to the chase with the Penguin, to Edward’s arrest and the long sequence that follows, there is just so much in the final act that it is too much.  Reeves and company could have ended the movie at so many points therein, but in going on as long as they did, it makes the story feel that much more like it just plods along.  Considering that the story already plods along at such a slow pace as is, that only hurts it that much more.  Keeping that in mind, the story is unique but is far from perfect.  It really requires audiences to fully immerse themselves in the story and be ready and willing to sit through it all.  Those who are ready and willing to sit through it all will agree that the story is, again, unique, just too long for itself.  It is not enough to doom the story, but certainly does detract from the movie’s overall presentation.

While the story featured in The Batman is a mixed bag, something that is more of a positive overall is the work of the movie’s cast.  Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) plays the part of a troubled young Bruce Wayne surprisingly well here.  He is actually that believable as he takes on what is one of the most iconic roles in modern movie history.  There are no hints of that glittery vampire that he portrayed in the Twilight saga.  Here, audiences get from him a Bruce Wayne/Batman who is emotionally lost.  He is trying to make sense of the tragedy that had consumed Bruce for such a long time.  Perhaps part of the reason that he does so well is that this movie is not just another origin story.  This is not even a Year One story (which is also discussed in the bonus content).  This is Bruce Wayne at a pivotal point in his life and role as Gotham’s protector, coming of age in a manner of speaking.  Pattinson’s ability to interpret Bruce’s emotional and mental state here is so immersive, so kudos goes to him for his performance.

On another note, co-star Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, 12 Years a Slave, Little Miss Sunshine) is just as noteworthy in his diabolical performance as The Riddler/Edward Nash (yes, they changed his last name here, more of a sign of how far this movie branches from the roots of the Batman mythos).  Edward’s performance, the killer instinct that he brings out in this portrayal, immediately conjures thoughts of the villain in Se7en.  From bludgeoning one official to death, to beating another within half an inch of his life and putting a bomb around his neck, to his maniacal sense that he and Batman were two sides of the same coin (wonder is that a foreshadowing of what is to come in the future for Batman?) as he sits on the other side of the glass in Arkham, Dano does so much right with this version of The Riddler.  He really is about as sociopathic and homicidal as the late great Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.  Yes, that is a lofty statement, but it is true.  The way in which he makes The Riddle rant to his followers in his internet posts really brings out that psychotic nature even more.  Overall, Dano is well-deserving of his own applause here.  He makes it that easy for audiences to be shocked by The Riddler and hate Edward.

Dano’s performance is just one more of the most notable in this movie.  Colin Farrell (Daredevil, S.W.A.T., In Bruges) puts on his own powerful performance.  Considering Farrell is not American (just like Pattinson), he makes his accent fully believable at the foundation of his performance.  That foundation is bolstered by his full-on mobster style take on Oswald Cobblepot.  Rather than making “Oz” just another comic book character, Farrell makes The Penguin more of a gangster type name than character with a bunch of bird-themed gadgets, etc.  Again, this is another way in which the movie continues to separate itself from all of the other Batman movies out there.  He makes Oz a character that audiences will love just as much as love to hate.  He is just that impressive in every one of his on-screen moments.  When his performance is considered along with those of Dano, Pattinson, and the rest of the cast, the overall work of the cast is so worthy of applause.  The cast’s work handling the script makes that extensively long, plodding story more bearable.  As a result, audiences will manage to remain engaged in the story to the end, so again, the cast’s work proves just as important here as the story.

The work of the cast interpreting the script in this movie is impressive to say the least.  It is the cast’s work alongside the unique hard-boiled noir detective story here that really makes The Batman worth watching.  This is especially important to note because of the movie’s run time and plodding pacing.  Those elements are just part of what makes the movie bearable.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its recent home release rounds out its most important elements.  The content is extensive, taking on the movie’s creation from pre-production to wrap in its longest feature, which runs just shy of an hour.  Also addressed through the various extras as the makeup and costuming for Selena Kyle/Catwoman, Edward/The Riddler, and Bruce/Batman.  Audiences are also treated to an in-depth examination of the Batmobile, from its creation to its testing and how the movie’s big chase scene came to life.  Audiences also get an interesting look at Batman’s “relationship” with The Riddler, how The Riddler’s view on justice and vengeance inadvertently leads Batman/Bruce to eventually change his view on whether Gotham City is worth saving.  Dano’s discussion here is really eye-opening.  That is because it shows Dano really has an understanding and in turn appreciation for that duality between the lead antagonist and protagonist.  The discussion on how Selena slowly transforms into what will become Catwoman is another interesting albeit brief discussion.  That is because it outlines the personal emotional issues that she faces, finding out the truth of her mother and the role of Falcone (who is played just as well by John Turturro – O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Quiz Show, Barton Fink) in what happened to her mother.  It makes audiences look forward to what star Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class, Mad Max: Fury Road, Divergent) will bring to the role in the next Batman movie.  Each of the bonus features that come with the movie’s home release clearly offer audiences plenty to appreciate.  When they are all considered together, they offer just as much to appreciate if not more than that of the story itself.  Keeping that in mind, when the bonus content featured here is considered along with the movie’s story and the cast’s work therein, the whole makes The Batman a unique new addition to the Batman mythos that while not “your grandad’s Batman” is still well worth watching.

The Batman, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment’s latest addition to the expansive Batman cinematic and TV universe, is a unique presentation.  Its uniqueness is partly due to its featured story.  The story here is not just another typical Batman movie that focuses on Batman’s gadgets and all of the cliché villain portrayals.  Rather, it is a deep hard-boiled crime noir story that is full of twists and turns.  Given there are perhaps too many of those twists and turns throughout, and too many endings in the final act, but the overall story is still worth watching for those who are ready and willing to sit through its nearly 3-hour run time thanks to that overall story and approach.  The cast’s work interpreting the extensive script is a saving grace.  From one actor to the next, every cast member does his and her own important part in making the otherwise plodding story bearable.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release rounds out the movie’s most important elements.  That is because of all of the background that it offers audiences.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered they make the movie not the best of the year’s new theatrical releases, but still one of the best.

The Batman is available now.  More information on this and other titles from DC Entertainment is available at https://dc.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kids, Grown-Ups Alike Had Lots To Like From 2021’s New DVD/BD Box Sets

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Between families and grown-ups, plenty of positive content has been released this year on DVD and Blu-ray in the form of newly released box sets. Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s full series presentation of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Arrow Video’s classic creature feature collection, Cold War Creatures, and the latest collection of classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood do well to support the noted statements. Between them and so many others, there is more than enough to create a list of this year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall. Enter Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets.

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the top 10 titles from this year as well as five honorable mention titles for a total of 15. There’s already some positive news about new releases coming in the new year about new box sets, but in the meantime, the titles on this list will help people pass the time. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets list.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD BOX SETS

1.Cold War Creatures

2. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series

3. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection

4. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1

5. The Watch

6. How To Train Your Dragon: Ultimate Collection

7. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tigertastic 50 Pack

8. Jekyll & Hyde

9. Spongebob Squarepants: Season 12

10. Rugrats: The Complete Series

11. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3

12. Doom Patrol: Season 2

13. Josie & The Pussycats In Outer Space: The Complete Series

14. Human: The World Within

15. Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series

Okay that it’s for this list. There is still one more list to go for this year. It will come tomorrow in the form of the year’s top new family friendly DVDs/ Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Grown-Ups Had Just As Much To Enjoy As Younger Audiences In All The New TV Box Sets

Courtesy: Arrow Video

This year offered lots for families to enjoy together in the way of television and movies.  It also offered plenty for older viewers, whether those audiences needed the occasional break from the more family friendly fare or just needed and wanted something to enjoy.  Between imports and domestic releases, this year’s field of new viewing options for grown-ups offered much to appreciate. 

DC and Warner Brothers’ second season of Doom Patrol, BBC America’s The Watch (It is sadly still unknown if the show will get a renewal for a second season) offered plenty of enjoyment in their own right.  Meanwhile, CBS/Paramount’s third season of Star Trek: Discovery finally got that ship righted.  Along with so many domestic and import releases from PBS and other sets from WB and DC, this year’s field of new offerings for older audiences helped audiences escape and relax every day.  So much new content was released that it gave Phil’s Picks more than enough for another annual list of the year’s top new offerings in said field. 

As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list offers the Top 10 new entries in said field alongside five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Each entry in this list is deserving of applause in its own right, too.  Without further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2021 Top 10 New Grown-Up DVD/BD Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW GROWN-UP DVD/BD BOX SETS

  1. Cold War Creatures
  1. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
  1. Doom Patrol: Season 2
  1. The Watch
  1. Miss Scarlet & The Duke: Season 1
  1. Human: The World Within
  1. Jekyll & Hyde
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
  1. Black Lightning: Season 4
  1. Superman & Lois: Season 1
  1. Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 1
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 6
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 7
  1. The Twilight Zone: Season 2
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Seasons 1-3

That’s it for this list, but before the attention turns from the box sets, there is still one more category to check in on tomorrow.  That category is the year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall between the stuff for families and that for older audiences.  From there, later this week, the attention will turn toward the year’s top new family DVDs and BDs to finish this year’s field of year-end lists.  So there’s still plenty to come.  That means as always, stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Shout! Factory, Arrow Video, Others Offer Audiences Plenty Of Alternatives To All The Prequels, Sequels, and Remakes Hitting Theaters, Streaming Services

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

It seems like ever year, audiences everywhere are seeing an increase in the number of classic TV shows and movies that were once popular everywhere they go.  It really is a sad state of affairs.  Of course that is not the only avenue in which older content is getting renewed so to speak.  The originals also get new life every now and then on DVD and Blu-ray through various distributors, sometimes in better form than others and vice versa.  This year saw a handful of classic TV shows and movies get some laudable re-issues and some less so. 

What is most interesting about this year’s field of top new DVD and BD re-issues is the wide range of companies that released said titles.  It shows that along with the likes of Shout! Factory – which has made quite the name for itself over the years in the home entertainment field – other familiar and up-and-coming names are really working to make their names known in that field, too, such as Arrow Video and Corinth Films, making for so much more variety.

From Shout! Factory’s re-issue of Explorers, to Arrow Video’s re-issue of the original Dune, to even Mill Creek Entertainment’s re-issue of the classic, short-lived animated series, The Critic, this year’s re-issues and the companies that released them offered audiences plenty of alternatives to the never-ending ocean of prequels, sequels, and reboots that filled theaters and streaming services this year.  As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the given category with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15.  This year’s list was not easy to compile but is complete.

Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD RE-ISSUES

  1. Explorers
  1. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series
  1. The Final Countdown
  1. The Belles of St. Trinian’s
  1. Ken Burns’ Baseball
  1. The Rolling Stones: A Bigger BangLive at Copacabana Beach
  1. Dune
  1. Motorhead: No Sleep Till Hammersmith
  1. The Interrogation
  1. The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch
  1. The Transformers: The Movie
  1. Superman: The Animated Series
  1. The Critic: The Complete Series
  1. Star Trek: The Original Series
  1. Emergency: The Complete Series

It should be stressed here that in the case of Emergency and Star Trek, those two series sets are intentionally set at the bottom of this year’s list as, their positives are few.  They are the least of the year’s best new re-issues.  Audiences would do well to largely avoid these sets.  There is a reason they are at the bottom of even the honorable mention titles.  Keeping that in mind, this year’s list of top new DVD and BD re-issues is officially wrapped.  There are still plenty of other lists coming, such as the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, families, and even family DVDs/BDs.  Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.   

‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Is The Worst Of DC, Warner Brothers’ Superhero Flicks So Far

Courtesy: DC/Warner Brothers

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.  Everybody knows that old adage.  Warner Brothers and DC’s recent presentation (and home release) of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof positive of that old adage.  Released through HBO Max after years of protest by Snyder’s minions, the movie was released this summer on DVD and Blu-ray.  Given, the original 2017 cut (which used only part of Snyder’s work before his departure from the project) was hardly memorable, it is far better by comparison than the Snyder cut.  This four-hour presentation is even worse than the movie’s original 2017 cut, and that is saying something, too.  There is little if anything to like about this take of Justice League.  The most prominent problem with the Snyder Cut is its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The story ties into another prominent problem, the pacing.  Rounding out the movie’s problems is its general presentation.  This item will also be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  All things considered, they make the movie the least memorable of DC and Warner Brothers’ DC titles to date.

Warner Brothers and DC’s presentation of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof positive that people really should be careful what they wish for.  That is because while its 2017 predecessor is not necessarily the greatest of the companies’ offerings, it is also not their worst.  That dishonor belongs to the recently premiered (and home released) “Snyder Cut” of Justice League.  The movie suffers from so many problems, not the least of which being its story.  The story, which runs four hours, two minutes in length, is marred right from the get go.  The first two hours are spent building up the background for each member of the Justice League.  The story plods along as a result of this, leading to an issue in the pacing, which will be discussed a little later.  It is not even until almost two hours into the movie that audiences finally get the movie’s first fight scene between the Justice League’s members and Steppenwolf.  This critic is a lifelong DC fan, but this approach to the movie’s first half is completely counterproductive.  By comparison, Marvel Studios did create a number of movies for each member of the Avengers.  There is not denying that.  At the same time though, those movies do all of the buildup for the key characters, thus allowing more time for more important elements in the big final presentation that was the Infinity Saga.  This is the model that DC should have used from day one for its Justice League buildup.  DC and Warner Brothers sort of tried that with Wonder Woman and Man of Steel (which was terrible to say the least in itself) but what with so many batman movies out there, it was next to impossible to figure out how to build up his back story and make it work for this story.  The companies also tried a setup for Green Lantern in 2011, but that movie flopped, with even star Ryan Reynolds decrying the movie in hindsight.  It likely explains why the Green Lantern Corps was mentioned only in passing in this movie.  Add in everything from the story’s epilogue and things get even more problematic.  The whole just adds too much to the whole.  Perhaps the only true positive (or really positives) is Steppenwolf’s acknowledgement of the multi-verse at one point in the story and the Joker’s mention of alternate timelines in the movie’s epilogue.  Considering all the talk of the Flashpoint crossover and the Crisis on Infinite Earths in the DCEU’s television world, it all actually ties together at least a little better.  Though, the use of what is apparently a Lazarus Pit in Superman’s ship and everything else that went into the story of his resurrection offsets all of that, too.  Simply put, the whole of the movie’s story is forgettable.  It simply tries too hard and falls flat.

As noted already, the pacing tied in to the story makes for even more problems for this presentation.  Because of all of the brooding and buildup in the movie’s first half, things really do plod along at nearly a snail’s pace.  Again, if that buildup had been relegated to the standalone movies for the JL’s members, then the story could have just gotten right to the point and moved along at a much more pleasant pace.  What’s more, the epilogue involving Bruce Wayne’s dream (what proves to set up an alternate reality story line) and everything involving Cyborg’s story slows things down even more, as does the completely random meeting of Deathstroke/Slade Wilson and Lex Luthor.  It’s like Snyder just threw that in like so much more and thought it would work.  Sadly it just slows things down once again after the movie could have ended following Steppenwolf’s defeat (not to give away too much).  Simply put, the movie moves too slow too often and just the right speed at too few spots.  The result is that the pacing proves just as problematic as the movie’s story.

As if the negative impact of the story and its pacing are not enough, the general presentation is also problematic.  Audiences who are familiar with Zack Snyder’s work will easily catch the over the top slow motion effects, and the blood and gore.  He follows the same stylistic approach throughout this movie, with more than enough bloodshed (and even Superman holding a skeleton at one point) to appease the most bloodthirsty viewers.  Such approach really is disappointing, as is the unnecessary use of so much foul language and dark, gritty look throughout the story.  People go to movies to escape the grim reality of reality, not to be exposed to even more grim, brooding presentations.  Snyder needs to realize and just accept this.  When and if he ever does, it will hopefully change his ways.  Otherwise, audiences are just going to get the same kind of presentation from Snyder from one movie to the next.  Hopefully, keeping this in mind, DC and Warner Brothers will employ Snyder less as time goes on.  Between this realization and that of the negative impact of the movie’s story and pacing, all three elements leave the movie a nearly complete failure.  The introduction of the Martian Manhunter (a.k.a. J’on Jonzz) is about the only positive, as it and Darkseid’s determination to get the Mother Boxes sets up more Justice League movies; movies that hopefully will not be written or even helmed by Zack Snyder.

Warner Brothers and DC’s recently released presentation that is Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a problematic new presentation from the companies.  There is little if anything to like about this movie.  Really the only positive that it has is that it sets up another Justice League movie that hopefully will not be helmed or written by Zack Snyder.  There was also the acknowledgement of the multiverse and alternate timelines, which aligns it (to a point) with DC’s television offerings.  What with the new Flash movie coming, it would seem that said presentation will take those mentions into account.  That is because the Flashpoint storyline did in fact involve Darkseid and Steppenwolf following its events in the comics.  Other than that, the movie fails with its story and pacing, as well as its general presentation.  All things considered, Zack Snyder’s Justice League proves to be the worst of DC and Warner Brothers’ superhero offerings to date. 

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  More information on this and other DC titles from Warner Brothers is available at https://www.facebook.com/DECU2013.  

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

‘Doom Patrol: Season Two’ Is A Successful New Entry To One Of DC’s Most Unique Properties

Courtesy: DC Comics/Warner Brothers

Aaaaah, family.  Family is one of the best things in the world.  Family is also one of the worst things in the world.  Good or bad, family is all that we have in this world.  That is really the crux of the second season of DC’s Doom Patrol.  Released early this year on DVD and BD, the series’ second season is an interesting continuation for the series.  That is due to the noted story featured in this season.  It will be addressed shortly.  The cast’s work throughout the season is also of import here, and will be examined a little later.  The bonus content, as little as it really is here, also plays at least some part in the set’s presentation.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Doom Patrol’s second season.  All things considered, they make this season one more of this year’s gradually growing list of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-up audiences.

The second season of DC’s Doom Patrol is an interesting outing for the series.  The series, and group is among the lesser-known of DC’s properties, but this season is sure to help bring both much more attention.  That is proven in part through the season’s story.  The story, as noted already, is on the importance of family.  Even as emotionally heavy as the story is throughout, that emphasis remains.  Audiences will be moved as they watch Larry (a.k.a. Negative Man) try to make amends with his family following the revelation of his son’s death.  Viewers will be just as moved (albeit in a more lighthearted way) as they watch Cliff try to make amends with his daughter after finding out that she survived the wreck that led to him becoming Robot Man.  On yet another note, Rita facing the demon that is the trauma caused by her mother is just as engaging and entertaining because of the subtle way in which it is tied into the whole of the story.  Crazy Jane even has her own family of sorts in her head that she has to deal with over the course of this season.  Looking through this, the first thing that one might feel that there is a lot going on.  That would be right.  However, even as much as is going on in the bigger story, the ability of the writers to balance all of these interweaving story lines is on full display.  What’s more, the depth in each character’s story and the very stories themselves prove relatable to so many audiences.  Case in point is the revelation of who Cliff’s daughter is marrying.  His reaction to that revelation is reflective of so much of America in the current age.  Most people likely will not admit to it, but in a case such as that of Rita, lots of people deal with the emotional trauma brought on by toxic relationships with their parents during their formative years, so even that is believable.  Larry’s case is similar to that of Rita, just in a different fashion, which perhaps is why the pair bonds so well this season.  He made his son feel like he was not good enough, being a hot shot pilot in his normal life, and that led to the rift between the pair. 

Through all of the emotional issues that the Doom Patrol faces this season in dealing with their pasts with their families, they grow as individuals.  As a result of that growth, viewers see the group, including Cyborg, start to develop into the heroes that they will be as the show continues.  Speaking on that note, the series is currently in the midst of its 3rd season.  Its home release will likely come early in the new year just as this season was released early this year, considering the air date for Season Three’s finale.  Getting back on topic, the character development that audiences see this season makes the season, in hindsight, really a transitional season of sorts.  It is a continuation of Season One, and in turn is sure to lead to something even more interesting and exciting in Season Three.  Keeping that all in mind, the story featured in the second season of Doom Patrol is reason enough for audiences to give the season a chance.  It is just one of the season’s positives.  The cast’s work adds its own appeal to the presentation.

Brendan Fraser leads the way once again in terms of the cast’s work.  His general personality and sharp tongue brings a much needed looseness and unique comic relief to the show.  Given, every other word out of his mouth is made up four letters, but just his sheer delivery in every scene is so great.  His nonstop declaration that he’s going to kill the chief after being launched out of the chief’s space ship and landing in a fiery ball into a random field is a prime example of his expert timing.  Audiences know that he is really made, but there is just something about his delivery that makes audiences laugh as hard as ever even as they feel sympathy for Cliff.  This especially considering the heart that he developed for Dorothy shortly before that happened.  On a similar note, the chemistry that he shows alongside Dianne Guerrero (Crazy Jane) creates its own dynamic.  The way he just casually accepts that she has so many personalities is funny in its own way because of the very subtlety in that relationship of sorts.

Similarly, the aforementioned onscreen work between April Bowlby (Rita) and Matt Bomer (Larry) is just as enjoyable to see even with it being more of a secondary performance of sorts.  The duo knows that its wok is secondary, too, and makes the most of it as their characters lean on one another.

Staying on the note of the pair, Bowlby is inspiring as she takes Rita through her emotional journey in facing her own past.  There were so many opportunities for Bowlby to really go over the top, considering all of the drama in this season.  Thankfully she did not go that route.  The end result is that she makes Rita that much more of a sympathetic character throughout the season. 

Much the same can be said of Bomer’s work as Larry.  The moments when he is in the shed next to his son’s home, reading the letter that his son wrote as a child is absolutely heartbreaking.  Because his face is covered with bandages, Bomer is forced to do his emoting more through his actions, and they do so well to reveal the depth of Larry’s remorse for the past.  It is just one more way in which the cast’s performances make for so much depth this time out.  Between the performances noted here and so much more exhibited by the cast, the cast’s overall work here is so enjoyable to watch.  When the whole is considered along with the depth in the season’s story, the two elements join to make for that much more reason to watch this season of Doom Patrol.  It still is only a part of what makes this season engaging and entertaining.  The bonus content that accompanies the season in its home release rounds out the most important of its items.

The bonus content featured in the home release of Doom Patrol’s second season is limited to say the least.  One of the bonuses is just one of the show’s creative heads talking about shooting the show in Georgia.  The brief discussion is basically just an advertisement for filming in Georgia and is honestly irrelevant.  The other bonus feature, which focuses on the season’s makeup and special effects gives audiences at least a brief glance into the work that went into this season’s look.  Audiences will appreciate the determination that the show’s makeup and costume heads had for something as minute as the freckles on Dorothy’s face, making sure that they stayed the same in each episode.  Such dedication to the show’s look is admirable to say the least.  Understanding that the twin brother duo has always been so serious about makeup, going all the way back to its childhood, makes for even more appreciation for the pair’s work.  It will lead, in hindsight, to even more appreciation for the look of Doom Patrol in its second season.  One can only hope that considering this is the season’s only other bonus feature, there will be more bonus content in the third season’s home release.  At least this bonus adds a little bit more appreciation for this season, if only for its aesthetics.  Keeping that in mind along with the impact of the season’s story and the cast’s work, the whole becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.  It collectively makes the season in whole a great continuation for the series and one more of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown up audiences.

Doom Patrol: Season Two is an overall impressive offering.  Its appeal starts with its story.  Yes, the story is extremely emotionally heavy, but in understanding the character development hat takes place throughout the season, it makes the heaviness that much more understandable and bearable.  It shows the group on the verge of becoming “super heroes” of sorts.  Hopefully that growth and change will become even more evident in Season Three, considering this.  The cast’s work interpreting that development adds to the season’s appeal.  That is because the group’s work is just that believable.  Being so believable, it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment that much more.  Keeping in mind the positive impact of the cast’s work and of the story, there is just one more item to note.  That item is the bonus content.  The bonus content featured in this season’s home release is minimal to say the least, but at least one of the bonuses offers more appreciation for the season.  In this case, it focuses on the season’s look.  That item works with the season’s other noted items to make the whole well worth watching and one more of this year’s top new DVD and BD box sets for grown up audiences. 

Doom Patrol: Season Two is available now.  More information on the season and other DC Universe series is available online at:

Website: https://dccomics/com/tv

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dccomics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dccomics

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Hulu’s ‘Animaniacs’ Reboot Falls Flat In Its Debut Season

Courtesy: Hulu/Studio Distribution Services

Reboots are big business for Hollywood, or so it would seem.  Looking at recent headlines for TV shows rebooted by the major TV studios (including digital servers), reboots do not actually seem to be doing as well as studio executives and advertisers would like people to believe.  Punky Brewster became the most recent reboot to be cancelled this month.  The show was axed from NBC’s Peacock streaming service after just one seasons.  Also cancelled this year are reboots of MacGuyver, Murphy Brown, Charmed (which did not even get past the pilot stage), and even Lizzy MacguireFuller House, the reboot of the classic sitcom Full House also got the axe from Netflix this year after five seasons.  Even the reboot of Rod Serling’s classic series The Twilight Zone was justifiably canceled early this year after just two seasons. Between that reboot, the update of Hawaii 5-0, and that of MacGuyver, which itself ran for five seasons before its end (two seasons less than the original series’ run), it is safe to say that reboots really are not the safe bet that studio execs and advertisers thought they would be.  Even Roseanne ended up being “cancelled” and re-tooled as The Connors.  Now keeping all of this in mind, one cannot help but wonder how long Hulu’s reboot of the classic cartoon series Animaniacs will last.  It was just recently announced that the series, which saw its first season released to DVD June 1, will launch its sophomore season in November.  If the lead season of this reboot is any indicator, one can only imagine that it will be lucky to be renewed for a third season.  That is proven in part through the content featured in the first season of this reboot.  It will be discussed shortly.  The lack of any bonus content with the season’s home release is also of concern, especially considering the original series’ legacy.  So this will be discussed a little later.  Looking at all of the negatives noted here, it makes the DVD’s pricing problematic, too.  This will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this recently released collection.  All things considered, they make the first season of Hulu’s Animaniacs a completely disappointing presentation.  It additionally is more proof that reboots are clearly not the best investment for any network.

The first season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is proof positive that for all the reboots out there, reboots do not make the best business sense for any network, whether on TV or online.  This is proven in large part through the content featured throughout Season 1.  Given, there was plenty of adult-themed humor that ran through the original series during its five-season run from 1993-1998.  Steven Spielberg himself was even quoted as saying much of the humor in the original series was inspired by the humor of Looney Tunes and none other than Groucho Marx.  At the same time, there was also plenty of more family friendly content included throughout the show in the noted time frame.  By comparison, this updated take on the series is nothing but dated, adult humor.  It is all snarky shots about the world’s current social and political atmosphere. The only time when the show actually goes full family friendly comes late in its run in the short, “Here Comes The Treble.”  The celebration of classical music finds the Warner Brothers and their sister Dot going toe to toe against a very self-righteous conductor.  The story is a reboot in itself of a certain classic Looney Tunes short in which Bugs Bunny faces off against an arrogant opera singer.  Even worse is the moment in the “Pinky and the Brain” short, “Mousechurian Candidate” in which the writers decided to go blue.  Brain tells Pinky in one line that he is going to put one character “through hell.”  Yes, the writers went there.  Thankfully it is the only point at which such language is used.  The original series succeeded without ever having to use foul language, so why did the show’s writers feel the need to go such route here? 

Speaking of Pinky and The Brain, they are they and Ralph are the only secondary characters who are regularly featured in this season.  There is one episode, “Good Warner Hunting,” in which the writers bring back all the old secondary characters (E.g. The Hip Hippos, Slappy Squirrel and her nephew Skippy, Katie Kaboom, etc.) but instead of paying tribute or even hinting at them being brought back long term, the story in the episode feels more like the writers were thumbing their noses at viewers.  They were acknowledging the absence of those characters from the reboot, but basically just kept them as a secondary element in that one sole episode.  In their place are far worse secondaries “The Incredible Gnome in People’s Mouths” and “Starbox and Cindy.”  These characters and their shorts come across like something that was crafted when the writers were high on something.  One cannot help but wonder, in looking at these new secondaries, if the writers from Ren & Stimpy were involved in this season, considering this and all of the primary writing concerns.  All things considered here, the content featured in the lead season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is reason enough to not watch or even buy the show’s two-disc set.  It is just one of the problems from which this set suffers.  The lack of any bonus content detracts from the presentation’s appeal even more.

The lack of bonus content is important because while Animaniacs only ran for five seasons in its initial run in the 90s, that was still a long run.  To this day, it is still very much a beloved property.  That is again because of the brand of verbal and physical comedy that it brought forward.  Yes, it was modern at the time, but it resurrected a brand of comedy that was far more common to cartoons and movies of the early 20th century.  What’s more, the work put in by the voice cast and the animators added even more appeal.  Sadly, none of that is discussed here.  As a matter of fact, there is no bonus content to speak of.  There is no retrospective on the importance of the original series.  There is no defense made by the show’s cast and crew for this unnecessary reboot.  That someone or certain parties felt that the show did not need defense in its rebooting (considering it is among so many reboots) is just lazy and irresponsible.  Maybe had someone taken the time to try to defend this reboot, it might have led some viewers to rethink their views especially after watching the featured main content.  That is not guaranteed, but the possibility is there.  On another note, that the only references made to the original series came in the shorts (and in rather sarcastic, dismissive fashion at that) is only that much more disrespectful to the legacy of the original show and to the fans.  It leaves audiences feel that the writers wanted to bring in the audiences who watched the original show, but did not care enough to actually keep things family friendly.  It is all just so disappointing.

Now keeping in mind everything addressed here, it makes the two-disc set’s pricing problematic in its own right.  Walmart has the set available in store at a price of $20.  It should be no more expensive than $15, honestly, considering It runs 13 episodes.  If it were more expansive, that would guarantee the price.  That is the same price at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million each list the set at $24.99 and $24.98 respetively, far exceeding the more commonly occurring price of $20.  All things considered, neither price is worth paying considering how little this set has to offer audiences of any age.  Between the dated, adults-only content that fills out most of the season and the lack of any bonus content, the prices are just too much all the way around.  Keeping this in mind, it is yet another negative and shows once more why this two-disc debut season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is a failure.

Hulu and Studio Distribution Services’ DVD presentation of Animaniacs Season 1 is a disappointing offering from the companies.  Knowing that the series has already been re-upped for a second season, odds are that those behind this reboot or even its home release have learned anything from the mistakes of this presentation.  There is nothing redeeming about the set.  The main content is clearly aimed mainly at adults, unlike the original series.  To make it worse, the content featured here does not even have any longevity.  It is dated throughout so much of what is shown.  All of this in mind, the content is just one of the set’s shortcomings.  The lack of any bonus content in the set decreases its enjoyment even more.  Taking that into account along with the less than memorable primary content featured in this set, the whole makes the set’s pricing even less appealing.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole makes this presentation anything but appealing.

Animaniacs Season 1 is available now for those who actually want the set.  More information on the set is available along with all of the latest Animaniacs news at:

Website: https://www.hulu.com/theanimaniacs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theanimaniacs

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Watertower Music Announces Release Date, Art, Track Listing For ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Soundtrack

Courtesy: Watertower Music

The official soundtrack to the upcoming reboot of Godzilla vs. Kong will release later this month.

The soundtrack is scheduled for release March 26 through Watertower Music, a division of Warner Records. Its release will come less than a week ahead of the movie’s premiere on March 31. The reboot will come through Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers. The music featured in the soundtrack was composed by Tom Holkenborg (a.k.a. Junkie XL).

Holkenborg said taking part in the movie by composing its score was a special experience.

“I’m a huge fan of Godzilla and Kong!,”  he said. “I’ve watched over 35 Godzilla movies over the years, so geeking out with Adam over this film came naturally. Kong is such an iconic character with over 90 years of scoring history behind him, and this was a perfect project for me to flex the retro monster orchestral scoring side of my brain, mixed with my very contemporary electronic side – in this case `80s sequences and basslines in the vein of John Carpenter. In this score I am trying to emphasize the insanity of Godzilla and the humanity of Kong. In the spirit of the film, it was fun to get my mad scientist coat on and make some monstrous sounds!”

The soundtrack’s track listing is noted below. Two of its songs — ‘Pensacola, Florida (Godzilla Theme)‘ and ‘Skull Island (Kong Theme)‘ — are available now digitally.

01) Pensacola, Florida (Godzilla Theme)

02) Skull Island (Kong Theme)

03) Apex Cybernetics

04) A New Language

05) Just Now

06) Tasman Sea

07) Through There

08) Antarctica

09) Hollow Earth

10) The Throne

11) Lunch

12) Nuclear Blast

13) The Royal Axe

14) Mega

15) Hong Kong

More information on this and other titles from Watertown Music is available along with all of the label’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.watertower-music.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaterTowerMusic

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Goo Goo Dolls Debuts ‘This Is Christmas’ Video

Courtesy: Warner Records

Goo Goo Dolls debuted the official video for its single ‘This Is Christmas‘ Monday. The video’s debut comes more than a month after the band debuted the song’s “fireplace video.” The song and its video was followed by the premiere of its cover of the holiday standard ‘Let It Snow‘ Oct. 15 through USA Today.

The new video for ‘This Is Christmas’ finds front man John Rzeznik and longtime band mate Robby Takac in a car set against a blue screen making their way to someone’s home as Rzeznik sings to the song. The blue screen plays images of snow-covered trees and road to add to the song’s wintry/holiday sense.

‘Let It Snow’ and ‘This Is Christmas’ are featured in Goo Goo Dolls’ first-ever holiday album It’s Christmas All Over, which is available. The record’s track listing is noted below.

IT’S CHRISTMAS ALL OVER TRACK-LISTING

1. Christmas All Over Again
2. Shake Hands With Santa Claus
3. This Is Christmas
4. Christmas Don’t Be Late
5. Better Days
6. You Ain’t Getting Nothin’
7. Let It Snow
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
10. The Christmas Party (Feat. The Union Square 5)

In other Goo Goo Dolls concert news, the band is scheduled to launch a new string of live North American dates July 22, 2021 in Nampa, ID support of Miracle Pill‘s re-issue.  The tour is scheduled to run through Aug. 18 in Boston, MA and to feature performances in cities, such as Holmdel, NJ; Morrison, CO and Huber Heights, OH.  The full tour schedule, which takes the band throughout the Midwest, is available at the band’s official website.

More information on Goo Goo Dolls’ new single, album, tour and more is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.googoodolls.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/googoodolls

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/googoodolls

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.