Tag Archives: paul bettany

Review: WandaVision S1E3 Now in Color

WandaVision S1E3 Now in Color

WandaVision S1E3 Now in Color brings the moment so many are waiting for, the debut of Wanda’s “children”. Now taking place in the 1970s the couple is expecting their first child. Wanda “became” pregnant at the end of the previous episode. Now in color, the episode takes its inspiration from shows like The Brady Bunch and Laverne and Shirley.

With her being pregnant, Wanda’s powers are on the fritz. This causes issues for not just the couple but for all of those around them. It also is destroying the barrier that Wanda has clearly set up in this world.

Now in Color plays on pregnancies in television. There are the usual jokey pratfalls and laugh tracks over the situation. There are also some subtle nods to covering up pregnancies with objects around a house like a bowl of fruit.

As someone who grew up watching The Brady Bunch every day after school, the details of the set nail the nostalgia factor and makes me long for a trip to Hawaii with a cursed Tiki idol. Or maybe they can start a band. Above all, the show’s design, costumes, hair and makeup stand out above the quality writing and acting. The vision (no pun intended) of the show is spectacular. For technical reasons alone, the series is must-watch television.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany do a great job of delivering the jokes and situation continuing to both send-up and do an homage to shows of the times. Their delivery of the material is solid in that somewhat cheesy way for the shows it takes its inspiration from. Both have much better comedic chops than I’d have expected. Their usually serious demeanor helps enhance the comedic bits.

Teyonah Parris ups her presence on the show playing the role of getting caught in the delivery and having to help Wanda. Those who know who she’s playing and who her character actually is will enjoy the layered meaning of what she has to say.

And again, it’s the small details of the episode in that all is not right that really makes things. On the surface, the riff on classic shows works really well. The fact not all is right is really what’s interesting. From an issue with a wall to a statement by their doctor, the big picture continues to come together. And it comes together in a big way as the wall really begins to shatter by the end of the episode.

The show has improved with each episode as the big picture comes better into focus. While I wasn’t too keen on the first episode of WandaVision, by the third I’m all in and want to see where this goes as to what’s going on becomes much clearer. It leans more into the concept of this world’s glitches building on the mystery. We don’t just know not all is right, we see it. A scene is rewound and played back, for instance.

This is a big episode as it has major implications to the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. Fans of Marvel Comics will be filled with excitement and know the future possibilities. For those that don’t, strap in, this could be a wild ride.

Overall Rating: 8.95

Review: WandaVision S1E2 Don’t Touch That Dial

WandaVision S1E2

WandaVision S1E2 continues its play off of the classic series Bewitched with an episode that has Wanda and Vision entering a talent show.

Compared to the debut episode, WandaVision S1E2 is much more intriguing. While it acts so well as an homage to classic television, it delivers more of what was lacking in the first, the hints at something more. In a black and white world, we get a colorized toy. A radio plays odd music and an odd message. It’s the small details that were missing from the first episode. Their inclusion enhances the experience. The lack of them in the first episode hints at a purposely slow build and reveal but that also means it’s a slow build and reveal. With the good comes the bad.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany continue their excellent takes on classic characters. In this case, Bettany does the drunk individual coming close to revealing their two secrets. It’s a great switch of classic stories where Samantha was almost discovered as a witch.

But, it’s the small details of the episode where it works really well and shines.

The classic cartoon style is fantastic. The introduction of Teyonah Parris as Geraldine is fantastic. The line delivered in her introduction is so layered and done so well. It’s a prime example the show is smarter and more thought out than it’s quirky premise would have you believe.

WandaVision S1E2 is an improvement of the start in so many ways. Wanda is clearly trapped in this world but is it something someone is doing to her or is it a creation of her own? This episode throws that big question out there and there’s some massive implications.

Like I said in the review of the first episode, this is a series whose whole will likely be better than the individual parts but this part is pretty damn good on its own.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Review: WandaVision S1E1 Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience

WandaVision S1E1

The next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe begins in the highly anticipated WandaVision. The Disney+ show brings an intriguing new format and take on the classic Marvel characters of Wanda Maximoff and Vision. WandaVision S1E1 takes us into the homage/spoof of classic television shows kicking off with Dick Van Dyke meets Bewitched showing the two in a blissful marriage. But, is this reality?

The last we saw Wanda, she had helped defeat Thanos in Avengers: Endgame after being returned from being blinked out. She attended Stark’s funeral, and that’s where we left her. Vision, as far as we know, was killed in Avengers: Infinity War. In an attempt to stop Thanos, Wanda destroyed the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead with Visions saying “I love you” just before he was destroyed. But, Thanos returned Vision using the Time Stone to then plunk the stone from Vision’s forehead and helping to complete his gauntlet. Due to Vision being destroyed before the blink, as far as we know he didn’t return.

So, what’s going on?

WandaVision‘s debut episode doesn’t tell us a whole lot until the very end. The two are living the domestic life presented as a classic black and white television show. It’s entertaining in its winks and nods to shows of the past but, the concept drags on for far too long. There’s a lack of enough hints as to what’s really going on making this debut just… weird.

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda and Paul Bettany as Vision are charming enough in their roles. The pull off the now cringe-worthy style of story of the time. The episode is a solid send-up of the overused story of the boss coming over for dinner. As far as playing off of classic shows, WandaVision S1E1 does things really well.

The addition of Kathryn Hahn as Agnes is solid and she nails the tone of the era as well. It’s all enhanced by a goofy add for a toaster by Stark Industries that’s way over the top.

WandaVision S1E1 nails down what it’s trying to do. The tone, style, story, costumes, stage, it’s all damn near perfect. But that doesn’t mean it succeeds.

The show drags on for its rather short 29 minutes and only gets to the point at the very end. Something is very wrong in this pollyannish world and the episode would have been stronger by focusing on that. Glitches in the episode would have played well. Small details not quite sitting right and being out of place would have worked well. It’s these sort of things and the addition of them would have made the concept all the more intriguing.

Olsen’s depiction of Wanda is a bit odd too as her Sokovian accent seems to have gone away for a Jersey-ish delivery. It could be to play up the time and it might return. It could be to play off the style of the time. But she’s “European” as Vision tells his boss to which he makes a negative response. Why this choice was made is unclear, beyond the boss’s reaction, but it’s all very weird. It’s just a very noticeable decision and is a bit odd.

WandaVision S1E1 isn’t bad. There’s a lot to like. It’s just rather boring. This isn’t your normal Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, and that’s a good thing. But, the episode stumbles. It’s clearly a series that the whole will likely be stronger than each individual part.

Overall Rating: 7.0

Marvel’s WandaVision Comes to Disney+ on January 15

It’s been announced that the original Marvel Studios television series WandaVision will debut on Disney+ on January 15.

The series stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany and is the first Marvel Studios series to debut on Disney+. In it, Wanda Maximoff and Vision are living an idealized suburban life but begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.

Joining Olsen and Bettany are Kat Dennings, who reprises her role as Darcy Lewis from Marvel Studios’ Thor and Thor: The Dark World; Randall Park, who reprises his role as Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man and The Wasp; and newcomers Kathryn Hahn, who plays their plucky neighbor, and Teyonah Parris, who plays the adult Monica Rambeau, who was first introduced in Captain Marvel. The series is directed by Matt Shakman.

Disney+ Launching November 12 for $6.99 a month or $69.99 per year

Disney+

The anticipation for Disney+, Disney‘s digital streaming service, has been growing. Rumors have been running rampant about shows that we might see, how much it will cost, and when will it launch. Now, we know the details as Disney has pulled back the curtain showing us what we can expect.

Disney+ launches November 12 costing $6.99 per month or an annual price of $69.99. It will include brand new original series exclusive to the ad-free subscription service. Here’s what they’ve announced.

The Technical

The service will allow downloading of content so it can be accessed offline. There will be individual profiles and that includes custom avatars.

It will launch over each major region of the world over a two year time frame due to expiring contracts in specific territories. The United States will be up first.

In the presentation, images of televisions, computers, Apple TV, Playstation, X-BOX, and the Switch were all shown indicating the service will be available to watch on those and more.

Disney and Pixar

The entire Signature Collection will be available on launch. Rumors had indicated Disney’s complete movie library would be available. All Pixar films will be available in the first year of launch. All Pixar theatrical shorts will be available at launch.

One of the original series to debut in the first year is Unknown: Making Frozen 2 which is a documentary series exploring the behind the scenes creation of the animated film.

The new Toy Story character Forky will get a series of Pixar shorts with Forky Asks a Question. Toy Story’s Bo Peep will also get a short entitled Lamp Life.

5,000 episodes of Disney Channel contet and 100 original movies will be available to stream on lucnh.

On top of that, more than 7,500 episodes and 500 films will come to the library.

Marvel

Captain Marvel will be available on the service on the first day. Disney announced two original series. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will star as Wanda Maximoff and The Vision in the series WandaVision. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will team up in The Falcon and Winter Soldier. Tom Hiddleston will play Loki in a series of the same name.

According to other reports, only four Marvel films will come to the service within the launch window.

Star Wars

All Star Wars films will be available on the platform within the first year of its launch. Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk will join forces for a series based on Cassian Andor. The Mandolorian, Jon Favreau‘s live-action series will premiere on launch.

More Originals

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader will star in Noelle. Director Tom McCarthy will have an original film, Timmy Failure that will release in the first year. An adaptation of the best selling book Star Girl will come to the platform. William DaFoe will star in the original film Togo about a man’s real-life story about his and his sled dog’s journey through the Alaskan tundra. That will be out in the first year. A live-action Lady and the Tramp will come to the service.

The Phineas and Ferb Movie, a new animated adventure will come to the service.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is coming to the service.

And More!

More than 250 hours from National Geographic will come to the service and that includes the film Free Solo. The World According to Jeff Goldblum, from National Geographic, will premiere on the channel.

The Simpsons!

Disney+ will be the exclusive home for streaming The Simpsons starting at launch. That’s all 30 seasons on the first day of launch.

Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

We’ve all heard the rumors and know the reality that Solo: A Star Wars Story, the latest entry into the yearly Star Wars movie release schedule, was a full on production disaster. Directors were replaced. Rumors of actors unable to do the basics and in need of coaches. A script that was a mess. With all of that you’d expect what has wound up on screen to be an utter disaster. But, that’s the farthest thing from reality. Solo: A Star Wars Story is actually pretty fun.

Is it high art? No. Is it as good as the original trilogy? No. But, it’s a solid popcorn film that has enough new and enough winks and nods to make Star Wars fans and non-fans happy.

If you go into the film expecting what has come before, you’l be disappointed. Solo: A Star Wars Story is a departure from what has been released in many ways. While it is the second stand-alone film, Rogue One being the first, it’s also the first real stand alone film. Rogue One was a prequel to the original trilogy tying directly into it with its final scene and delivering a pretty key story to the adventure. Solo is something different. While the film obviously ties into everything that has happened, it also isn’t a vital tie-in. It’s a film set in the Star Wars universe as opposed to a film that’s a must watch fleshing out the story of the original trilogy.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is interesting in so many ways because of all of this. The film is the right direction for the franchise and while it stumbles at times, it’s entertaining. The story follows Solo as he joins the criminal underworld and we see key moments of his career. There’s his meeting of Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian but there’s also a lot that’s new. There’s also some interesting fleshing out of the Star Wars universe with hints and direct tie-ins that should make long time fans happy.

Solo is a gangster/crime/heist film set in the Star Wars universe. At its heart there’s little that’s new. A job is screwed up and the crew must make up for it with a bigger heist. That plot has been seen before. But, it hasn’t been seen in a Star Wars film. The heist plot has been seen in the animated spin-offs though and this film feels like it has more in common with Star Wars: Rebels, the latest animated television series, than anything else.

The film hits the right notes and at times things feel like a checklist when it comes to that. We get Chewie, Lando, and the Kessel run. None of it is surprising and it’s all fan service. But, it’s a fun ride with some great visuals and a presentation that feels unique.

The cast is all over in their ability. Alden Ehrenreich steps into the role Harrison Ford made as Han Solo and at times he channels Ford and at other times he’s about as far away in delivery as one can get. It’s not bad but it’s also not a star-making turn. Joonas Suotamo repeats as Chewbacca and the character feels appropriately younger and more physical. Woody Harrelson as Becket is the gang leader and he brings his curled smile that he delivers in so many roles. Emilia Clarke is the love interest who is good but something is missing that we get at the end of the film. Where her character goes is what we should have seen more of. Donald Glover steals the show as Lando Calrissian. He channels Billy Dee Williams at times sounding exactly like Williams. Glover’s performance emphasizes how off Ehrenreich’s Solo is at times. Glover is so good it makes every else look far behind (other than Suotamo). Thandie Newton‘s Val is underused and Paul Bettany‘s creepy Dryden Vos is a sleezy mob boss and great on screen. The film’s break out star is Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s L3-37, the film’s robot compadre. L3-37’s belief in robot rights and being convinced of Lando’s crush is the thing of entertainment and delivers something special to a film which would be so much less without.

As I mentioned, the film visually is great and the characters and sets look fantastic. This is a grittier film in many ways showing the coldness of space and the Empire’s machine. This is a Star Wars universe I want to see more of. We can have stories set in the world that isn’t just an extension of the original trilogy’s story. We need spin-offs that can stand on their own.

The film isn’t perfect, far from it, but it is fun and entertaining. There’s some great sequences and it’s possible my lowered expectations due to the on-set drama may have had me expecting very little. While it may nit be as good as the original trilogy it’s definitely better than the prequels and well worth the price of admission. And, the film has me wanting to see what’s next.

Overall Rating: 7.0

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What are folks excited for? If you’re not sure, you can catch our recommendations tomorrow!

Around the Tubes

CBLDF – Bone Named Among 10 Most Banned Books of 2013! – I guess you can say it got boned by censorship.

Spinoff Online – Paul Bettany Confirms Vision Role in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ – Remember when sites said he was Ultron?

Joystiq – Motion-controlled rail shooter Blue Estate coming to Xbox One – Will this video game based on a comic be worth it?

The Hollywood Reporter – WGN America Adapting DC Comics’ ‘Scalped’ – The channel is interesting.

Kotaku – Giant Mecha Erected in Tokyo – Want.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

ScienceFiction.com – Captain Marvel #2

CBR – Daredevil #1.50

CBR – Nightcrawler #1

SciFiNow – Zero Hour And Other Stories

Review – Priest


Bookmark and Share

PriestGoing into a movie like Priest, I expect a couple of things, bad acting, sub-par special fx, lots of action and bad dialogue.  Priest gave me all of that in an enjoyable, but short movie.  The story is pretty simple, it’s vampires versus humans in a dystopian future run by a church that uses priests to do battle.  It’s been years since the major wars with the vampires and the priests are retired and vampires set up in reservations.  It’s cowboys versus indians but replace indians with vampires.  A priest played by Paul Bettany must get back into ass kicking mode to save his brother’s family.

The story is thin, focusing on events more than character build up (which is almost non-existent).  This is a “B” movie in all it’s glory with some great visuals.  And that’s what’s so frustrating about the movie.  There’s amazing build up and some great building blocks that aren’t used.  The scenes in these massive walled cities is amazing and sets a mood and world that’s fantastic.  The “western” parts of the movie work well as well.  You have an overreaching church that controls the populace, something that’s not fleshed out.  There’s great stuff here, but none of it’s used to it’s potential.

Paul Bettany plays the main priest and does his best Christian Bale/Batman impersonation, very little emotion, lots of grumbling.  It’s ok for the character but something is missing that makes us care about him.  Karl Urban has the most fun of the bunch playing the villain.  Maggie Q is as pretty as ever (and as usual kicks ass) as another priest and Christopher Plummer hams it up as a head of the church.  None of the acting is particularly good, but are you expecting that?

You go see this movie for the action.  All of it’s ok, but none of it’s amazing and all of it I’ve seen before.  These priests are supposed to be amazing warriors that can take on hundreds, but at no time is this really shown off.  Instead they generally fight one on one as if their enemies are taking turns to attack them.  I was hoping for some of the great action fights of Blade, but instead I get a poorer version of it.  That’s not to say there’s not some cool stuff here, there’s just not enough of it.

And that’s the problem of the movie, there’s not enough.  The film is just under an hour and thirty minutes.  You could have added another thirty minutes and fleshed out characters, added more action or explored the world more.  Instead, we’ve got great concepts, great visuals, potentially great characters, in a movie that just barely skims the surface of the potential.

Read more