Justice League and the Frustration of the Unearned Booyah

Justice League (2017)

Before we begin, two things. First: yes, it did take me a very long time to buckle down and watch Justice League. It’s been very hard recently to watch things that don’t get me excited. For example, I have yet to block out the time necessary to consume enough whiskey to make it through The Dark Tower. Second: before anyone starts to make assumptions, I have nothing against the concept of a DC Cinematic Universe. I want a functioning DC Cinematic Universe right alongside the Marvel one that we have. In fact, I started my comic book obsession with DC—with JLA, in fact. So I do not write this from a position of “DC sucks and should be destroyed.” Do not misconstrue.

The much-talked-about problem with Warner Brothers and their DC appendage is that WB does not know what they have, nor do they know what to do with it. They, typical of Hollywood, take all the wrong things from all the right lessons. They make a parade out of flawed syllogisms. For example:

  • Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was dark
  • Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was successful, both financially and critically
  • Therefore, to be financially and critically successful, a superhero franchise must be dark


By | 2018-03-10T10:31:52+00:00 March 10th, 2018|Stimuli|0 Comments

Headsup: Androids, Animation, and Anime

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first two titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

Westworld Season One 4KIn a time when Artificial Intelligence has gone from science fiction to a viable business tool, “Westworld” is an immersive fantasy role-playing game where guests have the opportunity to explore the best and worst sides of themselves without moral or legal consequence— as far as they know.  Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, the HBO series features an awards-laden cast led by Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, Golden Globe winner Ed Harris, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Evan Rachel Wood, and Golden Globe nominee Thandie Newton.  Westworld: Season One is now available on 4K Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray, and DVD.  The 4K and regular Blu-ray sets also include a collectible booklet that mimics a corporate guidebook for new Westworld employees and the 4K is housed in a special limited-edition tin.  All three formats boast a wide array of bonus features, including featurettes about the main title sequence, the symbolism of the player piano and Ramin Djawadi’s score, Artificial Intelligence, and the Westworld set.  Additional extras include a behind-the-scenes look at the first week of filming, examinations of key scenes from the season, an audio commentary on the season’s final episode by the co-creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and a gag reel.  Amazon and iTunes both offer the season digitally (for $38.99 and $32.99, respectively), with Amazon including the Westworld Comic-Con panel and season trailer and iTunes including no bonus features.  If the (almost two hours of) bonus features are important to you, though, the best option is still getting the season in disc format— on Amazon you can get the 4k Blu-ray set for $44.99, the regular Blu-ray set for $36.99, and the DVD set for $34.99.


By | 2017-11-09T03:21:30+00:00 November 9th, 2017|Headsup|1 Comment

Headsup: Gut Punches and Belly Laughs

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first three titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

Arrow Season 4 Blu-RayArrow (the CW series based on the DC Comics character The Green Arrow) follows Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who has a double life as a masked vigilante protecting the city from criminals. In Season Five, Oliver has the additional responsibility of being the newly appointed mayor, and he must learn to fight his enemies both day and night. In addition, with Team Green Arrow down to just himself and Felicity (and with Damien Darhk’s defeat at the end of Season Four), a new wave of inexperienced vigilantes has come to light. As he tries to maneuver around the would-be-heroes, Oliver must also face a dangerous new adversary, all while trying to reconcile his dual roles as public leader and masked protector of the city.  Out now is Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season, available on DVD and Blu-ray.  The set includes all twenty three episodes of the fifth season along with a fair collection of bonus features.  Included in the extras are the DC superhero crossover event with Supergirl and The Flash along with three featurettes (“The New Team Arrow”, “Allied: The Invasion Complex (Arrow)” and “Returning to the Roots of Arrow: Prometheus”).  Also included are the 2016 Arrow Comic Con panel along with some deleted scenes and a gag reel.  Those who prefer streaming can get the season digitally on both Amazon and iTunes for $29.99 (Amazon includes the Comic Con panel while iTunes offers that as well as the three featurettes).  If you want to hold out for one of the disc formats (along with the complete host of extras), you can snag the DVD and Blu-ray on Amazon (for $32.99 and $36.99, respectively).

Lethal Weapon Season 1 Blu-RayIf you like buddy cop action-comedies, you may be a fan of the new series Lethal Weapon (Warner Brothers’ television reboot of the film franchise of the same name).  The show follows the story of by-the-book veteran LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) who is partnered with impulsive Navy SEAL-turned-police officer Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), who has joined the LAPD after the death of his wife and their unborn baby. With lots of emotional baggage and clashing styles of operation, Murtaugh and Riggs must learn how to navigate car chases, shootouts, explosions, and other sticky situations, all while figuring out how to avoid killing each other in the process. Available now is Lethal Weapon: The Complete First Season, which features all eighteen episodes from the show’s inaugural season along with some extras.  Bonus features include an extended (uncensored) version of the pilot episode, a featurette about reimagining the story of the classic films (“Reloading Lethal Weapon”), some deleted scenes, and a gag reel.  Those who want the digital version can get it on Amazon and on iTunes for $24.99. (Be aware that bonus features are pretty sparse on both of these options, though– iTunes features the extended version of the pilot, a two-minute trailer, and a tw0-minute “behind-the-scenes” featurette, and Amazon only has the extended pilot and the trailer).  The hard copy versions are out today on Amazon— as of this writing the DVD is going for $29.24 and the Blu-ray for $28.85 (yes, the Blu-ray is currently lower than the DVD).  Even with the scarcity of bonus features on the streaming options, it’s also good to note that all you get extras-wise by opting for the disc format (apart from the deleted scenes and gag reel) is the “Reloading Lethal Weapon” featurette, so it’s up to you to decide if you think it merits the $4 difference in price.

Big Bang Theory Season 10 Blu-RayStarring the highest paid television actors in the U.S., The Big Bang Theory is about to premiere its eleventh season and is still going strong.  Based around a quartet of endearing geniuses and their love interests living and working in Pasadena, CA, the show has garnered huge ratings (and huge profits) for Warner Brothers and CBS over the past decade.  Season Ten sees the characters shifting living situations, rebooting a wedding, and gearing up for the arrival of the show’s first baby.  A love letter to all manifestations of science, comics, fantasy, and general nerd-dom, the explosion of this (aptly-named) show’s popularity is a big part of the reason many now say we live in the Age of the Geeks.  Out now on DVD and Blu-ray is The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season, which includes all twenty four episodes of Season Ten along with a handful of extras.  Leading the list of bonus content are four featurettes: “#JustAskBBT”, “Mad Props”, “The Ever-Expanding Universe of the Big Bang Theory”, and “Who’s the Baby Now?”.  Extras also include coverage of the 2016 The Big Bang Theory Comic Con panel (I’m surprised that crowd even let them leave) and a gag reel.  It’s a little sad that on this one they didn’t do some sort of commentary or additional interviews (especially considering the show has featured brilliant guest stars such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and many others).  Even without that, if you’re one of the fans that made up this season’s average nineteen million viewers, you’re probably looking to get the season regardless.  If that’s the case, you can get the season on disc on Amazon (where the DVD is currently $28.99 and the Blu-ray is $32.98).  Things get really interesting when you consider going the streaming route, though– Amazon offers the season digitally for $29.99 (which includes the Comic Con panel), but iTunes is the clear winner, offering all the bonus features except the gag reel for only $9.99.  At basically one-third the price of getting it on DVD with almost no loss of content, I’d say the iTunes option is the way to go.

Best of Carol Burnett ShowOn September 11, 1967, a variety show (created almost solely due to a contractual obligation the network owed its young star) aired for the first time on CBS, and television would never be the same.  Fifty years later, The Carol Burnett Show still enjoys its place as the gold standard of variety shows, earned over an eleven-year run so popular that many joked that “CBS Network” really stood for “Carol Burnett Show Network”.   As a celebration of the show’s fiftieth anniversary, Time Life is releasing The Best of the Carol Burnett Show, which features sixteen episodes (some of which have not been seen since their original airing).  Classic sketches such as “Mrs. Wiggins,” “The Family,” and “The Stomach Turns” are included along with commercial and movie parodies, along with appearances from guest stars such as Rock Hudson, Rita Hayworth, and Liza Minnelli (among many others).  Fans will be glad to know that included in the list of episodes are the series pilot (featuring Jim Nabors) and the double-length series finale (who will ever forget Carol tearing up as she sang I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together in her charwoman rags to close out the show?).  Also included on the disc are some exclusive new bonus features, including never-before-seen bloopers, a new interview with Carol Burnett about her time on the show, and two featurettes created especially for this release (“Eleven Years of Laughter on The Carol Burnett Show” and “The End of Eleven Years: Saying So Long”).

The collection will be available on October 3 with a suggested retail price of $59.95 for the six-disc set.  Releasing at the same time will be two other configurations— a four-disc set (exclusively available through Wal-Mart, priced at $39.95 suggested retail) and a single DVD ($12.95 suggested retail).  Mega fans will also be excited to hear that on December 3rd CBS is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark show with its airing of The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special, featuring some members of the original cast along with guest stars such as Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, and others.

Laugh-In Season 1 DVDAnother show celebrating its golden anniversary this year is Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, the iconic and groundbreaking show of the late 60s/early 70s that set the stage for decades of comedy television to follow.  Originally airing as a stand-alone special on September 9, 1967, the show was such a success that it was turned into a series, replacing The Man From U.N.C.L.E in the Monday night time slot on NBC.  Hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, the show would start the careers of stars such as Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, and Richard Dawson (among others).  As part of the celebration of its 50th anniversary, Laugh-In: The Complete First Season is now available on DVD, which showcases the first fourteen episodes of the show’s run (featuring guest stars Pamela Austen, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Gary Owens and others) as well as bonus content including the pilot episode from 1967, highlights from the 25th anniversary cast reunion, bloopers, and a new interview with creator and executive producer George Schlatter.  The set is currently available on Amazon for $14.89.

For those who are super-duper fans, Time Life is also currently offering up the entire series of Laugh-In as a box set, including all 140 episodes (over half of which have never before been released on any format) along with a bonus DVD, which features some of the extras mentioned above as well as interviews with Lily Tomlin, Dick Martin, Gary Owens, Ruth Buzzi, and others.  The set also includes Laugh-In Memories, a 32-page collectible booklet with archival photos, jokes and one-liners from the show, notes from George Schlatter, and other fun tidbits.  The Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series set is currently available through Time Life and retails for $249.95.

By | 2017-09-26T21:09:34+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: The World of the Dark Knight

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

Out now are two titles for Batman fans:

Gotham Season Three Blu-rayFirst is Gotham, the crime drama television series that follows a young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in his early days in the Gotham Police Department. Also woven into the plot lines are the origin stories of Bruce Wayne and multiple DC villains. In the third season, Gordon becomes a self-made bounty hunter as he tracks the Indian Hill fugitives in an attempt to protect Gotham. While Gordon is chasing Hugo Strange and Fish Mooney, Bullock and Barnes are left to deal with the rise of additional supervillains, Poison Ivy and Mad Hatter, who along with Penguin and Riddler are wreaking havoc on the city. Amidst the chaos, young Bruce Wayne learns more about the Court of Owls criminal organization and begins to discover that there are even more secrets surrounding his parents’ murder. With the stakes rising ever higher, good and evil clash together like never before, and only time will tell which side will ultimately win power over the city and citizens of Gotham.

Out now on DVD and Blu-ray is Gotham: The Complete Third Season, which includes all twenty-one episodes of the third season along with some extras.  Heading the bonus features are three featurettes— one on the infamous Court of Owls (12 minutes), one on the new villains introduced in Season Three (10 minutes), and one on Ben McKenzie’s directorial debut (2 minutes).  Also included are the Gotham 2016 Comic Con panel and some deleted scenes.  Streaming options are available on iTunes (with all bonus features) and on Amazon (with only the Comic Con panel), both priced at $29.99. The DVD and Blu-ray are available on Amazon for $36.99 and $39.99, respectively. Pricing is pretty close on all of these options, so do your own calculations on pricing / features / format and see which one feels like a good fit.


By | 2017-09-24T22:24:18+00:00 September 4th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Superpowers

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

Out just in time to get you ready for their fall premieres are four titles whose characters have super abilities—- some aimed at doing good, some at evil, and some who struggle in between.

DCs Legends of Tomorrow Season Two Blu-rayFirst up is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the story of Time Master Rip Hunter who seeks to avenge his murdered family and stop the machinations of their killer, Vandal Savage, along with the corrupt Time Masters who support him.  Helping Hunter in his quest are superheroes The Atom, White Canary, Firestorm, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave.  In Season Two, following the successful destruction of the Time Masters, the team (now including new members Citizen Steel and Vixen) must not only guard the timeline from aberrations but also face a new enemy in the form of the Legion of Doom.  This team of time-traveling super villains (which includes the Reverse Flash along with past versions of Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darkh, and Captain Cold) seek the Spear of Destiny so that they may re-write their own fates.  With the prospect of facing their own alternates, the Legends will have to fight harder than ever before to protect Time itself and ensure their own survival.

Now out on Blu-ray and DVD is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season.  Bonus features include a ten-minute featurette (“Allied: The Invasion Complex – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), the 2016 DC’s Legends of TomorrowComic Con Panel, a few deleted scenes, and a gag reel.  On Amazon, you can snag the DVD for $29.99 and the Blu-ray for $33.39.  Amazon and iTunes both offer streaming options for a season price of $24.99 and both include the Comic Con panel as an extra (iTunes also includes the “Invasion Complex” featurette).  Since iTunes includes the bulk of the bonus content, it might be worth considering if purchasing the season in disc form (which features-wise just gets you the addition of the deleted scenes and the gag reel) is worth paying $5 – $8 more, or if it’s better on this one to just go for the streaming option and save some coin.


By | 2017-09-24T22:24:18+00:00 August 27th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Wonder Woman Box Office: The Numbers That Actually Matter

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Let me say this up front: I thought Gal Gadot was one of the two good parts of Batman v Superman: Yawn of Justice. And I freaking love the movie Wonder Woman. I want them to hand the DC Cinematic Universe off to director Patty Jenkins right now. So I don’t want you to think I’m slamming the film when I say that this article about Wonder Woman breaking the Box Office Domestic Top 5 of All Time is nice, but doesn’t actually mean anything. The reason? They’re talking ticket prices that haven’t been adjusted for inflation. They’re also using…well, I’m not sure what comScore uses because unadjusted, Wonder Woman is currently right behind Frozen at #27.

Unadjusted all-time box office is currently Force Awakens with $936,662,225. However, when you adjust for ticket price inflation, #1 is Gone With the Wind with $1,796,176,700. Granted, Wind has had a number of re-releases to get to that point, but the average ticket price in 1939 when it was released…was $0.23. So if we assume a $10 ticket for Awakens, Wind would have to sell 43 tickets for every 1 ticket that Awakens sold. You see how whatever the unadjusted #1 is…eventually something will come along and unseat it just based on ticket prices alone. That being said, both Awakens and Wind have female protagonists, so the news isn’t all bad.


By | 2017-09-24T22:24:29+00:00 August 7th, 2017|Stimuli|0 Comments

Headsup: Girls Being Super


** Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of both of the titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.**


Available now are two films from DC/Warner Brothers celebrating mega girl power:


Wonder Woman Commemorative Edition Blu-RayOut just in time to wet fans’ appetites for the live-action Wonder Woman film hitting theaters this Friday (Thursday in select cities), the feature-length animated film Wonder Woman is available in a commemorative edition DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack.  The film tells the story of Diana, an Amazonian princess who leaves the sanctuary of the idyllic man-free island Themyscira to chase after Ares, the God of War, bent on creating world chaos and eventual extinction. With the help of U.S. fighter pilot Steve Trevor, Diana must navigate the modern world in an attempt to save her own from destruction.  The awards-laden cast includes Golden Globe winner Keri Russell (The Americans, Waitress, Felicity) as Diana/Wonder Woman, People’s Choice winner Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) as Steve Trevor, Tony Award nominee Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, Chocolat) as Ares, Rosario Dawson (Daredevil, Sin City) as Artemis, Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman) as Hippolyta, David McCallum (NCIS, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Zeus, Emmy winner Marg Helgenberger (CSI, China Beach) as Hera, Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class, Chicago Med) as Hades, and Vicki Lewis (NewsRadio, Godzilla) as Persephone.

Released direct to DVD in 2009 (the fourth in the line of DC Universe Animated Original Movies released by Warner Premiere and Warner Brothers Animation), the film was hailed by fans and critics alike.   The original Blu-ray release included a few extras which have been mostly repeated on the commemorative edition with a couple of changes: the 2009 release included commentary from producers Bruce Timm and Gregory Noveck, screenwriter Michael Jelenice, and director Lauren Montgomery along with the featurettes “Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream” and “Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth”; these three extras appear on the new release along with a new featurette “What Makes a Wonder Woman” (a discussion from fans and creators on the 75-year history and development of the Wonder Woman character into a cultural icon) and a sneak peek at the next DV Universe Original Movie, Batman and Harley Quinn, set to debut this August.

The DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack are currently available on Amazon for $19.98 and $24.98, respectively.  It’s not available on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but you can get it digitally on Amazon for rent ($3.99) or purchase ($17.99) or purchase on iTunes for $9.99.


DC Super Hero Girls Intergalactic Games DVDFor a dose of girl power aimed at tweens, you can check out the recently created DC Super Hero Girls franchise, where we see younger versions of favorite DC heroes navigating the ups and downs of attending Super Hero High School while also dealing with the challenges of adolescence. Even though it started in 2015 as a merchandising partnership with Mattel, Warner Brothers/DC says that DC Super Hero Girls “encourages young girls,ages 6-12, to explore their own powers and strengths through original content, including all-new films, webisodes and TV specials. The franchise offers young fans inspiration and encourages teamwork, friendship and empowerment.” In the second film of the direct-to-video series, DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games, Batgirl (voiced by Mae Whitman), Bumblebee (voiced by Teala Dunn), Harley Quinn (voiced by Tara Strong), Katana (voiced by Stephanie Sheh), Poison Ivy (voiced by Tara Strong), Supergirl (voiced by Anais Fairweather), and Wonder “Wondy” Woman (voiced by Grey Griffin) are set to go up against their rivals from Korugar Academy in the Intergalactic Games, but run into problems when Lena Luthor (voiced by Romi Dames) uses the Games as an opportunity to move forward with a dastardly plan to steal the team’s battlebots for her own nefarious intentions. Using their unique gifts, the Supers must work together to fight Luthor and protect their school.

The film is now out on DVD and also includes seven short cartoons (“New Beginnings,” “Hero of the Month: Supergirl,” “Batgirl vs. Supergirl,” “Quinn-tessential Harley,” “Double Trouble,” “Franken-Ivy,” and “Dude, Where’s My Jet?”) along with a music video of “That’s My Girl” by girl group Fifth Harmony. The DVD is currently available on Amazon for $12.96 or you have the option to rent ($4.99) or buy ($14.99) digitally.

By | 2017-09-24T22:24:33+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Teenage Drama

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first DVD featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

As if hormones and problem skin weren’t enough, the teens in two new releases have quite a lot on their plates:


Teen Titans Blu-rayAdapted from the adored 1984 DC comic series, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract rejoins the Teen Titans five years after their rescue of Princess Starfire (Kari Wahlgren) from her evil sister.  Now they have their sights set on a new target as Brother Blood (Gregg Henry) and his terrorist group seek to steal the team’s powers with a specially created machine.  With the addition of mysterious new team member Terra (Christina Ricci) and a cat-and-mouse chase with the mercenary Deathstroke (Miguel Ferrer), the Teen Titans are rarely afforded a dull moment.  This film is sequel to Justice League vs Teen Titans and is #28 in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series which began back in 2007 with Superman: Doomsday.  It also features Miguel Ferrer’s final film role (as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke) before he passed away from throat cancer in January.  Like most of the others in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, the film is rated PG-13 (for language, sexual situations, and violence), so be aware before showing or gifting to little ones.
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is being released direct to home media and is now available in DVD, Blu-ray, and digital formats.  The Blu-ray version has over 45 minutes of bonus features, including a sneak peek at Batman and Harley Quinn (the next film in the DC Universal Original Movie collection), “Villains Rising: Deathstroke” (a featurette about the villain’s origin and talents), “Titanic Minds: Wolfman and Perez” (a 27-minute documentary about the decades-long collaboration of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the writer and artist who created the Teen Titans comic series relaunch in the 1980s), and “From the DC Comics Vault”, two bonus Teen Titans cartoons.  For a limited time, fans can also own the Deluxe Edition Blu-ray Gift Set, which includes a Blue Beetle figurine.  Amazon offers digital options to rent or buy ($4.99 and $19.99 respectively) as well as the the DVD (only the film, no bonus features) for $12.96 and the Deluxe Blu-ray Set for $24.99.


Monster Trucks Blu-rayMonster Trucks tells the story of Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school senior desperate to escape the troubles of his fractured family life in North Dakota.  Tripp discovers and befriends a displaced creature (“Creech”) who feeds on oil and helps Tripp make his makeshift monster truck run.  When executives from an oil company put a professional hit out on Creech, the two do everything in their power to reunite Creech with his own family and to protect each other along the way.  In addition to Lucas Till, the film stars Jane Levy (Meredith), Amy Ryan (Cindy Coley), Thomas Lennon (Dr. Dowd), and Rob Lowe (Reece Tenneson).
The film is now available for digital rental and purchase and is on both DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack.  Along with a digital HD copy of the film (accessible through UltraViolet), the Blu-ray also boasts a selection of extras, including “Who’s Driving the Monster Trucks?” (interview segments with the cast and crew about the production and story), “Creating the Monster Truck” (which focuses on how the production team made Tripp’s vehicle), “The Monster in the Truck” (a featurette on the CG visual effects in select scenes), ten minutes of production diaries, six deleted scenes, and a gag reel.  For a limited time, those who purchase the Blu-ray Combo Pack also receive a pack of collectible Monster Trucks wall decals.  The film is available on Amazon for digital rent/purchase ($4.99/$14.99), the DVD currently goes for $17.99, and the Blu-ray Combo Pack for $19.99.
By | 2017-09-24T22:24:35+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments