Power Rangers

To be completely honest I’ve been a fan of this show since it came on, I watched it the first five iterations (MMPR to Lost Galaxy) and tuned in the Forever Red during Wild Force, but basically i didn’t watch it in high school, then in college Disney had the show and aired it at a great time so I watched the new series Ninja Storm-RPM and caught up on the older series I missed. When the show moved over to Nickelodeon I watched the first one Samurai but Megaforce and Dino Charge are a bit out there and never got sucked into these season. So with the new movie along with the new season Ninja Steel, and the comic book series It seems like a great time to be a fan of Power Rangers. However this news make it even more fun although it seems unlikely but remember that gritty violent Power/Rangers video from a couple of year ago, well it’s producer has said that he is working on an ‘R-rated’ Power Rangers. It sounds something like Akibaranger, the Unoffical Sentai series that was developed for adult who were fans of Super Sentai as children. This series was a parody of Super Sentai shows but the adult take on Power Rangers is something that seems reasonable. A couple of friends and I worked on a comic book version of this idea, Stronghold, it went through many iterations and never really did much but it was a unique idea and we all liked it.  So if Netflix would want to do some crazy adult version of Super Sentai, I would watch it and am sure that several others would as well.  Netflix already has a bunch of the older seasons that you can watch so there is that audience already there.

Netflix trailers

Holy Cow! Netflix US dropped a ton of trailers for upcoming shows check out their Youtube channel for all of them.

We’ve got our first look at Bill Nye the Science Guy’s new show about science and stuff, a first look at Iron Fist Netflix’s latest Marvel series, a trailer for season three of Chef’s Table which has an interesting grouping of chefs, a series based on the movie Dear White People and a series based on Anne of Green Gables. These on top of the Super Bowl Commercial for Stranger Things. Along with some more announcement date trailers for the new season of Orange is the New Black and Grace and Frankie. Netflix sure does have a bunch of show coming out soon and they’ve also got a whole bunch of movies coming soon as well. Some of this looks like it’s worth checking out.

 

Crackle and Movie Musicals

These are two separate points but both are in the same news cycle. To begin Jerry Seinfeld and his brilliant series Comedians in Cars getting Coffee will be moving from Crackle to Netflix in late 2017. Now the show is the biggest thing that Crackle has along with Sports Jeopardy. I’ve like Seinfeld’s series since it came out, as it is interesting to see the interactions between Jerry and his friends as well as other comedians and actors or related people (Lorne Michaels, Barack Obama). If you haven’t seen an episode yet, what’s taken you so long. Also involved with the deal is a couple of Jerry Seinfeld stand-up specials as well as series development deals. It seems Netflix is turning into the place for comedy as they continue to ink deals for stand-up specials, recently with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. With the loss of its biggest show will Crackle still exist come 2018 or will it find life with some other show or just have the Sony movies.

With the popularity of La La Land, Hollywood is once again hoping that the movie musical can make a comeback. However this story seem to always come out when there is a super popular musical out but the genre hasn’t really left. Now the films that are coming out are more biographical like Straight Outta Compton, Love and Music or they are like Pitch Perfect where they fit in some pop songs into the film or they are just animated. Sure this is nice to see something different at the movie theater but it really depends on the quality of the film that comes out. As The New York Times notes there are several major studios devoting major resources to musical for the first time since the 90s. Some of these films are going to be bringing hits like Wicked and Matilda to the screen, Playbill has a nice list of rumored film adaptions. Now it seems Disney is remaking all their animated films as live action so we’ve got those to look forward to as well. There will be more original films coming out and it would be great if these turned out to be good movies. With the revival of musicals on television it seems like we are going to continue in the time where the average individual we get multiple chance to see a musical. Yet once again I would rather have a few quality movie musical every year over a large quantity of movie musicals.

Sing Street (2016)

Sing Street is the latest film from John Carney, director/writer of Once and Begin Again. This is the other musical which was nominated for a Golden Globe this year. Once again focusing on music but this time in the 80s in Ireland. We have a story of a boy who starts a band to impress a girl. Spoilers to follow.

The film begins at a family meeting where we meet Lawlor’s who are on hard time so they take their youngest son Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) and place him in a free state-school, Synge Street CBS, run by the Christian Brothers. Conor’s older brother, Brendan (Jack Reynor) rubs this in, joking about pedophilia, but also laments about the state of the family which is in a rocky state. On Conor’s first day at school he runs into trouble with the school principal, Brother Baxter, who reprimands him for not wearing black shoes as indicated in the school dress code, Conor also run into the school bully. This leads Conor to met a budding entrepreneur Darren (Ben Carolan), who has also been bullied and Conor and Darren become friends. The next morning or so meeting up before school Conor ask Darren who the girl across the street is, Darren doesn’t so Conor goes over and talks with her, she’s an aspiring model named Raphina (Lucy Boyton) Conor asks her if she wants to be in a music video for his band, she agrees.

The only problem is that there is no band. Conor and Darren go about assembling a band from the school.  They start with Eamon (Mark McKenna) a multi-instrumentalist, who has all these instruments around, and round out the group with the black guy in school, and two other guys who sort of are just there to fill out the band. As they get together they begin as a cover band but after Conor brings a recording of the band for Brendan to listen to, and Brendan isn’t a huge fan as they are just a cover band and cover bands are a dime a dozen. This inspires Conor to begin writing his own music and with Eamon’s help they are pretty good at it as well. After the first song is written they film a video and Raphina shows up. With each new song the band’s style evolves while Conor and Raphina get close at the same time Conor’s home life implodes. However, the closer they get Raphina seems all to motivated to leave for London to become a famous model and one day she leaves. Conor is heart broken and can’t write or play music but Brendan inspires him to write so someone can get out of this place. Will Conor write or ever see Raphina again.

If you have a brother this is a wonderful movie to watch, even if you don’t have one or you are one it tells a timeless story of love and family. Fans of the music of the 1980s should give it a look as well as those who have enjoyed other John Carney’s movies I hope that you take the time to watch the film.

Paddington (2014)

Paddington is the movie about the famous bear from the Paddingtion Bear books. Now I remember the cartoon from the 80s and the books, but when this film came out I wasn’t sure it was going to be good especially with Colin Firth, originally cast as Paddington,  being dropped so late in the production. Spoilers to follow.

The film begins with a newsreel about an expedition to darkest Peru, where the explorer meets a unique clan of bears, the explorer befriends the bears and teaches them all about London and Marmalade. As the explorer leaves for London he promises that there will always been a warm home for them in London. Years later in Peru we meet Paddington living with his Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo, it’s marmalade day and they are busy throughout the day but that evening an earthquake comes and destroys their home. Aunt Lucy goes to live in the home for retired and sends her nephew to London, after they can’t find Uncle Pastuzo. Paddington stows away on a ship with a lot of marmalade and when he gets to London goes and waits in a train station, like children during WWII did. Here is where the Brown family meet him and they name the little bear Paddington, after the station where they found him. Paddington wants to find the explorer who came to Peru and the Brown family helps him. We all basically know where the story is going, Paddington will eventually end up with the Brown family but it sure is a fun journey to get there.

Around the world this film has been met with praise. Sure, it’s a gentle parable about xenophobia, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with it over and over again. If you have kids coming over for the Holidays this is something to watch, it’s great for the whole family as well.

 

Jedi Junior High (2014)

Jedi Junior High has got to be the coolest movie I’ve seen this month. Jedi Junior High is a documentary about the production of a musicalized version of The Empire Strikes Back with kids in California. Back in 2009 at the Arts & Learning Center in Costa Mesa they came up with an audacious idea make a musical version of Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back. This is a clever thing as it is something that would attract boy and girls. The documentary talks about the importance of children exploring the world of theater and how it can turn awkward kid a bit less awkward. As far as the musical aspects they took already written Showtunes and changes the lyrics to make it more “Star Wars-y”. sort of like how The Simpsons had “Luck be a Lady” turn into “Luke be a Jedi tonight”. Now the sad part is that we don’t get to see the whole show which would have been awesome. If you are a fan of Star Wars and musical theater this is a must watch. A clever thing is at the end we go back to some of the kids featured in the movie and hear about how they have changed in the four years since doing the show.

Star Trek: Enterprise

Since it is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek this year I though that I should at least watch some of the television series, I’d already watched TNG and a bit of Voyager and TOS, but I never watched any of Enterprise or Deep Space Nine. So what better time than now to start working my way through. I’m about halfway through Enterprise, the forgotten series.

It is the first in the timeline following the events of the first deep space explorers on the first Warp 5 equipped ship. Set in the 22nd century about 100 year before the events of the Original Series it gives us a unique look as Earth makes its first go at exploring new world and making contact with Alien races. There a few problems with the series and a bunch of good stuff. My biggest issue has to be the theme song is just so riduclous, it’s like a minute and a half long and there are lyrics and it’s sung. Another issue that I and many people have is the uneven quality of the show some episodes are really great and exploring unique ideas where others feel like retellings of older episodes from previous series or even worse about a half idea that they though would be interesting. Then there is that final episode from what I hear is troubling.

In the series we follow Captain Jonathan Archer; Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker, III; Vulcan Sub-commander T’Pol; and the crew of the NX-01 Enterprise as they make first contact with basically everyone. Most of the time the episodes in seasons three and four are regarded as better than those in the first two seasons.  Sure it takes time but America was a different place when it debuted from when it was shot having 9/11 just happening a fortnight before it premiered. The first two seasons are rather light and most episodes are single stories compared with the later seasons. It’s been s decade since it ended so give it a chance.  If you have a knack for some Star Trek all of the television series are on Netflix including the animated series, or if you are really looking forward for Star Trek: Discovery this seems like a series to watch.

The God of Cookery (1996)

Alton Brown has called The God of Cookery one of his favorite films about food and is even featured in his food on film festival November 12 and 13 in NYC. This is how I first heard about the film and when I discovered that it was on Netflix I forget about getting ticket and traveling to New York and just watched it.  The God of Cookery is a kung fu comedy food movie made in Hong Kong by Stephen Chow, who would go on to make Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle.  Spoilers to follow.

The film beings with “The God of Cookery” Stephen Chow, a washed up celebrity chef, in the gutter ordering assorted noodles from a food stall. When he gets the dish he dissects the meal noticing all the faults in it. This leads to a flashback when he was “The God of Cookery” where we learn he was a corrupt celebrity chef who knows nothing about cooking but he runs a successful business empire. However at the opening of his 50th restaurant Chow is exposed as a fraud by his business partner and understudy Bull Tong.  After this Bull takes the title of God of Cookery. We return to the gutters where Chow is dissecting the noodle dish and food cart owner, Turkey. However after getting beaten by thugs for pan handling Turkey takes pity on Chow and gives him a bowl of barbecue pork on rice with an egg.  Chow likes the dish. The calm is soon interrupted as another street vendor comes to “discuss”(have a gang fight) which vendor can make which dish. Chow convinces them to combine the two dishes into one making Pissing Beef Balls. These become a hit.  This has Bull and the business partner antsy and after running into Chow one day as Chow has the chance to become the God of Cookery again at the next contest in a month. Chow plans to go to culinary school and Bull plans to kill Chow.

This leads Chow to a Shaolin monastery where it turns out that Bull as trained as well. As The God of Cookery contest is about to begin Chow shows up at the last minute. The contest is sort of a parody of Iron Chef, the hit cooking show from Japan in the 90s. Chow and Bull are deemed to be the only true competitors at the contest by the judge. As they both begin making the same dish it become interesting as to who will win, however Bull and the business partner have a bomb hidden in one of Chow’s pots and they blow it up ruining his first attempt so with like three minutes left Chow make the bowl of barbecue pork on rice with an egg. As the judge eats the food she adores the dish prepared by Chow however she is being blackmailed by Bull so that he can retain the title of “God of Cookery”. At this ruling Chow says that there is no one God of Cookery as whoever cooks with heart is a God of Cookery. The heavens open up and judgment is dolled out.

It’s a fun story as when you think of Kung fu and cooking you don’t think comedy but here it is and it works real well. If you’ve like other films by Stephen Chow or are a fan of food you might like this one as well.

Black Mirror Series Three

Black Mirror is back and it is still a refreshing take on the coming future. Several of the episodes seem like they could happen sooner rather than later, notably Nosedive and Hated in the Nation. Both of these episodes focus on social media Nosedive is a story in which everyone is rated for everything they do and have a star rating, Hated in the Nation is a story about Twitter turning into a murderer. The other four episode are pretty great as well there is one about war and another about video games which are top notch. Many people are talking about the cleverness of the series. It is wonderful to see so many more people discovering the show and these six episodes only make the wait for the next season even longer. I tried to watch it slowly but that didn’t last long. However Black Mirror is one of those shows where you watch an episode and then come back later to watch another. There are about a dozen episodes and soon it will be time to watch them all again they are all on Netflix so prepare yourself.

News Roundup

Netflix: A Trailer has been released for Gilmore Girls if you haven’t watched it what are you waiting for. There is still some time to catch up on the previous seasons before the release in November.

World Series: Typically to go along with the World Series we have a couple of articles about the Mayor or Governor and Senators wagering something against their counterpart in the other city.  This time around the Governors are betting pizza and beer from Chicago and mustard and beer from Cleveland. While the senators are just wagering some beer. However this isn’t the only bet Rabbis from Chicago and Cleveland have also placed a wager, and the losing Rabbi will travel to the winner and have a debate on the Jewish significance of baseball.

Inventions: This sounds like an interesting invention and hopefully it works and can lessen the impact of emissions on the atmosphere. Dutch scientist have created a giant vacuum that sucks out contaminants from the air creating fresher air. This seems like the way that the world will be moving towards if this invention is a success perhaps every one will own one and help offset the carbon emissions that we all make during the day, think of it as something like carbon offset. It could be a game changer