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Masters of the Universe: Revelation (A spoiler-free review by Josh)

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

As I write this, it’s just after 4 AM in my dinky little apartment. My living room is dimly lit with the glow of the scrolling credits of my most highly-anticipated show of 2021, scratch that, of the last ten years, no, scratch that too. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is quite possibly my most highly-anticipated show ever. In the twenty-some-odd years I’ve been on this planet I don’t think there’s ever been this much build-up to any entertainment property that I’m a fan of.

Sure, as a Star Wars fan, the road to The Force Awakens was magical. Regardless of your opinion of the film itself, or the sequels as a whole, that moment in the first trailer where the Millennium Falcon‘s theme plays as it rises into the frame was pure hype. The year leading up to that film’s release was unlike anything I’d experienced. I grew up on Star Wars, so seeing Han and Chewie come home in that second trailer was beyond cool. And then the film came out, and I remember the feeling that washed over me as I sat in that theater on opening night as John Williams’ theme began to play, and those familiar golden lines began to crawl: pure, unadulterated bliss.

Star Wars Marvel He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

Fast forward a few years, and I find myself in a strikingly similar position. In the same way that I grew up with He-Man, I grew up with Spider-Man and, on occasion, some of his amazing friends. While I never saw the first Avengers in theaters, I found myself engrossed in the story that Kevin Feige and his team decided to tell, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. From the next release, Iron Man 3, onwards I found myself in those uncomfortable theater chairs opening week for every film Marvel Studios put out. Through the ups and downs of phases two and three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was enthralled by the interconnected story and converging plotlines that ultimately led to Endgame, the culmination of what would later be called the Infinity Saga. It was both a love letter to the characters who originated the universe and carried the central throughline, as well as a genuine love letter to the fans who had supported the franchise for the first 10 years.

After those two monumental experiences, I thought I’d probably had my fill. Nothing could top the excitement and joy I experienced for those two franchises I grew up on reaching the pinnacle of Hollywood magic. And I was almost right. There are very few things in the world of entertainment that I love more than Star Wars and Superheroes. In fact, there’s only one: Masters of the Universe. The brief descriptions above of how excited I was for The Force Awakens and Endgame cannot begin to describe how I felt when I first heard about Masters of the Universe: Revelation during Power-Con. I’m not gifted with the ability to string words together in any meaningful way to properly convey my love for this franchise. From the very first poster revealed at Power-Con, to the stellar voice cast announced later on, and finally to the teaser dropped about a month ago and the full trailer that aired in early July, the anticipation only grew. And now that the series, Part 1 at least, is finally here… does it live up to the hype?

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

If you’re looking for a one-word answer: no. And it pains me to say that, it really does. I so wanted this series to be everything that it was marketed as, everything that I dreamed of seeing Masters of the Universe become since I was old enough to say “By the Power of Grayskull” myself. But there’s so much more to that “no” than just my initial disappointment. Don’t take this paragraph to mean that the show isn’t enjoyable, or worth a watch. It is, in fact, both of those things. If you’re reading this to find out whether or not you should watch this show, the answer is YES you should. If you grew up on Filmation, the 1987 Theatrical movie, or the 2002 series, then Revelation is worth a watch. While I would love to outline what ultimately didn’t live up to expectations in my eyes, I can’t do that without spoiling some of the magic.

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

So here’s my plan: I’m going to recommend you watch the series at some point this week. If you love it, great! If you hate it, great! If you’re somewhere in-between, great! No matter where you stand, don’t judge the show based on this, or any, review. Don’t assume you know what it’s about because of all the rumors and allegations that have been flying around since the first trailer dropped. Just watch the show. Part 1 is five easily digestible 25-minute episodes, so over the next week, sit down and watch them. If you want to binge them as I did, go for it. If you want to come home from work Monday through Friday and watch one episode at a time, Filmation-style, that’s cool too. But whatever you do, don’t skip the show because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Watch it for yourself and form your own opinions. Next weekend, after you’ve seen the series for yourself, check back here for my spoiler-heavy deep dive into what I did and didn’t like about the series.

My name is Josh, a fan for eternity and forever a Knight of Grayskull. Until next time…

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.12)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase Let’s Rock by the Black Keys!
 

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.9)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of by J. David Herman.
 


Purchase “Bullet Holes” (from John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum) by Bush!
 

Christmas gift ideas for your Stranger Things-loving friend

Many of you will be gathering around the dinner table tomorrow to devour some turkey and fixings. Chances are, some of your family members that will be eating with you will be fans of the phenomenal Stranger Things Netflix series. Perhaps you weren’t sure what to buy these people. Maybe you were thinking about something like a restaurant gift card, or cold, hard cash. And while those are certainly acceptable gifts for those you don’t know very well, a Stranger Things collectible might be a better option for fans of the Duffer Brothers series. Here are a few ideas:
Stranger Things

Personally, I liked the second season much better than the first…and that’s saying something, because I absolutely loved the first season! So whether your friends/family members/neighbors/secret Santa partners are fans of the original cast or enjoy the additions of Bob, Max, Billy, and Dr. Owens, these gift ideas will hit the mark.

I like Stranger Things

Possibly worth an entire year’s subscription to Netflix (which is now free on certain T-Mobile plans), the second season of Stranger Things was released just over a week ago. Seriously, this is not just the best show on Netflix. This is the best show period. Nothing else holds a candle to it, except maybe The Goldbergs, but that’s a whole different genre.

Last year, Punk Rock Paint made an awesome set of trading cards for Stranger Things, and he implied yesterday that series 2 is in the works…

I love my set of season 1 cards, and can’t wait for the second series…but I’m very impatient.

So I made my own…

I dropped a few on my Twitter last night…

I have a handful more that I plan to post soon, if there is interest to see them. I’ve tried to keep them spoiler-free, but I offer no guarantees.

Marvel’s Daredevil (2015)

Daredevil

Marvel’s Daredevil
Starring: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Vincent D’Onofrio
Netflix, 2015
13 episodes, 48-59 minutes each

[Review by TWJ contributor Joshua.]

Marvel’s Daredevil takes place after the catastrophic destruction of New York in 2012’s The Avengers. It ties in perfectly, making many obvious references to the cinematic universe, as well as subtle nods to the comic book readers who may be watching. One of the major themes throughout the show is the methods used to rebuild, both literally and figuratively, as New York reconstructs homes and businesses, and the citizens try to move on, despite the troublesome times.

The series focuses on a blind attorney, Matthew Murdock, working from a criminal defense office he owns with his good friend, Foggy Nelson. Their neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, is ridden with drugs distributed by the Russians, manufactured by the Chinese mafia, and enforced by the Japanese mob, all of whom are led by a seemingly untouchable man at the top, the Kingpin.

Matt may know the law, but that doesn’t mean he abides by it. In order to clean up the city and keep civilians out of harms way, Murdock dons a mask to combat the evil spreading through the streets. His heightened senses and advanced knowledge of multiple forms of martial arts makes him more dangerous than most criminals realize, which often spells their undoing.

From the very beginning we see Matt struggling with the morality of his actions and his methods of keeping the peace, while also showing us how a boy learns to use his disability to bring out his inner strengths. Marvel’s Daredevil is definitely a show worth watching from the unsettling crimson musical intro all the way to the climactic finality of the end. The show does a fantastic job of taking us along the journey Murdock follows to transform from a man of the law into a symbol of dark justice.

Sign up for Netflix and start watching Marvel’s Daredevil now!

New on @Netflix

I have heard a lot of good things about Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, so when I saw the option to watch instantly added this morning, I was happy. I plan to check it out later tonight (after the kids hit the sack, of course), and if I make it all the way through, I’ll let you know what I thought.

Here are a few reviews from around the web:

New streaming titles on @Netflix

A few titles added this morning that caught my eye:

  • I Sell the Dead: “As 19th-century grave robber Arthur Blake faces the guillotine, he confesses his sins to a priest, revealing a life filled with unearthly high jinks in this macabre comedy starring Dominic Monaghan as the doomed digger and Ron Perlman as the cleric.”
  • Chillerama: “The screams — and laughs — come fast and furious in this anthology of four tongue-in-cheek horror tales, each from a different writer/director. The baddies range from a gang of gay “werebears” and a monster sperm to Nazi madmen and zombies.”
  • Vampires (in French): “In this sly faux-documentary send-up of both the current cultural obsession with vampires and the way society treats those on its fringes, a TV crew sets up shop with a family of bloodsuckers living the good life in French-speaking Belgium. Vampires, it turns out, are not so different than the rest of us. Thus, when party-boy son Samson breaks bat rule No. 1 — no sleeping with your leader’s wife — the family of immortals gets exiled to Canada.”
  • Kidnapped (in Spanish): “On the day they’re celebrating their move into a beautiful new house, a Madrid couple (Fernando Cayo and Ana Wagener) and their teenage daughter (Manuela Vellés) become the targets of a brutal home invasion by a masked and violently determined trio of criminals. The family struggles to resist even after the gang separates the father from the two women. Their defiance leads to a brutal, bloody drama in what had been a peaceful middle-class setting.”

Indie horror movie feast (via @HorrorHound and @Netflix)

I picked up the special November convention-exclusive issue of HorrorHound Magazine last night at HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati. The article “The HorrorHound Grill” lists a ton of independent movies that have been released over the past couple of years. Below is a list of the titles I could locate available to stream on Netflix (* = foreign language):

Of these seventeen movies, I have only seen Hobo With a Shotgun, Red State and Rubber (which I need to re-watch because I was really tired when I watched it and don’t remember much about it at all). I needed a list like this since so much goes by without much fanfare, and if I don’t recognize the cover art or any of the people involved, many times I won’t take the time to look into it.

Hopefully a few more titles will pop up on Netflix in the future. The write-ups for both Rare Exports and Stakeland look interesting, and the artwork for Kidnapped looks terrifying (even if it is in Spanish and I hate subtitles).

I will start watching some of these movies, perhaps tonight, and will of course let you know if something in particular strikes my fancy. If you have any recommendations for other recent releases that are available to stream through Netflix, or if you have an opinion of any of the above films, let me know!

Last of the Living (2008)

Last of the Living
Directed by Logan McMillan
Starring Morgan Williams, Ashleigh Southam, Robert Faith, Emily Paddon-Brown

Zombies are big…even in New Zealand. A zomcom along the lines of Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, Last of the Living follows three slackers that are thrust into the role of saviors. When they meet a female scientist named Stef who has the blood sample needed to find a cure, they must help her get to an island where scientists are waiting for that last piece of the puzzle.

My favorite character in this film was Ash (played by Ashleigh Southam), playing the lovable loser who longs for the affection of Stef (Emily Paddon-Brown), but must compete with his self-centered friend Morgan (Morgan Williams). Rounding out the group is Johnny (Robert Faith), a rocker at heart who continues to practice his drumming, even though all his bandmates were zombified long ago.

If you like movies with a happy ending, this isn’t for you. But if you like low-budget zombie flicks with a little bit of dark humor, and you can overlook budget restraints, check out Last of the Living.

I will say this, for an independent movie, it has one of the greatest theme songs ever (and several of the other songs in the movie are pretty cool, too). Presenting “Last of the Living” by The Frank Woo

And the trailer for the film…

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