GAME TRAILER: Batman: Arkham Origins

I'm a little torn here. Although this trailer looks promising, there are other factors regarding this newest Batman title that concern me. First, they changed studios. Second, Kevin Conroy isn't voicing Batman/Bruce Wayne this time out (he voiced the last two as well as the animated series in the 90s). These could be minor annoyances or they could end up being a daunting blemish on the series. They have a solid base to work from thanks to the first two games, but is that enough to score a hat-trick? Time will tell. I want this game to be great, but sadly, I don't always get what I want.

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TRAILER: Dexter S8

All roads have led to here and Dex doesn't look like he's going to get off easy. Deb sure as hell isn't. I have mixed emotions about this final season, mostly because it's the final season and I love the show, but something tells me it's not going to end well. Either way, I'm dying to see how it all pans out and hope this spectacular series goes out on a high note. I'm also interested to see what's next for Michael C. Hall.

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TRAILER: Riddick

Vin Diesel's come a long way. I still remember when he vowed to never do a sequel to any of his films. Times sure do change. RIDDICK looks like a return to the grittier PITCH BLACK roots of this character. There has been much speculation about how we'd find Riddick chillin on some planet with a bunch of mercs on his ass. This trailer is all about that, with a touch of PITCH BLACK's alien menace on the side. Rumor had it that Karl Urban would be around, and that this would also be about Riddick's place he earned at the head of the table in the closing minutes of CHRONICLES. I didn't see Urban in the trailer, and to me, it felt all about Riddick vs. mercenaries. I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. Either way, I'm all for more Riddick action.

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TRAILER: Gravity

Not to sound like a downer, but this is dull take on a dead concept. I'd like to say how in hell did they get Clooney for this, but then again, he hasn't actually been doing much lately. I was hoping for something like SOLARIS (wicked flick with Clooney in space), but alas, this isn't feeling anywhere near as deep. Hopefully a full trailer will look more enticing as right now, this looks like a pass.

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TRAILER: Dracula

Not really sure what to make of this one. I love me some old school vampire action, and who better to live up to those standards than the D-man. I don't mind Jonathan Rhys Meyers as an actor either (he rocked in FROM PARIS WITH LOVE), he actually looks the part. I'm feeling a definite BRAM STOKERS DRACULA vibe here, which is a good thing, but again, I just don't know. NBC isn't exactly reliable either--just look at all the red tape surrounding HANNIBAL, so to call this a gamble is an understatement. I guess we'll have to see what the pilot looks like to know for sure.

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TRAILER: S.H.I.E.L.D.

I'm an avid Marvel fan, but this feels like HEROES with a Marvel logo stamped on it. This would be alright if HEROES never existed, but since we got this before with HEROES--and seeing as how this is jam packed with a bunch of nobodies, I'm feeling a little underwhelmed to say the least. I'll still give it a go, of course, but I'm not going in expecting too much.

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REVIEW: Iron Man 3

"A good ride as far as summer blockbusters go."

In the wake of saving the world from interstellar war, Tony Stark’s god complex is shaken.  And when he’s personally attacked by the Mandarin, potentially losing everything, he must dig deep for the courage and ability to fight back as the man inside the machine.

When it comes to Superhero flicks, third chapters don’t tend to go over well.  That said, if there was any franchise going to beat that rap it was IRON MAN.  This film has become extremely controversial, and as a result I’ll be giving away key plot points so if you haven’t watched it, turn back now.  Still here?  Great!  I guess the biggest complaint comes from IM3 feeling a lot like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  I agree and I disagree.  Truth be known, I didn’t care much Nolan’s epic finale.  I wanted to love it, hell I even called the Bane thing in a column for JoBlo.com like three years ago.  I agree the setup feels similar—Tony’s stripped of the suit, gets his shit handed to him and has to fight the hard road back to redemption.  At one point, I even asked myself if he was Marvel’s new Bruce Wayne (because of his lavish detective work).  But this isn’t THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and honestly, this flick rises above that film in many ways.

Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man.  Pure and simple.  He embodies Tony Stark’s persona like it’s a second skin.  The writing in this entry is stellar, with Stark throwing out golden one liners quicker than you can count.  I loved this.  Stark also spends the bulk of the movie without his suit, scared and vulnerable in the wake of the fiasco in New York with the Avengers.  His mind’s blown, knowing there’s so much more out there and it’s made him paranoid and overprotective.  I liked this angle.  Anybody can fly around in a suit for two hours blowing the hell outta bad guys, but this way we actually get some much needed depth to go along with all those sharp quips. 

Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan was a blast.  He stole every scene he was in.  Rebecca Hall was wasted and over all pointless.  I can’t stand Gwyneth Palthrow, I really wish they’d cast someone else as Pepper Potts.  Her storyline with the suit, and as a damsel in distress was probably the weakest part of the film.  Now as for villains, I like Guy Pearce, but knew nothing of the villainous Extremis as I don’t read Iron Man comics.  Apparently, the character was handled very similar to the comics, and aside from some unbalances in the powers department, I didn’t mind him and his crew of Human Torches.  Truth be known, most Superheroes outside of Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men, are pretty damn lame.  Many Superhero movies feel thin because of this very fact (case in point, why do think Superman fights Lex Luthor in almost every film), and the Iron Man universe is no exception to this rule.  Which brings me to my final point.  Sigh.  The Mandarin.

IRON MAN 3 is a fantastic addition to the franchise because it wasn’t afraid to stray from the beaten path.  Now as a guy who doesn’t read the comics, I didn’t mind the Mandarin U-turn that much, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel cheap and a bit disappointing.  The IRON MAN 3 trailer pushed my buttons because of the Mandarin.  The opening lines as the choppers destroy the Stark Mansion were awesome (and sadly, the best line, “Lesson number one, heroes, they don’t exist,” wasn’t even in the damn movie), and really made me feel like he was up against a serious villain.  Nope.  When the smoke clears, Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin was an actor playing a role that Extremis made up as a form of misdirection while he pulled off all these acts of destruction.  L-A-M-E.  Again, it’s not that big a deal, I still loved the movie, but many of us went into it thinking we were getting a badass showdown from hell and that just didn’t happen.  The end fight was cool and all (although it begs the question, why in hell didn’t Tony summon all his suits sooner?), but fans don’t like having the wool pulled over their eyes like this.  There’s a thin line between clever and cop-out.  This film, while awesome in its own right, definitely walks the line.  And don’t forget to stay until all the credits roll.  You’d think people would know by now, but I saw more than half the theater empty out before the final scene.



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