Batman: Bad Blood (February 8th, 2016)
Director: Jay Oliva
Starring: Sean Maher, Stuart Allen, Yvone Strahovski, and Jason O’Mara
Another year, another line of entries into DC’s Animated Movie Universe. And of course, as it’s been the last three years, we start with a Batman movie. But unlike those last two, Batman is not really the focus here. The focus is on the extended Bat family he is created, some purposefully and others accidentally. You got Nightwing and Damian aka Robin, the two that Batman purposefully trained and took under his wing. Then there’s Batwoman and Batwing, two who have taken up the vigilante mantle due to the presence of Batman in the world. We focus on these young guns since Batman has disappeared and something is afoot. Taking some story beats from Battle For The Cowl and Batman Incorporated/Grant Morrisons run, this is the most complete story in this current Batman and Robin series that’s being done. It’s still got a sense of being a little too short and quick, but only in some of the character beats. But this is the most satisfying one yet for Batman. The action is good, the voice acting is pretty great and the visual style is pretty good despite an anime influence. These movies are still chasing the heights of Flashpoint or The Dark Knight Returns, but it continues the fantastic run they’ve been on.
Monkey Shines (February 8th, 2016)
Director: George A. Romero
Starring: Jason Beghe, John Pankow, Kate MacNeil, and Joyce Van Patten
George Romero is one of the most iconic horror directors of all time and just one of the most influential directors in general. With the work he did on Night Of The Living Dead, not only did he essentially create what we know call zombies (moving away from the Haitian incarnation) but he pretty much paved the way for Independent filmmaking. But outside his zombie work, most people couldn’t tell you a damn thing about his career. Which is a shame because he didn’t end up like Tobe Hooper, making beyond bad movies after his classics. He made some solid work that didn’t help to change anything or keep the iconic stuff going, but there’s some good. Yet there is a misguided effort of two in that body of work, and this is one of them. Yet there’s a good majority of it that works, but one element comes in and just makes it all a little too silly. We follow a man (Beghe) who is a track star in school to become a lawyer when he’s struck by a car and paralyzed from the neck down. Seeing how he deals with this seismic change to his life is actually kinda interesting, until they introduced the monkey. His scientist friend gets him a trained capuchin monkey to help him around the house. But the monkey becomes psychotically and telepathically linked to Beghe, causing the monkey to kill those that Beghe gets mad at. There’s a part of me that feels like a mixture of Cujo and Rear Window coulda been kinda cool. But by adding a supernatural element, one that is not dealt with too well and kinda haphazardly thrown in there, throws the movie off completely and adds to many moments of downright silliness. Romero tries to make it work, but he can’t. It’s just too fundamentally ridiculous. There’s enough here that I enjoyed it, mainly the rehabilitation of this broken man and it’s sort of unrelenting ability to kill anyone off. But the “plot” is too much to recommend it to anyone outside of horror fans or those interested in Romero.
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, and TJ Miller
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