Diggin’ Through the Crates: Wu-Tang Clan “Protect Ya Neck”

Song: “Protect Ya Neck”

Artist: Wu-Tang Clan

AlbumEnter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Lyric: “I smoke on the mic like smokin’ Joe Frazier/ The hell-raiser, raising hell with the flavor/Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan/Swinging through your town like your neighborhood Spider-Man”

Character Reference/Meaning:

Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! Comic book nerds ain’t nottin ta F#@! wit! That’s right all you “DTC” fans out there, the one and only Wu-Tang Clan has officially touched down on our main stage, and they bring with them the nerd mentality. If you are going to mention pioneers of Hip-Hop it would be shameful not to bring in the Wu. Similar to how Spider-Man has been a monumental character in the Marvel Universe, comic books, and our hearts. It’s is no surprise that Hip-Hop has been a culture and pretty much a religion in the black culture, however, many may not realize that Spider-Man has meant a great deal to the black community as well. “What? How can that be? How is this nerdy white guy going to mean anything to black culture?” My guess is that these were some of the thoughts that paraded in your mind after I so bravely typed that sentence.

First off, Peter Parker comes from one of the birthplaces of Hip-Hop culture, Queens, New York. There have been countless rappers to come out of that neighborhood to find success such as: Nas, 50 Cent,  Marley Marl, and Pharoahe Monch. So right from the start, that parallel and that connection allows Hip-Hop fans to feel a little tingle in the back of their heads. Still to this day, African-Americans struggle, suffer, and have to continually faced discrimination coming from all angles in life. Housing markets, job opportunities, resources, opportunities, and especially the media. I may sound preachy to some, and come off as “hating white people” but that is not the case. I am all about inclusion, and I simply want to bring issues to light. Spider-Man means something to young black youth because he IS them; Peter Parker transcends race, being relatable to more than those who just look like him. The media continually portrays Spider-Man as being a menace and a monster that only hurts the city. No matter what he does, no matter how many people Spidey saves a person, no matter if he is set out to improve his community, the media will still only report the damage caused saving hundreds of lives. The media will always talk about how the only reason Electro attacked was because Spider-Man was present in the first place.

The same can be said about the black community. The news would much rather broadcast a murder than the opening of a community center, or a robbery rather than a second chance school for black youth. And this is not limited to the black community, this truth spans through all races, religions, and creeds. If you came from a single parent house hold, and your mom brought home a Spider-Man comic for you, and you read that he also came from a broken home, wouldn’t you feel something? Knowing that this character is feeling what you are feeling, and all the while he was just an average kid, is resonates with many of us. Far too many of us forget the origin stories, and what came before the heroism. Raised in a big city, with no parents at home, living modestly, trying to figure out his position in life yet more than willing to help someone with theirs. My guess is that more than a few people can relate to this. Beyond all this Peter Parker showed a life of possibilities. He is college educated mostly paying out of his own pocket striving for betterment. He showed that there is more out there, and that an awkward kid who constantly deals with loss, and less than favorable circumstances doesn’t have to let that define him. And in addition to that, he made being a nerd cool. He showed you can be smart and strong and regardless of what others think, that won’t change his morals and motivations. In addition to all that, president Obama was featured on the cover and in Amazing Spider-Man 583 (2009). That is both nerdy and bad-ass. I feel that I don’t have to explain that rappers coming out of Queens, or any where else qualify for almost exactly what I’ve said about Spider-Man. Substitute Spider-Man or Nas or 50, the same concepts apply. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 set to release on May 2nd, you will see the mixture of brains, brawn, courage, and all that other Spidey goodness come together. So remember people “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I have no justified way of tying that quote into this article but I feel like I have to use it, because you know, Spider-Man.

The Wolf of Wall Street Review

Genre – Comedy, Dark Comedy
Director – Martin Scorsese
Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, and Matthew McConaughey
Alluring element – Another Leo-Scorsese team up, bowling with little people, lots of naked chicks, Jonah Hill with dentures
Check it out if you liked –  Catch Me if You Can, Wall Street, American Gangster (but funny!)
Plot – 8
Acting – 10 
Representation of Genre – 8  
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 7
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 8
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8


“The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.”  And that quote right there folks is the essence of The Wolf of Wall Street.  Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a man who ran one of the most successful “pump and dump” stock schemes in history.  By now, if you have eyes and the internet, but haven’t seen the film, you already know the movie is about filthy amounts of money, alcohol and drug use.  You probably also know its really funny.  You may have read that it has a major moral, and in other places you may have read it has no moral at all.   The “F” word is used in many varieties over 500 times.  And there are lots of naked people.  Lots.

In fact, there is so much debauchery going on in Scorsese’s nearly 3-hour tale, that a search for pictures to include in this article on Google and Tumblr probably deserved to be on the SafeSearch function. I am not shocked by much, but about 10 minutes into the movie, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.  And it wasn’t because of the “F” word.  My guess is that Vivid Entertainment may be looking to Wolf for some pointers.  And if you are under 18, don’t look up Vivid Entertainment.


It took me awhile to judge this movie.  Mostly because afterwards, I felt guilty.  I felt guilty because I laughed through the majority of it.  I laughed at severe drug abuse, objectification of women, little people and regular Joes like me who got swindled out of millions of dollars.  And I kinda liked the people who were doing it.  Which is a testament not only to the actors and director, but to the writer.  The screenplay was adapted by Terence Winter, of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, from the book The Wolf of Wall Street by Mr. Jordan Belfort himself.  And that in itself is a little sickening.  We are living the life of this criminal through his eyes, and honestly, I kind of liked it.  And if there is a moral to the story, it is that if any of us were in the position to make millions, we would.  And then we would do very bad things with it.

The Wolf of Wall Street Lambo

As far as storytelling went, I enjoyed how unreliable our narrator was.  There are parts throughout the movie that don’t make sense.  And then there are parts that do.  That is not poor planning, but rather Scorsese showing us that this man is a drug addict. And when in a drug-addled state, he doesn’t remember what exactly happened just right, and he is already notorious for not telling the truth in his career, so what reason would he have to be honest outside of the office, too?

I do have to give a shout-out to Jonah Hill.  6 years ago as I sat in a movie theater watching Superbad,  I never would have thought that he would turn out to be an A-list actor.  He was funny in Wolf, but he certainly has matured from his days of trying to hook up with Jules.  And of course, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves applause.  This is the first time he has really been in a comedy where he himself was really funny. This may be his moment to finally win an Oscar.


There were only 2 downsides to the movie, as far as movies go.  One was that I felt it was way too long.  There was a point in the movie where a major catastrophe happens, and I was ready for the story to be over, but it still had about an hour to go.  It was a long night.  The other was that after being told Jordan started out on Wall Street in 1987, we don’t have much of an idea of what year it is.  I had to assume based off a brief sighting of a picture of President Clinton in the background, but even then, it could have been anytime in the 90’s.  I felt that the other big crime-comedy out right now, American Hustle let us know where we were, the decorations, the music the clothes were so spot on to the period, but Wolf had a hard time showing us our time period.

The Wolf of Wall Street is an enjoyable movie.  But it is not one I will watch over and over because of cinematic greatness.  And I certainly won’t be recommending it to Grandma.

written by Adrian Puryear

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Review

Genre – Inspirational, Dram-edy, Adventure
Director – Ben Stiller
Cast – Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt, Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine
Alluring element – Ben Stiller’s comeback, Kristen Wiig, landscape scenes, and wanting to quit your job and jump from a helicopter to a boat
Check it out if you liked –  Up, Forrest Gump, Eat, Pray, Love
Plot – 10
Acting – 8
Representation of Genre – 9  
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 10
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 8 
Soundtrack/Music – 10
Overall awesomeness – 10

If you have ever thought about saving a three-legged chihuahua, fighting your boss in the streets over a Stretch Armstrong toy, or just wanted to quit your job and discover the meaning of your life, then you need to read this review, close your computer, and go see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Based on the short story by James Thurber and the film of the same name made in 1947, the new adaptation takes on new life and new meaning in this modern adaptation.


Directed by Ben Stiller, Walter Mitty is a fantastical, feel-good, adventure movie that steers away from cheesy.  Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a man with a mundane life.  As is the case with all versions, Walter escapes a life where others nag him, put him down and trod upon him by daydreaming ways to make his situation go in his favor, but in the newest adaptations, Mitty takes his daydreams to new heights and makes them a reality.  (This is not to say the Danny Kaye version did not expound upon the short story, but seemed to be a little more slap-stick than introspective.)  Walter Mitty works for LIFE Magazine, which is going defunct.  When the most famous photographer’s (Sean Penn) negative meant for the last cover goes missing, Mitty decides to find the photographer and his negative.

sean penn

Walter Mitty is multi-layered with the backdrop of a man who is too afraid to admit his crush on his co-worker Cheryl (Kirsten Wiig) who unknowingly becomes the catalyst for his adventures, real or not, the search for the photo negative, and the motto of LIFE Magazine itself, “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”  The motto is multi-layered in itself and encompasses so many feelings the movie allows viewers to experience through Mitty and ponder about oneself.  One piece of the storyline I loved is when Walter talks about his teen years and his leather jacket, mohawk, and sweet skateboarding skills, yet he ended up being a mild-mannered worker-bee who is generally overlooked.  Sometimes life passes us by that we become people who we never aimed to be.  But the thing about being an adult is that we can choose our own happiness; it’s just that we don’t always do this.  And as adventurous as Mitty becomes, jumping out of planes, offering clementine cake to warlords and escaping an erupting volcano in Iceland, life’s pleasures can and should be simpler than the technology and the fast paced life that inundates our everyday lives.  Sometimes, a soccer game with strangers is what’s more important.  And admitting what we want is even more important.

walter mitty plays soccer

The special effects and cinematography blew me away for this type of movie.  The creative way of posting words throughout the film was well beyond expectation.  Text message break through mountains, the LIFE motto appears on signs, and the credits replace street sign postings.  Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig are impeccable actors who make their characters relatable and Sean Penn’s character is admirably mystical, just as Sean Penn is.  He delivers one of the best lines of the movie, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention,” which is overwhelmingly taking over Tumblr accounts everywhere. Walter Mitty delivers great humor, as well.  eHarmony Rep, Todd (Patton Oswalt), delivers some great lines.  The idea of online dating at all and how people portray themselves online is a great use of comedy.  And the music is in a realm of its own.  Featuring Of Monsters and Men and David Bowie, “Space Oddity” and Major Tom will never be the same after we see Kristen Wiig sing it with her guitar.  Check out this playlist to hear it, or consider buying the soundtrack itself.  The music added an amazing element to the film and completed how well rounded it really was.

kristen wiig

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has received mixed reviews from many critics, but I believe it is a solid film.  When a film can make me re-examine my life and how I live it, that is a top notch movie.  I laughed, I felt inspired, I was awed, and I fell in love.  That kind of Secret Life is the kind of life we should all strive for.

written by Adrian Puryear

Godzilla Trailer

Whenever I hear “Godzilla”, I think of cheesy movies about Tokyo and Matthew Broderick.  But this one looks awesome.  Who knows if the story sucks, but the visuals are amazing!

Justice League Flashpoint Paradox Review

DC has no shortage of stories set in an alternate universe, with most of the play going to Infinite CrisisCrisis on Infinite Earths, and other Elseworld stories. So when Geoff Johns came out with the Flashpoint arc in 2011, fans were initially skeptical. Not only was Johns trying to reconstruct the DC comic lore, but he was doing it with Flash at the helm. While Barry Allen has been a staple character in the Justice League since his mid-1950’s induction into DC Comics, he remains out of the spotlight. The premise of the Flashpoint storyline is that, in a desperate move to change events in time to save his mother from being murdered, he taps into the Speed Force (it’s a long story; basically, the best way I can describe the Speed Force is an energy that the Flash can pull from to manipulate time… or some crazy shit like that), unknowingly creating a Butterfly Effect, saving his mother but putting himself right in the middle of a world war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Flash has found himself in a world without allies and without his powers. It’s a bit far-fetched of a story, but it really works out. So many questions about the DC Universe that begin with “What if” are addressed in the Flashpoint Paradox. What if Hal Jordan never was given a Green Lantern ring? What if Superman’s Kryptonian shuttle passed Smallville and landed in the hands of the government? What if Aquaman and Wonder Woman never got to interact with humanity before their rise to power? Maybe it’s just the fanboy in me, but there’s just something thrilling about not knowing what will happen next – an entire realm of new possible outcomes.

Everything that makes the book work shows up in the film. Foremost, the Flash is an excellent leading character. He’s charismatic, witty and is the one voice of hope in a universe full of darkness. Plus, he can run really fast. But really, it’s Flashpoint Batman that steals the show. Batman (who is not Bruce Wayne in this world) is one of the most rugged and dangerous characters I’ve ever seen. He’s missing the high-tech gadgetry, but he more than makes up for it by being a total badass. Even the President respects his gangster. The rest of the Justice League is also in full effect. Flashpoint Aquaman and Wonder Woman could easily hold their own movie. As the two juggernauts clashed, I almost forgot I was watching a DC Animated movie. Professor Zoom AKA The Reverse Flash AKA… (this could take a while; he has a lot of nicknames) … AKA Thaddeus Thawne plays a crafty villain that is obsessed with bringing down the Flash, even at the expense of destroying the world (Sheesh dude, get a hobby). He presents the perfect match for Flash, as he can manipulate the Speed Force to make it appear that he is going faster or slower. He’s the yin to Flash’s yang and they play off each other well.

I bet the first time The Flash and The Reverse Flash met, it was just like this.
I bet the first time The Flash and The Reverse Flash met, it was just like this.

The biggest note of discussion with this film is the decidedly adult nature it takes on. Not only is it darker than the comics it adapts from, but it is the darkest DC Animated film released yet. There are tons of violent deaths, and nobody is off-limits. It’s like I was watching The Wire. While some might see this as unnecessary, I feel that the violence and tragedy add to the gravity of the film. It’s not for the faint of heart, and definitely not a family-friendly movie, but the anime-style brutality made me feel more in touch with the characters and the stakes they were fighting for. The animation is complemented by nuanced changes in the storyline to make things fit more cohesively. Die-hard fans can tell, but there are several events that allude to several of the spin-off stories that come from Flashpoint, chronicling the stories of the Justice League in this alternate timeline from hell. On the other hand, though, some of the subtleties may fall off the deaf ears of many of the casual fans that look to these movies to learn more about comic books.

Overall, this is one of my favorite graphic novel movie adaptations that DC Animated has done. It has a solid storyline and a great voice acting cast to carry it throughout the amazing action scenes and large-scale thrills. Its mature content and subtle hints may turn off some casual fans, but do pay homage to the grave nature of the source material. If you want to broaden your horizons in the comic book world and aren’t afraid of graphic violence, this is the DC Animated film you have been waiting for.

Category Explanation Score
Plot One of the best alternate universe stories I’ve ever read, there are a few points in the film you can’t really understand unless you’ve read the source material. 8/10
Voice-acting An All-Star cast creates believable characters that carry themselves. 10/10
Representation of Source Material Flashpoint does a solid job of taking the source material and bringing it to life, keeping some of the most memorable moments intact. 10/10
Animation The hardcore and anime-like feel of the film fit the dark storyline. They also do a great job of making the Flash’s animations clean. 8/10
Sound Effects and Music Hero-certified music and cool time-warping sound effects fit the ambiance 8/10
Captivity Flashpoint is broken up into enough segments that it never feels like it’s as far along as it really is. 10/10
Overall awesomeness There is nothing about this film that does not kick total ass. 10/10
Creativity Even though it’s a remake of a graphic novel, the genius that is Geoff Johns crafted an amazing story that explores an alternate universe with no reservations. 10/10
Replayability I’ve seen the Flashpoint Paradox three times already, and there are more details to catch everytime 9/10
Special Features A feature on the Rogues Gallery, a scientific breakdown of the Speedforce and some great DC Vault episodes make this an excellent showcase of The Flash 10/10
Justice League: Doom (film)
All the Flashpoint books!
Justice League: War will be DC Animated’s first New 52 movie and will reprise the first storyline of Jim Lee and Geoff John’s Justice League. All that I have on my wish list is that it’s animated by Jim Lee (I’m kind of obsessed with his art) and that I get to see the animated version of this. It’s already been released that Whedon alum Alan Tudyk is voicing Superman and DC Animated veteran Jay Oliva will be directing. Check out the teaser trailer at the link below.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

Pacific Rim Review

Genre – Scif-fi, Action
Director – Guillermo del Toro
Cast – Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi
Alluring element – Giant robots vs. giant monsters…come on…
Check it out if you liked – Transformers, Jurassic Park, Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anime)
Plot – 8
Acting – 8
Representation of Genre – 10  
Cinematography – 7
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 8 
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 10


Suit up Hush fans!!  Tryouts have officially started.  “Tryouts for what?” you ask!  I’m on the hunt for my neural handshake partner.  “What’s a neural handshake?” you ask .  For those of you that have already seen Pacific Rim – no explanation is required.  For those of you who haven’t (…WHY HAVEN’T YOU!!…) I will explain.  A neural handshake is the method by which two individuals dive into one another’s minds and memories facilitated and for the purpose of piloting the most bad-ass invention ever thought up by humans – a 250 foot, two-thousand ton, plasma gun wielding combat robot.  A Jaeger.  “What’s a Jaeger for?” you ask (you’re full of questions today, aren’t you?).  Well, what else is a giant battle-bot good for besides fighting monsters the size of skyscrapers.  Kaiju, is what they’re called.  So, like I said, tryouts are here and I’m sure there’s already a line outside my door.  While you make your way to that line, let me tell you why Pacific Rim may be the best movie you’ll see all summer.

Pacific Rim gets to it right off the bat.  The film starts with a brief recounting of the worlds first Kaiju encounter.  Narrated by the main character, Raleigh Becket (Hunnam), viewers are flashed images of the beast taking down the Golden Gate bridge, F-15’s being swatted out of the air like they were mosquitoes, humble citizens frantically fleeing (Godzilla style), and endless amounts of destruction until finally the Kaiju is downed by all the human race has to throw at it.  After taking down one hulking monster from the sea, another one appears some months later.  This time on the other side of the world, Hong Kong.  After more death, destruction and a slow, nearly unachievable take down of this new terror from the pacific ocean, the people of earth realize that “this wasn’t going to stop.”  So naturally, the pacific nations united, bringing together all the coolest scientists, engineers and video game experts (I assume…) and tasked them with creating “monsters of our own…”  The Jaeger program is born.  While building the walking ninja-mechs was simple enough, what proved to be the biggest obstacle in making the Jaeger’s feasible was finding pilots to guide the man-made beasts into battle.   A Jaeger is only as effective as its driver.  If one was going to hand a Kaiju’s ass back to him, they had to be able to go toe-to-toe with Mr. Miyagi in real life (the gamers wept at this news).  Not only that, but the neurological strain on solo pilots proved to be too overwhelming for sustainable implementation.  This is where neural handshakes are important.  Instead of one brain to pilot a Jaeger, two would be used.  But for ultimate effectiveness paired pilots have to be “compatible.”  Not just any two people can share all their thoughts, desires, memories, fears, and emotions and still karate chop Kaiju in the face.  Eventually the humans finally got it down, and before you know it, the pacific coast became the new battle-royale arena.  That’s where the movies starts and it only gets better from there.

Pacific Rim does an above and beyond job as far as sci-fi and action movies go.  By not wasting any time on deliberate build-up or complex plots (but having just enough to carry the story along) the audience is sucked right in from the get-go.  It was clear that del Toro and crew understood what aspects fans would be drawn to and they did an excellent job of highlighting them.  I’d wager that more than 50% of screen time included either or both Jaeger and Kaiju.  Watching the pilot loading process, or Jaeger maintenance and transportation, or Kaiju dissection is so enthralling and entertaining it’s surprising.  The scenes between major confrontations are well spent on developing characters and plot with only marginal amounts of that dragging-along feeling.  This is especially noteworthy considering the main sequences are larger than life and truly spectacular battles between machines and monsters.  Each cast member plays a pivotal role.  Each has layers that peel back over the course of the movie.  None of it is cliche and all of it makes for very entertaining moments.  I especially loved the banter between the two head scientists (portrayed by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman) as they theorize why and how the Kaiju are attacking.  Idris Elba never fails to deliver a smooth, yet in your face performance of a hardened and passionate leader.  Miss Mori’s (Kikuchi) layers are especially epic and very chilling.

Combine all the greatness of the in-between and it still doesn’t come close to Jaeger vs. Kaiju battles (which is how it should be).  These sequences were damn near perfect.  Anticipation builds to boiling levels every time a show down is imminent.  When the bell dings and the lumbering giants charge the rush is practically orgasmic.  Each battle holds new surprises.  Jaeger’s all have different abilities and weapons, Kaiju adapt and “learn” from previous battles, environment and landscapes vary.  The epic-ness is consistently epic.  The details in these scenes are icing on top of the cake (your favorite icing, I might add).  When a giant robot fist swings and misses it’s intended target (a giant monster’s throat) and careens into the adjacent office building, slamming halfway across a single floor stopping at just the right point and with just the right amount of force to start the pendulum effect of a Newton’s cradle desk ornament is applause worthy.  Speaking of punching office buildings… The collateral damage in this movie makes Man of Steel look like a glass of spilled milk.  My only grievances with this movie are the sometimes hard to follow cinematography during fights and the “dinosaur” plot twist.  Not really a twist, just an unnecessary and distracting element that doesn’t even constitute deeper thought.  All in all, Pacific Rim nailed it.

I could write all day about how impressed I was with various aspects of Pacific Rim.  This film struck a prominent cord within me and resonated so deeply with what I love about the genre that it’s taken me two weeks just to write this review for fear of leaving something important or awesome out of it.  Don’t be mislead by the overall rating I’ve given Pacific Rim.  Strict adherence to the grading criteria and personal principles indicates this movie is pretty freakin’ sweet with a rank of 85%.  On a very personal level, this film is much closer to 95% for me.  It will go down as one of my all time favorite films.  I can’t wait to see this movie again and gawk at the shear and pure awesomeness that is Pacific Rim.  Please, please, please do not miss this film while it’s in theaters.  It may not be the best movie you see all summer, but I’d be willing to bet you a movie ticket that it is probably the funnest movie you’ll see all summer (if not, all year).  Now, if you’ll all excuse me – I have tryouts to attend to.

written by Taylor Lowe

This is the End Review

Genre – Comedy, Stoner Comedy
Director – Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Cast – Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jonah Hill
Alluring element – Some of the funniest guys on the planet… oh and Emma Watson
Check it out if you liked – Pineapple Express, Superbad
Plot –  7
Acting – 8
Representation of Genre –6  
Cinematography – 5
Effects/Environment – 6
Captivity – 7
Logical consistency – 6
Originality/Creativity – 7 
Soundtrack/Music –  9
Overall awesomeness – 6


Plain and simple, this is a Stoner movie.  And perhaps I would have liked it more had I actually been stoned while watching it.  Unfortunately, I was much too sober to fully enjoy This is the End.  I was really excited to see this film because Superbad is my favorite modern comedy.  Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are a crack team at writing comedy.  All the actors, no matter how small or big a part they were, have all acted in some of the best comedies of the last 5 years.  Yet, the movie lacked the charisma the other movies had.  It’s a little hard to lack charisma when there is so much personality in one room, especially when all the actors are playing themselves, in a sense.  But I think that was the problem; there was too much personality and not enough substance.

This is the End starts with Jay coming to visit his best Canadian friend Seth.  Seth convinces an unwilling Jay to go to a party at James Franco’s home.  Once they arrive, Jay is ditched by Seth, who hangs out with all his Hollywood friends.  We meet a very coked-out and very annoying Michael Cera who slaps Rihanna’s butt.  It is great that Rihanna bitch slaps Cera, but if that scene hadn’t been previously leaked, it would have been funnier.  Craig Robinson is the life of the party singing a song to match his T-Shirt, “Take Yo Panties Off.”  This shirt was possibly the funniest character in the movie.  I want that shirt.  James Franco has two large canvasses hanging prominently in his new home that read “James Franco” and “Seth Rogen”.  Jay soon feels uncomfortable and wants to go to the corner mart.  Seth accompanies him and they argue about Jay feeling uncomfortable and the running joke that Jay and Jonah Hill hate each other.  At the corner mart, the apocalypse begins and those who are good are sent to heaven.  The rest, including our entire cast, are left to what is now hell on Earth.  And thus the large chunk of the movie ensues.

A lot of the movie felt as though the writers, and probably the actors, sat in a room for days on end, got stoned out of their minds, and then made a whole bunch of inside jokes.  Many of which weren’t funny once on screen.  There weren’t a lot of one-liners that came out of this film as being “quotable” as there were in Superbad or Knocked Up.  That is what I love about those movies, is that I can still quote them, and they are still funny.  The one scene that was memorable and quotable is *SPOILER* when the group is trying to exorcise the possessed Jonah Hill.  As Jay stands above him with a crucifix chanting “the power of Christ compels you!”, devil-Jonah mocks ” Guess what? It’s not that compelling.”  The majority of the actors play people they really aren’t and haven’t really been in any other movie.  But Danny McBride was still an ass.  And because of that, I didn’t find him funny.  I kept thinking throughout that the role would have been fitting for someone else, and someone who has never been part of that crew.  Perhaps the great JGL?  I can dream.  Many of the jokes were giggle worthy: Jonah playing with James Franco’s gun, the argument over the Milky Way, the sequel to Pineapple Express.  But some jokes just fell flat.  Discussing Emma Watson and rape in the same sentence is not funny.  And really, any joke about rape, especially written by a group of men is hard to come across as funny.  And what was with The Backstreet Boys being the music of heaven?  Its a little laughable, but it probably only makes sense to those guys.

This is the End is the one of those movies I don’t regret watching, but I probably won’t be watching it again anytime soon.  Maybe next time, Seth.

written by Adrian Puryear

After Earth Review

Genre –Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic World
Director – M. Night Shyamalan
Cast – Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Alluring element – Will Smith
Check it out if you liked – The Hunger Games, any moderately sci-fi movie made.
Plot – 9 
Acting – 9
Representation of Genre – 8 
Cinematography – 8
Effects/Environment – 7
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 7 
Soundtrack/Music – 7 
Overall awesomeness – 8 


I will start off by saying that I liked After Earth.  It had everything that I like in my entertainment: science fiction, a little bit of fantasy, a survivalist plot, and an unlikely hero.  I thought the acting was good.  I thought the special effects were decent.  I liked that even though it was an M. Night. Shyamalan film (SPOILER), there was no crazy twist.  I was a little worried that there would be a twist and that it would be that it wasn’t Earth after all.

So why have other critics given it such bad reviews?  I think because the film was marketed badly.  The good part of the marketing was to not mention M. Night Shyamalan’s involvement.  But it was made to look like a film starring Will Smith, which is really for adults.  But he was a supporting actor to his young son Jaden.  Jaden Smith was the star here, so it was misleading to make the star Will.  It may have received better reception had the film been marketed as “young adult” a la The Hunger Games.

(Major Spoilers ahead.  Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know details)  The background of After Earth is that an alien invasion is going to happen on the new civilization of Nova Prime.  The Ursas are aliens who can smell human fear.  They are ruthless.  But Cypher Raige can kill them.  He is able to by “ghosting”, or turning off his fear.  He teaches this method and other military regimens to the people of Nova Prime.  His son, Kitai is one of these people.  Kitai is denied advancement to become a Ranger at the beginning of the film.  Kitai’s mother convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last mission.  It goes wrong and they crash-land on to Earth, which humans have not inhabited in over 1,000 years.  The beacon that could send an emergency signal to their people is on the tail of the ship, which landed about 60 miles from their location.  In the crash, the whole crew except Cypher and Kitai die.  Cypher breaks his leg badly and Kitai must brave the Earth to retrieve the beacon.  All with the possibility that the Ursa they were smuggling on the ship may have survived the crash and is roaming around waiting to kill.

I thought the action was great.  Because Jaden has already played the “Karate Kid”, it was easy for him to play this role well.  Other critics didn’t care for the acting.  Because Jaden is the main actor in the movie, I think it is a little unfair to give a 15 year old such a harsh reaction.  He has grown up in Hollywood, but because he is the son of a superstar, and starring in roles right next to his father, it becomes very easy to see his setbacks as an actor.  But his father has been perfecting his craft since he too was a teenager.  Will Smith is now 44 years old.  And as you may recall, Will Smith didn’t start out in major motion pictures playing action heroes, he started out on television playing, well, himself.  So let’s give Jaden a break.  He did a great job.

The story was good.  There weren’t any major plot holes that I saw. Kitai was a normal teenager with a shaky past.  He has some issues psychologically due to his father’s sterile treatment of him and his sister’s death, which he blames himself for.  The intense scenes of Kitai vs. Nature kept me at the edge of my seat for the majority of the movie.  I really enjoy survivalist movies.  The new world was easy to imagine if it were to be abandoned.  The beginning scenes of Nova Prime are breathtaking.  The special effects of the sky were spectacular.  Could After Earth have been better?  Perhaps, but for a simple plot, I think it was tops.  Lots of action, good acting, no sex and not too much gore.  That’s a winner for me.

written by Adrian Puryear

King of the Stars

A short time ago, in a galaxy really close by, a king was anointed.  On January 25th, 2013 it was announced that J.J. Abrams will direct what’s sure to be the next most highly anticipated Sci-Fi film of the century, Star Wars Episode VII.  The official announcement came, after a week of rumors and speculation, that Kathleen Kennedy the new Lucasfilm President (or as I like to call her, George Lucas Episode 2) and her staff had selected the next director for the first of three Star Wars sequels.  J.J. Abrams is best known for his involvement in the TV series Lost (exec. producer), Alias (exec. producer) and Fringe (exec. producer) as well as his exploits as movie director in Mission Impossible III, Super 8, and the most recent Star Trek films.  Okay, let’s nip this issue in the butt right now… CALM DOWN … Yes, you!  You who on some level is somewhere between appalled and dumbfounded that the new leaders at Lucasfilm have already resorted to borrowing something from the rival Trek universe for this revival of the glorious legacy that is Star Wars!!  Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and then do the following.  Open up IMDB, scroll down the list of J.J. Abrams’ involvements and as you read, count out on your hands the number of things that sucked on that list.  If you somehow managed to tally enough to need two hands, go over the list again and this time, count how many things REALLY suck.  Down to one hand or less?… I thought so.  With that helpful exercise out of the way let’s take a step back.

While the above paragraph may have led you to believe that I’m convinced Abrams will do a great job in his new directing role, think again.  In fact, in my mind, J.J. Abrams has just placed his head on the Guillotine block for all to see.  Whether or not the executioner (me and the collective Star Wars community) decides to drop the blade will be determined by his actions as a director in what is likely to be the most important movie of his career.  As he awaits his judgment day I will remain cautiously and skeptically optimistic.  I thought a good deal on how I was going to write this piece.  And while I must join the hoard of bloggers and fans crafting lists of demands that Abrams must follow should he wish to make good movie and spare himself decapitation, I’ve done my best to refrain from such rigid thought processes.  Instead I thought this: If I, a die-hard fan, could give J.J. Abrams one piece of advice or pose a single request, I would do so in one sentence.  Two words in fact:  Irvin Kirshner.

For those of you who don’t know who Irvin Kirshner is, he was the brilliant mind and talent that directed Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back.  For those of you who don’t know me, know that this film is my favorite of all time – not just of the six films, but of ALL films.  Let me make my best attempt to tell you why Empire is my favorite movie of all time in just a few sentences.  Empire has it all.  From action and drama, to comedy and suspense, to romance and despair, Episode 5 is a shining example of what is great about movies.  This film, whose predecessor appealed largely to a Sci-Fi community, took another step out of the proverbial box and caught the interest of everybody.  For those who weren’t satisfied with repetitive action and adventure, we found thought provoking themes in the teachings of Yoda and the lost legion of ancient Jedi.  For those who were tired of the good guys always winning, we found a story of darkness and a bleak conclusion.  For those who were weary of predictability, we found utter shock at the terrifying truth of Vader’s identity.  For those who didn’t want to take their girlfriend to the latest chick-flick found compromise as the love story between Han Solo and Princess Leia was just as compelling as the action sequences.

But what was it that made these parts stand out?  What made them so enthralling that it would be viewed by most as the best of the entire series?  The characters.  It was more than just the story, and the ships, and the giant space slug.  It was watching a three-foot green doll emote like it was real.  It was watching Leia and Han softly kiss each other for the first time in the confines of the Millennium Falcon.  It was watching the horrified reality dawn on Luke’s face as he came to learn that the most evil and feared man in the Galaxy was his father.  It…was…acting.  Acting at its very finest.  And it was Irvin Kirshner that brought this out of our heroes (and villains).  Kirshner knew what it meant to be a director.  He was dedicated to his audience through his characters.  Without concerning himself with fitting his characters into the world Lucas had created, he let the world fall in around the actors.  It wasn’t forced or contorted for the genre – it was one of the most organic and consuming portrayals this Husher has ever seen.  It is this mind frame that I hope Abrams adopts in his new role.  No matter who casters hire, what plot is composed, how much CGI is used, or if we have to suffer through Gungans and Ewoks again, Abrams has the opportunity to immerse his audience in the same way Kirshner did 33 years ago.  The pressure is on and any degree of egomania is sure to result in a disaster worse than the Hindenburg and Casey Anthony combined.  But there is time and resources.  Disney and its impressive little empire will do well to recognize their role in this undertaking and allow and encourage Abrams to play his accordingly.  In three-years’ time I want to write about how I could feel Abrams commitment to me, the viewer, the fan to taking me back…A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.  J.J. Abrams, may the Force be with you.

written by Taylor Lowe

Broken City Review

Genre: Thriller/Crime/Drama
Director/Writer: Allen Hughes/Brian Tucker
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffery Wright
What’s Unique: An enticing story with mystery and excitement, even when the guns are holstered.
Check It Out If You Liked: Michael Clayton, The Departed, The Wire (TV Series)


Plot 9/10
Acting 8/10
Representation of Genre 7/10
Cinematography 8/10
Effects/Environment 9/10
Captivity 9/10
Logical consistency 6/10
Overall awesomeness 7/10
Creativity 8/10
Soundtrack/Music 7/10

       Hollywood had a slow week.  If you visited Rotten Tomatoes or another fellow review site then you probably noticed that critics weren’t too hyped on any of the new releases.  The top two grossing movies, I’m sure, will be The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger (**cough RETIRE cough**) and the film I went to see instead – Broken City.  Good choice.

Broken City takes place in fictional New York City in 2012, right in the midst of election season.  The film opens up seven years before 2012 with a slow-motion shot of police officer William James Taggart, played by Mark Wahlberg, pointing a pistol while the camera pans to his feet where a young teen, gangbanger lies dead with bullet holes through his body and forehead.  No words.  Just slow motion images.  I love films that draw you in right away with silent mystery – gets the brain pumpin’ fast.  That scene gives way to a court case where Taggart is on trial for “murder” of this youth.  Taggart and his council tout self-defense and eventually Taggart walks.  Meanwhile, the mayor of New York, Nicholas Hostetler, played by Russell Crowe, and the chief of police, Carl Fairbanks, played by Jeffery Wright, discuss the questionable heroics/atrocities of Taggart and some evidence that was never introduced in court due to “misplacement” on the part of NYPD. Ooooo – more mystery!!!  Taggart is brought to Hostetler and Fairbanks immediately following his acquittal to be congratulated and then, fired.  The streets wanted Taggart’s head for shooting down a kid and the Mayor seemed to have something up his sleeve for this now ex-cop.  Seven years pass, Taggart starts his own private investigation office, the Mayor is up for reelection and all things seem to be as normal as it gets in New York.  While Taggart tries to keep his successful, but unprofitable P.I. career afloat he receives an unexpected call from none other than Mayoral incumbent, Hostetler.  Soon Taggart is following Hostetler’s wife, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones under suspicion that she is having an affair.  But it doesn’t take long for this Mrs. Hostetler’s infidelity to evolve into something much more diabolical and dangerous.  There are more to the Mayor’s motives and Taggart sets out to find out what while risking his life.

You get the gist.  Lots of mystery, just the right amount of action and, my personal man-crush, Mark Wahlberg , all make Broken City an all-around solid film.  It had been a while since I’d seen a really well done political-crime thriller and Broken City was a breath of fresh air.  It was also nice to wash off the disappointment of Gangster Squad released the week before – yuck.  This film maintained a great balance throughout.  Wahlberg played his usual character – a total badass with street smarts and a touch of “big-picture” insight.  He does well to complement Crowe’s character, who comes off as how I’m sure most of us see politicians – two faced, thieving and arrogant.  The two of them are what really make this movie awesome.  I imagine there are movie-goers out there who might complain that there wasn’t enough action or that the plot didn’t make perfect sense (more on that in a moment).  I have to disagree with those folks.  I was completely sucked into the plot and guessing at what was going to happen next.  Explosions and gunshots are not always needed to make a crime film juicy.  The suit and tie affairs were just as riveting as Mark Wahlberg kicking in the door to some sucker’s house followed by a good beat down.  I also have to give props for Jeffery Wright’s performance (you’ll probably know him as US Agent Felix Leiter from the most recent round of James Bond flicks).  His portrayal of a kinda-crooked cop that, deep down, really just wants what’s best for his city was a homerun.  I also especially like the last little twist thrown into the film.  I won’t say more than that – you’ll have to see it yourself for details!  Overall, this film was well conceived and nicely executed.

Now, no single film is perfect… well except one (**cough The Empire Strikes Back cough**)… and Broken City is no exception.  The movie hits it mark in nearly every single category except the one that matters most – consistency!!!  Without giving away any critical plot twists – the film creators didn’t adequately explain the big mystery Wahlberg’s character spent the whole movie trying to unravel.  Viewers weren’t left completely high and dry, but we didn’t get the full closure I think was necessary to make this film truly superb.  I walked out of the theater with questions about the legality of certain issues and occurrences.  And not just minor, or developmental issues and occurrences, but the ones that this entire story is based upon!!  I’m no private eye or detective, but I’ve seen The Wire and that pretty much makes me a crime expert – I have a right to be skeptical.  Another downside to this film is the “in-between” as I like to call it.  A good chunk of this film was dedicated to filler and focus on events that just flat out didn’t have to be there.  Usually that makes for a terrible movie.  But upon serious reflection I’m actually really glad they were there.  I might even argue that they were necessary as it provided depth and realness to the characters I was watching on screen.  Or maybe it’s my Mark Wahlberg crush… Who’s to say?!  Some of it may have been more drawn out than was really needed, but without any of it this movie would have been much worse for the wear.

Hush Comics gives Broken City a 78% on its awesomeness scale.  It’s a great example of a crime, thriller done right.  It’s full of mystery and excitement and contains real, down to earth conflict that is truly hard to find in films nowadays.  I recommend this one while it’s still in theaters, especially if your other option is Gangster Squad.  Trust me – I’m doing you a favor.  Until next time Hushers!

Written by Taylor Lowe

broken city bit o trivia