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The Golem (Film Review)

Every culture has its own mythological beasts. The Greeks had the Minotaur and Medusa. The Romans had the basilisk. The Chinese had dragons. One particular creature of the human imagination that has often been overlooked in mythology discussions is that of the golem, a creature made of stone or earth summoned to defeat evil…and maybe even go on an unintended murderous rampage. This product of Jewish culture has been traced as far back as the early years of Judaism with more prominent tales of the earthy monster taking place in the 16th and 17th centuries. It sounds like something ripe for the pickings of a movie. Screenwriter Ariel Cohen thought so too.

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Gregg’s Tenaciously Transformative Top 10 Films of 2018

This year was the first time since I started doing this ten years ago where my ‘worst of the year’ list was compiled before my ‘best of’. Both have since fluctuated with the titles on those lists, but the moral of the story is that while 2018 had some great films, I never felt it was a great year for films. In the final weekend before this article was due, I crammed in four theater visits in 48 hours for the most accurate top 10 list I could compile (unfortunately Vice came out too late to be viewed for this list). Little did I know three of those four wouldn’t even come close to making this list (sorry, Aquaman, I’m elated you finally got a film but it’s just too long and the Black Manta actor was awful). Nevertheless, the films that did make this were very worthy of my movie-loving appreciation for any number of reasons. As always, here’s my disclaimer that this list isn’t claiming each of these films are super artsy or award-worthy. Some of them will likely walk away with a Golden Globe or Oscar. Others are just definitive popcorn movies that were pure fun. Either way, it’s quite a mash-up of action, emotion and great storytelling.

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Gregg’s Top 10 Blu-rays of 2018

This year every time a new month came in, my money went out. I found an impressive array of discs released in 2018 and there was definitely some jockeying for position that took place with this list since mid-summer. For instance, DC Comics’ Justice League had been a mainstay on here until recently when one release after another pushed it off the list. Still, that film does have my favorite steelbook to date, but we’re not counting points for artwork here. We’re looking at quality of the production and the library of content. Extras aren’t the be all end all, but they can make or break a title entering this list so let’s see who made the cut.

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Gregg’s 2018 Game of the Year

As the years have passed, I have drifted significantly from video games and focused that time more on boardgaming. I just find the ability to use my imagination and the skill of critical thinking far more engaging in something like Terraforming Mars or Memoir ’44 as opposed to the button mashing of Mortal Kombat or the run ‘n gun of Call of Duty. Nevertheless, there is that occasional title of pixel fun that just captures my attention and won’t let go. Whereas last year that honor went to the DC Comics street fighting game Injustice 2, this year just happens to be another comic book-influenced title.  No, that is not a requirement.  It’s just that this game was done so incredibly well, I almost want to use the word ‘perfect’ in describing it.

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Why So Blu at 10 Years and Counting

Over a decade ago, Why So Blu founder Brian White brought to my attention a website based out of Winnipeg that did reviews of recently released Blu-rays. When he asked the lone admin of that site how he accumulates the material to write about, Brian was rather surprised to learn that the film studios send them out. “Do you send them back when you’re done?” The answer was a simple ‘no’. As the gears started turning in Brian’s head, his love for movies started dating a knack for writing and it wasn’t long after that the two got married.

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The Best Comics of 2018

Whereas 2018 was not the best year for films (in my humble opinion), it proved to be an exceptional year for comics. The world of Spider-Man saw one massive tie-in after another between the PS4 game, the upcoming animated film and the Spider-Geddon series. Valiant did a slight but impactful retooling of its popular Ninjak series, now referring to him as Ninja-K, the eleventh assassin of his kind (A through K) in Her Majesty’s service. DC made their own statement with the Drowned Earth story arc, establishing the importance and strength of Aquaman as the half-Atlantean, half-human gets ready for his own feature film later this month. Long story short (too late), there was no shortage of entertainment from comic book publishers these past twelve months. You’ll see some familiarity from last year on this article and a few new titles that are certainly worth checking out. After all, why else would they be on this list?

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3 Bands, 3 Albums in 2018

Usually when any of my four favorite bands release a new studio album, I get a little excited. When three of the four release new albums in the same year, I climb to the roof and do repeated backflips off the chimney. Such was the case this year as Dave Matthews Band, Daughtry and Imagine Dragons all gave the public something new to rock to in 2018. Since my biggest regret was not addressing each release individually as they occurred, you now get them bundled and gift-wrapped in this neat little article. Please hold the applause until later. We’ve got some music to talk about!

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‘Exorsisters’ Debuts from Image

About a decade ago, I remember first seeing a new title from Image Comics called The Astounding Wolf-Man. Taking the concept of a super hero and combining it with a werewolf was definitely unique, though some may dispute the title character’s super hero-ness. Nevertheless, I flipped through a few pages and felt the artwork was rather cartoonish…at first.  After reading the issue in its entirety, I thought it to be a great marriage of dialogue and visuals. Fast-forward to 2018 and Image releases another supernatural-inspired series with that similar animation-style art, the Exorsisters.  Would history repeat itself and I’d find myself loving this story?

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Marvel Delivers Multi-Format Big Spidey Event

After recently seeing Sony Picture’s Venom in theaters a few weeks ago, I caught the trailer for the upcoming animated feature film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. While the movie looks to be rather promising, I didn’t think much more of it at the time than a new format of introducing Spider-Man to the big screen. A day later I saw news of the soon-to-be released Spider-Geddon comic book mini-series, which the cover seems to portray as a massive love letter to every rendition of Spider-Man that has been created in recent memory. It seems there is much more going on than a Spidey slug fest and a new movie cartoon.

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Five Comic Book Series You Should Be Reading In 2018

So far I’ve found 2018 for comic books to be the complete opposite for the year’s movies. For instance, my top 10 films of the year list is looking rather bleak while my comics list is abundant with top tier stories. Hey, keep ’em coming! I’d rather have a top 10 list that is forever changing as opposed to one that is stagnant and empty. These titles have proven to be attention grabbers with great stories and great art that just don’t stop…unless it’s a mini-series, then, you know, that’s pretty finite. The titles in this group each have their own unique characteristics that put them on the list as recommended reading. Here are five comic book titles for 2018 that you shouldn’t be passing up.

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Black Panther and a Cultural Phenomenon

This past February, Marvel let the cat out of the bag. To be honest, a more specific interpretation is Marvel unleashed a panther from its cage. Directed by Oakland’s own Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale StationCreed), Black Panther didn’t merely flex its muscles at the box office nor did it scratch and claw its way to the top. On the contrary, it was more like a complete obliteration of the competition. Domestically the film grossed just under $700 million. Globally it brought in just over $1.3 billion…with a ‘b’…billion. Not a lot of films are able to stake a claim to that kind of accomplishment. Still, the money and the ticket sales are just side-stories to what Coogler and this film truly achieved. What I saw as a super hero movie turned out to be something much greater to a lot more people.

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Force Out Hate – A Star Wars Battle Beyond the Films

There will always be a debate as to who likes which Star Wars film more, why their opinion should be validated and what we all would have changed in whichever film. We all have different tastes and varying points of view on the movies. Honestly, I no longer feel the need to tell anyone why I love Attack of the Clones or Return of the Jedi. I’ve found such discussions often go nowhere, especially when someone says they dislike The Last Jedi because of porgs or the fact that Laura Dern’s Holdo character is in a gown. If that’s how you judge a film, I’d stay away from movies in general. However, as time has gone on, the criticism tossed around Star Wars content has gone outside of the realm of scenes or character actions. Rather, it has become nothing short of vile as some so called “fans” have verbally attacked anyone associated with the films on a grand scale.

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Hawkman Spreads His Wings in Big Return

DC has a massive library of characters to its credit. Some, like Batman (of course), are so successful that there is never a need to shelve the character in any form in comics. Then you have others like Plastic Man which disappear for years at a time, and are then brought back fresh and revamped. Finally, there are those super heroes that are commonly found in the pages of DC Comics, but for some reason or another, disappear for a short time and finally make a big splash in their return. This is certainly the case for Carter Hall, better known as the mace-wielding, sky-soaring hero known as Hawkman.

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Vegas Hockey Proves Golden

Hey, what’s a sports article doing here? Well, we are an entertainment website and some things just don’t entertain the way pro sports do. Case in point, the Vegas Golden Knights. I remember a few years ago when I first heard the NHL will be expanding again with the possible locations for a team being Seattle, Washington, Hamilton, Ontario, Toronto, Ontario (yes, a second team there) and Las Vegas, Nevada. Having someone rival the Maple Leafs in the same town seemed highly unlikely, and honestly, quite ludicrous. Hamilton recently had the Bulldogs of the AHL, but that’s a location that didn’t strike me as being big enough to support an NHL team. Seattle seemed the most likely of all, yet they wouldn’t be the one awarded a franchise team for the 2017-18 season. That left Las Vegas as the one holding all the cards.

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Why ‘Solo’ Stands Alone – Disney’s First Star Wars Stumble

Most of us have had a chance to see Disney’s latest installation in the Star Wars franchise by now. Solo: A Star Wars Story recently arrived in theaters after a well-documented production period littered with turbulence. The original director tandem of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) were fired after Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy didn’t like where they were headed with the Han Solo film. Ron Howard stepped in, did a bunch of reshoots, and viola! Success! Right? The film opened to a less than spectacular $103 million in its 4-day opening weekend and dropped 65% in its second weekend.  What went wrong?  Let’s take a closer look as to why Solo is by itself in the realm of Star Wars’ performances at the box office.

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Tensions Heat Up With ‘The Curse of Brimstone’ – Issue #1

So for a few months now I’ve been tackling DC’s latest arsenal of new titles for 2018. The one I’ve anticipated the most has finally arrived, The Curse of Brimstone. It recently arrived on store shelves and through Amazon’s Comixology in tandem with another new DC release, The Immortal Men. While I haven’t picked up the latter yet, I dove into Brimstone rather quickly. Writer Justin Jordan (The Strange Talent of Luther Strode) brings a hot pen to the book’s pages as Philip Tan (Final Crisis) delivers the scorching visuals.  Pack some sunscreen because this book is going to burn.

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The Brilliance of Sinclair

I was kind of late to the concert scene compared to most of my peers as a teen. I didn’t see my first show until I was 19. Since then, I’ve lost track of just how many concerts I’ve been to, but thankfully there has been that luxury of experiencing a lot more good shows than bad. With each of those headlining bands, there have been a plethora of opening acts I’ve been able to listen to as well. Some sang, some danced, but only a few performed. This past Wednesday, April 11th, another opening act was added to my list of artists seen. Wait, in this case let us say ‘experienced’. Prior to the Daughtry show at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield, Ohio, a trio known simply as Sinclair took the stage. No one warned me just how impactful they would be.

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‘Ready Player One’ Offers Spectacular Visuals and a Headache

In 2011, a certain sci-fi novel was released called Ready Player One.  It was an instant hit and not only were sales impressive, but the book found its way to the New York Times Best Seller list.  Now, I cannot say that I have read the book, but of those that have, no one has never told me one bad thing about it. Being a bit of literature that flew off store shelves and fulfilled many online shopping carts, it seemed destined to make its way to the big screen.  The novel is filled with references to decades past such as the band Rush, Ultraman, Joust, D&D and a boatloads of 1980’s pop culture favorites. How did all this translate to a somewhat dystopian future where video games are more than just an escape from life? You know the drill. No need to drop another quarter to continue. Just click to read on.

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