If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Although this probably should be called, "Green Lantern and His Amazing Friends" or something like that, as this new DC Animated Universe release uses the human lantern, Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) as more of a narrator than a primary character. The story is as thus: a new lantern has just joined the ranks of the green space cops named Arisa Rrab (Elizabeth Moss). While the Lantern corps are shoring up defenses around the sun to the Lantern homeworld, Oa, which seems to be serving as a portal to an invading giant, anti-matter, shadow-gunk shooting creature named Krona, Hal and some other well-known Lanterns (at least to dorks like Cyrus and the LEOG) tell Arisa famous stories from the history of the Lantern Corps. I was disappointed that the anthology style didn't use different animators, the way the previous DC Animated Universe anthology release "Batman: Gotham Knights" did, but the source material is all solid, classic stuff from the comics, and the animation they do use, which is more or less the same style and look as in "Green Lantern: First Flight", works just fine. The stories are of differing quality, but there's not really a bummer in there. The stories tell of the origins of the Lantern Corps; Kilowog's (Henry Rollins) rookie training days under the harsh task-master Sgt Deegan (Wade Williams); Laira's (Kelly Hu) toughest assignment when she had to remove her own tyrannical family from power; how an unstoppable warrior (Roddy Piper) was stopped by the secret of the most powerful Green Lantern, Mogo; and Abin Sur (Arnold Vosloo) and Sinestro's (Jason Isaacs) battle against the monster (and later Red Lantern) Atrocitus (Bruce Thomas), who have disagreements about the existence of fate and prophecy: something pretty relevant assuming you know what ends up happening well after the events of this film (and I think after the upcoming feature film as well) to Sinestro. Long time fans of the comics will almost certainly enjoy this retelling of some classic tales written by some of the hero's best scribers, but folks new to the Lantern mythos, or the younger tykes, might find it all a bit confusing. There's an awful lot of characters here and a lot of info to process, but it does serve as a good introduction to the Lanterns that seem like they're going to be more prominent in the theatrical film.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
THE BIG C - SEASON ONE (DVD)
Cancer. OH MY FSM, it's funny. Isn't it? No? Well, it doesn't have to be all bad, as Laura Linney's character Cathy Johnson espouses in this re-inventing yourself at the nth hour half hour comedy series on Showtime. As tough as that may seem to embrace from the outside, I was sold on this show within just a few minutes of the pilot's start time. It's like a new cat: cute, funny, entertaining as hell right fromt he minute you let it out of the box, but when you really think about it, it's a tragedy gradually unfolding, as it eventually slows, sickens, then dies.....what, is that too morbid? Tell you what, don't let your cats be outside cats and you won't have to worry about it anytime soon. But Cathy will: in the series she's just found out that she has stage 4 melanoma. Deciding to forgo painful, expensive, and probably fruitless chemo treatments, she keeps the news to herself but starts making drastic changes. She kicks her husband out of the house, the hapless, arrested development case, Paul (Oliver Platt), buys a sportscar, has a pool put in her front yard, has an affair (with Idris Elba, no less), and generally starts acting like a person with nothing left to lose. Lest you think it's a show with just silliness on its mind, Linney plays Cathy as a woman determined to get the most out of what time she has left, while making it clear that she's firmly in the denial stage, and who is the most baffled by how to reconnect with her own family. Her son Adam (Gabriel Basso) is a typical just-became-a-teen, who is surly, private, embarrassed by absolutely everything, and unsure how to deal with his mother's sudden upsurge of badly applied affection. Cathy's brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) is a willfully homeless environmental crusader who has never reacted with anything like approval of Cathy's upper middle class lifestyle and who reacts suspiciously to her recent attentions. The only people Cathy can really talk to (the only people who know she's dying) is her just out of med school doctor (Reid Scott), and her crochety, shut-in neighbor (Phyllis Somerville), which works for now, but she's not feeling sick yet... This is a concept I never would have seen working, but the top-notch cast, and the funny writing, keeps it fresh and interesting. I'm looking forward to season 2, beginning June 27th. I mean, sort of looking forward to it. I'm not exactly expecting a happy ending.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Big C: The Complete First Season
NICE GUY JOHNNY (DVD)
Man, I remember when triple-threat Ed Burns looked like he was gonna be the next big name in cinema. Right out of the starting gate, the film "The Brothers McMullen", which he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in (way back in 1995), was a critical darling, and in indie movie terms, a box office success. And...then...he made a bunch of other films that in all likelihood, you never saw, and if you did, you probably forgot about. Leading us to now. "Nice Guy Johnny". Another film that would never have gotten made if it wasn't for Burns being behind it. But when does the good will end? Matt Bush plays the young Johnny Rizzo, a passionate small-time sports radio show DJ who has been talked by his fiancee into going to NYC to apply for a soul-killing warehouse job that pays a lot more. Johnny stops by his Uncle Terry's (Burns) bar to say hello, and ends up getting talked into a weekend in the Hamptons. Little does he know that Terry is even more of a ne'er-do-well than he previously suspected, as the whole excursion is an excuse for the familial rapscallion to try to talk Johnny into getting one last fling before tying the knot...or even to reconsider tying the knot altogether. Sure enough, a gorgeous tennis instructor that Terry introduces him to (Kerry Bishé) ends up becoming more tempting for the self-promoting 'nice guy Johnny' then he would have ever expected. But, let me warn you now not to expect anything terribly titillating as a viewer. The film was clearly made on a shoestring of a budget, and it shows. Johnny's wild ride, is really more dull than anything, and his Uncle Terry, who one would suppose should be played as likably roguish, comes across as just obnoxious. The only thing I took away from this unremarkable sort-of comedy was a new familiarity with Bishé, who's a lithe stunner and oozes charm. Good luck to her. Hope she gets to be in something better than this, not terrible, but not really good either, indie.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Nice Guy Johnny Special Edition