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‘Suicide Squad Hell to Pay’: Heavens just not in your cards

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Return with us to the wonderful world of Suicide Squad, that rag-tag gang of villains and thugs and baddies that Amanda Waller put together as a last resort, to do the kind of nasty missions only scum are best at.

Though never called Suicide Squad, oh no, Waller (Vanessa Williams) refers to them as Task Force X. And the task force of cobbled-together villains has apparently had all kinds of different members at different times, for separate increasingly-difficult missions. Like the one we begin the movie with, where Waller sends Count Vertigo (Jim Pirri), Deadshot, Black Manta (Dave Fennoy), and crime couple Punch (Trevor Devall) and Jewelee (Julie Nathanson), after a thumb drive of leaked information on the career criminal Tobias Whale (Dave Fennoy). (Whom hopefully most of you will recognize as the main crime-lord in the new hit show Black Lightning) Still not entirely sure why this mission was included first, unless it was to underline Waller and Floyd Lawton (Christian Slater) a.k.a. Deadshot’s working relationship.

Fast forward awhile, and hey Waller’s discovered she’s terminally ill. Time to bring together another Task Force X, bringing Deadshot along for the ride but also adding some newer faces – Copperhead (Gideon Emery), the body-mod freak with the prehensile tail; the charmingly Australian veteran Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre); Killer Frost (Kristen Bauer van Straten), but trust me, not the one you know from the CW show; everyone’s favorite psycho-Betty Harley Quinn (Tara Strong); and grunting religious dude Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown). Their mission, should they choose to accept it and really they don’t have much choice, is to find a man calling himself Steel Maxum and retrieve the mystical black playing card emblazoned ‘Get Out Of Hell Free’.

After embarking on what has to be the worst road trip ever, all stuck together in an RV vehicle, the newfangled Task Force X comes across Maxum shaking his money-maker in a club, and of course nothing would do but have a giant fight against other bad guys who want Steel too! Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell), Silver Banshee (Julie Nathanson) and some schmo called Blockbuster (Dave Fennoy), they want Steel and thus the hell-card for their own, as do Scandal Savage (Dania Ramirez), Vandal Savage’s daughter, and her girlfriend Knockout (Cissy Jones), a rogue Fury from Apokolips. Whew! Everybody got that? Onward!

Why is everyone chasing after the ridiculous Maxum Steel (Greg Grunberg), thinking he has the black card? Well, he used to. Somehow, fans and friends and odds and ends, this smarmy dude ended up as a Dr. Fate, but a night of rick-rolling from Scandal and Knockout ended up with a missing get out of hell free card and a job firing from some entity called Nabu.

What does it all have to do with the price of cheese? More or less explained, having possession of the card when you die, allows one in theory to bypass Hell altogether and go straight to Heaven. But there’s no real way to test it, and for some reason a 50k+-year-old caveman believes in Hell, even perhaps moreso than he believes in love, or loyalty for that matter. Vandal Savage (Jim Pirri) never quite understood that how he treats the women in his life almost always, inexplicably at least to his mind, result in his downfall.

After figuring out what the mission is actually about, our Suiciders all have their own opinions about Heaven, and Hell, and the possibilities of going to either one, or if either one even exists at all. Despite his prickly exterior and stubborn religious doctrine, Bronze Tiger manages to keep his head clear and do the job he was assigned to, for the most part. Circumstances change, plans change, and one has to be able to roll with it, even if you’re a villain on a covert government assignment.

Or are we? We all know what Waller wants the card for, and our Squaders all agree, she’s the last person who deserves to have it. So who does, if anyone? Not Vandal Savage, that guy’s lived way too long as it is. Zoom has his own problems, always mucking about with other universes and timelines as he does, and that old expression, ‘I need that like I need a hole in the head’ isn’t funny anymore in his case.

Killer Frost and Professor Pyg are both self-possessed and unconcerned with other planes of existence, they don’t deserve it either. The choice eventually comes down to Deadshot himself, and what he does with the card in the end may surprise those of you who think he’s nothing but a villainous assassin. Lawton has done plenty of bad things, there’s no argument there, but his love for his daughter Zoe will outweigh any other influence and tip him in the even semi-right direction.

The movie itself is a great fun little romp of lots of bad and not-so-bad-but-hey-still-bad guys and dolls all kicking the snot out of each-other. One could even posit that the voice actors of ‘Hell to Pay’ sounded like they had a lot more fun than the real-life actors of the feature film, the predecessor. Moments of quality time are paid to each character so that a more even spread of story runs throughout the animated film, and the one-liners or even Copperhead moments where he just hisses and scares people, are great wacky fun.

Come join Task Force X, I mean, Suicide Squad, in their latest incarnation, ‘Suicide Squad Hell to Pay’, on DVD and Blu-ray now!

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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf

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Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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