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Bullets, Bruises And Bodies…Oh My!

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Ever since Frank Castle was announced to be on Marvel’s Daredevil‘s second season I was excited. Marvel had established that their Netflix lineup was the gritty, more grounded in the real world side of the television product. And it worked too, especially with the character choices.

Now, once Jon Bernthal was cast as Frank Castle/ Punisher he got nothing but rave reviews and high fives from the media and contemporaries. Time came for the public to get a glimpse of The Punisher in action and we were not disappointed in the least. Bernthal embodied the wild eyed, revenge obsessed, stone coldness of The Punisher, the criminal murdering anti-hero. He was absolutely captivating to the point that he owned every scene he was featured in. The performance left you wanting more and more we received.

Marvel’s The Punisher

This series picks up after Frank is presumed dead following the events that unfolded in Daredevil’s second season. He spends his days avoiding contact with human contact as much as possible and working at a construction site where he can focus his rage on demolition work. Periodically, visiting an old friend from the military (Curtis Doyle) that seems to be the only one who knows who he is and that he’s alive. Of course, This can’t last too long (as that would make for an extremely boring series). Frank soon finds himself knee deep in dead bodies, with a new partner in David Lieberman/ Micro, and in over his head in a government conspiracy.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if The Punisher could make an all that interesting series. I knew that Bernthal had something with his portrayal of Castle but, a prolonged murder-fest wasn’t going to stay interesting for long. Luckily, the writers and Bernthal are able to add layers to a character that if not handled properly, can be overtly one dimensional. We see glimpses of the man that was before the brutal killings of his family. It is, frankly, a welcome surprise in the character’s development. Micro also is an interesting character that has a similar issue with his family being taken away from him. This parallel in backstory helps him connect with Frank in a love/hate type of relationship. The rest of the cast is decent in the limited time they get on screen but, Agent Madani shines brightest. She is obsessed with a case that lead to the death of her own friend and this leads to her crossing paths with Punisher. Amber Rose Revah plays Dinah Madani in a way that displays her characters flaws but, also shows her strengths. She’s hard with a soft side. Sure of herself yet, lost in the confusion of her situation. This contradiction is sure to produce more compelling moments through the remainder of the series.I also like the way they handled the issue of PTSD and how it affects the young men and women of our armed forces. It’s a touchy subject and must be handled carefully and I believe that the writers, director,and cast handled it well.

Marvel’s The Punisher

The action is there but not as plentiful as most would assume. That’s not so much a bad thing though as it allows for the great character development that I saw. The hand to hand portions are good but not great. Gritty and violent, up close and personal they made me wince a time or two. The gunfights are full of exploding heads and almost infinite shell casings. Seeing the heroes take their fair share of bullet wounds and left hooks make the fights seem all the more satisfying. This detail makes the human spirit in Frank give him a superhuman quality.

With this series I had a great deal of anticipation going in. I have nothing but unwavering confidence that this show will deliver on all levels. With grand performances, beautifully grimy action, and a compelling story I simply can’t wait to get to the conclusion of this one.

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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