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‘Z Nation’ Season Four: Follow the Black Rainbow



Welcome back to that post-apocalyptic world of Z Nation still on-going with brand new and even revitalized former ways to screw up what’s left of the world! Spoilers will eat your flesh!

When we last left our dubious heroes, well never-mind that, the point is, Roberta Warren (Kellita Smith) just woke in a stark laboratory-like setup, to learn she’s been out for damn near two years, and it comes with costs. I actually like the white-blonde hair Warren sports throughout the entirety of Season Four, it makes her seem more affected by the end of the world.

So while Warren’s been cooling her heels in stasis, Murphy’s (Keith Allen) been hanging like a King in a Stepford Wives-like community called ZONA. While ZONA might seem idyllic, or at least be Murphy’s version of what he thinks is perfect, Dr. Teller (Frank Boyd) and the all-important Founder (Michael Berryman) of ZONA himself are hatching plans for the ultimate end-game, that giant action they call the Reset, which is exactly what it sounds like.

After figuring out that, y’know, perhaps ZONA isn’t actually a place they want to hang around, Warren takes her vision-besotted self and a reluctant Murphy, off to find the rest of the scattered team and figure out what the hell to do now! Some of the gang want to head to Numerica, that’s where Addie’s purported to be, along with perchance others who want to find out why and how ZONA’s forces are hunting them down, and a few want to follow Warren’s devastating visions of the black rainbow and the flesh eating rain, hopefully to try and stop it.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Kaya in the Sky-a (Ramona Young) has already had Citizen Z’s (DJ Qualls) son and of course named him JZ, cuz he’s Junior Z after all, and is trying to fight off ZONA stealth forces come to raid the base of Northern Light. What could evil world-changing ZONA want from Northern Light that is so important and pivotal to the Reset? It would have to be something vital, that was gathered before the apocalypse and managed to survive the zom-pocalypse too.

It’s from these worrisome thoughts and Warren’s scary visions, we get the brand new tone of Z Nation season four, all washed out and faded, raging fire forever in the distance but always edging closer, a very real sense that, holy shit, not only did the world already actually end when the dead rose, but that someone is now trying to Reset the world, once again. The very different light filters and faded colors when Z Nation had been known for exactly the opposite beforehand, is a bold risk but it actually seems to have paid off. Most of the season rather reminded me of the excellent zombie Horror flick 28 Days Later,  and that film is a damn legend at this point. (If you haven’t seen 28 Days Later already, do.)

The world of two-years-later and ZONA ascendant is a much more somber and quiet thing, here in Z Nation, and the tension mounts in every episode. Even the cheesy SyFy special effects used for Warren’s visions – it was so well acted on Warren’s part, we believed right along with her. That’s something Z Nation has surprisingly managed to do, across three seasons of goofy nonsense zombie trope wacky-world ‘Merica funnery, is make us believe, right along with the characters. It’s usually believing in Murphy, that beleaguered half-zombie half-hero Luthor wannabe, so Warren taking a turn at messiah-hood in Season Four is cool beans, man.

I did enjoy the addition of Henry Rollins as Lieutenant Mueller for several episodes, and of course he got a badass death at the hands of his overly-trained sergeant called inevitably Sarge, and y’know, also his daughter named Lilley (Gracie Gillam). The inevitable death of Lucy, Murphy’s blue zombie daughter, was at least set to a good purpose this season, and will likely serve as a goad for Murphy to pull off some other grand scheme in Season Five. Everyone’s favorite stoner Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) and 10K (Nat Zang) were rather overshadowed this season, though no-one is really surprised by this and 10K did get his own little storyline with a missing Red and 5K showing up to aid him in crisis time.

Z Nation is, of course, already approved for season five, and we can’t wait! What about the Man with the Plan, and why did his canister turn Murphy freaking red? By the way, this means Murphy has literally been red, white, and blue over the course of the show! Is it truly the reset-ted end of the world? Will the Black Rainbow and the delivery drones dispense death, or life, or both in some stupefying combination that only the wacky writers at ‘Z Nation’ could come up with! What will Warren, the ultimate soldier whose mission was perverted at the hands of ZONA, do now that she’s at least partially foiled their plans? Gird your loins, grab your modified highway-sign-turned-zombie-shield, have some of that z-weed, follow the signs to Numerica and keep score of zombie kills along the way, because we’re all in Z Nation now!

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



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