The countdown to X-Men: Apocalypse ends here with the gang revisiting the 2014 blockbuster that saw the casts of the classic X-Men movies unite the cast from First Class more or less (Really just Wolverine and Professor X, if we're to be honest). Taking inspiration from the classic X-Men comic book story of the same name, Bryan Singer returned to the director chair wearing his love for Terminator completely on his sleeve with the ultimate X-Men vs. evil machines story that sends Wolverine back to 1973 to prevent this apocalyptic future. Listen as the gang rewatches the film and ponder what would happen if everything was metal!

Direct download: DaysOfFuturePast.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Josh's Resident Evil podcast miniseries comes to a close for the foreseeable future with a look at the most recent Resident Evil film, Resident Evil: Retribution! For this momentous episode, Josh enlists Chris, Sam, and Jake to return and talk about the fifth live action adaptation of Capcom's definitive survival horror franchise and what the gang refers to as feeling the most like an actual video game. Listen what they think of the flick and the franchise as a whole!

Direct download: RE7.mp3
Category:Resident Evil -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Joining us this week are Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Black Terror) and John McCrea (Hitman, The Boys) to talk about their new creator-owned series with Image Comics, Mythic! We talk to them separately about the series in this week's double-header with John also talking Judge Dredd and Phil talking about his love for more below-the-radar comic book titles! Also, the gang offers their preliminary thoughts on Captain America: Civil War and Jake talks why Sing Street is his favorite movie of the year so far!

Mythic, Volume 1 available in comic shops and Comixology on Wednesday, May 22!

Direct download: Episode96.mp3
Category:Nerd Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This week Sam and Jake talk about the Image Comics miniseries Black Jack Ketchum by Brian Schirmer and Claudia Balboni with covers and editing by Jeremy Saliba. An extra-dimensional twist on the familiar tropes in the Wild West, the boys discuss what they think of the four-issue collection and how they recommend the book should really be explored.

Black Jack Ketchum out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, June 8!

Direct download: BookClub14.mp3
Category:Book Club -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The countdown to X-Men: Apocalypse continues with the second Wolverine solo spin-off, The Wolverine! Originally conceived as a direct sequel to Wolverine prequel, it was decided to set the film after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand to give Logan a bit more emotional baggage and help set up the events of the following year's X-Men: Days of Future Past. Listen as Sam and Chris are brave enough to watch the ultimate R-rated cut of the 2014 blockbuster that saw Weapon X return to Japan. Discover what character they think is the dumbest addition to the cast, what tricks Hugh Jackman to look super ripped, and how they think the extended cut holds up overall!

Direct download: TheWolverine.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The 80s were a time that saw a lot of great classic superhero movie releases. Which means they were all captured onto Laserdisc. This episode, Chris and Ken discuss some of the superhero movies and television show they've added to their LD collections.

Direct download: LaserDicks07.mp3
Category:Laserdisc Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Consequences. So many comic book heroes and villains have their origins and motivations tied to consequences sometimes from decisions as mundane and innocuous as taking a shortcut home from the movies through a dangerous alley or letting a crook fall into a random vat of chemicals. Tony Stark's career as a leading weapons manufacturer inadvertently leads to his own ordinance turning against him and forcing him to build the first Iron Man armor. Peter Parker letting a criminal go leads directly to the murder of his uncle. But what of the consequences after the donning the mantle of superhero? For every action, there must be an equal or opposite reaction so what's the reaction? That leads us to Captain America: Civil War.

Both this and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice explored the fallout of collateral damage in the midst of fighting for the greater good; Civil War's a cumulative look at The Avengers' alien confrontation in the streets of Manhattan, Captain America: The Winter Soldier's climax over the Potomac, and Avengers: Age of Ultron's Eastern European showdown. An opening incident in Lagos, Nigeria proves to be the final straw with the United Nations who pass a resolution that greatly restricts the Avengers' mobility. This does not sit well at all with our titular hero.

At the center of Civil War are three haunted men. Captain America, literally a former propaganda company man, is haunted by the agendas and machinations of bureaucracy; bureaucracies that tried to nuke NYC in the midst of an alien invasion and allowed the evil of HYDRA to infiltrate and fester within SHIELD, what was supposed to be one of the country's most trusted institutions; he would be damned rather than let agenda-driven bureaucracy run the world again. Iron Man is haunted by guilt, the smug veneer present during Age of Ultron eroded away as the true toll of his creation's murderous rampage weighs heavily on him; learning that with great power there must also come responsibility. Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, is haunted by all those faces he was programmed to kill as HYDRA's ultimate sleeper agent and there's a couple of faces haunting him lately that strike very close to home. These three men are each pursued by their own ghosts and its put them on a collision course for the ages.

What Civil War readily improves over its comic book source material is that both sides are depicted with legitimate motivations and methodologies; in the comics, Tony Stark is laughably antagonistic (For fuck's sake, he builds a Guantanamo Prison for his former friends in the Negative Zone, creates a cybernetic clone of Thor, and recruits Daredevil nemesis Bullseye into the Thunderbolts) while here he's exponentially more relatable. Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance as the Armored Avenger perhaps ever, certainly since his debut back in 2008. Newcomers Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man both compete for stealing the show alongside Ant-Man who fits right into the Marvel Cinematic Universe's ever-expanding cast; to refer to Civil War more as Avengers 2.5 rather than Captain America 3 would not be an entirely inaccurate observation (Steve Rogers is still very much the focal point and driving force of the film). The Russo Brothers directing this three-ring circus have a lot of plates to spin but they do so admirably; Avengers: Infinity War is in good hands.

Captain America: Civil War, despite its exploration on the fallout of heroism, is a joyous cinematic experience and the Avengers flick that most probably wished they got last summer instead of the middling Age of Ultron (Certainly a better superhero brawl than Batman and Superman's recent dust-up). All the performances are spectacular with Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, and Paul Rudd leading the charge. The marquee showdown at an empty airport (The one splashed over all the trailers) is one of the most fun blockbuster action sequences I've ever seen with everyone getting their due. It doesn't have the laser-precision of The Winter Soldier but it's a hell of a lot more fun and doesn't feel like the 2.5 hours it runs for (Yes, there is a mid-credits and post-credits scene). The typeface for the scene transitions are distractingly large but if my biggest complaint about your movie is font size, you're doing just fine. If anyone was worried about the state of Marvel movies last year, let me assure you they are back on top.

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 11:43am EDT

Several years back, I was talking to someone that remarked that the 80s were the nadir of popular music. I simply smiled and made a mental note to take everything the gentleman said about music with grains of salt. While the paradigm of rock'n'roll that bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones defined in the 70s didn't continue into the following decade (Have you listened to any 80s Stones' albums after Tattoo You or 80s Bowie albums after Let's Dance?), the spirit of rock didn't die, it just diffused.

Heavy metal split into the two distinct camps of hair metal and thrash; Metallica leading the charge for the latter and Bon Jovi leading the charge for the former. Progressive rock either took a harder edge or became more experimentally electronic. Disco and funk gave way to dance electronica and the advent of modern pop that Prince, Madonna, and Michael Jackson brought to record-breaking heights. Punk rock reached its commercial zenith (Which is antithetical for the spirit of punk but I'm sure The Clash weren't complaining while cashing those checks). Hip-hop broke into the mainstream with the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. Glam rock gave way to more synth-driven acts like The Cure, Duran Duran, and The Smiths, unafraid to defy societal norms with teased out hair and makeup. The latter New Wave movement serves as the inspiration for the Irish independent film Sing Street which, with this long introduction, I'm trying to say I saw last night.

While America was enjoyed the excess of 1985, Dublin was deep in its own economic crisis; waves of Irish emigrating from a stagnating country. Those that remained got desperate and frustrated; frustration manifesting in self-abuse and abuse of others. And when desperation mixes with dreams, it can go one of two ways: the dreams die out or they burn brighter than they ever did before; a beacon of hope in a world of shit.

But Sing Street isn't Angela's Ashes; despite its gritty setting, its a celebration of music-fueled reckless abandon and a love letter to bands like The Jam and the previously mentioned Duran Duran and The Cure (All of whom figure prominently in the film's soundtrack). Music is the ultimate form of expression and with the flick's main character, Conor, facing bullying, repressive Dickens-level schoolmasters, and his parents' loud, acrimonious march to separation (It was still illegal to divorce in Ireland in 1985), he uses popular music to drown out all that harmful white noise and his own synth and bass-driven tunes flow like water from a paper cup.

Like any good rock band, Conor's inspiration is kickstarted by a crush on a local girl that carries herself older than she is, disguising troubles of her own with heavy makeup and a self-confident swagger but while there is a love story at the film's core it's just as much a coming of age tale harkening back to those high school days where you'd emulate the fashion and sensibility of your musical icons.

A feel-good tale of rising above the turmoil at home and finding your place, Sing Street is a fantastic Irish film boasting a soundtrack split between some of the best songs of the 80s with a rocking original set performed by the movie's cast. A gem of film for anyone that picked up an instrument to escape the bullshit around them growing up, to find their way, or just to get that pretty girl to notice them for a moment.

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 1:11pm EDT

I think it's safe to say that Disney is enjoying a fairly successful 2016 so far. Disneyland turns 60 this year. Captain America: Civil War opens this week (More on that later, I'm sure) and has already set a presale ticket record. Zootopia just crossed $900 million worldwide over the weekend. And The Jungle Book has ruled the US box office for the third week in a row and topped $700 million worldwide this past weekend. As I finally got around to seeing it, I suppose I contributed to that number (As well as Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War now that I think about it) so let's discuss which is to say let me scrawl like 3-4 more paragraphs about it below with mildish spoilers.

The Jungle Book becomes the latest Disney property to make the translation from animated musical to a live-action blockbuster (Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 2010 really kicking off the trend) though to call it completely live-action is a bit of a misnomer. Obviously all the wildlife in the film are computer-generated to great, photo-realistic effect but the environments are too; Mowgli himself being one of the only real-world elements of the film. Director Jon Favreau wisely recognized that shooting the flick on location or to physically reconstruct the jungle in a studio were fool's errands so he built the environments largely from photo-references taken in India.

In that sense, The Jungle Book succeeds mostly as a technical marvel (Yes, I saw the film in 3D and it was phenomenal) with Mowgli seamlessly blending in with the flick's lush environments and varied animal cast. If you hadn't known the environments and some of the animals were entirely visual effects, you wouldn't be able to guess.

Storywise, most of the familiar faces and beats are here from the 1967 original: Newcomer Neel Sethi competently carries the film on his shoulders as Mowgli, Ben Kingsley voices the wise panther Bagheera, Bill Murray voices the relatively carefree Baloo, and Idris Elba voicing the menacing Shere Khan (Between this and Zootopia, it seems adding Elba to anything makes it better...let's see if that rule stands after Star Trek Beyond). The mesmerizing Kaa is gender-swapped into Scarlett Johansson who, along with Lupita Nyong'o as Mowgli's surrogate mother figure Raksha, break up what was the 1967 boys' club of the jungle. More head-scratchingly is Christopher Walken as King Louie reimagined here as King Kong-sized and given half of the film's musical numbers. That's right, just like the 1967 original, a couple impromptu songs crop up. They function as nice nods to the animated movie but happen so infrequently and late in the game that they feel particularly out of place and obtrusive.

The Jungle Book is the best live-action remake of a classic Disney property (Cinderella probably being the worst) to date. While, fortunately, not a shot-for-shot remake of the animated movie, it really captures the spirit of it with the same wonder and free-wheeling energy. And, though I hadn't watched the original Jungle Book recently, watching this felt like revisiting old friends from days gone by. Disney, if you bring up the standard of your live-action remakes to this, I want live-action remakes of EVERYTHING.

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 3:15pm EDT

A relatively low-key episode that sees the boys of Catching Up, well, catching up! Listen to what the gang has been watching lately from Keanu and Hardcore Henry to Midnight Special and Everybody Wants Some!! Also, hear what television Josh has been watching lately and what latest trend in those shows has him a bit annoyed! A fairly short episode before the storm that is Civil War!

Direct download: Episode95.mp3
Category:Nerd Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT