Friday, February 24, 2017

Ranieri is Gone

9 months ago, manager Claudio Ranieri performed a sporting miracle. Everyone thought Leicester City would struggle to stay in the English Premier League but the lovable Italian led the underdogs to the Premier League title.

Now, Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as Leicester City. As they say, WTF!

Now I know Leicester City is struggling this season. They are one point above the relegation zone with 13 just matches left, but is anyone surprised by that? The Foxes had always been strugglers so how could the results this season be a surprise to anyone? I mean Ranieri guided them to the title, something that’s nothing short of a miracle and now he is getting sack for the team playing to their previous, expected level?

That’s just wrong, and I don’t mean that emotionally. Claudio Ranieri hasn’t done anything so bad that he deserved the sack. This is a wrong decision by the Leicester City board that smells of desperation and fear. In short, the Thai owners of Leicester City lost their nerve. Too bad Claudio Ranieri is the one who has to pay for their panic.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Comics this week

Astro City #41- After 22 years, Astro City finally got to the 100th issue! In celebration, writer Kurt Busiek gives us a 40-page extravaganza that introduced us to the hero Astro City was named after; the Astro-Naut! As usual, we get to see the action through the eyes of a normal human living in the city, even if this normal human is the former mayor of the city. However this is more than just the story of a hero; it is the story of Astro City from before the start of World War II to the end of it and the beginning of Astro City. This is an amazing 100th issue and I hope there are 100 more!

Elektra#1- First, don’t let the cover fool you. This is the Elektra fans love, and not the watered-down version Marvel had pushed whenever Elektra get a series of her own. No; this Elektra is an assassin who is most comfortable when she is killing and writer Matt Owens is smart enough to let artist Juan Cabal tell the story when he need to. Juann Cabral's art is great. He showed Elektra so full of life when the action and deaths starts but also a little stiff when she’s off the clock. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and it tells readers so much about Elektra without any words for us to read. A very good debut. 

Monstress #10-A journey ends and another begins as Maika and gang finally get on the Isle of Bones. Credit has to be given to artist Sana Takeda for making the isle so eerie and creepy but while the sea journey is over, more questions are asked as the Isle of Bones is nothing like what Maika and her small crew expected. Great art, deep story; brilliant! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Generation 2 has arrived for Pokémon Go

It’s here!

Generation 2 has arrived for the Pokémon Go smartphone game and already players are going about catching the 80 new Pokémon that are available. Generation 2 showcase the Pokémon from the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver games and Niantic Games is putting in a few other things for good measure.

The update includes gender-specific variations of the new Pokémon; 2 new types of berries; new hats, shirts, pants, and other items for avatars; as well as Evolution items that are available at PokéStops as some of the Pokémon need these items for evolutions. It’s a big update and I had already seen a Bayleef on a PokéStop.

I’m already behind the curve so why am I still here typing away? See everyone out there! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Comics this week

Monsters Unleashed #2- Come on! I know Marvel is desperate to push the Inhumans but having an Inhuman with the power to summon monsters is just nonsense. How difficult would it be for writer Cullen Bunn to make Kei Kawada’s power come from some magic or mystic source? An Inhuman? That just hurts the whole miniseries which is too bad because this issue actually moves the story along very well and provide us with some good moment. Earth monsters against Space Monsters? That’s just great right? Too bad Marvel had to force an Inhuman angel on all of us.

Trinity #6- This issue closed off the “Better Together” and I honestly feel that writer and artist Francis Manapul would have been better served if he held off the ending for at least another issue. This issue felt rushed, as if Manapul had to wrap it up before he ran out of pages. Too bad because this was, till this issue, a very impressive start to the series.

Wild Storm #1- I bought this strictly because writer Warren Ellis is writing it. I mean DC is basically giving him free reign to reboot the entire Wildstorm universe. The idea seems like a winner and this issue did nothing to disperse that feeling. As with many of his works, Wild Storm #1 has a dark cynical feeling to it and artist Jon Davis-Hunt’s work fits his story to a T. It will probably take a few more issues before we can decide how good the reboot will be but thus far, it looks good. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Intrigue in KL

That’s is the headlines as reports are coming in that the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In a perfectly staged assassination, Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fell ill at the airport after being sprayed with some sort of chemical.

Reports has it that 2 female assassins staged the most daring assassination and South Korea has immediately point the finger at Kim Jong-Un for ordering the hit. That may be true, considering the relationship between the two half-brothers, the North Korean leader has to be suspect No. 1, but that doesn’t answer the question of “why” and “why now”?

Kim Jong Nam is no threat to Kim Jong Un, and in all previous reports, he didn’t even want the job of being the North Korean leader. So even in the murky world of North Korean politics, there’s a big mystery on why would Kim Jong Un ordered the risky assassination of a non-threat? 

It just makes no sense but then this is a man who had killed his uncle before so no one is about to give him the benefit of the doubt. Too bad that unlike spy novels, in real-life, we may never get the answer of why. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review of La La Land

The movie award season is upon us and this year the hot favourite to sweep the season is the feel-good musicial, La La Land. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, La La Land is director’s Damien Chazell’s follow-up to his 2014 film Whiplash and much like Whiplash, music played a big role in the movie.

Gosling’s Sebastian Wilder is a musical purist in LA who has just spent his last penny trying and failing to open a jazz club in the city. He meets Stone’s Mia Dolan and the movie is about how the duo chased their dreams amidst setback after setback. Back by strong performances from the two leads, smart direction from Chazall, and good songs; La La Land is one of those strange movie that managed to be both a great romantic comedy and a wonderful drama.

In short, it is great!

It is an exceptional film that pays homage to classic musicals while making it’s mark on the genre. Some people are already calling the movie a classic; I won’t go that far but I can see why they would say so. La La Land is an endearing film that you could watch endless times without getting tired of. Director Damien Chazell had a clear vision for the movie and he implemented it beautifully.

In this, he is helped ably by Gosling and Stone who gave it their all in their performances. The two leads are not natural singers or dancers and that, strangely, played well in the movie. Emma Stone was especially good in this movie and I would be shocked if she didn’t win Best Actress at the Oscars. Honestly I never thought much of her as an actress before La La Land. She’s cute and commendable but I never thought of her as a great actress. I do now. 

I also have to give pops to the ending of this movie. All I can say is “WOW”! The bittersweet ending was just perfect. It shows the cost the two leads made to make their fantasies happen, yet at the same time, it was not a downer but a celebration. Yes, there are scenes of what-could-have-been and they were beautiful in themselves, but in the end these two made it and they were not going to give up their success for anything.   

La La Land is nominated for a record-tying fourteen Oscars at the 89th Academy Awards. I’m pretty sure it won’t win that many but after watching the movie I can understand why they got so many nominations. It is just one hell of a movie. Watch it!  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Comics this week

Birthright #22- Last issue, writer Joshua Williamson gave us a new perspective on the world of Terrenos by telling the world from the view of Rya. Lightning strikes twice as we now know the backstory of one of the 5 mages, Mastema. Like last issue with Rya, it works beautifully! Not only do we know now that Mastema is Lore’s daughter, we also get a glimpse of the breakdown of the Rhodes family when Mikey first disappeared. An excellent issue all around!

Jessica Jones #5- How do you balance a story in the mean streets of New York with a story about cosmic madness. Most would say it can’t be done, so you have to give credit to writer Brian Michael Bendis for at least trying. The issue didn’t quite nailed it but the idea of a simple man who went mad after surviving the destruction of his world does rings true. That, by itself, makes this a brave issue.

Ms. Marvel #15- After last issue, I was expecting a light-hearted romp about the dangers of the internet. Well, I got the danger of the internet part correct but this was anything but a light-hearted romp as writer G. Willow Wilson went deep. Not only does she show the danger, she also shows the effects your online life can have on your real life. Artist Takeshi Miyazawa’s sleek and expressive art also managed to capture the gravity of the story nicely. Great issue all around! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Comics this week

Champions #5- When I read last issue that Gwenpool was coming to Champions, I was not impressed. I still don’t like the character but I must admit writer Mark Waid worked her into the group very well. Right now, the Champions are filled with serious teenagers who all want to do the right thing in the right way and a guest star offering an alternative perspective is a welcome development. Makes me wonder what other teenager heroes/villains might be coming…?

Monsters Unleashed #2- Okay, let’s get this out of the way first; the change of artist in this issue was jarring. I won’t say artist Greg Land’s work is poor but it is very different from Steve McNiven and that’s a problem. With that out of the way, this issue of MU was on the whole pretty good. We have a lot of monster action as waves and waves of monster lands on Earth and the heroes of the Marvel Universe are trying various ways to repel them. Captain Marvel, Alpha Flight and S.W.O.R.D tried to head off the monsters in space while the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans etc fight the monsters that managed to land on Earth. In the midst of all this, Elsa Bloodstone finally met up with Kei Kawada and the unlikely duo may be the people who could save the planet from the monster apocalypse. Action with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure? Count me in; just fix on one artist please.

Moon Knight #11- And further down the rabbit hole we go…that’s the feeling I got when I finished reading this week’s Moon Knight. Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Greg Smallwood once again put together a compelling piece of work that show us Marc Spector’s troubled life as well the deep shit he’s currently in. Great work!