Wonder Woman (Spoiler Review)

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Before we all die I just want to say…

Let’s talk about Wonder Woman!

There are going to be a lot of spoiler free reviews and I will admit to you that this is not one of them.

I consider myself a bit of a comic book movie connoisseur of sorts. I generally tend to watch what new comic book movie come out with a few exceptions. I knew, just like most people, that Wonder Woman would be one of the most anticipated movies in a long time. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I think is this the first woman lead superhero movie since Elektra in 2005, which means there was a need for this type of movie.

So right to it, Wonder Woman is the best movie DC has produced since The Dark Knight. I have this ranked #3 on my Comic Book movie list on IMDB right under Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Why so high? Here a few reasons why: Storyline makes sense, cinematography was incredible, casting was great (with one flaw), the fight scenes were awesome (her lasso though!), there was an emotional connection to the characters, and there is a high re-watchability factor.

The fact that this takes place mainly during WW1 is practically a new concept considering most golden age heroes all debuted during WW2. What makes sense is that the first world war was genuinely considered to be the war to end all wars. It was a horrible war with unspeakable horrors which makes it a perfect stomping ground for the God of War, Ares. (Spoiler time) What I enjoyed was the fact that they combined two of Wonder Woman’s origins in the end to explain who she really is. Hippolyta creating Diana from clay was an old story that (in the movie) we knew was lie since it was stated Zeus died from fighting Ares. I was happy to know that movie stuck to the origin of her being the actual daughter of Zeus which opens so many possibilities and makes her scenes in Batman v Superman even more legit.

I enjoyed the historical format. It’s a similar film to Captain America: The First Avenger with less fanfare and no Tesseract. She wasn’t fighting high tech solders but she was resisting patriarchy at every turn. As a nerd, I loved the depiction of trench warfare that made WW1 so horrible. Wonder Woman was able to bust through all enemy lines until she met Ares.

Let me stop here for a moment to also point out that what makes this movie better than the previous DC movies is the fact that there were light hearted scenes with Diana and Steve Trevor. Those moments provide the audience with a emotional connection that becomes important later in the movie. I think it’s also important that they let Diana be a woman with emotion and reason. She wasn’t just about kicking ass, she was about caring for the world around her.

I mentioned earlier that there was one casting flaw. Keep in mind that there are people of color in the movie (I loved Sameer and The Chief) including black Amazons. While some people wished that Nubia was in the film, I would like to think that there will be in opportunity to see her down the road. Anyway, so Ares (in my opinion) could have been casted better because I feel like he looked too much like Mike Mclintock (Veep) but I did love the fact that the God of War took the form of a politician. I think that is both poignant and ingenious.

This a must see film that I believe drops socially conscious hints through out the entire film. This does not mean I have new hope for The Justice League but at least we know there is now a gold standard with Wonder Woman.

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Get Out – The mad late review.

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Before we all die I just want to say…

I saw Get Out the weekend it came out. I posted my review on Facebook and I figured I should put my reaction to this movie on here with a few additional remarks. I think it’s amazing that this movie is doing so well at the box office and while it’s not a perfect movie (very few movies are), it perfectly illustrates a feeling that many people of color have when navigating white spaces.

Light spoilers ahead.

Racism is scary. Bottom line, I learned early in my career I needed to be careful of who I can trust. I remember being at work receptions at Syracuse University where it was me and a few brown folk and we would look relieved to see each other.

Sure it wasn’t a look of… “did they get you yet?” but more of, “you still here?”

There’s a certain familiarity I took from this movie, particularly the way Chris was able to call his friend which allowed him code switch from one reality to another. This allowed him to stay true to himself and it quite possibly saved his life. Which leads me to think about my friends or lack there of. I may need to friend someone who works for TSA. That’s not awkward right? To ask a someone to hang out after they patted you down at the airport? lol

When someone asked me why I felt the need to become a Latino representative at SU,  it was because I didn’t want to lose myself. I didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole (see what I did there?) of not remembering where I came from. As a young person of color working at PWI, there were so many things going on that it was hard to maintain myself worth and my self identity. Sure, I had self esteem issues, but who doesn’t? The point is that my identity became real important really quickly and that is what lead me to connect with so many students.

I often relate these experience to my time in Syracuse because New York City is different. The racism is still there but it gets hidden in the lights. To be honest, most of us are so busy just trying to pay rent that searching out passive racism is not the top of our lists. However, NYPD choking out a black man on the street for selling loose cigarettes will remind us the type of world we live in.

Syracuse snuggly fits right into Central New York and if you ever take a trip there you wouldn’t notice much is out of place. But, travel to near by Cooperstown (as I did last year) by way of the small roads you will see that America Trump is talking to. Yet, Get Out represents the progressive, almost color-blind, liberals who say they want to create change but want to be in the front of that line when change happens. They are the ones ordering $6 coffees and $8 chopped cheese sandwiches.

This isn’t just a movie about how scary passive racism is, this is about losing our identity to American assimilation of black and brown bodies and gentrification of our cultures and spirits.

Trust me I feel more comfortable in the South Bronx than I do in Skaneateles, NY.

So when someone asks if I will ever move back there…

giphy-5

 

Ant-Man and the Hombre Pequeño

Ant-Man-Character-Poster-Michael-PenaThis is not a review of Ant-Man. Let’s get that out of the way so you know that very few thing in this article contains spoilers. However, I need for you to be on the same page with me so I’m going to assume you’ve either seen it or you don’t care about things being slightly spoiled for you.

I want to go on record by saying that Ant-Man gets a B+ because it has all the elements of a typical fun loving super hero movie that you can expect from Marvel. But again, this is not a review of Ant-Man. But what do we really come to expect from a Marvel movie? A fast paced movie, humor, poorly written women characters, mid credit scenes, black side kicks, end of credit scenes, and a Stan Lee appearance. Right?

So let’s add something to the list, Latino coonery. I mean let’s be real about this. People of color have been relegated to side kick roles in all of Marvel’s films thus far. We all know who they are: Nick Fury, Iron Patriot, Falcon, and Hiemdall. None of these are black women, in fact, are there any black women in the Marvel Cinematic universe? Don’t say Storm because that is not the same “universe” we are talking about. Before you wrack your brain and say Zoe Saldana (who is Afro-Latino) understand that she is not portrayed as a woman of color in Guardians of the Galaxy but as an Alien woman which is the a big difference (just like Lupita in Star Wars, who you wont really see) because Gamora is no Amanda Waller.

So now that you know what to expect and what’s been added to the list, lets talk about Ant-Man. Scott Lang is a former criminal looking to change his ways so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that out of his three “friends”, one is Latino and the other is T.I.. Please understand that when I saw that Michael Peña was in this movie, it was sort of big deal because I love this guy. He’s one of those actors that I feel needs more roles especially after seeing his performance in Crash. His character, Luis (which is kinda messed up since that is the name of the protagonist in my book, Hanging Upside Down – shameless plug), is supposed be the muscle of the group from what I gather. But he comes across as a hipster like gang-banger that sounds like Joey from Friends in SAP.

There is no question that he plays this role well. He is indeed funny but, I believe the dotted line between being laughed with and laughed at was crossed. I call it Latino coonery because it was just too much yapping younahwatIissayin? Luis was so just so extra in his words and verbal expressions that I cringed at certain parts. The same exact jokes could have been done without the need to make the only prominent Latino person in the film seem so ridiculous. Yes, it is a good thing that he does have a prominent speaking role and is very useful in his relegated side kick role but he is no where near Cisco from The Flash who is intelligent, witty, in addition to being funny.

What is really strange is the very few people have mentioned this about the film. I know some pretty opinionated people who gloss over this fact and that is alarming to me. I’m hoping that we’re not getting so comfortable seeing these big superhero films that we forget to be socially aware when it comes to pandering, cultural appropriations, and coonish portrayals of people of color in mainstream film.

So if you do see Ant-Man for the first or second time, take notice to what I’m saying. We should expect better from films we freely give our money to. While it is great to see Luis in this film he ends being much smaller than the hero.

Such a Geek…

There are times when things can be so stressful or hectic that we forget what it is that can truly makes us happy. Those are the moments that we can have that will make all other moments just fade away. I had one of those moments last week. No doubt about the fact that I have personally had a challenging past few weeks in where I had to look at my life and really ask what do I believe in.

I am struggling with many aspects of my life that have to do with failure. I am not afraid to fail per say. I told a student last week that Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team, imagine if he decided to give up? So taking that into obvious consideration, I needed to look past many of the things that have got me down and continue to move forward. Of course, doing that is easier said than done. It was getting to the point in which I was pondering the possibility of depression. Even saying that now is kind of awkward because it seems so unlike me. So, I decided to go ahead and do what any geek like me would do and go see the midnight showing of THOR.

Now, while that sounds like some really nerdy shit, understand that there has always been a reason for why I was so into comic books most of my life. I needed to get way from my real life. Reading comics as a child really built my vocabulary as well as indulged my imagination. The world always seemed perfect when superheroes were in it. It spoke to me when Spiderman was having more woman issues that I was having. I got to me when Hawkgirl finally admits her love for Hawkman before they are both killed.

My point here is that real life is so overwhelming disappointing some times that escaping in books or movies can be the only way to go. I am not saying all this because I want people to feel pity because as I write this, I realize that I will be fine. I just need to be able to allow myself to escape to another place. It has been quite awhile since I picked up a comic book and a long time since I have seen a real good movie, so I was looking forward to seeing the midnight showing of THOR.

Midnight showings are in a class of its own. You have to be able to find one or two people willing to go with you. They have have the passion to actually see the movie because people who complain after midnight just become that much more annoying. If this is a superhero movie, than you need to stay until all the credits roll and if you are not sure if you should stay…then stay anyway. The best part about all this was that THOR was good. Some people may not have thought so but it did the one thing that it needed to do and that was entertain me.

When I was done and I walked to my car and I felt so exhilarated. The movie help me realize that I was not slipping into a depression and perhaps I was just in a funk that I needed to get out of. Perhaps I have been working to hard and taking my losses harder than I need to. We all get knocked down, it just a matter of how fast we get back up. I am just glad the geek part of me was there to rescue.

Movie Rips…

I love Movies. I think that movies are one of the best forms of entertainment that we have. What I like better are movies that last forever. I usually buy the films on DVD that I would love to see more than once.

The one thing that I have trouble with is the changing formats. I remember having a lot VHS tapes when I was in High School and in College. I didn’t like this format too much because the tapes can get warped and the picture quality is not that great. So when DVDs came out I had to re buy many of the movies I already had.

Now I have a pretty nice collection of DVDs. These are movies that I love to watch. I make sure that the windscreen version and at times, the director’s cut. Lately, I have not even cared about the extra stuff, because I don’t watch it. I just want the movie.

The issue now is HDTV and Blue Ray. Which means to me that DVDs are becoming the things of the past. I know that Blue Ray plays DVDs and that is cool but I am not trying to recreate my collection. I know people who stopped buying DVDs all together…and they do not have a Blue Ray! But, of course when they get one…then it is on.

Recently I have invested in a DVD ripping software that allows me to view movies on my iPhone. See…this I love. I can watch whatever I want anytime and anywhere. The reason why I bought the software is because I am not trying to buy movies off of iTunes. I already have a deep collection, so ripping movies I already own seems to be the way to go for me.

I have been holding out on getting an HDTV and Blue Ray. I am sure it is only a matter of time.

Epic Movies…

Is it me or are movies not as good these days as they once were? As I glance at the Academy Awards, I think about all the movies I love. While I can sit back and list my top 20 films of all time (and I wont, at least not in this post), I am forced to wonder if movies are as good as movies that were in the past.


I am talking about Epic Movies. Not like Terms of Endearment or Milk, in which are so very much acting based. Not saying that those movies weren’t good, but lets think about what an Epic Movie is. An Epic movie to me is a movie with a story on a grand scale. Where it is so massive that you wonder how this will end.

Classic Epics are The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, and Patton. I just throw those out there to reference timeless movies. But as you well know, we are in a different generation. Our expectations of movies are different then our parents. My good epic movies would include, The Lord of the Rings, Forrest Gump, and Raiders of the Lost Ark (I didn’t see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button yet).

My opinion is that lately, movies are being made for the sake of making movies. I cant remember a time (well maybe the 80’s) in which there have been so many horrible movies out. Nowadays, movies can go straight to DVD, so you know they are bad.

Well, I am waiting to see what the next great Epic film will be. Maybe it will be The Watchmen. Who knows…Do you?

Sunday Ramblings…

I have been going back and forth about what I wanted to write today. I get distracted easily and this is very much a lazy Sunday. I wont mention that today is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Since I have already spoke my peace about the Super Bowl already this week, I will not delve further into it.

So, what do I write about? How do I come up with the subjects on this blog? I do not have a set schedule that is for sure. I just get this feeling and then I start typing.So I sat around today watching movies. I ended up watching Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, College Road Trip, and Desperado. Clearly I was not interested in the 9 hours of pre game show over on NBC. There was also no intention to watch Martin Lawrence in 2 straight movies either. I am the type of person who just puts the TV on from the last channel on which is was set from the night before and go on from there.

Anyway, I was going to write about family because that was what the first 2 movies were about. But, that gets too complicated for my family. I come from a large extended family of cousins, aunts, and uncles. While I can share a whole range of stories, I will pass on that (for now at least). I guess I wanted to stick more to the theme I have set so far with this blog and that is the view of Latinos.

Let me preface this by saying that I love Desperado. The action, the comedy, the sex (of course). Not to mention the ever lovely Salma Hayek. Anyway, it made me think about once again what is the typical Latino look like. In a previous blog, when I mentioned the stereotype of the hot Latino lover and for some reason I think about Antonio Banderas. In the some of the roles I have seen him play, there is the sense that he is dripping sex. There is just an image that he manages to portray. I am sure there are other movies he is that he is not portrayes as this stereotypes such as, The 13th Warrior, but he does play a Muslim man who love god.

So where does that leave me? I made a funny comment on Brook’s Blog which I said that I blame Marc Anthony for what the image of a Puerto Rican male was, so does that mean I should blame Antonio Banderas for our oversexed image? Perhaps. I may have to reflect further on this. I will also say that the lack of (skin) darkness in this movie is not surprise because clearly Black Mexicans do not exist.

Ok…enough of my soap box rantings. I am off to watch the Super Bowl.

P.S. Jennifer Hudson looks so beautiful tonight singing before the game…she amazes me.

It was all a dream…


I do not go to the movies as often as I would like to so when I went to see Notorious, I was hoping to be transported back to the early 90’s. I am always amazed when a movie passes my expectations and I was indeed transoported. Notorious not only made me relive my college years but also made me dust off all of The Notorious B.I.G.’s cds. For anyone that is a hip hop fan this is a must see. This is when hip hop felt real.

I will not divulge any details, however I will express a few things:

Lil’ Kim protested her role in the film because she not portrayed accurately. Being that the film is not about her to begin with, I think that her role in the film was really not bad. She came across as someone that loved Biggie Smalls, but could not escape the fact that he only saw her as his mistress. Regardless of all that, he respected her and her skills (on mic of course…yeah yeah and that too).

Jamal Woolard, who played Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls, was fantastic. He had it all down, the flow, the heavy breathing, even the laugh. Kudos to him for a great job.

Finally, I am impressed that this wasn’t a Sean Combs show. This movie was meant to be about the greatest rapper of all time and it remained that way.

*****

Of course this movie got me to thinking, “How different would Hip Hop be today if Biggie was still alive?” While my opinions will be disputed, I am willing to defend them as well. I spent the better part of the night thinking about this and I came up with some these:

– Jay Z would not nearly be as big as he is right now. Neither would Beyonce for that matter…
Mase would still be in Hip Hop
– 50 Cent & Lil’ Kim would have better albums
– Junior Mafia would still be around (The Lox would still suck)
– This can go without being unsaid but, the state of Hip Hop would be better

Can you imagine a song with The Notorious B.I.G., T.I., Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and vocals by T-Pain? Damn, I do miss Biggie (and Big Pun).

Down to my last Ricola…


The funny thing is that I am not that sick. It is this cough that wont go away. It is that type of cough that gets worse when someone makes me laugh. I know exactly when I caught it too. It was 2 Mondays ago during a basketball game I was playing in. You would think I would catch a cold the 2 weeks I was in NYC, since I was all over the place. But no, I catch it from either one of my teammates or the other team we killed. Regardless, I am down to my last cough drop.

It is 41 degrees today and it is like summer. I love how the weatherman will remind us that is was 25 straight days of Arctic weather (I call it ball-freezing weather). I am curious to see how the students respond to this. I know some were happy that it would be above freezing. There is still mad snow on the ground. I would use my snow blower, but it has been frigid outside. I was looking at the icicles on my house the other day. Huge glacier like structures. I broke some off and it look like the crystals from the Superman Movies. I would take pics, but they are really not that pretty.

I am planning on seeing Notorious tonight. Not sure what to expect. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard too much about it. Then again, maybe I haven’t been paying attention. Usually by now I would have heard something on the SUBlackbook, which is a listserv that I am apart for SU Alumni (who are black…duh). I enjoy the flooding of emails about random subjects, but I do not recall anything about this movie, so I am hoping it is good. I have high hopes for movies because I don’t like to waste my money. I have seen a string of good ones too (7 Pounds, Grand Torino, Milk). I would particularly recommend Grand Torino. How Clint Eastwood did not get an Oscar nod is beyond me.

Speaking of movies, I feel I must show this trailer. This hilarious and yes this is a real movie that will be highlighted at Sundance this year:

Today’s number is 4. That is the number of gray hairs I have on my face between my mustache and goatee. I have not named them yet, but the day is still young…

Love Those Golden Globes…

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The count down is almost over. The students start classes on Tuesday and I am so not ready too go full tilt in my job for the next 5 1/2 months. Oh well, not much choice at this point. I realized what the term “being paid what you are worth” means..and I don’t think I fall in that category. So, if everything goes they way I planned maybe I will come close to getting the money I feel I need. Right now, I feel like I am the Assistant Director of Everything Else. What that mean is basically I do everything else (besides my own job) that either people cannot or will not do. So you do the math…

My wife got me watching the Golden Globes (some how that name reminds me of a porn about Wonder Woman) and I must say that Jaime Fox is the man. He won the Best Actor award for Comedy/Musical for Ray. Granted, I never saw this movie, but the it comes out on DVD in the next month so I will be sure to see it then. Speaking of movies, I will defiantly see Hitch. One quick question…something to think about actually, Is it me or does Leonardo Dicaprio look like the most annoying white boy…ever? White people love him, but I despise his ass. He will always be the retard from What is Eating Gilbet Grape?.

If you been reading this Blog for sometime, then you know that I am into Justice League. Well, I have managed to download all 3 seasons. I can see my father rolling his eyes now when he finds out it is cartoon (“cartoons are for kids tonio”). Well, for those who care, January 22nd marks part 1 of the season 3 finale and I all over that shit. As soon as it comes out I am downloading it. I don’t plan on selling them, but Cartoon Network hardly show repeats. If they ever come out with a DVD with all the seasons then I will buy it, but until then…(I may decide to share, but who knows…maybe i show some on this site…)

Titan! Gotta love hearing about one of the moons of Saturn. It took 25 years in making to get that probe there. They are saying that this planet is very eerily similar to our own planet. I bet you they got black people there too getting oppressed (ha ha…Jose that was for you). Seriously, I was just as excited about Mars when that probe sent back pics. I hope to see more soon.

Before I go…I plan on adding some music links to this site to show you what I have been listening to. Thanks to Jose, Rick (Rico to you), and my lovely wife, because of them I have gathered an extensive Salsa collection. This is the stuff you will never find on itunes. I will be working on that shortly as well as more links. I am loving the new Star Wars movie poster. Peace out…