Sunday, June 24, 2018

Luke Cage Season 2 is Bulletproof!


Netflix and Marvel have come a long way since the release of Daredevil. The success of that show laid the foundation that would give fans an introduction to characters only known in the comics. Characters like Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and the power man himself, Luke Cage. Now with his second season released, Mike Colter is breaking new barriers by portraying a side of the bulletproof hero of Harlem that’s both interesting, yet terrifying. Netflix’s shows of the Marvel characters have all been dark, but things take a new twist with Luke Cage. The best addition this season comes with the arrival of the new antagonist, Bushmaster, played by Mustafa Shakir.

The season starts off some time after the events of The Defenders, and Luke Cage has become the unofficial sheriff of Harlem. Luke is hellbent on his war to bring down his rival, Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), but soon realizes that he isn’t the only one willing to burn in Hell to get to the devil. When Bushmaster arrives, Luke is pushed into a situation where he must either help the devil he knows or the devil he doesn’t. The problem with that situation is neither choice is good for Harlem, and Luke knows he must dig deep to find another way where Harlem wins. It’s a battle that will force Luke to battle demons both externally and internally.

The only help Luke has during this war is his old friend Misty who is fighting her own battles after losing her arm. There’s an unexpected surprise character introduced to help Luke through his internal crisis by actor, Reg E. Cathey, who died in February this year. There are also cameos from other marvel shows that come in to help Luke contain the chaos, but soon Luke realizes this is a war he must end on his own. The war will end as it began, with a bloody and shocking end that will leave the audience guessing what could come in the next season. The ending is a twist that resembles the ending of one of America’s most classic movies, and it will make people wonder how this will affect Harlem.

Mustafa Shakir did a fantastic job as Bushmaster, I almost say that he’s my second favorite villain next to Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin. Introducing fans to a new kind of villain with his marital arts and practice of Voodoo, Shakir should be considered to return if possible. Viewers will immediately see how Bushmaster and Luke Cage are alike as the show progresses to the eventual showdown which is brutal at best. The action is par compared to other shows, but as stated before, the ending is what makes the show worth all the drama. The drama all centers around one person and that’s Mariah Dillard.

Mariah’s past comes back to destroy her, but she puts all of Harlem in the crossfire to protect her and the people she loves. If Bushmaster isn’t enough trouble, Misty is digging with her bare hands to find something in the dirt that will finally put Mariah behind bars. Alfre Woodard portrays a new side of Mariah that is both vicious and psychotic. Delivering an award-winning performance, most fans of the famous antagonist might be sad by the ending of her story, but I got a feeling we will still see her next season. What can we expect to see from Netflix and Marvel?

Daredevil should be making his return soon after being presumed dead after the events of The Defenders. Matt Murdock may be coming back to a few surprises since Foggy is with a new law firm, Karen has been seen with The Punisher, and Wilson Fisk may be returning from his incarceration. Wilson Bethel is set to appear as the legendary assassin, Bullseye, and that’s a showdown many have been waiting to see since the character went mainstream after being introduced by Colin Farrell in the box office bomb, Daredevil. Maybe Hell’s Kitchen has learned to move on without the blind vigilante, or it might need him more than ever. We’ll have to wait sometime later in 2018 or maybe early 2019.

Friday, June 22, 2018

My Life With MoviePass


When I worked for the movie theater business back in high school, there were two constant complaints I always heard. The first one was always, “Do you have Snowcaps?” The second is, “Why are you ripping us off with your ticket prices?” I always found that last question funny because most of the people who asked always seemed to have the money to keep coming every week. Now I’m older and movie prices are starting to affect me, so I understand the frustration of wanting to go to the movies but not having the money.

That is until MoviePass came around and my attendance skyrocketed as soon as I signed up. MoviePass is a subscription service that allows people to attend the movies for a monthly or annual fee. I bought the annual fee which was a discounted price of $115 at the time and that included a processing fee; here’s how it works. After your fees are paid, a card is sent to you and you sign up on the MoviePass app on your smart phone so you can register the card. Once you’re set up, you go to the movie theater, see if the movie you want to see is available at the time, then check in on the app.

Money will be added to the card, then you’ll swipe your card and out comes the ticket. A new rule was recently implemented that requires you to take a picture of the ticket and upload it in the app. When I first heard about this, it sounded like a scam because how can this company possibly be making money if I’m only paying a small price. There are several reasons I can name, but that’s not what I’m writing about. The fact is, this deal is legit, and it’s already saved me $218 on movie tickets.

I used my card to see movies I was dying to see like Justice League, Avengers: Infinity War, Solo, and Black Panther. I’ve also used it to see movies I wouldn’t have risked the money to see like The Greatest Showman, Bad Samaritan, Tag, and Game Night. This subscription has brought me and several others back to the movie theaters, but there has been some hiccups. The only disappointments are the subscription only works for standard formats which means no 3D, RPX and IMAX screens. The other is you can’t get tickets in advance, so you must check in that day; if you want to see a movie that comes out in two weeks, you’ll have to use your own money.

The biggest problem I had with the subscription is when I paid during a time when the service offered to let me see any movie once a day. Now it’s only limiting users to see one movie once, and that threw me for a loop. I wanted to be upset, but because of work and school, I don’t have the time to see a movie more than once anyway. I can understand for those that do have the time, but I also understand from a business aspect. If they didn’t place that limit, then I know there are people out there that would see some movies every single day if they could.

The fact is, MoviePass has been my one of my favorite investments. AMC Theaters is already following their steps by announcing they will have a similar service for $19.95 a month that will include 3D and IMAX screens. MoviePass is expected to offer a similar deal in the fall and a “Bring a friend” option to combat AMC’s ambition. Maybe AMC’s offer will be better and MoviePass is having financial problems due to rapid subscriber growth, but we’ll have to wait and find out. For now, MoviePass is the way to go if you’re a movie lover and it’s well worth the price monthly or annual.

Friday, June 8, 2018

For Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade

Depression
By
Anthony Labson

Depression is like being at the beach
And you’re standing in front of the waves.

It will hit you repeatedly
and you can try to resist
but once the waves get too high
you’ll fall under the pressure.

Once that happens
you’re under.

Your eyes begin to burn
because they can’t stand
to look at what they don’t
want to see and even if you try,
everything is out of focus anyway.

People can try to help
but they don’t understand that
it’s not just problems with sight.
Their words can’t penetrate the water
that fills your ears.

This leaves you deaf to their cries
and the loneliness sinks in.

You believe there’s no hope
that there is nothing to live for
so what’s the point of having air
in your lungs?

It’s better just to invite the water
and let it pull you down further
by then it’s too late.
Hands try to reach you
but your too heavy to pull up.

The numb sensations start
and you move by involuntary reflex.
Your end comes and the wave
takes you out into the ocean.

People think it’s a sign of selfishness
and they don’t deserve the attention.

You are in the right state of mind.
so how can you possibly understand
what you may have never experienced.
In the mind of someone depressed
you are the selfish one.

You say you want them around
because seeing you makes them happy.
But their life is miserable
so to them you’re saying,
“You want them to stay alive
so they can remain miserable?”

It’s a powerful and destructive
Disease.
If you disagree with me then fine
but I speak from experience.

I’ve been depressed,
I’ve been angry at the world,
and I still fight with it
even to this day.

Yes, others have it worse.
Some people drink
while others smoke
and some do even worse.

Depression is a powerful wave
that has taken many lives.
To those still fighting,
you’re in my prayers.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War is Hell

Only Disney could make chaos look so good, and that’s the case for their newest release from Marvel Studios, Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel Studios has been a juggernaut when it comes to making films of their beloved characters and there’s no denying they rule the cinemas with an iron fist. Now with this film, Marvel has been running the campaign of “10 years in the making.” It’s a fitting campaign because it’s clear after tonight that chapters are going to close for some of those characters. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here, but let’s fill the gaps for people who don’t know what I’m talking about.

Marvel Studios came out with a detail plan to produce films for certain characters to revive the company. Marvel has had a history of financial problems, so all their chips went into Iron Man and that’s when things changed. The film became a hit, and that gave the studio the green light to continue with their plan to bring heroes like Thor and Captain America to life. A plan that would be broken down into four phases and would only improve with the sale of Marvel to Disney. Before Black Panther, one of their successes was The Avengers, which brought some of their most famous heroes.

That film started this story that spanned over several movies hidden in post credit scenes and would finally come to fruition in this long-awaited feature. If you haven’t been watching any or some of the Marvel films, then I suggest that you don’t bother because unlike some Marvel films, there’s no real back story provided. This film takes off immediately after the events of Thor: Ragnarok and it’s nothing short of heartbreaking. Josh Brolin did an amazing job with his performance as the Thanos, who believes that it’s his destiny to wield the most powerful weapon in the universe. Brolin brings a combination of determination and brutality comic book lovers are accustomed to seeing from the mad titan.

When word gets out that Thanos is heading to Earth, forces start to mobilize in efforts to keep him from acquiring what he needs to complete his weapon. Unfortunately, the Marvel superheroes realize that this may be one battle that they can’t win with brute force. No matter the obstacle, Thanos proves throughout the film that there’s nothing he’s willing to sacrifice to accomplish his ambitions. Marvel Studios did a great job with plots and telling significant stories that come together in the climax. What steals the show for me is the curtain call on several characters because Thanos was brutal with some of their exits.

Marvel announced that some characters wouldn’t be coming back after this film and they weren’t joking. I won’t say how many or who, but these are characters that will be missed. All I can say is that most of them went down in a good fight because this film takes you to so many worlds that are beautifully done. Another strength in this film is choreographed battles that occur in different locations. These battles are filled with so much action that it makes the two-and-a-half-hour film seem shorter, but there are some problems that come along with it.

With so many characters that have a significant fan base, some fans may be disappointed because certain characters have very little time in the film. Another problem with any action film is the use of too much action and not enough story telling. In this film, if you didn’t watch all the Marvel films after The Avengers, then you’re going to get lost. I was a bit worried that there was going to be too much comedy in this like in some Marvel movies, but that’s not the case here. At first, I also felt that this film was being rushed, but you can tell that it’s only because this film is just part one of two.

Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, announced that the fourth Avengers film will be the finale for several characters and the studio will be centering around others such as Spider-Man. All that can be said is that it’s expected to be released in 2019 and that simply isn’t soon enough because of the cliffhanger this film ended on. This film gets an 8 out of 10 because of those who aren’t in depth with Marvel as some people. You will be left behind by the lack of back story, and some fans may not be happy with the time certain characters have on film. War is hell and Avengers: Infinity War is painful heartache; so hopefully the next Avenger’s film will provide relief, but enjoy this until we get to 2019.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rise


 Now is the time to care
and see instead of stare.
Get up! Out of your chair
and release the burden you bear.

We need to fight the power
of those who sit high in the tower
and use our tears to take a shower.
What is life when you must cower?

Now is the time to rise
against the tyrants we despise.
No more leases, break the ties.
To see them run and hear their cries
as their legacy begin to burn and dies.
Let truth be like rain as it falls from the skies
to wash away the lies in front our eyes.
Freedom is for the people, not private lives.
It can’t be contained, no matter how hard the tries.

No more Conformity, time to rise.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

For The Victims

Ted Bundy

I was taken against my will
and forced to spread my legs
and hear the awful satisfaction
as he screams in sinful delight
and tears my insides with his penis.

Makes noises like a rabid dog.
Howling and growling with sickly satisfaction
as he violates my body in the worst way.
I know now that Lucifer exists
because I’ve met his finest creation.

I was screaming for my mommy
and begging for this monster to stop.
But all that did was encourage him to do more.
So, he punched my mouth and broke my jaw.
I was no longer able to speak.
I had lost virtually all of my sanity
as he poured his vile fluids inside me.
I looked up in the sky
with salty bloody black eyes
and began to realize.

No longer will I dream of losing my virginity to my love
because he spread his poison inside me.
I will never get married because he will kill me
because I saw his face, and I can’t defend myself.
My body and soul were beaten and broken
like a snail’s shell after meeting a human foot.

The last image I saw
wasn’t my children or my children’s children.
Instead, I saw a huge rock, as I tried to
scream mixed with blood,
to scream through broken teeth
and bleeding gums.

Splash!
The earth was mixed with my blood and brains.
I can only thank God I left after the first blow
as he keeps doing it over and over again
until my face looks like a broken mirror.

I was a person with a dream.
I was going to college to be a teacher.
I was only 17 and loved to help people.
I was a virgin and that’s all he saw,
and he used my good nature against me.

His name will survive long after he’s gone
in textbooks, biographies, documentaries and movies.
But I will just get a column in the paper when they find me,
and, in time, my name will be forgotten.
You will remember the killer.
But how will you remember the victim?

What makes the killer’s name more important?
What about our names?


From my novel, Madness in a Recession. Available now on Amazon. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

God and Truth: A Moral Question


I’m writing this essay because I had just finished taking a course on Ethics, and I was interested what people thought when it came time to talk about Truth. It seems that when it comes to God and Truth, people tend to get a little squeamish. I started out with asking three simple questions, and the first one is am I a religious person? If there was incontrovertible proof that God existed, would I want to know? The last question is would I share this knowledge with the rest of the world?

Before I get into this, I just want to point out that this is just something I wanted to share and is in no way meant to offend anyone of any faith. I enjoyed getting everyone’s input on the subject and thought it was worth writing about. It sounded easy to answer at first, but then I really thought about the last two questions. These were very difficult to decide on, especially the third one. Before I answered them, I asked around on social media and random people around my university to get a better idea of what people believed and how they respond to questions about God.

I got 48 responses total, so I don’t know how adequate that is for a real scientific study, but it suited the purpose for my essay. Most of them were Christian and 30% were of Jewish and Islamic faith. Out of all the responses, 75% of the responses were from religious people and the rest were either Atheist or Agnostic. Things got interesting when I asked the same two questions that I was stuck on. 90% wanted to know if God existed just out of pure curiosity. Those that didn’t want to know believed that the knowledge of God’s existence would destroy faith and spirituality.

When it came to the final question, Half of the people interviewed said they would share what they’ve learned with the world, 19 of them said no for various reasons, and the rest were undecided. The people who would share said they would because they believe it would put an end to certain questions and the world would be better for it. Those that said no believed it would bring mass hysteria to the world, people would get hurt or worse, and extremists wouldn’t believe the truth anyway. The ones who didn’t decide believed it depended on whether God did or didn’t exist in the first place. After taking all the information into account, here’s what I wrote down.

I’m not a religious person, but would I want to know whether God did or didn’t exist and share it with the world? The answer to both these questions is yes. I agree that the answers may not be what I or the world wants to hear, but we have to know. I agree that there would be consequences for “blowing the whistle” on these questions, but I believe that’s in the short run. I truly believe in the long run, it would be accepted eventually. My excuse for believing that is death; we all grow up learning we’re going to die someday, so do we worry about it?

No, we accept it, cry about it for a while, and in some cases, use it to motivate us to leave behind a life we can be proud of when our final moment comes. There would be some who refuse to believe it and that’s fine. The fact is, if I had knowledge of our existence, then it should be shared because we have an obligation to answer some of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves. Questions like, “Who we are? Why are we here? Where are we going?”

What people do with the knowledge is up to them, but if the proof is there and it answers some of the questions we ask ourselves, then I have a responsibility to share it. I know some people say people could get hurt, but in all fairness, people have been hurt for religious reasons for centuries. But this is just my opinion and how I answered these questions based on what I heard. I know the truth is terrifying, especially when it answers questions that affects us in physical and spiritual sense, but I believe when the proof is there, then it should be shared. I invite everyone to share their answers to these questions, all I ask is please be respectful and thank you for your input.