Friday, March 24, 2017

It's Morphin Time for Fans but That's it.


Power Rangers is officially here after a whole year of anticipation and criticism. The reaction has been vastly mixed and for good reason; truth be told, I really wanted to hate this film but I couldn’t for several reasons. This review was particularly hard to write because I have to consider two worlds that exist when it comes to this film much like when comic book adaptions hit theaters. The world where people who have no idea what I’ll be talking about and the kids who grew up watching the series. That’s why this review will be mixed for each group that I just mentioned because the gap will be big.



When it was officially announced, the reaction was moderate at best because the last time the power rangers were on the big screen was back in the 90s with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. The film was a success because parents brought their kids and now those kids have grown up and are taking their kids to see this one. The only difference is back in the 90s the children loved it while the parents didn’t have enough aspirin, but those kids that grew up might have a problem with this one. I was enjoying it but only because I was a big fan but even I couldn’t ignore the problems. This is a win for some fans but a terrible bomb for anyone who has no knowledge of the show.



Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a show that first aired in 1993 and became an instant hit with children for several reasons. In truth, it has a resemblance to Voltron because it’s a show about five people who operate giant animal like robots that always come together to create a mega robot to end a fight. In this show, however, 5 teenagers are summoned to a building hidden on a hill by an ancient being known as Zordon with the help of his robot partner Alpha 5. The five teenagers then become the legendary team that unites to fight an evil witch by the name of Rita Repulsa. More threats would come obviously as the show progressed until fans would eventually get bored.



The reboot stays true to most of the key elements that made the show a hit but there are some changes that were made and the film benefited from. Zordon (Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad) and Rita (Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games) will have an origin story which adds much to the film because in the show, these two just showed up. The story is a very in depth character development that covers several issues as the teenagers suffer from universal experiences shared by certain groups. There’s plenty of comedy and action spread out so the audience doesn’t disconnect but there are some elements that make the film not family friendly for something that’s meant to be a kid’s film. One thing that definitely had all the fans smiling was seeing cameos by the first rangers throughout the film.



Those were the good issues of this film but there’s a lot of problems that even non-traditionalists would have an issue. The CGI for the Zords and Alpha 5 aren’t good, as well as the ranger’s outfits. Alpha 5 looks like a CGI nightmare but he’s saved by the comedic voice of Bill Hader, but nothing could save the look of the Zords because you could barely make out what they are. Another issue that raises eyebrows is the fact that these are “teenagers” who are having problems with life issues but when they repeatedly speak of “killing” Rita, they’re all comfortable with it. The biggest disappointments are Goldar who looks nothing like he did in the show and when it’s time for the Mega Zord to show up; it just shows up.



The focus on the film is primarily set on the Red Ranger/Jason and the Pink Ranger/Kimberly, which makes sense since those were the most popular ones next to the Green Ranger/Tommy. Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks did a great job living up to the characters from the series. Zordon was done well when he appeared on a holographic wall instead of a floating blurry face in a plastic tube. Elizabeth Banks killed it as Rita Repulsa because of scenes where she’s even made grown men jump in the theater, but when she starts looking for ways to resurrect Goldar is when the fans go, “Really?”



Despite its many flaws, Power Rangers is something that old fans and children can get into if they’re just looking for a good time. I will warn you that much like Iron Man, the rangers don’t come out till the near end of the film but that’s because of character development that had meaningful purposes. The film covered several issues that some youths are suffering from today so this film helps create some awareness which is a good thing. There is something in the mid credits so stay a little bit after if you want and it’ll be clear where the sequel will go if there is one. This is one of those reboots where it’s not clear what will happen but at least one sequel should come if enough money is made.



I really thought this reboot was going to be a bigger disaster than Ghostbusters last year but when the theme music hit, the fans approved. For the fans, it depends how open minded you are that will determine how much you enjoy this film. As a fan, I want to give this film a 7 out of ten because I didn’t mind the changes and it did follow most of the key elements but the execution is flawed. As a critic, the highest score is a three at best because for everyone that isn’t a fan, this film will lose you quick and that will lead to you walking out; so don’t waste your money. Power Rangers has the potential, but we’ll see how far it goes depending on how well it does at the box office.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Iron Fist Punches Ticket


Netflix and Marvel recently released the last series before the release of The Defenders this week with their final Defender in Iron Fist. Here’s the rundown for those that may have no idea of what I’m talking about. Marvel made a deal with Netflix to create a series first with one of their most popular character, Daredevil. The success of that series gave the go ahead to start production on the creation of some of Daredevil’s allies who eventually team up with him to create the team. It started from the dark and depressing world of Jessica Jones, to the violent and crude world of Luke Cage, and the mystical world of Iron Fist closes all introduction.



Iron Fist is about a rich billionaire by the name of Danny Rand who re-emerges after 15 years of being declared dead by some of his closest friends. When he arrives, Danny comes off as being a clueless and naïve individual except when it comes to fighting. He’s eventually committed after revealing to several people that he was raised by a certain order dedicated to destroying their sworn enemy, The Hand. The way Danny fights them is through mastering a form of Kung Fu that allows him to channel his Chi and make his hand indestructible.



Danny, played by Finn Jones is immediately thrown into a world of chaos and his only friend in the fight is a beautiful young woman who teaches self-defense by the name of Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). Danny’s world only goes into more turmoil when he discovers that the reason behind everything the Hand. Danny fights tooth and nail to find all the answers from his past so he can continue forward as the legendary protector. The season does answer a lot of those question but it ends in a way that leaves a lot more questions to be asked later. This hero is probably my third favorite of the four with Jessica Jones last, Luck Cage second and Daredevil first.

Iron Fist was slow in the beginning but it all starts to pick up in the third episode and the fight scenes are well choreographed. I didn’t read the comics; so I don’t know how accurate it was to them but from what I’ve seen in certain shows that the character appears, Danny in the show is completely different. Maybe it’s due to the fact that he’s still becoming the Iron Fist but the character is known to be wise and seems to always know how to proceed but he’s been clueless and just rushing into any fight to get answers. There’s good twists in the show that keeps things interesting but some issues were too repetitive and kept dragging on too long. The choice for the main villain was great in David Wenham (300) who plays a very cold and calculating father.

Iron Fist almost shows a resemblance to Batman Begins when it comes to how Danny Rand became the Iron Fist. Two wealthy billionaires who come back from the dead to save a city that is littered with bad people and the good people too scared to do anything about it. The exception is Danny Rand found his way by accident while Bruce Wayne went looking for his special training. I give this season a 7 out of 10 because it’s slow and repetitive, but also the story can be confusing for people with no knowledge of the character. Iron Fist is a great end to the introductions of the characters and now everyone is ready for The Defenders.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

For Anyone That's Lost a Pet


Storm

I can’t believe it’s done.

With the touch of a needle,

my best friend is gone.

Somehow, that same needle punctured

 my heart.



I got you when you were a pup.

And for 13 years, I saw you grow

into a beautiful pure black Labrador.

The kind you would see in a show.



There were great times,

like running alongside you early in the morning,

throwing the ball around the yard,

showing you off to everyone and bragging,

playing tug of war with the rope.



But there were bad times,

like you barking in the middle of the night.

Your barks would sound like thunder.

Not to mention the hours of life used

picking up after you went inside the house.



But this moment is the worst.

When I realized that your time was coming,

I knew what I had to do, but I didn’t like it.

But I loved you too much

 to see you suffer.



I hope I did some good in staying with you

in that silent, ice-cold room

and talking to you so you wouldn’t hear

that silence till the end.



Oh, how I cried when I looked into your eyes

and told you “I’ll be seeing you again.”

I wonder if you knew what was coming.

Either way, I hope you knew my heart broke

for the first time that day.



I lost my first best friend.

His name was Storm.

And he was the best dog in the world

hands down.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Poem about those who suffer.

Help Me!
Help Me!
Before this knife enters
my accepting heart
with the help of my willing hand.

Help Me!
Before I take a swim
off this bridge
into the Hudson River
in the climate of December.

Help Me!
Before I take the ultimate aspirin.
With all the issues going on inside my head
it can only be solved with this number 38.

Help Me!
Before I take this last drink.
I feel numb and my eyes are nearly closed,
and only one more is needed to finish the job.

Help Me!
Before I make myself taller
with this rope around my neck.
Maybe then the world won’t treat me so small.

Help Me!
Before I light this match
and drop it on my kerosene clothes.
Then I will become my very own firework.

Help Me!
This is all I have to say.
But, instead, I give you signs
just to see if you pay attention.
But, instead, you simply turn away.
Somebody please see
that I need you to

help me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Check


(Son)
Thank God I’m going to college
and getting away from you, mother.
I don’t even get a congratulations
Because, now that I’m getting an education,
you’re losing an income.

I don’t understand why!
How could you do this to me, mom?
I am your son, and you treat me
like a kid treats an old toy.
You toss me out of your way
once I’ve outlived my usefulness.

When I went to school,
you never made me lunch.
I don’t recall you even looking at my report card.
I don’t even remembering hearing you say
“Have a good day” or “I love you.”

You always didn’t like to look at me anyway
Because, when I was young, you always said that
I looked like Dad and that made you angry.
Grandma told me how you used me to get Dad to stay
like a master uses fear on a slave.
All that did was give him more reason to leave.

So not only did you deny me a father,
you didn’t even try to be a mother.
The only contribution you made to my life
was that you gave it to me, not because you wanted me,
because you got a free income once a month.

The only reason I’m saying this now is because
after today, a paycheck from Dad is not the only thing
that will not come to this hell hole anymore.
I’m sorry for two things Mom.
That we had to turn out this way,
and that you’re not even going to say goodbye.


(Mother)
So, you think it’s always been about the money?
It’s so easy to think the worst of me.
You’re right. I’m not going to say goodbye
because you’re not going anywhere,
because you’re your father’s son,
and you will end up like him --
a nobody.

You won’t go far in life for one simple reason.
Trash can’t be anything else but trash.
You were born in this hell hole, and
you’re going to come back to one,
writing a check to some girl you knocked up.

You can hate me if you want because it’s not like you know
what really happened between your father and I.
If you only knew how he took advantage of me,
how your father tricked a naïve girl
by using snake-like charms and
dominant influence over me
just to get what he wanted.

He came up to me,
saying I was the one.
Then, as soon as I gave him everything,
he became a complete stranger.

He didn’t talk to me for weeks,
never called to see how I was doing,
and the only time he spoke with me again
was when we found out we were having you.

The only reason I had you wasn’t money.
The reason you’re alive is because I am pro-life,
and when you’re father found out about you,
he tried to turn me pro-choice.


 (Father)
I got your letter
and thank you for letting me know
how you feel about what you’ve heard.
You deserve your anger, but let me help you direct it
by telling you the whole story of what happened
between your mother and me.

As far as being called
a snake and using dominant influence,
the only one that used these
in the short relationship with your mother
was in fact your mother and not I.

All I ever used was my confidence,
my reputation for being a ladies man.
Your mother would know about snakes
considering how she danced in front of me
that night in the club where we hooked up.

To say she was naïve when she was young.
Ask your mother how naïve she was
when she seduced me while the girl I was dating
was away, and I was left alone for the weekend.
I was the naïve one, thinking
I could get away with one night.

Then your mother told that girl the second she got back,
and that girl called me the same day and told me
that we were finished. So, in one night,
I ruined a great relationship because of your mother,
and I was going to be damn if I was going to let her ruin my life.

Yes, I did try to get her to give you up,
only because she didn’t want you for the right reasons,
and I didn’t want you because I wasn’t ready to be a dad.
I’m sorry to be cold, but you’re a man and deserve the truth.
I’m not writing to justify my actions,
just explaining why those actions happened
the way they did and that I’m sorry
you got the short end of the stick.
I enclose one last check to you, so I can at least contribute to your life.
This is more than I can say about your mother.


(Son)
After a few weeks here in college,
I’ve had some time to think
about all I’ve learned about
both sides of the whole story.

I’m writing this letter to both of you now
because I’ve never been so disgusted by 2 people.
Knowing both sides of your stories, I conclude
that you both deserve each other.

Dad, thank you for understanding my anger,
but to hell with your damn check.
I never wanted it. I wanted you.
I wanted a father and instead I got paper
with a cold, black, and worthless signature.

You’re nothing to me but a name
because that’s all I’ve ever seen of you,
once a month on a rectangular piece of paper.
I took that last check you sent and trashed it.

Now, as far as you go mother,
the only reason you kept me with you
was to keep Dad with you, and when that failed,
you took it out on me, and that I will not forgive.
You were more of a curse than a mother.

The only time we ever talked was when
you tried to get me to not go to college
so I can stay home with you
because you “Needed me at home.”
You are just as selfish and pathetic as Dad.

And you were wrong.
I’m not like dad because I have a fiancé
and she is pregnant with my child
and we are having it together.
So, already I have out done both of you
and I conclude this letter
with these final words.

Neither one of you has contributed in my life.
You both would’ve done me a favor by killing me
because I hate having these feelings for you both.
Everything I have gained has been through my hard work.
For that, I doubt now more than ever that I am your offspring.
After I write this letter, I will be changing my name.

I’m attending college, I have a great job,
and I have a girlfriend who will likely be my wife.
I will have a happy life which is something you both
know nothing about. For that, I pity you.

So, I enclose to each of you
a check with my old name on it.
Treasure it because it’s the last item
that will have my former name.
Goodbye.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Woman by the Bay


It’s one thing to be left behind by someone
that you once loved more than life.
It’s another to have gotten that love
after so much of your life alone.

That’s the tale of the woman by the bay.
She sits on the beach with a scarred heart
and a tear dragging the ink from her eyes.
Her silence is speaking for her.

She is saying: I loved him
and I will not find another like him.
I go and sit by her, put my arm around her,
and tell her it’s going to be alright.

She says how she has been alone,
and how men aren’t attracted to her
as if it’s a curse.
I can sympathize with her on that one.

I tell her of my curse.
That how I’ve learned from women,
how I know what it is that they want,
and how I know that I’m not part of that list.

She says how she will be alone again
because she is not as beautiful as the posers
on the magazines and in the movies.
Bullshit.

We are in the land of the blind,
And, while I am no king, I can say
only one true thing about this
woman by the bay

As I look at her watching the ocean,
hoping to see the dolphins,
and rubbing her feet with red sox
in the warm sand.

I see that she is one of the most
beautiful women I’ve ever seen.





Excerpt from my book Madness in a Recession available now on print or Amazon Kindle. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Struggle with Weight Loss


Submission or Pride? I Can’t Decide


Children can be so cruel to one another,
and I became a victim of that cruelty first hand.
I wondered why it was considered not ok to pick on someone
based on race, religion or gender but it was ok
to pick on somebody because of weight.

Years of pity soon turned into periods of
rage, hatred, and even violence.
Jokes that would take a lifetime to tell and
words that will forever taint my soul.

So, I left a few scars of my own.
The only difference is that mine would show. 
Cowards are strong with tongues, not fists.
That's when the picking stopped.

When the voices knew I would cross the line
and take things where they were too scared to go.
I found strength in their weakness and in their resentment.
I found joy once the picking stopped after years of trying to break
iron skin with hollow words responsible for the transformation.

Later, for my soul's sake, I lowered my guard but never
gave in to the resentment that follows me to this day.
But now things have changed.

When I was younger,
if someone had told me that I would die
in 12 months if I didn't lose the weight,
I would have said give me 11 months and
3 weeks
to think about it.

But now I am older and
I have friends who truly care about me
who want to see my outside match my inside.
Is that why I started? No.

My job requires lots of physical activity
that I can't keep up with because of my
lack of physical ability.
Is this why I've started? No.

Physical attraction sure sounds like enough
of a motive but is that why...
I'll save time by answering hell no!
Any woman that would just be with me
cause of the six pack can take six steps
back.

I look at my two cousins
who I've seen grow into two beautiful girls, and
I want to be alive to see them grow,
graduate and get married. Then
I also look at my nephew who was just born.

I want to be a part of his life and see him grow,
maybe into a football star, or just see him
become a great man like his father or
maybe his loving uncle.
Is this why I've started? Mostly.

It's the little part which I'm not sure about.
As I lose weight, I start to think back about those time
and all the anger comes back.

This is supposed to make me feel better about myself
and fill my soul with pride, but sometimes it feels like
submission to those words that have tainted me
like a scarlet letter. 

I do notice the difference,
and I feel a new source of energy.

But feelings still remain.
I've always taken pride in myself
and my abilities because that's the way
I was brought up.

But am I feeling pride in what I'm doing,
or am I submitting to those voices?
I just can't figure out which one.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Logan: The End of an Era


Ever since the release of Superman: The Movie in the 1970s, the film industry has always shown interest in the superhero/comic genre for financial purposes. Certain film franchises have carried the torch since then, such as Batman in the late 1980s into the 1990s. There’s no doubt however, that Marvel has ruled since the year 2000, and it started with to the X-Men franchise. Through the success of X-Men, new life was brought into Marvel which lead to the powerhouse that it is today. With the release of Logan, this film brings a close to this era that revived Marvel and introduced the world to Hugh Jackman.

Logan takes place long into the future where mutants are thought to be extinct due to certain circumstances, and the popular X-Man has fallen far from grace. He now has a job he hates, surrounded by people who have no idea who he used to be, and the only link to his past is a frail, demented Charles Xavier. When a nurse shows up with a girl that bares certain “traits,” all hell breaks loose and the last two X-men risk everything to help a new generation of mutants to keep the race alive. This film is probably the darkest and most brutal film I’ve seen from Marvel to date.

The film starts off slow and depressing which is understandable, and it doesn’t explain much about what happened to the mutants or X-men until the near end of the film. The character development of Logan throughout the film is terrific as he goes through several issues such as alcoholism and survivor’s remorse. The action was gritty and the film didn’t hold out when it comes to the fight scenes between Wolverine and certain enemies. The only disappointment in the film was there was no strong villain in the film; there’s just a bounty hunter working for certain mad scientist with a dark agenda.

Sir Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman’s final performances are nothing short of magnificent and heartbreaking. Sir Patrick Stewart was already known for his work in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation as the famous Captain Jean-Luc Picard, but nobody shined more than Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman’s career took off back with the 2000 release of X-Men and has become a Hollywood icon since then, starring in several X-Men projects and serious roles as well. To see his final performance makes the audience relieve the past 17 years and realize this was it and there’s no coming back. All that could be said after the film is, “Thank you for living up to the characters that so many fans have grown up watching and love.”

Logan is an emotional ride that fans from the beginning will connect to real fast and will leave the theater knowing it may be over, but there’s a new generation on the rise. There is no doubt that this film will succeed financially but if you’re someone new to the franchise or you’re not a fan of the dark direction, this film may not be for you. I can’t deny that I wasn’t a fan of the backstory as well, but this film delivers on several levels. I give this film a 9.5/10 because of the lack of a main villain but this film is well worth the price of an evening show. Go and see the end of an era, but don’t wait after the credits because there’s nothing there, enjoy.   

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ode to Robin Williams

A Brilliant Robin

Ever since you and Mindy met,
I have never been able to keep my eyes off you.
When I saw you sail in with Olive
and flex your big forearms,
I knew you were a brilliant Robin.

I never needed toys
cause I watch you for amusement.
I never had to go fishing with grandpa
because I was watching a king on the screen.

The way you made us laugh with Comic Relief.
It was like watching poetry in motion,
like you were the leader of a dead society.
And you touched our hearts with more than comedy.

You’ve been everywhere from cold Moscow
to seeing a good morning in Vietnam.
Just to see you do what you can do
is a real awakening.

The way you can change colors
by turning into a big blue clown,
making dreams of a pauper come true
easier than saying Bibidy Bobidy Boo.

You’ve even changed sexes,
and proved that being an old lady
can be funny and lovable.
It’s almost like you have artificial intelligence.

Then, there is your voice
that hides so many others.
If I didn’t know any better Jack,
I’d say you were a machine covered in furry skin.

You can’t be real.
It’s like you popped out of Neverland
because you never get old in spirit.
There’s always a fresh joke for you to tell.

No birdcage can hold you.
I would have an easier time
trying to catch air with hands.
Your humor is what dreams can come.

You have done so much a man can do.
It’s almost like you have Insomnia
because you never seem to sleep.
You should be man of the year.

If there was a museum of you,
I’d wait all night there with happy feet.
I’d take a picture of you,
and rush it to one hour photo.

I hope somehow I get to meet you someday.
So, until then I will say thank you for everything.
You are a brilliant Robin, and, until there is another,
Good Hunting Mr. Williams.