We are currently living in the golden age of television. Just like in the 40s with comics, television is giving audiences unprecedented access to content that no audience in history has been able to have. From shows about cops to shows about the beginning of man, television seemingly has it all, and that is an overwhelming positive. We are also living in an era where lots of television shows are lost in the mix as shows get straddled with airing on upcoming networks or just getting lost in the shuffle of new management of a network. This is going to be the first article in a new column that is called Shows You Aren’t Watching But Should. This is the inaugural article, so brace yourselves, and don’t tread lightly because chances are, you’re most likely not watching the shows that I’ll be spotlighting weekly. I’m hoping that changes. All of these shows I take a look at are currently airing right now or have just wrapped their current seasons and have either been renewed or awaiting renewal.

Magic City
Starz. The new kid on the block. Its claim to fame is that it was the home to the cult classic comedy Party Down before scrapping it in favor of going to an only drama primetime lineup. Sure, Starz has a long way to go before it can catch up to Showtime and HBO as a true player in the pay cable world but it has been doing well in getting a footing in an increasingly crowded market. It also has to fight off direct ompetition from Cinemax. The network has started getting some notice thanks to airing Torchwood: Miracle Day, Spartacus, and snagging Kelsey Grammer for the lead in its award winning series Boss, wherein Grammer won a Golden Globe for his work beating out the likes of Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston. Their show that is the most underrated, but is truly a feast for the eyes, is its Miami set gangster drama Magic City.

Written by Mitch Glazer and starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, Steven Stait, and Danny Huston amongst others, Magic City is a sprawling tale of corruption and power set in late 1950s Miami. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is our hero, playing hotelier Ike Evans, a man trying to balance his dealings with the mob underworld (as seen through his interactions with Huston’s gangster Ben Diamond) and making sure that his business is, well, legitimate in the eyes of the law. It is a balancing act that propels this series as it gets into darker and darker territory. Ike is a man that is being hunted by both sides of the law, meaning he has nowhere to hide or turn too. The law wants him because of his shady business dealings and the wanted seek the cut that Ike has hastily talked his way out of giving. It is a dynamic that has rarely been seen before. A man pushed into a corner and only has one option. Fight his way out or die trying.

The writing here is sharp. Mitch Glazer has a passion for the era and it shows in the first season. Detail that only a local with passion (yes, Glazer grew up in Miami) could really hit the marks the way this show does. Glazer, in fact, wrote every single episode in the show’s short (eight episode) first season. The storylines do not drag out for too long, and events move at a good pace. Also, thanks to it airing on Starz, this show does not shy away from nudity and while some paycable shows overdo it in the nudity department, this show shows off the buff at an appropriate level. And though it may seem unnecessary to mention the nudity, I only bring it up because there are certain people who are privy to nudity, and well, the statement was both a warning and a heads up, depending on where you fall when it comes to the category that is nudity on TV.

For people yearning for a good old fashioned gangster drama set in a place and time that has not been seen on television in a long, long time, then Magic City is the show for you. It is both sexy and tantalizing while it features a great cast in a compelling ensemble setting. This is definitely worth a shot. It is good, so check it out already! Especially since the show is in production of its second season and will feature the likes of Esai Morales and James Caan in the new season, which is set to premiere in the Spring of 2013.

In Part 2 we took a look at possible Casting Choices for the Big Three, so now we are going to take a moment and make some suggestions for possible Casting Choices for the Supporting Heroes. Lets jump right in!

Green Lantern/Hal Jordan/John Stewart
The “Not Nathan Fillion” Choice: Warner Brothers are really in an interesting situation over this choice. Do they stick with Ryan Reynolds or do they write off the Green Lantern film and start afresh with a new Hal Jordan or even make the switch to John Stewart. Personally, I think they should stick with Reynolds. He was a decent Hal Jordan and Green Lantern. The film itself suffered from poor direction and a lack of a credible villain as well as other story problems. Give the character a better look in the film with an actual costume rather than the stupid CGI suit and I think it will be fine. If the WB does recast, you’ll see a lot of fanboys out there are screaming for the role to be given to Nathan Fillion. I think the time has come and gone for Fillion, and he said it himself that he is very busy now and I think Fillion has aged out of the role.

Another idea would be to move away from Hal Jordan and go to the John Stewart character, making him like he was in the animated series which worked so well. As far as casting I would love to see Idris Elba take the role. I know he’s part of the Marvel verse in Thor and Ghost Rider, but Reynolds was in the third Blade, Wolverine: Origins and still may play Deadpool in his own film. So it’s not a stretch to see someone portray characters in both Marvel and DC movies. Elba is just a phenomenal actor and I think he would be brilliant as John Stewart. One thing they could do is make the origin of Green Lantern an integral part of the film. He could even possibly help take charge of the league when they need it with his military background. If they decide to scrap Reynolds then I hope they consider this as an alternative.

The Flash/Barry Allen
The Breakout Choice: I think The Flash/Barry Allen character has the potential to be the breakout character of the film, just like HULK was in The Avengers. He could be the character where you could cast someone like Bradley Cooper in the role and by the time it comes to theatres, The audience would be so looking forward to seeing the big three that it’s actually The Flash that stands out the most. I would love that to happen because The Flash is a very undervalued character in the DC universe, but to me I love the character. I was always more of a Barry Allen fan than I was Wally West, but that never really mattered because they were always great stories to read. Warner Brothers seem to love Bradley Cooper so it would seem logical that they would want to get him into what will be one of their biggest productions to date. I think Cooper would be a great choice, as a lot of the new writing on The Flash has been really good. If they keep the Ryan Reynolds Hal Jordan, I could imagine seeing the pair of them stealing scenes and bringing a well needed light hearted tone to the action.

Another choice I could see Warner Brothers going for would be Armie Hammer. His stock is pretty high at the moment thanks to his breakout role in The Social Network and getting cast as the title character in The Lone Ranger opposite Johnny Depp. The same logic applies with Cooper that Warners would want to get him in the film. He has the look of Barry Allen and could do the job easily. Either way I would be happy if one of these guys were given the role.

Aquaman/Arthur Curry
The Surprising Bad Ass Choice: I think Aquaman here has the potential to change everyone’s perception of him. A lot of people underestimate his value and see him as just the guy who can talk to his fish. The potential for an Aquaman film series could be something similar to an underwater Star Wars. Along with the Flash, Aquaman could be another one of the breakout stars of the Justice League movie. As far as casting I could see them going with a semi unknown in the role which would be great. Someone like Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz would do well in the role. He could be similar to Cavill in the fact that he would essentially be stepping up to leading man status with this role. I don’t think that would happen here, but if it leads to his own franchise then certainly there.

If the powers that be at Warner Brothers go with someone more well known then I could picture Alexander Skarsgard getting the role. He has the right look and can easily play the bad ass role of the team. He is the breakout star from True Blood and has been getting some big screen exposure with his roles in Battleship, Disconnect, and the upcoming flick The East.

Well there you have it folks, my top picks for the heroes in the Justice League movie. Let’s hope we get some good news soon as to who will direct and who will be playing the various heroes. Let’s also hope that this is good news for DC Comics fans. Maybe they will finally be able to catch up to the huge head start that Marvel got on them. In two or three years time we’ll find out.

Release Date: September 28, 2012
Studio: Sony Pictures
Director:  Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Garret Dillahunt, and Piper Perabo.
Plot: In a futuristic gangland in the year 2042, a 25-year-old assassin named Joseph Simmons (Gordon-Levitt) works for a mafia company in Kansas City as a “Looper”. Loopers kill and dispose of agents sent by their employers from corporate headquarters in Shanghai from the year 2072. Loopers are foot soldiers, paid on the condition that all targets must never escape.

When Simmons recognizes his target as a future version of himself (Willis), his older self escapes after incapacitating him. The failure of his job causes his employers to come after him, forcing him to fight for his life as he hunts his older self.

Thoughts: I don’t understand why Looper didn’t come out in the May through August release calendar. The trailers are thrilling. The casting could not be better, headlined by the always impressive Joseph Gordon-Levitt and action legend Bruce Willis, with top notch supporting talents including Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. The time travel paradox/assassin/mafia concept is right up the alley for both genre fans and action flick fans. And Rian Johnson. You might not know the name, but you should. He directed the pitch perfect Brick, which also starred JGL, and the very creative and entertaining The Brothers Bloom, with Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo. This is a director with a clear vision who surrounds himself with some of the best working talents around. I can’t wait to head to the theater to check out Looper, then maybe I’ll go back in time and see it again for the first time.

In Part 1 of my Justice League Movie Suggestions we talked about Story, Villains, Creative, and Personnel. Now lets talk about Casting the Big Three! A film of this magnitude requires a cast that will be able to carry the film, much like Marvel’s The Avengers. This no time to start messing around with the characters and just throwing in people for the hell of it and the star power. I remember years ago when George Miller came to close to making what was being called Justice League: Mortal. He had apparently cast a bunch of, at that time, unknowns in every role. Now with some of the roles I could agree an unknown would be a good way to go, but asking a cast of complete unknowns to carry a film like this would be unfair. Casting one or two and then surround them with better known people has been a formula that has proven to work in the past. Below are a few suggestions for  the big guns of the Justice League.

Superman/Clark Kent
Most Likely Choice: Hell to me this is no contest, it has to be Henry Cavill from next years Man Of Steel. Warner Brothers would be foolish not to use that film to launch their new DC universe, but with it being produced by Chris Nolan there is a chance that they may keep the whole one hero, one universe. I think that this would be a bad move. While it worked on Nolan’s Batman trilogy because Batman has no super powers and it felt like a real world that they created. This is Superman, the story is so more universal. I think Cavill will be there come the start of production.

The only other person I could see them turning to would be Joe Manganiello from True Blood. He has tested for the role before and apparently came very close to winning the role. It seems likely that if Warner Brothers were to replace Cavill for Justice League then they would turn to him. He has the size and actin chops to excel in the role. But I really do think Cavill is the safe bet here.

Batman/Bruce Wayne
The “Robert Downey Jr” Choice: By this I mean an actor who’s been in the spotlight at the top and has suffered a steep decline attributed to either poor film choices or some sort of scandal. This wasn’t actually my personal choice, but I could see it if it happened and that person is Colin Farrell. I think he has the look of Bruce Wayne and could pull of the suave playboy image. I’ve never seen much of his work in darker roles as he always seems to play the hero roles and that could work to his advantage. I actually do like Farrell as an actor. The 2008 film Pride And Glory where he played a corrupt NYPD officer in a family of cops really showcased his talent. He was almost cast as Batman in Wolfgang Petersen’s aborted Batman Vs Superman, so again Warner Brothers must like something about him. That script made it online and I did get to read it and I could really see where they were coming fro. I could really see Farrell in the role at the time.

Another actor I could see in the role who would rock it would be Mad Men star Jon Hamm. His career doesn’t need much of a boost, but his only main exposure is television right now. He has had very few movie roles and Justice League could be the one that makes him the next George Clooney. No, not in the sense of being a bad Batman, but in the sense of being the next television star to make the transition to Hollywood A-List movie star with ease.

Wonder Woman/Diana Prince
The Popular Choices: MMA star Gina Carano just burst onto the film scene in the action flick Haywire, which has led to a lot of fans calling for the WB to sign her to don the bullet proof bracelets. Personally I love the choice, Haywire was a fun action flick and she did a lot of her own stunts and fight scenes. I think she would fit well in an ensemble and possibly lead to her being one of the breakout stars of the film.

Another choice I could get behind would be Castle star Stana Katic. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just could totally see her as Wonder Woman. She has the look and the skills to portray an Amazon princess. I would love to see Wonder Woman have a bit more of a feisty side to her like in the new Justice League comics, but she still needs to have that authority of a warrior about her. That’s why I think Carano would probably be the better choice.

In Part 3 of our Justice League Movie Suggestions I’d take a look at casting Green Lantern, Flash, and Aquaman!

Release Date: September 14, 2012
Studio: Sony Pictures
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Bingbing Li, Johann Urb, Boris Kodjoe, Oded Fehr, Kevin Durand, and Shawn Roberts
Plot: The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, Alice, awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex.

Thoughts: In 2002 if you would have told me after I watched the horrible adaptation that was Paul WS Anderson’s original Resident Evil that they would follow it with four sequels I would have laughed in your face. Yet here I am writing about Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth movie in the horror turned action series. Not only that, but I’m excited for this latest installment, as I was the last one. This series has turned into a guilty pleasure and I hope a sixth, seventh, and eighth movie follows this one. Keep them coming and I’ll keep watching them and will be entertained.

The new movie introduces fan favorite character (and my personal favorite character from the games) Leon S. Kennedy, along with Ada Wong and Barry Burton from the games. The movie brings back Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine, who had a cameo in the closing minutes of the last film, along with the return of characters that died in past films, including Oded Fehr as Carlos and Michelle Rodriguez as Rain. Which side, good or bad, these characters are on is unknown, but I’m sure it will be a fun ride finding out. Noticeably absent from Retribution are Claire and Chris Redfield, portrayed by Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller in Afterlife. Rumor has it that they will return in a sixth movie, if it gets made… And I have no reason to think that it will not get made.

Sure, there are more than a hundred Troma movies that have been uploaded and are ready to watch on their official YouTube page, but how do you know which ones to actually watch? They are all gross, inventive, disgusting, entertaining, sick, etc. Here are three suggestions of movies that are not necessary worth your time, but are a great way to kill some time.

THE TOXIC CRUSADERS
Growing up I absolutely loved the animated series Toxic Crusaders, which was part of the early 90s Fox cartoon block. It only lasted for 13 episodes, but that didn’t stop me from watching them over and over on taped VHS tapes and buying the board game based on the series. It was not until much later did I track down the original Toxic Avenger movie that the series was based on and get scarred for life… I still can not believe that they allowed a company to make a family friendly animated series out of a movie that I’m still shocked to this day was allowed to be rated R and not NC17. This was also my gateway into loving Troma films and for a few years in the late 90s I tracked down as many as I could get my hands on (this was not always an easy process). The Toxic Crusaders movie was a few of the television episodes compiled together. I have not actually watched in the past 15 years, but I’m sure it is as good as I remember as a kid… right? Right??

Official Description: THE TOXIC CRUSADERS, led by Toxie, a creature of superhuman size & strength, are America’s favorite environmental heroes! The TOXIC CRUSADERS wage an ongoing war of laughs against crime, corruption and chemical waste. In order to save Tromaville and the rest of the planet, the TOXIC CRUSADERS must thwart the plans of the evil Dr. Killemoff, a mutant pollutant from the planet Smogula, and his hoards of heinous henchmen. Watch The Toxic Crusaders Online for Free!

MACABRE PAIR OF SHORTS
This Troma gem comes from 1996 and was directed by Scott Mabbutt (he would later follow this with such b-movie fare as Predators from Beyond Neptune and The Daughters of Darkness). Macabre was Troma’s answer to horror anthologies such as Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow, which a comedic twist. The quality is not the greatest with you get multiple stories and doses of Troma along with an appearance of David Boreanaz before he was Angel! Sure, he is just an extra in the Dinner, but if you look quick enough you will not miss him!

Official Description: In the tradition of “Creepshow” comes the Macabre Pair of Shorts! This horror/comedy spoofs everything from “The Twilight Zone” and Dr. Seuss to “Die Hard” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” One fateful Halloween night, two employees of a certain motion picture equipment house discover a very unusual film. They decide to thread it up, and the rest becomes a very memorable Halloween indeed! Filled with vicious female vampires and an assortment of creepy characters, The Macabre Pair of Shorts “fits so tightly, you might find it hard to breathe.” -Don Murphy. Watch Macabre Pair of Shorts Online for Free!

NOT ANOTHER B MOVIE
Last but not least I choose Not Another B Movie, a movie making spoof directed by John Wesley Norton (who also directed Space Daze for Troma). I picked this one because it is actually a pretty recent movie (released in 2010), it pokes fun at the movies that Troma makes and how they make them, and it throws in some zombies- and who doesn’t love low budget zombies? As the tagline says, “Just because you can make a movie, doesn’t mean you should…”

Official Description: An adept spoof of cinema’s behind-the-scenes experiences, NOT ANOTHER B MOVIE combines frightening and disgusting zombies with frightening and disgusting hack directors to tell a hilarious story! With a cast that includes Ed Asner, Joe Estevez and David Faustino, it’s an insightful romp through the horror film industry and the horrors of the film industry! Watch Not Another B Movie Online for Free!

Check out these horror movies for purchase…


What can I say about this one? I did not like the first one and yet, thanks to an old friend of mine, I’m now the not so proud owner of the following statement; “I saw The Expendables 2 in theaters.” What can I say about this film that you cannot already predict from the trailers that were released? Was the acting bad??? Yeah, you didn’t see that one come a mile away? Is the action good??? It’s actually underwhelming. Are the one liners are rapid fired?!? Of course they are!

(spoilers follow) The Expendables 2 follows the group as they are black mailed into doing a top secret mission for the mysterious Church (Bruce Willis) that sees them heading to Eastern Europe. However, before they can complete the mission, they are thrown for a whirlwind when one of the members of the team is brutally killed and their loot is stolen. Now, they’re on both a mission for Church and a mission of revenge as they find themselves becoming heroes in one of the most unlikely places. This is a film riddled with cliches and judging from the plot line I just provided, it shows you that there’s no ingenuity here. You’ve seen this plot a hundred times before and I know we’ll see a rehash of it down the line. For a men on a mission-vigilante-revenge tale it is not even executed all that well. The plot will get you shaking your head more then once and that’s just a big no-no in my book.

The film’s best actor is actually its youngest one in Liam Hemsworth and I cannot help but feel that he, like his brother Chris, is a future action star. The guy has great screen presence and easily held his own against all these action vets. Speaking of them, how in the hell did Jean Claude Van Damme become the most entertaining of them all?!? As Jean Vilian, he was brilliant as the film’s bad guy and I cannot help but think that he should be sticking to playing the villain and this might be his best turn since starring in JCVD. I will say that Chuck Norris’ entrance in the film was a hoot and his presence on the screen was appreciated after so many years off, but I absolutely hated that they butchered the classic “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” music to elevate his character. That really wasn’t cool.

The story of the film was really stupid though and in the end the novelty of the premise is wearing off. Not sure if I’ll be back for a third installment, but I know that these guys had enough fun to want to come back. And how can you blame them? They have nothing else going for them. Well, except for Arnie and Stallone. And maybe JCVD if he can build some momentum and stick to more comedic roles. Was this film a good bad film? Yes. Just wait for this one to hit a Redbox near you. Not worth the price of admission. Everybody in this film has done better. Everybody.

*½

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