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Monday, October 11, 2021

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Sony / Columbia

In shortie #39/38 (we're confused too), Germar reviews Venom: Let There Be Carnage, with super light spoilers. Follow him everywhere @GermarDerron.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Many Saints of Newark

 

In shortie #38, Germar reviews The Many Saints of Newark--spoiler free. Follow the podgod everywhere @GermarDerron.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Free Guy and Fresh from the Finals Phoenix Suns

In Episode 597, Germar goes back to his roots! First, a quick review of Free Guy.  Then finally, he explains why you're wrong about the 20-21 Phoenix Suns, if you didn't recognize them as serious championship contenders. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Shortie: Ignorance and More on Baltimore


In shortie #37, Germar tries to uncover why people don't know, and what's stopping them from knowing. Then, one more quick note about life in Charm City. Keep following @GermarDerron. But more importantly nominate us now at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6513735/2021-Discover-Pods-Awards-Nominations.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Race to and in Maryland

 

Photo by Styves Exantus from Pexels

In Episode 596, Germar finally catches you up on the big move to Maryland--race, relationships, roads, work, and economics. Follow the kang everywhere @GermarDerron. Oh, and we were oh so close last year to a Discover Pod Award. Feel free to nominate again.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Power Rankings: the Marvel Cinematic Universe [UPDATED 9/5/21]

 You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 25 released Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as determined by the entire LTC staff that wears glasses and has dark skin . . . named Germar.

 


25. (24)  The Incredible Hulk 6.5/10 This film works on just about every level. It ranked poorly solely because the field is stacked. Bringing in the Abomination for a show-stopping city-smashing finale was genius. Seeing hints of the Leader was cool. Edward Norton did what he does; he killed it. Some parts drag, but it's about as good as a live-action Hulk film could be outside of The Avengers.

24. (23) Ant-Man and the Wasp 6.5/10 THIS. This is what people are talking about when they say that "superhero movies aren't good" and that "they're all the same" and that they "hate Marvel movies." The best scene takes place mid-credits. Yes, it's sci-fi or fantasy or something, but they break all the rules they made. It's not very funny. And they should have just called it Ant-Man 2

23. (22) Spider-Man: Homecoming 6.6/10 Maybe I just hit that age where cutesy teen movies lose their charm. If I have, this is a sad sad time for me. Michael Keaton can do no wrong. And Marvel's actually inspired inspiring casting excites me--sexually (so many shades of brown). This version of Spidey is the most realistic, which often means boring. Tobey > Tom > Andrew

22. (21) Captain America: The First Avenger   6.6/10 Updated Opinion: I've fallen asleep to this many times.  Surprise motherf*cker! (that's a Dexter reference) Honestly, I can't even get through this now, but I remember what it meant then. I'm not a Captain America fan. This film made me care about him. They poked fun at him. He was a guy and not an Uncle Sam poster (except for when he clearly was, but that wasn't by choice). Most importantly, my female non-nerd friends thought this film was dope and not just because the Human Torch starred in it.

21. (20) Thor  6.7/10 Thor Updated Opinion: This is the worst version of Thor. But it's not a bad intro to a damn good trilogy.  The only movie on the list that is absolutely awful. Whenever I hear someone say they liked Thor, I want to punch them in the face very hard. I watched this awful film twice because my ex's sister-in-law convinced the family that it was good. They all hated it. I feel like Thor was the most cartoony or comic-y of the movies. If you liked this movie, you're probably a Thor fan or hardcore comic fan, or you have absolutely terrible taste, or you want to feel my fist.

20. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 6.7/10 This entire era of movies follows a similar cadence: 1) deep and often explosive beginning; 2) giant, but thin final battle; and 3) uhhh the middle ummm uhhh slower, expository ummm bridge to the final battle. Shang-Chi features amazing characters, and decent lore. The story is hopefully one that will prevent MCU critics from saying, "they're all the same movie." It's Awkwafina's best. And still, I wanted more.

19. Black Widow 6.7/10 Everyone will think this should be higher, but again, every movie can't be their best. And they've put out some damn good picture shows. Serious knocks here for being very predictable right down to who would appear in the post-credit. But this is the best action-movie action in a woman led and dominated action movie ever. 
Photo: Jay Maidment

18. Doctor Strange 6.7/10 Ok, MCU fans stahp it. Every next film cannot be their best film. This was good film, but mediocre in this collection. They've perfected the genre, and now they can crank them out in perpetuity. But Doctor Strange lacked the team dynamic and history that recent entries contain. And while the movie remained active, it wasn't the action of "Winter Soldier," "Ultron," or "Civil War." Yes, magic, but still. Dormammu ending perfect.


17.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier   6.8/10 Somehow this average flick fooled the world. It wasn't nearly as clever as you think.  It did, however, make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a much better series. The action, especially between Cap and Bucky dwarfs the other non-ensemble films. This rendition of Falcon fits nicely. The Winter Soldier appeared as he might in my dreams and nightmares. Oddly, I enjoyed it more the second time.  Expectations? Hype?

16.  Ant-Man  6.9/10 I found this film to be the least "Marvel-y," which is fine. Because it wasn't a typical Marvel film, it was American film-making 101 and quite predictable. If you like mediocre movies, you will LOVE this. That said, they did pull this off well.

15. (14)  Iron Man 2  6.9/10 Updated Opinion: It bores me. No one liked this film, but me; I understand that. But hey, I have a sense of humor. Drunken Iron Man dancing and fighting, stolen suits, HAMMER and weapon malfunctions, the bird, the Widow . . . c'mon!!! 

14. (15)  Iron Man 3  7/10 Ughhhhh. I loved the Mandarin thing, but was this really an Iron Man movie? I appreciated the Mandarin ruse because we weren't ready for the actual Mandarin yet.  I understood the stuff with the kid, but really? There were two iron men that rarely got to suit-up. Annnd the weird fire volcano people . . . . Annnnd Pepper became Iron Man and Fire Lady . . . .  Annnnnnd how did this get ranked so highly? Oh, there were lots of suits fighting at the end--that was cool. Although it was wise of the writers, I never bought RDJ's portrayal of PTSD

13.  Thor: Ragnarok 7/10 Updated Opinion: It wasn't as silly as I remembered. I get it now. I like it now. Watching the three "Thors" back to back to back really helps this entry. Comedy is fine, but comedy in every single line of dialogue for an hour straight is weird. This is the first movie EVERRRR where every actor played the role of comic relief. Beyond that, it was somewhat amazing--beautifully shot, amazing performances, and CGI excellence. They get bonus points for a decent villain, an Executioner sighting, and a Planet Hulk nod.

12.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 7/10 They almost did it again. Odd that this film isn't more connected to the Avengers part of the universe. It was hilarious, but almost not a movie. The typical conflict and tension were non-existent. The twists were predictable in a typical way. The B-villain and story were laughable. But to be fair, how do you follow one of the biggest films of all time--the biggest, most-universally loved, surprise hit since The Matrix? They almost did it. 


11. (10)  Thor: The Dark World   7.5/10  Yes, I appreciate this film more than most of you, but that's because I get things and stuff. Yes, the bad guy was weak, unimportant, and not memorable, but so what. They took a big cue from The Avengers, and made a film that was fun, funny, action-packed, and included a beginning, middle, and end. I only hated that it was so short.

10. (11)   Avengers: Age Of Ultron   7.5/10 Updated Opinion: And now that the Infinity Saga is done, this is a good filmNot a good film, but a HUGE film. They attempted to pack too much into one film. Ultron and Spader dominated. Why do Ultron, and later the Vision, exist and how? . . . not that important really. They attempted an attempt at explanations all over this thing. Nothing made sense, but it was a wild and fun ride.

9. (8) Spider-Man: Far From Home 7.6/10 All of that Spidey building in Captain America, The Avengers, and that awful first movie finally paid off. This is fun and MCU connective and logical and different from the other twenty something films. If you know Mysterio, then you knew the story. Still, the spectacle, the possibilities, and the performances made it all worthwhile anyway.

8. (7) Avengers: Endgame 7.7/10 Like its portioned-prequel, this is more of an experience than it is a film. Unlike Infinity War, this isn't very good. It is a somewhat perfect--albeit predictable--conclusion. But most importantly, this IS the biggest film event ever.

7. (19) Captain Marvel 7.8/10 Updated opinion: I let one scene, expectations, and the lack of a super-powered ensemble ruin what was otherwise a damn good movie.  First of all, women are superior to men in every way. Secondly, I prefer women led movies. Room (starring Captain Marvel herself) is the best film of the last five years. And Captain Marvel is not a very good movie . . . like at all. It may be an important movie (not on Black Panther's level, or Wonder Woman's but important). But importance does not equal entertainment. This should've been better.

6. Iron Man   8/10  I never understood why you feel so strongly and positively about this film. I re-watched it. It's solid, and really solidly establishes the entire universe. I had far more fun with 2 and maybe even 3, but this is a far superior film.

5. Black Panther 8.4/10 Deep. I have no jokes here. Even though this wasn't the best film, or my favorite film, it is by far the most important. Had it been less predictable, with a T'Challa that was cool and mysterious like in Civil War, it's a 10/10.

4. (1)  The Avengers   8.5/10 Updated Opinion: Post-Infinity Saga and after seeing most of these films multiple times, the champ has tumbled. But still, long live the king.  Nailed it. THIS is what I want to feel every time I pay $50 for popcorn, soda, and Raisinets. What can I say that hasn't been said before? The most balanced movie I've ever seen, if you forget that Hawkeye is also sort of an Avenger. 

3. (4) Captain America: Civil War 8.7/10 #TeamIronMan all day! This IS actually "Avengers 3: Civil War," but it doesn't lose points for that. Marvel Studios does an unbelievable job of adding characters, combining worlds, and progressing their universe. It's very well balanced. It loses points (and me) in some of the more verbose scenes. The dialogue wasn't too complex, just too much. The conflict was simple and obvious--show us more of that. Spider-man was flawless. Black Panther was more flawless. 

2.  Guardians of the Galaxy  9/10  People that don't include this in their top two also get punched in the face.  80s references "never go over my head" because "there ain't no thing like me but me" whore. The flick's fairly flawless. 

1. (3) Avengers: Infinity War 9.1/10 No, this isn't a movie, but it's THE best movie-going experience, unless you get down like Pee Wee Herman. I saw it 2.5 times, in theaters, because I just needed to see Hulk get dat ass beat one mo' time. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Communication Doesn't Have to Be Adversarial

Photo by Diva Plavalaguna from Pexels

Fact: most communication is neutral and not about you. Now, read it again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Shortie: Non-consensual Conversations

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

You know someone like this, but you didn't know what to call them. And they know . . . not nearly enough. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Indie Music: Jordana Talsky "Zahava"

by Germar Derron


THIS. is a vibe.

This EP ends a recent debate that I stumbled upon. In a song, what's more important, the vocals or the instrumental? On Zahava, Jordana Talsky responds, "why not both?"

In that debate, most commenters agreed that the instrumental trumps the vocals because: 1) instrumental tracks are released regularly (apparently acapella doesn't exist), and 2) no one ever yells, "that was a dope melody/harmony," but they do say "that's a dope beat." Of course this argument equates to "what makes the PB&J tasty? The peanut buttare or the fruit gialay?" But I still might revisit that thread and drop a link to Zahava.

Of course, the vocals here are as smooth and as sweet as anything that any mortal could ever produce. But Zahava does two things better than any musical project of the last couple of decades--it's consistent, and it tells a story.  

Even though, this is one voice doing many things for multiple tracks, it never feels sluggish or monotonous. It feels themed. There's a purpose here. And just when it almost feels like, "been there done that," "Trouble Up" kicks you right in your good ear drum.

"Trouble Up" plays a bit more warm, more rough, and more serious than the previous tracks. But it does still fit into Zahava's theme. If this is a story, this song represents the project's most tense rising action, and maybe climax. And that resolution, the tying of loose ends, comes on the next track, "City Lights."

Something about "City Lights" feels like a call and response. No, lyrics aren't repeated and questions aren't asked. But the lyrical statements somehow sound like a conversation. And the backing "oooo" and "hhoowww" somehow answer that unasked question.

On the final track, "Honey"--which may mirror the intro, "Superpower," offering a slowed down response to its call--her story, her sound, and her journey ends. This overall storytelling structure, even as a musical collection, is not novel, but maybe M.I.A. for awhile. And maybe it hasn't been missing, it just hasn't been executed this well.

I really appreciated the ride.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Shortie: Simple Math

George Becker
 
In shortie #32, Germar uses simple math . . . to solve a complex problem. Follow the podgod everywhere @GermarDerron.

 
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