Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippets of 3-29-17

I know a lot of you are thinking, “why aren’t you doing Power Rangers or something else that came out this weekend?” Well, I was actually out of town with my dad for the weekend and not in a position where I could catch a movie. Family time is important, after all. So to tide you over, I thought I’d give you all something I’ve been sitting on for a while. Hopefully someday soon, I’ll be back to regular Mondays.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippets of 7-26-16

Some of you may be utterly shocked at what I’m reviewing. “Didn’t you say you were boycotting DC’s animated movies?” you might be asking. Well, yes, I was. However, there are a few things that made me change this policy. First, I’ve come to realize that if I want to be taken seriously as a critic, I’m going to have to bite the bullet and review things that I have a moral problem with. Second, this was going to be one of the hottest items on the market and I’m not going to pass this up, especially since it’s one of the most iconic and influential stories in DC’s history. Third… my trip back from Comic Con didn’t leave me time to see Star Trek Beyond.

So let’s take a look at one of the stories that changed the DC Universe forever, for better or worse. Ladies and gentlemen… The Killing Joke.

Batman: The Killing Joke


Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippets of 3-28-16

Here we are, at the moment of truth. This has been a long time coming, with hope and dread tugging at me from both angles. Now we’ve come to the point where the Ronin judges the Spartan. Ladies and gentlemen… my review of this week’s hottest blockbuster. This Monday night, it’s Batman v. Superman… v. the audience.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the first feature length movie of the Internet production studio, Rooster Teeth. But you guys saw my review on Man of Steel… so I know what you’ve all really been waiting for.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Lazer Team


Posted under Reel Snippets

What’s On My Mind on 3-23-16


I am not looking forward to this weekend.

As you all are probably aware, due to the numerous trailers, TV spots, and promotions, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out this Friday. There are two reasons this upsets me. First of all, it is a sequel to Man of Steel and if I haven’t made it clear already, I absolutely loathe that movie. It isn’t just a bad Superman adaptation, altering something that didn’t need to be fixed and warping the character’s core concept, but it’s a pretty awful film in general. Man of Steel can’t convey the simple concepts it wants to present, which results in shoddy characterization and plotting, while it revels in a washed out palette and dreary tone that it mistakes for maturity.

The second reason calls back to one of my posts last year. See, I discovered that DC was abusing a loophole to avoid paying royalties to some of their creators, the last in a long list of immoral and toxic business decisions. I publicly swore a boycott on giving press to any of their products, good or bad. Well, here’s the thing: if I’m going to be taken seriously in the critical world, then I have to break that oath. Refusing a gig on the sole basis of having a grudge against the creator is kind of unprofessional in the critical world. So even though I’d rather do anything else, I will see Batman v. Superman and give an honest review of it, good or bad. People will want to know how it is, so I’m going to give it to them.

Doesn’t mean I have to like doing it, though.


Posted under Announcements

Ronin Reads – Gotham City Sirens

Title: Gotham City Sirens
Authors: Paul Dini (issues 1-11); Tony Bedard (issues 12-15); Peter Calloway (issues 16-26)
Artists: Guillem March; Andres Guinaldo; Jeremy Haun; Ramon F. Bachs
Type: Comic book
Genre: Superhero

Catwoman. Harley Quinn. Poison Ivy. Three of Gotham City’s deadliest ladies find themselves living together under one roof in the wake of a new Batman and other insanity. From alien plant people forming a bond with Poison Ivy to Joker wannabes trying to kill Harley to Catwoman dealing with her insane sister, the girls deal with the madness that only Gotham can bring. The real question is what will kill them first: the city or each other?

It may not seem like it from the morose description, but this series is actually a lot of fun and a lot of this comes from our three leading ladies. The three are such potent characters that all you have to do is put them in a room together and the scene just becomes electric. They can’t really be called heroes, but they’re still likable enough to keep following. That said, toward the end of the run when Peter Calloway took over, it felt like they were bickering because the script required them to, so that was disappointing.

For the first half, at least, there’s also a huge sense of fun to it, helped in no small part by the vibrant art of Guillem March. Apart from fighting wannabe superpowers in Gotham, we get to see how they spend their holiday seasons or searching for lost dogs, a plotline that has a darkly comedic payoff, which is well worth the detour. Things can get intense, for sure, but there’s still a sense of levity through it all. When Paul Dini was replaced with Tony Bedard halfway through the run, things took a darker turn with stories involving Catwoman’s sister going on a religious rampage to free her soul from “the cat demon” by killing her and Poison Ivy being seduced/taken over by a plant alien to prepare a landing zone for his people’s upcoming invasion. That’s fine, stories can go dark and the characters are still likeable enough.

When Calloway takes over, though, the art subsequently takes a nosedive and the girls’ bickering becomes more bitter and less fun. The stories get a lot less pleasant too. We have some dire stuff about people trying to extract Batman’s secret identity from Catwoman’s mind and Harley finally making off to kill the Joker, but it’s punctuated with some unnecessary stuff about someone’s murdered infant and it draws the comic into a very bittersweet ending. It’s still good in places, but it’s like following up a juicy t-bone steak with a dessert of plain water crackers. …

So why am I bringing up a five year old comic rather than a recent Saga book or something like that? Well, this comic, like many others, was canceled in DC’s massive reboot to make way for the New 52 and I wanted to highlight something we lost then. Most of the books now are overly dark and grim and severely lacking in anything fun. Before that, you could have a wannabe Joker midget that used to run with him kidnap Harley only for her to give him a verbal dressing down. But now we have bad futures that completely invalidate everything the heroes are fighting for, comedic characters and kids killed off with abandon, limbs are mauled and removed willy-nilly, and the subjects of consent and sexual orientation are handled with as much grace as a monster truck attempting to perform Swan Lake. In short, everything feels unnaturally miserable.

Even our mighty sirens don’t get off unscathed. Harley Quinn got a revamped origin that is a carbon copy of the Joker’s and a rather atrocious redesign, along with becoming the subject of an art contest where she was depicted in a “glamorous” suicide attempt. Catwoman lost all her memories of Batman’s secret and ended her first new issue having sex with him that was initially nonconsensual. Poison Ivy… okay, she didn’t get too much of a bad rap. And yet, despite their initial rocky start, there’s a bit of the old magic shining through. Poison Ivy and Harley connected and became more anti-heroes than villains. Same with Catwoman, who joined the Justice League of America for a spell before the Trinity War story. Harley even began forming her own female crime fighting team, which seems like it could be an attempt to reboot the old team. Hopefully that will be the case in the future. I’m not positive that they will keep the light tone, but I can certainly hope. Everyone deserves a chance for a new beginning, something I learned from a little series called Gotham City Sirens.

Posted under Ronin Reads

Reel Snippet – Batman: Assault on Arkham

The following film was viewed at an official screening at San Diego Comic Con 2014 and was in no way involved with any illicit obtainment of the product.

Batman: Assault on Arkham takes place in the universe of the Batman Arkham games and has a fun premise: a group of supervillains on the government’s leash called the Suicide Squad is ordered to break into Arkham Asylum while Batman is in the peripheral focus in an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist story. Unfortunately, the movie drops the ball quite heavily, particularly when the plot gets essentially hijacked by Batman and the Joker in the second half and the characters we’ve been following have to fight for relevance. Also, the “fun” in the premise is quickly lost with all of the pointless shock deaths that occur, some of which include a rather endearing character or two, for the sake of being “serious” and “mature.” In fact, I’m not even sure whether or not one of the characters died or not. It was rather confusing. Also, I hate to beat the DC Comic and women horse even further, but dear GOD, I don’t think either of women in this movie were treated as anything other than sexual desires or counterbalances to a guy in the movie. Badass and combat capable sexual desires, but that bonus can only take you so far. There’s one scene where Killer Frost has to pass as a corpse to get into Arkham and one of the guards straight up leers at her naked body. I’m not making this up. The guy straight up leers at a CORPSE. This is not a human reaction unless the guard is a necrophiliac and if that’s the case, why would anyone, even an incompetently guarded place like Arkham, employ them in the morgue. Furthermore, the opportunity to have the numerous personalities on the squad play off each other is wasted by having the movie mostly go through action scenes constantly and having almost zero character development. There’s one entertaining quiet scene between Deadshot and Captain Boomerang near the beginning, but that chemistry doesn’t hold throughout the movie. The logic’s a bit dodgy in places too. The animation and action scenes are beautiful to look at, but that’s the standard for the DC Animated movies. There’s also no point talking about Kevin Conroy as Batman and C. C. H. Pounder as Amanda Waller, since they are rarely anything other than excellent and this was no exception, but I will say that this is where Troy Baker really shaved off the rough edges and came into his own as the Joker. Overall, though, I wouldn’t give this a glowing recommendation. The genius of Bruce Timm is well missed in these latest animated movies and the dynamic characters are all but lost amidst poor handiwork and a muddled and far too grim script. If you were looking for a fun action heist, I think this will leave you dry. But if you’re looking for a grim and serious Batman animated movie, then I would recommend putting in Batman: Under The Red Hood instead.

Posted under Reel Snippets

Reel Snippets – The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie took me completely by surprise and blew my socks off. By all rights, it had no right to be good, as it seemed like a complete complete cosh cow movie. But somehow, it turned out to be the one of the most imaginative and fun movies for the whole family that takes a twist into straight up meta commentary by the end. The big thing that makes the movie run so well, apart from the really fast comedy coming at you most of the time, comes from the fact that it is, in fact, a LEGO movie, thus everything is based around LEGO physics, motion, and logic. This leads to a lot of jokes and clever use of the set pieces, which I mean quite literally. Honestly, I don’t think the movie would have worked if it took itself completely seriously, but since the plot runs on complete irony, that’s not a problem. Oh, and the acting is superb too, including Charlie Day, who I never would have recognized were it not for the credits. I’m not sure if anyone who hasn’t played with LEGOs or had a kid who did so would enjoy this movie as much apart from the subtle adult jokes that would slip past the kids, but maybe they could. It’s one of the most upbeat, charming, grin-inducing movies that I’ve seen in a while and I think it deserves a watch. Go out and feel like a kid again.

Posted under Reel Snippets

V-log – The Dark Knight Rises

Nananananananana nananananananana Ronin!

This would have been up days ago, but the internet’s been screwy for me lately.

Posted under V-logs

V-log: Comic Con Part 2 – Batman Year One

Comic Con gave us a sneak peak at the new DC Animated film based off of a Frank Miller classic. The big question: Will it fly?

Posted under V-logs

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