REVIEW: DC SHOWCASE: CATWOMAN

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CAST

Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Lilana Mumy (Batman: Year One)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Cree Summer (Animaniacs)

The film starts with two men pursuing a grey cat in an attempt to shoot it dead. The cat supposedly jumps into the river and is presumed dead. As the two men leave in a car with a crime boss called Rough Cut, Catwoman is shown under the bridge with the grey cat, which has a yellow wristband round its neck, grabbing Catwoman’s interest.

Later on, Rough Cut and two other men go to a strip club. As a woman dances and strips, he gives her a small chunk of diamond. Catwoman enters the strip club and covers for the other stripping women, but this only proves to be a way for her to confront Rough Cut. As every single person has already fled the strip club, Catwoman and Rough Cut are left alone. After a short fight, he escapes before she can get him. Some while later, Catwoman attacks Rough Cut whilst he is driving a craned truck. Catwoman slips the crane hook under the truck and escapes before it crashes, the hook flying over and slicing a ship full of goods in half. The truck overturns and Rough Cut is killed.

When Catwoman goes to the ship, she finds a group of trafficked girls, which is revealed to be the mysterious cargo shipment. Catwoman notices Holly Robinson to be one of the girls. As the police arrive, Selina Kyle comforts Holly, giving her the yellow wristband that belonged Holly before she was trafficked. Selina also gives Holly a handful of diamonds because she is in need. The film ends with Catwoman jumping from one building to another as Holly watches her disappear into the night.

This DC showcase Catwoman short is dark, gritty and absolutely fantastic. Thank you Paul Dini once again, you are a master at your craft. I personally love this short and was totally impressed. A great addition to Batman: Year One.

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REVIEW: DC SHOWCASE: THE SPECTRE

CAST

Gary Cole (Crusade)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Jon Polito (Barton Fink)

Foster Brenner, a successful film producer, is killed by a bomb hidden underneath the diving board of his swimming pool. Los Angeles Police Department detective Jim Corrigan, who was having a relationship with Foster’s daughter Aimee, starts investigating despite the case having been assigned to another officer. Jim interviews Flemming, Brenner’s butler, who shows him security footage of two men in ski masks entering the complex and placing the bomb. Jim asks if Brenner had any enemies, and Flemming replies that any man so wealthy and powerful has many. He tells him that several of Brenner’s longtime collaborators were excluded in his latest films and were very unhappy about it.

That night at a special effects warehouse, Drew Flynn sees the late Foster, who accuses him of his murder and transforms into the Spectre, who uses his powers to animate the models and animatronic film monsters to attack Flynn, and kills him with a gigantic gorilla robot. The Spectre confronts and kills Peter McCoy by controlling his car that repairs itself and crushes him, before taking a suitcase of money. Arriving at Aimee’s house undetected by phasing through the wall, Jim tells Aimee that she is good enough to be an actress in her father’s movies. Learning that Aimee was responsible for giving the correct access code for her father’s estate to Flynn and McCoy, Jim opens the briefcase with her father’s money. Aimee asks Jim that they will get together while she rummages the pistol from the desk drawer, but Jim refuses. Aimee fails to attack Jim, who transforms into the Spectre and kills her by engulfing her in a tornado of money, avenging her father’s death. Jim calmly walks away as the police arrive while they cannot see him. Jim narrates that his job is to root out evil, that he is justice and being the Spectre.332c4-dcshowcasespectre1Seeing as how The Spectre might not be as famous as Batman or as popular as Superman, it was probably a wise move for Warner to only make one short film in order to gauge viewers’ interest. The result was so spectacular, so oozing with style and boasting high end production values that it really is a pity Warner did not go all out to make a full length feature from the start. Having a mature narrative makes this short film accessible to even viewers who are not fans of animation as it plays out very much like a live action movie

 

REVIEW: DC SHOWCASE: GREEN ARROW

CAST

Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (Heroes)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Grey DeLisle (The Zeta Project)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Ariel Winter (Excision)

Green Arrow waits outside an airport for the arrival of his girlfriend, Dinah. He was delayed in traffic due to the arrival of Princess Perdita.

Count Vertigo has hired Merlyn to assassinate Perdita, who is Vertigo’s niece. Perdita will soon become queen of Vlatava following her father’s assassination by her uncle. As Merlyn attacks his target, Green Arrow discovers the plan and is forced to intervene. He dispatches several of Merlyn’s henchmen before getting Perdita to a place of safety. He is forced to duel Merlyn himself, and defeats him.

Count Vertigo arrives and attempts to kill both the hero and Perdita, incapacitating them. Dinah, revealed to be Black Canary, arrives at that moment and knocks Count Vertigo unconscious with her “Canary Cry”. Afterwards, Green Arrow proposes marriage to Black Canary. Canary accepts Green Arrow’s proposal and they share a passionate kiss.

The action is top notch without going overboard with grotesque violence, this is one short that kids can watch. This is one of my favorite DC short so far, I loved The Spectre, but I think this is the best one.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN/SHAZAM: THE RETURN OF BLACK ADAM

 

 

CAST

George Newborn (Justice League)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Zach Callison (Steven Universe)
James Garner (The Notebook)
Josh Keaton (Justice Legaue Action)
Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

The film opens with a young couple sitting in their car on a hillside outside of the city as an apparent meteor streaks across the sky and smashes into the couple’s car. It is revealed that that meteorite is actually Black Adam, returning to Earth after a long exile. The film then cuts to young Billy Batson living in a rundown slum, with very little food and rats for pets. He gets out of bed wearing a t-shirt with the Superman crest. He goes to the kitchen to find food, but discovers he only has potato chips, which he ends up feeding to the rats.

On his way to meet with Clark Kent in a nearby diner, he sees some bullies mugging a homeless man. After attempting to defend the man, Billy himself receives a black eye. The homeless man thanks Billy for his intervention, calling him “The Captain”. Billy tells him that he always tries to do the right thing. Billy gives him the only thing of value he has – a subway token.

At the diner, Clark buys the boy three breakfasts, and tells him he wants to write a story to bring his plight, and those in his same situation, to public light. He tells Mr. Kent that he tries to be good no matter what. As the conversation continues, neither notice that Black Adam has appeared, hovering outside the diner. He claps his hands together, blowing a hole in the side of the diner. Clark attempts to protect the boy, but a blow from Black Adam sends him through several walls. He emerges from beneath the rubble and quickly changes into Superman. Adam stalks young Billy through the streets stating his surprise over the Wizard’s choice to become the next Marvel, but Billy does not know what he means. Black Adam picks up a fire engine to smash Billy, but Superman intervenes and blocks the blow. While Billy makes good his escape, Superman gets a blast of electricity from Black Adam. After recovering he realizes Adam’s powers are magically based, and he is vulnerable. This vulnerability puts Superman and Adam at an equal footing. Black Adam uses magic to his advantage, but Superman responds with powers the magical being doesn’t have – i.e. heat vision. After briefly getting Superman out of the way, Black Adam continues his pursuit of Billy, who runs into the subway, again encountering the homeless man he helped earlier. The man gives him a subway token, telling him he would be paid back. Billy runs out onto the tracks, with Black Adam still in pursuit. Billy is caught on the tracks when a train apparently runs Billy over, causing Adam to leave. Billy awakens to find he is on an empty subway car. The token begins to glow and he begins to crackle with lightning. In the lightning, Billy sees flashes of his life, including his parents’ headstone, the orphanage, and his foster parents who throw him out, leaving him on the streets.

He gets off of the subway car at the next stop, but finds himself in a gigantic cave with statues of the Seven Deadly Sins. Billy finds his way to the Wizard Shazam who tells the boy that he is the next Chosen One. He explains that Black Adam had been his champion 5000 years ago, but Teth-Adam had used his power for personal gain and corrupted the gift. He was then banished to the farthest star in the sky, and now Black Adam has returned seeking vengeance. The Wizard then causes a cave in, telling him that he wishes to atone for the mistake of creating Black Adam, but tells Billy that should he need him, he has only to speak the Wizard’s name. Billy narrowly escapes the cave as it collapses.  Outside, the battle rages between Superman and Black Adam. Superman is barely able to hold his own against the magic used. Superman is again knocked unconscious. Billy confronts Black Adam and defiantly tells Adam to leave Superman alone. He tries to hit an amused Black Adam. Billy anxiously shouts “I need a little help here, Shazam”, which transforms Billy into Captain Marvel. He quickly counters Adam’s attacks with his newfound abilities. Billy has only a few minutes to discover his powers; i.e. speed, strength and flight. He also discovers that randomly saying the Wizard’s name takes the powers away just as quickly.

A recovered Superman is unsure of what to make of this new superhuman, but they soon discover they are on the same side. Black Adam resorts to destroying a dam which threatens to flood Fawcett City. Landing, Black Adam stops a passing car, removing its female driver to hold as a hostage. He tells Billy he must surrender himself in his mortal form, and he will release the woman. Billy complies, and Black Adam throws the hostage into the sky. But before Billy can say his magic word, Black Adam covers his mouth to silence him. From out of nowhere, Adam is blasted by Superman’s heat vision. He stopped the potential flooding after quickly freezing the water with his super cold breath. Superman and Black Adam begin fighting again, but Billy is now able to utter the magic word. Adam is beaten by Marvel who stomps him into a crater in the street. Superman talks the Captain out of murdering Adam to prevent further acts of evil. Adam declares that only death will stop him. The homeless man appears once again and reveals himself to be the boy’s guardian angel Tawky Tawny. Tawky reverts to his true form as a tiger and tells Superman and Captain Marvel that he will make sure the Wizard will send Black Adam far across the universe this time; it will take ten thousand years to return. To keep from being banished even farther from Earth, Black Adam shouts “Shazam” which turns him back into the mortal Teth-Adam, whose body has aged during the thousands years he has been gone. He turns to dust in front of the two superheroes. It was an apparent bluff, as Tawny admits the Wizard is indeed dead. As Tawny walks away, Superman looks at Captain Marvel and says “You have some unusual friends.” Billy finds himself encountering the bullies again in the alley as before. The bullies push Billy against a wall, and defiantly dare him to talk back; daring him to say “…just one word.” To which, it is implied through the appearance of lightning, Billy replies “Shazam…”.This movie was animated very well and the character models were very good. The overall appearance, especially the backgrounds, had a slightly hazy, washed-out look to them at times, giving it an almost anime-style look. They do some really cool animation during the fights between Superman/Marvel and Black Adam, such as some slow motion effects during a couple of the really hard hits, that really punctuate the impact. The voice acting and choices of the actors were quite good (especially Arnold Vosloo as Black Adam),  I’ve always thought Black Adam was a really cool bad guy, and his personality and voice were pretty much as I’ve always envisioned them to be, and I thought the ending was particularly interesting and surprising.

 

REVIEW: DC SHOWCASE: JONAH HEX

CAST
Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Jason Marsden (Batman: Gotham Knight)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy)
Red Doc, an outlaw that claims he can take on anyone and anything, arrives in town looking for more booze and more action. Madame Lorraine spots him, and after inviting him upstairs, kills him, takes his money and has two of her henchmen dispose of the body.
The next day, Jonah Hex arrives in town, looking to pick up a $5000 bounty on Red. After taking on an arrogant young man who taunts him, Jonah learns from a scared bar girl about Madame Lorraine, who goes after the men with money. Paying the girl off, Hex buys drinks for the entire saloon, getting Lorraine’s attention and joining her upstairs. However, Hex manages to avoid her shot and knocks her out, then proceeds to kill her henchmen. Stepping out of the room, he is shot at by the bartender, whom he kills. He then demands that Lorraine tell him where Red is.
Lorraine takes him to an old mine, and shows him a dark hole that leads to a caved in lower shaft. She and Hex journey down, and it is revealed that Lorraine has murdered at least fifteen men. Grabbing a knife, Lorraine tries once more to kill Hex, who punches her and secures Red’s body. Lorraine comes to just as Hex reaches the top and kicks down the rope trapping her there. Lorraine first pleads that they can be partners, then tells Hex he can’t leave her. Hex says she has plenty of companions whom she knows, then departs. Lorraine trembles as she stares at the dead bodies, the only lamp in the shaft slowly going out, leaving her trapped in the dark.
I liked the raw,unpolished gritty feel of this animated short and i thought the voice acting was pitch perfect.each voice suited their character to a tee.the sound people did a great job bring every little sound to life.if your not familiar with the title character,this short gives you bit of an idea of what kind of person he is,but it doesn’t tell his origin story. All in all,worth watching.this animated short is included as a bonus with the animated film Batman: Under The Red Hood.