Trailer: The Cobbler

Listen, I’m just going to put this out there:

Adam Sandler can be a good actor.

I know, I know.  You scoff and you have every reason to do so.  After all, Sandler is best known for appearing in Razzie-winning films like Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy.  Sandler’s film career has been so lowbrow that, when Amy Dunne mentioned the misery of being forced to watch Sandler movies, audiences watching Gone Girl knowingly nodded and thought to themselves, “She may be a crazy but she knows her movies…”

And yet, occasionally, mixed in with all of the crap, you’ll come across a film that actually requires Sandler to act and play a character and he usually does a pretty good job at it.  It’s the talent that you see in films like Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me, and Funny People that makes it so frustrating that Sandler has devoted so much of his career to things like Grown-Ups 2.

When Sandler stops trying to make everyone laugh and actually lets his guard down, he has the ability to be a surprisingly good actor.  And, though it’s hard to believe now, a lot of film bloggers — like me — were convinced that 2014 would be the year that Sandler would prove that he was capable of more than just winning Razzies.

He had two films scheduled to come out and both of them were directed by “serious” filmmakers.  And Sandler got some good reviews for his performance in Jason Reitman’s Men, Women, & Children but the film itself was critically reviled.

As for Sandler’s other 2014 film, Thomas McCarthy’s The Cobbler opened to mixed reviews at the Toronto International Festival and, as a result, it probably will only get a very limited release in the early months of 2015.

However, I’m still looking forward to seeing The Cobbler.  Thomas McCarthy’s previous film — Win Win — was one of the best of 2011 and the film’s premise — a cobbler discovers that he can assume anyone’s physical appearance and life simply by putting on their shoes — sounds like it could be promising, especially is Sandler plays to his natural sadness as opposed to going for easy laughs.

Here’s the international trailer for The Cobbler.


Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for November


Well, here we are in November and the Oscar race is looking a lot more clear.  Early front runners have faded and new contenders have emerged and even some of the new contenders have subsequently faded.  The Oscar race is starting to look a lot more clear and it will look even clearer once December arrives and the critic groups start to chime in.

Here are my Oscar predictions for November!

And, if you want some clues about how this year’s Oscar race has developed over the past few months, be sure to check out my predictions for March, April, May, June, July, August, and October!

Best Picture




The Imitation Game

A Most Violent Year


The Theory of Everything




Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

David Oyelowo in Selma

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year

Felecity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Miyavi in Unbroken

Edward Norton in Birdman

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Laura Dern in Wild

Kiera Knightley in The Imitation Game

Emma Stone in Birdman

Meryl Streep in Into The Woods

Best Director

Ava DuVernay for Selma

Alejandro Inarritu for Birdman

Angelina Jolie for Unbroken

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game


Palace Intrigue Is The Order Of The Day In “Empire Of The Dead : Act Two” #3


Remember that famous scene in The Godfather where Michael Corleone is having his henchmen settle all The Family’s old scores while he attends his infant son’s baptism? George Romero clearly does, because Empire Of The Dead Act Two #3 (or George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act Two #3 to be technically correct about things) is all about Mayor Chandrake — who’s front and center in Alexander Lozano’s stunning cover, as shown above — eliminating all threats to his leadership of both New York City and the secret vampire cabal for whose benefit the entire town is run. He’s ruthless, determined and, unlike Michael Corleone, not afraid to get his own hands dirty in the process.

The bloodbath is precipitated, as you might guess, by a visit from the cops — not Chandrake’s own loyal “security” personnel, but actual, rank-and-file NYPD detectives. Apparently, he doesn’t own them all yet, and one newcomer to the story, a certain Buckie Perez, seems to be the post-zombie apocalypse’s answer to Jim Gordon in that he can’t be bought, bullied, or otherwise strong-armed into toeing the mayor’s line. Between a true “good cop” snooping around, the seeming political ascendancy of his nephew, Billy, and the pesky presence of an “unauthorized” victim of vampirism still resting semi-comfortably in the hospital, then,  there are a lot of loose ends to tie up.

The problem is — one of the above-mentioned targets survives their attempted assassination, and there’s still that missing dirigible from a New Jersey warehouse to be accounted for.

Outside Chandrake’s desperate and homicidal machinations, though — which do lead to some interesting, if overly-expository in terms of how they’re handled, revelations (for instance, there are actually a lot fewer vampires than we’d previously been steered into assuming) — some other notable plot developments  do take place here, particularly in The Arena, where the void left by the loss of super-fighter Zanzibar ends up being filled by  — zombies who have actually learned to team up and work together? Trainer/wrangler Paul Barnum sees this, reluctantly, as a positive — but only for the time being, since he knows what it means if the same behavior patterns begin to emerge on the streets.

As for the cliffhanger, it’s a doozy — mistakenly believing that all his problems are solved, Chandrake pays a visit to his latest muse, Dr. Penny Jones, in her newly-equipped-to-the-hilt lab, and let’s just say that she might finally be getting close enough to the fire to be irrevocably burned.

All in all, then, a reasonably solid issue story-wise with one addition to the creative team worth mentioning in the form of the arrival of inker Rick Magyar, who seems to stay fairly true to Dalibor Talajic’s pencil line in that not a whole lot of stylistic difference can be discerned between this and the previous two installments, which Talajic inked himself, apart from an overall “darker” look owing to Magyar leaning a bit more heavily on his brush, so to speak, which suits both the material itself, as well as the mood it creates, quite nicely. A solid effort from all concerned, then,  that has me very much looking forward to next month.

Trailer: Avengers: Age of Ultron (Extended)


“I know you mean well. You want to protect the world, but you don’t want it to change. There’s only one path to peace…your extinction.” — Ultron

Marvel has released a new extended version of the teaser trailer they released a couple weeks ago. While it’s pretty much similar to the first teaser trailer this extended version has a new intro with Ultron in his initial form confronting the partying Avengers in Avengers Tower. The voice-over by James Spader as Ultron also sounds much different in this trailer than the first. We also get more lingering shots of all the Avengers from Iron Man all the way to Hawkeye rather than the rapid-fire cuts we saw in the first teaser.

May 2015 cannot come soon enough.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for a May 1, 2015 release date in North America.

“The Kitchen” #1 : If You Can’t Stand The Heat — Well, You Know


So it appears that one of the sites I’ve done a fair amount of writing for,, has shuttered its digital doors.Furthermore, it looks as if they sold their domain name off to something called “Swagger Magazine,” whatever that is, and did all of  this without informing any of us contributors that it was happening. Am I pissed? I guess I wasn’t at first, but now I sort of am, simply because all that content I posted on there, much of which was pretty good (even if I do only say so myself), is now lost forever, and because, going by sheer numbers alone, my stuff was far and away the most popular material on the site. Seriously, most of the posts on there were lucky to generate a half-dozen “likes” and one or two faceboook and twitter “shares,” while my articles routinely got a couple hundred of each. Does that mean I think my stuff was “better” than the work of the site’s other contributors? I dunno. I guess that’s all a matter of taste. I’d invite you to compare all of our work and decide for yourself, but — it’s all gone. And somebody made a little bit of money — probably not much, but something — selling off a site that was built by the work of folks who submitted work to it for free. Pretty goddamn sleazy, really.

Anyway, I’ve tried to get an explanation as to why it all went away without explanation, but the (now former) owners of the site haven’t responded to either my tweets or my emails, so I guess all I can do it call ’em out on their bullshit here and let them know that I’m not impressed. Don’t spend that two or three hundred bucks you made in one place.

Still, what the hell does any of this have to do with Through The Shattered Lens? Well, it means — for better or worse — that I’ll have a little bit more time to contribute to this site for the next couple of months, until my super-big-project-that-I-can’t-talk-about-yet eats up all my time for a little while, and that I’ll have more time for this site again once said super-big-project-that-I-can’t-talk-about-yet is finished. It also means that my quick-fire comic book reviews — as opposed to the lengthy, detailed, serialized pieces I do for the more “academic” comic website — are in need of a new home with the demise of GU, so you’re getting ’em here.

I figure, hey, why not? Nobody else here “talks comics” very regularly, and I know a certain number of readers (and writers) here are fans of the medium, so, for the time being at an rate, I’ll “park” my comic book review work here unless and until Arleigh or Lisa Marie or somebody tells me to take it somewhere else. Which they won’t because they’re good people who like to indulge me — right?


With all that preamble shit out of the way, then, let’s talk about The Kitchen #1, shall we? It’s a new eight-part creator-owned mini-series from DC’s venerable “mature readers” imprint, Vertigo, and it stands out for not only being a book centered on non-spandex-clad female characters, but for boasting a nearly-all-female creative team — except for, ya know, the writer.

Described in Vertigo’s press materials as a “talented newcomer,” author/co-creator Ollie Masters provides the only whiff of testosterone here, with the project’s artist/co-creator being the talented Ming Doyle, fresh off her run on the critically-lauded Image series Mara (which was written by apparent serial-sexual-harasser Brian Wood), the colorist being the highly-sought-after Jordie Bellaire, and covers coming our way courtesy of current “hot property” artist Becky Cloonan (except for the variant for this first issue, pictured above, which is from Doyle’s own mind and hand).

With a crew like that in place, then, you can be sure that the finished product is gonna look good — and it does. Doyle evokes the 1970s Hell’s Kitchen settings perfectly, and her characters look like real human beings of the sort you’d see at the time. Everything from the home furnishings to the cars to the street scenes to the facial expressions are all wonderfully authentic and yet also smoothly expressionistic, with everyone looking like a real, actual individual rather than a curvy superheroine who just happens to be wearing street clothes. The seventies were a wonderfully “run down” time in New York — long before Times Square and other “red light districts” got gobbled up by Disney — and the titular Kitchen was especially run down, even by then-contemporary standards. You feel every bit of that oozing, semi-intoxicating unwholesome-ness in Doyle’s art and Bellaire”s suitably drab, realistic colors.

So, then, what of the story? I’m unfamiliar with Masters’ other work — assuming he has any to his credit — but he acquits himself very nicely here. The premise goes that local loan shark/”protection” racket strongman Jimmy Brennan, a semi-connected guy in the Irish mob, has been sent away, along with two of his crew, for beating the shit out of some snitch right in plain sight of the cops, and in his absence, his brother, Jack, is letting things slide to the point that Jimmy’s wife, Kath, and her friends, Angie and Raven (who are married to the two other guys that got shipped upstate along with their boss), are finding the weekly takes from local businesses that the rely on to maintain their “lifestyles” are getting lighter and lighter all the time. Not content to let this state of affairs continue, and unable to rely om Jack to straighten it out, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Problem is, their primary target, a pizza shop owner, turns out to be a lot more than just another dime-a-dozen welcher, and “sending a message” by going after him on their first night out may prove to be a fatal mistake —

First issues can be a little bit of a tricky business because you’ve gotta introduce most, if not all, of your principal cast, give them each a semi-distinct personality, and establish the basic “through-line” of your plot, all while leaving things on nice little cliffhanger that will have your readers coming back for more. Masters manages to do all that and furthermore, he does so without ever making it feel like he’s going into overly-heavy “info-dump” mode. All in all, it’s a job very well done.

Combine great art and color (and covers) with a reasonably good, involving story, stick it between two covers, and keep the price — thankfully! — at $2.99, and you have to say that The Kitchen is definitely following a recipe for success.

27 Days of Old School: #12 “If Wishes Came True” (by Sweet Sensation)


“All alone silence fills my room
But in a memory, I hear you calling me”

Hitting the KTSL charts at No. 12 is the 1990 ballad from the Latin freestyle girl group Sweet Sensation.

“If Wishes Came True” makes this list because it is such an earnest love song that we don’t get much of anyway. This was a song made in a much simpler and less cynical age. While some of its continuing appeal seems to be based on the feeling of nostalgia it brings up for those who grew up during the time this song was released it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an uplifting and hopeful song.

The lyrics are sugary-sweet to the point of causing cavities, but they’re easy to sing-along to and, in the end, there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about one’s memories.