Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

Mar 18 2014

Unreal Movie Review: “Veronica Mars”

Published by under Movies,Reviews


From Kickstarter to reality, the Veronica Mars movie is proof that no matter how far-fetched fan’s dreams may seem, technology is evolving at a pace where anything is possible. Fans quite literally brought the long-dead series back to life by pledging eight million dollars to get the movie made, and that level of passion brought nearly everyone back on board from creator Rob Thomas to almost all of the old cast.

But even $8M wasn’t enough to ensure the movie was properly distributed in theaters, so Warner Bros. and Thomas made the unusual decision of splitting between a limited theatrical release, and instant availability on demand through iTunes and Amazon on release day. As no theater within fifty miles of me was showing the film, I watched it via Amazon on my PS4. I’ll talk about this distribution strategy (and why it’s awesome) another day, but for right now, I want to focus on the film itself.

I’ll admit I’m not a longtime fan of the show. Or at least, I wasn’t. Only when the Kickstarter started getting so much attention I decided that “huh, there really must be something to this show,” and so for the first time in probably a decade, I bought a DVD box set of a TV series.

The result? They were right. You can read my full thoughts about Veronica Mars: The Series here, but suffice to say outside of a few missteps in season three, I thought it was all around very, very good. Veronica is a fantastic character, probably one of the best heroines TV has ever had, and the writing was consistently excellent. In short, it deserved all the fan support it got, and the movie deserved to be made. Continue Reading »

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Mar 17 2014

The Walking Dead Review: “The Grove”

Published by under Reviews,Television

the grove

Last night’s Walking Dead brought us to a chilling conclusion of a longstanding mystery of the show.

“What the hell is wrong with that little girl?”

Lizzie has been a little weirdo for the past season or so, and we’ve seen her do things that are outright nuts (almost smothering Judith a few weeks ago) to merely suspecting her of doing very bad things (killing the two sick people at the prison).

Now, we have all of our answers about her, but still, a few questions. Most of all, we have what has to be one of the darkest episodes of the series to date, and one that I have to say I’m impressed the show followed through in the way that it did. Continue Reading »

5 responses so far

Mar 17 2014

Hannibal Review: “Hassun”

Published by under Reviews,Television

Hannibal - Season 2

First note: The ratings are back up a little bit, so thanks. I’m assuming that our readers are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

One of the most striking things about this episode was how much of it we didn’t see.

That’s the great thing about this show, actually. Or, one of them. I remember coming across a screenwriting blog entry that talked about the importance of having things occur off camera. The offscreen movie is often just as important as the onscreen one. One of the major problems with a lot of stuff today is that creators feel the need to show every, single, step of a plot to make sure we follow it. It limits the scope of the world, kills the pacing, and tells the audience they are not trusted.

Hannibal does not suffer from this.

Continue Reading »

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Mar 11 2014

Digesting True Detective’s Shockingly Unshocking Finale

Published by under Reviews,Television

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I said last week that it likely didn’t matter if True Detective ended with some grand twist, and all indications seemed to say it likely wouldn’t. Though fans agonized over every little detail onscreen and in the dialogue for the duration of the show, there were no grand revelations in the end. Not even one.

That isn’t to say the True Detective finale was bad, though it’s taken me a day or two to fully digest it. I have to say throughout the course of the evening, I found myself saying “this is it?” and felt somewhat let down by the end.

I suppose it’s contrary to everything I’ve said up until this point about how twists don’t matter and the fun is “in the journey, not the destination” a-la-Lost, but in the end, True Detective seemed to conclude on a relatively hollow note for me, and I’m trying to understand why. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Mar 11 2014

Hannibal Review: “Sakizuki”

Published by under Reviews,Television


NOTE: I’m taking on the weekly review duties for NBC’s Hannibal. My disclaimer now, and forever, is that everybody here should watch the crap out of this show so it doesn’t get cancelled. I’d really appreciate it.

That was… that was a hell of a cold open. As Hannibal moves into the second part of its “mural killer” opening arc, it continues to ask the big questions: What is evil? Can you trust your memory? Are you really allowed to do that on a network TV show?

Horrendous acts of violence aside, “Sakizuki” gives further indication of how aggressive this show will be over the eleven episodes that comprise the rest of Season 2. The story moves forward in bold strokes; our characters are beginning to make moves.

I’m making it official: Hannibal is my favorite show on the air right now.

Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Mar 10 2014

The Walking Dead Review: “Alone”

Published by under Reviews,Television


The Walking Dead continues to be as watchable as watchable gets, and honestly I had a brief vision this week of flashing forward into the future and seeing 20% of the current cast still shambling around in season ten. It’s a show really without an ending, or really even a possible ending. Are they going to just kill all the walkers? Have Daryl mix up a cure in a whiskey distillery? If the ratings are there, this show has the potential to last forever, for better or worse.

The backend of this season has a clear end goal in mind: get everyone to Terminus for a reunion, but it’s apparent that it’s going to take until the finale to get there. As for what lies in store once they arrive, I have no idea, though I’m sure we won’t know until season five. I’m trying to imagine a different structure than Woodbury, a pretend idyllic Pleasantville run by a smiling dictator, and wondering what sort of community they might find there. I’m done digging into the comics for answers though. It’s more fun this way.

We once again joined Daryl and Beth after their little cabin in the woods drunken bonding adventure last week. Also, we’re back with Maggie, Sasha and Bob. This whole half -season is explicitly about character development as they wander through the woods and down train tracks, and even subcharacter Bob got his own flashback so we see how he met the group, something that was never addressed as season four started. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Mar 06 2014

Hey, Did You Notice That Community Is Good Again?

Published by under Reviews,Television


I’m not sure where I stand on binge-watching.  Paul’s made some excellent points in the past, and there are pros and cons to both sides.  One of the things that does happen when you binge watch, though, is that it becomes second-nature.  You start to binge-watch current shows.  At least, I do.

So when, for example, the Olympics are on (or I get insanely into Mass Effect), I can temporarily forget about shows that I really like.  I’ll wake up one Saturday and remember that New Girl exists and, lo and behold, there are 3 new episodes.  Pro: watching a bunch of episodes at once is really fun.  Con: it’s hard to get a dialogue started with friends or even randomly over the internet when everyone is watching at a difference pace.

All of this is leading up to the fact that, hey, if you haven’t been keeping up with Community, you probably should, because, spoiler alert, Season 5 is killing it.

Continue Reading »

5 responses so far

Mar 04 2014

Hannibal Season Two Premieres with a Vengeance

Published by under Reviews,Television

hannibal banner

“Lost in thought?”
“Not lost.”

The opening scene couldn’t be more clear: Sh*t is going down this year in Hannibal.

Hannibal’s first season was great, as you’ve likely heard by now, but it could be argued that the show moved a little slowly from time to time. It wasn’t poorly paced or anything, and any sluggishness had fallen by the wayside by the time it’s final third got into motion… but it’s true that as the show started it was hard to see the gears turning.

That doesn’t appear to be a problem anymore. Trading Japanese culinary vocab for Season One’s French titles, season premiere “Kaiseki” kicks off with a bang.

“You let the fox in the henhouse.”

Continue Reading »

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Mar 03 2014

The Walking Dead Review: “Still”

Published by under Reviews,Television


I’m not quite sure what to make of The Walking Dead anymore. It seems like it can shamble on forever, and will always hover in the zone between good and bad called “watchable.” Even when it’s uneventful, The Walking Dead is certainly that, watchable.

I wasn’t expecting a Daryl/Beth wandering episode, at least not now. If anything, this felt like it should have been episode two, rather than what we did see in episode two, which was just Beth and Daryl running around the woods for five minutes until it cut to other characters.

That said, I think this episode was a necessary one. Neither Daryl nor extra-promoted-to-regular Beth have had much time devoted to their character development. Daryl has always been a supreme badass, but that’s kind of it. Recently, he’s been demoted to the new Michonne, all walker-killing and grimaces, whereas Michonne is now smiling and socializing.

That’s well and good, but I worried that Daryl was sinking into sort of a one-note character outside of a few select moments in seasons two and three. He’s really only had bonds with two characters to date, his brother, Merle, and Carol, though I have to admit I never quite understood the nature of their relationship. Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Feb 25 2014

You Let Me Down, House of Cards

Published by under Editorials,Reviews,Television


Watching season two of House of Cards wasn’t  just any normal TV experience. I wanted to head into the new season with my wife on board, and so together we watched the first 13 episodes, which she loved, and I appreciated more the second time through.

This delayed our watching of the actual second season from the first weekend to the following week, but now it’s finally over and done and I’m ready to discuss it. It’s always strange to talk about these shows that drop in giant episode chunks rather than week to week, and it’s an issue we’ve covered previously. At this point, I expect most big fans of the show have finished it by now, but if not, be forewarned that spoilers for the entire season follow.

I’m not going to go through the show episode by episode, but it is important to start with the “shocking” first installment that produced what would easily be the biggest spoiler of the season to those who hadn’t seen it. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Feb 24 2014

The Walking Dead Review: “Claimed”

Published by under Reviews,Television


The Walking Dead saunters on as it always does, but last night, for the first time since season one, the show offered us something extremely important, a purpose.

For too long, the show has been about survival, and nothing else. Ever since the CDC turned out to be a bust in the shortened season one finale, the group has been simply trying to not die. There hasn’t been one word about “solving” the zombie epidemic, and really, since they got to the prison there hasn’t even been anywhere they’re heading. The show has been aimless for the better part of two seasons now, but that finally might be starting to change.

There are now two different “directions” where the characters and the story are actually moving toward something instead of just wandering in circles. The first we saw last week, the “sanctuary” which promises to be a haven for anyone who wants to survive, and it’s where 80% of the cast appears to be heading.

The second development may or may not have to do with the first, but either way, I’m excited that at least some reference is being made to the larger zombie epidemic, however far-fetched it may seem. We’ve now been introduced to Abraham Ford and his posse which includes a Latina Lara Croft and a redneck Rain Man with the supposed power to save the world. On the surface it seems highly unlikely that this goofy crew would have any ability to do what they claim, but at least they’re hinting at a larger plotline and an end goal, something that has been absent from the series for quite some time. Continue Reading »

7 responses so far


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