TV REVIEW: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ S2E2 – “Heavy is The Head”

- 10-01-14Comics, Featured, reviews Posted by Jason McAnelly

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When last we left the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team, they were struggling on despite a distinct membership deficiency. After the events of season 1, the once proud government organization wasn’t exactly welcome anymore. The remnants of the team, now led by Agent Coulson, consisted of mercenaries, a jailed Ward and a crazy version of Fitz. When they went to retrieve an artifact, they were confronted by Crusher Creel, aka the Absorbing Man. He got the best of them and the artifact was in the middle of being stolen away from S.H.I.E.L.D. for good. So what does ‘Heavy is the Head’ have in store? (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Doctor Who’ – S08E06 – “The Caretaker”

- 09-30-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Sarah Moran

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Coming off an exhilarating bank heist it’s back to the daily grind of Coal Hill School for Clara and… The Doctor? Yes, this week’s episode sees The Doctor again trying to blend in with humans, going deep undercover in “The Caretaker” from returning writer Gareth Edwards (“The Lodger”, “Closing Time”) and Steven Moffat. What is it that brings The Doctor to Coal Hill? Aliens? Robots? Alien robots? (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Gotham’ S1E2 – “Selina Kyle”

- 09-30-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by James Daniels

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Gotham‘s pilot began with the genesis of every version of the Batman backstory: The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne–Bruce’s parents. As the killing was investigated, we were introduced to the series’ main characters (check out Brandon Marcus‘ superlative review of the Gotham Pilot if you need a refresher).

Episode 2 of the show’s freshman season is entitled, “Selina Kyle”, and–as one would expect–offers further insight into the girl who would be Catwoman (Camren Bicondova). Ms. Kyle didn’t have much to do in the Pilot save for perching on statues and fire escapes–watching the goings on in Gotham almost as though she too was a member of the show’s audience. (more…)

TV Review: ‘Doctor Who’ – S08E05 – “Time Heist”

- 09-27-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Sarah Moran

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[Pardon the tardiness of this review, and instead enjoy an extra helping of Doctor Who critique and discussion this weekend!]

Switching gears – yet again, like only Doctor Who can – Series 8 transitions from a spooky inspection of fear to a bank heist, or in this case, a “Time Heist.” Written by Steven Moffat and Stephen Thompson, it’s a less profound episode than last week’s but that doesn’t it make it any less interesting. (more…)

Fantastic Fest Review: ‘The Guest’ is the Best Terminator Film Since James Cameron’s Original

- 09-24-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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The doorbell rings, startling Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) out of a silent grievous moment. She rises and opens the door to find a handsome young man (Dan Stevens) waiting for her on the front porch. He has striking blue eyes; piercing crystal spheres that soften with kindness upon taking in her form. He says his name is David. He says that he knew her son and served with him in the war. He says that he was with him when he died. He says that he promised to ‘check on’ her family, and that pledge is what led him to this encounter. Laura asks David if he’d like to come inside and opens the door a little wider, letting him know that he is welcome in her home.

Thus begins The Guest, the latest from Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, the writing/directing team behind You’re Next and A Horrible Way to Die. Outside of being a sparse set up for the mess of mayhem which follows, this opening scene acts as a kind of manifesto for the rest of the movie. This time out, Wingard and Barrett are playing with the unassuming; subverting the trust we put in those who have earned it. What results from the basic conceit is an evolutionary leap forward in craft for both the writer and director, as they combine the sure-handed simplicity of early Cameron with the meticulous, widescreen framing of Carpenter. Not only the best film both artists have put their name on, The Guest is easily one of the most economically entertaining action films since the original Terminator. (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ S2E1 – “Shadows”

- 09-24-14Comics, Featured, reviews Posted by Jason McAnelly

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When Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left off last season, everything was in chaos. H.Y.D.R.A. had basically destroyed S.H.I.E.L.D., Ward turned out to be a right bastard, Fitz was badly injured and Nick Fury stepped down, leaving poor Phil Coulson to pick up the mess of pieces. And while season 1 of the show started off with a whimper, it did manage to end with a bang. So will season 2 be able to keep up the momentum and be the television series that everyone wanted? If “Shadows” is a good indicator of what’s to come, the writers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be beginning to hone in on what the fans want. (more…)

Fantastic Fest Review: ‘The Astrologer’ is a Singular Work of WTF

- 09-23-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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There are certain works in the history of cinema that are just insane; pictures that probably shouldn’t exist except for the fact that their creators birthed them through sheer will alone. Duke Mitchell’s Gone With the Pope comes to mind — a hodgepodge of ‘holy fucking shit’ that could’ve only come from the singular vision of one whacked out individual (and delivered to us via the hard work of one Academy Award winning editor). These are movies whose viewers are part of an elite club once they’ve sought them out, as the works never formally made their way to home video. It’s a rarity in the age of all-access digital media that any picture is relegated solely to celluloid, but they certainly still exist; “cult films” in the truest sense. Now another movie can be added to this exclusive list: Craig Denney’s 1975 work of wanton megalomania, The Astrologer. As Nicolas Winding Refn put it in his introduction to the film at this year’s Fantastic Fest: “it’s a movie that pushes ‘auteurism’ to a whole other level.” (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Gotham’ S1E1 – “Pilot”

- 09-23-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Brandon Marcus

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There are two different versions of Gotham: what it could be and what it is. What it could be is amazing and intriguing and surprisingly fresh. What it is is…well, not. Yet.

If the pilot is any indication, Gotham is not a great show. But it could be. The pilot is frustrating, middling and by-the-numbers but it also shows a promise that exited me as a lifelong Batman fan. Will it get where it needs to go? Will it become the first great Batman show in ages? It’s got a long way to go but, hey, it’s possible. I really, really, really hope it pulls it off. (more…)

Fantastic Fest Review: ‘Spring’ is a Hauntingly Beautiful Romance

- 09-22-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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Sometimes escape is necessary.

Whether it be from the doldrums of the everyday or a deliberate dodging of the authorities which dog us in the aftermath of a mistake, the natural instinct to retreat and regroup is not only imperative but also innate. For it is in these acts of retirement that human beings can re-discover and re-affirm what truly drives them. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s second feature, Spring, revolves around such a retreat, as their seemingly unremarkable protagonist, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci), jets off to Italy in order leave behind what may be the worst turn of events his young life has even seen. Though through this withdrawal, Evan finds not only the girl who may be the love of his life, but also a newfound respect for the world around him. Arguably the greatest quarter-life crisis story conceived since Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Benson & Moorehead’s second motion picture is a stirring, life-affirming work of idiosyncratic art.

Oh yeah…it’s also a horror film. (more…)

Fantastic Fest Review: ‘It Follows’ May Be the Defining Horror Film of This Generation

- 09-21-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Jacob Knight

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David Robert Mitchell’s The Myth of the American Sleepover is a movie about the resigning of innocence; the last gasp of youth that is gracefully exhaled before inevitably breathing in the fumes of the adult world. Like American Graffiti before it, there’s an overwhelming sense of melancholia that hangs over the movie’s single night setting, as if the writer/director is mourning the cycle of childhood as it moves into the dawn the responsibility. With his follow-up feature, Mitchell has crafted a natural progression in terms of thematics, only he adds a dash of perverse Cronenbergian genre play, resulting in what may be the defining horror film of this generation. It Follows is a dynamite piece of supernatural storytelling, equal parts touching and thrilling. Though fundamentally the film is more of the same from Mitchell, who is emerging as the premiere cinematic observer of youth in the modern auteurist pantheon. (more…)