It’s hard to say who’s in a lonelier place, as the title of this week’s Riverdale refers to. Poor Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones III, living under the stairs of the school like a poor man’s Harry Potter, is certainly in a lonely place, struggling to keep his family drama under wraps, and hoping that his father, living hopelessly and nearly always half-drunk in the family trailer, will pull his act together. Betty is also in a lonely place, wanting to desperately to help her sister but caught in the competing demands of two families that hate each other. Hey, someone give these two kids a break. (more…)
After weeks of “What the?” Legion finally started to make sense this week. I’m not sure if that’s a good development or a bad development (yet), but for a superhero show that has enjoy toying with your ability to believe what you’re seeing, as you’re seeing it, a little bit of clarity can be as surprising as the longest con game plot twist a writer can conceive. So just when you thought that David might have found some inner peace, comes the revelation that the powerful mutant everyone thought had schizophrenia but didn’t, might actually have bigger problems that aren’t too far off the original diagnosis. (more…)
Back in the mid-fifties, the American distributor of Godzilla (Gojira) attached “King of the Monsters” as a subtitle. A bold claim, sure, but more importantly, a slap in the face of the giant gorilla, Kong, crowned King two decades earlier. Kong might have been born and bred on fictional Skull Island, but he was for all intents and purposes, an American creation. A potent, if unintentional, riff on American slavery, racism, and lonely, misunderstood outsider, albeit an outsider with a thing for screaming blondes and deadly skyscrapers (they reminded him of home), King Kong hit the zeitgeist mother lode, entering pop culture where he’s remained for the better part of a century. A sequel followed, Son of Kong, a couple of low-rent, embarrassing appearances on the Japanese side of the Pacific Ocean, a lightly regarded remake (1976), a sequel, another remake directed by Peter Jackson 12 years ago and now, finally an all-new origin story, a Kong for the 21st century, but still a part of the late 20th century. (more…)
In the aftermath of capturing (Evil) Rip Hunter, The Legends struggle in two different “Lands of the Lost” on this week’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Ever since Rip Hunter has come back to the show, he hasn’t been “our” Rip. He had his memory fractured by the energy of the Wave Rider and then after receiving a lobotomy and brain restructuring by the Legion of Doom, he was remade into an evil version of himself. It was almost a “Mirror Universe” of himself as he joined the Legion of Doom and the Dark Side of Rip proved to be one of The Legends worst enemies. He knew not only all their weaknesses, but he also was one step ahead of them. Lucky for them, they managed to finally stop him last week in ancient Arthurian times and made him their prisoner. We should have known by the end of the last episode that he would once again gain the upper hand.
Cadmus. Cadmus. Cadmus. It’s all about Cadmus, the super-secret, non-governmental organization created and run by Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong), mother of Lex, wife of the non-dearly departed Lionel, and adopted mother to Lena (Katie McGrath), the one “good” member of the Luthor clan . In Season 2’s fifteenth episode, “Exodus” (not to be confused by the barely remembered Ridley Scott debacle, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”), Cadmus has put it’s anti-alien agenda into horrifying action, snatching unsuspecting, law-abiding aliens (of the outer space/interplanetary kind) from everyday activities like driving a car, having a drink in a “mixed” bar where aliens and humans freely mix, or calling a bookie to place a bet on National City’s Knights. It’s all bad news for the aliens and good news for Cadmus and their not-so-secret supporters in and out of the U.S. of A. (more…)
For the most part, these first two episodes of Twin Peaks were straightforward. Yes, the characters are eccentric, but for the most part this was a by-the-book small town murder mystery. “When are things going to get weird?!” in other words. On cue, the third episode of the show has two scenes that you wouldn’t find in any police drama at the time, or perhaps since. For who needs crime scene units, behavioral profiling or the dull tedium of “pounding the pavement” when you can just throw rocks at a bottle, or have a crazy dream where the victim and a little person talk to you in disjointed English? (more…)
If there was a word to describe this week’s episode of Riverdale it’s “peak”. It was “peak Archie” it terms of the characterization of our comic book friends and how we remember them. It was “peak teen soap” in terms of the romantic melodrama and friendship dysfunction. It was “peak mystery” in terms of new revelations and long simmering confrontations. And it was “peak deconstruction” as the writers throw in some compelling hiccups in terms of the relationship dynamics of the show. Let’s just come out and say: Jughead kissed Betty! Passionately. And our lives will never be the same again. (more…)
From the first, ultra-violent, gory confrontation between a drunk, alcoholic Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett (Hugh Jackman) and three of the unluckiest gangbangers ever put on film, Logan, Jackman’s second collaboration with writer-director James Mangold (The Wolverine, 3:10 to Yuma, Night & Day, Cop Land) and reportedly his last time out as the title character, announces itself as a new, different superhero movie and not just because it’s R-rated (we saw plenty of ultra-violence last February with Deadpool) but because Mangold, his screenwriting partner, Scott Frank (The Lookout, The Interpreter, Minority Report, Out of Sight, Get Shorty), and Jackman, every bit a co-equal partner, go where no superhero genre movie has gone before: Into exploring the long-term physical, mental, and emotional consequences of living above and beyond what we otherwise consider normal or natural with depth, nuance, and genuine emotion. All this achieved with stakes – saving a life, saving a handful of lives – would be considered marginal, tangential, or even irrelevant in the typically overblown, bombastic superhero entries from Marvel, DC, or the X-Men universe prior to Logan. (more…)