reviews

The title of this week’s episode is Les Écorchés.  It translates from the French to mean “a painting or sculpture of a human figure with the skin exposed to display the musculature.”  In this case, it seems to refer to the reveal of the purpose of the park and the creation of Bernard.  This episode could have been called “In Memoriam” and it would have been just as appropriate.

Here is a quick recap filled with SPOILERS!!!!

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When Disney purchased LucasFilm – and with it, the Star Wars universe – from George Lucas, it was clear their plans didn’t just include a new trilogy (it did), but franchise building and expansion through spin-offs, prequels, TV shows (animated so far, live-action in the near future), novels, and comic books. It was, however briefly, an exciting time for longtime Star Wars fans, but Disney, guided by the corporate conservatism that puts a premium on low-risk, high-reward decision making over originality, creativity, and imagination, led first to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a wholly unnecessary, semi-satisfying prequel that explored the how, if not the why, a small group of rebels stole the Death Star’s plans from the fearsome Empire, and now, after the high-profile departure of co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie) and their almost immediate replacement by Oscar winning, hit-hunting Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13), Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Han Solo post-Revenge of the Sith and pre-A New Hope origin story we didn’t know we wanted or needed. Spoiler alert: Need or want aside, Solo: A Star Wars Story delivers everything we’ve come to love about the Star Wars universe: action, character, humor, and spectacle. (more…)

Releasing a second- or third-tier superhero flick, especially an ultra-violent, superhero comedy over the Valentine’s Day weekend seemed like a joke in and of itself, a joke financed to the tune of $60 million (modest for superhero flicks, a significant chunk of change for anything else), but that’s exactly the gamble 20th-Century Fox decided to take two years ago with the R-rated, Ryan Reynolds-starring Deadpool. More than $780 million dollars later and Fox’s gamble didn’t look a gamble at all. It looked like a low-risk, high-reward perfectly rational, perfectly reasonable decision. A sequel – the first of many presumably – was inevitable (movie studios are for-profit corporations after all), but with Reynolds, here taking a co-writing credit in addition to slipping back into Deadpool’s red-and-black spandex outfit, and some smart, clever lifts from Deadpool’s extensive comic-book history, the result, Deadpool 2: When Deadpool Met Cable (And Fell into a Mutual Admiration Society), gives fans more of the same (as expected), but also gives the same fans far more (definitely unexpected). (more…)

You know what’s fun or rather NOT fun? Checking out the User Reviews sections of both Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 1 And Vol 2 on IMDB.com. After reading the sea of effusively negative reviews (which is what this writer made the fatal mistake in doing prepping for this article/review) one might pause for second and question whether or not these were delightfully fun movies. You know what…STRIKE that, don’t go down that rabbit hole. Don’t let anyone shit in your cornflakes. These movies are joyful nonsense with charm, action, and heart… and we wouldn’t have them any other way! And hey, at the very least, they star Chris Pratt. Yeah…let’s talk about “The Pratt”. Oh what a glorious beefcake of a man, with his twin Pew Pew guns (his actual guns, not his well defined arms), cocky attitude, appealing charisma, and amicable buffoonery. He’s a “Star-Lord” indeed, amiright? Alright…alright… enough with homoerotic/man-crush overtones here. Sufficed to say, Christ (that was a typo but oops happy accident) Pratt’s Star-Lord, is one of Marvel Universe BEST if not most affable characters

Hey…psst… want a little piece of this swashbuckler in the stars? Well…Pratt is single now but that’s a Christian Mingle you’ll never catch. What you CAN do, however, is buy up the bestest little Star-Lord collectible this side of the Galaxy.   (more…)

After ten years, 18 movies, 30,000 visual effects (someone actually counted), and multi-billion-dollar grosses the envy of every Hollywood movie studio (except Disney, of course), the Marvel brand of superhero storytelling has never been stronger or more popular with mainstream moviegoers. The 19th – and far from last – entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the Anthony and Joe Russo-directed Avengers: Infinity War, delivers everything moviegoers have come to expect, sometimes even love about Marvel: layered superhero characters, screen-splitting, epic-scaled action, and a cannily calibrated mix of drama and comedy, usually with the fate of the world, the galaxy, and sometimes even the universe at stake. It’s practically impossible to get bigger, more meaningful stakes wise than the known universe (unless we bring the multiverse into the discussion, but that’s for another time and place). Be prepared: Avengers: Infinity War may be the darkest, most downbeat, least emotionally gratifying entry in the entire MCU canon. The stakes feel real, the threats to our favorite superheroes even realer.

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“No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful” That’s Wade’s second pass phrase to login to the OASIS, as he is free-falling into brooding teenage depression. That one line should resonate loud and proud in every fans heads as they leave Ready Player One.

Before taking a comparative deep dive into this, be WARNED, this take is SPOILER heavy and is very much intended for those who have seen the movie and have read/familiar with the book. (more…)

If Star Wars: The Force Awakens taught us anything, it’s that there’s no “happily every after” in the Star Wars universe. Empires fall, but they rise again. And like empires, republics rise and fall again. A cynic would add, “Especially not when there’s tens of billions of dollars to be made from Stars Wars fans, diehard or otherwise,” but cynicism has no place – or at least shouldn’t have a place – when it comes to writer-director Rian Johnson’s (Looper, The Brothers Bloom, Brick) follow-up, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the middle chapter in a third trilogy that will eventually span nine films. Temporarily borrowing the directing reins from J.J. Abrams (Abrams will direct the ninth and presumably final entry in the Skywalker Saga), Johnson has succeeded beyond even the highest expectations, delivering a Star Wars not for 2017, not for 2019, but for a soon-to-be-classic that will rightly take its place with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back as the best the Star Wars franchise has to offer.   (more…)

As high as the season premiere episode reached last week, this week’s episode fell short of wowing audiences again. It’s too be expected though. You can’t keep up the wow factor from opening night to the next. Titled, “Mixed Signals,” the episode sent mixed signals throughout the entire episode. After being locked up within the Speedforce one would think you’d go insane. But when Barry escaped, he had been acting as if everything was just as he had left. Of course, that was not the case, nor was it ever as viewers would discover later in the show.

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With Disney making major bank off the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the better part of a decade, it was inevitable other movie studios would try to do the same. Universal tried to kickstart their so-called “Dark Universe” with The Mummy just two months ago (they failed). Just as moviegoers have begun to lose interest, Paramount hopes to turn the Transformers series into a shared universe. (Get ready for Bumblebee to have his own standalone movie next year.) Warner Bros. looked like they were best situated to match Marvel superhero for superhero, but stumbled repeatedly over the last few years, finally righting the figurative ship earlier this summer with Wonder Woman. But what’s better than one cinematic universe? Two, of course. Which brings us to Annabelle: Creation, the prequel to the prequel/spin-off of what’s being called the “Conjuring Universe.” Here’s the thing: If Annabelle: Creation, a modestly budgeted, period-set, old-school supernatural flick directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out), is any indication, Warner Bros. just might succeed and at a fraction of the comic-book/superhero price.

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