MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ – Entertaining But Empty

- 12-20-14Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens where The Desolation of Smaug left off, as the powerful dragon of the Lonely Mountain (still voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) descends on Lake-town for payback. To say that Peter Jackson captures the full horror and insanity of a dragon attack on a compact and inclosed area is something of an understatement, and you practically feel the pain and panic as Smaug’s attack lights up the entire town in seconds and doesn’t let up. But then, Bard (Luke Evans) heroically slays the dragon using the final black arrow, and Smaug is defeated. Ten minutes into the movie.

Pacing has always been a problem for The Hobbit movies, as you can well imagine if you’re creating an expansive seven-and-a-half hour movie trilogy based on a single 300-page book and some supplementary material. The previous film ended with a powerful “Oh $#!%” moment went Smaug leaves Bilbo (Martin Freeman) in the mountain to attack the people of Lake-town in retaliation for them giving aid to the Company of 13 Dwarves and their quest to take back Erebor. Dramatically, it was sound, but to use a comparison to The Lord of the Rings it would be as if The Two Towers were to end right before Aragorn and the others at Helms Deep ride out to meet the Orcs in battle for a last stand. It’s evidence of the fact that while Jackson has grown to handle well the overwhelming technical demands of the project, he’s lost sight of the best way to tell the story he wants to tell. (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘The Flash’ – S1E9 – ‘The Man In The Yellow Suit’

- 12-10-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Rush Urbalejo

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Mid-season finales really are an interesting concept.  These finales effectively provide networks with two separate seasons within a single season to not only entertain and please audiences but to also draw in viewers for the next season.  As such, many of these not-real-finales generally lead to some big reveal and leave audiences with a cliffhanger that is guaranteed to bring fans back once the snow starts to keep people indoors a bit in late January, early February.  The Flash continues to set itself apart from the pack, as last night’s “finale” wound up tying up more loose ends than were left dangling by the end and even without that cliffhanger, viewers are definitely going to be returning once the new episodes begin airing.  Warning: Spoilers ahead. (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Arrow’ S3E8 – “The Brave and the Bold”

- 12-03-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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Last night’s The Flash featured some darker hues for the typically sunny world of Central City thanks to the timely arrival of the Emerald Archer and his cohorts. Tonight’s Arrow meanwhile, aimed to return the favor as the Fastest Man Alive and two of his associates come to Starling City to offer some light and humor to the typically demur world and gritty realism of its Wednesday night cousin. “The Brave and the Bold” closed out the two-night event that social media has taken to calling #Flarrow, an epic team-up of two heroes who, as Cisco observes, are in a league of their own. Of course that’s not a reference to the Geena Davis movie. It’s a reference to a team that may never be mounted in full on TV, but the super-bro get-together of Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin sure makes you wish they’d try. (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ S2E9 – “…Ye Who Enter Here”

- 12-03-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Jason McAnelly

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It’s been a couple of week since we last heard from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, but now they’re back and gearing up for the mid-season break. So what can they do to make us want to continue to watch? Last time around, we watched as SHIELD moved closer and closer to understanding and finding the mysterious alien city. Skye’s daddy was running around getting into all sorts of trouble. And Grant had murdered his own brother, a U.S. Senator. The big question is – will Agents of SHIELD go out with a bang or a whimper? (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘The Flash’ S1E8 – “Flash Vs Arrow”

- 12-03-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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Last week’s entry of The Flash addressed a typical superhero quandary: what happens to a super-powered person when they’re suddenly no longer super-powered? At the same time though, the seeds were sewn for another proud superhero trope, an appetizer if you will in the form of Robert Knepper‘s The Clock King taking hostages and trading time-related quotes from Bartlett’s  with Det. Joe West. Yes, it was finally time for the biggest superhero team-up live-action TV has ever seen as the separate but equal worlds of Central City and Starling City converge in “Flash Vs. Arrow,” the Flash half of the two-night Flash/Arrow crossover. But was it everything that we hoped it would be? (more…)

TV Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ S5E8 – “Coda”

- 12-01-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Regina Lizik

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The difference between these characters in earlier seasons versus the mid-season finale of season five is that they trust themselves and eachother. We don’t get long drawn out monologues from Rick, nor do we hear extensive arguments about group strategy or drawn out negotiations with enemies. That evolution reverberates from the beginning of “Coda,” through to the end.  (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Gotham’ – S01E10 – “LoveCraft”

- 11-25-14Comics, Featured, reviews Posted by James Daniels

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Gotham‘s last episode before the midseason break didn’t quite have the impact you want to leave viewers with who are going to spend nearly 2 months waiting for the next installment.

Still, it had its moments, and did a decent job of setting up the next semester of the show’s freshman year. Problem was they “closed for the holidays” with a follow-up episode. “LoveCraft” is in every way the sequel to the events of “Harvey Dent”. When you’re closing shop for several weeks, it’s much better to leave the fans with something that stands on its own. (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘The Walking Dead’ S5E7 – “Crossed”

- 11-24-14Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Regina Lizik

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We open shortly after the events of “Four Walls and a Roof.” Daryl is back with the group and he and everyone else are tearing apart the church. “Crossed” isn’t an action packed episode, the show is saving that for next week’s mid-season finale. Read on to see how it sets everything in motion for the future of the show.  (more…)

TV REVIEW: ‘Arrow’ S3E7 – “Draw Back Your Bow”

- 11-20-14Comics, Featured, reviews, TV Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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It’s the same old story: boy meets girl, boy saves girl from super-powered bad guy, girl falls in love with boy, girl becomes a trained archer and kills people to impress boy, boy and his friends try to stop here. This week’s Arrow was all about matters of the heart, and apropos, the bad guy was a woman named Carrie Cutter, AKA: Cupid. Obsession is nothing new for superheroes and their rogues, one might say that The Joker is obsessed with Batman for example, but I’m not quite sure if “Draw Back Your Bow” plays as a superhero Lifetime Movie of the Week, or Fatal Attraction with costumes. Either way it was a big week for our heroes and their romantic issues. (more…)

TV Review: ‘The Flash’ – S1E6 – “The Flash Is Born”

- 11-19-14Comics, reviews, TV Posted by Rush Urbalejo

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Reviewing every episode of The Flash’s freshman season is a unique opportunity.  Not only do I get to watch one of my favorite television shows and write about it, then call it “work”, but it forces me to remain completely objective about the quality of the series rather than just getting lazy and taking the ride.  For the most part, this objectivity leads me to find flaws in episodes that others may not notice or that they may just accept without a second thought.  For episodes that have several flaws, this objectivity can make my viewing experience less than completely enjoyable (I generally watch an episode twice – once as a critic, once as a fan), but for episodes like last night’s episode, The Flash is Born, watching the episode through the eyes of a critic really drives home the fact that The Flash is really one of the best shows on television right now and one of the best superhero series’ that we have ever been offered.  Warning – spoilers ahead. (more…)