Today:  08/20/2019

Review: 'American Gods: Season 2' is a bit of a mess

Posted August 20,2019 - 05:07 PM

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Like many fans of American Gods: Season 1, I'm conflicted. I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan, but I'm equally impressed by the work of Bryan Fuller. In Season One, Fuller took Gaiman's source material and augmented it in a way that was both visually compelling in a modern world and philosophically meaningful.

As an avid fan of the book, I recognized that the showrunners had to update and adapt the novel to fit both in a visual medium and in today's ideologies. In my opinion, there was no one better fit to make these enhancements than Bryan Fuller.

Neil Gaiman respectfully disagreed. So, like two parents immersed in a bitter custody battle, Starz was forced to make a decision and they really had no choice but to side with Gaiman and Season 2 was made without Fuller. The results sort of speak...

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Review: 'Arrow: Season 7' is brilliantly different

Posted August 20,2019 - 04:09 PM


As someone who has stumbled around the CW's superhero shows like a drunk at last call on a Saturday night, I can appreciate what they were trying to accomplish with Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season. Arrow was always a show with a dark edge, but an even darker endgame that anyone familiar with the comics can tell you, so how do you plan out a show with such an ominous finale?

You sprinkle in hope and play with alternate dimensions of course.

Arrow: Season 7 represents a new direction, not just for the titular vigilante, but also for the series as a whole. Oliver Queen has revealed his identity to the public and turned himself over to the FBI. The first third of the season sees Oliver in prison and all of the amazing setups that you can imagine. After the "Elseworlds" event, the rest...

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Review: 'The Spanish Princess' regales in Tudor splendor

Posted August 20,2019 - 12:11 PM


What is it that they say about the second films in trilogies? They are either great or terrible? The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II certainly lend credence to the idea that sequels can be better than the original film. Meanwhile, most second films such as The Matrix: Reloaded and Back To The Future, Part II are simply warning signs that the planned third film in a trilogy is a bad idea.

The Spanish Princess is the third mini-series of an ambitious planned trilogy of period-piece eye candy set to tell the English House of Tudor tale from a different perspective. The first mini-series, The White Queen, told the story of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville and their attempts to scheme their way onto the English throne. The White Princess, the second...

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Review: 'Endgame' is both a beautiful ending and an inspirational beginning

Posted August 13,2019 - 03:43 PM

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This review is perhaps quite literally an impossible thing to do. What could I possibly add to the discussion of the culminating volume of a 22-film series released over a decade? Sure, I could join the online rabble-rousers and nitpick continuity issues or the theoretical implications of time travel, but what good would that do?

Instead of trying to impart any film critique wisdom, I'm simply going to step back and ponder the impact of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and what it means for the future of film. Sure, I'll certainly convey my thoughts on Avengers: Endgame generally and on the 4K UHD version that I was lucky enough to review specifically, but this isn't simply about one film, and that's sort of the point, isn't it?

For, Avengers: Endgame, the action picks up after ...

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Review: 'Vault' gets its 1970s groove on

Posted August 13,2019 - 12:11 PM


There's just something about the 1970s and mob movies that captures the imagination of American audiences. Films such as Goodfellas, Casino and the Godfather movies romanticize organized crime and tap into our collective consciousness of a bizarre decade.

Let's face it, the 1970s were weird and that's probably the nicest way that we can describe that time period. As disco, the Vietnam War and Watergate helped to shape the culture around us, the growing unrest in a particular part of society often led to the lawlessness that echoed shades of Al Capone and the wild, wild west.

It is within this environment that a real-life mob heist seemingly took place and no one noticed. The Bonded Vault heist is merely a footnote in organized crime circles these days despite being one of the largest...

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Review: 'The Souvenir' gives us two Swintons to love

Posted August 06,2019 - 04:49 PM


There's no denying that Tilda Swinton is a Hollywood treasure. The only question that remains is how is it possible that the talented actress has only won a single Oscar?

The one thing that defines a Tilda Swinton performance is unpredictability. She's an actress that is just as comfortable playing a high society woman or a grumpy old man. Her transformations are legendary, but it's her acting chops that have directors drooling to work with the wonderful actress.

For writer-director Joanna Hogg, she got the opportunity to work with two Swintons for her latest film The Souvenir. The Grand Jury Prize winner from this year's Sundance Film Festival, The Souvenir follows a turbulent love story between a shy and ambitious film student and an untrustworthy man.

The film is based...

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Review: 'Jesus: His Life' brings historical perspective to the Bible

Posted August 06,2019 - 03:33 PM


A story over 2,000 years in the making and yet it seems like there's a new, fresh perspective on the story of Jesus each year. This year, the History Channel debuted the ambitious series Jesus: His Life in which the Biblical recount of Jesus' life was presented through the prism of those around him.

Featuring interviews and insight from Biblical scholars, religious leaders, and religious academics, Jesus: His Life presents a unique perspective on Jesus' life from a myriad of disciplines. It really gives a fresh outlook on the story that has been shared over and over again and challenges you to put the events of the New Testament in historical perspective.

I was born and raised Catholic, so I certainly brought some predisposed prejudices into my review. But, I like to think...

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Review: 'Glory' celebrates 30 years with 4K debut

Posted July 30,2019 - 04:18 PM


I was a huge Civil War buff growing up. We used to plan trips to civil war battlefields in the summer and I was fascinated with the war. Having grown up in Michigan, my allegiances naturally belonged to the North, but now that I live in the South, I have been introduced to a whole new perspective.

The "War of Nothern Aggression" as some down here still refer to it is one that in many ways shapes the daily lives of many Southerners to which there is no comparison north of the Mason-Dixon line. For many of us, it is a moment in our history that we study in school, but we don't contemplate the repercussions of those battles on a daily basis.

In the South, the lasting reminders of the Civil War find themselves embodied in statues and plaques on town squares and parks. It is a source of...

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Review: De Palma returns with 'Domino'

Posted July 30,2019 - 12:17 PM


Brian De Palma is back with a new film from Brian De Palma. Did I mention that Brian De Palma directed Domino? Because I really should as it's probably the only reason that someone would pick up Domino on the shelf of their local video store.

What's that? Video stores don't exist anymore? That's rubbish, of course they do, you just have to look harder to find them. So to, do you have to look harder to see the brilliance of a Brian De Palma film. Back in the 1980s, you only had to look for De Palma's name to know that you were going to get an edgy suspense thriller with a certain cinematic flourish that can only be described as De Palma-esque.

As scarce as video stores are today, Brian De Palma films are even rarer. In fact, he has only released one other film in the last decade, the...

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Review: Myth and reality collide on 4K in 'The Doors'

Posted July 23,2019 - 05:03 PM


Jim Morrison died before I was born, so my only exposure to him has been through the lens of other people. Whether it's his bandmates or Oliver Stone, the myth of Jim Morrison is almost assuredly larger than life than the actual musician who helped to shape the sound of the 1960s and define counterculture.

There was a phase during college when I was really trying to define my musical chops and The Doors factored heavily into that. Of course, it didn't hurt that I had recently discovered the band that would come to shape musical life, Pearl Jam. Both bands share roots in a bluesy sound that I was too young then to appreciate fully and even now I'm not sure that I have enough life experience to truly understand the blues.

And yet, like so many rock stars before him and after him, Jim...

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