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Showing posts from May, 2016

Game of Thrones Review: "Blood of My Blood"

Nothing spectacular happens in “Blood of My Blood”; there seemed to be the implication that at least regarding the King’s Landing storyline, something big would go down. The episode on a whole is not a disappointment, there are a few interesting developments and curious character actions, as well as returns of minor characters we haven’t seen in years, but I think its main purpose is to get certain circumstances under way that will lead to bigger things.
          After last week’s heartbreaking death of Hodor (which isn’t even acknowledged!) Bran and Meera struggle to escape while Bran is still stuck in the Three-Eyed Ravens download. To be honest I think this brief sequence may have been the best in the episode, because not only did Bran see many of the events from the show (seeing both his father’s and brother’s deaths among them) he also got flashes of older important moments from before the series: including what appears to be the siege on King’s Landing and Jamie’s as…

Disney Sundays: The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

When I reviewed The Rescuers, I talked about how I think it’s one of the most underrated Disney movies and a personal favourite of mine. But despite that I am aware of its problems and I do know it’s not one of Disney’s best. The Rescuers Down Under however, is! Of all the Disney movies we owned on home video when I was growing up this was the one I must have seen the most times after The Lion King. It was a weird one to own too because the film itself wasn’t a big success and my parents never bothered to show me the first, but it didn’t matter because this was one of the most awesome movies you could watch as a kid! It’s got incredible action, an exciting adventure with engaging characters, and stunning animation. It’s such a shame everyone forgets it when recounting the classic Disney Renaissance films, because I think it surpasses almost all of them!
          Sequels were never something Disney had done before, but the fact that The Rescuers had been the studio’s bigges…

Back to the Feature: Westworld (1973)

Anyone who’s read a Michael Crichton book knows he has a gift for creating compelling thrillers out of bizarre ideas. He does this aptly through the likes of The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere, and perhaps most famously Jurassic Park. The idea of a malfunctioning amusement park as a cautionary tale on advanced science in the hands of big business seems to be a favourite of his. While many would be quick to praise Jurassic Park as a clever concept and original idea, it was in large part a retread of a film Crichton wrote and directed back in 1973: Westworld.
          Yeah, two decades before Steven Spielberg brought his dinosaurs wreaking havoc to the big screen, Crichton himself turned robots in an artificial environment against humankind in this really interesting movie.
          Set in some unspecified future, a major amusement park called Delos has recreated three themed historical “worlds”: Roman World, Medieval World, and West World where adults can vacation and pa…

Penny Dreadful Reviews: "What Death Can Join Together"

“What Death Can Join Together” is a wonderfully poetic and foreboding title, and in a way the episode itself lives up to it quite well. We learn a couple new things, most notably, the term “vampire” is dropped for the first time. But mostly we’re privy to some gripping new conflict and character developments.
          There are a number of things happening with different characters in this episode. Strangely we don’t pick up where “Demimonde” left off and the episode never addresses Dorian and Chandler’s sexual encounter. Chandler reconciles with Brona and cares for her as she sickens more. Dorian just moves from one major character to the next as he takes Vanessa out and later seduces her. Sir Malcolm actually encourages her while he, Chandler, and Sembene seek out another vampire nest on an abandoned ship. And Frankenstein meets with Van Helsing who confides in him his knowledge and experience with vampires, finally naming them, and becoming another father figure of sort…

Nice Job Nice Guys

Just when you thought the buddy genre was dead and dated, something like The Nice Guys comes along to breathe new life into it. Writer and director Shane Black certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to this genre, having basically created buddy cop movies as we know them as the writer of Lethal Weapon. This film however bears a lot more of a resemblance to his directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in how it combines action and clich├ęs typical of the genre with a sense of self aware humour and sharp writing. And though this film isn’t quite as solid as that one, it’s still a surprisingly good time!
          In 1977 Los Angeles, a freelance enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) hires a deadbeat incompetent P.I. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) to help find a missing teenager whose disappearance seems to be linked to the recent death of a popular porn star. However their investigation makes them targets of among others a pair of hit-men played by Beau Knapp and the always…

Game of Thrones Review: "The Door"

This week on Which Beloved Character Should We Fear For: Jorah, Arya, and Richard E. Grant suddenly showing up in Westeros (is he going to tear our hearts out too?)
          This was a very interesting episode for a few reasons. For one we saw nothing of King’s Landing, so no Cersei, Jamie, and co.; but for another we saw other stories really get a boost in drama and performances. Also we delved a little more into the history and mythos of the world finishing in one of the series most gut-punching endings. And that’s saying a lot.
          One of the seemingly minor stories that’s really starting to take off is the one at the Iron Islands. At the Kingsmoot, Yara Greyjoy argues for her right to succeed her father with most of the elders determined not to allow it because she’s a woman. However Theon in the first time he’s been assertive and bold in years, comes to her defence in spite of some declaring him a more fitting heir. It’s great to see him embracing himself as Th…

Disney Sundays: The Little Mermaid (1989)

At last we’ve come to the Disney Renaissance, the rebirth of Disney as a studio capable of making ground-breaking instant classics of animation. Also the era of Disney movies my generation is most familiar with. And it started in 1989 with The Little Mermaid! People freaking love this movie! They know the songs, they quote the characters, they feel warm nostalgia every time they see it; it’s a classic fairy tale movie, Disney movie, and just movie in general! So it’s definitely hazardous to my health to say I think it’s a bit overrated.
          But wait, put the pitchforks down! -that’s not to say I don’t like it. Especially compared to the last few Disney movies like Oliver & Company and The Black Cauldron, The Little Mermaid is a godsend! For 1989 it was a huge update on the fairy tale story: the princess could be multi-faceted, her love interest have a personality, the songs could actually advance plot and character development, and all this without detracting fro…

Game of Thrones Review: "Book of the Stranger"

Well it’s taken a little time but season six of Game of Thrones is now moving forward. With “Book of the Stranger” a number of the major conflicts that have been hinted at in past episodes are starting to take affect and we’re getting an idea of where they’re going (except Dorne, that whole revolution’s just in the background now). This episode provided a number of long-awaited reunions as well as some important developments (particularly in the Essos storylines) that look to be putting the story back on track.
          For one thing, we FINALLY get a reunion between Starks. This is the first time in three seasons that any member of the Stark family has seen another and it was really rewarding. Brienne actually manages to get Sansa to the Wall, and Jon’s been revived just in time to see his sister again. For not having worked with each other for five years, Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner had pretty decent chemistry as they talk about old times and as Sansa tries to push …

Disney Sundays: Oliver & Company (1988)

On November 18th 1988 an animated film came out that was beautiful, magical, and had all the wonder of classic Disney! It almost belongs up there with Bambi, Peter Pan, Fantasia, it’s just incredible. I am of course talking about The Land Before Time, the Don Bluth film that had the luck to open the same day as Disney’s Oliver & Company. With these two up against each other in a battle of animation, which one’s the winner? Well maybe the fact that The Land Before Time crushed Oliver & Company at the box office will give you some indication.
          That’s not to say that box office has anything to do with a films’ quality, but people looking for a rich, timeless experience out of an animated movie certainly didn’t get it out of Oliver & Company. No Disney movie I’ve come across feels more of its time than this strange adaptation of Oliver Twist. It’s about as loyal to the Dickens classic as you’d expect from Disney, in that it keeps the character names and a few…

Penny Dreadful Reviews: "Closer Than Sisters"

One of the television tropes I find I like more often than not are origin episodes. Especially in drama series’ where one or more of the major characters has a mysterious past, it’s really exciting to see that past explored. And episodes like “Fragments” of Torchwood, “Peter” of Fringe, and “A Tale of Two Stans” of Gravity Falls end up being among the best of their respective series. With Penny Dreadful opening in media res, I was really looking forward to this kind of episode. But I expected it to at least be later in the season.
          As far as origin episodes go “Closer Than Sisters” did not disappoint. Last episode we found out Vanessa had betrayed Mina in some way that may have led to her abduction. In this episode we find out what she did as well as the history of the Murray and Ives families, and the beginnings and development of Vanessa’s demonic clairvoyance. The reveals are captivating and interesting, the acting especially on Eva Green’s part superb, and it r…

Captain America's Civil War Goes Above and Beyond

One of the things I admire most about Marvel is that though they have their audience in the palm of their hand and could put out just about anything at this point, they still instil a lot effort and attention into their films. There’s a dedication, integrity, and sense of responsibility that you can pick up on even in their lesser movies. And it’s incredibly clear how much of that went into Captain America: Civil War.
          It’s easy to say this second clash of superheroes of 2016 does what Batman v. Superman should have done, but Captain America: Civil War had a huge advantage: a combined seven films building the characters of Captain America and Iron Man. There’s a lot more investment in their ideologies, relationship, and conflict, and for the most part it pays off in spades.
          After a mission in Nigeria goes awry resulting in severe civilian casualties, Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt) imposes new legislation on the Avengers which would dictate their …