Archive | June, 2015

Battlestar Galactica “Crossroads, Part 1 and Part 2” Review (3×19/3×20)

30 Jun


“We’re not a civilization anymore. We are a gang, and we’re on the run, and we have to fight to survive.”

The trial of Gaius Baltar sets up a courtroom that is permeated by history, fraught with tension, and caught between shifting allegiances. For the first time since right around New Caprica, we get a sense of the toll the experience took on the fleet, a sense of the simmering tension that has been building up over the weeks. Director Michael Rymer has his camera pan over the crowd and linger on faces, underscoring the bitterness and betrayal, the desire for revenge, and when the words hit, they hit with an icy bluntness that strikes to the core of the show’s relationships and themes. This is a trial surrounding one man’s life, but the implications of a guilty or not guilty verdict–as well as of the legal process itself–are far-reaching.

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True Detective “Night Finds You” Review (2×02)

28 Jun


“The world will turn, uncaring of our struggles.”

At the beginning of this episode, Vince Vaughn has a nice try with a monologue about his character’s painful past, but ultimately, it’s clear that the uncomfortably long scene is sorely lacking a McConaughey presence to sell those lines. Vaughn simply doesn’t fit in with the dialogue he’s been asked to deliver, and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the main strengths of season one lay in the performer’s hands more so than the writer’s. And that’s not to say that Pizzolatto’s necessarily a bad writer; rather, it’s that his style can sound stilted coming out of one person’s mouth and gloriously complex coming out of another’s. It’s also not a knock against Vaughn, who’s seeming a bit more comfortable outside of the opening scene; in fact, he has his best scene of the series here when he’s threatening someone by the side of the road.

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Hannibal “Aperitivo” Review (3×04)

25 Jun

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“Imitation allows us to better understand others.”

This is one of those episodes that allows you to simply sit back and appreciate a wonderful cast. Even without Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson, the show fires on all cylinders here, tying together all its other characters within the web spun by Hannibal Lecter. We feel his influence at every turn, and each person’s fascinating story serves to highlight one important fact: that Hannibal has scarred them all in one way or another, that who they are in the present is very much a product of their interactions with the man.

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Mr. Robot “” Review (1×01)

24 Jun

MR. ROBOT -- "" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Christian Slater as Mr. Robot, Rami Malek as Elliot -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network)

“What about society disappoints you?”

After hearing this question, we’re taken through Elliot Rodgers’s mind, through images of corporate America and Steve Jobs and child labor as a bitter voiceover lays out everything that’s wrong with society. It’s certainly an on-the-nose sequence, but it forms the firm foundation for USA’s intriguing new show, a show that’s a departure from the network’s usual lighthearted fare and a promising new venture for television as a whole. This is a pilot that knows how to work through cliches to craft a compelling story, and this is a pilot that has the ability to balance procedural elements, an overarching storyline, and characterization within the span of its 65 minutes.

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Jurassic World Review

23 Jun


Jurassic World loses much of the terror and wonder of the original in favor of fun, summer blockbuster entertainment, and while that type of movie is by no means inherently bad, it doesn’t make for a particularly interesting installment to the franchise brought to life by Steven Spielberg 20 years ago. You can replace the dinosaurs with generic action movie villains and the humans with puppets, and nothing changes except for the fact that it might actually be a funnier movie this way. Well, maybe not. Dinosaurs eating puppets would be hilarious.

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True Detective “The Western Book of the Dead” Review (2×01)

21 Jun


“We must recognize that the world is meaningless and understand that God did not create a meaningless world.”

The season two premiere of True Detective is a meandering affair, an exposition dump for the show’s expanded new cast as it struggles to get its story legs underneath it. However, for all its flaws, it’s still an intriguing episode, one that snaps the story into focus when it brings all of its characters together at the end. The problem, though, lies in the execution of the backstories beforehand, as the episode jumps all over the place in order to establish a plethora of people and places and motivations; it remains to be seen where it’s all heading, but there are certainly some growing pains we have to get through here.

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Orphan Black “History Yet to Be Written” Review (3×10)

20 Jun


“I know that whatever comes next, we’ll face it together: as a family.”

No matter how far apart these characters are–whether it be physically or emotionally–what this show always circles back to is the idea of family, of connections between people we love through thick and thin. It comes as no surprise, then, that this is a finale filled with reunions at every turn; eventually, these people will make their way back to each other, even if it takes years and years for that to happen.

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Hannibal “Secondo” Review (3×03)

18 Jun

HANNIBAL -- "Secondo" Episode 303 -- Pictured: -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

“I have to eat him.”

There’s no doubt about the intensity of the connection Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter share, about the intimacy and love that binds these two together in a disturbing, yet fascinating, relationship. There’s not as much subtlety to it anymore because it’s out in the open for the world to see; when the two finally cross paths again, I can only assume it’s going to end in a sexy pillow fight followed by consumption of scrumptious body parts. Or something like that.

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Mad Max: Fury Road Review

16 Jun


“Oh, what a day. What a lovely day!”

Mad Max: Fury Road drives us through a post-Happy Feet, post-apocalyptic wasteland, one populated with the absurd sights and sounds from the mind of director George Miller, yet still grounded in dynamics relevant in today’s world. It’s a movie that features exquisitely crafted action sequences that don’t just serve a purpose of action for action’s sake; rather, those sequences are avenues for world-building, character-building, and story-building, and this is a movie that immerses its audience without the use of any mind-numbing exposition. There’s a difference between an engaging culture/world and an over-reliance on plot, and the film has the former down pat and avoids the latter.

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The Stanley Cup Returns to Chicago

16 Jun

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What a year this has been for the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, the team won’t be the same next season, but it’s great to enjoy one last Cup with this core and with all the new faces. And to be honest, the team will still contend for years to come. The Hawks, after all, will still have players like Kane, Toews, Hossa, and Keith, and management has made it their #1 priority to lock Brandon Saad up for a long time. Plus, rising stars like Teravainen, Van Riemsdyk, and Panarin will be extremely fun to watch next year. Enough about next season, though. Let’s take a look back at my top moments of the playoffs:

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