Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Hateful Eight - Movie Review: Is 70mm Really that Glorious?

Wait, you mean theaters are allowed to play other movies besides Star Wars?!?
The Hateful Eight is the eighth movie directed and written by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Kurt Russell, Samuel Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Walton Goggins. I went to the special roadshow event which was presented in 70mm. This is the first movie I have ever seen in the theaters shot and presented in 70mm with the correct ratio aspect. Did I really notice? Honestly, not really. If this movie was shot in IMAX and presented in a digital format I think it would have looked just as good. It is an extremely beautiful looking movie, but is that because Tarantino is a great director and worked with a fantastic cinematographer, or because it was shot in 70mm. I think it is probably the former and whatever the movie was shot on it would look brilliant. I’m however also color blind, so maybe something is lost on me as a viewer.
Shooting in 70mm is more for Tarantino and him being a lover of classic cinema and the way movies used to be made. I personally loved going to the theater tonight and getting a program for the movie, having a musical overture, and an intermission.  It made for a special evening, and also harkens back to the fifties and sixties when going to the movies was an event. This could have still been accomplished shooting the movie on another format and presenting it in digital form. I’m a general overall history nut, so going to see a movie made in an older style was interesting in its own right. This was Tarantino’s vision, and I’ll gladly indulge any historical eccentricities he wants as long as he keeps making spectacular movies.
The Hateful Eight is the second western directed by Tarantino the first being Django Unchained. The movie has a very different feel than Django, even though it started out as a sequel. It has all of the Tarantino essentials. Great dialogue, good characters, intriguing story, and fantastic performances. The entire first two acts of the movie build a palpable tension. You never quite know what is going on until the reveal. The tension built with the dialogue and closed room reminded me of the opening scene of Inglorious Bastards, but extended for a greater period of time. You then get a fantastic exploitation payoff in the final third of the movie for an extremely satisfying ending.
All of the performances are good in the movie. The standouts for me were Walton Goggins, of Justified and The Shield fame, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the women being taken to the hanged. Each are fantastic in their respective roles. Hopefully Goggins can start getting more movie parts after being showcased in a Tarantino masterpiece. The person for me who absolutely stole the show on every level is a Tarantino favorite, Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson does channel a little Jules from Pulp Fiction, but saying he is doing the same thing here is a disservice to the performance. For me he deserves an Oscar nomination nod. I don’t think he will get it, because it will be seen as a character he’s played before, but I saw more in this role. I felt it was a more nuanced performance, and not the typical bad ass mushroom cloud laying mother fu, sorry my kid watches these. He chewed scenery and outshined a stellar cast and other great performances. I have to at least mention Kurt Russell. He was great as well, though I think I preferred his performance in Bone Tomahawk, another western, to this. Both are outstanding westerns with great performances by Russell. If you haven’t heard of Bone Tomahawk I’ll put a link in the description below. The dialogue in it is very similar to Tarantino or a Coen brother’s movie.
I don’t want to say to much more about the plot or overall story. What the trailers have shown is enough going in. Russell’s character, John Ruth, is taking Leigh’s character, Daisy, to be hanged and they get trapped by a blizzard at a convenience store. Ruth suspects foul play at every corner. Which you think is just paranoia at first. I won’t say any more than that. Other than Tarantino does a masterful job drawing you into this story and world. I loved the little nods, like when characters drink coffee the store they are in is still so cold that steam rises up all around the actors. I also think Tarantino had a message he wanted to deliver with this movie. I don’t think it’s heavy handed, but if you are looking you can see it
This movie is made to be seen in the cinema. If you can find a theatre playing it in 70mm I would recommend seeing it that way, just to view it how Tarantino wants it seen. If not then try and hold out for an IMAX showing, though Star Wars has that locked up for a few more weeks. I’ve got to mention the score as well. It is phenomenal, just as most Tarantino’s scores are. It sets the mood and adds to the tension of the movie.
I found the entire movie to be engaging and entertaining. This is well worth seeing, and is a must see in the theater if you are a Tarantino fan. I’ll be buying it on blu-ray when it makes its way to home release. For those who don’t like his movies, then stay away, because this is very much a Tarantino film. It oozes his style and unique way of storytelling. He actually brings back a technique he paved the way for in the nineties and hasn’t used in his last few films.
Comment and let me know if you can tell the difference in the 70mm aspect ratio rather than digital. Would you want more filmmakers to try and bring back roadshows with intermissions to make going to the movies more of an event? If you have seen the movie let me know what you thought of it and the performances. Give me a thumbs up if you like my review. Share and subscribe and all that fun stuff as well. Thanks for watching and bye. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Movie Review( Yes,Spoiler Free): A Fan’s Review for Non-Fan’s

Well… It’s better than the prequels.
Everyone is going to be talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a few weeks. I’m adding my voice and review to the ever growing madness of the internet. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens. Is it my favorite, no, but I don’t think anything will every top the originals because of, well, nostalgia. I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw Star Wars. I don’t remember how old I was when I saw Empire Strikes Back. I have memories of going to see Return of the Jedi in the theaters, but I don’t even think that was the initial release. I have lived on Star Wars for almost my entire life.
To watch The Force Awakens I bought marathon tickets. All six previous movies starting at 1:00 in the morning and ending with The Force Awakens. I wasn’t as dedicated or crazy as some of my other friends who went at one in the morning. I decided to get a good night’s sleep and make episode three and on. You know, the prequel you can actually stomach to watch, and the three good movies. I didn’t want to lose sleep watching episode 1 and 2. I’m glad George made the movies he set out to make, but I don’t have to lose sleep to watch them, even for this.
What I’m getting at, is I’m a nut for Star Wars. I consume almost everything produced by Lucasfilm. The question is for all you casual Star Wars fans or just regular movie goers, is this movie worth your time, money and effort to see? The short answer from a fan’s perspective is, yes. It’s a very good movie and it is well worth seeing in the theaters. Is the movie groundbreaking like the first initial Star Wars? No it’s not, but it didn’t have to be.
What this Star Wars movie had to do was sell the current fan base on new heroes while paying homage to the old. At the same time introduce a new generation to the franchise. If you not a massive fan of the movies all you’re looking for is to be entertained by a compelling story. This movie had that. It is very much a hero’s journey retold. It has elements of A New Hope splashed throughout, but it is very much its own movie.
The action in the movie is stunning and non-stop. You feel like you are riding in the Millennium Falcon, X-Wing or Tie Fighter. Abrams did an amazing job of capturing action sequences. He is a phenomenal director of action. The ground fights are equally fun and the lightsaber battles unique for the new trilogy. Are you going to care if you not a Star Wars fan? I think the action will have you on the edge of your seat regardless of if you’re a fan or not.
Along with the action are compelling new characters. My personal favorite after seeing the movie is Rey, but that’s not surprising since she is very much the Luke of the new movie, and he is my favorite from the original trilogy. Daisy Ridley is amazing in the role. For an unknown actress to come into this franchise and knock it out of the park is fantastic. Just knowing she has never been in any other movie and being thrust into one of the biggest and most anticipated movies of all time is astounding. It’s amazing what an unknown actor can do when they have good direction. The other cast, old and new, do good jobs. Boyega is great as Finn. Harrison Ford does not mail in his performance. He is Han Solo again, and is superb in his portrayal of the Smuggler.  Fisher is good as Leia, though she might be the weakest link of the old cast.  Adam Driver plays a complex new villain. He is not a Darth Vader clone. I have mixed feelings on the character, and I think that was by design.
Can someone who does not like the force, lightsabers and the historical lore of the universe still enjoy these performances? I think so. The story told with these characters is going to keep people engaged regardless of the amount of the fandom. You don’t need to know the entire backstory of the Star Wars universe to enjoy this movie. It helps, but it’s not necessary. What I liked most personally about the movie is how the story told opens up more of the universe to be explored. The casual fan isn’t going to care about how many other books and comic can be created from this story. They don’t need to care to enjoy just this story and to be excited for what happens next.
Not everything works in the movie however. There is some clunky dialogue. Don’t worry, no were near prequel levels.  A few times the interaction between Han and Leia just didn’t seem natural. It only happens a few times, were the interaction didn’t ring true. The majority of the time is hits all the right emotional notes. The other villain playing opposite Kylo Ren, General Hux, was cartoonish to me. Gleeson who plays the character is a great actor and I feel his range is wasted here. He is very one note, and I think he could have been more. He might be more developed in later movies.
Which is another minor complaint. There are characters who I wanted focused on more, but there just wasn’t enough time unless JJ wanted to make a three and half hour long movie. As a casual fan I don’t think you are going to care if one character or another doesn’t get focused on. The overall story is fun and the main characters are relatable, and easy to root for.
The story does have few elements which left me scratching my head. Just the time frame in which things seem to happen didn’t add up to me. This is probably me nitpicking, and a person going to the movie to have a fun time isn’t going to mind this about the story. As a fan it did bug me a bit, but didn’t take too much away from the overall movie. The main threat of the movie also seems tacked on. Starkiller base didn’t feel me with dread and terror the way the Death Star did in the original trilogy. They try to make it seem deadly, but again there is so much going on in the movie not enough time is focused to give it the appropriate weight.
These negatives aside, I really enjoyed the movie. I want to say I loved it, but I don’t want to “Phantom Menace” myself. Telling myself something was good just because I was so excited for new Star Wars movieq. I don’t think that is the case and even non-super fans should enjoy The Force Awakens. So this movie is, of course, well worth seeing. For me it’s worth seeing multiple times in the theaters. Before it even came out I had three tickets. For the normal movie goer one time will be enough, but it’s worth buying on blu-ray, and watching at home on Television anytime it comes on. It will usher in a new generation of nerds and geeks and make Disney’s four billion dollar investment well worth the price. This movie is a fantastic way to kick off the new trilogy.
If you not a huge Star Wars fan when do you plan on seeing Star Wars? Are you going to let the crowds die down before seeing it? If you have seen it what do you think? Did it meet your lofty expectations if you’re a major fan? If you not a major fan and have seen it what did you think? Comment and let me know. We are now living in a post release Star Wars: The Force Awakens world. Time to start hyping Rouge One and Episode Eight. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Wars Dark Disciple Book Review: A Clone Wars Love Story Done Well

Star Wars Dark Disciple is a new cannon novel based on undeveloped Clone Wars episodes. The original story scripts were written by Katie Lucas, yes that Lucas’s daughter. The novel was adapted and written by Christie Goldstein. Dark Disciple is the story of how Jedi Master Quinlan Vos is charged to assassinate Count Dooku. The Jedi Council also wants Vos to enlist the help of Asajj Ventress, Dooku’s former apprentice and current mortal enemy.
What works so well in Dark Disciple is the relationship between Vos and Ventress. Vos is a roughish Jedi who lives undercover and flirts with the seedy underworld on a regular basis. It makes him the perfect Jedi to try and get close to Ventress. Ventress starts off hating Vos, but his charm finally starts to wear on her. The relationship harkens to the love story of Han and Leia, with how much Ventress outwardly hates on Vos and everything he does. Slowly however, she starts to warm to the man who portrays himself as her bounty hunter partner. Ventress soon lets Voss know that she was aware he was a Jedi all along.
The story then picks up when Ventress begins to train Vos in the dark side. It’s not the Sith Arts, but how the Witches of Dathomir use the dark side. Ventress takes Vos to Dathomir to train him. The training scenes reminded me of Dagobah and Yoda training Luke. This time we get to see the reverse. We get witness how a Dark Jedi is trained surrounded by living things. It is still eerily similar to how Yoda trained Luke, but perverted. What makes this interesting is Vos is already a Jedi Master. He has lived the Jedi code for his entire life, but Ventress opens his view to a much larger world in more ways than one.
To have Vos simply start using the dark side would not be enough to turn him completely. Something else must commit him down this path. The love that grows between Voss and Ventress is what locks him into turning his back on his Jedi beliefs. It is a good example of explaining why the Jedi do not marry. It shows how dangerous losing yourself completely to another person can be and how much it can corrupt. The love story is needed to make the plot believable. Without it the question of how a Jedi Master is turned to using the dark side could not be answered. Using love, Ventress is able to bend Voss’s will and get him to buy into using the dark side. Ventress thinks using the dark side is the only way to defeat Dooku.
Where the story suffers is that we know the eventual ending of the main mission. We know that Ventress and Voss do not succeed in killing Dooku. We do know it takes some dark side powers to finally defeat him, just not by these two force users. I’m not sure if that is foreshadowing since we already knew the events of Revenge of the Sith, but I like the use of whatever device it is. You want both Voss and Ventress to succeed in their task, but know it will fail. What is interesting is the different twists the story takes.
I was never quite sure where the story was going to go next. I did have one part of the story spoiled for me, but I wasn’t sure how the event would unfold. Vos’s descent into the darkside is not predictable.  In the end I am extremely glad we got this story in book form. I’m not sure the Clone Wars show would have been able to fully develop the themes the book brought up. The show did go dark in the last few seasons, but I’m not sure they would have been able to include everything in this book. I think it deals with the love story in such a way that would have been lost on what was supposed to be a children’s show.
From this story I truly wish Lucas would have let his daughter have a crack at rewriting Clone Wars the movie. She might have been too young at the time, but just the development of this concept proves she has talent. Which her father does too, but writing dialogue isn’t his strongest trait. I wouldn’t be typing this review without the man, and the prequels faults have been well established. That being said if Anakin’s and Padme’s love story were developed in the way this story progressed The Clone Wars movie would have been vastly better. We would have actually cared about what happed between Padme and Anakin, not just waiting for her to give birth to Luke and Leia. There I said my peace.
Dark Disciple is a must read for those who were fans of the Clone Wars. For those who never watched the show it probably can be passed up. That is not an indictment of the story. I just think to have a good reference on who Ventress is as a character you need to have watched Clone Wars. I don’t think people would be lost in the story, but some of the impact of the would be diminished. If you want to read a love story set in the Star Wars Universe done right, pick it up.

Have you read Dark Disciple? What did you think of it if you did? Do you think fans need to have read Clone Wars to enjoy the book? Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

When Should I let My Kid Watch.. Die Hard - Movie Review

What type of kid where you? Did your parents let you watch whatever you wanted? Did you sneak around and watch rated R movies as a kid? If you’re a parent now what do you do? When do you let your kids watch some of your favorite movies?
Yippee Ki Ya Mother F
So the second movie in the When Should my Kid Watch reviews is Die Hard. The movie which launched Bruce Willis as an action star. For many Die Hard is considered the best action movie of all time. IGN ranked it their #1 action movie in a top 25 list. I’m not sure it would be my personal #1, but it’s close.  At 11 years old I thought my oldest son could handle the violence, language, and plot of the film.
Common Sense Media has a recommended age viewing for Die Hard of 16+. I’ll put a link to their review in the description below. For me 16+ is a little high for Die Hard.
The biggest hurdle to get over in deciding when to let my son watch Die Hard was the violence. The movie does have some extremely violent scenes. The execution of Mr. Takagi being example one. We see Hans pull the trigger and blood explode against the glass door. It is a graphic scene, and for kids sensitive to images I would hold off until they are able to process. For me personally I remember the first time I saw John McClane take out a terrorist from under the table and seeing the bad guys knees explode on screen. I was probably 8 or 9 and walked into the living room when my parents were watching the movie. The scene is still etched in my memory, and its one reason I hesitate when letting my son watch movies. I want to make sure he can handle what he is watching. I went ahead and let him watch Die Hard, because I didn’t think the violence would affect him. I paused the movie after the Takagi scene and asked if he was bothered by it, and he said nope, I know it’s fake.
The second obvious reason the movie is rated R is the language. I don’t think the cussing found in the movie is excessive. I think it fits for the situation our hero finds himself in. He’s just a regular cop, and he is thrown into an impossible situation. I would be cussing if I was John McClane. It’s a natural fit for the movie and the situation. I’m never going to have a big issue with language when deciding if my son should watch a film. If it is a fit for the movie, I don’t see the issue with exposing my son to it. As long as he knows not to use it, then it should be a non-issue. I would reevaluate my stance if he started getting in trouble for using bad language.
There is a small scene with nudity. It’s quick and briefly shows a women’s breasts. McClane also walks past a picture of a nude woman a couple of times, but its short and you can barely see anything. Not enough for me personally to stop my 11 year old from watching, but I can understand for those who would disagree.
Now, what about the plot. Can an 11 year old grasp the story of Die Hard, or do they really need too? Hans Gruber is a brilliant villain. He takes hostages knowing the FBI will get involved and shut off the power to the building allowing him to steal his loot. It is an intricate story and I stopped the movie when the FBI shut off the power to ask if my son understood what happened. I had to explain some information, but for the most part he already had a good grasp of what was going on. I don’t think you necessarily need to understand how intricate the heist of the movie is to enjoy Die Hard. It’s something a younger viewer can come back to at a later date and get more enjoyment out of. When they realize how cunning the villain of the movie is another level of satisfaction is added to the film.
 The easy part of the plot to understand is John McClane stuck in a building with people who want to kill him, his wife, and the other hostages. McClane is the “fly in the ointment” which causes Hans Gruber’s well laid plans to go off course. Seeing Bruce Willis run around without any shoes on and knock off villains is an easy concept to grasp. The explosions and action are enough to keep most people of any age entertained.  
Maybe not my son however. After we watched he was not impressed with Die Hard. Maybe he is was too young to appreciate the intricacies of the plot or the action is dull by today’s standards. That or he just doesn’t want to like movies his Dad thinks are good.  He didn’t understand how Die Hard is thought of as one of the greatest action movies ever made. After this it’s back to the drawing board to find something else he will enjoy.
Since I had to explain a small amount of the plot maybe my son should be a little older to appreciate how well made of a movie Die Hard is. I still think the right age range is around 11-13 years old depending on each kid. He is old enough to handle the violence, language and action, but I think how smart and intricate the plot is was lost on him a bit.
Alright so plug and question time. When was the first time you remember seeing Die Hard?  Where you too young for some of the violence? If you have kids when would feel comfortable letting them watch the movie? Could you handle them not liking it? I’m not sure I want to let my son watch Matrix now because I’m worried he’ll hate it. I plan on trying to keep plugging away until I find something he loves. Comment and let me know your thoughts.
So please give me a thumbs up if you like my video. Give me some suggestions on what we should watch next. Subscribe to see more of my videos, and click the links at the end to watch me talk some more. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E10 Legacy Review/Recap (Spoilers): Still No Dark Turn

Tonight’s episode, Legacy, had an interesting story to tell, and could have major impacts for the rest of the season. We start with Ezra having a vision of his parents on Lothal and him wanting to rush to find back to find them. Kanan urging caution helps Ezra refine the vision and the whole team decides to go back to Lothal and find out what Ezra’s vision means. Why tell this story unless it is going to have impact later? Ezra parents have been a motivation for him up to this point, how does he deal with knowing they are truly gone? He seemed to handle to news well with Kanan there to help be a guide for the grief.
The best aspects of tonight’s episode dealt with Ezra. Everything with how he reacted was spot on for a young teenager. If I had lost my parents and suddenly learned they could be alive I would want to rush off to find out more. His exuberance, while slightly annoying, is perfectly understandable. He wants nothing to stand in his way to make it back to Lothal. He makes an impressive display against Agent Kallus and some Stormtroopers and then foolishly rushes the two Inquisitors. Ezra is seeing red at this point and is probably tapping into some darks side powers. Kanan does the smart thing and shoots the blast door, saving his apprentice. Ezra pops off in anger, but also apologizes to Kanan a short time later. I found his apology and thanks for the support touching and good choice for the character.
While I really enjoyed the main storyline with Ezra tonight, the rest had me wanting something different. I keep waiting for the series to take a darker turn. Everyone has hinted that the turn is coming. From the showrunners to the voice actors they have all said dark times are ahead for the crew of the Ghost. Tonight would have been a good time for the Empire to stop being easy to defeat. With Kallus and the Inquisitors teaming up they should have done some damage to the Rebels finding them unprepared for an attack. The Rebels had escape plans put it in place, but a force as large as the Imperials had should have deal the Rebels more damage.
This might be nitpicking the show, and I do believe we are going to see the crew dealt some major blows. They just seem to be getting by way to easily. The Empire does not seem scary or menacing. You want your heroes to succeed, but they almost succeeded in this episode by blind luck (Obi Wan says there is no such thing as luck), and Imperial stupidity.
The scene where Hera is trying to free the command ship from the tractor beam is one such instance. She has Tie Fighters on her tail and the Star Destroyer ahead of her. Why doesn’t the Star Destroyer fire on her? The Admiral tells the crew to focus on the command ship. If they have the command ship locked up, why not fire on the Ghost? I know it has become comical how Tie Fighters and Stormtroopers can’t hit anything, but why isn’t Zeb firing at them? If he was firing at least there would be the excuse that the Tie’s couldn’t line up a clean shot because they were being fired upon.  They do manage a hit, which forces Hera to do some fancy flying and knock out the tractor beam by ramming the Star Destroyer. This was exciting to see, but why didn’t they fire upon the Ghost and command ship after this?
The Rebels got away fairly unharmed minus a few ships. No major characters were captured and no dark turn for our heroes. After the tractor beam was taken out it would have been interesting to see the Ghost get captured with Ezra and Kanan having to come to the rescue in an Empire Strikes back like episode. Two Jedi’s not up fully trained taking on an Imperial force waiting to receive them.
This isn’t the road showrunners decided to travel, but it will be interesting to see when the crew does get back together. Ezra and Kanan are on their own, and I think they may stay this way for a while to do some training. Ezra has been growing powerful. I have mixed feelings on which way he will eventually turn, but I think they are hinting that he will remain a Jedi. His apology tonight was one indication of this, and his desire to make his dead parents proud will be another force to keep him on the path of the Jedi.
While tonight’s episode was a small disappoint in that we still did not see our heroes struggle, it was interesting see Ezra take another step into becoming a Jedi. He is still impetuous and headstrong at times, but he knows he is part of a team and respects their help. He has a willingness to learn and listen, and I am excited to see where they are taking him as a character.
Where you disappointed tonight that Empire was easily managed again? Are you ready for the dark turn the show has been promising? Do you like where they are taking Ezra’s character? Comment and let me know. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea - Movie Review: Don't Let the Trailers Fool You

Can a movie made today about whaling make an audience root
for whalers and not the whales?
In the Heart of the Sea directed by Ron Howard and staring
Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, and Tom Holland.  It is the story of the whaling ship Essex and
how it was attacked by a whale and sunk.
This true life tale is what Herman Melville based Moby Dick off of.
Let’s start with this. The trailers for this movie are
misleading. From what they have shown the movie looks like a jaws remake, but
with a whale. Maybe an adaptation of Moby Dick instead of an event based on
true life.  This is not that story. This
is a survival story, and I hope the marketing for the movie doesn’t turn people
off after they go and see it.
The movie starts out with Herman Melville going to visit the
last surviving member of the Essex, the cabin boy Thomas Nickerson. The older
version of Nickerson is played by Brendan Gleeson who does a great job playing
the troubled soul. Melville has come for the true account of the Essex to
inspire his work of fiction.
After some coaxing Nickerson agrees to recount the events.
We flashback and are introduced to Chris Hemsworth character Owen Chase, first
mate of the Essex.  Make no mistake, this
is Chris Hemsworth’s movie. You are drawn to him in every scene and his
charisma leaps off the screen. It’s not hard to imagine wanting to work for and
to be led by Hemsworth’s character Owen Chase.
This is the second time Hemsworth and Howard have worked together, both
on movies based on true life events. Rush was a good movie as well, and proved
Hemsworth is not just a pretty face who can put on a cape. Hopefully we are
seeing the beginnings of a phenomenal director and actor team.
Howard’s directing seems to be at his best when telling a
true life event. He captures a mid-19th century whaling city
magically. The screen transports you back to that time. The exposition to
inform the audience of how important whale oil is to the culture was expertly
and seamlessly integrated into the movie.
Then we get to the majesty of the sailing and putting to sea. I’m by no
means a nautical expert, but the sea, like outer space, fascinates me. To
explore the unknown and the dangers it entails has always captivated my imagination. 
Shortly after they put to sea we get the obligatory storm
scene. It’s an ok scene, but a few times during the film the action seems a bit
jumbled on the screen and you lose a feel for what’s going on. It’s during this
storm scene and when they encounter the massive whale that didn’t flow together
very well.
There is an action scene expertly done though, and it is the
first time they go on a whale hunt. The excitement leaps off the screen and it
has you on the edge of your seat during the first “Nantucket sleigh ride.”
Howard however did this in a way that you still feel for the
whales. They still are majestic creatures and at no point did I truly want the
whalers to win the day. The scene is shot in such a way that is exciting, but
sad and reverential at the same time. Then we get the disgusting harvest scene,
and not to spoil anything, but it’s not for people with weak stomachs.
Almost the entire second half of the movie is about survival
and man’s own hubris.  They did a good
job of exploring this aspect, but one scene was to on the nose. An exchange
between Chase and Captain Pollard spoon-feeds us the main theme of the movie. I
could have done without this exchange, but it didn’t take too much away from
the rest of the movie.
For a history nut like me I really enjoyed the movie and
being transported back to the 19th century. Some might say this
movie is slow, but I thought the pacing was spot on. Every time the story
needed a shot in the arm we flash back to Melville and Nickerson to break up the
some of the monotony of being stranded at sea.
Like I said before this is a survival story, the trailers
have made it out to look like man vs whale, but it’s a very short aspect of the
movie. This is about the human will to survive, and our overall place in the
world. If this type of historical drama interests you then this movie is well
Worth Seeing. See it in the theaters to get the full effect of everything going
on, but don’t expect a movie full of action.
I enjoyed the movie, but I can see that it probably isn’t for everyone.
I would watch it again, but it not a movie I have to own.  The main themes of the movie do get drilled
into the audience a bit, and I can see that being a complaint of the movie as
well.  One of the very last lines of the
movie made me roll my eyes.
So go see this movie if you like historical movies, and
don’t expect to root for the men to actually kill the whales. You never truly
do.  One last note for all the superhero nerds
and geeks, Tom Holland, who will be playing the new Spiderman does a fine job
in this movie, and I can see him being a good Peter Parker and Spiderman.
That’s it. If you like the video give me a thumbs up. Share
if you think it’s worth sharing. Comment and let me know if you are still
interested in seeing the movie knowing the trailers are somewhat misleading.  Subscribe and or click the links at the end
to hear me babble on some more. Thanks for watching, bye.
My Rating: Worth Seeing (In the theaters if you do or
largest screen available afterword’s) 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E9 The Future of the Force Review/Recap (Spoilers!): Ahsoka > Inquisitors

The Future of the Force was an interesting and exciting episode of Star Wars Rebels. New storylines opened up and we were treated to a great fight between Ahsoka and the Inquisitors. The amount of content this episode packed into a half hour was impressive. There was not much, if any, wasted time in the episode with every scene or occurrence having an overall impact.
The best part of the episode was the ending. Ahsoka showed up at the right time to deal with both Inquisitors, and she handled them with ease. The wink she gave Ezra before taking them on was perfect. It shows she still is the cocky Padawan who was trained by Anakin in the Clone Wars. She still enjoys a good fight, and it looks like she stayed in practice. The scene played out in the perfect way, though I wonder what would have happened if the Stormtroopers wouldn’t have shown up. Would Ahsoka take the two Inquisitors captive? I’m not sure how that would have played out. The more logical story decision was made for backup to arrive and Ahsoka to escape with everyone else.
What makes for a new interesting storyline are the force sensitive children. It’s not something which has been addressed in any of the new Star Wars cannon. What is happening to all the force sensitive people during this time period? Are they all being hunted down by Inquisitors? Does the Emperor have a way of locating them? Why wasn’t Luke located if this was the case? I enjoy when new story elements open up more story possibilities. The introduction of the Empire hunting down force sensitive individuals opens up numerous other storylines for the show to explore, along with other mediums. The end of the episode was interesting with Kanan making the statement that it is the teams job to protect the force sensitive children, since the Jedi are gone.
This could become Ahsoka primary mission in the show. She will start searching for force sensitive children and establishing a place to protect them. This would allow her to still pop in and out of episodes. I still think all signs point to Ahsoka having a confrontation with Darth Vader at some point during this season. We know how that will likely end. It could become a short story arc for the crew to go hunting for children as well, but it can’t be the main focus of the show. I’m not sure how they will proceed, but we know the Inquisitors will be planning a visit with information picked up by the probe droid.
The probe droid usage was a good callback to the previous time we met the 7th sister. We saw her use them before, and her deploying one in front of the apartment was good storytelling. How likely would it be for Ezra to drop that little nugget of information at exactly the right time? It is a stretch, but it works for the show. The luck for the crew of the Spector may be running out. Dark times have been looming, and this may be the start of the challenges that lay ahead. This leads to my only real issue with episode tonight. It never felt like the team was in any true danger.
Going through the episode and with each encounter with the Inquisitors I never felt like there was any danger for Ezra, Zeb and Kanan. I knew they were going to get out of the episode and everything would be fine. They would save the children and Ahsoka would help. For a Disney animated show this makes perfect sense. However we have been teased with bad things are on the way for our crew, but they haven’t shown up yet. I haven’t felt any looming danger for the crew since the first episode with the 7th sister. This is probably going to change, but everyone in the show is too comfortable working against Imperial forces. They are not all stumbling buffoons. It’s time to feel the menacing hand of the Emperor.
The episode was fun and entertaining, but in the end I was left wanting just a bit more out of it. I wanted the Inquisitors to be more of a threat to Ezra and Kanan. It was great to see Ahsoka in action and for a new story element to be introduced. It will be interesting to see where they take the force children and how they will protect them. It was an overall solid effort, but not quite as good as lasts week’s installment.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Favorite part? I know they are limited with the show being aimed at a younger audience, but do you think a darker tone in the story is needed in the show like I do? Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E8 Start to Finish Recap/Review (Spoilers!): A Strong Start to a Weak Finish

My first initial thought after the credits for the episode rolled was: Anticlimactic. Deanna’s death and the showdown between Morgan and Carol were the two events which had any actual story movement. The rest of the episode was all setup for the next half of the season. It comes down to expectations. The expectations I had for this episode was an hour filled with zombie kills and the Alexandrian’s driving the zombie horde out of the town. What we got was everyone hiding in their houses and talking.
The episode started off with a bang with everyone trying to get to safety. The scene with Maggie trying to get away from the walkers was the most tense and exciting of the finale. With the showrunners bringing Glenn back it would have been fitting for them to kill off Maggie. I expected a character to be killed off tonight to balance the scales for Glenn. I didn’t think it would be Deanna. A person from the main group should have been offered up tonight. I don’t want one of my favorite characters to die, but the show needs to prove again that anyone can perish at any time. With Glenn being alive I feel the show lost this edge, and it needs to gain it back. Deanna death will have effects on the town after they are able to draw the walkers away, but it didn’t hold a true emotional impact on the overall show.
In the end the most frustrating thing about the mid-season finale is nothing happened. We got the tower collapse at the end of the episode last week and then no advancement of the situation for the finale. I tend to like the slower episodes and the character development. A slower episode when the town has become overrun by zombies was not the best decision for the show. This season overall has been fantastic. The first four episodes where some of the finest of the series. They tailed off a bit leading to the finale, but I expected (there’s that word again) to end on a high note. We now have to wait until February to get any kind of movement on what is going on in the town. Nothing was solved during the first half of the season. It started with the group trying to move a dangerous herd of walkers away from the town, and they are still dealing with this issue.
Glenn and Enid were outside the walls, but no focus was placed on them during the episode. They could have at least been shown trying to formulate a plan to draw the walkers away. This is what Glenn was outside the walls to do in the first place. It would have been nice to see him try and do something tonight to help the town. Instead he gave a speech to Enid about helping and climbed a tree.  I’m struggling to determine why the show went this way for the mid-season finale. The big takeaway is Deanna pushing Rick to accept the town and everyone in it as his people, and the standoff between Carol and Morgan.
The standoff between Carol and Morgan ended with a whimper. We did at least see them fight, but I think Morgan should have made short work of Carol in that situation. Carol is fantastic with a gun and planning and executing an attack. One on One, Morgan with his Aikido should have easily gone out on top. I’m not sure why he got on the floor to try and stop her from grabbing the knife. He could have easily disarmed her again with his staff. It was good to see them go back and forth. The two polar opposite ways of thinking in the apocalypse and how to survive in it. Morgan is sane because he doesn’t kill. Carol is sane because she does. The two sides had to eventually clash, and the discussion they had leading up to the fight was the best part of the finale.
The only other event that I liked in the episode was Carl taking the gun off Ron and calling his dad an asshole. I was ticked at Ron for being an idiot in the garage, but I was impressed with Carl covering for him, but still putting him in his place. I have a feeling I might be in the minority about this aspect of the show, but it resonated as the right decision. This still should have taken place in another episode. It could have been dealt with in the next episode and more focus tonight on them dealing with the zombies.
In the end we are left with Rick coming up with the plan to get to the armory by covering everyone in walker guts. It was gory and gross and served a purpose, but we shouldn’t have ended with them walking out. This should have been a halfway point in the episode and the second half with them actually dealing with the threat.  I don’t want to be pretentious, but this episode really let me down in storytelling and plot movement. If this episode was the leading up to the finale I would have been fine with it, but this not what you end on leading into a break.  Season 2 we found out Sophia was dead. Season 3 we had a shootout between Woodsbury and our group. Season 4 was the epic prison battle. Season 5 we got Beth’s death. Each mid-season finale had some major moment, this had none. Without a major moment or plot development we are left wanting more.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you end up wanting more? Were you as disappointed as I was? Was Deanna’s death enough of a big moment in the episode or did it hold no weight because she wasn’t a main character?  Comment and let me know.

My Rating: Underwhelming 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jessica Jones Season 1 Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Creepiest Villain of the Year Goes to….Mr. Killgrave

Jessica Jones is another case study in long form storytelling and why services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are changing how creators tell stories. Done well it is the optimized way to tell a story. Everyone involved gets the chance to expand and focus on the characters in the series. With fewer episodes it allows the showrunners to focus on the main story arc and cuts out the filler found in most series on standard network/cable television. Jessica Jones is another example of when this form of storytelling is done well it can be amazing to watch.
Forget about this being a superhero show. At its core the show is more of a neo-detective noir than a one about a superhero. Yes Jessica Jones has superpowers in the form of amazing strength, but that doesn’t make her who she is.  She is a human with deep emotional issues because of events in her life. She is a throwback to the typical private detectives tropes used in classic stories. She is down on her luck, drinks too much, and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Added to these character traits is her super abilities. She uses them in her job as a private detective. Having super strength comes in handy when opening locked doors. The ability to tell the story on Netflix and release all the episodes at one time allowed the showrunners to introduce the main villain in the very first episode. In the first episode we see how terrifying the person Jessica has to face off against will be.
Killgrave is the most terrifying Marvel villain portrayed in live action to date. He exudes a quite charm, but at the same time is so sinisterly villainous you love to hate him. There are many instances in episodes were he terrified me. Anything done to children generally terrifies me, because I instantly think of my own and how I would react to them being harmed. The scene where Killgrave “breaks” into an apartment and orders the children into the closet broke my heart. The fact the little girl had to go to the bathroom, but wasn’t allowed to perfectly illustrated the complete lack of empathy Killgrave has for anyone other than himself. As a parent not being able to protect my child was extremely frightening. Killgrave only cared for himself and for what he wanted. His driving force for the entire season was to get the one thing he couldn’t control: Jessica Jones.
On the other hand as soon as Jessica herd Killgrave was back she wanted to run away. She wants to get out of town and as far away from him as she can. Jessica knows what he can do because he violated her in every sense for a period in the past. It is one of the main reasons Jessica is damaged when we are introduced to her. Her first instinct to run is completely understandable. What makes her a hero is her decision to stand and fight. She knows he can control her (or at this point she thinks he can) but in spite of this supposed knowledge she turns to face the danger. She wants to try and protect others from going through everything he put her through. The most damaging being when Killgrave forced her to kill.
When she was forced to kill it snapped her out of Killgrave’s control. She still feels guilty about her actions. She knows she had no control, but it still torments her. It is such a torment that she laments and drowns in her misery. She follows around the dead woman’s, Reva, husband Luke Cage. We quickly learn Luke has powers too (and if you’re a comic book fan you knew that already) in the form of unbreakable skin. The initial fight Jessica and Luke have in his bar against the rugby team is fantastic. Most of the great action pieces of the season involved Jessica and Luke. When Luke came under Killgrave’s control the fight between Jessica and him was terrifying because you didn’t know how Jessica could defeat him without killing him.
I can’t wait to see what Netflix does with Luke Cage’s own series. It will be interesting to see how much Jessica is involved in his show since he was so prominent in hers. All of the main actors in the series did a fantastic job. Krysten Ritter is great in the title role and is completely believable as the broken hero. David Tennent is equally terrifying as Killgrave. You believed that he was able to control others, and that everyone else is available for his benefit. Racheal Taylor is great as Jessica’s best friend Trish and as mentioned before Mike Colter is amazing as Luke Cage. The only drawback of the entire first season was some of the ancillary characters. While the performances of the actors in their roles were fine, some of the story decisions didn’t fit with the overall narrative.
The two characters which stick out the most to me are Sgt. Simpson and the annoying neighbor Robyn. I didn’t get Simpsons storyline. He was just a normal cop, who Killgrave used to try and hurt Trish and then was remorseful and wanted to help fight back. Then all of a sudden he was a secret super-solider with access to facilities and later drugs which make him superhuman. It just seemed to come out of nowhere from the first couple of episodes he was in. It is no surprise that episodes which focus on Simpson and Robyn were my least favorite. I didn’t understand Robyn suddenly showing up and at the Killgrave support group and rallying them to go and attack Jessica. It was the weakest part of storytelling in the season. It seemed like the writers were struggling for a way to have Killgrave escape from Jessica during this particular episode and they needed a way to tie up the Ruben murder storyline, so they married the two. It just seemed forced and out of place with the rest of the season.
Other than those two small flaws I loved almost every other aspect of the show. I haven’t even mentioned Carrie-Anne Moss who plays a fantastic slimy lawyer who hires Jessica. The series has not been green lit for a second season, but we know we are getting more Jessica Jones in the Defenders series and hopefully in Luke Cage. I want a second follow up season. I think it is going to be tough to top the villain of Killgrave. It was extremely satisfying to watch Jessica finally kill him, but also disappointing that he can’t be used again. I’m hoping he stays dead and that they don’t find some weird way to resurrect him. That would cheapen the entire season in my opinion. I don’t think that will happen, but it seems no one truly stays dead in comics, so who knows.
I could write more about Jessica Jones and break down each episode, but it truly is roughly 13 hour movie that should be digested in as close to one viewing as possible. I would recommend this series to people who aren’t superhero fans and I think they would be entertained. There is enough separation from other properties for this to stand on its own. Jessica Jones can be enjoyed without watching other movies or shows. This show has been praised highly and I’m just heaping more on.
Let me know if what you thought and wear it ranks in regards to other superhero shows. I think I enjoyed Daredevil just a tad more overall, but it is extremely close. The Flash is my favorite network show. Let me know your thoughts!

My Rating: Must Binge Watch

Friday, November 27, 2015

When Should I let My Kid Watch.... Beverly Hills Cop - Movie Review

What type of kid where you? Did your parents let you
watch whatever you wanted? Did you sneak around and watch rated R movies as a
kid? If you’re a parent now what do you do? When do you let your kids watch
some of your favorite movies?
This is a new collection of reviews I’m starting with
a twist. I wanted to review some of my favorite movies, but with a different
perspective. As a parent I struggle with when I should let my children watch
and be introduced to certain movies.
Let’s get this out of the way first. This is not me
telling anyone when they should let their kids watch a movie. This is me
discussing what age I should let my children watch certain movies, and giving a
good personal age range as a guide.  I
think there is a fine line of being a cool parent that lets children watch
anything, and being responsible for what they view and trying to put what they
see in some sort of context.  There is a
website called Common Sense Media, and I’ll put link to their website in down
below in the description. The website gives recommended age ratings for movies.
I personally think they are on the conservative side, but every kid is
different and it’s up to the parents to decide when they are ready to handle a
certain movie.
The first movie I decided to review for this
collection is Beverly Hills Cop. I’m trying to get my 11 year old to have the
same passion for movies I do, but sadly I think he is going to take after his
mom, who isn’t a huge movie fan. At first I tried Matrix, then Die Hard, but we
settled on the Eddy Murphy classic
The first thing that jumps at you as a parent is the
strong language in the film. Within the first few minutes we get a profanity
laced exchange between Axel Foley and the criminals he is trying to entrap. This
doesn’t really stop during the course of the entire film. Language is the
primary reason why this movie got an R rating. Introducing my son to the strong
language doesn’t really bother me. He knows not to use it, and I’m sure it’s
nothing worse than what he has herd on the school bus. I know that is the first
place I ever herd the F word. Most of the “bad” things I learned when I was a
youth was on a bus, and I don’t think that has probably changed. He’s herd the
language, he knows not to use the language (at least around adults) so
personally I don’t mind him seeing it used in a movie.
The second possible red flag for the film is the
violence. There is one fairly graphic execution, but blood isn’t spewing,
gushing or splattering everywhere. The rest of the gun violence isn’t graphic,
other than when someone is shot blood is shown. I would say there is moderate
violence for a rated R movie. For the era this was made in, it’s on the lesser
end of the violence spectrum. Should my kid who is currently 11 watch it?  For him I would say yes. He’s mature for his
age and it shouldn’t have a profound impact on him. I know the first time I saw
parts of Die Hard I was too young and some of the deaths were etched in my
brain. I don’t think anything is that graphic in Beverly Hills Cop and he’s
mature enough to handle the visuals. That’s not so say other children around
the same age would be able to. It really is a case by case basis
The only other sensitive part of the movie is when
Axel goes to the strip club. There are some topless dancers who are in fact
topless, go figure. That could be a deal breaker for some, but it’s a short
scene and he’s never going to be able to watch an 80’s action movie if I limit
them to ones with no nudity. It also plays a part in the overall story of
gaining the trust of the Beverly Hills officers, and isn’t just thrown in as
some other movies of the era do. Does the scene have to be a strip club, no,
but that’s another discussion about 80’s R rated movies in general.
Now, I think the most crucial point of when it comes
to letting a kiddo watch a movie is if they will be able to grasp the plot and
story. If the story is action packed with lots of explosions most are going to
be able to enjoy it, however if I let my son watch a movie I want to make sure
he understands and grasps what is happening during the course of the film. I
let my son watch the Daniel Craig Bond Films leading up to Spectre, and re-watching
these with him I realized how convoluted the plot in Casino Royale is. I love
that movie and I fluctuate between that and Skyfall as my favorite Bond films,
but the plot and story is a little dense, at least for an 11 year old. I had to
stop the movie a couple of times and explain what was going on. The concept of
betting against the stock market is a bit hard to explain. Beverly Hills cop
doesn’t really have that. It’s a simple murder mystery that Axel has to solve.
The only part I would have to explain would be what German
bonds are, and that’s is easy enough. The barebones of the story are someone
killed Axel’s friend, and he has to find out why and who did it. Simple, straightforward
and easy to follow.
What is a bit harder to follow are the jokes. Axel/Murphey
is wise cracking the entire movie and some of the jokes are a bit dated for the
80’s and intended for an older audience.
I went ahead and let my son watch the movie, and during the scene when
Axel is checking into the hotel and pretending to be a Rolling Stone’s reporter
my son asked what Rolling Stone is. Forehead slap to face, please don’t think I
have failed as a father.  So I told him
and he was like okay, whatever. The amount of the Hotel room is also comical.
It is meant to seem extremely expensive, but by today standards and for Beverly
Hills the price today would be extremely low.  I didn’t find him laughing at many of the
jokes, but I found still found them funny, so they might have gone over his
head or he just might not have found them funny. 
I don’t remember when I first saw Beverly Hills cop. I
know it was probably after I got cable in my room as a kid, so probably around
13 or 14.  I remember loving it and
thinking it was funny, and is why I own the trilogy.  My son said he liked it, but I’m not sure it
captivated him as much as it did the first time I saw it. So maybe he is a year
or two away from when he should see it for the jokes, or he sadly just doesn’t
like movies. Comedy is in the end very subjective.
I think the right age range for this movie is probably
11-14 depending on kid.  The website
commonsense media has this listed as 16+ which is a bit too conservative for my
taste, but I can understand those who think that is the right age. Let me know
in the comments when you first saw Beverly Hills Cop. If you have kids when
would you feel comfortable letting them watch the movie.

This my first When Should I let my Kid Watch Video,
but I plan on doing more of them maybe once a week or every other week. Let me
know what you think and other suggestions on what we should watch next.
Subscribe to keep up with the content, give me a thumbs up if you like the
video, and share if you think it’s worth sharing.  Is that it, yep that’s it. Bye

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E8 Stealth Strike Recap/Review (Spoilers): Ezra Saves the Day

Fast paced, action packed and interesting character moments filled this episode of Star Wars Rebels.  Ezra proved his worth on more than one occasion. Rex and Kanan had a fun infiltration adventure with nods to A New Hope, and we saw our first interdiction cruiser! The story also fit nicely into the thirty minute time slot. Many of the episodes this season have felt rushed and underdeveloped because of the twenty two minute length, but this one was paced perfectly.
We start out with Ezra on a mission with another crew investigating the disappearance of a transport. They are pulled out of hyperspace by the new interdiction cruiser and captured. The Imperials quickly find out who Ezra is and call in Kallus to deal with him. Kallus warns them to take extra care with Ezra to ensure he doesn’t escape. This was a constant theme of the episode. People underestimating Ezra. The commander, Sato, at the start of the episode isn’t sure why he was brought along. The Imperials don’t think he warrants extra guards, and Kanan doesn’t want to let Ezra go on his own to sabotage the gravity wells of the cruiser.  Each time Ezra proves he is extremely capable. His escape was brilliant. I like how he was able to use the force to ignite his lightsaber and take out the Stormtroopers. He spent the entire episode making easy work of the all of the troopers he came in contact with. He is starting to truly grow in the force and become a powerful Padawan. His character is starting to remind me of Ahsoka from the first few seasons of the Clone Wars. I also enjoyed the banter Ezra had with everyone in the episode and how he put Kanan and Rex in their place for arguing.
Kanan and Rex are the other main focus of the episode, and how Kanan finally accepts and trusts Rex. I’m not sure it was handled in the best way, but I’m glad we are moving past the mistrust issues Kanan is having. If you have read any of the comics you can understand why Kanan doesn’t trust the clones. I feel we have had enough time and episodes where they should be able to trust one another. This being said the switch for Kanan to trusting and wanting to save Rex was a tad quick. That again might be because of the short time length, but I don’t think it detracted much from the episode. Rex did risk himself to save the group, so Kanan felt obligated to save him. Rex had the absolute best moment of the episode tonight when he threw his helmet at the Stormtroopers, hit them and then took them out. I cracked up when this happened and found it to be a perfect encapsulation for the episode and Rex’s character. Fun and exciting, but frustrating at the same time.
The episode was fun and exciting, but the characters were frustrated throughout. Either from each other, or from the Empire. The Rebels were able to escape each situation, but it was never easy. They had to constantly work to get past every obstacle. I didn’t know how the episode was going to end. I thought we might get our first sacrifice of the season when Rex stayed behind to save the others. I wasn’t sure if Kanan would be given the opportunity to save him. I thought the loss of Rex might force Kanan to accept the other clone troopers and trust them. This works out better for the entire season, because once Rex does perish a more permanent and lasting relationship will be established with Kanan.
Overall this was one of my favorite episodes of the season. It had a classic Star Wars feel, possibly because it drew upon the Death Star rescue. On top of the nostalgia we got great action from Ezra, Kanan and Rex. Ezra was the true bright spot of the episode. I am becoming increasingly curious on where they are taking him as a character this season. The more I watch the more I think he is not going to turn dark, but instead might die at some point and cause the entire crew to evaluate their fight for the Rebellion. We will have to wait and see, but some darkness is looming around the corner for our band of heroes.
What did you think about tonight’s episode? It was close to my favorite of the season, where does it stand for you? Comment and let me know.

(One small nitpick. Sabine pipes up about the Imperials working on gravity well technology while she was at the academy. We don’t find out any of her backstory until last week, and now she decides to slip in her Imperial Academy knowledge. I feel some of that information might have been helpful before now. Extremely small gripe.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E7 Heads Up Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Surprises and Revelations

Did anyone pay attention to the episode after the first five minutes? The showrunners could have probably shown us monkeys playing with feces and most fans would have been happy. We finally got an answer to the Glenn question.  HE’S ALIVE! I was dead wrong. I thought there was no way he survived falling off the dumpster. Those who thought he crawled under the dumpster were proven correct. Here’s my issue; not killing Glenn cheapens the show and the initial emotional response of the other episode.
I was as happy as anyone when the opening sequence of tonight’s episode was revealed. It was a complete surprise. I truly thought we would get information on Glenn at the end of next week when Daryl, Sasha and Abraham came back through the town. Scott Gimple is certainly keeping us on our toes this season with all the different twists and turns. I truly thought the next time we saw Glenn he would be a Walker. I didn’t think there was any logical way he survived the fall and the horde surrounding him. Logically he shouldn’t have. There were a ton of zombies around him, he fell down one person was on top of him. Any number of the other zombies should have been on him biting his head or other exposed parts. Are we now supposed to think Glenn and others of the main group are always safe? I knew Glenn was at least safe for the remainder of this episode. The scene where Enid pulled the gun on Glenn had no tension. I knew she wasn’t going to pull the trigger, even with the ominous music in the background. They wouldn’t keep Glenn alive from the dumpster and then kill him from a gunshot in the same episode.
Glenn has always been one of my favorite characters and I’m glad he is still alive, but not at the expense of the show overall. It seems there are now certain people who are untouchable in the show. I know certain things happen in the comics which say otherwise, but will the showrunners have the guts to pull the trigger on fan favorites from now on? Probably so, and next week’s mid-season finale will prove if this is the case. Not everyone is making it out alive next week. Many will probably be Alexandrians, but at least one should be a fan favorite. I don’t want a main character to die, but I think one is going to perish and balance the scales for Glenn.
The rest of the episode was anti-climactic after the reveal of Glenn being alive. I had to rewind because I wasn’t focused on what was happening on the television. It was a huge bombshell to drop at the start of the episode. I enjoyed the rest of the show, but nothing compared to the start of the episode, until the end. There were other good moments. The sequence with Spencer trying to climb past the horde was intense. Rick proved he still doesn’t trust the Alexandrians. Tara response to him was priceless and was perfect for the situation. Rick needed to pull his head out of his ass. While the Alexandrians are untrained, they still are people who are worth protecting. Yes, Spencer was an idiot for trying to climb across, but Tara didn’t hesitate to try and save him because she has integrated herself within the town. Rick hasn’t yet, he still views himself as an outsider.
Rick is quickly going to have to rely on the town after the events at the end of the episode. The church tower falling on the wall is going to make next week an action packed thrill ride. The first half of this season has been nothing short of spectacular, even if I don’t agree with Glenn being alive. The mid-season finale doesn’t look like it will be anything short of amazing. All of those Walkers crashing the town will mean many people could potentially meet their end. Carl might be the most likely with the Walkers and Ron after him.
Ron seems to be more like his Father than his Mother. He wants to get back at Rick and Carl. Rick for killing his father, and Carl for taking Enid away from him. The Enid part is small and petty for the world they are living in, but probably not to Ron. He wants to strike back at something because of the loss of his father. Carl isn’t helping matters with the way he treated him during gun training. I would have wanted to punch Carl if he talked to me that way.
The entire episode was wrought with tension. Either from Rick trying to prepare the wall and the Alexandrians. Morgan hiding the wolf in the basement and Carol finding out. The Walkers outside the gate. Maggie wondering if Glenn was still alive. Ron trying to find a way to get bullets for his gun, and possibly hurt Carl. All of these stories suddenly get put on hold while the town has to survive the zombie horde on the rampage.
Tonight’s episode was bookended very well. The audience got confirmation Glenn is alive and well, only to see the town suddenly in grave peril. Who knows if the group will be able to drive the Walkers away and save the town. I think they will be able too. I don’t see the the group going on the run again. They are going to be able to build the wall again, only to have to defend it against the wolves during the second half of the season.

It was a good penultimate episode before the mid-season finale. I enjoyed it, even if I don’t agree with the choice to have Glenn alive. I’m extremely glad he is, I just think it is the wrong choice for the show. What do you think about the choice for Glenn to be alive? Do you think it matters for the show overall, or am I making a mountain out of an anthill? Comment and let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E7 Blood Sisters Review/Recap (Spoilers): Sabine was a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter?!?

Blood Sisters is another episode of Star Wars Rebels that would benefit with more time to expand the story. It is a credit to the show where almost every episode leaves you wanting more. The problem with this episode is with all the action and excitement it didn’t leave enough time to develop the characters involved in the story. The show introduced Sabine’s former friend or “Blood Sister” Ketsu Onyo. She seems every bit as deadly as Sabine, but with less of a conscious.
Sabine is given a mission by Hera at the start of the episode to meet a contact and transport them to a Rebel outpost. The contact has important information which needs to be delivered safety. Ezra tags along, and reminds us we don’t really know much about Sabine.  This quickly changes once we meet up with Ketsu Onyo. She intercepts the courier, a power droid, and wants to sell it to make a profit. We learn Sabine and Ketsu were once Bounty Hunters and at the Imperial Academy together. Ketsu also abandoned Sabine in a dire a circumstance. This is disclosed before a group of Stormtroopers show up and complicates matters.
The action in this episode is fantastic. The fight between the Stormtroopers and the makeshift team is fast and intense. Sabine quickly escapes in a transport ship. Ketsu is left behind and makes quick and easy work of the Stormtroopers. Ketsu instantly becomes a force to be reckoned with on the show. In just one scene she shows how deadly she can be. Ketsu after she defeats the Stormtroopers chases down Sabine.
Ketsu catches Sabine and captures Chopper to ensure a trade for the droid with the information. Sabine has a good character moment at this point, saying she forgives Ketsu for leaving her for dead. She even goes as far to say that she trusts Ketsu. This is one part of the episode which I took issue with. Ketsu had just threatened to blow up Sabine. She would have if her weapons were not damaged. Why would Sabine all of a sudden make a declaration of trust? I get that they once knew each other and were friends, but to trust someone after they tried to kill you is a tad unbelievable.
This is another instance where I have to remind myself this show is geared towards older kids, and they probably aren’t going to be dissecting an episode. The scene did its job and let us know Sabine is a good person who had a troubled past. With a longer format though we could have let the story develop more and built more of a current trust between the characters.  After the declaration of trust the Imperials show up to take control of the ship Sabine stole. Ketsu and Sabine have to work together to escape the Imperial ship. Sabine is injured and Ketsu has to make a choice to save Sabine or let her die. She, of course, saves Sabine.
This change in Ketsu from someone who was willing to kill or injure Sabine is a bit too quick. It was just a few scenes before she was going to blow up Sabine in order to take possession of the droid. Then suddenly she is risking her life to save Sabine. Again this is why an hour long episode could be warranted. We could explore the connection these two characters have and why she would suddenly be willing to risk her life. More of a story could be developed and reasons shown why she chooses this option.  For the targeted demographic of the show this probably doesn’t matter. The character development is satisfactory and the choice made is the right one for a hero or anti-hero in the show.
This was another fun episode of Rebels and we were given some information on Sabine’s backstory. Even though Sabine is a loner on the crew, she believes in what she is fighting for. The action in the episode was amazing and fun. I thought the characters and relationship could have been developed more, but I don’t think this is the last we will see of Ketsu on Rebels. Sabine is a fan favorite because she is a bit of a mystery. Hopefully once her story is revealed the shine doesn’t wear off.  From the initial indications most signs point to no.

What did you think of tonight’s Rebels? Did you want more story and development between Ketsu and Sabine or did they find a good balance for the thirty minute episode? Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E6 Always Accountable Review/Recap (Spoilers!): Abraham, Warrior Poet

“Cause loose ends make my ass itch” is solid gold, and is one of the highlights of the episode Always Accountable. The episode focused on Daryl, Sasha and everyone’s favorite solider Abraham. The episode balanced a bit of action with character development. We still did not get a definitive answer to the question on everyone’s mind. Is Glenn still alive? Was that his voice on the radio at the end of the episode? It sounded like it to me, but I hope it wasn’t. This little morsel was at the end of an ok episode, but not one which stands out amongst the first few of the season.
The episode got off to a quick start when Sasha, Daryl, and Abraham were attacked by an unknown group. They had to separate to escape from the attackers. Sasha and Abraham escaped and made their way to an office building while Daryl got stuck in the woods and made new friends. Honestly I feel like I need to watch the episode again just to catch everything Abraham was spouting off. He was saying lines in what seemed to be a poetry rhythm. One thing was clear, he and Sasha are headed for a romance. I’m not sure the Walking Dead has had another love triangle other than Shane, Rick, and Lori.
Abraham and Sasha’s scenes held half of the episode, and while they are well acted, I’m not sure their story adds much to the overall show. I care about both characters. Michael Cudlitz is one of my favorite actors, and he is fantastic as Abraham; however I’m not sure Sasha and Abraham should ever be one of the main focal points of an episode. Their interactions and revelations are good development, but I’m not sure they are needed for the main arc of the show. The scene with Abraham finding the RPG was amazing and well shot, but not really needed as far as character growth. I’m sure the RPG’s will come in handy down the roadJ.
Daryl got captured by a group of three people. They seem to be escaping from the people who attacked Daryl at the start to of the episode. They think Daryl belongs to the group hunting them down. Daryl being Daryl doesn’t try to make the people think he is something different. He knew if he tried they wouldn’t believe him. Instead he waits patiently for an opportunity to escape and takes it. Only to find he stole Insulin from them when he ran off. Daryl being the character who many people love (including me) makes the obvious decision to take the insulin back and save the girl who needs it. Daryl thinks he can trust them after he trades the insulin for a wood carving the man in the group is working on. How can a bad person still carve wood in this post-apocalyptic world?
I don’t think this group of three people is bad, but once they lose the insulin girl to a really strange walker attack, they have very little left to cling too. Daryl promises to take them back to Alexandria, but they choose the devil they know. They steal Daryl’s trusty crossbow and his motorcycle. Will this change’s Daryl’s opinion on searching for people to let into Alexandria? I don’t think it will. He seemed to reflect upon on this at the end when he looked at the wood carving. He didn’t make a wrong judgment about the people. Yes they stole his stuff, but they didn’t kill him. They were scared and alone and wanted to feel safe, so they went back to a place they knew. The unknown is always scarier. Daryl I think understands this and will want to continue to try and bring people back to Alexandria. Things work out for him when he finds the tanker truck and meets back up with Sasha and Abraham. We then get the cliffhanger of the week, when someone comes across the radio and asks for help.
The voice sounded like Glenn. I hope it’s not. I would love for Glenn to still be alive, but I also think it would be a detriment to the show overall. Yes people have come up with fan theories about how he could have stayed alive. Yes he might have been able to hide under the dumpster, but that possibility is extremely unlikely. How many days has it been since Nick killed himself? It has been at least three or four, maybe longer. Could he have survived that long under the dumpster? Maybe, but again extremely unlikely. If he has survived, every time they kill a main character from here to the end of the show it will be questioned at first, is he/she really dead?  Could he have survived? Anyone can die in this world at any time, and I think the show needed a main character to be killed to reinforce this ideal. I would have preferred someone other than Glenn, but I hope they commit and he serves that purpose.
Overall this episode was pure filler until we get to the end of the mid-season. We got character development from two of the lesser known people of the main group along with Daryl. It was well acted, and well written, but there didn’t seem to be any true danger or high stakes in the episode at any point. The last two episodes have been okay, but don’t compare to the amazing television the first four delivered. It’s an issue with a show as good as The Walking Dead. When episodes are fantastic, it makes the good episodes look mediocre. Here is to hoping the last two episodes before the mid-season break are fantastic.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Will Daryl still want to find people for Alexandria? How do you think the RPG’s Abraham found will be used in future episodes? And the big question of the night, was that Glenn’s voice? Comment and let me know. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Star Wars Rebels S2E6 Wings of the Master Recap/Review (Spoilers): Hera: God of the Sky

Wings of the Master is a fun filled episode focused primarily on Hera. We get to see her showcase her flying prowess and test fly the prototype B-Wing. It was interesting to see the origins of the Rebel fighter used during the Battle of Endor. Hera had to prove she was worthy to fly the new ship and in doing so showed why she is one of the best pilots in the Rebel fleet.
The story starts with the Rebel fleet trying to drop supplies off to a world that is blockaded by the Imperials. The situation seems dire for the people on the world.  The Rebel task force isn’t strong enough to break through the Imperial ships. This leads to Hera going to a remote world and finding a Mon Calamari who has designed a new prototype fighter ship. The Phantom is damaged on landing, but the point is Hera was able to land when most others would have crashed.
The flying scenes of this episode are top notch. Every scene of Hera flying was excellent. When she test flew the B-Wing the flight animation was some of the best the show has produced. I really enjoyed seeing the sequence of her putting the B-Wing through its paces. We also learn more about Hera and what drove her to become a pilot. I liked learning more of her backstory and why she loves to fly. After they convince Quarrie, the ship maker, to help they fly off to help break the blockade. The end space battle is excellent. The B-Wing in action was fantastic and how the whole battle was setup was extremely well executed.
While getting Hera’s backstory was fantastic, and the flying and battles wonderful; there were a few issues with the episode. The biggest for me was, why were they trying to save this planet and the people on it? I get that they are just trying to help and save the people. Why however where the Imperials blockading the planet? Why is it of importance to the Rebellion? Humanitarian missions are fantastic, and a great reason for the Rebels to help. I wanted more justification as to why this planet was important to both the Empire and the Rebellion. It just didn’t make much sense for the Empire to blockade a planet for no reason other than to starve the people.
The second issue I had with the episode was the introduction of the B-Wing. While it was awesome to see its origins, as a Star Wars geek, it had me nitpicking. If the B-Wing was introduced to the fleet at such an early stage of the Rebellion why was it not used until the Battle of Endor? We should have at least seen in it in Empire. I don’t mind the sheer firepower of the prototype. They stated the hyperdrive didn’t work once it fired, so they could have taken this out of the design to ensure it had light-speed. The B-wing introduction along with the introduction of the A-Wing during this stage of the Rebellion don’t add up for me. We should have seen these ships during Yavin and other battles if they were available. These are nitpicks and shouldn’t affect anyone’s enjoyment who isn’t a supernerd.
The issues were small, and the episode was fun and enjoyable overall. The battle and flight sequences are fantastic. The focus on Hera was well deserved and it was fantastic to see her get most of the screen time during this episode. It was a nice touch for her to be promoted at the end of the episode. A tad bit cheesy, but it was enjoyable cheese.  It was a simple objective and execution episode. Next week it looks like we are getting an episode focused on Sabine, which is fantastic. Hopefully Zeb will get an episode of focus as well. Well executed action and good characters are becoming staples of the show.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you like Hera’s backstory and the flight sequences? Am I being too nitpicky with my criticism tonight? Comment and let me know.