Thursday, March 31, 2016

Star War Rebels S2E20 Twilight of the Apprentice Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Good, but Could Have Been Better

Maybe I need to watch the entire episode again, but the season finale of Star Wars Rebels was a letdown.
There was great action, good introductions, an amazing climatic fight, and a tantalizing ending but in the end it didn’t live up to the expectations I had for the show. The ending left me scratching my head. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t give us a definitive death for Ahsoka. Everything leading up to the the fight was pitch perfect. Vader’s lines with the voice of James Earl Jones gave me goosebumps. Then to switch it up and have the actor who voiced Anakin from the Clone Wars was a great touch. Vader was almost used perfectly, except for him not killing Ahsoka.
This is the biggest crux of the episode, the buildup to the fight between Ahsoka and Vader, and then you leave it unfinished. Show a killing shot, or as much of one as you can for a kids show. We saw the deaths of the inquisitors, why not have the death of Ahsoka. This I guess leaves the possibility for her to come back and redeem Ezra once he falls to the darkside, but it doesn’t make much sense for the show overall. I love David Filoni, but I think he mishandled the ending of the episode because of how closely he is tied to the character he created.
The entire rest of the episode I loved, which makes the finale still a good cap to the season. They just didn’t need to show one of the final shots with her walking, leave it ambiguous with us not seeing her body and Vader walking away. That leaves us questioning if she is still alive, but doesn’t take away from the fantastic buildup and conclusion set up during the course of the entire episode and season. The final shot of the episode with Ezra opening the Sith holocron was powerful and lets us know he’s going to the dark side, and will probably be the major ark of the next season.
My prediction for next season will be for Ezra to go off and join Maul to be trained in the Dark Side. This might not happen until the mid-season break, because he will still want to be loyal to Kanan and the other crew members, but he will start to view them as weak, especially with Kanan losing his eye sight. The second half of the season will probably be training by Maul with an eventual confrontation between Kanan and Ezra. He will either be brought back to the light or turn more to the dark side with the eventual conclusion of the series being one or both of them dying. I could of course be completely wrong, but it’s fun to speculate.
Maul will become a major figure in the next season. He will have to be. We haven’t seen all of the inquisitors, but with Kanan being hurt Ezra will want to finish the fight. He will also want to get revenge on Maul for what he did to Kanan. In the end though they will eventually team up to try and take down the Inquisitors and Vader. One of the best lines of the night was when Ezra mentioned he needed to train more watching Ahsoka and Vader fight. He does need to train more, and Kanan might not be able to give him the training he needs.
Kanan’s story next season will also be interesting. His fight against Maul blind was really well done. He is still strong in the Force, and not being able to see might grow his power, but he will have to focus on himself and not Ezra, and this is a dangerous time for Ezra to be without guidance. I liked that he channeled his inner Daredevil and was able to defeat Maul, but his lack of eyesight will still be a hindrance. How Kanan handles these challenges will make for a good character arch next season.
Regardless of how I felt about the very end to the season, overall it was an enjoyable 20 episodes. I hope they release another hour episode to start the season, but closer to the release of regular episodes, and not in the middle of the summer.  Filoni and his team have done a great job, and I continue to have high hopes for the series overall and it will be interesting to see how next season ties into Rogue One.

What did you think about the season finale? Did the very end with Ahsoka bother you? If it did bother you did the other positives of the episode outweigh the ending? I still think it was good it just could have been better. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Walking Dead S6E15 East Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Tense

All episode I was waiting for the shoe to drop.
East was the setup for the big finale next week. It did its job well by leaving some of the biggest characters of the show in very perilous situations. At this point in the show you are either invested in the characters or you’ve stopped watching. You want to know what happens to these people and how they can continue to survive after the end of the world. It’s watching how they survive, and how they interact with the world around them which keeps me watching. I want to know if Daryl is going to be the one who meets Negan’s bat in the finale and not Glenn. I want to know if Maggie is able to have her baby. I want to know if Morgan can find and save Carol and bring her back, and show her that she can live in Alexandria and not have to kill.
The show has me hooked, and this episode kept me on the edge of my seat the entire sixty minutes waiting to see what was going to happen next. The entire episode was tense, from the time Daryl left the compound until he was shot and blood exploded onto the camera. The scene with Carol and the Saviors at the car was a microcosm of the entire episode. A slow standoff until she has to do what she doesn’t want to. She left so she wouldn’t have to kill for Alexandria and she can’t even make it down the road before having to do it again for the safety of the town. The fantastic thing about Carol is how she can switch between the sweet helpless mom to the complete ruthless killer. Carol is struggling with being able to do this now, because of how she saw the Wolf change. She killed him and she didn’t need too. She is questioning herself. She knew she had to kill the Saviors, but she was begging them to leave so she wouldn’t have too. Those weren’t fake tears, those tears were for what she was going to have to do again. For this scene to be in the first ten to fifteen minutes of the show set the stage for the rest of the episode.
The only part of the episode which didn’t hit home for me was the very beginning. I like the opening sequence with the song, but the pillow talk with Michonne and Rick wasn’t needed. The audience knows events are set in motion which will cause Alexandria to be in peril. We don’t need Rick and Michonne talking about how they can survive anything thrown at them. We know bad things are about to happen, there is no reason to have Rick tell us everything is going to be okay. We know they are confident and think they can take on The Saviors, but pride always comes before the fall. The audience, in my opinion, didn’t need this scene and it could have been used highlighting another member of the group, maybe Daryl before he set out to confront the people who killed Denise. Other than showing Maggie having trouble with the baby, which was something else I felt was just thrown in, nothing else in the episode missed.
My favorite character of the show is Morgan, and his interaction with Rick was, for me, the best part of the episode. I love that he stated what he does isn’t right, but it’s what keeps him from doing the wrong. He knows that killing is sometimes necessary, but he can’t because it isn’t right for him, and he truly believes anyone can come back and be human again. The Wolf’s actions proved this to him, and caused Carol to question her actions in the world. Which is why I think Morgan feels he has to be the one to bring her back. He knows he helped cause her distress and he wants to help. I think next season we will see Carol take on Morgan’s ideal of everyone needs a chance. I’m not sure if Morgan will make it out of the finale, but if he does he will start to train Carol in Aikido.
The other party outside of the gates looks to be in a big heap of trouble. Daryl goes off stupidly because he wants to enact revenge, and I think it will lead to his death. I don’t think he’s dead yet, but I do think he will be the one to get beaten with Negan’s bat. When The Savior told him he would be alright, I do think he meant it, I just don’t think he will be okay for long. Glenn has been a red herring all season. He should have died in the third episode, and since they didn’t do it then I don’t think they will kill him like they do in the comics. I don’t read the comics, but I know about Glenn’s death. It’s that major of a death in the comics, and I think the show wants to have the same impact for this finale. Whose death on the show would cause the most grief and anguish for the fans? I think it is Daryl. A major essential character or two has to die in the finale, and I think Daryl will be the one sacrificed. My prediction after tonight would be for Morgan (maybe Carol though) and Daryl to be the ones who will not be back for season seven. Someone from each group who left the safety of Alexandria won’t make it back to the walls safely.

What did you think of the penultimate episode for season six? Did you find it as tense as I did? Did it do the job of setting up the finale?  Who won’t make it out of the finale? Daryl or someone else? Comment and let me know.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Movie Review: Why the Filler??

I liked it…. I think
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, and directed by Zach Snyder. The title says it all. The movie is about Batman fighting Superman, but eventually teaming up to fight something else. Which even the trailers have shown us.
Let’s start with what I didn’t like about the movie. The film is too long, and seems to drag. There are story elements which could be completely removed and the story they are trying to tell would still make sense. There are dream sequences for example that could have been completely cut. There are parts of the film which could have been changed or altered to make the movie more coherent and have more impact. The movie starts out with Bruce Wayne witnessing the destruction of his building in Metropolis. This is what drives him to put Superman in check. They should have stayed with this thread, but they introduce another element which isn’t needed and bloats the story. The resolution between Superman and Batman is also handled poorly and needed to be more developed. They didn’t earn story elements which happen after the resolution because the resolution is so poor.
If the story and its elements are so bad, how can I say I liked the movie? Well to start the performances are all really good. Henry Calvill turns in another great portrayal as the Man of Steel. If you didn’t like him in Man of Steel, you probably aren’t going to like him in this. Ben Affleck is fantastic as Batman and Bruce Wayne. I won’t say he stole the entire movie, but everyone complaining and worried about him being Batman shouldn’t have been. I look forward to him playing the character in the future. Gal Gadot’s role is small as Wonder Women, but impactful. When she finally shows up in the movie it packs a punch and is well done. I’m excited to see her movie next year. Jesse Eisenberg worried me initially from the trailers, but I liked his portrayal of Lex Luthor. Not everyone is going to, but I liked that he was an unhinged genius. The last person I’ll mention is Jeremy Irons as Alfred. I loved him in the role and he provided some good levity throughout the movie.
The film does have a dark gritty feel, which I don’t mind, and it tries to delve into some heavy concepts. I’m not sure if they hit the mark with anything they were trying to get across though. They came close with the idea that even though mankind has a propensity for violence we still have enough good to keep fighting for. If we didn’t who would need the Justice League? The film does a good job of setting up the cinematic universe, but I think they should have focused more on making this film a better movie before trying to launch the DC film franchise.
The movie is divisive either you are going to be okay with story elements lacking, and grab onto the characters and how they are portrayed or you aren’t going to like it. I’m not sure you can like the story, and if you don’t like the characters there is nothing to like in the film. The only other thing to grasp onto and like is the action, which is well done and exciting, however it still can feel misplaced and overdone within the movie. Since the movie is not a hit critically and fan reception may be lackluster what will Warner Brothers and DC do with the rest of their movies?
The film currently sits at 31% on Rotten Tomatoes with a fan rating of 74%, which I expect to come down after more people see the movie this weekend. Justice League is supposed to start filming in the next few weeks, will Warner Brothers continue to let Zach Snyder direct? I think he is a good director, but they may need to evaluate if letting him direct another movie is best for the franchise overall. He doesn’t create films which are widely accepted and loved by a mass audience. Maybe they aren’t shooting for this, but it would be nice to have fans and critics praise a DC superhero movie again. They have an excellent director on set playing a title character. Could Ben Affleck step in and direct Justice League? Would he even want to? I think at this point it would need to be discussed.
After saying all of this I still think the movie is Worth Seeing, and I liked it. It’s good to just to watch the spectacle of the film, or just to go and see what everyone is going to be talking about, and form your own opinion and see if you can like the story. If you are not a big superhero fan, then you could wait to see it when it’s available to rent. I liked the characters and the action enough to say I liked the movie and can see myself watching it again. I’ll own it on Blu-Ray, but that’s just because I love Superman. I’m not sure how often I will watch it after I buy it.
Let me know what you thought of Batman v Superman if you have seen it. If you haven’t seen it are the negative reviews going to keep you out of the theatre? Comment and let me know. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S2E19 The Mystery of Chopper Base Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Setup for the Finale

The Mystery of Chopper Base really should have been the episode to follow up Shroud of Darkness. It was lighter and had a good adventure on the new base, but also did a good job of setting up what is going to happen next week for the finale.  All the Forgotten Droid episode did was give us the base, the only other call back to it was a brief scene with Chopper’s droid friend. They could have given us a better episode last week where they found the base, and set up more of the conflict brewing between Kanan and Ezra.
The opening for the episode was strong and heavy on the foreshadowing. It was interesting to see how strong and capable Ezra is getting and that he is now on par with Kanan in many respects. It won’t be long before he surpasses the master. Kanan is worried about him, worried because of the fight he had at the Jedi temple on Lothal. He wants to prepare Ezra the best he can so he doesn’t turn to a dark path, but he’s worried he still will. I still think the trial Kanan went through on Lothal was more about him accepting his limitations as a protector of Ezra rather than it predicting Ezra’s fall to the darkside. I still don’t think Ezra is going to turn to the darkside, but I’m willing to admit they are setting it up for him to take a fall.
Ezra and Kanan are getting ready to leave and I liked the pain this decision is causing Hera. She understands the need for them to leave, but she still thinks they are needed for the Rebellion, plus she has a special relationship with Kanan. I liked her decision in the tunnel to take Zeb and Sabine and let Ezra and Kanan go on their own. In the end they still needed Kanan and Ezra to get them out of the situation, which reinforced her worry about needing them in the fight against the empire.
Kanan and Ezra leaving is good for the show, but having Ezra go out and watch the sunset with Zeb seemed wildly misplaced. It just didn’t work, it was supposed to be touching and showcase their friendship, but the scene was just odd. I want them to say goodbye, but it was a big tonal shift for the episode overall. I saw a clip with the scene earlier in the week, and thought it was strange, it was even stranger in the episode.
Everything but this weird scene was good in the episode. I liked the adventure the team went on. The giant spider creatures were well designed and they setup good tension in the episode overall. The team going to look for Rex after he was captured was intense and a little frightening. The action against the spiders was also well done and both the ending and initial scene with Rex and Sabine was exciting.  Kanan got in on the action using his lightsaber in grand fashion after Ezra tried to connect with the creatures. Their argument in the tunnel didn’t seem as fun and light hearted as normal. Ezra quip at the end tried to make it lighthearted, but there was a definite serious undertone, and I think their relationship is becoming strained. Kanan realizes he doesn’t have much more to teach Ezra and is worried he is going to take the wrong path because he doesn’t have common sense.
The final battle in the episode was terrific, but a small nitpick I have would be why they didn’t call for more backup from the Rebel base. Their communications weren’t down, why not get a bunch of A-wings and soldiers to come lay waste to the spiders and sit tight in the ship? I get that we wouldn’t have an exciting finish if this were the case, but it is a small plot hole. Plus what happened to the other pilot they initially were sent out to find? I assume she was lost, but they should have at least mentioned her when they went and rescued Rex. He was alive, why couldn’t she have been?  Two very small nitpicks of the episode, but overall it was fun exciting tense adventure.
The ending with Ezra was interesting. Ahsoka telling him that you can never truly understand the force was true, but what was interesting was the subtle use of musical score during the sequence. The piece of score is used at the end of Return of the Jedi when Anakin is dying and telling Luke he was right about him. What could this mean if anything? Is this a nod to people being right about Ezra turning bad, or just an ominous piece of music to setup the conclusion of the season? It could mean Ezra is getting ready to take a turn, I don’t want this to be true, but I have to admit they are setting it up for him too. I still think it would be more interesting for Kannan to make the turn, but them making Kanan a Jedi Knight in Shroud of Darkness speaks against it.

I’m excited for the two part conclusion next week. The season has been fun and well done overall, but if the finale is excellent I think it can help cement the show as good for both kids and hardcore fans. Did you think tonight was a good setup for the finale next week? Do you think Ezra will make a turn to the darkside or remain on the side of the light? Comment and let me know. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Daredevil Season 2 Review/Recap (Spoilers!): Amazing Action and a Perfect Punisher

A little more than two thirds of the season was fantastic and then a third was just good.
The second season of the Daredevil was an interesting case study in how Netflix is changing how the way stories are being told. The first four episodes are almost a self-contained story with a complete arch for The Punisher vs Daredevil. I think a show on network or cable television would have waited to introduce us to The Punisher until later in the season. It would have had more villains of the weak, with a mysterious new killer on the scene that Matt would have to look into. Instead Matt finds him in the first episode and they fight for the first time. The action is a strength throughout the entire second season, and it really upped the ante from the first season. The third episode stairwell fight took the hallway scene from the first season and put it on steroids. I loved every second and could watch that scene on repeat. The second fight that stands out above the rest is when The Punisher takes out a cell block full of prisoners with just a shiv. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite out of those two both were great, with Jon Bernthal proving he is an amazing punisher.
Bernthal is a major positive of the season. He was able to convey both the cold hearted ruthlessness of the character, and how damaged he is after losing his family. The first four episodes are a great introduction to the character. Matt doesn’t believe in the way he does things, but he understands wanting to do them. The rooftop discussion between Matt and Frank is fantastic. It was a great dichotomy of both of their beliefs in the right way to do things. By the end of the season you even see Matt start to bend to Frank’s way of thinking instead of the other way around. Matt can see a need to kill in some instances, were Frank never believes in the redemption of people who do wrong. Bernthal also makes you feel for the character. The scene when he is arrested in the graveyard was actually moving. You felt that his pain for the loss of his little girl. I think every Punisher that is cast from now on will be compared to Bernthal’s portrayal as the standard.
The season for me got everything right, until episode ten. The last three episodes were scatter brained and not cohesive. There was too much going on and the show wasn’t as focused as it was in the first nine episodes. It almost seemed like they needed another four episodes to properly wrap up the season, and I’m not sure why they couldn’t have done this. I know budget is probably the main reason why, but if was the case then they either should have focused on Frank finding out who was behind killing his family and having Matt help him, or focus on The Hand and what they were doing in the city. Having both in the last few episodes made the story feel too jam-packed and I don’t think either story was resolved as well as it should have been. Having Frank show up at the end to help Matt felt tacked on and unnecessary. I felt Matt had everything under control after The Hand killed Elektra.
 Elodie Young did a good job with the role of Elektra, but I’m not sure I liked her being the main focus for The Hand. It felt forced into the story and not a natural element. It was another part of the last few episodes that seemed to get jumbled. Other than this though she did a great job with the character and she played a temperamental seductress very well. The chemistry between her and Matt was also well done, and added an interesting element to Matt trying to date Karen Page. Page was another great character of the season, and I found her believable in being someone who wouldn’t quit on Frank and his story. I like that she is going to work for the newspaper, it’s a little far-fetched that she would get a job like that, but character sells us on being able to handle herself.
The other half of the law firm was also strong in the show, though I again felt he got lost in the show’s resolution, simply because he doesn’t go out and punch people. Foggy had some great moments, like standing up to the DA about witness protection and getting pissed at Matt for not being reliable. They did a great job of making it were Foggy had a legitimate reason to be pissed at Matt in the show. Matt should have been at court, and should have given the opening statement in Frank’s trial. We also can side with Matt though because he feels he is doing what he must to protect the city. Foggy’s angry is legitimate but so is Matt’s excuse. The only true resolution to the problem is for the firm to close shop. Matt isn’t going to change, and Foggy has a right to have a partner he can rely on. The buildup to them closing down was well done, I just wish Foggy would have had more to do in the last few episodes because he such a good character and they developed him well.
The season as a whole is excellent and I can see myself watching it again.  It also felt very separate from the overall MCU. The only mention of any other hero or event was with some newspaper headlines, and some references to Jessica Jones. I’m not sure they can to merge the Netflix Marvel world with the overall cinematic universe. Yes they are technically taking place on the same earth, but they have completely different tones that work well for both mediums.  Side note, Clancy Brown has now played a military person in both The Flash and now Daredevil. He might be one of the only actors to portray roles in both universes. I’m now eagerly looking forward to Luke Cage. Netflix and Marvel haven’t disappointed yet. While I felt the last few episodes lost focus, it speaks to how fantastic the first nine episodes are for me to still consider the season overall great.

What did you think of Daredevil Season 2? Did you think it was too jumbled in the last few episodes like me, or did you love it all the way through? What was your favorite action sequence? Do you want a Punisher series now with Bernthal? I know I do. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Walking Dead S6E14 Twice as Far Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Unexpected

This seemed like a slow filler episode, until the last ten minutes.
Twice as Far was an interesting episode to have with only three left in the season. The entire second half of season six has been excellent, and I was willing to accept a slower character development episode. It seemed both Denise and Eugene were stepping out of behind their protection to become stronger assets to the entire groups. To then turn around and kill her as she was making a point about learning not to fear the outside was unexpected. I didn’t see it coming, and it added impact to the episode overall.
I thought after she killed the walker and went back to Alexandria, Denise would become a stronger more influential person for the group. They need a doctor, and I guess the OB from The Hilltop will become the go to person for medical care now. I was not liking the episode right up until the point where she stood up to Daryl and Rosita, and explained why she chose them specifically to go with her. She admired them and wanted to be like them. Now she’s dead, and by accident. The guy who shot her was aiming for Daryl. Tara, once she gets back, will be devastated.
Eugene on the opposite side took a big leap forward in Abraham’s eyes. He was able to cause enough of a distraction for the group to make it out alive. There was some really flawed logic on the part of the Saviors though. Did they really think a group who brutally and savagely took them out would just let them waltz into their town with hostages and give them whatever they wanted? I almost would have liked the episode to have progressed that way. Then we would have seen how Rick and the others would have handled the situation. Would they have sacrificed the members of the group for the good of the entire town? I guess we will never know, but it would have been interesting. Eugene biting the guy’s private parts (dick) was fantastic. He was like a bulldog, once he latched on he wasn’t letting go.
The rest of the episode was standard fair. The town was getting back to a normal routine, but Carol couldn’t handle it. We end with her leaving, going out on her own, because she doesn’t want to kill for the group. She wants to protect them, but the only way to do that is to kill. She doesn’t want to be that person. I’m not sure how she thinks she is going to survive on the outside without killing, but maybe she thinks she can. We end with Morgan staring off in the distance. I missed the end of Carol’s letter, because the episode cut out and showed scenes from the next week. It would be nice to know if she mentioned Morgan, and if his views influenced her.
We saw Morgan building something during last week’s episode. Now we know it was a jail cell. He wants options for when things happen go wrong. He wants to hold onto some semblance of a normal society, or building one again. I don’t blame him. Morgan is probably my favorite character on the show. That is not a popular opinion to have. Everyone thinks he should kill, and let go of the principals he has developed. I don’t. I want him to hold onto his ideals as long as he can. Do I think he will eventually be made to kill? Yes I do, but I want it to be long down the line. I think the show needs someone who refuses to give into killing other people. Someone who thinks that all life is precious, and that anyone can still be redeemed. Morgan was crazy, he was just as crazy and wild as any of the wolves or saviors, not killing is keeping him sane.
I want him to be tested in the last two episodes, and I think he will. I also hope he sticks to his morals. I realize for the world Morgan lives in this isn’t the wisest choice, but it’s the choice he has to make for himself. Where does his choice end and start to effect the entire group? His choice not to kill almost cost Rick his life. Can he survive in Alexandria if something like that were to happen again? I’m not sure he can.

This week’s episode started out as filler, but ended with setting up a strong last two episodes. I’m not sure who will make it out of the season alive, but I think anyone is on the table, even Rick. I don’t think it’s probable, but at this point I think they could go in any direction they want with the show. What did you think of tonight’s episode? I kept expecting something to happen, but was surprised when it finally did. What do you think about the loss of Denise? Who do you think will be lost over the last two episodes? Comment and let me know. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S2E18 The Forgotten Droid Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Enjoyable Filler

This one was for the kids.
The Forgotten Droid is an enjoyable fun adventure with Chopper the droid that helped the Rebels find a permanent hidden base. This aside it didn’t have much overall impact on the show overall. I liked learning some of Chopper’s backstory and how Hera acquired him, but the episode could be easily forgotten. It’s a perfectly acceptable fun adventure, but I don’t see it adding much value to the season overall, other than finding a Rebel base.
The show is primarily for kids, so having episodes like this are expected, but coming off an episode as dark and ominous as two weeks ago is a missed opportunity. Shroud of Darkness felt like a setup to the conclusion of the season. The Forgotten Droid was another episode having a Rebel escape and befuddle the clumsy Empire. This has become by biggest complaint of the season, not having the Empire be menacing. The Empire shouldn’t feel so incompetent in the show, and the Rebels should face more challenges when going on missions. There never is much at stake when the team goes to accomplish a new goal.
This again is because this is a kid’s show, but I think they can still do a better job of making the overall Empire being a better villain. The Iinquisitors and Vader aside, the rest of the Empire have no chance against the Rebels on the show currently. I still liked the episode. Seeing Chopper make a friend and save him from Imperial service was fun to see. Sure the new droid is a Threepio clone, but he has a bit more style and nuance.
Knowing Chopper was part of the assault on Ryloth and a Y-Wing droid is interesting to know, and the action overall in the episode was also well done. Though I’m not sure why Sabine’s friend showed up randomly to help save the day. The episode is just fine, it’s just not special. Which is disappointing knowing we only have few episodes left in the season. I was hoping for more movement on the overall story arch, but we will just have to wait until next week.
I can’t even predict what I think will happen next after an episode like this, because it stands on its own. It seems out of place after the episodes leading up to it. Everything I predicted two weeks ago still holds true. The Inquisitors and the Empire will still find the new base, because Chopper has the tracking device with him. Maybe that will be found out next episode. At least kids will enjoy the episode and think it is fun. I’m ready for a live action gritty Star Wars show. I think we will get a movie version to a degree with Rogue One, but I would love to see something developed for Netflix like the Marvel shows.  

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you like it like I did, but are disappointed it was filler and didn’t deal with the main season arch? Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Walking Dead S6E13 The Same Boat Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Crisis of Brutality

Carol had an identity crisis tonight and I’m not entirely sure which side won.
The Same Boat was another episode of the Walking Dead dealing with the total brutality of the current world. Both sides are in the same situation, which makes the title a perfect fit, doesn’t it? I didn’t know what to expect tonight, and the episode did a great job of keeping the tension high. There wasn’t any moment in the episode were the outcome could have been predicted. Carol or Maggie could have easily been killed off tonight and it wouldn’t have been a surprise with how the episode was played out.
In the end our heroes, if we can still call them that, made it out. Carol went back to playing the meek mouse and luring the captors into a false sense of security. Maggie tonight was vicious and the one who comforted Carol, which was an interesting change of pace. Carol in the end was able to take control and become the killer who has become a staple of the show, but she isn’t okay with it. She is worried about losing her humanity. Why is she having a crisis now? Is it because of Sam or has Morgan gotten to her?
With her hesitating to kill Polly we see the struggle she was having. This might be her ultimate downfall. I thought the last episode was preparing us for the loss of Carol, this episode did little to repudiate my thoughts. Who knows who will be lost, but Carol and Daryl are two who are high on my list. People may riot if Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride leave the show this season. Carol no longer wants to be the vicious cold hearted person who can kill on a whim. She had to kill a little girl, some part of her has to be broken from this action. It was the correct decision, but after living normally again it would begin to eat at you.
Carol still did what was necessary. She escaped, saved Maggie and killed but she didn’t want to. Maggie was the one who knew they had to stay and finish the job. The burning of the last two men was unexpected. Not that they killed them, just in the manner in which they did. Burning alive is a not a nice way to go. The knives in the head while sleeping was a more humane way to murder. It was murder, last week and this week. Our gang is no longer the righteous ones. They have become a shade of grey. I don’t think we as an audience are supposed to be okay with the decisions they are making. The line the girl told Maggie was apt, you aren’t the good guys, which they aren’t, they are just trying to survive.
There wasn’t much wrong with the episode. Yes it was slower paced and not much happened, but the tension of not knowing what was going to happen to Maggie and Carol made up for the slow pace. Alicia Whitt was fantastic as Polly and I wish she would have ran and escaped, so she could have been on the show longer. The only quibble I had with the episode was Carol not shooting her and slowly walking towards her allowing a fist fight. It would have served more character purpose for Carol to have the gun shaking in her hand, but then pull the trigger. She sees herself in Polly, and is worried she is becoming her. Carol is too smart to walk up close to a person and let them get the better of her.
I focused on Carol, but Maggie had a tonal shift tonight as well. She didn’t hesitate to kill, and was the more proactive in initiating the violence. It will be interesting to see where they take her down the road, if the show stays true to the comics. I’m not sure it will with how they used Glenn earlier in the season. Maggie saw the need to kill everyone to ensure Alexandria and the Hilltop stayed safe.
It was interesting that all of the Saviors called themselves Negan, which caused Rick to kill the last man. We know there is a true Negan, but it sounds like he empowers all of his followers to think of themselves as strong as he is. When he does finally make his appearance I have a felling it will extremely chilling and haunting.
This season of the Walking Dead continues to not disappoint. The only slow moving filler episode seemed to be before the winter break. Since we have come back each episode has added and advanced the story or characters. I have almost become to dread watching each new episode, because I know we are eventually going to see the loss of some of our favorite characters from the show.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you think Carol and Maggie were going to make it out, or that they would be still be held hostage? Comment and let me know. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane - Movie Review: Is This Set in the Same Universe as Cloverfield?

Did the end of the world happen or didn’t it?
10 Cloverfield Lane starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr, and directed by Dan Tractenberg. The trailer for this movie shows a group of people playing games and listening to music in a bomb shelter of some kind. They look happy enough at the start of the trailer. Then Winstead’s character breaks a bottle over Goodman’s head and tries to escape. It flashes some other scenes of her restrained, and then her trying to get out of the shelter and seeing a light. This was enough to hook me into going to see the film.
The movie I guess is a type of sequel or spinoff to the 2008 film Cloverfield. I haven’t been able to come up with a good comparison as to how 10 Cloverfield Lane relates to Cloverfield. It’s kind of like Fear the Walking Dead is to The Walking Dead, but in 10 Cloverfield Lane you never really are sure if the end of the world has actually happened, so this isn’t a great comparison either. The story does a great job of keeping you guessing as to what is actually happening.  This is anchored by a fantastic performance by John Goodman. He plays a crazy shut in conspiracy theorist brilliantly. You never feel comfortable with his character. He is unnerving and Goodman plays this extremely well. Did he kidnap Michelle, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character? Did the end of the world actually happen? Did something bad happen, but it’s not as bad as Howard thinks it is, and people are fine outside of the shelter? No answer is given and the tension and suspense the film builds towards the end is great. Dan Tractenberg did a good job directing his first feature film.
The movie also made me think if the end of the world were to happen you might have to interact with the crazy conspiracy theorist who have prepared for the end of the world. Not sure how that would work out for everyone in the long run. This is the question posed to our main character though. Can she live with this crazy person because it’s not safe to go outside? Though again, we never know if the end of the world has in fact happened. Winstead does a good job in portraying a resourceful main character. Throughout the entire film we see her using the objects she has available to try and make the best out of her situation. I was buying into her resourcefulness and cleverness up until the very end of the movie.
The last ten minutes of the movie went a bit off the rails for me. I liked the premise of the ending and it does tie into the overall story well, but I think they could have went a different way. They didn’t need to jam so much into the last part of the film. While Michele is portrayed as a very quick-witted person in the movie, the last part was unbelievable. I wasn’t able to suspend by disbelief with what she is able to accomplish, and it pulled me out of watching the film.
This aside the ride up until this point was extremely fun and I could see myself watching the movie again. This film is worth seeing if you enjoy a good suspenseful movie which may or may not have science fiction elements. Go and see the movie and find out. Even though the film has the name Cloverfield in the title, it is a unique and original story. If you are someone who clamors for original ideas coming out of Hollywood go and support this movie this weekend.  What I would like to see happen would be for the Cloverfield series to become an anthology of films. With the movies possibly set in the same universe, but which play specifically in the science fiction suspense genre. Almost like a twilight series, but with feature film. This could give up and coming directors a chance to prove their worth within a major studio setting. Just my random thoughts though.

Do you plan on seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane? If you have seen it what did you think? What are some of your favorite movies that incorporate a bomb shelter into the film? I loved The Road, not sure I could watch it again, but it was a very good film. Comment and let me know. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Walking Dead S6E12 Not Tomorrow Yet Recap/Review (Spoilers!): This is How We Eat

A plan never survives contact with the enemy.
Not Tomorrow Yet was an episode broken into two separate parts. The buildup to the attack on Negan’s compound and then the attack. I was starting to worry the entire episode was going to be buildup and then next week was going to be the attack. All signs now point to Carol being a causality of the season. Focusing the opening of the episode on her and having her start a relationship with Tobin made me think she might not make it out of the attack. The fact that she was captured makes me think she could be a victim at the hands of Negan. This or Morgan is going to eventually save her by killing again.
I also like that they answered a question I hadn’t really thought about since the mid-season premier. Did Carol tell Rick he was keeping a Wolf locked up? I hadn’t assumed one way or another, and with the next two episodes not focusing on Morgan or Carol I didn’t think about the issue. It’s interesting that Carol decided not to tell Rick, and wanted to protect Morgan from Rick’s anger. It was interesting to see her make a list of the people she has killed, and that it was affecting her. Carol has had an amazing ark in the show and has changed more than anyone, except for maybe Rick. I view her as being cold and heartless now, but she isn’t. She is trying to be a mother to the entire group. I didn’t like the fact they spelled it out for us in the episode, but it might have been the best choice with how she is viewed currently on the show.
The only other negative from tonight was the first half seemed to drag, and I wanted them to get to the action. I thought they could have cut down or edited some scenes out. The Glen and Heath scene was slow, but it was an important reference to have in during the raid. This being said, I understand that they have each never killed another living human, but they have killed numerous walkers. While different, you would think it would desensitize you a bit to killing someone who is still alive. The episode also seemed to shoehorn in Abraham’s breakup, and that storyline feels like it should be handled later, unless Abraham is going to be making a departure from the show. The “Why are dingleberries brown” line was fantastic though.
The second half of the episode was nothing but tension and great action. I’m not sure how I feel about them killing people in their sleep, but they made it clear with the trophy wall in one of the quarters that these are not nice people. It was heartless and cold blooded, and Andy’s line saying he was more afraid of Rick than Negan’s group speaks volumes about how far Rick is willing to go to ensure his survival. Rick punching the decapitated head to make sure it looked like Gregory was fantastic.
I liked the plan Rick came up with to storm the compound, but I kept waiting for something to go drastically wrong and for our group to get captured. The score used for the assault was great, and strangely reminded me of the original Terminator soundtrack. I didn’t see the eventual twist of Carol and Maggie getting captured, but since Carol never showed up it makes sense. There was so much going on I didn’t think about her not making an appearance in the compound once the alarm sounded.
I have to bring up Gabriel. Quoting scripture while killing someone (Was there a bit of an homage to Jules there?). He has come miles from the scared preacher living in the woods to who he is now. Which makes me again wonder if Carol is on her way out. Gabriel could be the next person who was once weak, but is now strong in the show. He was impressive tonight not hesitating to do what needed to be done. I was half expecting him to not kill the guy on the ground and take him prisoner. He may still be a minister, but he is an active shepherd now, fending for he flock and actively hunting the wolves.
Where do we go from here? I was expecting the episode to end on a high note, and the retribution to come in the next few episodes. It looks like Carol and Maggie are going to be taken to Negan, and the group is going to have to fight to get them back. Will Carol be the only one to die? I am fully expecting her to exit the show based on tonight’s episode, but I could still see a scenario where Morgan saves her. If this is the case, could Maggie be the one to perish, or does Glenn sacrifice himself to save her? They are building towards an extremely impactful conclusion to what I think has been one of, if not, the best seasons for the show.

What did you think of tonight’s episode, love it or hate it, or somewhere in-between? Comment and let me know. 

Zootopia - Movie Review: Simply a Good Movie

Good world building, great animation, and a solid story equal a movie that can’t really be picked apart.
Zootopia starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, a host of other talented voice actors, and directed by Byron Howard. The movie is a basic buddy cop film with a fun but predictable twist. It has a great message of believing in yourself and not judging others by their surface appearance. The film is just an overall well put together movie which anyone young or old can enjoy. It’s doesn’t have groundbreaking storytelling or animation, but everything it tries to do it does well.
The best aspect of the movie is its world building.  I loved the initial exposition setup the film gives. It was clever and instantly drew you into the world they were creating. Then the buildup and introduction to the city was done in a way to fill you with wonder. Granted this was aimed more for kids, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me. You become engrossed with the all the animals and how they interact. Big and small and how they go about the grind of everyday life. It’s such a rat race, now if only they would have made that reference, well maybe not. The world wouldn’t have been so enthralling though without the fantastic animation.
It’s not earth shattering, but the animation is extremely well done. Some scenes you can’t tell if the background is in fact animated. My four year old said WOW the first time the city is seen. It is impressive and all of the different environments we are taken through is well done. The facial expressions on the characters are also handled deftly. Good animation is sometimes underappreciated, until you see it done poorly. The sloth DMV scene shown in the trailers is a great example of how seamless and well done the animation in the movie is.
The great animation wouldn’t have been as effective without great voice talent. Ginnifer Goodwin does a great job as the Officer Hop. Bateman is perfect as the sly fox. My favorite was probably JK Simmons as the Mayor who is also a Lion. I don’t know if I have ever not liked JK Simmons in a role. Hell he makes Farmers commercials enjoyable. I also enjoyed Alan Tudyk who played a Weasel and was part of a great chase scene in the movie. Which is another good point about the film, it’s pacing. It flows and keeps you engaged for the entire runtime.
The film also had some fantastic pop culture references. I probably missed quite a few homages and tributes, but I loved the Speed and Breaking Bad references. They even made fun of Frozen and other Disney movies in a very self-aware way which is not usually seen in Disney animated films. One other person laughed in my theater when a Breaking Bad easter egg was thrown out, so at least someone else caught it besides me.
The humor overall was well done and it had the right mix for kids and adults. My four year old was cracking up regularly, which made me laugh. He did cover his eyes at one point that seemed a little scary, but it wasn’t bad and he enjoyed being scared and the movie overall. My eleven year old didn’t like the film. He thought it was unbelievable. I’m not sure what he expected in an animated movie about talking animals, but that’s was his opinion of the film.
The only negative I saw with the movie was its predictable plot. I saw who the real bad guy was early on in the movie, and it was formulaic. This being said I don’t really see it being a big drawback on the film, because imbedded within the overall plot is the movies message about believing in yourself and not giving up on your dreams. Along with not judging other people just by their appearance or stereotype. I didn’t think either message was heavy handed, and nor do I think it’s just for kids. We all could do with a reminder of this lesson every once in a while.
Zootopia is just an overall good movie. It probably won’t win an Oscar for best animated film, but it is something I can watch over and over with my kids and enjoy watching. This movie is well Worth Seeing. If you don’t have kids I don’t think you have to rush out and see it. I would have said to go out and see Inside Out for example if you didn’t have kids, but if you do decide to go see and the movie you won’t be disappointed leaving the theatre.

So did you go and see Zootopia this weekend? If not are you planning on seeing it with all the positive reviews it’s getting? If you have seen it what did you think? Comment and let me know. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ghostbusters Trailer Discussion (Review/Recap I Guess): I'm Worried Now

 Is this a reboot or continuation of the original story? They have been saying all along that it’s a reboot and the first two films did not happen. The opening text seems to say that the other films did happen and we are in the same universe. Which I am fine with if that is the way they are going. I prefer that actually to a straight reboot. I have always wanted a Ghostbusters 3. I don’t care if it’s with a different group of people or that they are all girls, just give me more Ghostbusters. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see for the movie, the initial text hooked me though and got me excited with the Ghostbuster song playing 
Then we get the opening shot of the trailer which seems to be an homage to the originals movies opening scene. The opening scene from the first ghostbusters is brilliant. It built tension and excitement and then ended with a fantastic payoff joke. This just had Kristen Wiig getting thrown up on.  After the strong start of just having text flash, it immediately lost me. I’ve watched the trailer a couple of times now, and it is not as jarring the second or third time, but I don’t think they should have tried to recapture such an iconic scene and then display it in the trailer
Then the rest of the trailer I thought was good. I was immediately drawn to Mellissa McKinnon character Jillian Holtzamann. She made me laugh during the middle part of the trailer. Watching it again her facial expression are amazing and I am instantly intrigued by her. McCarthy though seems out of place. It seems like she is going to play a character similar to Ray which I think she can pull off, but the trailer did not highlight this fact well.
Then the end lost me again. Why go with possession and then spoof The Exorcist? They took the opening of original Ghostbusters and then ended with a spoof of The Exorcist and neither clip worked for me.
 Regardless I’m going to be in the theater on a Thursday night when this movie comes out. I love Ghostbusters. It is probably one of my top 5 films from my childhood, and something I can still re-watch endlessly. I love the second one, which I’ll admit isn’t as good, but I still love it.  I want this movie to be good. I wanted a continuation and if that is what we are getting then great, if not I’m okay with that too. I just want a good movie and this trailer did little make me thing this movie will be good.
 Though I’ll admit I haven’t liked many trailers for Paul Feig’s movies. Spy looked horrible, but I loved it. I still haven’t seen all of the The Heat, but apparently it’s good too, but I thought it looked bad from the trailers. I don’t think I even like The Bridesmaids trailer, but I love that movie as well. Maybe he should find someone else to cut his trailers, or if he does it himself the let someone else do it.
Trailers are supposed to get you excited for the movie, this leaves me worried. For a movie that already has so much negativity thrown at it, The Trailer needed to be fantastic, and sadly I don’t think this delivered. I can only hope the movie, like other Paul Fieig’s movies, is vastly superior to the trailer..
Let me know what you thought of the trailer and if you liked it or hated it. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S2E17 Shroud of Darkness Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Three Paths Extended

Tone is everything. Shroud of Darkness was still a setup episode, but it completely shifted the tone of the entire series and prepares us for the conclusion of the season. This is probably my favorite episode of the season for all of the question’s it raised and doors it opened. Ahsoka truly knows Vader is Anakin. It seems she suspected as much, but her vision at the temple confirmed her fears. Kanan is now officially a Jedi Knight.  The most pressing mystery of the episode is where is Malachor and what mysteries does it hold?
Shroud of Darkness started off with a great battle between the Inquisitors, Kanan and Ezra. The only small gripe I had was how slowly the Inquisitors walked to our heroes when Ezra was hanging off the cliff. They could have ran quickly over instead of walking ominously to make a quick end of them. I just thought they could have found another way for them to be farther away, and make Ezra and Kanan’s escape more plausible. It’s a small nitpick, but I’m stretching for anything negative to say about the episode. I loved the exchange between Kannan and the Seventh Sister, just because it seemed a small nod to Freddie Prince and Sarah Michelle being married.  The fight did highlight again how strong Ezra is becoming in the force. His ability to control the flying creatures so quickly from a distance was interesting. Overall it was a fun fight and great way to start the episode.
Kanan is worried about how the Inquisitors continue to locate them. He wants to consult another source and decides to go back to the Jedi temple on Lothal with Ezra and Ahsoka. Most of the episodes leave me wanting more, and while Shroud of Darkness did this it also was perfectly paced. The opening fight scene followed by the three reveals at the temple was laid out perfectly. Kanan’s battle with the Temple Guards showed us how much he has grown as a character. He tried to fight to protect his Padawan, but in the end he accepted he had done his best and Ezra must choose his own path. It is very similar to Luke’s confrontation in the cave on Dagobah, but were Luke fails, Kanan succeeds. He is able to accept he cannot protect Ezra from falling to the darkside, but only do his best to show him the correct path and encourage him to follow it. The big question the fight raised is who the old Inquisitor was before he fell to the darkside, and why he was now at the temple? Also does the fight mean Ezra is doomed to fall or was this just Kanan facing his fear? I am leaning towards Kanan facing his fear and conquering it, and becoming a true Jedi Knight.
I don’t think Yoda would be talking to Ezra the way he was if he was going to fall to the dark side quickly. He seemed disappointed in the choice Ezra made to fight, but accepting of it as well, and dropped the hint to find Malachor. According to Wookieepedia it was first introduced in the Legends game Star Wars Knights of Old Republic. The big question for me is if Revan is getting reading to become actual canon. Since we know Ezra finds a lightsaber with a hilt like Kylo Renn and Kylo has a mask like Revan…. I could very well be reading into the signs, but I’m hoping they find some evidence of a Darth Revan on Malachor and lock him into cannon.  What does it mean for Ezra and the Rebels? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it is where Darth Maul will be lurking.
The last vison or reveal with Ahsoka is the most powerful. We see her during the first part of the episode watching old holo’s of Anakin. She is trying hard not to believe that he turned to Darth Vader. Her vision and final acceptance was potent. In the end she decides to try and turn Vader back to the light. She thinks there is still good in him. While they are escaping the temple she gives Yoda a nod as if she knows what she has to do. Even if this is retconning, this could be the reason why Obi-Wan is so sure Vader cannot be turned back to the light. Yoda and him attempted it with Ahsoka, and failed. This is the most heartbreaking realization of the show, Ahsoka eventual failure.
The ending with Vader is perfect and setups for a fantastic conclusion. One other thing to mention about the episode was how it used the Star Wars score. It was understated, but perfectly pitched and helped shift the tone of the entire series. It was a fantastic decision to not use any music as the episode closes, and only hear Vader’s breathing. The episode feels like a shroud of darkness is starting to engulf the Rebels.  They did narrowly escape again, but a noose is slowly being slipped around their neck.

Did you enjoy tonight’s episode as much as I did? Do you think Revan could be locked in as canon in the next few weeks? Do you think it fits story wise for Ahsoka’ s death to be the reason why Obi-Wan and Yoda do not think Vader can be turned back to the light in Return of the Jedi? Comment and let me know.