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TALKING BACK TO THE MOVIES: Paul Thomas Anderson

There Will Be Blood

For fifteen episodes now, my good friend and fellow filmmaker Gabe Levy and I have been doing a podcast called Talking Back to the Movies. We go through the work of a filmmaker or film series film by film, talking about how an auteur evolves, the themes that run between films, and how good these movies are. We recently completed our third director: Paul Thomas Anderson. Read more…

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Spoiler Free Review

Avengers Age of Ultron Read more…

GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Episode 3 Review, “High Sparrow”

game of thrones season 5 episode 3 the high sparrow sansa littlefinger

This review is from the point of view of someone who hasn’t read the books. Go back to the library, poindexter.

On Game of Thrones, one can never be too sure of who they’re going to bump into next and how exactly that person is going to ruin your life. Anyone from Ramsay Bolton to a complete stranger to a guy from Pirates of the Caribbean could show up out of nowhere and ruin the perfectly good thing you had going, often when you finally get that perfectly good thing really going. This week Jon Snow tried to honor an enemy and ended up beheading a guy named Janos (I’m told all members of the Night’s Watch have names, but I find this claim dubious). As the old saying goes, “Man plans. George R.R. Martin laughs.” Read more…

COMMUNITY Season 6 Episode 7 Review, “Advanced Safety Features”

community season 6 episode 7 advanced safety features

Product placement is tricky business. Even at its best (like in Tropic Thunder when Matthew McConaughey journeyed to Laos to save a helicopter full of actors by throwing a TiVO in the path of a rocket), audience members are still keenly aware that they are looking at a product that has wormed its way onto the screen as the memo on a big ol’ check. It’s as agonizing to watch Will Smith’s criminal investigation into robomurder in I, Robot get stopped repeatedly for people to talk about how cool his Converse shoes are as it is to watch the bad movie known as I, Robot. When Gone Girl dared feature both Mountain Dew and Netflix thinkpieces arose about whether or not David Fincher sold out his pulpy masterpiece.

Is there a fundamental difference in quality between the characters on Community enjoying Let’s Potato Chips and an Xbox 360 and a Mountain Dew machine being turned into evil robots by the cube from Transformers that then and only then turned inanimate objects into evil robots? They are both equally unbelievable and distracting. In an increasingly-merchandized world, it is just as false for characters to eat fake brands as it is for them to stop everything and have a delicious Burger King dinner with Carl Weathers.

I bring this up only to tell you that I laughed at every damn Honda joke in this episode. Read more…

GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Episode 2 Review, “The House of Black and White”

Game of Thrones Arya Jaqen The House of Black and White disguise

The following review is from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the books. Go back to Borders, nerd.

Game of Thrones is really taking a vacation this year. And that’s a compliment. This was possibly the most purely fun episode that Game of Thrones has ever produced. If a typical episode is a tiptoe around a dark house trying to not wake up an angry parent, this episode was a leisurely, unburdened stroll through a Target (which is weird given the consistent threat of child death this episode provides that I have never experienced at Target). I know that I’m dancing with fire here, almost tempting the writers to kill the people I love, but I am enjoying what was, to a large extent, some fun. Read more…

GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Episode 1 Review, “The Wars to Come”

Game of Thrones The Wars to Come Cersei

This review is from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the books so I have almost no idea if any changes have been made. The guy who used to tell me that doesn’t go to school with me anymore. Also, Spoilers Are Coming.

WELCOME BACK, WESTEROS!!

In what must be the most anticipated television return of the year (its only competition being The Walking Dead, but I will always give the edge of King’s Landing over Sad Georgia), Game of Thrones has returned to our television screens, to fill our hearts and minds with the loving glow of Wildlings being burned alive. It was a hell of a return and I want to get to it as quickly as possible. But first, some housekeeping… Read more…

Jeff Winger Has Become His Own Hero – COMMUNITY Season 6 Episode 5 Review, “Laws of Robotics and Party Rights”

Community Laws of Robotics and Party Rights Jeff

When Jeff Winger first enrolled at Greendale Community College, he was little more than an opportunist looking for the nearest blow-off class. Those he now holds as his dear friends were originally a means to an end, an accidental, life-changing result of trying to have sex with Britta Perry. Read more…

COMMUNITY Gets Political as the Supporting Characters Take Over the Show – Season 6 Episode 4 Review “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing”

Community Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing Dean Gay

Spoilers wax on throughout.

Television is an ensemble medium. Out of a need to tell weekly stories for years on end, good TV shows give themselves a deep bench of characters to pull from so that if need be the writers can make this week an Apu episode or a Fat Neil episode. Sometimes shows flourish under this injection of second tier energy (your Chris Traeger plotlines on Parks and Recreation). Othertimes they fizzle out from a character not being all that interesting (your Hermes episodes on Futurama).

Although Senor Chang has been around since the show’s second episode and Dean Craig Pelton was in the very first moments of the pilot, neither of them has a great many episode plots to their name. Read more…

IN BRUGES: A Place Is What You Make It

In Bruges Colin Farrell Ray

A Fair Warning: This article quotes liberally from one of the most gloriously profane movies of all time.

“It’s a fairytale fucking town, isn’t it? How can a fairytale town not be somebody’s fucking thing? How can all those canals and bridges and cobbled streets and those churches, all that beautiful fucking fairytale stuff, how can that not be somebody’s fucking thing, eh?”
“What I think I mean to say was—“
“Is the swan still there?”
“Yeah, the swans—“
“How can fucking swans not fucking be somebody’s fucking thing, eh?”

Far too many people spend their lives looking for that perfect place. Read more…

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