30 Apr 2014

Last Week Tonight, From Last Sunday, Today

Last Week Tonight, with John Oliver premiered Sunday evening on HBO, and the cable channel has kindly made the episode available in it's entirety online (though they've disabled embedding). It's a solid and, most importantly, hilarious show. It's practically impossible to tell anything from a first episode, but it appears they've stuck with a formula that works (which can use uncensored cuss words, and used them sparingly and effectively). Borrowing heavily from (or more kindly, heavily influenced by) the Daily Show's format, the show is an A-B-C block of satirical analysis and interview segments, playing to Oliver's strengths as a voice of reason, and a master interviewer in the absurd. Unlike some shows, this one shows no signs of early unease, having found it's footing and it's voice from day one.

My biggest complaint is, because they are covering a week's worth of news rather than a day's or a weekend's, it moves through stories at a very brisk rate. Oliver and his writers need to slow down (Oliver's contract allows for the eventual increase in the run time up to one hour), and focus their talents and attentions on fewer, deeper stories, and less on trying to get through as much as possible. The coverage of the Indian elections, and the POM Wonderful lawsuit were fantastic, the coverage of the Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy less so, just because it felt rushed. Tone, attitude and voice, they got in one go. They just have to get a handle on their pace.

Watch the full episode on YouTube.

Bob Hoskins Has Died

Bob Hoskins, has died at 71, having been suffering from pneumonia. The actor had announced his retirement in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's. His 30 year career often found him playing gruff Cockney gangsters, Victorian heavies, and the occasional pirate. He received an Academy Award nomination for 1986's Mona Lisa, as well as multiple Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his works over the years.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my favourite films, and has been since it's release. As such, I've always had an emotional reaction to seeing Hoskins in a film. He's one of those actors who gets a pass in my mind, and his presence could elevated my opinion of a film, even those that didn't deserve it (like his final film, Snow White and the Huntsman). There are many films, like Doomsday, or Made in Dagenham that I initially only saw because of Hoskins' presence in the cast. His retirement was a well earned cap to a career; his death is a profound loss.

Via the Guardian.

[Review] - Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episode 20, "Nothing Personal"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Studios

On a weekly basis, this show rarely does itself any favours. This week is no different, but for a more unusual reason: having Cobie Smulders put in an extended appearance only serves as reminder of how much better this show would be if Maria Hill were part of the main cast. In fact, this episode's defining trait is showing us how much better Agents of SHIELD would have been if it had been Hill and Coulson running a shadow team. In fact, considering that this show will be in need of a sizable overhaul if it gets a second season, I'd put in my vote right now for that being the setup. And add Deathlok to the team, because as much as this show would like to be hero-less, it really does need someone with J. August Richards' charm and talent (that slap he gave Ward in this episode was just about perfect).

Oh, and thank gods somebody finally pointed out that Hydra are Nazis! Big, crazy, super-Nazis! Man, that was bothering me (and perhaps a sign of the state of the public education system`s failures in the MCU).

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that, where they're going, don't need roads.

29 Apr 2014

Will They Take Secretariat Out Back And Shoot Him?

Last night, Craig Ferguson made the above announcement on his Late Late Show, of which he has been the host for ten years. After the surprise declaration of Letterman's impending retirement, and the later announcement that Colbert would be sitting behind the Late Show's desk, I rather assumed that Ferguson might be leaving sooner rather than later. His contract with CBS was expiring at the end of the year, and CBS was looking at other personalities (like Chelsea Handler) to construct talk shows around. Plus, with Letterman's Worldwide Pants producing Ferguson's show, getting rid of the old guard and building an evening's worth of chat shows from the ground out has the potential to work out best for CBS.

But I'm sad none the less. Ferguson was, for my money, the only one of the talk shows worth watching. His unique combination of apparent apathy, fight-the-power anti-conventional attitude and very genuine and intelligent style made him a refuge in the arena. He wasn't afraid to explore ideas- he often had philosophical discussions with his guests, while barely mentioning their projects - and was a friend to science, history, and the independent and European actors, bringing to attention smaller projects that wouldn't even rate second chair at 11:30. His monologues weren't canned jokes poking fun at the day's events, they were discussions on subjects that mattered to him. With a healthy amount of dick jokes.

People were surprised when he didn't fight for Dave's timeslot, but he'd been saying for years he didn't want it because at 11:30, the network would have expectations. At 12:30, Ferguson is able to do his own thing, in his own way. And apparently, he's ready to move on. Said Craig, "I was just like, 'I feel like I’m done.' We were all fine and were tying up loose ends. And then Dave surprised everybody with the announcement and that threw a spanner in the works." The show spent a lot of years fine tuning the formula that made it seem very ram-shackle, and in these last few years, with the introduction of Geoff Peterson, it really felt like it had achieved a kind of perfection. I suppose, in that way, he'll be leaving at the top of his game, which is more than most can claim.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] - Continuum, Season 3 Episode 6, "Wasted Minute"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
Well... there goes a perfectly good theory. And to think I spent upwards of half an hour thinking about who Kiera's killer might have been. At least it was good timing; putting out my theory only a couple of days before the series just tells us straight up. It's that kind of honest straightforwardness that I appreciate about this series. No dragging things out unnecessarily, no bloating of storylines to push major revelations into the finale. We're at the mid way point, the killer hadn't been mentioned in a couple episodes, so just put it out there. Now we've got the back half of the season to deal with the repercussions.

And, on top of all that, Kiera was forced to make her choice between which of the two Alecs was to deliver her the future she wants, compared to the one the worlds needs. Liber8 made its most constructive play yet, and has definitely figured out the intelligent way to accomplish its goals. The future is looking brighter all the time, despite the Freelancer's intentions. It wasn't an insignificant episode.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that once cold-clocked their doppelganger with a USB mouse. It lacked the desired effect.

[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 4, "Oathkeeper"

Courtesy of HBO
I've long advocated for the television series Game of Thrones to differentiate itself from the novels on which it is based. And in small ways, it has. Enough has been changed to keep book readers from knowing exactly what will happen, while keeping the major events and characters similar enough to those we fell in love with on the written page. The series also has the ability to cover events and interactions that the novels never could, because of the character-focused way they are written. These are the things that I've appreciated and cherished about the series.

And occasionally, the writers are able to use the series to make explicit what the novels have kept implicit. It happened with Renly, it happened with Theon, and in this episode it happened with a significant part of the larger mythology of Westeros. It was sudden, it was surprising, and it was most welcome, in an episode that contributed a lot to veering off the established course of the prose version.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that actually did want a kiss.

28 Apr 2014

[Review] - Hannibal, Season 2 Episode 9, "Shiizakana"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
All this season, I've wanted to make a point of how well the production team on Hannibal has made use of one of the snowiest, coldest, longest winters in the Toronto region. This show loves contrast, and the snow has provided plenty of opportunities for it. Lots of blacks, lots of reds, and lots of moonlit night shoots. And this episode was no exception.

But just when I was developing a whole thing in my head about how this past Hell of a winter has been looking very lovely on screen, the show went and made us of the dinosaur exhibit space at the Royal Ontario Museum, one of my favourite dinosaur exhibits. So, this is me, sending love to the person responsible for scouting and bookings spaces for them to film. Because you hit it out of the park with this one.

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that definitely don't have a better nature.

Think Of All The Dove Poop In His Sleeves

I'm a big fan of illusionists and magicians. I love the fact that there is entire profession out there that has been using methodical and closely guarded science and dressing it up as magic for centuries (millennia, even). A magician who has honed his craft is interactive art. This Canadian, Darcy Oake, showed up on Britain’s Got Talent, and understandably blew them away.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] - Particle Fever

Courtesy of Anthos Media
It is possible to tell the story of the toaster without ever having to tell the story of bread. This is not that story. Mark Levinson's multi-year story of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and the ensuing series of set-ups, set-backs and eventual successful experiments that were carried out by the physicists working at the facility are different acts in the same story. And it is an engrossing story. As David Kaplan, one the film's subjects, explains early on, the building of the LHC is an endeavor to discover fundamental truths about the universe, with no strategic or immediate result other than knowledge. Therefore, to tell just the story of it's construction would be to tell only half the story.

Happily, this documentary of the facility's early operations in 2007 until the announcement of the confirmation of the Higgs Boson in 2012, tells the story wonderfully and completely (to a point). It also manages that rare feat of presenting both the theoretical physics and the practical engineering in terms that are easily understood by the layperson, while not dumbing the subject matter down to the extent that the media so often does (the infrequent reminders of the phrase "God Particle" elicited laughs from the audience every time).

Hit the jump for the brief review.

25 Apr 2014

Trailers Used To Come At The End, So... Here Are Some Trailers

Listen, it's the end of a week, it was a short week and those always screw me up, I'm tired, and I've got a good weekend ahead of me. So here are three freshly released trailers for you to enjoy (or not, I'm not you mother, you can do what you like).

First up is Clark Gregg's new film. Aside from his star turning role as Phil Coulson, Gregg is a talented writer and director, having previously released Choke with Sam Rockwell and Gillian Jacobs. His new film, Trust Me, concerns an agent who discovers a child prodigy, and fights to represent him. Gregg has stacked the film with talent, including Felicity Huffman, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, William H. Macy, and Molly Shannon.

Hit the jump for a British heist film, and a Canadian comedy, about Newfoundlanders, the most adorable of Canadians.

There's No Going Home Again

Last week, there was a brief tissy among Hobbit fans that the title of the forthcoming third film was going to be changed when Warner Bros. bought up some domains based on the title The Hobbit: Into The Fire, which is a terrible title. When there was no official comment from either Warners or Peter Jackson, I assumed it was another instance of the internet getting worked up over nothing. I assumed that Into The Fire will be the name of a Hobbit video game, or amusement park ride, or traveling ice show or some such thing.

I shouldn't have lowered my defenses so quickly. Posting on Facebook yesterday, here is Peter Jackson's comments regarding a potential title change:

"Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along. There and Back Again felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the Desolation of Smaug.

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.

And so: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies it is.

As Professor Tolkien intended, There and Back Again encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.

Before then however, we have a film to finish, and much to share with you. It’s been a nice quiet time for us—Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.

And there’s also The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Cut, which we’re in the process of finishing, with over 25 mins of new scenes, all scored with original music composed by Howard Shore.

It’ll be a fun year!"
This was originally presented as an option two years ago, when it was first announced that the two Hobbit films would be split into three. When it was announced that Desolation of Smaug would be the title of the second film, I congratulated Jackson's decision to preserve the novel's alternate title as the name of the third film. It's poetic, and very finale-ish, and is much more optimistic sounding than Battle of Five Armies, which is more in keeping with the novel's tone.

While the logic behind the change is reasonable, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. It's a sign of the narrative shift the films have taken, away from being Bilbo's story, and more towards being a story of Middle-Earth. Bilbo has never felt like the focus of the Hobbit films; they are much more of an ensemble piece. And this change is proof that the final film will be less about the conclusion to Bilbo's story, and more about the transitional phase in Middle-Earth history that extends from the defeat of the Necromancer to the rise of Sauron.

But at least it's not Into The Fire. That is a terrible title.

Via Den of Geek.

[Analysis] - Who Killed Kiera Cameron?

It's not really a spoiler to say that season three of Continuum kicked off by killing Kiera Cameron. I mean, it happened in the first episode. Happily, we had a spare, thanks to some time travel mischief. The mystery of who put a bullet into our hero's head has sat just behind the action so far this season, with Alec's algorithms slowly assembling an image of the killer from the dead Kiera's CMR.

They haven't devoted an entire episode to the investigation thus far, though I suspect one is coming in the back half of the season (plus time to deal with the consequences). In the meantime, I thought I'd spare a couple minutes to running over the list of suspects, both usual and unusual, and see if I can Sherlock the solution.

Hit the jump for the potential murders. Spoilers for season 3 to episode 5.

24 Apr 2014

Clever Girl (This Quote Has Never Been More Appropriate)

Do you want a raptor of you very own? Well, too bad, the last Dromaeosauridae died out 66 million years ago. What you can have is a complex origami raptor created by Lisa Glover. She has a project on Kickstarter that, unless you cough up a $1000, doesn't include the wearable life sized model seen in the video above (much to my disappointment). Her KitRex is a 3D, fold and tab based raptor model made out of high quality bristol board that stands about fifteen inches long. And they are adorable (and offered in a variety of colours)

If you want to get in on this, you've got 5 days left before the project closes. Not that Ms. Glover won't be busy: at time of publication, she's raised just shy of $100,000 on an $8000 goal. The lesson here: never underestimate the internet's love and demand for dinosaur based arts and crafts.

Via Kickstarter.

Suddenly Thrown Back Into The Mix Together

Filming is underway in Hawaii on Jurassic World, the probably unnecessary sequel to my favourite film, which frustratingly gets more interesting the more director Colin Trevorrow talks about it. He's already cast pretty much all my favourite actors.

They released some very plain early days images from the shoot, and Trevorrow revealed that despite the fact that the dinosaurs in the film won't have feathers, they will be using animatronics combined with CG to bring the animals to life. In 1993, this was due to necessity, as CG didn't really exist back then. Now, it's part of franchise tradition, which isn't the reason I'm pleased about the news. I'm pleased because I'm a vocal advocate for less CGI across the entire industry; a well built real thing is always going to look better than a well built computer simulation. I'm glad that Trevorrow recognizes that. Let's just hope that they don't cut costs by getting second rate CG to fill in the gaps.

Trevorrow also mentioned that the studio is interested in sequels (shocker that), and that Omar Sy's character in the film is "essentially Chris Pratt’s best friend." Trevorrow mentions that their relationship is being set up as one of the potential threads they could follow in sequels, but my money is on Sy getting eaten by film's end. So that Pratt has something tragic to further his character development. The onus is now on Trevorrow to make his film less cliched and transparent than that.

Hit the jump for a couple more pictures that don't give anything away, except that Bryce Dallas Howard's dress isn't going to stay that pristine for long.

[Review] - Fargo, Season 1 Episode 2, "The Rooster Prince"

Courtesy of MGM Television

Last week, I was as impressed as I was confounded by Fargo. Impressed because of the way the series was able to take the Coen style and craft an excellent homage to the brother's work. Confounded by the completeness of the episode, leaving nine left to head in a direction I couldn't immediately discern. Not that that is a bad thing; I love it when a series is able to pull off a change in direction, and isn't weighted down by drawing out a plot that can't sustain itself. So, in a lot of ways, this second episode is the one that Fargo needs to pull off, to create an identity for itself, and establish some forward momentum. Unfortunately, they stumbled slightly on dismount, and that's going to cost them points.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that lack common sense but make up for in self esteem.

23 Apr 2014

You're Going To Die Burning, And I'm Going To Watch

Today might be Shakespeare's birthday. It's almost certainly the day he died. And I cannot think of a better way to celebrate his birth/death/invention of the word 'eye-ball' than this short film, called Action Bill. In which a Lego Shakespeare fights a Lego William Shatner, who is piloting a mecha.

In 450 years, I hope I get a birthday present as nice as this.

Via the Mary Sue.

HBO Orders Some Lame Duck

HBO knows when they've got a good thing going, and HBO is in a position to keep such things going. As such, the cable network has ordered a fourth season of Armando Ianucci's brilliant Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as well as a second season of Mike Judge's Silicon Valley. The Veep pick up was a bit of a surprise for me, not because I felt the show doesn't deserve it, but because of Ianucci's British "less-is-more" sensibilities. Of course, he is the writer who has kept Alan Partridge going in one way or another for twenty odd years. And that this season's plot concerns the veep running for President.

My guess is that next season will feature the actual campaign, and if they get a fifth season, that'll cover her lame duck months, win or lose. Either way, I'm happy. The comedies are excellent palette cleansers after whatever horrors Game of Thrones unleashes each week. And they'll be perfect lead-ins to Last Week Tonight, which premieres this Sunday.

Via Den of Geek.

[Review] - Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episode 19, "The Only Light in the Darkness"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Studios
And we're back to square one. What is it about this show that they can't seem to maintain any sort of positive inertia past two episode? This week, they took all the tension and momentum they had build up since the Winter Soldier fallout, and completely flushed it, in favour of a weak monster-of-the-week style episode that, ironically, we probably would have been very happy to have had in the early days of the series, when we wanted SHIELD to be chasing superpowered baddies. And, it committed the unforgivable sin of wasting the talents of Amy Acker. Warehouse 13 did that once and now it's effectively dead to me.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that make it a point never to work with anything called 'Dark Force.'

22 Apr 2014

The Hero We Deserve And The One We Need

Last week, we saw Bruce Timm's return to the world of the Animated Batman, in honour of the character's 75th birthday. Today, we return (equelly unexpectedly) to the world of Batman Beyond, not from Timm but from Darwyn Cooke. With both Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle returning as the voices of Bruyce Wayne and Terry McGuinnis. I don't care what you say, Frank Miller's dystopian Bat-future has nothing on the DCAU futurescape.

Via the Mary Sue.

[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 3, "Breaker of Chains"

Courtesy of HBO
Looking to deliver a eulogy/history lesson/birds-and-the-bees talk? Can't seem find an organic way to work all of those things into a single speech? Delivering said speech to an emotionally compromised youth whilst standing over the corpse of his brother? Think that might be an awkward time to besmirch the memory of said departed family member? If so, call Tywin Lannister, the golden tongue of the Seven Kingdoms. He doesn't understand the concept of "too soon." Or tact. Or mourning. Such things are a waste of valuable lesson learning time. Yes, Tywin Lannister is the man for you if you want your ceremony/event/time-of-grief stripped of all emotions and have your flaws explained in stark black-and-white.Yes, that's Tywin Lannister: he doesn't have time for your shit, he has things to do.

But at least he won't rape the dead boy's mother beside the still cooling body (for inquiries, please consult Jamie Lannister, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and kind of a dick).

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that get paid a fair wage for fair work.

[Review] - Hannibal, Season 2 Episode 8, "Su-zakana"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
Annnd we're back. And back to square one in the brand new, softly rebooted Hannibal. With Will's new mission to play Hannibal as hard as Hannibal has played him, the show has returned to it's roots and considering how monumental this season has been thus far, it was a jarring return to the ordinary (as ordinary as a show featuring people getting sewn into horses can get).

The episode played like grief counseling, and not just because Hannibal was actively taking part in grief counseling. The traumatic events of the series to this point have weighed heavily on all the characters, and they are each seeking their own unique form of catharsis, and searching for meaning in the misery they've been party to. They hurt, and want to stop feeling the pain. The trick is, we know the only thing waiting for them is more.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers whose turn it was to provide the meat.

18 Apr 2014

Satan, that Ol' Jokester

I've been loving the hell out of FOX's Cosmos series, but almost immediately there were calls of inequity from the more southern and god fearing of the American audience, who despite Cosmos being very clear and easy to follow, still didn't get the point.

Now, under normal circumstances, you would just close your front door and ignore these people, but that just isn't the internet's style. Enter Funny or Die, and Veep's Timothy Simons to provide the Creationist Cosmos perspective.

Spoiler warning: God did it.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] - Fargo, Season 1 Episode 1, "The Crocodile's Dilemma"

Courtesy of MGM Television

The new darling in the cable television family is the anthology series. It makes a certain kind of sense: cable networks, less beholden to advertisers and more willing to take chances on subject matter, attract "bigger" stars to their series, but bigger stars can't often sign up for long term engagements. So now, in the wake of American Horror Story and True Detective, we'll see a sharp increase in the number of these "limited series." The benefit is that the shows get the talent bump from the big names; the names get increased recognition for their skill; and the viewer gets the best of things, with tight focused stories that have a conclusive beginning-middle-end structure, rather than an open ended and drifting directionlessness.

Fargo is... interesting. And ambitious. And very deliberate, though not as patient as it might have you believe. This first episode is practically a movie in and of itself, containing all the highs and lows, the build-ups and climaxes that you'd expect from a feature film. If FX had released this alone, as an original feature, It would be quite entertaining. As the pilot to the series, I was engaged, but left struggling as to how they'll keep this going for a further nine episodes. But it was engaging enough to keep me turning in, to find out what those next nine have in store.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that didn't say yes, but they didn't say no.

[Analysis] - Marvel, Phase 3, And The Known Unknowns

With the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nearer to its end than its origin. All that remains is the largely divorced Guardians of the Galaxy later this year, and the concluding Avengers: Age of Ultron next spring. Then begins Phase 3, which remains a half shrouded mystery. But is it really that much of a mystery?

I intend to use logic and deduction to create a reasonable hypothesis based on available data, and construct the most likely shape of Phase 3. Which, once the official announcement is made (either at this summer's Comic-con, or this fall's D23), we can compare and see how wrong I got things. But until then, we will rely on the scientific method to make wild conjectures.

Hit the jump for the analysis, which contains spoilers of the entire MCU up to and including Winter Soldier.

16 Apr 2014

Hello, Old Friend

It took three increasingly impressive trailers from X-Men: Days Of Future Past for them to just straight up sell the plot. Kind of seems like this should have been the first, or at the least, the second one released. It's not exactly a straight A-B-C plot, and some viewers who are just in it for the inevitable shirtless Hugh Jackman scene might need a hand understanding what exactly this movie is about. And this trailer does a damned good job of cutting through the shit, and getting to the point, while also showing off some much needed humour. While I'll always be disappointed that Singer never got to finish the trilogy he started to make, I'm damned glad he's playing in this sandbox again. Because he's obviously having fun.

Oh, I Know This One! The One Armed Man Did It!

I'm a fan of David Fincher, though my personal taste tends to fall into an every-other pattern with him. Happily, his upcoming film falls on the crest of the pattern rather than the valley. That film is Gone Girl, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, detailing the disappearance of Alice (Rosamund Pike), the investigation into said appearance, and the unspooling of her husband (Ben Affleck)'s life throughout. This first trailer edges on unconventional, and the footage has all the moody hallmarks of Ficher's style. October is rarely a film month to get overly excited about, but this might make things interesting.

[Review] - Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episode 18, "Providence"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Studios

Well true believers, if you stuck with Agents of SHIELD this long, in hopes that you'd one day glimpse Coulson in a toque, your perseverance has paid off. 'Cause there he is, his head all warm and such, traipsing around the "Canadian wilderness", which despite it being April, is a tundra-like wasteland (and yes, in real life, until a couple days ago, there was a substantial amount of snow still on the ground. And yes, yesterday it did snow in certain southern areas of the country).

But traipse he did, along with every other bear-fearing member of his team, in desperate search of truth, salvation, and hidden Patton Oswalts (he's the best kind of Easter egg). So while SHIELD hunkers down below the barren regions of what might be northern Alberta (or Ontario, or BC, and I've now given the geography more thought than anyone on the writing staff), the Clairvoyant sets up shop under Havana (dichotomy!) and continues to be more appealing than any of the main cast. Oh, this show.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are Agents of Something-Something.

15 Apr 2014

It's A Bit More Than I Bargined For

I have said this before, and I will say this again many more times before I'm done: westerns are my favourite genre of film. Western films tend to be less successful becuase of the persepction that it is an American genre, but a truly well made western can be a more universal story than a straight up drama.

Tommy Lee Jones is set to release his latest directorial effort, and his second western after 2005's The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. This film, The Homesman, sees Jones paired with Hilary Swank as a pair of outsiders having to transport three insane women across a barren western territory. The film also stars Meryl Streep, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, William Fichtner, Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons and True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld.

And I really dig this trailer. Jones has a very steady eye, very similar to Clint Eastwood's, when it comes to deconstructing a genre whic comes with so much preestablished tropes, and it looks like he's put that eye to good use here. Oddly, despite westerns not making money internationally, this film is seeing a European released before an American one. Here's hoping it won't take long.

[Review] - Continuum, Season 3 Episode 5, "30 Minutes To Air"

Courtesy of Relativity Media
Just when you thought that the Freelancers explaining in pretty clear detail who and what they were wouldn't leave any mystery left in them, they go and show that they have a mysterious door with some glowing blue beyond it. Now, as a side effect of having watched LOST, I'm a bit wary when it comes to mystery doors and groups of strange, cult-like people. But somehow, I'm guessing that the Freelancers aren't keeping a lovesick Scotsman back there.

Liber8 continued to up their game, and the importance of family got a push from directions other than Kiera. What it added up to was an episode that very much felt like a building block. The B-plot advanced some of the mythology, but the A-plot was all about setting up troubles for the days ahead. And sometimes, that is exactly what you need.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are just going to jump ahead and call themselves "protectors."

[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 2, "The Lion And The Rose"

Courtesy of HBO
Last week, to kick off another year of Game of Thrones, I spent most of my reviewing moaning and whining, "ugh, my show's too consistently good. Oooh, it doesn't inspire me to critical analysis." Premium television problems, am I right? Meanwhile, out in the wider world, untold millions have to irk by with only the most basic of cable, or worst yet, struggle on barely network fair, having to subsist on laugh-track riddled sitcoms and prepackaged procedural dramas. The fact is, for only pennies a day, HBO's richer, more filling fair can be enjoyed by everyone, because everyone has the right to enjoy complex, character driven drama, and not grow morbid and obese on fatty reality shows. Which is why I'm making this plea to you today: for all those struggling, getting by on cheap syndicated programming, make a donation to your local cable concern, and let them know that HBO can be a reality for those that don't have anything better to do on a Sunday night. If enough of us come together, we can bring joy to our communities, united in an sated appetite for nudity, violence and a strong narrative. #dragonsforthe99%

Or, I suppose, you could just find it on the internet. I'm sure it's out there. Obviously, I haven't looked, but a friend did, and he said you can find all sorts of stuff on there. Weird stuff. Naughty stuff...

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that enjoy the small pleasures.

14 Apr 2014

When You're Batman, Every Day Is A Strange Day

Beyond all attempts at argument, the best Batman is Bruce Timm's animated Batman. Better than any of the films, better than any video game, better than Adam West, Brave and The Bold, and even the comics. Batman: the Animated Series is what perfect Batman looks like. Kevin Conroy, perfect. The characterization, perfect. The style, the direction, the depth of plotting? The willingness to allow the archetypes of the characters to carry the viewer's understanding rather than bogging down the mythology in continuity, but than building up a continuity out of familiarity? Perfect. The fact that he has a sense of humour? Get out of here, all the other pretenders to the cowl, it's Timm's vision every time.

And he's back. In honour of the charater's recent 75th birthday, Timm produced, in his familair style, a short film titled Batman: Strange Days, in which our old familiar Dark Knight takes on one of the few characters to never have that much presense in the Animated Series, Hugo Strange. And it's pretty amazing. Few people have such an immediate grip on what makes Batman effect as Timm, and would be able to distil it down to less than three minutes. This is simultaneously a period piece, and a modern story. It's adventure, noir, action, thriller and horror movie all rolled into one.

And could just as easily be called Silent Knight.

[Review] - Hannibal, Season 2 Episode 7, "Yakimono"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
When discussing Justified, I noted that episode seven of a thirteen episode season is the fulcrum episode. It's the top of the hill. It's the vertex of the parabola. Or, in storytelling terms, it's where things start to go wrong. It's where the building momentum of the narrative takes off, plowing through the characters on a death drop towards the finale. Payoffs start hatching in the last half from eggs laid in the first half.

But episode seven exists in an equilibrium, the Lagrangian point of a season of television. The old trembles with desire to burst with the new, awaiting only the sounding shot to break from the gate (and word count hungry reviewers mix their metaphors with wild abandon). So, of course, on a show like Hannibal, this clam eye of the storm means that huge character and series shattering things happen, and something unexpected shoots someone in the face.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that allowed Hannibal Lecter into their head.

[Review] - I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions Of A Co-Star, By Judy Greer

If you've spent more than a little time on this site, you might have noticed I mention Judy Greer at a greater frequency than most other actors. I'm a fan of her (enormous) filmography, and her ability to, as she describes it, "diversify" her career. I'll always be an advocate of the importance of supporting and character actors, and she has proven to be one of the best of her generation. As she points out numerous times (and as the title remarks), she has been in such a range of roles that it can be difficult to recall exactly what it was that you remember her from (in the interest of quickening her "fan profiling," I fall into the Arrested Development/Californication/Archer group).

This, her first book, is equally difficult to pin down. It is being touted as a biography, and there are elements to that, but it is far from the standard to be considered entirely thus. It could be a self help book, and certainly takes on that feel towards the end, but the impression there is that the book would provide some help for yourself, and this doesn't really do that. In the end, the book is really nothing more than a series of meandering anecdotes whose purpose is occasionally unclear, whose wit is never pervasive, but whose style is loose enough that you can make your way through in one sitting.

Hit the jump for the brief review.

11 Apr 2014

My Guest List Includes NOBODY

The Party might be a long commercial for Smirnoff, but that can be overlooked considering that it is a short film starring Adam Scott and Alison Brie as themselves, throwing a party that happens to include a lot of vodka. And also Dotcom from 30 Rock. The full film has been broken into six standard commercials, which make for a more complete (or at least extended) film, which are available after the video.

I'd have thought that Scott and Brie would have great chemistry, as she's usually a straight man, and Scott is that rare straightman that works well against equally the straight (see his work opposite Lizzy Caplan, Nick Offerman and Richard Jenkins). Here, she takes the role of the fool, and they work exceptionally well together. If next season is the last for both Parks and Community, I'd say any network would be foolish not to give these two a show together.

Preferably on cable.

Via Uproxx.

Itchy Armpit it Is

If you weren't excited about How to Train Your Dragon 2, this trailer should convince you. If this trailer doesn't convince you... I think something might be wrong with you.

I'm convinced that, unlike every other Dreamworks Animation sequel, Dragon will be an equal to the original. The visuals look amazing, and the film promises to have the same level of heart. I desperately don't want to be disappointed in at least one follow up this year, and this one probably has the best chance of letting me achieve that sadly low expectation.

[Opinion] - Hannibal And Agents Of SHIELD: Compare And Contrast

On the surface, NBC's Hannibal and ABC's Agents of SHIELD are not similar series, and do not lone themselves to comparison. But when you devote a little time to thinking about it, they share more similarities than you'd expect. Both are adaptations (or rather, expansions) of popular franchises for network television. Both feature ensemble casts, with an eye on long form storytelling. And both have, to this point, produced about the same number of episodes (Hannibal over two seasons, SHIELD over one).

I thought it might be interesting (and I could be wrong on that, we'll have to see) to examine these two series, and see how it was that one was able to transform from a unnecessary retread of a tired concept into the best network drama of the last decade, and the other went from being a promising continuation of a limitless storytelling universe to being a mediocre and fairly forgettable serial.

Hit the jump for the analysis, which contains spoilers for both series up to their latest episodes.

10 Apr 2014

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert [Updated]

Is something happening behind the scenes at Comedy Network that we don't know about. Because, first John Oliver ditches the Daily Show for HBO, and now this...

In the wake of David Letterman's announcement that he'll be retiring in 2015, there was a rampant scramble to guess who would replace him. What is now obvious is that Dave and the CBS brass have been discussing his departure for some time, because the broacaster has announced with great haste that Letterman's successor will be... Stephen Colbert. Colbert, who has won accolades (as well as Emmys, Grammys, Peabodys and other various honours) for his saterical new program The Colbert Report, will make the move from Comedy Central to the CBS flagship talkshow at some point next year. The exact date has yet to be determined, as Dave himself has not settled on a departure schedule (though, my guess would be the transition would happen over the summer, during the "season" transition).

The move makes financial and logistical sense for CBS - which is owned by Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central and The Report. The deal will see Colbert host The Late Show (or something similar) for five years. Said CBS, "Specific creative elements, as well as the producers and the location for the Colbert-hosted Late Show, will be determined and announced at a later date." It will, however, leave a noticable gap in Comedy Central's lineup, which has benfited from the one-two punch (and late night ratings domination) of Stewart and Colbert for the past decade. One can't help but feel that Oliver might have been a natural successor to Colbert, had this deal been announced a few months earlier (Oliver was apparently CBS' first choice, but he turned them down).

Colbert is king of his particular castle, and in many ways I actually prefer The Report to the Daily Show. I'm slightly nervous about what this change means. The Late Show under Colbert's direction will likely not be the news orientated satirical program that The Report has been. While I can understand if ten years playing the character Colbert might be a little exhausting, I'm interested in finding out what CBS expects from the new show [UPDATE: Colbert confirmed to the New York Times that he "won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me. I'm looking forward to it."]. Said CBS CEO Les Moonves, "Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves. Added Chairman of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler "[He] is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches. He is a presence on every stage, with interests and notable accomplishments across a wide spectrum of entertainment, politics, publishing and music." CBS is in a position, with Colbert on at 11:30, and Craig Ferguson holding the fort after midnight, to redefine their late night landscape as the subversive option open to viewers. Only time will tell, as details continue to emerge over the next year.

Colbert himself stated: "Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career. I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead. I’m thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."

Via Uproxx.

Guardians Guard A Little More Of The Galaxy, Everything Remains Awesome

Now that The Winter Soldier has upended the MCU, we have to wait until next spring before we see the full scale repercussions in Age of Ultron. But I'm far more interested in Marvel's fall offering, the largely divorced-from-events Guardians of the Galaxy, of which the first "clip" has been released.

It's essentially just a reedit of the first (wonderful) trailer, providing a longer look at the initial, Indiana Jones-inspired sequence, though still obviously heavily edited down. but I suppose this begins the long tease that will carry through until August, when we'll see if Marvel's biggest gamble since Iron Man pays off. I'm going to guess they'll be fine.

After the jump, get a look at the Guardians Lego sets, of which the "Knowhere Escape" and "Milano Spaceship Rescue" will be mine.

[Review] - Justified Season 5 Finale, Episode 13, "Restitution"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
There was a dichotomy at work in this final episode of Justified's fifth season. In some respects, it was a much more subdued wrap up that we're used to on this show. No one got their arm cleaved off, there was no assassination, and while there was a shoot out, Raylan was far from the front line. They went for a more measured, calm approach. A calculation rather than a confrontation. And despite teh show being famous for it's gun play, it work in the episode's favour.

The other side of the episode felt much more like a season premiere. With the comfort zone of knowing that they are coming back for one final year, the writer were able to set up all the pieces for next season here. They know the direction their are heading in, and are raring to go. As Yost explained in his weekly postmortem, it was setting up the prospect of "one more thing before I go," a line that will surely define both the series and the characters as they both conclude.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that, like everything, is gonna be fine.

9 Apr 2014

At Disney World, The Pirates Of The Caribbean Don't Eat The Tourists

The internet is occationally, mostly a horrible place. Full of the disappointed, disillusioned, and just plain dickish. But I've always appreciated that, if you are looking for completely unfiltered opinions of things, people are willing to give them to you. I don't know how many terrible smart phones I haven't bought and how many crappy, potentially murderish hotels I haven't stayed in because of advice from the internet.

Mandatory put together this just terrific fake Yelp review page for Jurassic Park, and I'm still giggling at it. From top to bottom, this page is glorous, from the the terse "no" under Good For Kids? to the subtle How To Make A Terrible Sequel link (though that's not fair; The Lost World isn't really a Jurassic Park movie - ask me about that later though, I'm busy right now). I'm particularly fond of the "suggested link" to the side: The 20 Worst Places To Drop A Deuce.

The bathroom from Snakes on a Plane has to have made that list.

Via Mandatory.

First By Sea, Then By Land

I really have nothing to add to this extended look at Godzilla, other than I'm very much looking forward to this film. It's just beautiful looking. Not to the extent that, say, Hannibal is stylized, but some of these shots look like poetry. With a massive radiation monster in the middle of it.

[Review] - Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episode 17, "Turn, Turn, Turn"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Studios
So... Sitwell really wasn't the Clairvoyant.

This week, SHIELD finally accomplished what was meant to be the point of the series from the start, with a fully integrated episode with the larger MCU. It coexisted alongside The Winter Soldier, adding depth and explanation to the aspects of the film that the film needed to gloss over in favour of maintaining it's pace. The purpose, as it was sold to us, of this series was to do just that. To be able to take the time and examine the finer details of the MCU. The series was meant to be the fine sword to the film's blunt hammer. And we got that here, in an episode that managed to balance it's own growing story lines with the dramatic revelations of the film. The characters were invested and engaging, some of them for the first time, and the twists were genuinely earned. For the first time in it's run, the show approached being good. And not just good-for-SHIELD, but good in general.

Hit the jump for the the review, which contains spoilers for this episode, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

8 Apr 2014

Don't Thank Me Until You See It

There are other films coming out this year that I'm looking forward to seeing, but maybe none that I'm more interested in than Chef, the latest film from Jon Favreau. When it was announced last year, most people took it's premise (a chef who gets fired form his main stream job, only to open up an independent food truck) as being strongly autobiographical about Favreau' experiences being fired from behind the camera of Marvel's Iron Man series, only to follow it up with Cowboys Vs. Aliens, a movie devoid of any passion whatsoever. It also, for an independent film, boasts a cast of Favreau himself, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, and Dustin Hoffman (which proves, it's good to have friends).

I'm very much in the mood for a film like this. One, because I like watching earnestly made, genuine films. And two, Hannibal has very much turned me into a food voyeur. And this movie seems like includes a lot of close up of food preparation. I'd make an elaborate insinuation about food frying that comes off as marginally sexual here, but I've made myself half hungry, and need to grab a snack.

[Review] - Continuum, Season 3 Episode 4, "Minute Changes" [Updated]

Courtesy of Relativity Media.
[Update: there appears to be some disagreement as to the proper name of this episode. Showcase identifies it as Minute Changes, while other sources identify it as A Minute Changes Everything. I'm sticking with the originating channel's identifier until Simon Barry himself tells me otherwise (Mr. Barry, I'd be very willing to have that conversation with you).]

The last few episodes of Continuum have been pop culture reference heavy. Last week, Kiera let Star Trek and Wars references go over her head, but my man Kellog clearly used the first season appropriately, took the time to learn the important stuff, and has enough cultural awareness in his pocket to make a burn on Geordi La Forge (to be clear, no one bad mouths The Forge).

This was another emotionally heavy and tonally dark episode, as Julian resurfaces just in time for the youth of Vancouver to get all riled up, and for Carlos to come this closer to breaking. If he hasn't already. It's pretty hard to tell, but my goal post has always been whether or not you drink in the company of corpses. If you do, you might have broken already.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that can only ever be that one thing.

[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 4 Episode 1, "Two Swords"

Previously on Game of Thrones...

And now, on Game of Thrones...

7 Apr 2014

[Review] - Hannibal, Season 2 Episode 6, "Futamono"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
I watched two films last Friday. One was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the other was the newest episode of Hannibal. After one, I was confused and distraught and more than a little disappointed. The other had me yelling at the screen, dancing in my seat, and left me breathless afterwards. One was stylized, but empty. The other was stylish, and imbued with intent. One nearly ruined my evening, the other raised it to salvation. And I never would have guessed that the latter of each of these examples was the TV show on NBC.

Talk about a wallop. After an episode last week that I (and I alone, apparently) reacted less than warmly too, this week made up for it by unleashing the full might of both Hannibal and Hannibal. It was a mythology heavy episode, drawing on the established past and the presumptive future. It wove itself around the narrative like a snake constricting it's prey, than squoze out shock after twist after surprise.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers which off their compliments to the chef.

[Review] - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Consider this the dissenting opinion: I didn't like The Winter Soldier. Or rather, more about it bothered me than kept me engaged, especially in the latter half, when things take a turn. Technically, this is perhaps Marvel's most mature film to date (which is reasonable, and expected), and the Russo Brothers demonstrate a keen knack for directing this kind of adrenaline infused action. But the script pivots on a plot that I just don't buy. And considering that the film's sole purpose as a story is to sell me that story, I walked away considering it a failure.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers for both The Winter Soldier and Agents of SHIELD.

John Pinette Has Died

John Pinette has died at the age of 50, in Pittsburgh. Natural causes have been confirmed as the cause. Pinette was best known for his friendly, good natured stand-up routines, which focused largely on cuisine and his personal experiences as a larger gentlemen. Self deprecation was his main stay, rarely staying a bad word about anyone but himself (and even then, jokingly). Familiar to audiences as the carjacking victim in the final episode of Seinfeld, or as the operatic Bumpo in the Thomas Jane-lead Punisher film, he achieved acclaim when he toured with Hairspray, in the role of Edna, and continued the role on Broadway.

I first became aware of Pinette when he performed at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal years ago, at which he was an audience favourite. He toured with his routines extensively, and I had the fortune to see him live three times, as his tours always made sold-out stops in my area. The word jolly is often used as a polite way of referring to heavier, jovial individuals, but I can think of no better word to describe Pinette. He exuded joy in his performances, and clearly loved standing in front of audiences and making them quake with hearty, belly laughs. His voice was a happy, friendly one amongst the crowd, and it'll be missed.

Via the CBC.

4 Apr 2014

Outlaw Dinosaur Country

Dammit, Jurassic World, stop becoming increasingly interesting! The Hollywood Reporter reports that Archer's Judy Greer, and Merlin's Katie McGrath have been added to the aesthetically appealing and talented cast of the Jurassic Park sequel. Lauren Lapkus has also reportedly joined the film.

There is no added description of what their roles will entail, but the report does include details that Chris Pratt's character will be a cowboy-style dino wrangler for the new park, and Bryce Dallas Howard's character will be a scientist working for the new owners. If I was a betting person, I'm going to guess that Greer will be the emotionally cold assistant to either Irrfan Khan or Vincent D’Onofrio. Just a type-casting hunch. Greer is more than capable of playing whatever role they give her. Maybe the ape skills she's honed on the Planet of the Apes got her cast as one of the raptors?

Via /Film.

Angry Is As Angry Does

Robin Williams has a new movie coming out, and that's always a time to pause and wonder if it'll be good or if it really won't be. Because the man does not have a consistent track record when it comes to his films, and the comedies tend to be his weakest link. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn might have potential. Believing he has 90 minutes to live, Williams sets about to correct the errors of his life, which isn't the most original idea in the world. But with a cast that includes Peter Dinklage and Mila Kunis, you hope that performances might make up for shortcomings.

Seven Minutes In Fargo

FX has released the first seven minutes of their new limited series, Fargo. Just enough to establish the tone, a couple of the characters and get us really excited for it's April 15th premiere. And enough to gives us a look at how similar and how different the series will be from the film. It looks solid thus far.

3 Apr 2014

Aardman Still Does It Better

Shaun the Sheep is tehnically a spinoff from the Wallace and Gromit short, A Close Shave. Like everything Aardman does, the series is brilliant, and now it will be brilliant in cinemas. Shuan The Sheep The Movie will see release in 2015, and a teaser has been released that made me laugh harder than the last three whole American animated movies (that didn't involved Dutch building blocks).

The plot will involve Shaun going to the Big City, so one assumes directors/writers ark Burton and Richard Starzack watched Babe: Pig In the City to understand what not to do.

This Is Funko's Design

I've appreciated Funko's POP! Vinyl line of licensed characters from a distance. The sheer range of the collection is inspiring, and the figures are fun. But their newest license might tip me over into admirer in possession, because they've announced they'll be adapting the characters of NBC's Hannibal into adorable little psychopaths. 

I've never wanted a button-eyed Vinyl wendigo as much as I do right now. No word on when they'll be available, but I'd like to think sooner rather than later. Of course, I'm still waiting for Archer action figures, so who knows.

Via Fearnet.

[Review] - Justified, Season 5 Episode 12, "Starvation"

Courtesy of Sony Picture Television
The penultimate episodes of Justified tend to be doozies. Not that the finales don't pack punch, but the 12th episodes bring to an apex the crescendo of tension that has been building all season, capped off with one last act that sets off the powder keg in the finale. Season 5, despite it's more meandering gaze and less than steady climb, did not fail us. This episode was a flurry of activity, and it brought together every player, every plot, and every tangent the season has taken us on, and wove them together into a single fuse. Which Raylan then saw fit to light.

But it shouldn't have come as a surprise. The show never works as well as it does when Raylan and Boyd are standing side-by-side.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that do what they do.

2 Apr 2014

Something's Hickey

This isn't news, but this past weekend I was watching Airplane! (because you don't need an explanation for doing so), and was surprised to see Breaking Bad and Community's Jonathan Banks playing one of the air traffic controllers. His largest scene in the film is in the clip above, he appears at 38 seconds. But earlier in the film, his actual joke involves checking the temperature of a turkey. 

When he was cast as Hickey in season five of Community, I was surprised. His role as Mike on Breaking Bad (which we'll reprise in Better Call Saul, meaning he probably won't be available for a season six of Community if NBC gives that to Harmon) made him famous, but I didn't expect him to go hard into comedy. Though, his roles in Community, and as Ben's dad on Parks and Rec are essentially adhering to the Abrahams/Zucker/Abrahams model: getting serious people to say absurd things earnestly makes them hilarious. So maybe, it makes perfect sense, and is beautifully cyclical that he appeared in Airplane! all those years ago.

The lesson here: go watch Airplane! You learn things if you do.

[Review] - Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episode 16, "End of the Beginning"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Productions
A new episode of SHIELD, you say? And a good one to boot? What trickery is this? Where is the irregularly scheduled, poorly written show we've come to expect these long, intermittent months? You must be cautious, writers and producers of this mostly disappointing show, you'll be giving us hope once again. Of course, with six episodes left (and all scheduled to air in concurrent weeks!), there is ample opportunity for them to snatch that hope back from the precipice of our lips. But for one evening anyway, they gave us 40 minutes of television that was engaging, and actually made you want to watch more. In fact, I very much want to see what happens next week, completely separate from the fact that The Winter Soldier opens this weekend. 

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that assume they are at least Level 2 material.

[Review] - Continuum, Season 3 Episode 3, "Minute To Win It"

Courtesy of Reunion Pictures
One of the aspects of the series that impressed me early on was how it ignored the ease in which it could have slipped into being a police procedural. There were in season one, and occasionally still are, episodes that play the investigative side of the series pretty straight. This was one such episode. What continues to set Continuum aside from other series, which might be tempted to sit on their hands and allow the procedural aspect to lazily carry the series, is that they use the standard tropes to advance their mythology.

With the new timeline established, the framework in place, and the tension between the Alecs making life difficult for everyone, episode three felt like it was done the clean up of season two, and threw explaining things in a clear and projected voice. We've shifted back to standard operating mode, adding layers and answers questions in less than obvious ways.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that once tried to explain to their significant other that they were from an alternate timeline. It didn't work.

1 Apr 2014

April Fool's Day Sucks

I hate April Fool's Day. Always have. I hate practical jokes, I hate being intentionally mislead, and I hate that people get pissy at you when you get angry at them for their stupid pranks.

I hate it even more now that the internet is a thing. Newspapers never used to print false headlines on April 1st. The evening news never used to just make shit up. And yet, and yet, it is par for the course on the internet, where websites will all turn into a less clever version of The Onion for the day, and just make stuff up. Worse, companies will do it too, announcing casting news for movies, or "reveal" new products, or unveil marketing campaigns for stuff that some of us are actually excited for, and then on April 2nd turn around and scream "April Fools" like their the cleverest little shits in the world.

And what's worse, is that not everybody does it. So you have real news being released along side fake shit, and the fake shit tends to play it straighter than Leslie Nelsen in Airplane, so you have to spend all of the 2nd sorting through everything to find out what's real and what's not.

So don't be expecting any more posts today. The Continuum review will be up tomorrow, along with Agents of SHIELD, if ABC actually broadcasts a new episode (maybe that's an April Fool's Day prank too). Thursday might be lean as well, but hopefully by Friday, all the bullshit will have been drug into the street and shot.

For a more succinct illustration of my feelings towards April Fools Day, hit the jump.
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