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About me

I'm Jason. I'm a film, literary and pop culture enthusiast. Got a soft spot and deep love for animation, comics and nerdy things that go in tandem with them.

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RS: 100 Greatest Singers (100 items)
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Recent reviews

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Straight Outta Compton

Posted : 1 day, 19 hours ago on 8 February 2016 05:07 (A review of Straight Outta Compton)

Straight Outta Compton is sprawling to the point where it begins to feel like its sputtering to the finish line. While it commits many of the same sins of other biographical films of influential artists, this one at least captures the specificity of time and place that birthed them. It’s in those moments that Straight Outta Compton is most vivid and entertaining, showcasing the police brutality and dearth of opportunities that fueled their music.

 

Sins of omission plague Straight Outta Compton. Not only are members like Arabian Prince, MC Ren, and DJ Yella given short shrift, seemingly trotted out only for group shots that transform them into superhuman figures marching to do combat with racist power structures, they’re non-existent as characters. Even worse is the complete lack of female characters of any depth or meaning. Most of the female bodies on display are purely for the male gaze, and the pioneering work of female artists like JJ Fad, who helped pave a way for NWA, is completely absent. No shock that Dr. Dre’s alleged past as a woman-beater is completely absent, he’s listed as one of the major producers.

 

If you can get past these problems, which are the major ones but not the only ones, then Straight Outta Compton has plenty of recommendations in store. Leading with a terrific ensemble, with truly great work done by Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing his real-life father, Ice Cube. Eazy-E gets the biggest story to play out, as he transforms from a drug dealer to acclaimed rapper to an early celebrity causality of AIDS, it’s one of the more dynamic and tragic modern stories in rock and roll history.

 

Speaking of modern history, while Straight Outta Compton traffics in many of the typical beats of these stories – shady management deals, rise and fall and redemption, in-fighting, mismanagement of funds – it is positively electric when it establishes a specificity of place and time. Was Compton of the 1980s so different from the political strife we’re seeing in Ferguson? The police brutality there needed a black lives matter movement, and a scene where they’re targeted in front of a recording studio is infuriating for how little change has occurred. NWA was only speaking truth to power, an ugly truth that a majority of the country didn’t want to see or couldn’t, and a scene where they witness their albums getting destroyed in protest before a concert is quietly powerful. It may not be one for the ages, but it’s important as documentation of recent history.

 

The cinematography from Matthew Libatique is evocative and moodier than the norm for films like this. Riots, raucous parties, the realities of life in the ghetto are deeply felt for a variety of reasons. Straight Outta Compton is only as good as any particular scene playing at the moment, and quite a few of them are knockout. The best may be the extended sequence at a Detroit concert in which they’re threated to not play “Fuck Tha Police,” do so anyway, and the concert descends into a hellscape.

 

Where it dips is in the scenes that feel more routine than anything else. Paul Giamatti manages to bring some depth and feeling to his questionable manager, and the script offers him some complexity, but it still feels like we’ve been here before. But a few scenes manage to capture the glory and joy in creating a work of art. Dre’s impromptu session with Snoop Dogg laying down the vocals for “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” is a microcosm of improvisation leading to something of value. Or the first scene of Eazy-E’s awkward rap skills being finessed and honed by Dre’s guiding hand. The scene is played for laughs, but it is level of detail in documenting their creative process that much of the film sorely lacks.  



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Boy and the World

Posted : 2 days, 13 hours ago on 7 February 2016 11:10 (A review of Boy & the World)

Boy and the World is not subtle in its political ideals, and the introduction of this element is jarring and clunky, but I’ve never seen another movie that looked quite like it. When it’s working its particular charms, it’s transporting and invigorating, a collection of geometric patterns rendered as colorful as possible. It’s in these moments that Boy and the World works best.

 

Some may complain that beautiful visuals for the sake of beautiful visuals are empty cinematic calories, but I say they’re wrong. Boy and the World looks like a pre-school child’s highly imaginative drawings brought to two-and-a-half dimensional life. At times it looks like it was drawn with crayons, other times like pastels, maybe even colored pencils, and it’s hypnotic in its purity.

 

Then it introduces its political concepts, heavy-handed messaging about industrialization and the disparity between the haves and have-nots. These themes are not anything new, and they’re not presented in any exciting way. The incorporation of live-action footage becomes incredibly distracting despite only being a few minutes worth of material. The longer the film goes on the darker it becomes, leaving behind the sweetness and innocence of the first forty minutes for a hard-eyed cynicism.

 

But I still greatly enjoyed the whole experience. The music is joyful and infused with the rhythms of Brazil, the country it’s imported from, and it frequently works in glorious harmony to punctuate the visuals. And those visuals! Numerous images are breathtaking in their simplistic beauty and wonderment. The music and joy of the common people fuses into the presence of a gigantic colorful bird in one scene, and in another hills transform into waves in a frightening storm.

 

It may not be completely coherent in its narrative, there’s no dialog besides some gibberish and all of the characters look exactly alike, or tonally consistent, but it’s worth the effort to seek it out. GKids goes out of its way to find charming, unique, daring and beautiful animated films from around the world to bring to the US, and this is another of their great finds. Boy and the World is unlike any movie I have ever seen, and for that I am grateful.



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Trumbo

Posted : 4 days, 15 hours ago on 5 February 2016 08:54 (A review of Trumbo)

The pyrotechnics of the real Dalton Trumbo are strangely muted in this film, which positions him as some noble hero and Hedda Hopper as a crazed megalomaniac. It’s far too simplistic in its worldview, and only occasionally entertaining as a piece of Hollywood history. Even then, it plays fast and loose with the truth of the situation, preferring to paint everyone on the blacklist as lily white innocent victims. I firmly believe that they were unjustly victimized, but they weren’t all saintly people. To present them as such is dishonest, and to present their opposition as dumb paranoids is just lazy.

 

Trumbo just don’t want to present a SparkNotes style spin on the era, but rather tell a redemption story of Hollywood itself. That sound you hear is the film simultaneously clapping and slapping itself on the back. Still, it does have some highly entertaining moments. Helen Mirren tears into Hedda Hopper for all of the malicious, high-camp villainy possible. I half expected her to show up in a scene asking if she could skin puppies to make a coat. And the parade of stars and moguls from the studio era are fun to watch, even if most of them don’t look or sound remotely like their counterparts.

 

Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward G. Robinson is a finely done portrait, even if Stuhlbarg doesn’t quite effectively capture Robinson’s unique vocal rhythms and patterns. David James Elliott as John Wayne is shockingly well done, even if the script wants to portray Wayne as a dumb cowboy type. Cristian Berkel and Dean O’Gorman as Otto Preminger and Kirk Douglas look the closest to their real-life counterparts, but the script doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Preminger enters as a kooky foreigner, benign but strange, and Douglas talks through his teeth and squints, entering the film with a halo over his head. While John Goodman has a great time as B-movie titan Frank King, and his energy is infectious.

 

Towering over Trumbo is Bryan Cranston’s central performance, which is very good. I’m both shocked to find him in the Best Actor Oscar race, not because his performance isn’t worthy, but the surrounding movie doesn’t know what to do with it. Cranston captures Trumbo’s world-weariness and off-kilter vocal cadence, is stuck playing scenes that alternate between saccharine, a distinct lack of subtlety, and are entirely reductive to the reality of the events. A scene where Trumbo explains communism to his daughter is overrun with cheap emotional pleading, and no matter how valiantly Cranston tries to spin the material into gold not even his massive talents can manage it. And that is the biggest problem with Trumbo, it takes an oddly shaped figure, and sands off all of the prickly corners and sides into a smooth flat circle. 



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Shaun the Sheep Movie

Posted : 4 days, 15 hours ago on 5 February 2016 08:54 (A review of Shaun the Sheep Movie)

Ok, so maybe it’s not quite as wildly inventive as any of the Wallace and Gromit stuff, but Shaun the Sheep Movie is a great way to spend 85 minutes. It’s so damn charming, fun, funny, sweet, and warm. There’s also something very pleasing about the tactile nature of stop-motion animation to me. Consider that a personal quirk, but trust me, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a great time.

 

Completely absent of dialog, Shaun the Sheep Movie tells its story entirely through grunts, whistles, visual cues and copious amounts of sight gags. Shaun is bored with his life on the farm, and goes about tricking the farmer into falling asleep and running off to the big city for a holiday. Except, naturally, mishaps pile up one after another, mistaken identities, and general anarchy. Parts of this extended vacation reminded me of the loose cattle tearing through the city in Buster Keaton’s Go West.

 

The constant bombardment of jokes meant that not all of them will hit. There’s far too many fart jokes for my taste, but I suppose they were trying to appeal to a younger audience with them. Much better are smarter gags like the introduction of various residents in an animal shelter, including a cat paying homage to Hannibal Lecter, a turtle marking days on a wall, and an intensely staring dog. Or another gag which has the sheep causing people to fall asleep by jumping over a gate. An obvious joke, sure, but still gets a giggle for the self-awareness of the sheep in doing it. Praise be to Aardman for creating leisurely paced family entertainments which know that a never-ending barrage of pop cultural riffs is not humor, just laziness. Even in its weaker moments, Shaun the Sheep Movie is kind of thing we need more of from American animation. 



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Joy

Posted : 1 week ago on 2 February 2016 07:27 (A review of Joy)

While I’m no great fan of David O’ Russell, I have enjoyed his movies in the past. I think they’re frequently sloppy, but highly entertaining, mish-mashes of broad comedy and theatrical melodrama like The Fighter, and sometimes they’re just fun excuses to watch movie stars doing questionable activities like American Hustle. But I’ve noticed ever since he first garnered some Oscar love, that his work has increasingly become more erratic and half-baked. Joy is probably the most half-baked and ridiculous film of his to come out yet.

 

Split into two different chunks, the first half is a quirky family comedy-drama, leaning harder on the comedic equation, told with narration from Diane Ladd’s grandmother character, and a reoccurring soap opera interlude. The second half drops both of these ideas, and many others along the way, to focus heavy on the dramatics involved in inventing a mop, business start-ups, and shady deals. The swing into the second half is abrupt, and the dropped comedic elements turn Joy into a quickly deflating balloon.

 

A good performance could salvage it, but Jennifer Lawrence is wildly miscast in the leading role. The role requires her to transition and age over a twenty year period, and she’s far too young for much of the story. Her acting frequently feels surface-level, play acting at bitter divorcee with two young children. I generally think that Lawrence is a talented actress, her work in Winter’s Bone is phenomenal, but Russell insists on placing her in roles that don’t align with her age or experience. It could be avoided like it was in American Hustle by giving her plenty of large-scale comedic moments to embrace her inner screwball goddess, but that’s not here.

 

This doesn’t mean that Lawrence doesn’t kill in a few select scenes, but this same problem creeps into the supporting players. Russell is gifted in assembling a top-notch ensemble, but he doesn’t given enough attention to many of them this time around. Virginia Madsen is wasted as a soap opera addicted reclusive, Diane Ladd disappears as Joy’s inspirational grandmother, Elisabeth Röhm plays a half-baked antagonistic half-sister, and Dascha Polanco as the best friend is given little to do but be window dressing in various scenes. The only supporting players that make any impression are two Russell mainstays and two newcomers. Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper continue to impress in Russell’s ever-shifting demands on them as actors from project to project, and Isabella Rossellini brings her European enigma and ethereal beauty in an important juicy role, while Édgar Ramírez delivers sarcastic one-liners as Joy’s best friend/ex-husband.

 

Yet it doesn’t add up to much of anything. The movie is largely ridiculous, as the first half plays like a blue collar sitcom done in the style of John Cassavetes, and much of it just doesn’t work. Interpersonal relationships are ill-defined, and the dramatics they’re supposed to cause are uninteresting as a result. Too much of Joy can’t decide on which mode or style it wants to operate in. Is this personal film-making, or is this commercial prestige picture shorthand? It’s both, and while it never stops moving for a second, much of it will be leaving you questioning its choices instead of enjoying the marks it hits.



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Spotlight

Posted : 1 week ago on 2 February 2016 07:27 (A review of Spotlight)

Spotlight, based upon the Boston Globe’s 2002 expose on sex abuse within the Catholic Church, is a film that takes a familiar story, but pulls back the curtain to reveal the blood, sweat, and groundwork it took to uncover it all. It presents Boston not as a sprawling city, but as a small-town mindset, heavily under control of the church and prone to closing ranks to protect its own. It would sound absurd if the text at the very end didn’t occupy three slides worth of cities with their own sex abuse scandals.

 

How could something like this have happened? Well, it’s easy to understand when you step back and look at the bigger picture. There’s an element of class issues at play here, with poorer sections being heavily involved and dependent upon the presence of a religious institution. If that institution has enough power in that area, it can easily hide behind its power to silence detractors and whistleblowers. I applaud these journalists for exposing this breach of conduct, and while it hasn’t completely reformed the institution, it has caused massive cracks to show.

 

In-between new revelations of just how deep this corruption goes, and well-paced potboiler elements, Spotlight allows for human faces to react to the horrors. While spilling out the skeletons of the local community’s closets sounds like a great way to endanger their careers and cause massive emotional fallout, they just keep going. By 2003, the Globe’s Spotlight team had published hundreds and hundreds of articles detailing survivor’s stories, names and locations of priests, and the in-house corruption that led to a constant reshuffling of clergy members.

 

There’s a complexity at work, but it never feels too hard to understand or too self-indulgent upon its own importance. As this small team of journalists stare down a massive problem, completely unaware of how deep it goes, they look for answers and where to place the blame. Each of them has a moment of awakening that there is no one place to lay the blame, that it extends to everyone, and dumb luck was the only thing keeping them from becoming a victim.

 

The ensemble is a tightly moving unit, with every player delivering solid work. What’s most refreshing is that no major scenes were added in which the actors could genuflect and emote to the heavens. It’s a quiet movie, filled with quiet, lived in performances with small moments that linger for their naked emotions and complex thoughts. Michael Keaton’s slow burn realization that this happened at his own high school, while he was a student no less, and he escaped through the happenstance of picking a different sport is a reminder of what a tremendous actor Keaton is. I feel as if he is undervalued, and such quiet work is no less effective or memorable than his larger fury in last year’s Birdman.

 

Orbiting him are Mark Ruffalo as a reporter to starts off curious and slowly goes manic as the case unfolds before him, Rachel McAdams as the quiet, sincere heart of the film, Brian d’Arcy James who recoils in horror as he learns just how close this threat is in his neighborhood. Ruffalo and McAdams have a wonderful scene where they discuss how the case is shaking them to their core, with McAdams listening intently, and reflecting on her inability to go to church with her grandmother anymore, afraid of how heartbroken she’ll be once the story is published. I believe the entire ensemble is award worthy, and it’s hard for me to single out any lone performance, but I think this scene nailed the Oscar nominations for McAdams and Ruffalo, in particular.

 

In smaller roles are John Slattery as a Globe managing editor, Liev Schreiber, an actor who can go wildly over-the-top forced to underplay to great effect here, as the new newspaper editor, Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci as lawyers on opposite sides of the case, and Len Cariou as Cardinal Law, so unnerving and gentle in equal measure. Again, it’s hard to pick out a standout, as everyone here is turning in some great work. Accents are hard for some actors, but none of the ones heard here dip into cartoon-ish Bah-ston of dropped r’s and harsh consonants. It feels natural, and the flavor of the town is palpable.

 

If Spotlight has any problem, it’s in the nondescript direction. One could argue that Tom McCarthy was getting out of the way of the case, and refusing to sensationalize or somehow treat this material as salacious. This is true, Spotlight is very respectful and measured in its treatment of the facts, but one glance over McCarthy’s minuscule filmography and one can gleam no personal style. He’s a workman director, and he does fine work here, but his nomination seems more like overriding love for the movie than anything else. Oh well, there have been worse nominees (and winners) in Oscar’s past. If the movie’s overall flavor and tone is like a redux of All the President’s Men at times, hey, that’s not a bad movie to be compared to.



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The Hateful Eight

Posted : 1 week, 4 days ago on 29 January 2016 05:39 (A review of The Hateful Eight)

I’m not sure what about this particular script screamed 70mm to Tarantino, but it’s there, and only of benefit in the outdoor sequences. The claustrophobic set, or well it should be, looms too large, and like many things throughout this movie, is far too in love with itself. This has been a frequent problem of mine with Tarantino, a deep love affair he has with his own writing, an inability to edit, and a preference for coded racial language and hyper-stylized carnage. Sometimes this can be fun, like both volumes of Kill Bill, but The Hateful Eight takes three hours to say vague things, and uses one character as a literal punching bag.

 

The Hateful Eight is something of a confirmation of my opinions of Tarantino’s art, which is that of cartoonish, emotional stunted violence wrapped in a specific language. The film is more like a play in that it is nothing but a series of drawn out monologues and passages upon passages of dialog. A sense of the creator looking down upon his dialog and gleefully thinking it was the greatest thing ever written.

 

But what is the point he is trying to make here? Is it about racial tensions? Is it about revenge? It’s all so vague, and it goes nowhere very slowly. Bodies contort and fly as ribbons of blood fly out of them, but to what end? For us to just scream “Fuck yeah!” in mindlessly entertained fashion, I suppose. A director like Martin Scorsese uses violence to illustrate points, not merely for shock value or entertainment. Scorsese makes bullets look painful, Tarantino makes it look like gleeful play acting.

 

Even worse is the obsession the various male characters have with beating on the lone female, who has been made the focus of a good deal of violence. Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has no agency, no memorable personality, and is most likely to linger in your mind for the excessive amounts of violence she’s subjected to. No matter how great Jennifer Jason Leigh tears into the role, and she is fantastic, going all in on her character’s spitting, manic laughing, and indulging in the subhuman wraith-like characteristics, what exactly did her character do to get singled out for the most amount of violence?

 

Quick deaths happen for many characters in the movie as bullets rip their bodies apart, but Daisy get a series of punishments. Within the first fifteen minutes she’s sported a black eye, been pistol whipped, and punch in the face. As the movie the progresses, she’ll get her two front teeth knocked out, get blood vomited on her, her nose broken, have the viscera of a character’s exploded head smother her face, and get the most horrific death in the entire film. Other characters are far worse, and deserve more karma aligned fates, but Daisy enters the film chained to her captor, and she exits the film in a similar manner. Daisy is never let off of the chain for long, and even when she is, she’s at the mercy and machinations of the men orbiting her life.

 

The only character who is as memorable as she is, and equally for questionable reasons, is Samuel L. Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren. He’s the smartest character, the closest thing we have to a moral center in this nihilistic hellhole, and yet…. Tarantino gives him a monologue, which Jackson tears into with gusto, about the rape and murder of another character’s son. Repeatedly forced to use the word “dingus,” which I guess is to make us laugh at a black character’s description of his genitals, the whole monologue just feels ugly, and childish. Tarantino is well-known as a lover of racial questionable language, his scripts are peppered with the word, but it sometimes felt as if it had a larger point. Here he just feels like empty provocations, made all the more glaring by Jackson’s delivery of the line about black folks only feeling safe when white people are unarmed. Even worse, so many of these provocations don’t feel like they’re building to a larger point, but simply stoking the fires towards reactionary moments.

 

I said I didn’t know what Tarantino was building slowly towards, and I still don’t, and The Hateful Eight plays out like a series of interconnected set pieces. The scenes become formulaic after a while. We know they’re going to play out with large passages of dialog, then erupt in violence, go back to being calm, then more dialog, another kill, stillness, and repeat until end credits. The pacing is off, and it wanders all over the place.

 

Which is a damn shame because there’s a few things to admire about the whole thing. Sure, the choice of 70mm, which is great for a large scale outdoor epic, is odd, but his production designers, costumers, and makeup artists brought their best work. Even better is Ennio Morricone’s first original western score in decades, and it plays everything for dread and creeping violence. And some of the performances, even if the characters are half-baked in the script, are truly wonderful, Leigh and Jackson are the standouts, but Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, and Tim Roth all delivery great work.

 

I’ve long felt that Tarantino was nothing more than a pastiche artist, more inclined to sensationalism and knockout set pieces than making truly great films. He makes nice entertainments, but he didn’t earn any of his provocative word play or scenarios in this one. The swagger is there, but this is just ugly and hateful, spinning out gore and profanities to not greater point. Much like Daisy’s monologue in the final chapter, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was all one long bluff, a mask for an angry, dark work trying to say something. But I don’t even think it knew what it wanted to say.



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The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 26 January 2016 08:05 (A review of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes)

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the animated property that Marvel fans have long been hoping for. Directly adapting numerous issues from the early days of Avengers lore, this series finds the right balance super heroic action-adventure shenanigans and quiet character development. Naturally, it only lasted a measly two seasons before being shuffled off for a new series that rips from the MCU for inspiration.

 

Bright and colorful, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes begins with the original five from the comic book: Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp. After assembling that team, it quickly adopts new members in Hawkeye, Captain America, Black Panther, in a slow burn across the first season. During the second, we see Ms. Marvel emerge after her origin being teased in season one, Vision, tied to Ultron in a reoccurring second season story, and a second Ant-Man.

 

If there’s any problem with that main group, it’s a distinct lack of diversity. Cameo and repeating supporting players like Iron Fist and Luke Cage provide more colorful personalities and mix-up the hegemony. The series also has a lack of meaty female players, with Wasp and Ms. Marvel being the beginning and end, with Abigail Brand and a few others getting the short end. Maria Hill is particularly wasted, a character rich for emotional development, she’s too one note throughout. Black Widow gets some play, but much like the films she never gets her defining moment, always performing tasks for Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

But where the series excels is in playing with the many strange locations and stories hidden with the Marvel universe. Sure, we get to play in Asgard, but we also get to see the Skrulls, Kree, Wakanda, S.W.O.R.D., the Negative Zone, and practically everything else that Disney/Marvel can throw in without having to give Fox any money for X-Men related properties. Hell, even the Guardians of the Galaxy show up, with a roster close to the film but with a few added members. It’s charming to see so many cameos and appearances from these beloved entities and locales.

 

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes sees the Avengers continuity as a giant treasure chest, and they make great use of it. Not every episode will be a winner, but a consistency quickly develops among the episodes, and seeds planted in earlier episodes do eventually bloom. At times it can be frustrating wondering if they’re going to loop back around to those hints, but they always do. I can’t remember any hinted at story that wasn’t given some play within these episodes. And the finale finds the heroes and villains teaming up to take down Galactus, which is a well-known and frequently re-done story in the Marvel universe. It ends with New Avengers material as a possible third season trajectory.

 

While Marvel may have the live-action market, the animated front has largely been DC’s strongest format. More animated series like this and the playing field would have been evened out. Sadly, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is something of an outlier in Marvel’s animated series output. But if they can muster up this greatness once, I’m sure that they could do it again.



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Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 26 January 2016 03:52 (A review of Batman: The Brave and the Bold)

One weird and wonderful love letter to the Silver Age comics, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is, in its own strange way, just as expertly conceived as Batman: The Animated Series. They attack the mythology from different sides, and for different ends, but they both do it with great joy and smarts.

 

Forsaking the dark, grim, and brooding characteristics of many recent Batman adaptations, The Brave and the Bold instead relies upon a dry, ironic wit, sight gags, and loads of puns. There’s a tongue-in-cheek quality that makes many of these episodes quite appealing, showing off the fun and joy of superhero stories and comic book ridiculousness. This version of Aquaman ignores the tremendous pathos of the character in favor of a heavily glazed ham baking slowly. It works, and it works really well, just as a case in point.

 

But wait, you ask, why are you mentioning Aquaman in a show about Batman? Well, The Brave and the Bold is a team-up show, much like the comics of the same name or the World’s Finest comics. Instead of focusing on Batman and Robin, who does appear sporadically, this show places the emphasis on lesser known heroes, like the Guy Gardner and Jay Garrick versions of Green Lantern and the Flash. Superman and Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Batgirl and other well-known Batman allies appear in special episodes, but it’s more fun watching him team-up with this B-list roster, and the creators have more freedom in their interpretations of them.

 

While the series if openly flamboyant, even aggressively silly, it is also unafraid of going dark, or meta. The final episode, which finds Bat-Mite becoming bored with the series lighter tone and joke-a-minute pace, wanting something darker, and deconstructing the series, is a gem. It’s everything wacky and wild about Silver Age comics written in bold text, filled with exclamation points, and dynamic poses. As a comic fan, I found this series refreshing, proving that darker isn’t always better, it’s how successfully the material is handled that matters. 



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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Posted : 2 weeks, 1 day ago on 26 January 2016 01:10 (A review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Ok, so that spinoff movie, and backdoor pilot, left a bad taste in your mouth, I get that. Trust me, I understand. You feel burnt badly by the general frustrating nature of the prequels? I’m right on board with that. I’m looking you in the eye and telling you I understand.

 

But trust me on this, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is great. Of course, not every episode is golden, and a few stories could have done with some judicious editing, or just not made it past the initial development phase, but as a complete work, The Clone Wars is fantastic. It’s every shade and texture of the Star Wars universe writ large.

 

One week we’re watching a thrilling western with a group of bounty hunters, the next it’s a prolonged political thriller in the Republican Senate, and after that there’s something childish involving droids. Not all of it works, but it explores every facet and idea of Star Wars can be, and I appreciate its scope and vision.

 

It delves deep into the mythology, explaining and exploring the imbalance of the Force, and the original Jedi and Sith temples. It demonstrates the training necessary to become a Force ghost, or assemble a lightsaber, or what it takes to make it through Jedi training. It’s thrilling and engaging, unafraid to go very dark and mature, or balls-out weird and wild. The Clone Wars is what the prequels wanted to be, but failed.

 

The first season or two features clunky and blocky animation for the main characters, and their interactions with the environments are cursory and strange, at best, but stick with the show and it becomes gorgeous and fluid. By the final season, the animation is dynamic and alive, the characters movement contain more grace and balance, and the environments are things to get lost in. I’m particularly fond of anything having to do with Asajj Ventress and her home world of all-powerful witches.

 

This series is an action-packed love letter to Star Wars, bridging the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. By the time the final episode rolls, we can see where the chaos and imbalance of the Force is going, setting the stage for the original trilogy and beyond. This is some of best storytelling in the expanded universe, and luckily, for us, Disney has let it remain canon. So what does a Star Wars story look like? The Clone Wars has some surprising answers, and they’re very malleable. 



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Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Oct 26 17:23
Posted: 2 years, 10 months ago at Apr 8 14:36
hi friend check out my new list .
hope you like it and thanks for your
time
http://www.listal.com/list/love-these-posters
Posted: 2 years, 10 months ago at Mar 30 14:02
This might just sound schize, but thanks for re-writing my "Pocahontas" review-- saves me the trouble of figuring it all out *again* myself, a-hahahaha....
Posted: 2 years, 10 months ago at Mar 18 22:57
Thanks for participating in my lists.
Sorry, but you can't do another top, really sorry.
But thanks.
Posted: 2 years, 11 months ago at Mar 10 18:22
Thanks for taking part in my musicals list!

I also know how you feel, I found it hard to limit my choices down to 10.
Posted: 3 years ago at Jan 19 23:47
hey friend check out my new list. hope you like it
http://www.listal.com/list/reflecting-beuty
Posted: 3 years, 1 month ago at Dec 21 16:14
Hello there! I enjoyed your review of Dracula and took myself the freedom to link it to my Universal Horror Films - Best to Worst list. Hope you're fine with that!
Posted: 3 years, 6 months ago at Jul 21 2:52
Thank u 4 your comment on the muses list. Suggestion added.
Posted: 4 years ago at Jan 27 21:05
I'm working on a new project. Maybe you can check it out and help me. From which State are you from? and in which State are you living right now?

http://www.listal.com/list/around-usa-listals-members

(I may have asked you this already earlier, in this case, apology for the inconvenience!)
Posted: 4 years, 6 months ago at Jul 16 13:06
I'm working on a new project. Maybe you can check it out and help me. From which State are you from? and in which State are you living right now?

http://www.listal.com/list/around-usa-listals-members
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago at Nov 18 1:19
O.O Thanks!!
Posted: 7 years ago at Jan 12 20:17
cool reviews =]
Posted: 7 years, 2 months ago at Nov 15 17:51
Posted: 7 years, 6 months ago at Aug 12 18:48
Hey man, I see you're pretty new, I'm loving the reviews though! Great job.

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