"…it is the final arc in the series that gains The Clone Wars the most traction, an ambitious and thoughtful epic whose reach is enormous while never exceeding its grasp. The "Lost One" arc, four episodes long, ties together loose threads from throughout the Star Wars universe so cohesively that it transcends Prequel apology and becomes a reverberating spine that holds the whole effort - movies, and television series - together like sympathetically vibrating tuning forks."
I spent the weekend re-watching the Prequels with my co-pilot R2-D2, and spent Monday night tying off the last of the Clone Wars with the Netflix “Lost Missions” addendum. It was a good night. Read my review here.
It is the kind of neurotic shell game, a thought experiment for the too-clever and frighteningly depressed, at which Soderbergh excels. Solaris is a profoundly troubled, and troubling, film, an existential crisis bottled in glowing gems and long-forgotten sighs.
Once a year I look at my favourite toys from the preceding year. When I stopped buying a bunch of toys annually, and kept it to a relative handful (no wait: an actual handful!), this started getting less of a “top ___ list” and more of a “here’s what I did” list. Still, I’ve ranked them in order of awesomeness, because toys are awesome. There’s even a bit of psychological justification below, for those of you shaking your heads and wondering what my mother did wrong.
#1: Hot Toys MMS 188 The Dark Knight Rises Selina Kyle
It’s kind of a pick-‘ems in the top slots here but I think Catwoman edges out Loki by a nose. (She has a lovely one.) This must be the only instance of rooted hair in my whole collection, which is (admittedly) a bit funky and will probably only become funkier over time. But Selina is blessed by the presence of her fancy eyewear and goggles, which do a good job of keeping those runaway locks clamped down; and the Anne Hathaway sculpt is fucking phenomenal. The only real problem is the price point, which is becoming Hot Toys’ major problem anyway. I think I paid $240 here? For a figure with a single accessory (Bat-pod not included)? That’s way on the high side. For comparison, the identically-equipped Black Widow from Iron Man 2 ran $140, just three years ago.Read more
#2: Jigoku de naze warui (Why Don’t You Play In Hell?)
#3: Before Midnight
#4: Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari
#7: Only Lovers Left Alive
#8: The Lone Ranger
#9: Frances Ha
Welp, this year is basically impossible. You know that insane renaissance in TV that has been happening for the last couple of years? I’d argue that 2013 saw it happen in mainstream comics, too. And for that reason among many others, the only way I can accurately award the Best Title this year is to give it a four-way tie:Read more
“Well I sure as hell am not going up there sober.”
The popular “best” of the four Star Trek: The Next Generation feature films, Star Trek: First Contact is actually my least favourite. It’s hard for me to imagine a more stupidly, or crassly, conceived franchise property than this. The film drips concept rather than storytelling, and is clumsy and inorganic, a rabble of unconnected story points and ideas built around a greedy base premise (“make a Borg movie - cuz they’ll like that”) while skipping the step where the film is telling any kind of interesting story. It’s nauseating to watch the crew of The Next Generation get put through such meaningless paces as this, especially in the big-screen debut of their most successful foe.Read more
"…those who didn’t like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (or, heaven forfend, The Lord of the Rings) won’t find anything in The Desolation of Smaug to curb their distaste. It’s long as fuck. It’s a wholesale embellishment upon a relatively slender tale. It lacks the clear(er) narrative thrust of, well, a trilogy made out of an existing trilogy."
In which I pay my final visit to the Clone Wars, closing the loop on what turned out to be, in many ways, my favourite Star Wars storytelling since I was seven years old. Read my full review here.
1. We’re not gonna put periods between all the letters of SHIELD any more. On a related note, the title is terrible. It should just be SHIELD.
2. The primary casting is awful. I literally can’t tell the four main characters apart - or at least, I can’t tell the two boys apart, or the two girls apart. I know we’re on network TV here, but this must be one of the most egregious examples of casting a supermodel-ish Life Model Decoy where a regular human being would have been better, like, ever.
3. And the look is awful. Alias, back in 2002, had a more dynamic visual style than this, from both a photographic and design perspective. This is piss-poor in the extreme, and in the post-LOST world, doesn’t pass muster. Firefly was gorgeous to look at. Dollhouse, less so. SHIELD, even less so yet.
4. And other than those 3 things, I was happy as a pig in slop watching this. A lot of this was due to things, though, that I expect to be peripheral to the show - I loved J. August Richards, was a little bit too excited when Ron Glass showed up, want a Cobie Smulders / Maria Hill action figure so bad, and could watch Ming-Na Wen kick the shit out of HYDRA agents (because come on!) for a good three or four seasons. I also like the Scottish guy’s accent, and thought J’s final monologue was terrific. I could take or leave the flying car.