So the idea of “having it all” was a big lie, right? It is nearly impossible to balance and give equal time to a fulfilling career, a stable relationship, and full-time parenting, with room for leisure time, hobbies, and staying fit. Something will fall to the wayside somewhere, sacrifices will have to be made that will either affect us now or affect us later. But women, we’ve been hearing this nonsense for decades, right, about how with the perfect day planner or the number one meal delivery service or the best ten-minute workout we can do it, we just have to want it bad enough. But not too bad, because ambition is an ugly thing in women. But, on the other hand, so is laziness. Add “find the right balance between too ambitious and not ambitious enough” to the list of things we have to do. Continue Reading →
The Horror of Dolores Roach
On a fundamental level, The Horror of Dolores Roach confirms that old chestnut, “You can never go home again.” The titular Dolores Roach (Justina Machado) tries it twice over the course of the limited series—adapted from a Gimlet podcast which, itself, was adapted from an off-Broadway play—and each time finds an increasingly hostile environment has overtaken the “home” she knew. Continue Reading →
The character of Velma Dinkley inhabits a strange place in the Scooby-Doo franchise. In the context of the shows, she is arguably the most integral member of Mystery Inc, as her intelligence and skepticism make her most likely to solve the mystery first. However, as a supporting character in a franchise that focuses on Scooby and Shaggy’s antics, she is pushed to the sidelines and most viewers remember her catchphrase of “Jinkies” more than they remember her. Continue Reading →
Season Two of Reservation Dogs opens with the aftermath of last season. Elora (Devery Jacobs) left fellow Rez Dogs Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor) high and dry as she ran away to Cali with Jackie (Elva Guerra), one of their group's sworn enemies. They’re all trying to grow up and move on from their haunted pasts, and their friend Daniel’s (Dalton Cramer) death still lingers. Will a prayer and Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” be enough to lift the curse and bring the Rez Dogs back together? It’s a slow-burn season, balancing the drama and the comedy of the teens coming of age both on and off the reservation. Continue Reading →
Hollywood's year-long hiatus on major comic-book adaptation movies has left ample room for streaming services to pick up the slack and then some. Amazon, for example, has wisely curated high-profile releases from existing superhero stories that subvert the genre in ways that would probably ring unfamiliar if attempted by the more mainstream Marvel and DC fare. The Boys is all about poking a gory hole in how superheroes can be vapid, unchecked, and even monstrous celebrities. Invincible just ended its first season with a bang of a finale, taking its colonizer version of Superman to task. And then there's the curious case of Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy. Continue Reading →
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Returning to score these characters for the first time since Captain America: Civil War, Jackman brings his usual fanfare and frenetic action scoring to the table, expanding themes he originated in his previous work to a much larger, longer palette. Sam's theme, formerly a three-note quick motif between action beats, gets its own blues-tinged variation to pay homage to his Louisiana roots; Bucky, meanwhile, gets a softer, more melodic version of the Winter Soldier theme to contrast with the cacophonous shriek that heralded him in his debut feature. And the Captain America theme gets its own complications, now that the man holding the shield is a little less trustworthy than he used to be. Continue Reading →
Pacific Rim: The Black
Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 sci-fi blockbuster Pacific Rim certainly has its core group of dedicated fans, but I was never among them. The characters fell flat, the jokes never landed, and even the action sequences lacked suspense. Far from the worst action films, but also nowhere near among the most memorable, I went into Netflix’s anime twist on the story with a healthy dose of skepticism. Continue Reading →
Like any human being, I am predisposed to like Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. The man is charisma incarnate, a shockingly charming person who has proven to have not just skill, but that ineffable something that true stars possess. So know I don’t take lightly what I am about to say. Continue Reading →
Amazon's adaptation of the Roberto Saviano novel is far too passive and jumbled to capture your interest.
“Look at cocaine and all you see is powder. Look through cocaine and you see the world,” says the tagline to Roberto Saviano’s book, ZeroZeroZero. Now an eight-part mini-series on Amazon Prime, the show promises the same. It purports to be the whole picture of the cocaine trade from the Italian buyers to the Mexican sellers to the American brokers. We follow the effects of a single shipment of cocaine on the lives of people spread across multiple continents. Unfortunately, showrunners Stefano Sollima, Leonardo Fasoli, and Mauricio Katz’s attempt is unwieldy and unfocused.
Reviews of the source material reported similar issues, with Saviano’s narrative often lacking, well... narrative structure. You’d hope that the show would seek to correct this by streamlining Saviano’s many interviews into a cohesive picture, but it ends up replicating them instead.
It does simplify the cast of characters, however. We focus mainly on three sets of people: the tumultuous relationship between an Italian mobster grandson (Giuseppe De Domenico) and his grandfather (Adriano Chiaramida) who plan to buy the cocaine shipment; the American brother (Dane DeHaan) and sister (Andrea Riseborough) brokering the deal; and the Mexican soldier turned narco (Harold Torres) doing the selling. Continue Reading →
Dispatches from Elsewhere
Jason Segel gives us an energetic journey with compelling characters to balance a campy premise.
About halfway through the first episode of AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere, Simone (Eve Lindley), one of the main characters, exclaims: “I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s freaking fun!” This phrase just about sums up this new show, created by and starring Jason Segel. While Dispatches is scripted entertainment, it's based on the documentary The Institute, which explores the hybrid alternate reality game and performance art piece by Oakland based artist Jeff Hull.
From 2008 to 2011, Hull “inducted” thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay Area into the Jejune Institute. He created multiple “episodes” for inductees to participate in, giving them missions with instructions as silly as dancing at a phone box to things as grand as leading a parade. Segel moves the action from San Francisco to Philadelphia but retains the ridiculous and almost cult-like nature of its source material in depicting the on-screen Jejune Institute and its rival the Elsewhere Society.
In the first episode, we are introduced to Peter, an average joe working a dull job. Intrigued by flyers with nonsensical adverts for dolphin communication and human forcefield testing, he calls a number and is invited to an office building downtown. He’s soon roped into a world of intrigue just below the surface of our everyday world, where two entities, the corporate Jejune Institute and more radical Elsewhere Society, frantically search for Clara (Cecilia Balagot), a mysterious inventor whose talent promises to liberate humanity from societal shackles. Continue Reading →