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Kristen's Book Club for May 2016

What's worth reading in the month of May?
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Our Gang: A Racial History of the Little Rascals by Julia Lee The cherubic innocence of Hal Roach's Our Gang series delighted children and adults throughout the nation in the early years of cinema. But as racial politics changed the adventures of Alfalfa and his friends were criticized for their past connections to racism. Author Julia Lee attempts to debunk the cries of Our Gang's fraught past by looking at the series from a racial angle. Blending individual episode analysis with the history of the series, Lee tells the tale of Roach's desire to make a series about real children

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'Ouroboros'

"I may have experienced some nervous energy during last night’s episode. It lasted all of 30 seconds." - Kim
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In which crabs eat zombies eating crabs and most of the best things are the promos for upcoming shows. Shawn: When I saw the really awkward title of this episode, I should have thought that maybe there was something a little different here. And there was. Just a little. But the bar is so low that I need to examine if there was really actual entertainment happening here. 1.) THE LOST DEAD. I guess I was most excited about getting closure from all of those 30-second spots we watched during the last season of The Walking Dead. I was afraid

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'We All Fall Down'

Does "All Fall Down" refer to all the sense in this show currently?
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In which Kim and Shawn try to make sense of the episode. Kim: We’re only on the second episode of the second season and I am seriously not even sure I can continue supporting this show with my viewing. I was happy to see a Preacher commercial, even though it wasn’t an intriguing one. Just the fact that it’s coming in just over a month is more entertaining to me than this show. This episode made zero sense and I mean "zero." So, your boat driver tells you that as soon as it’s clear, you’re heading out again. What a

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'Monster'

T&A are on the job trying to make sense of this season of FTWD.
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In which Shawn and Kim head out on the a one-hour tour with our cast. Shawn: Is this just some backhanded way to get me to watch a show that I might bail on? Is it some morbid curiosity? 1.) PREVIOUSLY ON FTWD. Before that little montage at the beginning (and truthfully afterwards too), I remember these few things about the initial season. Kim Dickens is hot. There's a boat that not-Morgan led them to. Drug teen was annoying. After much teeth gnashing, some lady was killed. And the Army was going to bomb Los Angeles. This show had moved

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Last Day on Earth'

"Sure am glad that’s not how I spent my last day on Earth." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn wonder what could have been. Kim: I spent many anxiety-ridden weeks waiting for the season finale. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was coming. Someone was going to die. Tension was rampant. There were nights spent being irritated at the pace of the show, but hoping that it was leading somewhere incredible. I was ready to be wowed. I was ready to be devastated. As I sat to watch the 90-minute finale, I reminded myself that the only reason it was 90 minutes, was because AMC knew they’d make a killing by selling ad time. There wasn’t

Kristen's Book Club for April 2016

What's worth reading for April?
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Spring has sprung, so let's see what's worth putting on your bookshelves this month. Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick Kate Bolick's book is a mixed bag of personal memoir, feminist history, and biography, all of which makes for good, if patchy, reading. Bolick details the female fear of "spinsterhood," charting its applications throughout history and her own personal fears of being alone. When Bolick takes the time to focus on the actual issues regarding the spinster trope - including the rise of the cat or bag lady - the book takes on a fascinating feminist

Book Review: Star Trek: New Visions Volume 3 by John Byrne

Like the best episodes of the Original Series, the conflicts are believable, the stakes are high, yet there also are moments of humor.
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Growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, before VCRs became commonplace in households, we were limited to the whims of TV station programmers when it came to watching our favorite shows, unlike viewers today who have instant access and can even own copies of them. To revisit Star Trek at one’s leisure in those bygone days, the options were limited. James Blish adapted episodes into short-story collections, and industrious fans recorded shows off the TV onto cassette tapes, listening to them like a radio broadcast. Twelve episodes, selected from all three seasons, were given the photonovel treatment so fans

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'East'

"What would an episode this season be if one of our team didn't get captured?" - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim mostly just worry about what's going to happen next week. Shawn: I fear that we wouldn't enjoy the great episodes of the past few weeks (and essentially all of this season) if we didn't get clunkers like this one. The show still hasn't reached a perfect season and this is one that will keep it short of that this season. I will keep it short and I won't bring up Daryl because I know he's yours. 1. ) THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. I don't know what it sounded like to you when Morgan and Rick were

The Hateful Eight DVD Review: Definitely Hateful, For Better or Worse

The Hateful Eight is a pretty good film, but "pretty good" is well below Tarantino's usual standards.
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Every Quentin Tarantino movie is an event, especially as he continues to threaten to retire eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later. On top of that, The Hateful Eight is a massive Western, with a great cast and a score from Ennio Morricone. It was right up Tarantino's alley, and was worth getting excited about. Alas, it couldn't live up to that excitement, at least not entirely. The Hateful Eight is both expansive and intimate, depending on which portion of the movie we are talking about. Most of it takes place within a haberdashery during a blizzard, with our cast

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Twice As Far'

"There was a lot happening in this episode, but not a lot happened." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn have a few comments on dick biting and stroganoff and hurtle towards the finale. Kim: There was a lot happening in this episode, but not a lot happened. This one will be hard to write up because I was distracted by Daryl, as usual, looking all post-apocalyptic hot and trying to be a hard ass, but failing miserably. I’m going to keep my comments short and sweet because there are some things that I saw that truly bothered me and I’m not fully ready to commit them to writing at this time. Abraham has become

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Same Boat'

"I wish that there wasn't such a thing as the internet to ruin all of the tension in a show like this." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim demonstrate they aren't always in the same boat. Shawn: I only have a few notes for you this week. 1.) PERFECT? My gaze didn't leave the screen at any point in the episode. None of those Carl moments that make me wander to cat videos or reach for the popcorn. I had even poured a perfectly wonderful Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado for the viewing that generally went untouched, except during commercials. I can't call it "perfect" because I think this show still has that episode in its arsenal. And truthfully there was some slow moments

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Not Tomorrow Yet'

"There was a weight to this episode that hasn't been consistent this season." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn muse on the Saviors and if Virginia is just for Lovers. Kim: Well, another week and another episode closer to the end of the season. First and foremost, why aren’t these seasons 22-plus episodes like network shows? It seems so unfair. My thoughts on the latest adventures of our gang will be short because I really felt like I was cheated out of so much this week. First, let me say, I was really glad to see so much of Carol. But. The opening. Ugh. It felt like I was going to see the Double

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Knots Untie'

"We've got all of the makings of a Very Special Easter Edition of The Walking Dead." - Kim
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In which Shawn & Kim discuss the extra dose of T&A this week and a bit of Jesus. Shawn: I was surprised in general that they tried to air an episode opposite the Oscars. Despite being a Top 5 rated show, it's like trying to go against the Super Bowl as far as ratings go. But now I see that they aired the least important episode of the past couple seasons. Anyone who missed this will quickly be caught up on the next "Previously on The Walking Dead". 1.) I'll throw the first Pun Grenade. The title gave me hope

Kristen's Book Club for March 2016

What's worth reading this month.
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I'm an avid book reader and it's because of this avidity that I can read freely under the guise of "working." Kristen's Book Club will help you find the perfect film-related - or should be filmed - book to spend time with each month. We'll also look at upcoming novels soon to be adapted for the big screen. In this inaugural column we'll explore Superman's origins, more from the star of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, and a Hollywood director receiving the biography treatment. Bending Steel by Alan J. Regalado One of the more analytical books available this month is Alan J.

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Next World'

"I didn't hate the episode I just felt like I had tuned into a special-guest-written episode." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim try to decipher how long it was between episodes and how you make a shopping list during the apocalypse. Kim: This was the strangest episode of The Walking Dead that I have ever seen. Let me start off by saying that I was pretty irritated by the incredible time-jump. How long has passed? A month or two? Why are people giving out grocery lists like, “Hey, if you think about it and can find me a bottle of wine and some jalapeno poppers, I’d be grateful”? How do you go from total chaos to everyone

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'No Way Out'

"I'd rank [this episode] in my top 3 of all time. Maybe even top 2." - Kim
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In which Shawn & Kim nibble on the return of The Walking Dead and Daryl's arms. Shawn: So we start off the second half of Season 6 with a bang (too soon?) and in some ways I have less to say about good episodes than I do about the crappy ones. All of these comments are preceded by the note that I love this show. 1. ) No lie, it was worth a "Hell yeah" and a loud "That's right!" when Daryl shot the smelly (my assumption) and unwashed biker gang with the rocket launcher. Welcome back, Daryl. It was

Spectre Blu-ray Review: Ghosts of Bond's Past

Craig and Mendes re-team for an effort that falls short of Skyfall’s heights, but not by much.
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After the nearly universal acclaim and gigantic box office for the previous Bond outing, Skyfall, any follow-up was likely to suffer in comparison, even with the same creative team largely intact. Sure enough, the general consensus upon Spectre’s release seemed to be a resounding “meh” and lower ticket sales, but what all of that apathy masked was that judged on its own merits it’s still one of the strongest Bond films ever. Does the story make complete sense? Nope, but that’s never really been a drawback in this series. Sam Mendes returns to direct an ambitious tale that features the

Thoughtful & Abstract: DC TV

"For every Human Target that comes and goes without notice, there will be a Constantine that leaves far too early." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim discuss the weekly DC Comics-based shows and shirtless heroes. Shawn: I've caught up on most of my comic-based shows recently. One of the newest ones elicited quite a few opinions, so I thought we should touch base on where we're at with these. For every Human Target that comes and goes without notice, there will be a Constantine that comes into our world and leaves far too early. DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW (CW) The latest addition to the Arrowverse is a breath of fresh air. I am not going to deny I love this series

A Thoughtful Solo Adventure with the Outsiders

If you think this write-up is all over the place and confusing as hell, then you know how I felt about that 60 minutes of my life.
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In which Kim strays off the beaten path with Outsiders. Having spent the past 13 months desperately missing my dose of the hotness that was Sons of Anarchy, I was so excited to see that my Opie (Ryan Hurst) was in a new show with his fabulously long hair and beard that made me want to curl up with him in the first place. I sat down with my beer and shitty microwave popcorn to watch Outsiders on WGN. This show had two really compelling reasons for me to watch. The first was that, though totally unrelated, I simply loved

My Favorite David Bowie Songs

Bowie made many musical masterpieces, but it was hard to list them all. These are just a few that really spoke to me.
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David Bowie was a genius, a rebel, a god, and a musical innovator who had no equal. He was brilliant, sexy, and unclassifiable; he was also quite radical. Just like the Beatles, his music defined and refined a generation. When I first saw him, he was like a beacon of light, this beautiful creature who didn't look like anyone I had ever seen. When I first heard his voice, chills went up and down my back like never before. Who was this handsome, androgynous man? Where did he come from? I decided to pick a few of these songs that

T&A Take on TV 2015

A thoughtful and abstract look at the best and worst of TV in 2015.
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In which Shawn and Kim reflect on their favorite televison programs and the disappointments. Shawn: We've had a few opportunities in 2015 to write about the TV shows that entertained and frustrated us. But I thought it would be good to put a bow on the year with the Best and Worst moments of TV 2015. In no particular order. BEST MOMENTS 1.) THE WALKING DEAD (AMC) - We started the year with Tyreese's death and end up with the death of Deanna. In between, we had developments that I didn't agree with and ones that intrigued me. I know

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Start to Finish'

The season comes to a half end and after a little time to think about it, Kim and Shawn react.
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In which Kim and Shawn find themselves happy to be on a break. Kim: Well, here we are. Half-way done with Season 6. Mid-season finale complete. Long break until mid-February. This is the time of year when I’m usually a little bit whiny, wishing there wasn’t so much time between shows. This is just the way it goes when you’re a fan of The Walking Dead. This year, I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life, but nothing stands out quite as much as the strange feeling of gratitude I have that the first half of the season

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Heads Up'

"It's been a season of Epic Fail." - Shawn
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In which great minds think alike and wonder about the general parenting skills of Rick. Shawn: With one episode until the mid-season break, I kind of figured this would be the calm before the storm. But the whole season has generally been a tease that way (and not the good-tease way). I will try to keep the observations short because I see a long write-up for us next week. 1.) Glenn. It was pretty much as we all surmised. And I will stick by my statement from a few weeks ago that it was a pretty logically thin and lame

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Bastard Executioner

In which the bastardness of the executioner is debated and characters questioned.
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The following entries were written simultaneously by Shawn and Kim as a summary of the one and only season of The Bastard Executioner. Any repeated observations are strictly because their twisted minds think alike. Kim: I’m pretty sad that Kurt Sutter pulled the plug on The Bastard Executioner just as I felt it was starting to really get going. I get it though. It was plagued by a pretty complex storyline that really couldn’t be done in an hour(ish) a week, plus, a shitty time slot. I know I had to DVR on Tuesdays and would get around to watching

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Always Accountable'

"This show is quickly losing me." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim try to figure out who is accountable for the mess over the past few weeks. Shawn: Always accountable? Someone's got to answer to this week's episode. Here's my thoughts on what little happened. 1.) C'mon!!! That's what I seem to say every other week. Like an impatient kid on the way to Disneyland - I don't want to stop off to see the world's biggest amethyst. And I really know I don't need to know diabetes girl, cuffed-jeans guy, and his bad babysitter girlfriend. They are so throw away that the only name I remembered

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Now'

"The Walking Dead returned with a little more excitement, and I do mean 'little'." - Kim
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In which "Now" just means "What?" Kim: After the excruciatingly long "Tale of Morgan" episode of last week, The Walking Dead returned with a little more excitement, and I do mean "little." I have to believe that all of the talky and feely and stuff is setting up for an epic mid-season finale - and yes, it’s already time to start talking about that because it’s coming up very quickly. This episode left me with far too many questions, and while I’m used to questions in this show, these are the kinds of questions that I don’t really want to

Thoughtful & Abstract: Catching Up on the TV Season, Volume 2

Kim and Shawn take another walk down TV Street and look back at their March thoughts.
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In which Kim and Shawn riff again on some recent TV thingies... Kim: Back in March, we talked a bit about what we’d been watching on TV that season and I thought it would be interesting to have a look back at what we wrote and see how things have changed. As an aside, I hate change. I realize it’s a part of life and I do put on my big-girl panties and deal with it, but I don’t like it. I also don’t like the word "panties." Or wearing them. But those are different subjects. Let’s take a quick

SPECTRE Movie Review: The Story That Baffled Me

SPECTRE works best when it delivers action, but stumbles when it slows down to tell its story.
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SPECTRE is Eon Productions' 24th James Bond film and the fourth starring Daniel Craig. The title is the name of a villainous global organization revealed to have been working behind the scenes of all Craig’s films, but it turns out the real nemesis is modern Hollywood. While past films with other actors playing 007 have had loose connections to one another, the stories stood on their own, allowing audiences easy entry into the series. However, being made in this era when people bingewatch because some TV series are serialized and multiple superhero titles are set within a single cinematic universe,

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Here's Not Here'

"I am always worried about a whole episode where we abandon our huge cast and follow just one person or story." - Shawn
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In which an episode inspires talk of sex, Star Wars, and Eastern philosophy. Shawn: It was 90 minutes and I feel like I have less to say than I did about any episode this season. 1.) I don't care if it's The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or All In The Family, I am always worried about a whole episode where we abandon our huge cast and follow just one person or story. There wasn't ever an episode of Love Boat that only followed Gopher trying to steal Charo away from Dom DeLuise. I think this show is tempted to

David Letterman Greets Trick-or-treaters

Ding dong.
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As Halloween is celebrated around the globe this year, one of the best traditions associated with the holiday was unfortunately not practiced this year. With Late Show with David Letterman ending on May 20, 2015, and apparently no other show picking up the baton, viewers no longer had the opportunity to see the latest in kids' costumes. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, we here at Cinema Sentries are keeping the tradition alive, so sit back and enjoy. It may even help with that last-minute costume decision. 2014: 2013: 2001:

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