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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:

Panels of Interest at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo 2015

How do they sound to you?
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Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center this Halloween weekend for the 2015 edition. The three-day event is jam-packed with programming. These are the panels that look to be the most interesting/entertaining with their synopses from the Expo website. Friday, 10/30 Star Trek Stories (Room: 518, 4:00pm) - Hear from the saviors of Star Trek TOS, John and Bjo Trimble, and classic Star Trek writer David Gerrold about Trek's early days. Mr. Gerrold became a fan of a show and began submitting stories to become scripts, eventually leading to "The Trouble with Tribbles" and many novelizations

Wizard World Tulsa 2015: Too Legit (And Sick) To Quit

My second Con experience found me with wife in tow and sick as a dog.
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Last year, I attended my very first Con (Wizard World Tulsa, you can read all about it here). I had a great time then so I was quite excited when I learned they were coming back this year. The lineup wasn’t nearly as interesting as the last one, but this time did come with Bruce freakin’ Campbell, who I figured was worth the price of admission all by his own bad self. I even talked my wife into buying a ticket. I had hoped to actually dress up this year. I think I could make a pretty stellar Doctor (the

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Thank You'

Thank you - no thank you.
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In which Kim and Shawn reflect as they deal with the loss of a major character. Kim: Psychologists will tell you that the first stage of loss and grief is denial. Let it be known that I am 100% in denial. I don’t believe that Glenn is gone. I will not acknowledge the probability that his guts became the end product of a horrific sausage factory. I don’t believe that Glenn is dead because Nicholas shot himself in the head. I don’t believe that Glenn is gone, I won’t admit I might be wrong. I do not like the way

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'JSS'

Rave reviews for episode two except for the haircuts.
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In which Shawn and Kim reveal they each need more than five points to list their reactions Shawn: 1. The B&W Experiment is dead. Long live full, living color. This episode played on their strengths and didn't try to be all arty and shit. The more I thought about the previous episode the more disappointed I was that they couldn't tell a good story and give the viewer credit for keeping up with it. I hope we see that entire first episode in color at some point. This week we had some subtle points that went under the radar but

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'First Time Again'

Triumphant return of The Walking Dead.
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In which Kim and Shawn welcome back The Walking Dead for its sixth season. Kim: I don’t know what I can say about the season premier of The Walking Dead. I actually had several points I wanted to make about it, and then I got lost in my own thoughts and lost 90% of what I was going to say (not that it was useful anyway). My train of thought this morning went a little something like this: 1) I’m not sure what I thought of the black and white vs. color to denote what happened vs. what was currently

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'The Good Man'

Includes the answer to the question, "was the ending enough to bring me back for another season?"
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In which questions are asked and answered by Shawn and Kim about the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead. Shawn: 1. Was sitting through five mediocre episodes worth that ending? In short, yes. I watch too many shows where the arc is just the opposite - the best episodes are at the beginning and there's a slow decline to the end of the season. This build felt like they pay off was worth it. We got to see actual walking dead doing their walking-dead thing. They are "new" walking dead and seemed to be much more aggressive going about

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

"Hold on for another week, I think you'll love me someday." - Episode 5
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In which Kim has questions and Episode 5 (Shawn) has answers. Kim: Episode 5, I kind of liked you. You gave us palpable tension. We saw that the Army dudes weren’t just carting people away to kill them (yet). We got to see an actual zombie, named Kimberly. There are several little things and character developments that were introduced in this episode, and with the end of the mini-season next week, we’re obviously not going to get to them all. We’ve got the new guy in the detainment cell with Nick. We’ve got Alicia and Chris demonstrating teen angst and

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'Not Fade Away'

The dead have disappeared.
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In which Shawn and Kim are grateful there are only two episodes left. Shawn: Well, I got what I asked for. I've wanted to see more of the daily life as the government cracks down and people are still completely unaware of what is happening. We've progressed another week since the military first arrived at the end of the last episode and they've developed a small community inside their neighborhood "safe zone". It's not unlike what we've seen in The Walking Dead and I think it's an interesting phenomenon for humans to want to keep recreating a comfortable, idyllic neighborhood

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'The Dog'

The third episode moves the needle a bit.
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In which Kim and Shawn search for something positive to say about Fear the Walking Dead. Kim: Maddie! Travis! Liza! Alicia! Nick! Chris! I have all of the main family’s names memorized halfway through this short series. This is nothing short of a miracle, especially for characters I have zero regard for at this point. But wait! There’s the barber shop family! I don’t remember the patriarch’s name. The chicks are Ofelia and Griselda or something similar. Hey, I’m close and that’s all I need to be. Having not had much of anything to say about the first two episodes,

Doctor Who: Dark Water / Death in Heaven in 3D Review

Watching Doctor Who on the big screen is always a treat.
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We’re kind of in love with Fathom Events here at Cinema Sentries. We constantly promote their shows, many of us have written reviews of them (I myself have written two, not including this one). At some point you have to wonder where we cross the line from critics into shills. Thing is they really do put on fantastic events. From advanced showing of upcoming films to putting the classics back on the big screen, plus opera, world class theatre and more special events than you can imagine - often packed with behind-the-scenes peeks, interviews and commentaries - Fathom is creating

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'So Close, Yet So Far'

"Is this a parallel universe where no one has ever seen a zombie movie, except for that one kid?"
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In which Shawn and Kim (and some fictional characters) offer advice to the gang from Fear the Walking Dead. Shawn: I intercepted some correspondence from The Walking Dead characters. I've quoted just some of the pertinent parts. 1. Carl writes - "Hey, Matt. Get your crap together. I was shot and whined less than you. And Chris, put away the camera and get some knives. I almost bit it like four times by messing around. Everyone get their shit together before your dad goes crazy and starts killing other dads." 2. Shane writes - "Travis, go ahead and sleep with

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

At least we have Sunday Dead again!
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In which Kim and Shawn offer their initial thoughts on the first epiosode of the Fear the Walking Dead. Kim: 1) Boys who dress in midriff pirate shirts are asking for trouble. 2) I have no idea what the characters' names are. I think the father figure dude might be Travis. The Mom is maybe Angie, but I don't really think so. The kids are girl, druggie, and emo boy. Hopefully, I got that right. I do know the first girl you see turned in the church - she's Gloria. That is really the only name that I'm certain on.

Wizard World Chicago 2015 Review: It Was a Good Show

The convention was, in a word, insane.
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So I went to Wizard World yesterday (August 22, 2015) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, where the event has been held for… I’m not really sure how long, but it's been there as long as I can remember and probably even before that. That said, my memory is a little hazy these days, due in no small part to some of the activities I participated in whilst attending Wizard World events of days gone by with the variety of n’er-do-wells and miscreants that I call my friends. Anyway, after a fairly long stretch of attending the event and

James Bond Meets the Author of All His Pain in the New SPECTRE Trailer

Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.
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The official synopsis: A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine

Doctor Who: The Daleks (2015) DVD Review: Purchase It Just for the Tom Baker Story

BBC Entertainment releases a recent Daleks Greatest Hits but the real gem is a 1975 classic hidden on Disc 2.
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The latest release from BBC Home Entertainment brings together a diverse collection of recent episodes to satisfy the true Doctor Who fans. The thing about compilation releases is that you are going to have to generally be familiar with the characters and history to enjoy the references and continuity issues. It's hard to review as a single story because Doctor Who stories exist in order and are not necessarily meant to be viewed singularly. Here's what you get with the purchase of Doctor Who: The Daleks. "Dalek" featuring the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) The reboot of the series was only

Book Review: Star Trek: New Visions Volume 2 by John Byrne

These new voyages fit right alongside the old ones.
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In Star Trek: New Visions, John Byrne tells of the lost missions of the starship Enterprise under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. Through the use of images from the Original Series combined with new material such as characters and dialogue, Byrne creates adventures that have an air of authenticity because we see the familiar faces of the actors. Volume 2 collects issues #3-5 and contains an all-new story with something for those who read Gold Key's Star Trek comics. "Cry Vengeance" tells the origins of the Doomsday Machine from the episode of the same name. "Robot" is a

Tabloid Movie Review: The Legend May Be as Insane as the Truth

Errol Morris looks at obsession, sex, and media in Tabloid.
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Director Errol Morris has interviewed serious subjects like Robert S. MacNamara and delved deep into harsh topics like the justice system and the history of time itself. So it can only look like he's run out of ideas with the frothy, utterly ridiculous documentary, Tabloid. And you'd be wrong in that summation because Tabloid takes a crazy story, told by someone who seems to define the world, and opens it up into an examination of gender, the media culture, and the power of religion. At time's hilarious and ridiculous, Tabloid sounds like a fun documentary, but indicates that we haven't

Star Wars Celebration 2015: The Biggest Star Wars Convention in the Galaxy

The world's largest Star Wars convention offered stars, cosplay, exclusive merchandise and recreated film sets.
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Feel like getting an autograph from Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, or Anthony Daniels? Still want that autograph? The biennial Star Wars Celebration took place over the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, an occasionally frustrating experience in extreme fandom. This was the place for fans so hardcore that they camped out overnight for the chance to attend a panel that the rest of the world was able to instantly enjoy via livestream from the comfort of their home/office. Sure, that panel debuted the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer and featured old and new stars live on stage, but

The Fog of War Movie Review: Hindsight is 20/20

"An unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
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Robert S. McNamara served from 1961 to 1968 as the Secretary of Defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Errol Morris' documentary has been put together through interview sessions with McNamara, White House audiotapes, and archival footage. A large portion of this film examines his involvement in regards to both the Cuban Missile Crisis and The Vietnam War, two momentous foreign policy episodes that occurred during his tenure. McNamara’s earliest memory is of Armistice Day 1918 as the end of World War I was celebrated. It was called “the war to end all wars,” yet humans have

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. Movie Review

A simple man asking simple questions with complex answers that he cannot understand.
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What happens when a simple man asks simple questions that require complex answers that he cannot understand? This is what Errol Morris explores in his 1999 documentary Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. During his childhood, Leuchter’s father worked in the Massachusetts correctional system as a transportation supervisor. Leuchter, Jr. would often go to work with his father and grew up seeing the humanity of the prisoners his father worked with and not just their criminality. He learned illegal skills from them like lock-picking and safe-cracking as well as other things he said helped him

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