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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review: The Sinking of the Sequel Trilogy

Am sorry to see the film and this new trilogy falter as much as it did.
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This franchise became so controversial after The Last Jedi I should probably state where I stand in the Star Wars wars. As stated in my reviews, The Force Awakens has “enough entertainment to satisfy fans new and old, even though the script is filled with repurposed plot points and questionable character motivation.” “The plot [of Rogue One], specifically character choices and motivations, is not well thought out, and at times the film gets a little too inside baseball for those not part of the cult.” The Last Jedi's “plot is overstuffed and at times nonsensical, leading to a lot of

Five Cool Things and Wonder Woman 1984

My last cool things until 2020
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It is, as the song says, beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Around here anyway. The tree is up, stockings are hung, presents are piling around the room. We don’t have a fireplace and there is no snow, but Christmas is certainly coming. This means two things for me and this little column. This time of year means the prestige, Oscar-hopeful films are all in the theaters and the big boxed sets and designer blu-rays are being released in hopes of catching all that Christmas money. I’ve spent the last week or so watching numerous films in a couple

Five Cool Things and No Time to Die

Even a head full of junk can't keep me from cool things.
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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I enjoyed some time with my family (who I don’t see that often even though we all live in the same town) and ate way too much turkey and pie. Obviously, I took the week off from writing about Five Cool Things, but I did, in fact, consume many cool things over the last few weeks, so let’s talk about them. Briefly. Truth be told, this post-Thanksgiving week I’ve felt pretty miserable. Change in seasons always mess with my allergies and this week has been a doozy. I’ve not been sick-sick, so I’ve

Five Cool Things and Honey Boy

I watched some movies this week, and rediscovered an old game.
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This week, I saw consumed some new things, but mostly revisited older ones. I also found and rediscovered things I thought were gone. I bought a Kindle back when my eight-year-old daughter was just a baby. I bought the cheap one, without any fancy software that lets you do things besides reading (because I knew I'd do everything but read on it if it was available). I wanted to be able to read with one hand so I could hold her in my lap while doing it. I loved it. Still do, actually. I'm still a huge fan of real

Five Cool Things and Knives Out

Who needs Disney+ when we've got the Criterion Channel?
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Disney+ launched this week and it seems to be all anyone can talk about. When it was initially announced, I was excited about it. Figured I’d subscribe the very first day, and thought it might be a replacement for Netflix. Now that it's launched, I find I’m not all that interested. The thing is I already own the good Marvel movies, or I’ve watched them recently, and the other ones I’m not all that keen to see again. Ditto with the Star Wars films. There are some Disney animated films I’d like to see again, but those aren’t the type

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Blu-ray Review: A High-Quality, High-Definition Experience

Fast and furious enough to please fans and those looking for a ridiculous action movie.
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The folks behind the Fast & Furious franchise took two of their most bankable actors, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham to lead the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw and followed the series' successful formula: over-the-top action scenes set around the world combined with a focus on family. The movie was previously reviewed this summer. The Blu-ray's video has given a satisfying 1080P/AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 2.39.1. The colors shine in brilliant hues. Blacks are inky and whites are accurate. These elements contribute to the strong contrast which is most evident during the split-screen introduction of our

Five Cool Things and Martin Scorsese Takes on the MCU

I am joined by a guest this week.
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We are right smack in the middle of Noirvember and it has been super fun reading everybody's discussions on the various film noirs they've been watching. My own experience has been pretty good. I've seen some excellent noirs, some not so excellent, and I've gotten distracted by films that aren't noirs at all. I finished a couple of horror films that I didn't get to during last month's 31 Days of Horror film watch. Also cool this week, I am joined by a guest and fellow Sentry, so let's get started. The Blob (1958) The wife and I started this

Five Cool Things and The Witcher

Halloween may be over but we've got some scary cool things to talk about.
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My apologies for missing last week. My wife and I both came down with some nasty cold/allergy/flu thing and I just wasn’t up to writing about cool things when I was feeling so bad. But never fear, dear reader, I consumed many cool things during these last two weeks and I am ready to talk about them. Today, is, of course, November 2nd, which technically means the end of Halloween season (and begins the most excellent Noirvember), but for one more day, we will be talking about a lot of horror movies. So sit back, grab your best stabbing knife,

Five Cool Things and The Laundromat

Cool things abound this week, come inside and find them.
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My wife’s folks are in town for the weekend and my daughter is dying for us to take her to the pumpkin path so let’s get to what was cool this week. And Soon the Darkness This very British and very early 1970s thriller finds two young women traveling through the French countryside by bike. After a heated argument, one of them travels to the next village while the other stays back to sunbathe next to a small grove of trees. She is never seen again. The film then follows the first girl as she tries to find out what

Five Cool Things and Robert Forster

With Autumn come many cool things.
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It is finally starting to feel like Autumn around here. After an unseasonably hot September, October has come and with it cooler weather. I love this time of year. I love getting out the sweatshirts, roasting marshmallows in the backyard fire-pit, and watching the leaves change. October also means Halloween, our annual pumpkin-carving party, and horror movies. I spent a lot of time in September mapping out what horror movies I’d watch this year and then promptly ignoring it (so far). I don’t know, exactly, what I love about horror movies but I’ve loved them as long as I remember.

Five Cool Things and 1917

It has been a long week but I'm here (if a little late) with some cool things I discovered.
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My brother spent this week in Japan with his son, my sister, and her husband. The sister told the nephew that they’d take him anywhere in the world when he graduated high school. He chose Japan. Mainly because he is a gamer and they do a lot of that stuff in that country. They seem to be having a blast. Here stateside, things have been a little tougher. When I’m not writing about cool things, I run a little family business with my dad and that brother. With him gone, the father figure and I have had to pick up

Five Cool Things and El Camino

Come read about all the cool things I discovered this week.
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It's the weekend. Let's get to it. The MCU's Captain America If you’ve read my writings in these pages over the last few years then you know my relationship with the MCU has changed several times. I’ve gone from complete indifference to kind-of liking it to full-on fandom in the 10-plus years they’ve been making movies. What this means is that while I have seen all of the movies they weren’t always watched as a fan, so I really need to watch them again. My daughter, who is younger than the MCU, has not seen many of those older ones

Five Cool Things and Ric Ocasek

Let's hope next week is cooler than this one.
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I went to a late showing of It Chapter Two last night. It was not good. It was not cool. I watched several movies this week which were also not cool (some of which you can find reviews of on this site). I started Doom Patrol yesterday and immediately regretted it. If this article feels a little sparse this week, you now know why. If I don't watch something that blows me away soon I may have to turn this article into 5 Kind of OK Things. Kid Icarus Every now and again, I like to play some old games

Five Cool Things and Friday the 13th

I might be getting old, but I'm still watching cool things.
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This getting older thing is kind of a bummer. The other day I was bemoaning how old I'm getting and noted that I'm already 42 stinking years of age. My wife kindly reminded me that I'm actually 43. I'm now on blood-pressure meds, I wear reading glasses, and I've got to watch my cholesterol. I used to be a night owl. I'd stay up to all hours of the night and still be able to get up for work and get things done. For the last few years, I've been able to stay up until midnight but after that, I

Wizard World Tulsa 2019 Review: My Last Con, This Time I Mean It

I'm too old (and grumpy) for this stuff.
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Several years ago while chaperoning a group of college students through Europe as part of a study-abroad program my wife was leading, we took a cruise through the Greek islands. I was clearly not enjoying myself and one of the students gave me a piece of advice. She said that the way to make a cruise fun was to realize that you were stuck on a boat for a few days and that even though most of the entertainment was cheesy and dumb, that was all you had. So you might as well make the best of it. Take it

Five Cool Things and JoJo Rabbit

With a week this cool, it is hard to believe it's still technically summer.
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It has been a weird summer. June was filled with torrential rains, flooding most of the area for weeks on end. It was for the most part unusually cool. Oh sure, we had several days in the mid-90s but I don't think we ever broke 100 degrees, which is super weird for Oklahoma. We mostly stayed in the upper-80s, which is quite warm but nothing like the horror show summer usually is. Now that it is the middle of September, when temperatures should start cooling off, we are back in the mid- to upper-90s. Who knows what the winter will

Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders DVD Review

Although the end of Jon Pertwee's run, this serial is a good introduction to the character, the mythology, and the actor in the role
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Doctor Who is a long-running British science-fiction television series featuring the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey whose adventures see him travel through time and space. Over the years, different actors have starred in the role, and to compensate for the realities of the television business, Time Lords were given the ingenious ability to regenerate their bodies when they die. Planet of the Spiders is the 74th story of the Doctor and concludes with the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) regenerating into the Fourth (Tom Baker). It debuted in six weekly parts beginning May 4, 1974 on BBC 1

Five Cool Things and Terminator: Dark Fate

School might be back but I'm still discovering cool things to talk about.
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School is back in full swing, which always messes with my media consumption. The lazy summer, full of long days watching interesting TV shows and fascinating movies and reading great books, has now turned into evenings that become a blur making sure homework is completed, papers are signed, and baths are taken. Soon enough, the girl will be back doing Girl Scouts, art class, and gymnastics, and we'll hardly get an evening to ourselves. Not that I'm complaining. I enjoy that my daughter is involved in so many activities and living a full life. Well, maybe I'm complaining a little

Five Cool Things and The Mandalorian

I'm ready to talk cool things once again.
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Welcome back to Five Cool Things, the weekly article where I discuss all the interesting, really good, and very cool things that I’ve discovered over the past week. I took the long, hot summer off but I’m done with all my vacationing, school is starting back, and I’m ready to talk cool things once again. I watched and read a lot of interesting stuff over the summer and I don’t have time to talk about it all, but here are some of the coolest things I consumed over the break. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown The Criterion

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Ticket Giveaway

Experience the adventure in movie theaters nationwide on September 15 and 18.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures to award one lucky reader a pair of tickets to see their presentaton of Star Trek—The Motion Picture, which is playing in hundreds of select movie theaters nationwide on September 15 and 18. To find a theater near you, check www.FathomEvents.com. For those wanting to learn more, read Gordon S. Miller's review of the film and the press release below: In its first nationwide cinema release since the film premiered in December 1979, the original theatrical cut of Star Trek—The Motion Picturewill include the film’s soaring overture by famed

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Blu-ray Review

DS9 fans should be pleased with this love letter.
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What We Left Behind, a riff on the title of the series finale "What You Leave Behind," finds Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr hosting this look back at the fourth Star Trek TV series, the “middle child” of the franchise in terms of respect. And that opinion doesn't just come from some Trek fans whose angry reactions are read by cast members, but seemingly the executives at CBS Television Studios as well considering it took thousands of folks listed in the end credits to help finance the project through Indiegogo. Over about two hours, cast, crew members, and

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Movie Review: Keeping It in the Family

The spin-off film retains the over-the-top action the franchise is known for.
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Considering the Fast & Furious franchise has generated over $5 billion at the worldwide box office, it's not a surprise producers wanted to expand it. Plus, separating their feuding stars (Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel) was a bonus. Taking two of their most bankable actors, Johnson and Jason Statham, to lead the spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw follows the series' successful formula: over-the-top action scenes set around the world, and a focus on family. A nefarious organization known as Eteon wants to improve mankind through the use of technology. They plan to use a programmable virus dubbed "Snowflake," which is supposed

Celebrating Its 40th Anniversary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture Returns to the Big Screen for Two Days Only

Experience the adventure in movie theaters nationwide on September 15 and 18.
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Press release: In 1979, the Starship Enterprise flew its very first big-screen mission in Star Trek—The Motion Picture, and to mark the film’s 40th anniversary, Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures will bring this awe-inspiring adventure back to movie theaters for two days only, on September 15 and 18. Tickets to Star Trek—The Motion Picture are available beginning Friday, August 2, at www.FathomEvents.com or participating theater box offices. In its first nationwide cinema release since the film premiered in December 1979, the original theatrical cut of Star Trek—The Motion Picture will include the film’s soaring overture by famed composer Jerry Goldsmith.

Doctor Who: The Animation Collection DVD Review: Four Doctors Are Better Than One

The 2-disc set gathers five previously released stories featuring Doctors, classic and modern.
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Doctor Who: The Animation Collection is a 2-disc set that gathers five previously released stories starring four Doctors. On Disc One, The Infinite Quest and Dreamland feature the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Shada the Fourth (Tom Baker). Disc Two presents two debuts: The Power of the Daleks with the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), and Scream of the Shalka with a non canon Ninth (Richard E. Grant) before the Modern Series was set. The Infinite Quest (2007) was first broadcast on the children's show Totally Doctor Who in 13 installments. Set somewhere during Series 3 as well as the 40th

Once Upon A Time...in Hollywood Movie Review: Middle-Ground Tarantino

A well-acted yet frivolous tribute to old Tinseltown.
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Quentin Tarantino’s previous feature The Hateful Eight was a demonstration of both his strongest and weakest qualities as a filmmaker. His follow-up, the highly anticipated Once Upon A Time...in Hollywood is mainly a showcase for one of his strongest qualities: His love for classic cinema. While there is something to be said about how controversial his filmography is along with his personality, his passion for classic genres always shines through in his work and here, it’s no different. That being said, the nostalgic '60s setting is the only thing that makes this film an ode to old cinema. Because the

Doctor Who: The Krotons DVD Review: Better Than Its Reputation

A solid story and great performance by the core three are hindered by some really terribly designed monsters.
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The Krotons, the fourth serial from the sixth season of Classic Doctor Who has a lot going for it. It is one of the few completely intact serials from the Second Doctor portrayed by Patrick Troughton (a great many of them were copied over or completely destroyed by the BBC before they gave a thought about preserving these things for posterity); it was the first serial written by the legendary Robert Holmes (who wrote such classics as Spearhead From Space, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, and The Caves of Androzani); and it was directed by David Maloney who helmed his fair

San Diego Comic Con 2019: The Star Trek Universe Expands on CBS All Access

See what's in store from the streaming service.
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During the "Enter the Star Trek Universe" panel at the San Diego Comic Con on Saturday, it was announced that Star Trek: Discovery’s season three had just began principal photography in Iceland earlier this month. Actor David Ajala joins the cast as a brand new character, Cleveland Booker, a.k.a. Book, who has a natural charisma and devil-may-care attitude that tends to get him into trouble as often as it gets him out. Star Trek: Discovery season two favorites Ethan Peck (Spock) and Rebecca Romijn (Number One) came on stage to announce that they, along with Captain Christopher Pike, played by

Doctor Who: The Three Doctors Special Edition DVD Review: Three Times The Fun

For its tenth anniversary, Doctor Who brought all the Doctors in for a rather mishandled story, but their interactions make the whole thing worth it.
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It has been said before, but having The Doctor regenerate was a stroke of genius. In the beginning of the fourth season of Doctor Who, it was clear that William Hartnell, who played the First Doctor, would not be able to continue. His declining health and inability to remember his lines was proving too much for the actor and for the series as a whole. The show was still quite popular, had become a cultural phenomenon in fact, and so the producers had a choice: discontinue the series, or put another actor into the role of the Doctor. Replacing an

Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita by Tipton, Tipton, Shasteen, Hernandez, Nieto

Terra Incognita was well written by the Tiptons and had the feeling of a television season.
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In the Star Trek franchise, there is a parallel universe dubbed the "Mirror Universe" where the evil Terran Empire, which rules through terror, stands in place of the United Federation of Planets. Its first appearance was in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," when a transporter malfunction during an ion storm causes the landing party of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to switch places with their counterparts. It was a very compelling episode and the Mirror Universe has been revisited in different TV series and assorted non-canonical Trek media. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita collects issues

Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through the Mirror by Tipton, Tipton, et. al.

The plotting is smart and fun, and it shows the writers have a good understanding of the characters and both universes
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In the Star Trek franchise, there is a parallel universe dubbed the "Mirror Universe" where the evil Terran Empire, which rules through terror, stands in place of the United Federation of Planets. Its first appearance was in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," when a transporter malfunction during an ion storm causes the landing party of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to switch places with their counterparts. It was a very compelling episode and the Mirror Universe has been revisited in different TV series and assorted non-canonical Trek media. IDW's Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken "serve[d]

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