Recently by Shawn Bourdo

Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost DVD Review: Does It Work? Yes, Mostly

Thirty-five years later, our teenagers return to capture the last ghost.
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Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost is the 32nd direct-to-video release of the series. Just let that sink in a second. A show that has been around since 1969 has had 13 different series and since 1998, there have been 32 direct-to-video movies. For a series that is celebrating 50 years, it's amazing how vibrant and up-to-date it can feel after feeling so dated and out of touch just a few releases earlier. I've been reviewing the different series and movies off and on for the past 12 years. This newest release is an interesting finale to the

Best of 2018 Assorted Lists

In which Shawn ranks things that happened through 2018 and counts all the things in his life
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the Return of the Jedi of my "Best of" trilogy. BEST OF THE REST 2018 BY THE NUMBERS 4,722,870 steps taken this year (2,290 miles) 365 Days walking over 5 miles in 2018 3 Days not walking over 5

Best of 2018 TV Lists

In which Shawn ranks some television from 2018 and 1988.
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the middle entry of the "Best of" trilogy. BEST OF TV 2018 We live in a very high-quality TV-show era now. Maybe the top end isn't as strong as a decade ago but the number of very good shows

Best of 2018 Film Lists

In which Shawn ranks a bunch of movies from 2018 and 1988.
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. For your convenience, it's broken into bite-sized pieces. BEST OF MOVIES 2018 No other blogger is brave enough to pick their favorites before they see them. Here's what I boldly thought I'd be writing about in December 2018. PREDICTED BEST

Valley Girl: Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: True Love Finds a Common Ground

Thirty-five years later, this teen comedy still totally hits the spot.
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For the 35th Anniversary of Valley Girl, Shout! Factory has released a totally tubular version of a film on Blu-ray. Now that I've written my contractually required Valley-speak joke, you'll be spared the rest of this article. The film was released originally in 1983 and quickly got lumped in with the other "teen films" of the era. The film, fairly or unfairly part of that group, has tended to disappear from popular culture from that era. It's a footnote to a much larger career by Nicolas Cage and stars the never-became-bigger stars like Elizabeth Daily and Deborah Foreman. The film

Thoughtful & Abstract: Mayans MC: 'Perro / Oc' and 'Escorpión / Dzec'

"Two in, I’m still not overly impressed." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn consider the first two episodes of Kurt Sutter's Mayans MC. Kim: 10.) After two episodes, I know three character names - EZ, Angel, and Coco. I’m not sure if they aren’t saying the names, or if I’m not picking them up in the dialog. But so far, I don’t care about any of them. I’m not sure I’m ever going to. They aren’t being established as sympathetic characters. The only redeemable quality I see in any of them is that EZ likes to read. I mean, he’s a snitch too, so there you go. And

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (30th Anniversary) Blu-ray Review: This One Still Deserves Attention

Francis Ford Coppola weaves an interesting story of a car, a man, and a Dream.
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Under the hands of a lesser director, the story of a man obsessed with bringing out the car of his dreams in the 1940s, could have been quite a sel- absorbed mess. With Francis Ford Coppola at the helm, Tucker: The Man and His Dream turned into an inspiring and fascinating bio-pic. The 1988 movie has a 30th Anniversary release from Liongate on Blu-ray that brings the oft-forgotten film back for deserved recognition. The year 1988 was not great for film releases. The comedy was broad and the drama and action often revolved around war like Rambo III or Die

Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost DVD Review: I Appreciate the Return to a Classic Mystery

If you don't like food jokes, then this movie will not be for you.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. The Scooby-Doo franchise is releasing their 28th direct-to-video feature this month. Scooby-Doo and the Gourmet Ghost continues the crossovers the franchise has attempted in this format - WWE, Batman, KISS, etc. and returns to a more traditional story of haunted old mansions and food-related jokes. I've been on record lately as the resident Professor of Scooby Studies here as claiming the franchise is at an all-time low right now. The most recent

Irma La Douce Blu-ray Review: An Oft-forgotten Classic

Billy Wilder finds a way to work in another stellar project into his later career.
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In 1963, Billy Wilder is three years removed from a pinnacle movie of his career with The Apartment. His amazing decade of the 1950s almost goes unmatched among directors except maybe Hitchcock and Spielberg. A decade that started with Sunset Boulevard and included Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, and The Seven Year Itch among others. By 1963, Billy Wilder was basking in the freedom that a pattern of successful films brings to a director. This is the year that Billy brings back two of his favorites, Jack Lemmon (almost a stand-in for Billy one would believe) and Shirley MacLaine to

San Diego Comic-Con International 2018 Review: Go for the Comics, Stay for the Stories

Another year of Con but this time it's the Big Picture
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Is it as easy as copy and paste? If you have followed my writings even tangentially over the past eight years, you know I thrive on two things - consistency and nostalgia. I attend many of the same panels each year, like reuniting with old friends or watching an old familiar film for comfort. The annual gathering of misfits known as the San Diego Comic-Con International brings together tribes from all over the world. If you're there - badge or not, costume or not, Captain America shield, Batman mask, or Stormtrooper helmet - you are among your brethren. Usually this

Arrow Video Presents Director Vincent Ward's First Two Features

'Vigil' shows much of the talent and promise that would be delivered in 'The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey.'
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There's a funny thing about favorite movies. You can easily find people to share a love for anything Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. You can go a little further and find friends who enjoy 2001, On The Waterfront, or The Philadelphia Story. Then there's another level where you might mention a movie you love that not everyone has heard of but mostly they are aware of like Eraserhead, Freaks, or 8 1/2. Those are part of the popular-culture vernacular and you don't get weird looks when bringing them up in discussion. Then there's that final

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Angelville'

"I'm excited with the possibilities of this season and this was certainly just an appetizer." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim find an empty beginning to what they expect to be a full season. Shawn: I have been looking forward to the return of Preacher since the last of the credits rolled on The Walking Dead. The Third Season starts with what feels like a bridge between the end of the last season and what will be the main story of this season. I made a few notes while it unfolded. Even though it helped set the table for what came later, the flashback to start the episode with Jesse's mother and grandmother using the house

Daphne & Velma Blu-ray Review: Feels Forced and Missing Something

The early adventures of Daphne and Velma fall flat.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the item reviewed. The opinions shared are the writer's own. As the Scooby-Doo fan in residence, the painful demise of the franchise has been swift. The most recent series, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! was problematic from the start but even with a couple interesting episodes, it ended poorly with the remaining episodes dumped onto the website. A proud series that dates back to the Saturday mornings when Hanna-Barbera ruled the airwaves doesn't even rate a 30-minute spot on Boomerang anymore. The one-off appearance crossover with Supernatural and the parody/tribute

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Wrath'

"This may be the shark just waiting to be jumped." - Shawn
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In which The Walking Dead sees the wrath of Kim and Shawn. Kim: It's over, and by "it's," I mean The Walking Dead series. And by over, I mean for the season as well as the "war" on the show. I certainly have thoughts on it and you bet your sweet ass I’m going to share them. This will go down in history as the absolute worst season finale in all of The Walking Dead history. Like everything else they have done this season, what should have been an amazing and incredible end to this chapter was just some bullshit

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Worth'

"Let me fill you in on what happened in this episode: absolutely nothing nearly as exciting as it should have been." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn ruminate on the penultimate episode. Kim: Well, here we are. This was the penultimate episode of the season. According to Merriam-Webster, the word ultimate itself comes from the Latin word for “last, final, or farthest.” The pen- part of penultimate is simply the Latin prefix that means “almost,” so the word literally means “almost last.” There’s also the word penult (pronounced PEE-nult), which means “the next-to-last member of a series,” or “the next to last syllable of a word.” In the word presentation, for example, the accent or stress is on the penult. Another related

The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking DVD Review

This "Walking Dead" parody is a nice companion to the show.
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We live in the era of the parody. Entrance to the joke arena is very easy. Within moments of any particular episode of Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, or even Empire ending and there are funny tweets, YouTube songs, and memes aplenty. Anyone with a smart phone and half a sense of humor makes funny of popular culture. So how do you stay ahead of that curve? Robot Chicken has been a stalwart on Adult Swim for years and is an established parody franchise. This release of a crossover with The Walking Dead dates back to the start of this

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Still Gotta Mean Something'

"I have that good nervous feeling for next week." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn look at character pairings. Kim: My feelings about this episode would best be expressed by a monologue from this episode during this episode. And in this monologue, I will be playing Negan. “What the shit?” *Superstar!* This episode was full of things I didn’t really see coming and left me with one burning question. Sure, you can count “what the shit?” and then I have two burning questions, but they are actually related. And so, unlike the writers, I will walk you through my thought process, and together we will arrive at the only question

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Do Not Send Us Astray'

"I am hopeful, once again, that they’ll give me something to miss over the summer." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn give this week's a grade of B-. Kim: This week marks two episodes in a row that held my interest. No, it’s not without its faults (which you just know I’m going to be listing here.) They nearly ruined my enjoyment of the episode, but overall, I’m giving it a C+. Maybe a B- because Daryl showed up on a bike, shooting stuff. Where do I begin? I’m unsure of the order of the events, so I’ll just start with the things that stand out in my mind. 1.) Morgan. Yeah, we get it. He’s

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Key'

A mid-season episode made me say "I can't wait until next week." for the first time in years. - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn regain their interest in the show. Kim: It finally happened! No, Negan’s not dead. No, Rick didn’t shoot himself. So what could prompt my response? I spent 75% of the episode actually interested in what was going to happen next. Furthermore, when it was over, I actually said, “Wow! I can’t wait to see how this turns out!” First of all, we got to see Jerry. Deuces! I’ve missed seeing him on the screen, even if this was a more subdued version of him, he was there. Daryl got in a nod and a few

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Dead Or Alive Or'

For what was mostly set up to be a time-waste episode...I was entertained and maybe that's my new standard for this show. - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim wonder was it just the title that was incomplete or was it the episode? Shawn: Is this episode a Mad Libs where we get to fill in the final NOUN in the title? Was it a typo? Does it obliquely refer to one of the best Peter Jackson films or New Wave bands from the mid-Eighties? DEAD OR ALIVE OR GABRIEL. It was interesting that the most consistent beginning, middle, and end of a story of the past few seasons was with Father Gabriel and Carson the Doctor. I don't know how much screen time

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Lost and the Plunderers'

"I hate how hard it has gotten for me to watch this show and actually enjoy it or feel anything about the characters." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim debate to "Just give up." Shawn: After seven seasons and nine episodes, the show finally gave me title cards. Just in case I don't get around to it - thank you. Not to sound ungrateful but locations and dates and times might be considered for future upgrades. MICHONNE. The show has had this annoying pattern of following up major deaths with much less intense episodes that usually carry no weight. I figured that this was either going to be some version of a Benny Hill episode or 74 minutes of Rick and Michonne wringing their

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Honor'

Why didn't they call this episode "Coral"?
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In which Kim and Shawn try to make sense of the show's disjointed timeline. Kim: Is it 2018 already? For the first time since The Walking Dead came out, I didn't sit with nervous anxiety during the mid-season break. Looking back, I think the only question I was really waiting for an answer to was "what happened to Jerry?" The kicker is, I still don't know. So yes, I start out disappointed, but I assure you that I didn't stay that way throughout the 1 hour and 23 minutes between the first and last scenes. I have a bunch of

Big Business / Scenes from a Mall Blu-ray Review: An Interesting Combination

Two disappointing Bette Midler films from 1988 and 1991 are teamed up in a not-so-funny double feature.
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Kino Lorber recently teamed up two late-'80s / early-'90s films for a Blu-ray release that seem to share little in common other than both being comedies that star Bette Midler. Movies linked by actors instead of directors don't always pair well together and this is an interesting combination. Big Business is a 1988 teaming of Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin in a Jim Abrahams (Airplane) directed film. The "body change" and "split up twins" scenarios were a popular trope of films of this era. Most people go back to the Freaky Friday reference from the '70s but the idea of

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo: Season 1 Part 2 DVD Review: Teamwork Screamwork

Scooby-Doo going out with a bust instead of a bang.
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It was almost two years ago that I reviewed the first volume of this series. As your resident, Scooby enthusiast, I had pretty much lost faith in the rest of this series to make it to DVD. To my surprise, the rest of Season 1 has finally arrived. Stating the obvious, it's hard to maintain much momentum when you are two years to finish a single season of a show. This two-disc set covers the disjointed history of this twelfth incarnation of the Scooby-Doo series. The first disc represents the episodes that aired on Cartoon Network from Christmas 2015 until

Best of 2017 Assorted Lists

So here's the final set of my 2017 lists.
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm reviving the year-end summary. BY THE NUMBERS 4,216,588 steps (that is less the four weeks in June that I went without a FitBit) 246 beers logged - 130 that were new to me this year. 0 times with the hiccups 25 books read (2nd year in a row of meeting 25 book goal) 0 concerts attended 55 films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Best of 2017 TV Lists

So here's the next set of my 2017 lists.
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We live in a very high-quality TV-show era now. Maybe the top end isn't as strong as a decade ago but the number of very good shows is amazing. It's hard to even keep up with shows that aren't on your sourcing radar - HBO, Showtime, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc. This list is as fluid as any here - ask me tomorrow and it might be different - but here it is at this time and place. BEST TV SHOWS OF 2017 1. TWIN PEAKS (SHOW) I don't know that I was completely in love with this show as it

Best of 2017 Film Lists

So here's the first set of my 2017 lists.
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm reviving the year-end summary. BEST MOVIES OF 2017 (Seen in theaters) 1. LADY BIRD. Maybe because it was just different than I usually see or that it was seriously well written but it was funny and touching in a way that I just don't take time to go see enough. 2. GET OUT. I went in with very few preconceptions. Symbolic and

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'How It's Gotta Be'

"This show is the 2017-18 Green Bay Packer season, but it is headed to a much darker place." - Kim
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In which The Walking Dead finale is the Cleveland Browns. Shawn: I'm not going to lie - I'm just going to put out some observations and let you tie them all together with an amazing conclusion to this piece. I'm still processing some of the events and what they mean for the long term story of the show. How It's Gotta Be. Carl has to die. Not that he had to die before the episode started but they've painted themselves into that corner now. If you save him, then every time someone got barely scratched on the arm or leg

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Time For After'

"This episode brings us one step closer to ending the agony of this two-day-long half-season." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn determine what they would rather do than watch next week's episode. Kim: Well, now they’ve done it. They wrote a show that was complete bullshit without one single redeeming quality. Not a one. I don’t even know where to start voicing my displeasure. And so, right now I will happily present to you a list of things I would rather do next Sunday than spend 90 minutes of my time watching complete bullshit. I would rather pull out my old craft bag and try to work on the blanket I’ve been trying to crochet for

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The King, The Widow, and Rick'

"Why do I still watch this show?" - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim ask "Why back after?" Shawn: What did you get for Thanksgiving? AMC was kind enough to give us a turkey. And I have a few thoughts. 1.) Rosita kicks ass. The best part of the episode was finally seeing Michonne and Rosita get to do something. The season has had some of the worst flow for side characters. Michonne is a major character and other than glimpses of her, I don't remember her contributing anything to this season. So we get to see Rosita and Michonne team up to raise some hell. And lo and

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Big Scary U'

"I didn’t completely hate the episode, but I didn’t really care for it either." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn aren't scared and kinda annoyed. Kim: Well, we got Negan back. Apparently, everyone did. Thank God for you, Negan. Whatever. I didn’t completely hate the episode, but I didn’t really care for it either. No, instead I liked snippets of it. Snippets that could have been far more interesting than they turned out to be. The rest? Complete garbage. Favorite moments: 1.) Daryl vs. Rick: This is not the first throw-down we’ve witnessed this season between comrades. It was, by far, the most intriguing though. Please note when I say "intriguing," I don’t mean I

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Some Guy'

"I ain't nothing. I'm just some guy."
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Shawn: I'm not your King. I'm not your Majesty. I ain't nothing. I'm just some guy." - Ezekiel I'm always fascinated by the episodes that focus mostly on the arc of a single character. It's a challenge on a show that has at any given point about 15-25 main characters. I think that it's been a mixed bag in the past. There's a challenge to give us an in-depth look at character and not bring the whole show to a grinding halt. It worked with T-Dog but it was pretty annoying when it was Morgan because it felt like an

D.C. Follies: The Complete Series DVD Review: It's Valuable to Have Shows Like This Back on the Market

Sid and Marty Krofft puppets in a vintage series that captures pop culture and politics of the late '80s.
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If you watched Saturday morning TV in the late '60s and through the '70s, then you knew all about Sid and Marty Krofft. The puppet and human combination adventures of H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monster, and Land of the Lost were familiar fixtures to children of that generation. Puppets had made the mainstream with The Muppet Show airing in syndication starting in the late '70s. As the children of the '70s became the politically aware adults of the '80s, Sid and Marty Krofft entered prime time with a syndicated show called D.C. Follies that brought them back

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Monsters'

"I’m struggling with the show. I will openly admit that." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn debate a character that hasn't even appeared in two episodes. Kim: Episode #3 is done. I had hopes after last week that we’d pick up some interesting stories, get moving, and find a new way for Rick to mess up a decent living situation (which is what happens every time they get comfortable somewhere). I know Negan is an integral part of the comics, and therefore the show, but I’m going to share an unpopular opinion here. Ready? I am already done with him. The story arc involving him is old and played out. I

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Damned'

"You have to admit this episode was exactly what we asked for." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim get what they asked for, but not everyone is happy about it. Shawn: How are we only two episodes in and it feels like that episode was just a repeat of parts of the last year of shows. Remember oldey timey Rick from the future? Well don't worry about that because it doesn't matter this week. I vaguely remember this Negan character. Seems like he was pretty important to the story they were telling. Wasn't he stuck in a trailer with Gabriel? Must not be too important because the writers felt like we'd be interested

Avanti! Blu-ray Review: Old Hollywood Could Still Tell a Fine Story in 1972

The premise of Avanti! is simple and reminiscent of some of Billy Wilder's best work.
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The new Kino-Lorber Blu-ray release of Avanti! (1972) intrigues me because it represents an interesting subgenre of films in the early-to-mid '70s. The directors and actors who had come of age in the early days of sound pictures and the Golden Age of Hollywood were anachronisms. Everything they had known about the studio system and making films had changed radically. In this time period, some of our greatest actors and directors were making their last couple films. Avanti! represents the winding down of the career of director, Billy Wilder. A career begun in 1934, this film was only his second

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Mercy'

"This was one of the most artsy-fartsy episodes I’ve ever seen on this show." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn discuss the type of pants one might wear while watching this zombie show. Kim: “I hope you are wearing your shitting pants!” I’ve spent the past 24 hours trying to figure out how to get across my true feelings about this episode. Several things happened. Several things didn’t. I got laid at the end of the night, so at least that worked out as planned, but I digress. An interesting note about my anticipation of the season opener: I did not have a countdown. I was not suffering any type of withdrawals. There was no,

Thoughtful & Abstract Take on TV 2017

Learn what Shawn and Kim have been watching this year.
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In which Shawn and Kim take a breath before The Walking Dead starts up again to look at what is happening in their TV worlds. Shawn: Been a long time since we checked in on TV shows, my friend. Leaving out Preacher and The Walking Dead since I feel there will be more to be written on them soon - I thought I'd catch up with a list of what's been distracting me over the Summer and Fall. Making a straight up "Best" list is too easy so I thought I'd make it more of a "Best, Meh, Worst" list

Peanuts by Schulz: School Days DVD Review: I Still Highly Recommend This Series

Another three hours of new animation based on the classic strips.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. The third collection of Peanuts by Schulz shorts has arrived on DVD from Warner Bros. The two-disc set collects over three hours of material from the recent show on Boomerang in 29 shorts. It's interesting that Warner Bros has gone against form to release the episodes by theme instead of the order in which they aired. Previous volumes based around Snoopy and Sports have earned high marks in previous reviews of mine.

LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash Blu-ray Review: The Mix Here Is a Hot Mess

In which Mystery Inc. are in LEGO for no good reason.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy reviewed in the Blog Post. Shawn's opinions are his own. The title alone should tell you that this is going to be a mish-mash of properties and stories. Anyone who has followed my reviews for the past decade knows that I love Scooby-Doo! But it's the most schizophrenic property over at Warner Bros. They have had a series of good movies since the relaunch in 1998 including Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island and Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! The recent TV series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! have led the

San Diego Comic-Con 2017: Taking a Step Back for a Look

Four days in July that celebrate everything to do with popular culture.
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What if I said that the San Diego Comic-Con International has nothing to do with comics? For anyone that has attended in the past 15 years, that's probably not a shocking statement on the surface. But what if I told you that the much heralded Comic-Con didn't exist as a cultural touchstone because of movies, television, art, anime, or even Star Wars cosplay? I've written reviews of my experiences at Comic-Con for over ten years and they all follow a similar pattern - I listen to very talented and passionate people talk about shows, books, and subjects that have evolved

San Diego Comic-Con 2017: Thursday Preview

Here's the first day of my breakdown of the panels I would waltz into at the drop of a hat.
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The closest I can come as an adult to recreating the joy of looking through the Sears catalog a couple months before Christmas is when the Comic-Con schedules get posted. Before the reality of lines out the door and down the hall intersect with my reality, I imagine it's still 2003 and I can just walk into any panel at any moment and not have to take up residence with meal and laundry service in Hall H to see the Previews for a Marvel film a mere four minutes before it's posted on YouTube. Here's the first day of my

Peanuts by Schulz: Go Team Go! DVD Review: An Excellent Addition to the Peanuts Family

In which the Peanuts strips come to life with a collection of sports-themed shorts.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own. It would have been easy to just take my review for Peanuts by Schulz, Volume 1: Snoopy Tales and copy and paste it generally into a review here with a couple tweaks. Warner Bros. is releasing Volume 2 of the new series under the subtitle of Go Team Go! with over two hours of sports-themed shorts. I lauded the first volume for capturing the comic pace of the strips instead of being in the tradition

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The First Day of the Rest of Your Life'

"I'm going to kill you. In fact, you're already dead" - Rick, spoiling the Season Eight finale.
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In which Shawn and Kim react to the Season 7 finale. Shawn: A season full of ups and downs finally came to an end this week and it kinda ended back in the middle. A success if you consider where we were a few weeks ago. The problem with writing 16 times a season is that we've usually covered most of the themes. This finale doesn't leave the Internet aflame with theories about what just happened or what's about to happen. In many ways, I prefer the natural break to end the season but I also see this as the

Fathom Events Presents TCM Big Screen Classic Series: North By Northwest

The Master of Suspense returns to the big screen with one of his best cliff hangers ever.
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Fathom Events and TCM have the best timing. I'm spending the year watching all of the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Most people only ever get to enjoy these classics on their home screens or worse yet on an iPad or laptop screen. Movies like North By Northwest were filmed to be seen on the movie screen in the dark with a crowd. I've watched more than a handful of his films so far this year but watching them in theaters feels the way they were meant to be enjoyed. North By Northwest is the latest offering and it holds up

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Something They Need'

"Aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn find reasons to root for people again. Kim: So, here we are with one episode to go this season. Here's a shocking statement: aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season. Do you know why? We saw many of our core group two episodes in a row. We furthered the "war with Negan" storyline, adding at least the guns from Oceanside, while not forgetting about Sasha, Rosita, and Eugene from last week. We got to see Daryl and Jesus in the same frame. We followed up with Maggie and that dick

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Other Side'

"Wouldn't watch that episode again. Not even if you paid me." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim wonder if anything but a bloodbath save this season now? Shawn: I'm not going to have many complaints when they finally bring back my Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl to start the episode and then end with an actually interesting ending and in-between don't torture me with Carl or Father Gabriel. I mean, that's quite a formula for success. It seemed like a shorter episode, which is even better compared to the previous couple. I had a few thoughts along the way. Catching up with The Hilltoppers is not my ideal setting for a whole episode.

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Bury Me Here'

"Dumbing down the show just makes it dumb." - Shawn
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In which a bad cantaloupe does some irreparable damage. Shawn: As low as the show has gotten the past couple episodes, this was a tick up. A tick because there still was no Negan, Daryl, or Jesus again. I was left feeling a little better about where this episode pointed us. A little. A few random thoughts to try to tie together my feelings as we roll towards the finale. One bad cantaloupe can spoil your day. I've had nights ruined by bad peanuts but I have always had a fear of bad cantaloupe. I wondered why everyone else wasn't

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Say Yes'

"I don’t have any more points to make, because I’m very underwhelmed by this show these days." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn say no to "Say Yes". Kim: Another week, another character-focused episode that does next to nothing to further the story line. Allow me to share with you what I learned during last night’s episode. 1.) Rick and Michonne are super horny most of the time. Also, chili-mac comes as an RTE. Who knew? 2.) The Garbage Pail Kids really dislike speaking in complete sentences. I’m sorry, but this makes it impossible for me to feel anything but contempt for these folks. Or should I say, “Contempt. No likey.” 3.) Also, they don’t know how to

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Hostiles and Calamities'

"My wonder from week to week now is are we going to see anything we care about?" - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim have the same thoughts about the episode where nothing happened. And they aren't positive. Shawn: Ridiculous. I guess I'd be on "Easy Street" if that was all I said about this episode. But what's an interrogation without a little torture. I sat through this and so I'll torture you too. Welcome to The Sanctuary - here's how it works around here. Oh, did we cover that already in your previous orientation? Well, did we tell you there's a number system? We did? Oh. Did we mention there's a barber? That's interesting, huh? And pickles. Really,

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'New Best Friends'

"I feel like I have a bigger picture of where this is all going now and there's a certain satisfaction of watching the pieces fall into place like an old familiar movie." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim have some pretty separate takes on the latest twist in the story. Shawn: If I felt like portions of the first half of the season were just long form advertisements for a new Walking Dead video game, then this week was a free playable demo that should be available for X-Box and PlayStation this week. Don't take that as too much of a criticism though because even though I will have some things to say and observations about some little things, I really didn't mind this episode at all. I feel like I have a

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Rock In The Road'

"Overall, I think this episode was much better than the first half of the season as a whole." - Kim
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In which Rick is Rick again and zombies are dying by the handful. Kim: The Walking Dead has returned and here we are, all revved up and ready to tell you what we thought of the second-half premiere. I have two thoughts to start with and we’ll just go from there. 1) This was everything I wanted it to be.2) This was everything I didn’t want it to be. Now, I know you’re wondering how the heck I could possibly have such bipolar feelings regarding a show. I mean, you either love it or you hate it, right? Wrong. I

Peanuts by Schulz: Snoopy Tales DVD Review: Captures the Spirit of the Source Material

Thirty-two new shorts bring the classic comic strip to life for a new generation.
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Over the years, I've tasked myself with watching and writing about new updates of shows that I loved as a kid. These updated versions would sometimes be simple revamps of the old show and sometimes they would be very different, modern takes on the characters. The most common example is Scooby-Doo. I've seen versions recently that expanded upon the mystery-solving attraction of the show and other versions that try to meld the trends in animation and culture to retell the old stories. Both failed and succeeded to varying degrees. I tried to entertain the new Peanuts animated shorts with the

The Best TV Shows of 2016

How many shows do their top-11 lists share?
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In which Shawn and Kim take a look back at the brilliant storytelling shows from 2016. Shawn: If T&A is good at one thing, it's recognizing good and bad TV. Sometimes, those two things are all wrapped into one show. The end of the year is when I usually finish clearing out the DVR and assessing what shows will stay on the list and which ones need to be deleted to make room to try some new things. This is the Golden Age of television. It's probably more likely to call it the Golden Age of the Serial Story. The

Fathom Events Presents Spirited Away: 15th Anniversary

The rerelease of the Miyazaki classic just breathes on the big screen.
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The people at Fathom Events are the ones that bring me out to Rifftrax events a few times a year. They're also responsible for bringing some of my most favorite classic films back to theaters like Rear Window, From Here To Eternity, Jaws, and Animal House. The most recent release brings back a more recent film from the brilliant talent, Hayao Miyazaki's 2001 film Spirited Away. I have been a huge fan of this film since its release and ones like these are perfect because few people saw it in theaters when it was released. This has been the highest-grossing

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Hearts Still Beating'

"Jesus and Daryl were on the screen at the same time...was, quite possibly, the best 15 seconds in The Walking Dead's history." - Kim
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In which there is a sense of redemption of the season to this point and a reason for hope. Kim: Mid-season finales are supposed to make you antsy for the break from your show to be over from the moment you finish watching. In past years, the show would end for the winter break, and I’d instantly look up the return date and start counting down the days until I could get another fix. This year, I’m more interested in my birthday at the end of February and how many people I can fit into an Uber. Aside from the

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Sing Me A Song'

"'It's going to be hard to watch.' - Negan warning us a little too late into the episode." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn are 50% more bored after being slapped in the face by this episode. Shawn: "Keep Going. Only thing here 4 you is boredom." - me paraphrasing one of the few things I still remember about this episode. "You know what's going to happen. It's going to be hard to watch." - Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) warning us a little too late into the episode. At some point our zombie show became The Negan Show. The network was kind enough to extend the episodes this season so we can figure out key plot points such as

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Swear'

"They called it 'Swear' because I swear it contained 13 minutes of actual storytelling." - Shawn
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In which the dead horse moves closer to the end. Kim: With only two episodes left before the mid-season break, I’d like to take a moment to discuss what’s really on everyone’s minds: How badly this season sucks ass. So, I tuned in last night fully understanding that we would not see Carol, Morgan, or Ezekiel (or that damn tiger). We would not see Negan. We would not see Daryl. We would not see Rick, Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, or Jesus. I reluctantly sat to watch, knowing that this episode would feature characters that none of us honestly give a shit

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Go-Getters'

"The continued loss of interest is correlated to the lack of zombies for me." - Shawn
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In which Carl has his first date and kiss. And nothing else happens. Kim: So, once again we all tune in to The Walking Dead and once again I’m left with feelings of anger and resentment for episode #(I don't really care), with the not-so-fitting name. I keep waiting for it to get better. I keep waiting for it to draw me in. It’s just not doing any of that this season. In fact, there are really only two things I feel I need to talk about in regards to this episode. I’ll give you my thoughts and then you

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Service'

"I found myself wishing that Negan would just start killing people so we could move on from this." - Kim
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In which the group gets reverse furniture delivery and Shawn and Kim watch. Shawn: Much like the actual plot development of this super-sized episode, I don't have many comments about this episode of The Walking Dead. I should have more to say in case we look back in a couple years to this as the point where viewers started abandoning ship. For now, I'll keep the good thoughts. "Service" The episode is so called because like any other job in the service industry, like working for Arby's or in the bathroom accessories department at Lowe's, this episode seemed to be

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Cell'

"I just hope there's a point to all of this that I'm just not seeing yet." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn contemplate naked Daryl and other things. Kim: Let me start by saying I have been waiting a long time to see Daryl naked. This was not the way I wanted that to go. I don’t have a lot of thoughts on this episode, but I have a couple and you’re going to have to sit there and take it, just like Rick and the gang did a few weeks ago. Take it like a champ, just as Abraham did. Psychological torture. That’s what this episode is about. Not only what Dwight and Negan were doing

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Well'

"I hope we get some resolutions or this is going to be painful." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim are left with just a weird feeling and more questions. Shawn: Not sure why they put a "the" in front of the title of this episode. I'd be happy with just a drawn out "wellllllll." After last week, I didn't really have a vision for how this week would go and I don't know if I've sufficiently processed this one. I have a few thoughts. It's an odd trip from Negan / Lucille to King Ezekiel / CGI Tiger, Shiva. A baseball bat in the hands of an enigmatic leader of a band of thieves

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Day Will Come When You Won't Be'

"In the words of Abraham, 'Suck my nuts,' writers/producers. We deserved better." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn reflect on the cruel torture dished out by both Negan and the writers. Kim: After almost eight months of waiting, we finally got to find out who was at the receiving end of Negan’s wrath. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading now, because I’ve got some things to say about it. I’m going to start by saying I didn’t completely hate this season opener, but there are some really huge things that are not sitting well with me. There’s some seriously awesome potential here for this season, and I think we’ll see some of

Thoughtful & Abstract: Arrow: 'Legacy'

"Overall, I give this a reserved thumbs up." - Shawn
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In which T&A revisit the Arrow series and see where we stand to start the new season. Shawn: It's been awhile since you read our thoughts on the CW's DC Universe of shows. Truthfully, I was so disappointed through the whole Season Four of Arrow that I wasn't sure I was going to start the show back up for this current season. I was disinterested in the show from the initial episode of that season and only hate watched it because I was much more interested in the Universe as a whole. I've really enjoyed a majority of the past

Charlie Brown's All Stars! 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD Review: One of the Best

A rarely seen Peanuts special deserves your attention as it turns 50.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. As a fan of all things Peanuts, I am always interested to see the repackaging of older specials. This early October release from Warner Bros is a great addition for fans of the more popular specials. The DVD release of Charlie Brown's All Stars! comes with an additional Peanuts special call A Charlie Brown Celebration. It's been a long time since I saw this program and I was anxious to see how

Top 10 TV Shows That Deserve More Attention

At its best, TV tells unique stories that don't fit into the limited motion picture format of 90-200 minute limitations.
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Rolling Stone just conducted a major poll involving actors, writers, producers, critics, and showrunners to come up with the 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, a list they describe as "the definitive ranking of the game-changing small-screen classics." They aren't exactly breaking any big news here. TV is good. In fact, currently TV is really good. The era of the creator is among us. Multiple networks like HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, History, and WGN are making showrunners and creators the auteurs of the day. The more networks get out of the way of the creative folks, the better the

Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog Review: Completely Worth Your Time

Shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire owe much to how Dekalog lets stories play out.
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Watching the episodes of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog reminds me of how few auteurs there are anymore. Part of it is probably the current trends in how movies are made and distributed that make it harder to be an artist with a voice. In many ways, the most creative works are happening on television. FX, HBO, Showtime, AMC, and even Starz are allowing creators the freedom to tell long stories however they please. In 1988, a year before ABC let David Lynch loose with Twin Peaks, Kieslowski told ten hour-long, relatively linked short stories on Polish TV. The episodes predate his

Gene Wilder's Other Films

2016 takes another one of my heroes.
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It would be too easy to pick my five favorite Gene Wilder films. It would include the favorites like Willy Wonka and Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. I sat down and didn't want to write a quick tribute to this amazing man by listing films that most everyone has heard of and probably watched a hundred times. So I wanted to delve a little deeper into the filmography. Here's a few films that are worth taking another look at. 1. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER (1975) Gene wrote and directed this film also. Sigerson is younger than both

Fathom Events and TCM Bring Back National Lampoon's Animal House

A chaotic classic worth seeing again.
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In association with Fathom Events, the TCM Big Screen Classics series, which brings classic films to theaters, is even more important than ever. The latest release of National Lampoon's Animal House from 1978 isn't exactly a "lost classic". This is a film that is in the general pop-culture reference library. It's not hard to find, it plays on TV, it's readily available on home video, and is referenced in other current releases. What's missing is the theater experience. No matter how we improve the home experience, it's not the same as sitting in the dark for two hours with strangers

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Call and Response'

"I love this show in a way that other comic adaptations have fallen short." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn what you to know they aren't disappointed despite what you read. Kim: I sat last night to watch the season finale of Preacher. I grabbed some watermelon and a bottle of water, because I’m trying to not eat the chips. I figured if I was going to be seeing the last of Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joseph Gilgun for a while, I may as well have something juicy to put in my mouth. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this was not what I expected. I actually spent the first ten

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Finish The Song'

"This is still the best show currently airing." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn are back in love with their Preacher. Kim: There comes a time in every television series when you take a deep breath, look back on what you’ve just witnessed, and are grateful for the time you’ve invested in it. This, for me, is one of those times. There were some serious ‘Whoa!’ moments and a couple of ‘Awwwww!’ moments, and it ended just as the episode began - with a giant “Holy shit!” Let me tell you about my favorite theme in this episode: Bromance! One of the more touching moments in this episode is

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'El Valero'

"Food court! Food court!"
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In which things make a little more sense to Kim and Shawn, but that's not always a good thing for one of them. Kim: This week’s write-up is painful. Look, I love Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga. I really, really do. I love the characters in this shit hole town. I love the ideas behind this story and all that it entails. But when the best part of a show is some hick getting his dick shot off and carrying it around like it’s his baby, I’ve got to say something. This is a slow burn, and it’s the worst

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'He's Gone'

Just so you know, vanilla extract is flammable.
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In which Kim and Shawn use the bullet-point button for an episode where not much happens. Kim: What I’ve learned this week: The power of suggestion, apparently, wears off. The heartbreak of Tulip and Jesse goes back a long, long way. Cassidy has feelings! Lots and lots of feelings! They use really shitty ketchup in this show. If you’re going to Pokémon Go! at work, you need to bring your charger. Tulip looked amazing in that shirt and skirt. Tulip is done with everyone’s shit. Vanilla extract is flammable. Cass’ cheap shot with the fire extinguisher made me giggly. I

Elstree 1976 DVD Review: Meet the People Behind the Star Wars Masks

Bit characters get their story about their roles in one of the biggest stories ever.
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I love documentaries. True stories are irresistible Maybe it's the story of an product or invention or behind the scenes of a movie or historical event. Often, it's a biography of an important person or group of people. The stories work best when there is a little history between the film and the event. Even if it's your favorite movie ever, I don't want to hear a commentary or see a documentary on Transformers: Age of Extinction. There's just not enough perspective on how important that film is historically yet. That's part of what is wrong with putting all the

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Sundowner'

"Everything feels headed in the right direction." - Shawn
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In which the Sundowner fight redeems everything. Shawn: I certainly felt that there was a pacing shift here from the slight slow down of the past couple episodes. We were just about back to the craziness of the "Pilot" episode. I have a few observations that don't relate to men in underwear that I'm sure you will cover in detail. 1.) EVIL NOT DEAD. The fight in the Sundowner Motel to start the episode was easily the best fight since Cassidy brought down a plane and Tulip fought her way through the cornfield in the first episode. Killing characters that

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'South Will Rise Again'

"I’m worried that I won’t get everything I need answered by the end of the season." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn find themselves at the halfway point. Kim: So, we’re halfway through this very short season of Preacher and I’m actually going to criticize it. Not because I don’t absolutely love it, because I do. I’m going to bitch for a minute that there is a lot of time taken up by things that will make absolute zero sense to you if you don’t read the comics or use Google. I refuse to do either, because I don’t want to ruin the show. There are people out there who insist that things are better if you

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Monster Swamp'

"It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim discuss Preacher continuing to be accessible and not predictable. Shawn: This series started at 100 mph. And now at episode four I feel like it's slowing down with each episode. We started driving crazy through a corn field at seemingly faster than reality allows and airplanes falling out of the sky. This week we slowly fell into a hole and built an episode around pooping and peeing and raffling off a TV. I'm still in love with this show more than any other on the air right now. I have a few thoughts about what

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Possibilities'

"It all felt different this week and I can't put my finger on the problem." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn keep waiting for the next big thing. Kim: I have to tell you, I’m more in love with this show every single time I watch it. I also have to tell you that I’m having a hard time saying anything new or original about it. Dominic Cooper - still hot Ruth Negga - still gorgeous So, what else does one say about a show that seems to be doling out one or two clues at a time regarding what’s happening everywhere? I don’t feel like this gives me much to write about, but… I am

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'See'

Stay gold, Preacher. You are off to a great start.
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In which Kim and Shawn use the F-word to describe the series. Kim: The much anticipated second episode of Preacher has come and gone, and with it, all of my angst about shitty TV that just doesn’t do anything for me. It is June. I generally watch zero TV from now until Fall. However, I’m already pretty sucked in to Preacher and looking forward to Sunday’s premiere of Ride on Norman Reedus. What was that? Oh, it’s not “on Norman Reedus”, but with him, you say? Don’t crush my dreams. But this is about Preacher and not Norman’s arms, so

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

"An amalgam of all of the crap rolled in to one last hurrah before getting a break." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim welcome a merciful end to this half season. Shawn: We survived. I don't care about our group. It's you and I, T&A, that survived this torture of a season. I was so happy to have the cleansing power of Preacher before I sat down to watch the last episode of this half season, "Shiva". I felt such a relief at the end of that episode that I almost mentally erased the whole thing when I hit "delete" on the DVR. I've recalled a few things to finish this chapter of our reviews. Just a few.

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Pilot'

An above average start to what looks like a fun series with people blowing up.
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In which Kim and Shawn are introduced to the television world of Preacher. Kim: Here is the write-up everyone has/I have been waiting for. I’m more than a little bit excited to finally be able to write it. Start bold, Kim. Put your thoughts out there. Don’t hedge. Preacher is the TV show I have been waiting for since Sons of Anarchy ended. I was unable to watch it when it aired as it would have interfered with my daily routine of sleeping for just under seven consecutive hours every single day. So, I watched it on Monday and it

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'Sicut Cervus'

"I didn't get enough Nick to make me happy and I can't bring myself to even say it was a mediocre episode." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim almost like an episode and want to talk owls but largely just can't wait for Preacher. Shawn: The title of this episode has some religious significance that's related to the initial scene at the church in the past. The same way that beginning needed subtitles to make sense is kinda how I ended up feeling about the rest of the episode. I was initially ready to compliment the episode on finally making sense but the more I mulled it over I'm not sure that it doesn't need more explanation. So without further ado I'll try

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

"Can we have more Patsy Cline tunes in future episodes?" - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim agree on two things: They are counting down to Preacher and they love Patsy Cline. Shawn: I think all we need to do to start each of these reviews is just include the countdown to the first episode of Preacher. That commercial was the best 30 seconds of this episode. But instead I'll start to unpack what I saw or at least think I saw in-between yawns. 1.) STEAK-UMMS. In the most uncomfortable seduction move of the season, Connor made Alicia a cheap steak that I think spelled out the words "do you like me

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'Blood In The Streets'

Blood in the streets, Strand in the sheets.
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In which Kim and Shawn look forward to Preacher. Kim: Yes, yes, yes. I tuned in for another week of this show. I don’t know why I’m still doing it. Notice it took a lot longer this time around to get my opinions down on paper (so to speak). Oh well, here goes nothing. This time-jumping shit has got to go. It was fairly ridiculous to start with the future, move to the past, then to present with a parallel story, to more past and Strand is gay (I told you) or at least pretending to be. I think I

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

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

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine / Dr. Goldfoot & the Girl Bombs Blu-ray Reviews: An Interesting Time Capsule

Two Vincent Price classics come to Blu-ray with mixed results.
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Kino Lorber has released two vintage Vincent Price films from 1965 and 1966 respectively. You hear the name "Vincent Price" and 1960s and the Poe adaptations immediately come to mind. These are quite different from those horror stories. The release of Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) and Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966) to Blu-ray are an interesting time capsule. They are hard to classify but they aren't horror, nor are they straight comedies. Upon viewing each disc, it's hard to even call one a sequel to the other. It's almost like they exist on two separate

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

The Peanuts Movie Blu-ray Review: A Sweet Film That Appeals to All Generations

I hold this series to a high bar and I was very satisfied with the final product.
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The recent Blu-ray and DVD release of The Peanuts Movie by 20th Century Fox leaves me with a conundrum of how to review it. I want to be fair and approach it just as a current kids movie. How does it compare to current cream of the crop releases from Disney and Pixar? The film is made by Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age, another groundbreaking movie franchise. The source for this film though goes way back into our cultural DNA. This isn't some recently created franchise. The film itself is built upon multiple winks to the viewer's

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

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Season 1 Part 1 DVD Review: Spooky Kooky Fun!

The newest adaptation is updated but not necessarily improved.
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A few years ago I reviewed the eleventh version of Scooby-Doo! - Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. That series was a pretty serious, back to the original concept series that concentrated on the story and actual mysteries. The Mr. E character made it feel like a children's version of Pretty Little Liars. It went for two seasons and was fun and entertaining. But it played itself out and we went almost three years without a Scooby-Doo! series on the Cartoon Network. In 2015, the twelfth version of the series was added to the Cartoon Network lineup. This week Warner Bros is releasing

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

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

Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny Deliver the Gift of the Rifftrax Experience

And treat yo'self to some Rifftrax this month.
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Someone wiser than me said, "Pay for experiences not things." I love movies. But I love the experience of going to the theater just as much, if not more. I think there's a communal experience to watching in the dark with friends and strangers. Plus, the lack of temptations to look at other screens, flip to another channel, check on the game, or even just get up and go get another beer goes towards a greater enjoyment of the film. I like the laser focus I can get in a theater compared to my movie ADD at home. For years,

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

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

Book Review: The X-Files FAQ by John Kenneth Muir

Each chapter feels like a lecture in an X-Files course that Mr Muir should be teaching.
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I have been a confessed horror and science fiction TV show fan my whole life. It's a tradition that came from being part of the Star Wars Generation that clung to Battlestar Galactica and Space:1999 to get our fixes. I loved Frankenstein and Dracula but on TV I could only find that same subject matter on Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Twilight Zone. I was a huge fan of The X-Files from 1993 through the bitter end (almost - I mean, ratings don't lie, most of us didn't watch that last season). The end of the show left me

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,

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.

Limelight Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Chaplin's Coda

Age must pass as youth enters.
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My Chaplin journey hasn't been linear. I didn't start with the silent shorts and work my way through The Kid (1921) and onto A Countess From Hong Kong (1967). It was a rambling journey that went forwards and backwards through highlights of his spectacular career with Criterion including Modern Times, The Great Dictator, City Lights, and The Gold Rush. In many ways the other films were reflections and parables of the times Chaplin was living in. The newest Criterion Blu-ray release is Limelight from 1952. It's subtitled "in his human drama" and this film is his most personal story. The

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

TCM Presents: Jaws 40th Anniversary Movie Review: I Love Movies Because of Jaws

It brings back memories from opening night.
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TCM Presents and Fathom Events have teamed up to bring Jaws to movie theaters for its 40th Anniversary. I attended a showing on Sunday night jokingly saying it was my 75th time seeing the film. Not having a way to really know, I thought about it a little more and that number is probably shooting a little low. I was there in theaters as a seven-year-old on June 20, 1975. If you want to argue that it did or didn't change the movie industry you can, but you can't argue that it changed the interest in movies and filmmaking for

Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy-Doo! The Complete Season 1 DVD Review: Puppy Power Does Work

Scooby and Scrappy solve mysteries back when Shawn was a pre-teen.
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I had known Scooby-Doo cartoons my whole life. They had always just been that Saturday morning staple and I never missed an episode. For me, the main incarnation was the umbrella of The Scooby-Doo Show from 1976 - 1978. It contained repeats of the Scooby-Doo: Where Are You? and new cartoons including the hilarious Scooby-Dum. It was paired with Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon for a time and then as part of the Laff-A Lympics. Then in the Fall of 1979, as I was eleven and about to turn twelve, my show changed pretty drastically. This was the Fall that

The Thin Blue Line Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Paradigm Shift

Errol Morris changes the documentary game in 102 minutes.
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Rarely do you watch a film and actually pinpoint where a genre actually changes. You watch Clerks or Pulp Fiction and see where the genre is being moved forward. You can see in Batman and then again in Iron Man where a genre is being reinvigorated. But in 1988, Errol Morris made The Thin Blue Line and the field of documentaries would radically change. I was surprised that it had taken this long for the Criterion Collection to release this important film on Blu-ray. Documentary. The definition for years was simply to "document reality". The popular documentaries were often nature

Thoughtful & Abstract: Looking at The Walking Dead's Glenn Rhee

T&A focuses their attention of the young, unlikely leader of the group: Glenn.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) continue to discuss their favorite characters on television. "No one is impressed, man. Walk away." - Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) Shawn: I want to continue our talk about our favorite characters with Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead. He's the most likable post-apocalyptic pizza delivery guy ever. I've loved him ever since his introduction to us as just a voice. Rick is trapped in the tank in Atlanta and over the radio we hear the "Hey you...dumbass." It's appropriate that we first hear him because I see him as our "voice of reason"

Thoughtful & Abstract: Looking at The Walking Dead's Dr. Eugene Porter

Kim and Shawn take a thoughtful look at the man with the mullet.
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In which Kim (@kimfreakinb) and Shawn (@genx13) step back to look at one of their favorite characters. "The smartest man I ever met happened to love my hair. My old boss, T. Brooks Ellis, the director of the Human Genome Project. He said my hair made me look like, and I quote, 'a fun guy,' which I am." - Dr. Eugene Porter Kim: I want to talk about characters, because they are truly what makes or breaks a show. How much do you like the people you're rooting for or hate the ones you want to see die a horrendous

Thoughtful & Abstract: Catching up on the Current TV Season

What they talk about when they talk about what they are watching this season.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) riff on some recent TV thingies... Shawn: It's been far too long since we caught up. So I've got a few thoughts to spray out regarding some of the TV you may or may not have been watching. American Crime (ABC): One episode in and I'm interested. I think it's going to run a fine line for me. I see parts of the show like the parents dealing with the death of their son (two strong actors there - I especially like Timothy Hutton) to play out in ways that we don't always

The Graduate Movie Review: The Perfect Way to Disturb the Sounds of Silence

Is The Graduate still meaningful? Maybe more than ever.
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The year 1967 was one of those magical years (like 1972 or 1996) that produced so many groundbreaking movies that I rarely pass up a chance to see one with that copyright date. That year saw the likes of Bonnie & Clyde, Cool Hand Luke, and Bedazzled, and closed out with my own my debut in November and thenThe Graduate came along just before Christmas. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards with Mike Nichols the sole winner for Directing. I was twenty, just like Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) when I first saw the film. Having just graduated from college

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: "No Sanctuary"

In which we start with blood and end with fire. In between Carol kicks ass.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to the best walker show ever. Shawn: Let's get down to this and not go on for 45 pages about this first episode. We've both kept up with the series as it has progressed. We anticipated this episode for months now. I will say that I've typically been underwhelmed with the first episodes of the past few seasons. We start slow and build through the season. This time - hell no. Simply, this might be one of the best episodes since the pilot for action from beginning to end. My

Thoughtful & Abstract: Sons of Anarchy: Season Three

SAMCRO travels to Ireland and gets a baby back, people get kidnapped and rescued and old vendettas are addressed.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) reminisce about Season Three of Sons of Anarchy. Shawn just started watching the show this Summer and Kim has been watching for years. As the Final Season rides into the heart of their last season, here are some thoughts about the show's episodes from the Fall of 2010. Shawn: Talk about not knowing where to start my comments. I need you to focus me here. We start with Gemma on the run and Abel in Ireland. By the time we get back with baby Abel, Tara has been kidnapped, and Jax has to

Thoughtful & Abstract: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "Heavy Is The Head"

Touch it! Touch the Obelisk.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to the intense Marvel show and the episode "Heavy Is the Head". Shawn: No miracle comeback for Lucy Lawless. It's a Marvel TV show, so I was hoping that we would start this episode and find out that dead isn't really dead. Instead, it feels like they wasted a really strong female character and gave us another generic bad boy in her place. Lance is our double-crosser of the moment. They appear to be starting a Skye and Lance relationship too. I know that some women can't help themselves around

Thoughtful & Abstract: Sons of Anarchy: Season Two

SAMCRO is forced to deal with LOAN and lots and lots of retaliation. Throw in some rape, porn and more revenge for good measure.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) reminisce about Season Two of Sons of Anarchy. Shawn just started watching the show this Summer and Kim has been watching for years. As the Final Season revs up, here are some thoughts about the show's sophomore season in the Fall of 2009. Shawn: Well, you didn't lie to me. I got a full dose of guns, porn, overzealous law, and a bit of the ultraviolence. I feel like there's a conscious effort to expand the story right off the bat. We ended on such an emotional note last season that dealing with

Thoughtful & Abstract: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "Shadows"

T&A come out of the shadows to see what our crew is doing to start Season Two.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the most fun show on network television. Shawn: Go dark. Stay in the shadows. Find the obelisk. I think I see where this season is going in a nutshell. I really needed a little more of a "Previously on . . . " to get me back up to speed. But that start caught my attention and I kinda want a whole episode of the Howling Commandos in the '40s. Back to modern day and I got the good and the bad of the series all

Thoughtful & Abstract: Sons of Anarchy: Season One: Ain't Your Father's MC

The Sons of Anarchy are introduced to T & A by way of Season One.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) reminisce about Season One of Sons of Anarchy. Shawn just started watching the show this Summer and Kim has been watching for years. As we run up to the final season, here are some thoughts about the show's debut season in the Fall of 2008. Shawn: Sons of Anarchy has always been one of those shows that I didn't watch but knew that I'd love. I loved Kurt Sutter's work on The Shield and this show has lots of the touches of that show that made it unique in the police drama genre.

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Killing: Season Four Gets Sent Off

The fourth season of The Killing tries to go out with a bang.
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This conversation takes place between Kim (@kimfreakinB) who watched The Killing as it aired and Shawn (@genx13) who watched every episode in the past five weeks. It centers around the six episodes of season four that debuted on Netflix on August 1st. Shawn: I have to wrap my head around this in segments. I'm still working through my opinions. In short, I'm not satisfied. At all. But why? I asked myself a couple questions to start. Were the characters consistent between the initial three seasons and this last season? And was it the story that let me down? That doesn't

Insomnia (1997) Criterion Collection Review: An Influential Thriller

Psychological thriller spins a tale without darkness.
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I sat down to write this upon the day of hearing of the passing of Robin Williams. He took a big chance in a serious role in the Christopher Nolan 2002 remake of this 1997 Norwegian film. Nolan's follow-up to Memento was a dark tale of madness. The movie poster shows the dark silhouetted faces of Al Pacino and Robin Williams. That is all you need to know about the differences between these films. Insomnia as directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg is unblinkingly bright. So much so that it hurts. There was never a doubt in my mind it would be

Thoughtful & Abstract: An Awesome Mix of Ideas about Guardians of the Galaxy

The current state of the Marvel film empire is considered.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@KimFreakinB) consider Guardians of the Galaxy and other Marvel Comics movies: Shawn: I am Groot! Spoiler alert - I loved it. I don't know when I've left a theater more satisfied with a superhero film than with Guardians of the Galaxy. I think it's partially the lack of hype of the previous films this year and that it sneaks in at the tail end of Summer when there isn't much competition. But I was surprised that it even exceeded my expectations. So where does it fit in the spectrum for you, Kim? What are

Thoughtful & Abstract: Changes at Marvel Comics Fail To Impress

The reboot of the Avengers' core characters, while not surprising, is disheartening.
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In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@KimFreakinB) consider the news about changes coing to a couple Marvel Comics characters: Shawn: This past week brought the announcement of a few changes coming to the Marvel Universe this Fall. It's funny what changes in the comic industry make the mainstream news and which ones go unnoticed. First, we're talking about fictional characters. Second, over the past 75 years, comic companies have proven that no change is permanent. I think the current changes caught the attention of Social Media because of a confluence of events. The week around San Diego Comic-Con always brings

Doctor Who: The Moonbase DVD Review: An Important Release

The Second Doctor encounters the Cybermen for his first time but that's not his only problem.
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The Cybermen have always rivaled the Daleks as the premier villains in the Doctor Who Universe. The Daleks always seemed to be able to win on just being a creepy monster. The Cybermen were always the thinking man's villain for me. They are inherently a very philosophical monster. At what point do humans become something else as they replace their parts. It's been a theme in Science Fiction for generations. In the Doctor Who Universe, the evolution of the Cybermen has reflected the thoughts of the times. Their role now as arguably the most important adversaries is built upon more

City Lights Criterion Collection Review: Well Received and Slightly Defiant

The first dramatic comedy by Chaplin teaches us how to see clearly despite the blinding lights.
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The Criterion Collection has returned to the well again this month. They are releasing the fifth film in their Charlie Chaplin series. I've shared my thoughts on Modern Times, The Great Dictator and The Gold Rush in previous reviews. By not releasing the films in chronological order, the exposure to the arc of his career is very disjointed. We've seen the mature Chaplin films including talkies and the final evolution of his Tramp character. Only one has given us a glimpse into the early years of the character - The Gold Rush (1925). I thought it was time to explore

Cavalcade (1933) Blu-ray Review: An Important Film from the Early Days

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Old film finds new audience.
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For the past year, I've been on a kick to discover and rediscover films of the 1920s and 1930s. I've been seeking out films that are award winning and star notable actors and made by notable directors. I've been aided slightly by Netflix and helped greatly by feature nights on TCM. The release of films from this era on DVD and Blu-ray is more rare. The release of Cavalcade by 20th Century Fox brings a 1933 film to home video that won three Academy Awards. I set down to review the film as compared to films of its day and

The Thin Red Line Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Impressive Movie

Malick's masterpiece unfolds for the patient.
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There's something to be said about be prolific. Take Alfred Hitchcock's work for example - there are runs of three-four films over a two- to three-year span that are so brilliant that you are willing to forgive the clunkers like Torn Curtain. But there's also something rare and amazing about the director that picks his pieces carefully. Terrence Malick hit the ground running in 1973 with Badlands. The well received film set in South Dakota and middle America in the 1950s starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek has gained in respect since its release. His second film came five years

Spotlight On San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Day Three

In which I dabble in some hip hop-related panels and a few Spotlights On.
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CAC #10: JAPAN AND GLOBAL INFLUENCE: After a morning of making a last trip around the Convention floor, I was shut out of a number of panels including Futurama, Godzilla, and YA authors. This little room caught my attention from an intellectual curiousity point of view. "CAC" stands for Comic Arts Confernce. The story of Yutsoko Chusonji should be a movie. Her story was moderated by Dexter L. Thomas Jr. and included June Madeley and Jonathan Valdez to discuss more of the sociological aspects to her story. Yutsoko's story is that of a manga artist in the '80s who went

Life Is Sweet Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Mike Leigh's International Breakout

Life is sweet but it can hurt too in Mike Leigh's tribute to family love in north London.
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Mike Leigh films can be comedies but you'd never put the phrase "light hearted" in front of that description. His films are usually described as "gritty" and "realistic". The latest Criterion Collection release of his work is Life Is Sweet from 1990, part of what I consider a trilogy of real stories of love and clashing cultures in modern-day England. It is bookended by the under-appreciated High Hopes (1989) and the generally revered or hated Naked (1993). The middle of the three, Life Is Sweet, would seemingly take place in the same universe as the other two. This tale of

Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil DVD Review: A Curiosity Piece

The Doctor and Jo battle The Master in a story that tells us more about the latter than the former.
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Over the past few years, I've reviewed quite a few of the BBC releases of Doctor Who. One of the latest releases, The Mind of Evil, is not my first Jon Pertwee review with him as the Doctor. I reviewed The Three Doctors release that takes place at the beginning of Season Ten when the Doctor is finally released from a two-year exile on Earth. This new release takes us back to the second story of Season Eight. By this time, Pertwee is comfortably 29 episodes into his run and has settled into the character. The six-episode arc is an

Teen Wolf: Season 2 DVD Review: Trust the Instinct

Buffy meets Scooby partially impresses and partially disappoints in Second Season.
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The interesting idea I had for reviewing the new DVD release of Teen Wolf: Season 2 was that the last show from MTV that I watched was either Daria or The Tom Green Show. The other interesting challenges to reviewing the second season of the show was that I was familiar with the 1985 film by the same name but I had not watched even a second of the first season. Instead of becoming a more informed reviewer and at least sampling the first season or reading a general synopsis, I chose to attack the new season with no background.

Book Review: Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow by Tommy Donbavand

Adult science fiction show reduced to novel aimed at simpler audience.
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"PC Reg Cranfield turned the corner into Totter's Lane, the beam of his torch slicing through the fog. It was a thick one tonight, what his dad would have referred to as a 'real pea souper', had he still been alive to say it." That's how the first Doctor Who book I've read in over 20 years starts. The latest release from Broadway Paperbacks is written by Tommy Donbavand and entitled Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow. It's one of three new releases including Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen by Justin Richards and Doctor Who: The Dalek Generation by Nicholas

Following Criterion Collection DVD Review: Glimpse a Genius Just Finding His Voice

Young Christopher Nolan shows off his storytelling prowess.
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In 1999, a 28-year-old Christopher Nolan couldn't possibly have seen himself directing such big budget films like Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. The young Nolan was piecing together his first feature film as writer, director, editor, cinematographer and lead financier. The result was the clever Following, which wore his influences on its sleeve. The well-received film disappeared from the film shelves as he released more accomplished films like Memento, Insomnia, and Batman Begins. But in December 2012, the film got a new opportunity to be appreciated when it became part of the Criterion Collection. It's initially important to place

The Muppet Christmas Carol 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Review: It's Not Easy Being Scrooge

The influential Muppet twist of the annual Dickens classic.
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I have to give some full disclosure before we get too far into my review of the 20th Anniversary release on Blu-ray of The Muppet Christmas Carol. I don't have much of what one would call objectivity when it comes to all things Muppets. I have been a huge fan of them since my earliest TV memories of Sesame Street. The arrival of The Muppet Show on TV and then the films took my fandom to new levels. The release of The Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992 came at a crucial time for the franchise - there had not been

Doctor Who: The Ambassadors of Death DVD Review: A Hugely Convoluted Story

The Third Doctor encounters aliens from Mars who may not have come in peace.
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In January of 1970, the Seventh Season of Doctor Who started with Jon Pertwee taking the reins as the Third Doctor. Patrick Troughton had held the spot from 1966 to 1969 traveling through time and space. Pertwee would be exiled to 20th Century Earth. His appearance would bring many changes to what had become the core Doctor Who stories. The series would finally change to all-color episodes, the series would be anchored in 20th Century England, there would be a more consistent cast of characters, and the series would have shorter seasons with longer serials. The second serial of his

Eating Raoul Criterion Collection DVD Review: A Biting Social Satire

Paul & Mary's Country Kitchen is open for business.
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Independent cinema of 1982 did not resemble today's genre in any shape or form. Viewers had to work to find access to see these films. They would show in small, dingy theaters for a week at a time but rarely be seen beyond the largest cities. But in 1982 things were starting to change with the expansion of cable television and the advent of the VHS player. As a teenager in this period, I was discovering all kinds of films I had never heard of thanks to HBO and local video rental stores. One of the underground films that fascinated

Live and Let Die Movie Review: Do You Ever Really Forget Your First (Bond)?

The necessary step to move the franchise forward.
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In the last 50 years, most people have seen at least one James Bond film. Mine happened in 1973 at the tender age of six. It wasn't just my introduction to the world of James Bond, it was my welcome to the world of movies made for adults. While I would only dabble in this world the next few years - Jaws, Star Wars, and Smokey and the Bandit among them - these few films had a profound affect on my adult movie preferences. It's why I like Shark Week, Comic Con, and movies the star guys with moustaches.

RiffTrax Live: Manos The Hands Of Fate Review: Worst Movie Gets the Best Riffs

I'm glad to have my 1990s love back in my life.
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For almost all of the 1990s, I was glued to a quirky show shunned by many and beloved by a few called Mystery Science Theater 3000. When creator Joel Hodgson left in 1993 and headwriter Mike Nelson took over, I was a little skeptical of the future of the program. By the time the next season had started, I was on board with Mike and found the chemistry between him, Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy), and Crow T. Robot (Trace Beaulieu and later Bill Corbett) to be more comfortable fit. When the show left the air in 1999, I thought it

Doctor Who: The Krotons DVD Review: The Typical Troughton Template

The Gonds used to serve their Kroton masters until the Doctor came to lead them to freedom.
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When this reviewer last visited with the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, it was the beginning of Season 5 in September of 1967 for the 37th story - The Tomb of the Cybermen. The Doctor was just coming into his own with the character. After a couple run-ins with the Daleks previously, he faced the other of the supervillians of the Doctor Who Universe in the Cybermen. He was accompanied by his companions Jamie (who had been with him almost from the beginning) and a recently acquired, Victoria. I claim that this storyline was a huge boost to the franchise and

The Gold Rush Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Charlie Chaplin Strikes Gold

Chaplin is an artist at the top of his game here.
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The Criterion Collection has a problem. It's the best kind of problem to have though. They have the rights to release the Charlie Chaplin films and they have at their disposal a plethora of excellent films - many of which have never had the proper DVD and Blu-ray treatment. The issue is what order to release the films. They started with Modern Times from 1936, essentially one of the best silent films ever, created at the end of the silent film era. The next release moved forward to the important anti-war message of The Great Dictator from 1940. His first

The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut DVD Review: Cool Is Still Cool

The show is very appealing to even modern sensibilities.
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Watching episodes of The Dean Martin Variety Show made one thing very clear - there is no equivalent of the "variety" show on U.S. television these days. My favorite shows of my youth included variety shows like Donny and Marie Osmond, The Muppet Show, Hee Haw, and The Caro Burnett Show. Today, the shows that combine music and comedy have morphed into nighttime talk shows like The Tonight Show. Other shows like Saturday Night Live or America's Got Talent rely too much on comedy sketches or on the contest portion of their shows to really feel like they spring from

Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters Special Edition DVD Review: Oh, The Places They'll Go

Trapped in an intergalactic peepshow with his companion, Jo, can the Doctor fight his way out before the monsters get them?
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In my past few reviews of the Doctor Who DVD releases, I've lamented the randomness of dropping into a story without benefit of some of the surrounding plot points. Most of the stories through the Sixties and Seventies were told in four-six episode arcs. The episode groupings tell full stories but there isn't usually any perspective or backstory of what happened previously. When given even a bit of an introduction, the stories have a much greater impact. The latest release from BBC is set up perfectly by last month's release of the story just preceding it. The April release, Doctor

Doctor Who: The Three Doctors Special Edition DVD Review: Are Three Doctors Better Than One?

The first three Doctors come together for the show's 10th Anniversary.
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My last Who review left us with the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, just after the The Tomb Of The Cybermen (Story 037) from 1967 during Season Five. The Second Doctor would go on to have more adventures, mainly through Space and less through Time into and through the end of Season Six in the Summer of 1969. But the times and TV was changing as the decade came to an end. There was a definite youth movement in the UK and color was becoming a necessity. So, the program would become colorized and younger at the same time. The color

Doctor Who: The Tomb Of The Cybermen Special Edition DVD Review: A Great Time Piece with a Fun Story

The Cybermen arise from the dead - just another fun trip with the Second Doctor
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The Doctor of my youth was Tom Baker. When the reruns aired on PBS just before the Primetime shows would start, I was fascinated and confused by the stories. This was a show seemingly filmed on a low budget, with a hero with a long scarf and yet there were usually really cool monsters and aliens. But I always seemed to encounter it within a larger story and didn't watch it consistently enough to make heads or tails of what was happening. Fast forward to 2005 and I was able to start a new series with Christopher Eccleston and I

Tiny Furniture Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: One Character in Search of a Relationship

I think you sound like you are in the epilogue to "Felicity".
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It's important to start off with a confession. I love "coming of age" films. It's a genre that never seems to run dry of ideas. The transition from childhood to adulthood is ripe for all kinds of stories. The best of the genre starts with The Graduate - as Dustin Hoffman tries to adapt to life and romance after college. The genre isn't limited to post-college experiences. Coming of age works well as a nostalgic look at loss of innocence in Stand By Me or the transition from high school to independent adult like American Graffiti. The genre can even

Three Outlaw Samurai Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Genre-Defining Samurai Film

A brilliantly shot period piece with beautiful cinematography and lots of fighting.
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The Samurai genre and the Western are so closely tied by themes and storylines that it's amazing the great Japanese films of the Sixties and Seventies haven't made a larger impact in the United States. I've been a casual fan of the Samurai genre since my first viewing of Shogun Assasin in the mid-Eighties. That led me to the Lone Wolf and Cub series and eventually the Zatoichi Blind Swordsman series. These films work well in a series because of the epic storytelling - the growth of the legend of the samurai hero becomes the overall importance. He must face

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season One, Part 2 DVD Review: Crystal Cove Curse

The Scooby Gang's dark journey to solve the secrets of the previous Mystery Incorporated.
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Following the Scooby-Doo gang is a patient, often frustrating process of starts and stops and reboots. There are currently two separate but equal Scooby-verses for the fans. The Direct-to-TV films exist within their own Universe and yet do not have much in the way of coninuity or rules. In 2010, Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare was a return to classic Scooby mystery storytelling like the original series. But the next year, Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur was like many of the ridiculous later series aimed at a much younger viewer. A year ago I reviewed the release of the first four episodes

Branded To Kill Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Legendary Piece of Cinema You Should Not Miss

Suzuki's 1967 Yakuza classic finally gets Blu-ray release.
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I was born in 1967. And in the tradition of all petulant teenagers - I grew to have disdain for the period. It was the dumb Hippies and the music wasn't as good as the Disco I liked and the movies were never about Jedis or killer Great White sharks. But then I grew up. It seems that in the past few years - I've rediscovered how great the end of the Sixties were. I'm watching great episodes of Doctor Who and the genius of Get Smart and I'm reading books and watching movies that show me how wrong I
Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy is a series of three films that were released in 1993 and 1994. They came out at the beginning of a Golden Age for foreign films and right at the height of the breakout of Independent Cinema. Both these categories are considered genres, but in fact, they comprise the umbrella of all the genres - musicals, comedies, dramas, mysteries, and more. They are typically recognizable by their reliance on more daring cinematic techniques and symbolic or obtuse storytelling methods. At the time of their release, these movies proved to me to be the
Can one film ruin a genre? I guess you can look at it from two angles. Did Titanic ruin the Disaster Film genre because no other film could live up to the hype? Or was it possible that Volcano ruined the Disaster genre by having Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche (as a geologist!) stop a volcano from destroying L.A.? In 1993, Richard Linklater may have ruined a whole genre with the release of Dazed and Confused, a film about an ensemble of teenagers set on the last day of school in 1976 in Texas. The problem is knowing just

The Four Feathers (1939) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Offers Quite a Bit of Excitement

Harry Faversham's journey from coward to hero.
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The A.E.W. Mason classic adventure book The Four Feathers (1902) has been adapted into at least seven films directly. The latest was a semi-well received version in 2002 with Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, and Kate Hudson. When the 1939 version was released, there had already been three previous version, including a version with King Kong star Fay Wray. Now out on beautiful Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection is the Zoltan Korda 1939 version of The Four Feathers. For a story adapted so many times, I knew this film is considered the definitive version and I was anxious to see what

My Life As A Dog Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Boy's Eccentric Journey to Manhood

Lasse Halstrom knows just how to balance the lightness of the eccentric characters against the main themes of the film.
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When you further categorize the films that I love the most, you'll find that the majority of them speak to the transition from childhood to adulthood in one way or another. Maybe it takes the escape to another world to find your way like The Wizard Of Oz or Alice In Wonderland. Sometimes it's the reflection from an older point of view to the process of getting older like It's A Wonderful Life or Cinema Paradiso. In the Nineties, one of my favorite examples of this genre was The Cider House Rules. Homer's journey away from home to the "foreign

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) DVD Review: Hard to Improve Upon Made-For-TV Gold

Not just a nostalgic trip, the 1973 TV movie actually holds up pretty well.
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Warner Archive has released the original made-for-TV film Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark. With the Guillermo Del Toro remake taking such a beating in the press, I thought it was a good time to refresh our collective memories to the quality product he was trying to improve upon. This review really starts over 30 years ago. On a cold, wet Friday night in the mid-'70s, ABC reaired their 1973 made-for-TV horror film Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark. Little Shawn had yet to see Jaws, and he was years away from The Exorcist. Little Shawn had only been exposed

Cul-De-Sac Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Roman Polanski Leads Down a Dead End Road

An interesting peek inside the mind of Polanski.
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With new releases from The Criterion Collection, the ones I look forward to the most aren't always the major works or World Cinema or the important Independent releases. The most intriguing are usually the lesser-known works of well-respected directors. When I go down my list of directors that are masters of the craft (meaning that they have control of all aspects from script to acting to filming) - one name that will always appear is Roman Polanski. The man has given us classics in multiple decades: Rosemary's Baby in the '60s, Chinatown in the '70s and The Pianist in the

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird DVD Review: A Pretty Flawless Documentary

We walk a mile in Harper Lee's shoes and learn the story behind the great American novel.
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On July 19th, First Run Features releases a new documentary on "To Kill A Mockingbird" on DVD. The timing is interesting because we're one year removed from the 50th Anniversary of the book and next year will be the 50th Anniversary of the movie. The book is an excellent portarit of a typical Deep South town in Alabama and the quirky characters that inhabit it. It's a book about coming of age. And it just happens to have a morality tale about racism, injustice, and staying true to your values flow through the heart of the book. It's a book

Naked Criterion Blu-ray Review: Anti-Hero's Odyssey Through Thatcher's London

Mike Leigh examines a generation lost the after the economic and personal mess of the '80s.
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In Mike Leigh's 1993 UK film, Naked, I don't think a main character has turned the audience against him quicker than Johnny does here. We cut to a sex act happening in an alley in Manchester. The aggresive sex turns quickly into more than the woman wanted and she starts yelling "No! No!" Eventually she slaps him away and he steals a car and heads to London. That's our opening scene and introduction to our main character - a scraggly, unwashed, rapist named Johnny. This Criterion release on Blu-ray follows an earlier release of the film on DVD. It's a

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Movie Review: The Magic Begins

Year One at Hogwarts is a true celebration of magic.
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The start of any series of films is problematic at best. If you're Star Trek - you're seeking to recapture and continue some of the magic of the television show with the same cast. If you're X-Men or Batman or Spider-Man - you're capitalizing on decades of comic continuity that may make it hard historically to last beyond three or four films with the same cast. If it's Jurassic Park or Pirates Of The Caribbean or The Matrix - you don't necessarily know you are launching a series until the runaway success of your film makes it a neccesity. But

Black Moon (1975) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Gloria Steinem Meets Lewis Carroll

Louis Malle's 1975 surreal take on "Alice In Wonderland" almost defies description.
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I don't know the exact definition of a "black moon" just as I'm not exactly clear on the definition of a blue moon. As opposed to a blue moon - I'd consider it to be a month without a full moon. And what that has to do with this 1975 film by Louis Malle, recently released by The Criterion Collection makes about as much sense as the rest of the film. I've seen a few early films of Louis Malle - he directed a part of Spriits of the Dead and a wonderful coming-of-age film in Murmur of the Heart
I've always loved the middle school and high school genre of films. There's a magic in those pre-teen and early teen years that lends itself to comedy, drama, and romance. But I've found that it's usually a genre best played out over the course of a TV series instead of in two-hour blocks in the theater. The weekly visits of a TV program lets the viewer get to know the nuances of friendships and relationships with parents. It's also the best way to draw out the arc of teenage love. Shows like The Wonder Years, Freaks and Geeks, and even

The Great Dictator Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Charlie Chaplin Still Gives Hope Today

Chaplin shows off his mastery of the cinema and tells us life can be free and beautiful.
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When we last saw Charlie Chaplin in 1936 at the end of Modern Times, The Tramp and his muse, "the gamine" were walking away from us to a hopeful future. A mere four years later, the world had changed and so had that future. In Modern Times, Charlie used the old style of the silent film to give hope to those still mired in the Great Depression. In 1940, Chaplin would utilize sound film to look forward and give hope to those who saw only strife. The Great Dictator (the most recent release from The Criterion Collection) would tackle subjects

Something Wild Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Jonathan Demme's Film is a Wild Thing

Put together with a soundtrack as important to the story as any John Hughes soundtrack of the day.
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The Criterion Collection is on a serious roll this Spring. I've had the pleasure of reviewing White Material (a superb modern French film), Sweetie (an early, classic Jane Campion film) and now I get to spend a couple hours with the release of Jonathan Demme's oft-forgotten 1986 cult classic Something Wild. The arrival of this film on Blu-ray a mere 25 years after its theatrical release is a curious exercise for me. I just finished reviewing Betty Blue - another forgotten '80s cult favorite that is trying to find a home in a world that doesn't allow films to slowly

Betty Blue Blu-ray Review: This Dark, Passionate Film is a Colorful Outing

Twenty-five years later, the reviewer sees a completely different story though finds it no less enjoyable.
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The recent Blu-ray release of Betty Blue from Cinema Libre Studios as part of their The Jean-Jacques Beineix Collection takes me back to my formative movie-watching days in Ann Arbor in the mid-'80s. I saw this film at the Michigan Theater in 1986 and reveled in the raw sexuality of the relationship and admired the way the couple seemed to rebel against society. I found Betty (Beatrice Dalle) irresistable and fell in love with her gap-toothed smile. I was 19 years old and I thought that this was the most romantic film of its day. Now, 25 years later,

Sweetie (1989) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Wonderful, Symbolic-Laden Story

Jane Campion, future director of "The Piano", shows her roots in directorial debut.
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I recently was able to sit down and review White Material (2009) - a film directed by a female director twenty years into her directorial career. Reviewing a film by an artist like that is easy because one can summon themes from a number of previous films to support criticism of the most current film. With a director who mainly deals with artistic subjects, it's interesting to connect the dots and follow the growth from 1988 to 2009. The Criterion Collection is best known for their releases of classic films as well as important contemporary films. Their latest release, Sweetie

White Material Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Presages Current Events

The despair of a dying country is portrayed in this powerful film.
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Claire Denis makes movies that almost seem commissioned by The Criterion Collection. The French filmmaker shoots in long, beautiful, quiet takes that allow the viewer to learn by seeing. And yet while taking place within often violent settings, her films are ultimately about the characters and how they interact with each other. They would be classified as "Art Films" under most definitions of the term and yet they have a heart that the term just doesn't convey. Her latest film White Material (2009) has recently received the Blu-ray treatment from The Criterion Collection. I first encountered the work of Denis

Best Movies and Trailers of 2010

One man's attempt to boil his movie-going experiences of 2010 into list form.
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Each year I predict what my favorite movies for the upcoming year will be. I'm usually so far off that it's funny to look back to 12 months ago. This year, I'm surprised how many stayed in my Top 10. Here are last December's predicitons: BEST MOVIES OF 2010 (as predicted in December 2009) 1. Toy Story 3 (June) How will this not be my #1 movie next year? There isn't a way. Pixar - I've never doubted you. 2. Kick-Ass. Am I overhyped based on a few decent trailers? Maybe. Maybe not. 3. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Little

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