better call saul sunk costs review 3

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

The title of this week’s Better Call Saul, “Sunk Costs,” refers to a cost that’s been paid and can’t be recovered, i.e. it refers to irreparable damage. A lot has happened over the course of the last two seasons, but the ground lost has always seemed like it could be regained. But something’s snapped, now. We’ve past the point of no return on the path from Jimmy to Saul, and the pall it casts over the show is palpable, not to mention painful.

Read More »

gotham season 3 header

As Gotham returns for the rest of its third season, it’s still full of mixed blessings. Since the pilot, the good has gotten better and the bad has gotten worse, making it a bit of a hard sell to anybody who isn’t a Batman nut already. And even then, the liberties that the show takes might be enough to turn the biggest Bat-fans off. This becomes more of a pity as the good gets really good; as such, the question is whether or not it’s good enough redeem the parts of the show that are as baffling as any puzzle posed by the Riddler. Let’s see where we stand as we head into the back half of season three, “Heroes Rise.”

Read More »

better call saul review witness

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

For two seasons now, Better Call Saul has been remarkable in how unafraid it’s been of quiet (particularly when it comes to setting up long sequences leading to a pay-off), and this week’s episode — directed, like the season premiere, by Vince Gilligan himself — opens with a long stretch of it. You notice, too, when there’s no music backing the dialogue, and the episode ultimately ends with silence. It’s a gut punch, an aural way of expressing just how completely the rug’s been pulled out from underneath the characters. It’s hard to crown a winner this week, as the chickens have come home to roost startlingly early, but here we go.

Read More »

better call saul season premiere review

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

In the world of Better Call Saul, happiness tends to come with strings attached, if not completely hand-in-hand with misfortune. The third season’s premiere proves no exception to the rule, as little fragments of joy are outweighed by the consequences of what led to them. As the chickens start coming home to roost, it’s Mike (Jonathan Banks) who fares best, if only because his problems are a little more easily compartmentalized than the McGill family drama.

Read More »

ghost in the shell whitewashing

The live action Ghost in the Shell has been the eye of a storm of controversy ever since its inception. It’s been accused of whitewashing due to the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the franchise’s protagonist, Major Motoko Kusanagi, as well as deeply unpleasant rumors that CGI had been used to alter an actor’s appearance to “shift [their] ethnicity.” Coming on the heels of similar controversies (Doctor StrangeIron Fist) and discussion, the conversation around it (arguments that the movie speaks for itself when it comes to the casting controversy, that the movie’s visuals are merit enough to disregard the problems inherent in it) only seems more tone-deaf, especially considering how those problems stack up.

Spoilers ahead.

Read More »

review series finale

Has there ever been a show that so profoundly plumbed the depths of human delusion and misery like Review? Even before heading into its third and final season, the show (starring Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil and airing on Comedy Central) had already distinguished itself as a dark comedy of unmatched proportions, if not an outright tragedy — the fact that the predominant theory as to what was going on was that Forrest was in Purgatory had to be debunked by Daly himself says as much.

The premise of Review, as stated by Forrest in the show’s opening credits, is this: “Life: it’s literally all we have. But is it any good? I’m a reviewer, but I don’t review food, books, or movies. I review life itself.” Initially, the reviews seemed fairly self-contained. They weren’t good decisions (the first two episodes were “Stealing; Addiction; Prom” and “Sex Tape; Racist; Hunting”), but they generally fit into the traditional mold of similar mockumentary-style comedies, i.e. the end of each episode meant a blank slate, and the next episode would see the host as spry and damage-free as ever. But then, “Pancakes; Divorce; Pancakes” happened, and the veil was lifted.

Read More »

power rangers review

There’s a scene in the new Power Rangers movie in which Jason, the Red Ranger (Dacre Montgomery), tells one of his fellow Rangers that what matters isn’t the past, but what one works to make the future. It’s a perfectly admirable, earnest sort of sentiment — it’s just one that feels a little off, too, given that the past he’s referring to involves semi-revenge porn. The same goes for the movie as a whole: it comes close to being great but stumbles before getting to the finish line. That said, the beats it does manage to hit are truly wonderful.

Read More »

iron fist spoiler review soundtrack

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Marvel’s new Netflix series, Iron Fist.)

For the most part, Marvel’s latest Netflix foray, Iron Fist, has been critically panned. The issues are plenty, and the resulting conversation has only served to underline exactly how the series falls short. There’s the story, the characterizations, the casting, the editing, and – this is a criticism that’s been leveled against all of Marvel’s Netflix series — it’s just too long. DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage could all have done with a little trimming.

In the case of Iron Fist, an altered cut could result in a drastically different and better show. It just requires a little bit of Garfield Minus GarfieldThere’s an interesting show lurking somewhere within Iron Fist…as long as you remove Iron Fist himself.

Spoilers lie ahead, of course.

Read More »

Beauty and the Beast review

Whenever there’s news of a remake or reboot of an old and beloved movie, the reactions usually range from cautious optimism to some variation on “only when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” In the case of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, it’s the movie itself to which those latter adjectives apply.

This isn’t to say that the movie’s got nothing going on; if anything, it has too much going on. Padded out with 45 extra minutes, the movie’s M.O. is to take everything in the original and crank it up from ten to twenty. There’s more magic, more backstory, more cutlery, more dance breaks, more everything. It feels like love up to a point, the way the best stories get embellished with time, but when the new songs come clunking to remind you of exactly what it takes to get a Best Original Song nomination (and how good the old songs are), the proceedings start to feel a little less genuine.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web: