Attack on Titan Season 2 Review

I feel like it’s worth pointing out two things up front: I am not a huge anime fan, and I am fully up to date with the still-running manga this show is adapting. The medium is one that has given me a few shows I really love, but I am often put off by certain attributes that come up time and time again. The manga, which has left plenty of material for the show to bring to the small screen by this point, has left me in the position where I know pretty much exactly what is going to happen each episode. Continue reading →

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 Review

Ayesha, High Priestess of The Sovereign sits on an opulent throne, boasting of the perfect evolutionary state reached by her species. The Sovereign are covered in gold, from their clothing and skin all the way down to their eyes. In sharp contrast to the supercilious society and their conceited leader stands the Guardians of the Galaxy, a damaged group of misfits barely keeping it together. It’s one thing to create an ensemble as engaging as this, but it’s another to know where to place them.

Lucky for us, James Gunn knows exactly what he’s doing.

The messy dynamic of these imperfect heroes is why the original space opera worked so well back in 2014, and Gunn is wise enough to use new scenarios to deepen and expand on what was previously established. The plot this time is fairly straightforward, garnished with a gleeful weirdness, yet always in service to its characters and themes. Its ambitions are internal despite its planet-sized special effects, so the expected references to infinity stones and the road to Infinity War are minimal.

Allusions to Thanos are included solely to flesh out the sibling rivalry between Gamora and Nebula, while doing a hell of a lot more to establish him as an intimidating presence than his physical appearance in the last movie did. The sisters are given little room to develop individually, but are captivating as a duo, with a backstory that would be fascinating to see in full.

Read the full review here →

Bits and Pieces #2

“If I Fight You Fight”: Rocky on his 40th Anniversary

When I was growing up, I knew about Rocky. That’s to say – I knew of Rocky. I’d seen the poster, I knew that Sylvester Stallone was a movie star, I knew that at some point he shouted “Adrian!” Like most that haven’t sat down and watched any of the Rocky series, I felt like I already knew the story – and in a way, I did. It is a fairly straightforward underdog story in a lot of ways, which makes it hard to convince non-believers of its worth. The language that Rocky himself uses is simplistic, but the melodrama of the series’ middle casts a shadow over what is otherwise a nuanced, delicate character study.

Continue reading →

Bojack Horseman: The Anti-Sitcom

There’s been a lot of talk over the last several years of television being in a golden age. As with most artistic periods, there isn’t a clear consensus on where it began nor what kicked it all off. While The Sopranos gave us long-form storytelling that managed to be episodic while gradually deepening our understanding of its characters and what they tell us about ourselves and the world we live in, it’s hard to say that all television was purely escapist beforehand when The Twilight Zone was taking audiences to strange new places in 1959 and Star Trek looked forward to a progressive future in ‘66. But one thing that has by its very essence remains consistent and unaltered by an increasingly self-reflexive medium is the sitcom. That brings us to Bojack Horseman, which is itself part of a new surge of adult-orientated animation in the U.S and Netflix-exclusive content.

Continue reading →

Manhunter 30th Anniversary Retrospective

One of the biggest injustices of pop culture is that Michael Mann’s Manhunter has been lost in the shadow of the (admittedly brilliant) Silence of the Lambs, as well as the film’s 2002 remake Red Dragon. While I can understand people choosing Silence as their favourite of the series, for me Manhunter stands tall as the best these adaptations have to offer.

Continue reading →

Underrated Hitchcock Films

As part of Audience Everywhere’s celebration of Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday, I wrote a piece on five of the director’s films that don’t get as much attention as they deserve. These aren’t necessarily the most obscure of his filmography, but ones that should be considered among the greats.

Continue reading →