Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Really That Good: SPIDER-MAN 1 & 2

Well. This took forever (over an hour long this time - wow!) and Sony immediately issued a YouTube copyright claim on it. Said claim is now in dispute, so watch this while you can! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 - Episode 8: "Many Heads, One Tale"

Well... that was pretty unexpected.

A weird thing about how AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D has evolved as a series is that the more both the series and the audience seem to have accepted its position as the redheaded stepchild of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the more cavalier it's gotten in playing around with the worldbuilding. Throughout most of Season 1, when the audience was still assuming/hoping that the series was going to be a mythology-packed weekly geek-out setting up dominoes for the movies to knock down, it operated strictly on the fringes of its own universe until it was more-or-less forced to use the good silverware because CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER's storyline made it unavoidable.

But now, with the audience effectively resigned to the idea that AGENTS is mostly going to do it's own thing as "NCIS: MARVEL UNIVERSE" and not have any real noteworthy impact on the movies (example: Multiple friends/colleagues of The Avengers know Coulson is alive now, but not The Avengers themselves for absolutely no good reason) ...the show is somehow now more emboldened about play with what feel like big, essential moving-parts of the Universe that you'd think the movies would get first-dibs on messing with: Last season got to introduce The Inhumans (whose movie doesn't come out until 2019) and start early on Marvel's long-term goal of turning them into Mutant/X-Men replacements; and now along with continuing that work Season 3 now gets to re-write a huge part of the MCU's history (on Earth, anyway) with a single conversation.

Specifically: HYDRA, the villainous group whose shenanigans have driven the plots of (so far) four movies and lurk (retroactively) in the background/mythos of all the rest, now has a brand-new, way way out there origin-story - which could be a signal that the movies are done using them or that the movie and TV sides of the MCU are about to start playing nice(er) with eachother.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 - Episode 7: "Chaos Theory"

Apologies, once again, for the delay. It won't repeat for tomorrow's show.

So! Once again, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D puts a big chunk of it's internal mysteries on the table and drops in a bunch of new ones. Clever storytelling? Side-effect of only having a general sense of where your story is "allowed" to go week to week? Who can tell, at this point...


Monday, November 16, 2015

UPDATES 11/16/15

Just a quick update: This last week (and counting) has been murder on my schedule, which is why a recap for S.H.I.E.L.D from the previous week didn't end up running. It will run sometime later this evening, and the regularly-scheduled one for tomorrow should run on time. Apologies for the delay.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Friday, November 06, 2015

WARCRAFT Trailer Finally Drops

This looks suuuuuuper goofy. So I'm totally onboard.

Review: THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2015)

NOTE: This review is possible in part through donations to The MovieBob Patreon.

First things first: Relax.

They didn't botch it. They didn't break it. They didn't screw it up. The Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus etc you'll be seeing up onscreen and/or introducing the next generation to are largely the same ones you grew up with; and they've arrived in a perfectly agreeable, modest, sweet little movie that should re-establish them as touchstones for another several decades to come. So if those were worries you'd been nursing about THE PEANUTS MOVIE, you can exhale: It's fine.

Review: BURNT (2015)

NOTE: Publication of this review is possible in part through contributions to The MovieBob Patreon.

Yeesh. What a bucket of suck this thing is.

I'm sorry. I try as best I'm able to save the more colorful witticisms for the video reviews, but some bad movies are exactly bad enough in such a particular way that it feels unjust to approach them with more civilized verbiage. BURNT, featuring one of current Hollywood's most overexposed performers inhabiting the apotheosis of his own most tiresome stock-persona in one of the most annoying recurring narratives of the last decade or so (the mercurial ultra-driven muy-macho auteur-badass who really is so damn good at his vocation that world is just going to have to learn to deal with it, bro!), is practically the Platonic ideal of this very type; with Bradley Cooper mugging, shouting and hard-staring his way through an "I'm a troubled genius, give me an Oscar!!!" turn that asks its audience: "Sure, you loved RATATOUILLE - but wouldn't you love it more with an abusive, too-cool-for-school douchebag whose talent justifies his every flaw?"

Review: SPOTLIGHT (2015)

NOTE: Publication of this review is possible in part through contributions to The MovieBob Patreon.

I'd like to say that being from Boston, growing up Catholic, serving as an Altar Boy in my early teens and having met the (now) infamous Cardinal Bernard Law in person on several occasions, I'd have some kind of special insight on SPOTLIGHT; which relates the true of the team of Boston Globe journalists who broke the damning story of the Catholic Church conspiring to cover up decades of sexual abuse by priests... but I don't.

Maybe I would if SPOTLIGHT were a different sort of a movie, something more melodramatic and emotion-driven like TRUTH, I would. I certainly have emotional memories of that moment in time, bound up in the fact (dramatized to subtle but potent effect in the film) that the story felt like a double gut-punch breaking in the long shadow of 9/11, but SPOTLIGHT isn't interested in that end of the story. Instead, there's a conscious effort at play (in both the filmmaking and the motivations of characters within the plot) to stick to procedural-protocol in order to expose the full truth underneath a story that can't help but be lurid, sensational and emotionally wrenching. It recognizes that the story The Globe's famous "Spotlight" team found itself having to tell was ultimately less "explosive-expose" and more like a sombre, quietly-horrifying autopsy - not only of corruption, but also failure, complicity and willful ignorance.

The result, in reality, was one of the most important published stories in the history of modern journalism, seen by many as one of the last great moments in the fading tradition of old-school newspaper reporting. The result, onscreen, is one of the best films of the year.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 - Episode 6: "Among Us Hide..."

Hey! Turns out this was Episode 50! For those of you playing at home, that means AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D now has approximately 30-50 more episodes to go before it hits "syndication ready" numbers and Disney/Marvel even considers taking it off the schedule - ratings or no ratings.

Also: Called it.


Monday, November 02, 2015

Review: STEVE JOBS (2015)

Alright! Alright! Enough with the damn Steve Jobs Movies! I get it, you’re all broken up that the guy who paid people to design your trendy PHONE died! You have my sympathies but - Christ Almighty - this is the third one of these goddamn things I’ve had to watch in about 2 ½ years – if they make one more I’m pretty sure he gets to join THE AVENGERS! I’m sorry but for all this hyperbolic elevation you’d think the guy had fucking cured ca…

Um. Eh… Okay, so, probably should’ve picked a different reference there.

ANYWAY! This one isn’t so bad.

Review: TRUTH (2015)

NOTE: Publication of this piece was possible in part due to the generosity of contributors to The MovieBob Patreon.

Reviewing TRUTH is an exercise in asking whether or not it your supposed to weigh a film against its own intentions. That's not necessarily an unusual place for a critic to be in, but it's usually in a much more extreme context, i.e. whether you should recommend a film for the laughs when it wasn't mean to be a comedy but rather a drama staged so ineptly that it becomes hilarious. TRUTH is askew in a more subtle fashion: What's up onscreen is a top-tier example of an earnest political polemic that keeps insisting on (and seems to genuinely believe in) its own neutrality, putting in a herculean (and effective) effort to rehabilitate subjects that it also insists don't need rehabilitating in the first place.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 - Episode 5: "4,722 Hours"

NOTE: As ever, articles like this are brought to you in part by The MovieBob Patreon.

At this point, there are probably three types of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D fans (with significant crossover, of course):

1. Marvel Cinematic Universe completists watching to make absolutely sure that they don't miss any subplots, threads, etc being either launched or tied-up here.

2. Fans of all things Marvel and/or comics in general watching to make sure they don't miss appearances by any characters or iconography that hasn't shown up elsewhere yet.

3. People who've genuinely become invested in the characters/world of this specific show, care about the characters and want to know what happens to them.

"4,722 HOURS" is a rare episode that feels designed with Audience #3 exclusively in mind: It's a single story strictly involving the series' own storylines, no cutaways to any other subplots and no (definitive, at least for now) ties to either the Cinematic or Comics Universe. It also happened to be pretty damn well-executed and a fine acting showcase for Elizabeth Henstridge, which I imagine helped soothe the lack of case-specific goodies for viewers of other stripes.

SPOILERS follow:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Really That Good UPDATE

Hey gang.

So, update on the status of the next REALLY THAT GOOD episode. Short version: It's coming, and soon. Obviously, I did not want to let the series go this long with VACATION as the most recent installment, but sometimes life gets in the way.

I could probably blame my recent health concerns, but the fact is it's less about that and more about that being the impetus to reconnect with parts of my life that I'd allowed to become detached. A social life, even one as haphazardly-managed as mine, is important to cultivate; and a side-effect of this is less time alloted between paid work to give over to passion projects - particularly passion projects that don't (for the most part) generate funding in and of themselves outside of viewers being hopefully wooed to chip in at The MovieBob Patreon.

That having been said, a greater impediment still was that I happened upon a situation where a film turned out to be impossible to place in proper retrospect without talking about its direct sequel, which in turn was impossible to itself quantify without talking about its predecessor. As such, the next REALLY THAT GOOD has become (by necessity) a two-film piece; which presents a new set of challenges and a rethinking of style and approach - which I believe I have cracked, hence this update.

I usually try to do these things as surprises, but since you've been kept waiting long enough I figured a small tease, at least, is in order. So...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

JESSICA JONES is Sooper-Serious Business, Yo

I liked DAREDEVIL a lot, but I never really got onboard that it represented some kind of next-level evolution for the Marvel Universe brand.

Too much of the story felt stretched-thin between the "main" beats (why is the law practice so incidental to the series so far?) and I'm less inclined to see it's much-ballyhooed aesthetic and tone as the welcome "dark side" of the MCU and more like the eyeroll-inducing "stuck in the early-2000s" side. A good series, but mainly one that does the best possible version of stuff I'd thought the superhero genre had managed to otherwise outgrow: Unrelentingly grim, afraid of its own four-color shadow (Matt Murdock, in both his getups, is the worst-dressed superhero in Marvel not named Quicksilver), celelbrity-villain dependent (yes, D'Onofrio was magnificent all the same) etc.

But for what it was, it worked. But I'm wondering whether or not having this as the default-setting of the Netflix/DEFENDERS Marvel material is going to prove limiting. Case in point, the otherwise very good looking first full trailer for JESSICA JONES:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 - Episode 4: "The Devils You Know"

Now we're getting back on track.

After nothing much special happening last week, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D rebounds this week with an episode where not much happens for the most part... and then everything happens in the last 10 minutes or so. Not exactly appointment-viewing stuff, granted, but this time last year we were still dealing with the "Coulson keeps drawing maps" business, so yeah.

SPOILERS follow:

"JOY" Still Doesn't Want You To Know What "JOY" Is About

I dunno. At this point I feel like JOY (installment number three of a film-series where we're not supposed to notice that the director of SPANKING THE MONKEY keeps inexplicably casting Jennifer Lawrence as middle-aged mother/nurturer figures) should stop playing cute and just own the fact that it's about the invention and maketing of The Miracle Mop.

Venture Capital

Yes, the STAR WARS trailer is lovely. But this is the preview I've been waiting for. Has it really taken 13 years to get to 6 Seasons of THE VENTURE BROS? It has. That would be irritating for any other series, but here it's more like an indicator of how much care goes into everything:

Now, the fun part: Re-watching everything to remember where exactly things left off.

Monday, October 19, 2015

SCHLOCKTOBER: "Ninja Gaiden: The Anime"

TV RECAP: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 3 - Episode 3: "A Wanted (Inhu)man"

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D's greatest strength is its ability to pivot on a dime into an entirely different tone or story-thrust than it had been in before, but that's also its most prominent stumbling block: When the show can be anything, what exactly are people holding on to week-to-week? The previous seasons (in hindsight) aimed to mitigate this by dividing their first and second halves by broad over-arching storylines: Season 1 was "Why is Coulson alive?" followed by "Oh shit, HYDRA's back!" Season 2 went with "What is Skye, really?" and segued to "Meet The Inhumans."

But Season 3, thus far, doesn't seem to have established a first arc or even a definite sense of purpose: Despite the season-specific "SECRET WARRIORS" branding, we mostly seem to be back in the scattershot, episodic structure of Season 1 but now the characters are all dragging two seasons worth of baggage and loose-end storylines. Maybe that's deliberate, maybe we won't know what this season is "really" about until CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR flips all the tables come May, but as of right now I'm missing the clear sense of purpose Season 2 already had by this point.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Should've Led With This

As I said in this BMD piece, I was "onboard" with ABC's new MUPPETS show from the start, but even still I think it was probably a mistake for them to have not led with last night's 4th episode, which (thanks to stuff like this) felt a lot more like "classic Muppets" in execution - something the series has been criticized for.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Schlocktober Returns

Realized I managed to NOT post last week's IN BOB WE TRUST, which featured the revival of SCHLOCKTOBER. My bad. Here it is below, along with the new one from this week: