Posts tagged single point review
Reaper: The Devil and Sam Oliver
Reaper has been a fun show from the beginning, but this season it has been considerably better than last. This is beacuse the job of catching souls has become a smaller part of the show and the characters have become a bigger part. Which leads me to the one thing that has always bothered me about Reaper. It's not a big deal, but with all of his attempts to get away from the devil Sam has never tried to deal with the other side, yet it's clear that everyone knows that he exists. I certainly understand that having God solve the problems of the main character isn't interesting, but having them involved is a good idea, and that appears to be one of the things that happened this episode, though not exactly how you might expect. The other part I expected more. They have been setting up for a while that the only way to get the devil to play against Sam so he could win back his soul was to put up another soul for the bet. Andi is the one that puts up her soul convinced that Sam can win. As the name of the show is Reaper I think it is safe to assume everyone knows he doesn't win. This means that Andi has now lost her soul to the devil. I don't know exactly how they are going to use this next season but I hope that it will give her a little more to do on the show. Most of this season she has felt like she didn't need to be there. Reaper is still primarily just a fun show. There isn't a huge amount of depth, but for what it is meant to be it does a good job and it seems like it is going to continue to get better.
Read More
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
I've always liked the idea of Batman as a human who is able to keep up with the other heroes of the D.C. Universe. Put him at a table with the original members of the Justice League and it becomes fascinating to me. You have Superman, Wonderwoman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Flash, even Aquaman and then you have Batman who is seen by every one of them as at least an equal. It's a great story of how you can be a hero simply through the force of willpower, how being smart and willing to do what is right is all that it takes even in a world that is full of people who's power rival that of the Greek Gods.(A few truckloads of money doesn't hurt though). Batman the Brave and the Bold suffers a little from being a show for kids about a character that is not really for kids. As a cartoon made for kids it's hard to get the feeling of danger that I would like to feel across. In addition to this there is an assumption that kids won't want to sit through a mystery story, so most half hour episodes have at least two fight scenes. I would still recommend Batman: The Brave and the Bold to anyone who likes the D.C. Universe. it's a well written kids show. Each episode it brings in a different hero such as the new Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Plastic Man, and even had an appearance of The Red Hood. It is clear from the beginning of each episode that the primary motivation of this show is to have fun. Most of the time there aren't great philosophical messages or moral truths on display. There is a villian and two people who have to team up to stop them. So, if you don't mind that Batman can dodge bullets and punch through robots then you'll enjoy Batman: The Brave and the Bold and even if that bothers you you'll still love the comments Batman makes about the situations.
Read More
Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross: Review

If you are interested in the golden age of marvel comics then "Marvels" by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross was made for you. This at its most basic a trip down memory lane and while there is plenty to like for those who don't know all that much about marvel history either.

Marvels is the story of Phil Sheldon, a young reporter who is in New York when the first superheroes, or Marvels as he calls them, appeared. Each of the four stories that make up the Marvels surround Phil Sheldon's thoughts on some bit of marvel history.

The first book focuses on the appearance of the Marvels, most notably the original Human Torch and Namor fighting in the skies over New York City. He gives voice to the average man who feels the fear of knowing these people exist, the understanding that humanity in not as powerful as it was and the understanding that this is going to change everything.

The Second story shows even more heart than the first as it shows the appearance of the first mutants in the Marvel Universe and tries to explain the fear that people feel of the mutants while still loving the other heroes. This is examined as Phil Sheldon gets pulled into a crowd that is yelling at the mutants.

He continues to go through these attitudes until he finds that his daughters have been sneaking food to a young mutant girl. She is a perfect image of something that is both cute and fearful at the same time. Faced with one of the mutants he is able to see their humanity and it changes his opinion. This story continues through the appearance of the first Sentinels.

Continuing the trip through time the third of these stories begins with the first appearance of Galactus and the near worship of the heroes who had just saved humanity and the turn away from them this gratitude as the media turns on the heroes.

The forth story, "The day she died" is the first story in which Phil takes a truly active role. Now an elderly man and an advocate for the marvels he has decided that he should prove the innocence of Spiderman for the murder of George Stacy and starts and investigation that leads to Gwen Stacy. Through her Phil is able to see the true motivation of the Marvels and the bittersweet ending is nearly perfect.

Of special note in this book is the fantastic artwork. This is a fantastic story, but one of the chief strengths is the humanity and realism of the stories that is created through the artwork. These are stories that were told in an art style that feels almost cartoonish today so seeing them in a more modern and impressive style.

This is a book that looks at heroes from a more realistic perspective without feeling the need to look down at the stories as unrealistic. This book is a great reminder of what those heroes are.

Read More
Star Trek : Review
I was skeptical at the concept of remaking Star Trek. It's not that I don't see the cheese of the original Star Trek, it's just that there has been so much that rebooting it seems difficult without simply ignoring it all. This movie did a really good job of making Star Trek feel new while keeping the characters and feel close to the original. Beyond the actors who played the parts the most notable difference in this story was the technology. The first thing I noticed was that the transporters didn't work all that well in comparison to the transporters in the show. it takes considerably longer, you can't move, and they are blocked most of the time.  I understand this, transporters are great for getting the characters into places that are interesting but it drops the tension once they are there if you know they can be beamed out any time. The ships themselves felt much more real in that you felt you knew where things were. The engines actually looked and felt like engines, the shuttle bay felt like part of the ship and it all simply felt real. Third was the weapons. The changes in the phasers were great. They really felt like they were better than a handgun you could get now rather than worse. All of the characters felt pretty much right on and they really gave them all a chance to do something useful, in fact in many ways Kirk was the least useful of the characters in large parts of the movie. I would have to watch again but I don't think he actually won a fight in the entire movie. I love the style they tell the story in. You don't know what is going on early in the movie though you can guess at it and that truely helps especially through the early part of the movie that could have been slow as they went through Starfleet Academy. The only major weakness I saw was that I wasn't all that impressed by the villain. He did his job and did it well but the reason he was doing it was a little bit of a stretch for me. I truly enjoyed this movie and as someone who likes Star Trek and was worried that this wasn't going to be Star Trek but some other show crammed into a Star Trek uniform I can say that it really is Star Trek. Yet at the same time there is no reason that someone who has never really cared for Star Trek can't go to this movie and see a perfectly reasonable movie with a good story and plenty of action without needing to know or care about Star Trek.
Read More
X-men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fun summer movie and if you turn off your brain you'll enjoy it, but the more you think about it the more the small plot holes and problems begin to show up.None of them should ruin your enjoyment of the film but if you're a stickler for perfect accuracy they could be a problem. Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine and he does an excellent job, which isn't a surprise as he has done a good job in the previous X-men movies. None of the other actors were truly great or bad. The man who played Wolverines brother(Liev Schreiber) was effective as a man similar to Wolverine who just went to far. Stryker (Danny Huston) was able to seem a credible villain to a character that effectively can't die. Ryan Reynolds also did a good job of being memorable enough early in the movie to be recognizable late in the movie even through the makeup. The story itself was one that I mostly already knew.  Wolverines story as a young sickly child was told well enough in the few minutes and  his time with Stryker's Team was interesting but not great. Overall that was my opinion of the entire movie.There were multiple good scenes, interesting ideas, all the plot points that needed to be hit were but nothing excited me about this movie. It just felt flat in many ways. I don't know that i can truly articulate why because I'm not certain that I understand. I suspect that it is partially the problem of the prequel. I knew where the story was going and what had to happen to move it there too often.  But that can't be all of it because I have often enjoyed watching movies such as Lord of the Rings where i knew where it was going. There is also the issue of the character never being in any real danger. There is the implication in the movie that if you cut off his head it might kill him, but I'm not entirely sure why everyone assumes this. If you can shoot him in the head and he'll get over it why would cutting his neck kill him? Overall though I think it's because I find Wolverine a more interesting character when you don't know who he is or where he came from. Hints and ideas from the comics that may or may not be true work perfectly for this character. Seeing everything that actually happened doesn't work as well for me, but even that is not truly a criticism of the movie because the comics have already given his history and I already knew it. All in all, if you like the X-men movies you'll enjoy this. It's considerably better than X-men 3 but probably not as good as x-men 2.  So go in aware that there will be a few misses on special effects and a couple plot points that you just have to go with and you'll generally enjoy this movie.
Read More
Movie Review: A Boy and his Dog

Until I saw it on Netflix I had never heard of the movie, "A boy and his Dog," and so I rented it not knowing exactly what to expect. The movie was certainly interesting and I have to say I enjoyed it more than I expected.

"A boy and his dog" is a story of a post apocalyptic world after world war IV. People are fighting over cans of food and women across the surface. The boy is one of these survivors. What makes him different is the telepathic link he has with his Dog. That makes this dog his friend and father figure in the story.

One of the primary jobs of the dog is to sniff out women for the boy and shortly after the story begins, he does. This is where you begin to recognize that the boy in this film is not a good person. He follows the girl and is only stopped from raping her when other people who also saw the girl attack them.

After the fight, the two are stuck together for some time and he begins to feel something for her, but she escapes back into the underground city where she had come from. The boy follows but is unable to take the dog.

Once there you learn that the girl was manipulating him from the start. Any description of the story from that point on leads to general spoilers, so if you want to know what happens watch the movie. Instead, I want to focus on some very interesting parts of the movie.

The first is the similarities to "Fallout 3". I have only played small amounts of the other fallouts so I can't comment them but I have played "Fallout 3". You don't have a dog in "Fallout 3", but much of the rest is the same.

One of the most interesting parallels is when later in fallout you enter a virtual reality and play for some time as a dog. This to me can only be a nod to a boy and his Dog and it makes me want to play "Fallout 3" again. In addition, the underground city in this had loudspeakers that someone talked over nearly constantly. This is also used in "Fallout 3".

The second point is that Harlan Ellison wrote this story and he says it is his favorite. I have not yet read the short story the movie is based on but judging from the movie I can understand why Harlan would like it. He is one of the more interesting people in Hollywood and Science Fiction, two places filled with interesting people.

Third is the dog. Typically, you have to overlook the problems with animals in film. You can't expect dogs to give as good a performance as people do. This movie was different in that respect as well. The dog felt smart just as he is supposed to and you never see him looking off camera at a trainer. There was even, according to the director, some discussion of nominating the dog for an academy award that year.

Not everyone will like this story; in fact, I suspect that many people would hate it with a fiery passion, but if you like dark humor and older style science fiction then this is a well-written and interesting story that becomes exceedingly dark at the end.

(There is a side of me who really wants to show this movie to some of my friends with no warning what it is about just to see their reactions. I love movies with titles that tell you less than nothing.)

Read More
Bye Bye Beeman
I still enjoy Heroes most every week. This isn't to say that It doesn't have its flaws only that at some point I stopped trying to force it to be the show I wanted it to be and began watching the show that was on the air. The season finally fit that mold perfectly. It wasn't what I had expected and in some ways I wish it had been, but it was a very interesting show and I'm looking forward to more heroes in the future. But when i flipped over to Beaming Beeman I discovered something a little sad. Greg Beeman will not be returning to Heroes for season 4. According to the blog this is a purely financial decision. He knows more about the politics of network TV than I do but I suspect that is only mostly true. Either way Beeman has been a major part of Heroes. As a producer director he effected every show and he directed many of the major episodes. But this is where I back off a little from my sadness. Don't get me wrong he has driected some good episodes, but looking over the list not as many as you might think. Four Months ago was good, but I didn't care much for Duel. So perhaps this is the push Heroes needs to change trajectory a bit. As someone who has enjoyed most of it i can say that there are things that need to be done to improve the show, and I trust they can be.  In my opinion the most important thing they need to do is to stop worrying so much about raiting and worry about putting on a good show. Now you may think that these two are related but the truth is that many of the things that people complain about are ratings over story issues. I think the biggest of those is Hiro. I liked Hiro in the first season, and even in the second season he had something to do, but in this season he has been pointless. He isn't good enough at anything to be useful without his powers and he hasn't had his power most of the time, so as much as i hate to say it they need to find a way to make him interesting or take the hit and write him off the show. On the other hand is Sylar. Sylar has been involved with the plot closely but they still make short term choices with him and then get burned by it. Beeman will be missed on the show I am certain, but all in all if his paycheck being gone would allow us to afford to see the fight between Sylar, Nathan and Peter rather than closing the door then perhaps they made the right decision.
Read More