Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sherlock - The Final Problem

There's no crime for Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) to solve in the Fourth Series finale. Instead the detective, his trusted partner, and brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) are pitted against the Holmes boys' sister Eurus (Sian Brooke) who has managed to take control of her isolated prison and turn it into a house of riddles for her brothers. The episode also offers a return (of sorts) of Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott). It's interesting television to be sure, but its also noticeably the furthest the show has strayed from Sir Arthur Conan Doyles' original stories and characters.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Good Place - Michael's Gambit

This changes everything. If you haven't been keeping up with The Good Place, stop reading and catch-up because there is a major spoiler ahead for this First Season finale that turns the entire show on its head and (literally) resets everything. What a forking twist! Returning from the Middle Place with Jason (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D'Arcy Carden), Eleanor (Kristen Bell) faces judgement at the hands of Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson) who decrees that two people must leave the Good Place and he'll leave it up to Eleanor, Jason, Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) to decide who stays and who goes.

Friday, January 20, 2017

20th Century Women

I was a big enough fan of writer/director Mike Mills' 2011 film Beginners to include it on my best of the year list. In his first film since Beginners, Mills reuses themes of nostalgia and the awkwardness of life along with some of the same structure (including inter-cut stills and narration to frame a time and place), but although 20th Century Women features a strong cast it lacks the intimacy and magic of his previous movie.

Set during the 1970s, the film focuses on single mother Dorothea (Annette Bening), her teenage son Jaime (Lucas Jade Zumann), and the other women in their lives, Jaime's longtime best-friend Julie (Elle Fanning) and Dorothea's friend and tenant Abbie (Greta Gerwig), who Dorothea enlists to help raise her son to grow into a proper man.

The strength of the script is the film's characters and their interactions (even if Mills struggles a bit a making some of these women, based on the real women who raised him, a bit too cute and quirky for their own good). A notable weakness is the size of the cast leading to a less focused film that while enjoyable isn't necessarily all that memorable.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Patriot

An assassination attempt on Director Mace (Jason O'Mara) leads to the Director, Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Mack (Henry Simmons) being cut-off by the rest of the team and hunted by former Hydra agents. The return of (a well-funded but even less impressive version of) Hydra feels like a bit of a step back for the show. However, the episodes does include one important twist which will shake up the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy and return Coulson to his rightful spot in calling the shots. As for Mace, even if his abilities were cooked-up in a lab, the man knows how to frame and sell a story. It doesn't look like the public face of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going anywhere anytime soon.

Angel Season Eleven #1

Although I've kept up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in comics I can't say the same for its spin-off (which probably has something to do with most of its best characters getting killed off). Picking up an Angel comic for the first time in a couple of years I was met by a pleasant surprise. My favorite Angel/Buffy supporting character is back. Okay, you've got my attention.