Category Archives: Reviews

The Expanse: “Dulcinea” (S01E01) Review

Season 1, Episode 1: “Dulcinea”
Directed by: Terry McDonough
Written by: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby


Hype trains are dangerous. In my experience, the things you want the most rarely live up to expectations. They have the tendency to disappoint you, make you question the meaninglessness of your life, make you want to give yourself a swirly, or eat a fat-ass block of cheese, because who cares if you’re lactose intolerant? the thing you were looking forward to turned out to be a stinking heap of  colon-mangling crap, and WHAT EVEN IS THE POINT ANYMORE?

So. What does this have to do with the pilot episode of Syfy’s The Expanse? NOTHING. AND EVERYTHING. Because it’s amazing, and I haven’t really been able to focus on anything else except how downright awesome this series is going to be. I know. You’re thinking: Philip, stop fanboy-ing. I can’t. Look, full disclosure: I was going to love this show no matter what. I would have watched each episode 70 times over even if it was awful. Like, I’m talking season 6 of Supernatural awful, or maybe even all of Arrow.

canterbury flip and burn

But I am so over-the-moon ecstatic (and a little relieved, to be honest) to say that “Dulcinea” is an amazing start for The Expanse. It succeeds on all the right levels, but that said, I did “rate” this episode 82 points out of a 100, and I’ll explain why. Well, I’ll try to. Huehuehue. I’m trying something new when it comes to “ratings”–because everyone likes arbitrary numerical simplification of thoughts and opinions, right??? (Scroll all the way down if you want to skip the boring shit that is my prose. Continue reading The Expanse: “Dulcinea” (S01E01) Review

Alphabet Cinema: “I” is for “An Idiot Abroad”

I want him to hate it. I want him to hate every minute of it for my own amusement. –Ricky Gervais

I was skeptical, at first, how free worldwide travel could possible be. Sounded like a prank. Sounded like my bucket list come true.

But Karl Pilkington is so decidedly and conspicuously British, he makes An Idiot Abroad (2010–ongoing) entertaining! While most avid travelers (like co-host Stephen Merchant) would view the adventures as chances to embrace different cultures, Karl, so set in his creature comforts, cannot help but complain his ass off. (Granted, he does make many good points sometimes.)

Hosts and producers Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant (Both creators of The Office (UK)) send their friend Karl to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Unfortunately for Karl, the two know him quite well, and arrange his trip to be much more. . .immersive than he’d like. Continue reading Alphabet Cinema: “I” is for “An Idiot Abroad”

“Fortitude” Review: Twin Peaks Meets Fargo Meets The Killing

This is a review of episodes 1 and 2. Warning: Minor spoilers follow.

FORTITUDE

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Murder/Mystery
Creators: Simon Donald
Stars: Richard Dormer, Sofie Gråbøl, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston, Luke Treadaway, Sienna Guillory
Composer: Ben Frost
Production: Tiger Aspect Productions, Sky Atlantic

Snow! Death! Polar bears! Murder! Swooshing noises! What even am I talking about!? Trailer!

Continue reading “Fortitude” Review: Twin Peaks Meets Fargo Meets The Killing

“Marvel’s Agent Carter” Delivers An Elegant, Badass Good Time

This is a review of episodes 1.01 (Pilot) and 1.02. (Bridge and Tunnel). Warning: Minor spoilers follow.

MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER

Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi, Drama
Creators: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Stars: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Shea Wigham, Enver Gjokaj
Composer: Christopher Lennertz
Production: ABC Studios, Marvel Television

Agent Carter begins with its titular character, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), remembering her last conversation with the “one that got away,” Captain America. As these first few frames rolled over my TV screen, I thought in dismay: “Jeez, angst already?” But then Caro Emerald’s “That Man” began to play over a few badass sequences of Carter kicking Hydra tail, and I knew I was in for a hell of a ride.

Continue reading “Marvel’s Agent Carter” Delivers An Elegant, Badass Good Time

The Legend of Korra Review: “Enter the Void”/”Venom of the Red Lotus”

Episodes 3.12 and 3.13. Warning: Spoilers follow.

PHILIP: Holy crap.

JEREMIAH: #feels

PHILIP: They done out did “Beginnings” (Part 1 and 2) from last season.

JEREMIAH: It was a strong two episodes. They put lots of cool effort into their finales. I love their finale fights so much.

PHILIP: Yeah. I felt like I was watching the Avengers. Korra went all “Iron Man” on Zaheer’s ass.

Continue reading The Legend of Korra Review: “Enter the Void”/”Venom of the Red Lotus”

The Legend of Korra Review: “The Ultimatum”

Episode 3.11. Warning: Spoilers follow.

After much stuttering, buffering, and weird rainbow glitches, I was finally able to watch The Legend of Korra on my phone using the atrocious I learned this word in fourth grade Nickelodeon app. Needless to say, it was well worth the frustration.

Throughout most of the episode, we see Korra struggling with one choice: whether or not to turn herself in. Essentially, she’s choosing between the on-the-verge-of-extinction Air Nation, and the lives of the citizens of the other three nations (four, counting Republic City). With a little guidance from the master of guidance, Uncle Iroh, and his nephew Zuko, Korra receives new clarity. And while that’s all well and good, Zaheer has taken the initiative and arrives at the Northern Air Temple, an evil glint in his eye.

Continue reading The Legend of Korra Review: “The Ultimatum”

The Legend of Korra Review: “Long Live the Queen”

Episode 3.10. Warning: Spoilers follow.

What an episode. I mean, what else is there to say? Between some fine action sequences, quietly dramatic moments, and stellar environments, The Legend of Korra’s tenth outing of season three is impeccably balanced. But these are all things that I’ve come to expect from Korra. This has become its standard of excellence. That is why, when it slumps (such as with Episodes 6 and 7), I’m a bit harsh. “Long Live the Queen” is a milestone installment for Korra: what Jet’s death did for Avatar: The Last Airbender, Queen Hou-Ting’s death does for The Legend of Korra.

Continue reading The Legend of Korra Review: “Long Live the Queen”

The Legend of Korra Review: “The Stakeout”

Episode 3.09. Warning: Spoilers follow.

It’s go-time for the Legend of Korra. Episode nine of the series’ third season, “The Stakeout,” begins slowly, but when the bending rains, it pours.

There’s a lot to like in this episode: well-placed humor (the Nuktuk fanatics), beautifully drawn environments (once more into the Spirit World, with feeling!), and even some philosophophizing. Zaheer and Korra finally get their duel, but instead of bending, they sit down for a chat. It’s a concise, philosophical palaver that I felt teetered on the edge of contrived (you could tell the writers simply wanted to get explanations out of the way), but made sense once the viewers were filled in on Zaheer’s plan.

The first episode in three (or four) that Team Avatar is on the move again, and they’re all captured/separated. So far, not a great track record. But with Mako/Bolin in Zaheer’s hands, and Korra/Asami in the Earth Queen’s hands, I think it’s safe to expect a thrilling final four episodes of the season.

Continue reading The Legend of Korra Review: “The Stakeout”

The Legend of Korra Review: “The Terror Within”

Episode 3.08. Warning: Spoilers follow.

Team Avatar is still in Zaofu, and as Korra continues to pick up metalbending like a pro, Bolin continues to struggle. His toil isn’t contained to bending, however, as his new love interest, Opal, is about to leave for the Northen Air Temple, to train with Tenzin. At the farewell dinner, Bolin gives the quote of the episode, “Whenever I’m eating raw kale, I’ll think of you.”

The episode strolls quickly along, and as night falls, Team Zaheer infiltrates the steel fortress of Zaofu. Through use of some badass waterbending stealth, Zaheer and his cronies get their hands on Korra, and begin to make their escape. But enter Pabu, the Super Fire Ferret of Republic City, who alerts Bolin and Mako to Korra’s abduction. Soon the entire city is awake, and the metalbenders of Zaofu prove themselves much more competent benders than the White Lotus.

Continue reading The Legend of Korra Review: “The Terror Within”