January 10, 2015

[Deconstruction is Magic] My Little Pony, episode 26 "The Best Night Ever"

"I love how it opens in pure Disney fashion, though subverting that majesty right from the very start with the mouse horses (mourses?). Even the prep for the ball is a nice window into all the work it takes prepping and dressing and hoping you don’t forget any detail when you want to look your absolute best, and then we get there and it’s a big Disney musical number, and if I have any criticism, it’s that the lyrics feel rushed and clunky with some lines that just don’t roll together well. Still, it’s great having a reminder of the dream night everyone has spent so long wishing this will be, and I love that they instantly fall into that as a great setup for how quickly it goes wrong."

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January 4, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 14 "Judgement"

"These are mind-blowing ethical struggles that you never see in a children's cartoon, and is presented here with a maturity and sophistication few adult dramas are even capable of. This episode is everything "Gemini and Counting" was not, most importantly a showcase for Jessica Steen's acting as Pilot's reserved stoicism falls away and you see her pain, her trauma, her guilt and shame, her hope and compassion. So much emotion suddenly pours out that it more than makes up for cold moments we've gotten in the past, and even retroactively gives them weight as you now see what she's kept bottled up all this time."

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[Deconstruction is Magic] My Little Pony, episode 25 "Party of One"

"I was shocked by this episode, in a good way, as, amidst all the screwball shenanigans, we get a complex look at a severe emotional breakdown as Pinkie falls so far into her anxieties and sense of worth and acceptance that even when her friends yank her back from it, she’s still suspicious and doubting. Having some anxiety is good and expected, but wow, do they crank it to an extreme, to the point where the Party Scene, while hilarious and bizarre, is also quite painful, and I was wincing with each jolt of her psyche more than I was laughing. Again, though, in a good way."

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January 1, 2015

SPECIAL BONUS! Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome #47: Tanks, Bazookas, and the Great Whatsit - Part 1

Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome has quickly become one of my favorite film podcasts, with highly energetic and knowledgeable hosts Melissa and Windy sailing broad, themed discussions through entire swaths of moviedom each week. I was honored to be their guest for this look at the films of Robert Aldrich, a personal favorite director of mine, and we had so much fun and ran so long that we had to break the episode in two parts. Enjoy! And a huge thank you to Windy and Melissa for having me on.

Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome, episode 47

December 27, 2014

[Masters of Carpentry] Episode 11: Escape from New York

"I was wanting to see if he'd build on Assault on Precinct 13 and what he did there. He didn't. It's pretty much just a throwback to that, but even then, not as clean, the plot does wander around a bit, and when the climax happens, it just kind of happens, not so much because it built there, but because it just happens."

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[Deconstruction is Magic] My Little Pony, episode 24 "Owl's Well That Ends Well"

"Have you taken a good look at Spike’s butt lately? It’s striking just how much it resembles Spike himself. Mostly due to Spike being a butt. That’s what this episode is, essentially. 'Spike’s a Butt'. Where, through the act of being a butt, he learns just how much of a butt he is and resolves to be much less of a butt."

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December 21, 2014

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 13 "And Madness Shall Reign"

"After two weeks of middling misfires, the show regains its footing with another solid episode. We open dark, with yet another refuge hit by Project Styx, leaving its victims sprawled out like corpses. Sure, they're not really dead and the effects will only last long enough for Dread's forces to come in and Digitize everyone, but the imagery they're playing with is hardly subtle, with the dank lighting, people keeled over left and right, Power and his Soldiers checking pulses and looking at one another with grim shakes of their heads, and the few fighting off the plague gibbering in corners as hallucinations drive them to madness."

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December 20, 2014

[Deconstruction is Magic] My Little Pony, episode 23 "The Cutie Mark Chronicles"

"Overall, this doesn’t hurt the episode at all, and there’s nothing wrong with raising questions as long as they actually plan to answer them at some point in a world like this. Given their track record, figure that’s less than 50/50 odds of happening, oh well. But I still like the episode."

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December 14, 2014

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 12 "Gemini and Counting"

"But sadly, that's all we get as Jessica Steen continues playing Pilot as the ultimate in buttoned-up reserve. There's no real interaction between she and her comrades aside from suiting up for the mission, and even her speeches to Erin sadly fail to move me any more than earlier moments have, like her and Tank looking at the Bible quote or asking Mentor about love. Maybe it's because there's so much frustration in waiting for something to actually happen as she's prowling around corridors."

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