December 8, 2015

Targeted


Jak Locke, musician extraordinaire and co-host of The Monthly Midnight Movie Exchange, has directed his first movie! With Angie and an eager skeleton crew, they put together a dual western film both adapting a hysterical script Jak wrote when he was 7 years old, as well as a rich and mature remix of many of the same story elements. I was involved by contributing to the Indiegogo campaign and providing the voice of a drunkard in a jail cell (my first IMDb credit!) and had the honor of attending the film's premiere during a visit to New Orleans. Check out the official website/store, as well as an overview of the premiere weekend.

December 6, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase / Masters of Carpentry] Starman, episodes 1-5

It's a Short-Lived Showcase and Masters of Carpentry crossover event! Kinda! If you don't know, Carpenter's classic film was followed a few years later by a single season television series sequel with Robert Hays (Airplane) now in the title role. As we get started, Starman reunites with his son, encounters woods filled with hunters, helps a catatonic Kenneth Tobey fix an airplane, fakes a UFO for Cletus Hogg, and runs into his dead body's best friend. All while being pursued by the most ineffectual government agent imaginable.

Movie
Episode 1 "The Return"
Episode 2 "Like Father, Like Son"
Episode 3 "Fatal Flaw"
Episode 4 "Blue Lights"
Episode 5 "Best Buddies"

December 3, 2015

[Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome] Cage

A huge thank you to Melissa and Windy for once again inviting me over, this time for a massively, gloriously unending look at one of the most infamous and debated actors of our generation: Nicolas Cage!

Part 1

Part 2

November 28, 2015

Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie!


Lewis "Linkara" Lovhaug was kind enough to offer me a role (the astronaut Anders) in this, an epic, all-star film spectacular spinning off of his long-running web series. I had a blast filming it, especially getting to visit one of the local film studios. Hope you enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

November 27, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Prince of Darkness

We're joined by Melissa from the always glorious Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome for a look at this oddball horror film mixing theoretical physics with apocalyptic theology. Alice Cooper stabs people with a bike. Donald Pleasance has an axe. People are really a horde of bugs wearing a skin. Icky squirt guns are sprayed about. And all will be reveal on One. Nine. Nine. Nine.

Check it out here.

November 15, 2015

[Deconstruction is Magic] My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, episodes 53-57

We've made it through the first third of FiM's truncated third season, featuring a wobbly yet shiny two-part epic, a disastrous swarm of giddily hopping clones, a very special message about bullying, and a wizard's duel where friendship truly is magic.

Episode 53 "The Crystal Empire, Part 1"

Episode 54 "The Crystal Empire, Part 2"

Episode 55 "Too Many Pinkie Pies"

Episode 56 "One Bad Apple"

Episode 57 "Magic Duel"

November 1, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

We've finally reached the point in the franchise where dreams of anthologies are done away with and Michael resumes his place as the Halloween anchor. How does this film live up to the legacy? How is Michael handled? Are strong new characters and ideas added? Who is Loomis draping on now as he heaves out "Evil!"? Check it out here.

October 17, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Vytor: The Starfire Champion

In which we explore the micro-project which failed to sell as both a tv series and a movie before its creators dug it out of their archives for a self-published dvd. A world overthrown by an evil warlord. A young hero destined to take him on with a fabled weapon. Two awesome women he consistently overshadows. Ecological messages aplenty. And gourmet protein cubes! Why was this short-lived? Find out!

Episode 1 "The Starfire Legacy"

Episode 2 "Aerion"

Episode 3 "The Spirit Tree"

Episode 4 "Wilderland"

Final Thoughts and the Film Cut

October 3, 2015

[Deconstruction is Magic] My Little Pony, season 2 wrapup

I stepped away from this project during the writeups of season 2, but I continued to follow along and the crew was kind enough to let me return as we discussed the season overall. You can give it a listen here!

The big news, I'm rejoining the blog for season 3! And since I forgot to post about it here earlier, check out the season 2 post on "The Last Roundup", which I guested on to offer some personal thoughts.

September 24, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Big Trouble in Little China

We've reached one of the big ones, as John Carpenter and Kurt Russel take us on a magical journey of wizards, warriors, and restaurant maitre ds taking on an ogling old creeper and his labyrinth of monsters, all in the hopes of getting a truck back. Check it out here!

September 10, 2015

[Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome] Akira Kurosawa

Hey, remember all those reviews I did years and years ago in the early days of this blog where I went through the entire filmography of Akira Kurosawa? No? No worries, I didn't know any of you back then. However! it packed me with so much info on the master director that Melissa & Windy had me back on their show to discuss him. The discussion went long, and only two of us were still conscious as it reached the end, but I had a blast, and a huge thank you to the two of them for having me on.

Part 1

Part 2

August 29, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Bubsy

It's time for another One and Done special as comic artist extraordinaire Julie Sydor joins us for a look at the colorfully unfortunate multi-media mascot franchise which proves once and for all what could possibly go wrong. Check it out here!

August 23, 2015

August 22, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, pitch pilot

"There's a dual fight where Data-7 is taking on José in the drill machine. Most of this made it to that episode. Cyber is taking on Terra, and I much prefer the Evil!Terra design here than the anglerfish version used in the episode. Here, it's still got that grinning clown mask, albeit twisted into a sinister leer, and dozens of eye-stalks emerge all over the body, all looking at its victim at once, the two on its head draping down like a jester's bells. It's really quite chilling."

For more, check out my latest post.

August 20, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] The Philadelphia Experiment

"It is an entertaining movie. It does start strong, I think the middle chunk has a lot of great ideas and stuff, but Carpenter couldn't figure out a third act, and it still feels like they couldn't figure out a third act. Because they just graft on this whole storm and vortex and stuff, and it does fall apart as it gets near the end. Even then, the stuff that's there, I found it kinda clunky and choppy, and I didn't really find there to be any chemistry between the two leads. It's a film that's almost there."

For more, check out our latest episode.

August 16, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix comic, volume 1, part 2

"Ultimately, it's hard to recommend this volume. I certainly don't recommend it to those who enjoy the cartoon and it's not hard to see why there's little overlap in fandom between the two, to the point where all fan attempts to translate the comic have stalled partway through volume 1. It is an interesting book, strikingly drawn, with a nice setup, interesting characters, and some really nice story beats at times. It's also mean, gross, messy, and just not a very enjoyable and entertaining read. It's just so juvenile that it's not hard to place it alongside the other dreck that was comics in the 90s Extreeeme Age."

For more, check out my latest post.

August 15, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix comic, volume 1, part 1

"This is still a pretty strong intro piece to the series, setting up our lead and her struggle, both the streets she prowls at night and the life she leads during the day, a couple key players in her supporting cast (especially Lucas and his hunt to find answers about Cybersix and the Technos), and is also a nice examination of the world they all live in. Yeah, it's grittier and grosser, but not in a terrible way. I really do like the blocky, messy, but very dynamic and animated art. I had some complaints about the designs in the toon, especially that hair, but there's a stronger consistency to it here. It's very noir, very dank and shadow heavy, engulfing our characters in this setting just as the writing engulfs Cyber in her conflicted thoughts, and the soaring leaps across rooftops are a nice escape."

For more, check out my latest post.

August 9, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 13 "The Final Confrontation"

"I figured they were going to pull out some stops when we reached the end of this series, but I didn't expect as massive of a finale as we got."

For more, check out our latest post.

August 2, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 12 "Daylight Devil"

"This entire run, I've sung the praises of the animation on this show, as some of the most exquisite stuff the industry was putting out at the time. Hell, for all his grumping, even Tony's admitted the animation is pretty spectacular. Yet even within the context of all that, this week's episode blew me away. Those are my socks on the ground with little puffs of smoke rising from them, that speck fading into the distance is me, blown right the hell away."

For more, check out our latest post.

July 26, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 11 "The Greatest Show in Meridiana"

"I have no problems with this episode. There isn't much to it beyond wild action, robotic animals, and circus motifs, but all of it is played well. The fights are great, especially as Cybersix is spearing herself straight through her enemies. The whole setting of the circus is played well with the cheering, then confused, then running in horror crowd, and muscle-bound Fixed Ideas slumping about in clown outfits. José's schtick is actually a great fit for the setting, him stromping about as a dictatorial ringmaster in a big fake mustache, and I love how it's another episode where everything spirals out of his control, to the point where he's even ducking behind Cybersix for protection. Love how she just stands there as the flying monkeys make off with him."

For more, check out our latest post.

July 24, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Black Moon Rising

"I did enjoy the movie, I did find it kinda fun and slickly put together at times, and the cast is great. But it's not very good, it is kinda clunky, and poorly structured and paced. And it's not a very smart movie. That said, it does actually have a kind of Carpenter-ish vibe to it that I found interesting, given how little of his actual script is on screen."

For more, check out our latest episode.

July 19, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 10 "Full Moon Fascination"

"A quibble I have is that I don't entirely get Elaine's endgame. There's the werewolf dude in the opening, but then we never see him again. Where'd he go? Why is she focusing all her time on Lucas instead of spreading around and building an entire pack under her thrall which he gradually falls into. We catch occasionally news reports of wolf attacks all over Meridiana, so maybe there is something broader going on in the background, but the focus is purely on Lucas. It's great from a character standpoint, but it does also lead the climactic battle to drag on a bit when it could have used a bit more variety and momentum, like what you'd get with a larger pack of wolves."

For more, check out our latest post.

July 16, 2015

Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome, episode 75: Alpacalyptic

Another "off topic" collection of outtakes from various episodes, including some more snippets of me! Check it out here.

July 12, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 9 "The Eye"

"Even José's involvement is well utilized because of his interactions with his father, showing how the boy and his maker clash over their mutual machinations and their unspooling control over the creature. Plus, I love the scale of the episode, with José quickly growing from petty crimes to enthralling entire neighborhoods, then a rather significant amount of the city. I'm surprised the people in the sports arena were such a huge deal because you'd think turnout would be low given how many people have already been hit. Still, it's a great moment, as is José marching into the mayor's office and claiming it for himself, complete with a portrait of himself in his Enemy Ace cap."

For more, check out our latest post.

July 5, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 8 "Gone with the Wings"

"We never find out a point for Von Reichter's own people being surprised to learn of the goblins, with no reveal or explanation within those ranks. There's no real motive for what the goblins are there to do beyond somehow conquering the city through their breeding. There's a string of bizarre structuring where Julian stumbles across their lair randomly, doesn't notice massive creatures hanging literally in front of his face in a fully lit room until he bumps into them, then when he's trapped, Data 7 goes for help, then goes off with Cybersix for a different action scene, then returns on his own to save the boy, then Cybersix decides to go find the boy herself right in the middle of her action, but by then her friends are already gone. The script feels very sloppily organized, like they were rushing some sequences together in a story they hadn't fully figured out."

For more, check out our latest post.

June 28, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 7 "Brainwashed"

"By removing all of Henrique's agency, there's no drama to the choices he's been manipulated into making, no actual struggle between he and Julian as the boy struggles to defend Cybersix. This could have been a great character piece that boldly dropped Henrique into the scenario, but as it is, he's little more than just a cool mustache dude with nothing explored beneath a nice surface design, and no sense of victory when he ultimately sides with Cybersix, due to it being the result of a removed helmet instead of an actual choice on his part. And back to the Techno, the cartooniness of the scenario even strips out the reveal that José's mission to conquer Meridiana has reached a point where the CHIEF OF FREAKIN' POLICE is under his control."

For more, check out our latest post.

June 18, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Monthly Feature #16: Starman (1984)

"I've been saying for a long time that I thought The Thing is where he peaked. I actually think this is as good for me as The Thing was. I find the film beautifully shot, I think the script is great for the most part, I love the actors, I love the characters, I love the journey. It is a very by-the-numbers story, it is, so yeah, it's a very familiar story, a very predictable story, but I thought the actual execution of it and exploration of it really pulled me in. And it made me happy at the end."

For more, check out our latest episode.

June 17, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Monthly Feature #15: Christine (1983)

"I find it a nice mix of the strong King plot and the strong King characters, that even he didn't handle very well, mixed with the style of Carpenter, and I love the mood of this movie, I love the pace of the movie, I love the way the movie is shot, the editing, the music. I really like this one. This one just really works for me, and it has a little more depth and meat to it than a lot of Carpenter's films, but it's also a lot leaner and tighter than the King book. So for me it's a nice, perfect fusion of these two styles."

For more, check out our latest episode.

June 14, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 6 "Blue Birds of Horror"

"There's very little actual violence, but the overwhelming flurry of the attacks really sells the danger, and even the growing flocks at rest on the rooftops has a skilled layer of tension to it. I especially like that we get outside of our main cast, finding random people around Meridiana who are falling victim in nicely staged ways. The couple who both delight in feeding the birds on their sill who suddenly find their home invaded and trashed. The guy who takes shelter in a phone booth only for the birds, instead of smashing into the windows like they did with Hitchcock, work up under the open ventilation gap near the ground, sealing him in with horror. The dude who loses a hairpiece he still has two payment on."

For more, check out our latest post.

June 7, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 5 "Lori is Missing"

"José continues to be completely unthreatening as a villain, but he's still a hell of a lot of fun. I love how ridiculously simple yet ridiculously complicated his plot is, to dig through the basement of a bank vault, all hinging on a completely off scale 8-bit program. There's really no reason he couldn't just manually do the dig given how much control he had over the vehicle in the climactic battle, but that he's put so much reliance on his pre-programming, it speaks to how stubborn and immature he is."

For more, check out our latest post.

May 31, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 4 "Yashimoto, Private Eye"

"I will say, stripping away the animation, it is a very well written episode. Yashimoto hunting down clues, finding the clothing shop where Cyber may have assembled her costume, making the connection to Adrian. Julian and Ikiko making various attempts to escape, most of which blow up in José's face, even as they still end up recaptured. My favorite is them bursting out of the grate right onto José's couch where he's playing video games. My first hard laugh of the series! The confrontation in Cyber/Adrian's apartment. The big climax. The story intercuts well, the characters are nicely explored as things unfold, the staging of the big battle at the end progresses nicely from stage to stage before slamming to its finish. Even the dialogue is sharper and cleaner than what we're used to."

For more, check out our latest post.

May 17, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 3 "Terra"

"You can definitely tell the people working on this show came out of the animation department of Batman: The Animated Series, because here they've built an entire episode around how much fun they had animating Clayface. As with so many things on this show, Terra is gorgeous to behold as its mud body flows in and out of various shapes and tendrils, using the ability to splat and pour as a part of its basic walking. Adding the face, the basic clown mask with either a smile or a frown, just kind of lumped onto the clay, is a really nice touch and really boosts Terra up as an interesting character to watch."

For more, check out our latest post.

May 10, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 2 "Data 7 & Julian"

"Data 7 feels like it shouldn't work. Cyber's brother is suddenly a panther, with a backstory straight out of a swingin' 60 Shotaro Ishinomori manga, and this should completely clash against the Julian/José plot. It doesn't. It's beautifully executed as they play Data dead straight, having him be the fantastical overseer of José for the as yet unnamed mad scientist behind everything, and use elements of the Julian plot to tie into Data's backstory with Cyber. Those flashes, of him falling from a cliff, Cyber failing to reach him in time, of flowers falling apart. The slash he makes on the photo to explain the scar over his left eye. These are beautiful narrative stings, on top of some absolutely spectacular animation of a panther in repose and action. Seriously, the fight between Data and Cyber is jawdropping and exquisitely well put together."

For more, check out our latest post.

May 3, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Cybersix, episode 1 "Mysterious Shadow"

"Shockingly, unlike many other shows, the animation quality doesn't suddenly take a nosedive once we get into the episode proper. No, there isn't the same level of gloss and detail all the time, and a couple of shots are a bit more basic, but there's still a beautiful fluidity to the animation, with sharply composed shots, pounding, whipping action sequences, and so many little moments of character business which give things life. One of my favorites is the scene where Adrian storms out of the cafe and Lucas shoots up to follow. Instead of just sailing out the door or the directors cutting there, Lucas fumbles for his jacket, digs around until he comes up with a couple of bucks, plops them on the table, then can't resist grabbing one more slice of pizza before then making his way out, all while juggling the glowing green vile. If nothing else, this level of animation is the highlight of the episode, to the point where it's mesmerizing at times. I'm really curious if this is a standard they'll be able to maintain over the whole run."

For more, check out our latest post.

April 30, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower

"An author inserting himself into his work is also a very difficult balance to get right. More often than not, they can end up looking full of themselves. Not satisfied to provide a Deus Ex Machina from their pen, they have to insert an image of themselves into the story as well. Your mileage may vary, but personally I enjoy the rather self depreciating version of Stephen King who appears in The Dark Tower series. I also feel like his appearance just makes sense, given the nature of the story and the various worlds our characters can go between, why not also show up in the "real world" as well?"

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 29, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla

"The story on the Calla itself isn't bad, and the idea that these evil creatures are taking one from each set of twins in a small town is a fascinating one. The characters are interesting and believable, and Andy the robot is a fun character. But mostly it takes far too long to get to the point, and then that moment is over and done super quickly. I know that's a part of what King is stressing, that the build up is always longer and worse than the battle, but there's only so much "old important man in town doesn't want to fight" that I really need to read before I'm asking him to get on with it. If it wasn't for interesting bits like Andy and the Sisters of Oriza, it would be even more painful."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 28, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole

"The actual story of The Wind Through the Keyhole reminded me greatly of Eyes of the Dragon, and not just because it features a dragon and even at one point a very special napkin. It just has that same fairy tale quality to it, of a young boy set upon a quest to become a man. He overcomes a lot of challenges and meets some interesting creatures along his journey. Of the three stories set within the book, it's definitely the strongest, and I found myself very fond of the young boy Tim, wanting him to survive his ordeal."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 27, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria, Everything's Eventual

"It's also just a good short story, as King does a good job of introducing us to this young man and the way he is paid for his job first, then slowly revealing all the stranger details later. It helps to keep you interested as the story goes on. Wikipedia tells me that Dinky will appear in the regular series eventually, and I have to admit I don't remember where or how, but I'm looking forward to it now. He's an interesting character."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 26, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass

"But I do think if King couldn't quite settle on how to resolve the Blaine conflict here, he should have just ended the story sooner and included these moments at the beginning of the next book. Because doing it that way, you now have this highly active riddle fight at the beginning, and then everything comes to a grinding halt as Roland tells a story to his companions about his youth. I'll admit, part of the problem here may be me. I found the tale of young Roland, Cuthbert, Alain, and Susan far less interesting this time around, and it may be about fatigue."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 25, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: The Eyes of the Dragon

"Even without the Dark Tower connections, this is simply a great book. King has said that he wrote it for his daughter Naomi, who was not a fan of the horror stories he normally wrote. While not 100% a children's book, it does certainly have some those traits. This is The Hobbit of his Dark Tower series in a way, written in a wonderful conversational style much like that book was, being a bit more whimsical in places though still a bit of dark fantasy at times. There is magic and dragons, but it is also fairly grounded in reality, so that the world is not too far off from our own medieval period."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power: Final Thoughts

"Might as well just rip the bandaid off fast... Captain Power is not a great show. It is not a lost masterpiece. It is not a show that the networks did wrong by us in cancelling too soon. It's just not."

For more, check out our latest post.

April 24, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three

"This book largely feels like it's broken up into two segments, the first being Roland drawing Eddie, and then the remainder is all about Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker, two women living in one body. While I love everything about the first part of the book, the second half has some flaws that prevent me from loving it as much. The first is that Odetta's condition is constantly referred to as schizophrenia, which it is not. Part if this may be characters making the mistake, but the fact that King never once has anyone use the term "multiple personality disorder" (which would have been the proper term when this was written) makes me think it's his mistake as well. The other issue I have is the personality of Detta Walker, and that's a bit more complex."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 23, 2015

[Castle Rock Companion] The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

"King really does a great job of balancing that dread and tension with moments of general calm, and the glimpse back into Roland's youth provides a great distraction from the peril that he and Jake face together. The flashbacks also fully cement the idea that here gunslingers are just knights with guns, and as someone who has always loved the more medieval stylings of fantasy I can appreciate this slightly altered form."

For more, check out Angie's latest post.

April 18, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power: The Original Bible

"And that's the end of the Bible. It sets up a potentially good show, and the foundation of much of what we ultimately got. It's interesting to see what Straczynski and DiTillio changed and what they didn't, bringing some more depth to the characters and richer story arcs, and what was shifted or discarded in the compression from a 65 episode season to just 22. Ultimately, I think the finished version is the better of the shows, and while this certainly would have been enjoyable, Zicree largely lost me with his Story Springboards, which aren't all that interesting for the most part, and I'm not surprised none of them made it into the show."

For more, check out our latest post.

April 15, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Monthly Feature #14: Halloween 3 - Season of the Witch (1982)

"It's an interesting movie, and I can see why it has the cult following it has. Even from when I first saw it, I did kinda appreciate the idea of stepping away from Michael Myers and just doing something a little different... But it doesn't work. It's a neat idea, it's a neat concept, they did not implement it very well."

For more, check out our latest episode here.

April 13, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power: Toys, Merchandise, and Training Videos

"This is where things catch me by surprise. I figured the rail might be a compilation of footage from the show, or a model set like what we see in the closing credits. Instead, this is full on cell animation straight from Japan, and it is exquisitely detailed and fluid, with fully animated background rushing past and enemies zipping about, kicking in afterburners with great kicks of smoke. This is amazing stuff and instantly glued me to the screen."

For more, check out our latest post.

April 6, 2015

Castle Rock Companion - Rose Red

"Once we get to the second half, that’s where it spirals out of control. Even during the early tour of the house, things begin to feel scattershot and random as we’ll jump between disconnected scenes or characters are acting contradictory to how they just were in scenes prior, with powers and dynamics flopping around inconsistently. This feels harried and rushed, like King wasn’t fully paying attention as he just burned through the rest of the script in fits and starts. There’s no flow to any of it, many builds lack payoffs, scares are random instead of, as I usually expect from King, rooted in the actual characters."

For more, check out our latest post.

April 5, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power: The Comic

"Here's where I make a confession I know a few people will find shocking: I'm not a fan of Neal Adams. He seems like an okay dude, certainly makes for a lively interview, but I just don't get into his comics all that much. I don't hate them, there's just a certain hamminess and clunkiness to them which keeps me from being all that interested in what's going on from page to page. He's a magnificent illustrator, certainly, and his individual panels are gorgeous, but his layouts lack any flow or momentum, and the constant over-wrought emotions strung throughout leaves those emotions, which he's working so hard to convey, feeling forced and insincere. And then there's his writing. He's a freakin' mess as a writer, with choppy dialogue, poor motivations, and scattershot plotting."

For more, check out our latest post.

March 28, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, unproduced episode "Face of Darkness"

"Overall, it's not a particularly stunning or game-changing episode, just another of those one-off adventures where we get a little character, a little dark commentary, a lot of action, and our heroes being heroes. But on paper, it's a perfectly fine one, which kept me involved and interested all the way through. If this speaks to the overall quality of the season 2 which never came to be, it's unfortunate that more hasn't surfaced or been officially released."

For more, check out our latest post.

March 27, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Johnocrypha #3: The Thing From Another World (1991 comic)

"Set pieces are being built which aren't allowed to play to their fullest potential. Any one of these could have made for a great story in its own right, but by trying to cram them all into a single 2-issue tale, none of them get any room to breathe. Remember how much of a part the base itself played in both early film adaptations? We never get that here."

For more, check out our latest episode.

March 18, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Monthly Feature #13: The Thing (1982)

"This is just a film where everyone brought their A-game, everyone excelled, and everyone meshed together. You guys have brought up the realism, it's also a very stylish movie in the way that it's shot and composed and edited and lit. But it uses the stylish stuff to shoot things that are played very realistic, and it's that perfect mesh of, it's not a fully realistic movie, it's not a fully stylish movie, it's a harmonious fusion of the two. Which has always been one of my favorite things of Carpenter, everyone's very down-to-earth and real, but it's also very slick and clean."

For more, check out our latest episode.

March 14, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power: Season 2

"I definitely think they were on the right track with a lot of their ideas. Broader world-view, shake up the dynamics a bit, take each character further down their paths, bring in new characters and new monsters, this is all good stuff. What I'm seeing of the structure, though, that feels messy, like they weren't sure how to map things out, so they'd just squish it into these little clumps before moving on. It feels surprisingly scattershot, given how much other stuff I know was mapped out ahead of time, to the point where I can't even tell if the neat nuggets Straczynski mentioned above were even still on the table."

For more, check out our latest post.

March 8, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 22 "Retribution, Part 2"

"Pilot started cold and underexplored, but as we got into her history and realized just how much humanity she'd been deprived of, it gave so much weight to the little moments of her experiencing new little things everyone else takes for granted. And here, she goes out the hero, saving what little she can of what our heroes have fought for, in total contrast to cold service of the Machine (further contrasted by her saving the good machines of the suits and Mentor)."

For more, check out our latest post.

March 5, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Johnocrypha #2: The Thing From Another World (1951 film)

"I love the pace of it. Hawks has always had a very simple style, there's nothing really flashy about his camera work, but he stages things very well. As you said, like a play. Even during the big climax, where it's basically just a single shot down a single hallway, as people are coming left and right, up and down, setting up the tracks, setting up all the insulation. What I love is how crowded this cast is, too. It's like 20-25 people, all usually gathered in a room versus this one thing."

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March 1, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 21 "Retribution, Part 1"

"The other big change is the early scene in the Power Base, where Tank and Pilot are, in the script, having a watergun fight and pull the others into laughter and merriment. It's a cute scene, but I much prefer the dance we get here, as everyone gets to have a moment that's uniquely them before clearing the dance floor for Power and Pilot to hold each other in their arms, sharing looks of both longing and hesitation. Jorge Montesi has been the second most prolific director of the season and was absolutely the right choice to bring the show to a close, as he knows how to bring out the tender, human moments."

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February 22, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 20 "New Order, Part 2: The Land Shall Burn Them"

"Regardless of how epic and exciting the script to this episode was, the direction was just a very shittily executed job, and Otto Hanus should feel bad for it. It's something which just shouldn't have happened, like getting Vince Colletta to ink Jack Kirby's astounding run of The Mighty Thor."

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February 15, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Monthly Feature #12: Halloween 2 (1981)

"It is a film that has a lot of problems and it felt like a sequel that they made because they had to, but I still like that they brought a lot of the same crew back, so it has a lot of the same technical polish. It looks great, it's edited very well. When it follows the first film is where it's at its strongest, in terms of the town hysteria, Loomis running around with the sheriff's department, pulling out the bodies, in terms of that whole 'Did we actually get him or is this just some other random kid?' I like it when it's doing that. But a lot of the middle film, at the hospital, it's a very wrote slasher movie, where you have very poorly defined characters doing very stupid things and usually just walking right into their own deaths."

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[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 19 "New Order, Part 1: The Sky Shall Swallow Them"

"This one didn't click too much with me. It's not that I feel it did much wrong, it just felt flat to me. They certainly kicked up the action, to the point where I felt their 7 minute action mandate had been instead flipped to just 7 minutes of story, as once they fly in, it's nothing but laser beams and explosions. And yet, that's the problem, in that there's really nothing but laser beams an explosions. There's a lot happening in the action scenes, but very little going on. There's no story to the scene themselves, no staging to have dramatic twists and turns and everybody getting something to do as their coordinated effort drives them forward."

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February 1, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 17 "The Eden Road"

"I love the setting of the ruins in the acid fog, where even Dread patrols fear to tread because any who wander too deeply in go rogue as their systems are corroded. It's neat to see, as Biodreads just drift aimlessly and into their own laser grids, and even their human Overunits just brush it off as a normal occurrence. That's a neat scene, by the way, of Dread actually going out among his human Overunits, and being firm yet fair as he instructs them through performing like machines."

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January 24, 2015

SPECIAL BONUS! Deconstruction is Magic, Season 1 Wrap-Up Podcast

We wrap up the first year of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with a roundtable podcast discussion, where I also say goodbye to the blog. To listen, check it out here.

January 18, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 16 "A Summoning of Thunder, Part 2"

"What's interesting about this episode is how it recontextualizes the entire series, which till now has been a struggle between Captain Power and Lord Dread, to actually being a struggle between Stuart Power and Lord Dread, with Captain Jonathan merely being a legacy extension of his father. I was under the impression that Jonathan had made the Power Suits (a closer listen reveals the opening titles say "master of" not "maker of"), but nope, that was all Stuart. I thought Mentor had been made by Jonathan in memory of his father, but no, Stuart made that, too, crafting the computer's hologram so a piece of himself will always be left guiding his son. Stuart made the Power Base, Stuart established the resistance to the war, Jonathan is merely the ripple rolling out from that initial splash."

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January 17, 2015

[Masters of Carpentry] Johnocrypha #1: Prey

Masters of Carpentry launches a spinoff show where I update my review of John Carpenter's unproduced screenplay for Prey in a new audio format. To listen, check it out here.

January 12, 2015

[Short-Lived Showcase] Captain Power, episode 15 "A Summoning of Thunder, Part 1"

"So much of this story hinges on the performances of Bruce Gray and David Hemblem, and both more than rise to the occasion. Gray's Stuart Power is a brilliant, driven man who, nonetheless, has the weight of the world on his shoulders as he feels fully responsible for breaking it and takes it upon himself to rebuild it again. It gives a weight to how much of a shadow of this man the image of Mentor is, even as Stuart activates that computer program in a moment where he knows he's about to face certain death. Hemblem's Taggert has all the cold calculation of Dread, but he's still fully a man instead of being buried himself within the machine, even as Stuart and Hawk talk about how Taggert and Overmind have been fused. They're still seeing it from a distance, not witnessing the struggles Taggert still faces with the machine over his choices and emotions, a struggle which continues to this day as Overmind calls Dread out for respecting Power's annual memorial and cliffhangering us on that pending attack. Taggert doesn't want to be the villain, people just won't accept that he's trying to save them and make everything better, which makes him all the more complicated of a baddie."

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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