My review of The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 10 “New Best Friends” is now live at Latin for Cat – please find it here:

http://wp.me/p8nAO4-4C

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Before talking about the review, I have a bit of an explanation for my lack of reviews on the last seven episodes for any regular readers of my Walking Dead reviews. If you’ve been wondering why I didn’t write past the first episode this season, the reason is simple: my father, who introduced me to the show (after telling me for the better part of three seasons that I was missing something special), and with whom I would have lengthy conversations about plot points and events every single week, passed away four days after the season premiere. I’m pretty sure he did watch the premiere – he was doing well that Sunday – but by the time Monday rolled around, he’d gone into crisis, so I never got to talk to him about the episode. I’ve watched the show right through until the mid-season finale, but couldn’t bring myself to review the shows; my emotions were still pretty raw.

However, it’s a new year, it’s been a few months’ space, and my dad wouldn’t want me to quit with the reviews. I’m happy to announce that I’m moving my blogging to a new website, Latin for Cat, and I shall be endeavoring to bring you fresh reviews in a timely manner for the remainder of the season. So, if you’re interested in continuing to read my reviews, please click through on the link above – I look forward to your comments and feedback, should you want to chat about the episode. And thanks for being a reader of my blog!

The direct link to my review of tonight’s episode is here: http://wp.me/p8nAO4-35

Steve

rogue-one


Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy (screenplay by); John Knoll, Gary Whitta (story by)
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Forrest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen
Release Date: December 16, 2016
Runtime: 2h, 13min
MPAA Rating: PG-13

 

 

 

No Bothans died to bring us this review (or this movie). Just to remind everyone – the famous Mon Mothma line (“Many Bothans died to bring us this information”) comes from Return of the Jedi, and was concerning the second Death Star.

This is going to be a really difficult review to write. Not because I’m on the fence about this movie – I’m not, I loved it – but because it’s hard to say anything about it without giving some serious spoilers away. I will do my best, relaying primarily feelings and impressions, with any direct comments related to those things revealed in the trailers – but if you’ve been avoiding those, don’t read through past the break. I’ll let you know right up front that I’m awarding Rogue One an A-, and would place it in my top three Star Wars films of all time. Click through for my (hopefully) spoiler-free review. At the end, I will have a section of blanked out text (which you can mouse-over to reveal) that will list some of the cool things I noted on my first viewing.
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sing


Director: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings
Writer: Garth Jennings (written by)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth McFarlane, Scarlett Johannsen, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton
Release Date: December 21, 2016
Runtime: 1h, 48min
MPAA Rating: PG

 

 

 

I’m a big fan of Illumination Entertainment (the Despicable Me franchise, as well as The Secret Life of Petssee my review here), and in this, their seventh outing, they maintain the anthropomorphic stylings from the latter film, while giving us a completely new story set in a world where animals run the show a la Zootopia. And really, running the show is what this movie is all about. Click through for my spoiler-free review.
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the-walking-dead-season-7

Episode: 701
Airdate: October 23, 2016
Directed by: Greg Nicotero
Showrunner: Scott M. Gimple
Written by: Scott M. Gimple (episode); Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore (graphic novels); Frank Darabont (creator)

Six months have passed since the final episode of Season 6, an episode that left a bad taste in the mouths of many as they were forced to wait to see who Negan would choose. The episode ended on a first person perspective of the victim, Lucille coming down on his or her head, watching as the world faded to black. It felt, in many ways, to be an unfair ending to a season that was – to be honest – rather uneven at times. And while cliffhangers have a long and storied tradition in Hollywood, it still felt a little cheap. So with tonight’s big reveal, is all forgiven in Walking Dead Land?

<<Spoiler Alert: The following review will discuss plot points of The Walking Dead S07E01, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” – read more at your own risk.>>
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Secret Life of Pets


Director: Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud
Writers: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch (written by) & Simon Rich (additional characters created by)
Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks
Release Date: July 8, 2016
Runtime: 1h, 27min
MPAA Rating: PG

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a dad, I do get to see my fair share of animated and child-related films. While I do get occasionally surprised by well-camouflaged adult fare (The Lego Movie, among others), it’s a rarer thing that I genuinely enjoy a movie aimed at children alone. This movie is 90% for kids, but that 10% hit some really good spots for me, making it a more than worthy addition to your summer movie schedule. Plus, it’s by the producers of the Despicable Me movies. Click through for my full review. Read the rest of this entry »

GoT6

Episode: 609
Airdate: June 19, 2016
Directed by: Miguel Sapochnik
Showrunners: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (creators); George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire” by); David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (written for television by)

Tonight may have just seen the best single episode of television ever. High praise? Hyperbole? Perhaps – but in my current state of jangled nerves and adrenaline hangover, I am leaning toward saying that no, it isn’t hype at all. Click through to get my full review of tonight’s penultimate episode of Season 6 of Game of Thrones.

<<Spoiler Alert: The following review will discuss at length plot points of Game of Thrones S06E09, “Battle of the Bastards” – spoilers ahead; read more at your own risk.>>
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the-walking-dead-season-6

Episode: 610
Airdate: February 21, 2016
Directed by: Kari Skogland
Showrunner: Scott M. Gimple
Written by: Angela Kang, Corey Reed (episode); Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore (graphic novels); Frank Darabont (creator)

The bad news: tonight’s episode does not maintain the high standard put up by last week’s episode. The good news: that bar was pretty damned high, so even falling short this was a very enjoyable episode, with some nice twists and more than a few surprises. Click through for my complete review.

<<Spoiler Alert: The following review will discuss plot points of The Walking Dead S06E10, “The Next World” – read more at your own risk.>>
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the-walking-dead-season-6

Episode: 609
Airdate: February 14, 2016
Directed by: Greg Nicotero
Showrunner: Scott M. Gimple
Written by: Seth Hoffman (episode); Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore (graphic novels); Frank Darabont (creator)

After a serious downturn in episode quality over the latter half of Part A of this season, I was beginning to lose faith in Messrs. Gimple, Nicotero, and co. And then they give me tonight’s episode. From an opening that absolutely blew me away, through a second act that just ramped things up, and ending with a third act that put nearly everyone we know and love to watch in grave peril, this episode had it all. Having just finished watching the episode twice, I can’t say for certain whether this is due primarily to what I just saw, or if the poor showing of the last several episodes is having an undue effect on my opinion, but this felt like one of the best episodes I’ve seen of TWD ever. Time and further viewings may adjust this initial impression, but I suspect it won’t fall far short of that assessment. Click through for my full review.

<<Spoiler Alert: The following review will discuss plot points of The Walking Dead S06E09, “No Way Out” – read more at your own risk.>>
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Alan-Rickman-alan-rickman-13116405-2560-1702

I woke up this morning to the news that one of my favorite actors, Alan Rickman, had died of cancer. This is the second high-profile acting death from cancer this week (David Bowie passing a couple of days ago), and again a case of someone being taken far too young, at 69 years old.

While most of the news outlets are saying he’s most famous for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, for me, Rickman will always be Hans Gruber, the master thief and arch-villain to Bruce Willis’s John “Yippee-ki-yay” McClane in Die Hard. His odd German/English accent, his goatee, his slowly boiling-over frustration – he stole the show in what is one of my favorite Christmas films.

And then I saw him in Galaxy Quest as cynical British stage actor Alexander Dane, permanently cursed with being associated with one small (to him) role in an American science-fiction series, and his place as a personal go-to became firmly entrenched. Watching him ease a gentle soul to his final rest (“You shall be avenged”), and then turning, hair flying wildly from his prosthetic head piece, yelling and charging at the alien who had shot the fatal blast and bludgeoning it to death – I knew then that this was a rare actor indeed, with a tremendous range from quietly menacing, to full-on comedic mania within his repertoire. From then on, just knowing he was in a film made me want to watch it, which is something I can say about very few actors.

Besides Die Hard and Galaxy Quest, some other films which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Rickman in are Bottle Shock, Love Actually, and the oft-forgotten Quigley Down Under with Tom Selleck. Even in the truly bad films he was part of – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – he was clearly the best thing about them, stealing every scene he was in. Another that didn’t do terribly well at the box office, but which I enjoyed, is Blow Dry, which plays off as a sort of modern-day Romeo and Juliet set in a British hairdressing competition, with Rickman and Bill Nighy facing off as the fathers of a pair of star-crossed lovers. Worth a watch if only for the Rickman/Nighy factor.

And of course there are the Harry Potter films. Severus Snape could simply not have been played by any other actor. Rickman combined the ability to make you both love and hate him at the same time, with a wonderfully charming screen presence that was impossible to ignore. A lesser actor would not have been able to pull of the big twist with this character and make it both believable and sympathetic. Loved him in that role.

But again, for me, Rickman will always be Hans Gruber. To quote: “This time John Wayne does not walk off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.” Rest in peace, Mr. Rickman.

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