My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Review

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising opens in theaters across North America on February 26.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Movies for hit anime series like My Hero Academia have a difficult balancing act to pull off: they must be mostly understandable for a completely new viewer, still offer something relevant and interesting to fans of the show, and be exciting but find a way to not have any significant lasting impact on the show. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is animation studio Bones’ second attempt at achieving all three, and it does an excellent job. Heroes Rising is just one awesome explosion of action after another. It doesn’t quite nail the landing on its biggest moment and the villain is a bit boring, but that doesn’t take too much away from the excitement of seeing the entirety of Class 1-A push themselves to their limits.

Heroes Rising takes place sometime during Season 4, although the chronology is never established. Heroes like Rock Lock appear, the League of Villains are still up to no good, and a certain pivotal item from Season 4 makes an appearance. That being said, Heroes Rising is a prime example of effortlessly utilizing information from the show’s past to contextualize the events of the movie. Flashbacks are mostly used at unobtrusive moments and important information is naturally written into conversations. If you’re not caught up with at least the beginning of Season 4, you do run the risk of some mild thematic spoilers, but a majority of the movie smartly distances itself from current events in the anime series.

Much like the first My Hero Academia movie, Two Heroes, the students of U.A. High School’s Class 1-A find themselves busy on a faraway island in Heroes Rising. The resident hero has retired, and in an effort to give some of U.A.’s top students’ additional training, they’ve been sent to fill in for the recent retiree without the supervision of any pro heroes. That last part is a bit questionable, given they’re only high school students tasked with running a hero business without supervision, but the setup works wonderfully and gives them space to shine when villains eventually attack.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-best-anime-of-the-decade-2010-2019&captions=true”]

As the series has progressed, we’ve understandably seen less of Class 1-A and Heroes Rising excitingly amends that. Everyone, even characters like Koda and Shoji, gets a chance to shine. While the nature of their work on the island is mundane, it’s still exciting to watch because of Class 1-A’s fun personalities and the creative ways we get to see them use their quirks. From helping an old woman who threw out her back to organizing an intense assault on a foe while evacuating townspeople, Heroes Rising is a great showcase of their current abilities.

New supporting characters Mahoro and Katsuma are two cute kids who stir up the long-running theme of questioning what it means to be a hero in a world where that revered title is just another profession. Heroes Rising doesn’t dig too deep into it, but that theme serves as a good frame for when Deku and Bakugo get their time in the spotlight together. Heroes Rising is ultimately about their relationship and their own valid but different brands of heroism, but again, it does a fantastic job of balancing their screen time with the other 1-A students. Part of that comes about because they’re still students, and standing up against the four new adult villains in Heroes Rising isn’t a simple feat. My Hero Academia’s practicality with the students’ general disadvantage against experienced villains has always been one of its strengths, and it’s good to see that mostly carry through in Heroes Rising.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/18/my-hero-academia-heroes-rising-official-movie-trailer-english-dub]

The villains Class 1-A go up against in this action-packed movie have bland motivations, but their run-of-the-mill brand of evil largely works here. Fights aren’t bogged down with monologues and are instead peppered with effective villainous quips. The villains’ quirks aren’t exactly counters to the students’ but their raw power and flashiness go a long way. And, since the students are on this island without support from professionals, we really get to see their tactics and teamwork shine. The animation in the fights is generally excellent, save for some awkward CG clouds that roll in every now and then.

For all the power and fun Heroes Rising brings, it’s a shame it fumbles the presentation of its biggest moment. The insane, well-animated final fight edges close to fever dream territory and is presented with odd, sentimental music that doesn’t fit the intensity of what’s happening on-screen. Certain moments of the battle — which is one hell of a fight to watch — also have serious implications for My Hero Academia canon, and the way Heroes Rising goes about brushing them aside isn’t quite satisfactory.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

The Flash: Season 6, Episode 13 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for The Flash: Season 6, Episode 13. If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 6, Episode 12. Also, in the interest of transparency, we should note that Jesse is related to one of the co-writers of this episode. That relation had no bearing on the content of this review.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

It’s one of the great tragedies of the Arrowverse that we’ll probably never see a full season of The Flash built around Gorilla Grodd. Grodd certainly has the potential to be more than just an annual guest star, but it’s really not practical from a time and budgetary standpoint. On the other hand, the benefit is this forces the series to make the most of those annual appearances when they do come along. “Grodd Friended Me” keeps the hot streak going, even if it is a much smaller-scale Flash vs. Grodd story.

This episode flips the script by casting Grodd as a sympathetic protagonist trying desperately to win over an incredulous Barry Allen. Coming in the wake of both Crisis and a series of episodes where Grodd attempts to take over Central City, this plays like a logical and even necessary shift for the character. There’s only so much that can be accomplished with Grodd as an annual, one-and-done antagonist. At some point the series either has to find a new angle or just retire the character.

This episode’s greatest strength is in creating a sense of a cohesive arc for Grodd over the course of six seasons. He may only appear once or twice a year (plus that recurring role on Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3), but there has been a clear progression as Grodd has evolved from pitiful lab specimen to power-hungry villain and now homesick ARGUS prisoner. Thanks in no small part to David Sobolov’s grave vocal performance, Grodd’s transformation feels both genuine and earned.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-flash-grodd-friended-me-photos&captions=true”]

The actual story fueling Grodd’s redemption and unlikely alliance with Barry is disappointingly spartan. It’s literally a case of two characters moving from one isolated spot to another and trying to run through a portal. It’s hard not to wish the series had given its other subplots a rest for a week and focused more fully on Grodd’s return. As it is, Grodd only appears in the flesh in a handful of scenes, with the rest taking the economical approach of having him assume the forms of other Team Flash members. Still, the visual of Grodd and Barry merging to form “Brundleflash” is neat, and at least this pairing hits the right emotional notes despite the overly straightforward narrative.

We’ll see how Grodd’s apparent redemption plays out in the recently greenlit Season 7, but for now its most immediate impact seems to be in giving Chester his official induction into Team Flash. Chester and Kamilla are both seemingly being positioned as Cisco’s replacements, which raises the question of what happens when Cisco returns and whether that character is being gradually phased out. Chester doesn’t immediately click in his new role as junior tech support trainee. Regardless of the series, the Arrowverse tends to cast all of these characters from the same mold. They’re impossibly brilliant yet annoyingly quippy and chatty. The Flash doesn’t need a Cisco Lite.

Fortunately, Chester shows signs of more depth than that. The character really starts to click during his heart-to-heart with Caitlin, as he reminisces about being a young African American student learning the hard way that there’s no room for screw-ups or second chances. That moment of introspection tells us more about the character than we’ve learned all season. There’s a refreshing honesty and candor to the character that the series would do well to lean into going forward, rather than the usual fast-talking tech geek shtick.

Even if more Grodd content would have been nice, there is something to be said for this episode’s ability to keep the Mirror Master storyline moving along. Here we catch a glimpse of the true villain lurking beneath Eva’s befuddled facade. It’ll also be interesting to see how much damage Mirror Iris does to Iris’ personal life and relationships by the time she’s done.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/26/superman-red-son-review”]

Finally, the series continues to struggle on the Nash/Allegra front. As I’ve said before, the idea of a Harrison Wells pining for an estranged daughter just isn’t compelling enough to be rehashed all over again, even with the added complication of Allegra being a doppelganger. This episode does nothing to change that view, even as Allegra uncovers the truth about her “father.” It’s a disappointing shift for a character who showed plenty of promise in the first half of the season. Why isn’t Nash’s guilt over Crisis enough of a story catalyst on its own?

We do get a major swerve at the very end of the episode, as Sherloque resurfaces to deliver a dire warning about the return of Reverse-Flash. This could potentially be what the series needs to get back on track with all things Wells. On the other hand, it wasn’t all that long ago that Eobard Thwane made another surprise return. Will this be another case of The Flash rehashing familiar beats too often? Thawne’s presence wasn’t enough to salvage Season 5, and with Season 6 improving so dramatically, this time The Flash may not actually need him at all.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Competition committee: PI review rule ‘not great’

Despite skepticism about the pass interference review implemented before last season, the NFL competition committee members are not yet ready to recommend an end to the rule.
www.espn.com – NFL

The Invisible Man Review

With Upgrade, Leigh Whannell demanded attention as an inventive writer/director with some serious action chops and an eye for the unusual and unexamined. In Universal’s newest take on the iconic Invisible Man, Whannell turns that eye to the terror of domestic abuse, making an impressive and delightfully dark return to the horror genre in which he made his name as a co-creator of the Saw franchise.

Though the character’s tenure as a Universal Monster made the Invisible Man a classic horror icon, the H.G. Wells story which inspired it is very much a science-fiction parable about the hubris of man and the danger of an unchecked ego. Without spoiling too much, Whannell is clearly invested in exploring those thematic threads with his electrifying reimagining which plays into the classic novel’s ideas of madness, murder, and mayhem with a very contemporary twist.

Set in modern-day San Francisco, The Invisible Man strays from other adaptations by following Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) as she absconds from her violent and cruel ex-boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a Mark Zuckerberg-esque tech billionaire who made his fortune in “optics.” From the opening moments of the film where we see Cecilia sneaking out of the compound-like home she shared with Adrian, Whannell throws the audience into a nerve-wracking and chillingly realized ride through the absolute worst-case scenario of leaving an abusive partner.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-25-best-horror-movies&captions=true”]

Moss is the beating heart of the movie here as the distressed and desperate Cecilia, who spends most of the movie struggling against the waves of trauma that her relationship with Adrian has left her drowning in. This is another no-holds-barred performance from The Handmaid’s Tale actress who offers up an almost uncomfortably raw turn as a woman wronged so badly that she almost has no concept of how to treat the people who are left in her life. Though he is barely on screen, Jackson-Cohen is a solid choice as the handsome and sociopathic billionaire who can’t bear to let go of the one thing that he can no longer control.

The small supporting cast is equally as engaging with Aldis Hodge as Cecilia’s old friend James who takes her in after she makes her escape. His sweet and thoughtful daughter Sydney is played by the ever-watchable Storm Reid, who gets some seriously dark material and handles it brilliantly. If anything, their roles could have been expanded as both are characters that you want to know more about, but this is Cecilia’s story and so ultimately their paths (and screen time) are guided by her journey.

There is an effective coldness and chill to The Invisible Man which is tangible, from the grey skies of San Francisco to the concrete walls of Adrian’s looming home. There’s a gritty grimness to it all that can’t quite be escaped, and that’s entirely the point. Nothing about The Invisible Man is meant to be comfortable; Whannell and cinematographer Stefan Duscio fill every moment with dread and anxiety that is entirely fitting for a horror film that takes one of the darkest aspects of human nature and wrings every ounce of terror out of it that it can. Another highlight that needs recognition is the production design by Alex Holmes, which plays into the inescapable nature of Adrian. This is especially noticeable in his open-plan home, with its glass-walled structure that makes you feel like you can do nothing without being watched.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/10/the-invisible-man-official-trailer-2]

Of course, in any monster movie you want to know about the titular monster. Well, not wanting to give too much away, what I can say is that Whannell makes a decision that is both creatively daring and almost monstrously simple. Think of the thrill of watching Paranormal Activity for the first time and trying to spot all of the spiritual shenanigans and you’re halfway to what makes this iteration of The Invisible Man so utterly terrifying.

Alongside the atmospheric visual landscape that the creative team built, composer Benjamin Wallfisch crafts entertainingly engaging dueling scores for both Adrian and Cecilia. The former is an appropriately pulsating electronic landscape closer to drone music than a classical film score, whereas our heroine is scored by a more expected orchestral arrangement that often soars as we follow her on a most unexpected and grim iteration of the hero’s journey. The coherence and narrative of the score and film together give The Invisible Man an immersive quality that delights and unsettles in equal measure.

At just over two hours, The Invisible Man never drags, instead successfully building tension to a breaking point. But depending on your patience for a slow burn start leading to some breakneck twists and turns, you might get a little cinematic whiplash when it comes to the film’s brutal and action-packed latter half. That final act is where Whannell really shows his power, though, with some truly gasp-inducing moments and more of the stunningly imagined and choreographed action that made Upgrade such a cult hit amongst genre fans.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=insidious-leigh-whannells-favorite-haunted-house-movies&captions=true”]

The biggest issue that The Invisible Man faces is actually tied to how slick it is. There’s a rawness to Elisabeth Moss’ performance that hints at a deeper character study we don’t get, and whilst the clinical dissection of an abusive relationship and the horrors it has wrought are grimly effective, there is arguably a lack of depth to the conversation the film is trying to have. As a simple revenge story, The Invisible Man ends up delivering something truly satisfying. But the first two acts of the movie don’t always feel like they’re setting that up, and at times hint at an exploration of abuse that’s more nuanced and profound, yet it never materializes. Ironically, it’s the fact that Whannell is confident and experimental enough to try and utilize the nature of abuse as a structure for horror rather than a messaging opportunity that may lead some to ask: what is The Invisible Man really trying to say?

Whannell’s exploration of horror and abuse may not be for everyone. Not only is it deeply distressing in parts but it’s often brutal in its depiction of trauma — although something that feels radical is that we rarely see the violence that caused such trauma depicted on screen — and the fear of losing control. Seeing Cecilia seemingly lose her grip on reality and drive everyone around her away is tough, even though Whannell and company offer up an equally dark redemption. It’s that rawness and interest in shining a light on the most unappealing moments of being a survivor that makes The Invisible Man stand out, but it’s also miles away from the warmth and nostalgia that many viewers might be expecting when they walk into what is still a Universal Monsters movie.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Supergirl: Episode 100 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Supergirl: Season 5, Episode 13! For other recent developments with the series, check out our full review of Crisis on Infinite Earths and our review of Supergirl’s midseason premiere

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

By now Arrowverse fans know what to expect whenever one of these shows reaches its 100th episode. Like Arrow’s “Invasion!” and The Flash’s “What’s Past Is Prologue” before it, Supergirl marks this important milestone by bending the laws of time and space and allowing Kara Danvers to revisit some of the most pivotal moments from her costumed career. This may be the third time we’ve seen this formula in the Arrowverse, but “It’s a Super Life” proves just how much water there is in this particular well.

One big thing working in Supergirl’s favor is that the “time travel clip show” conceit fits a lot more organically into the show’s ongoing narrative than it did with Arrow or The Flash. Arrow’s 100th episode is great, mind you, but it had to juggle the warring needs of celebrating a milestone and acting as part of the Invasion crossover. Meanwhile, The Flash’s 100th episode suffered from the same flaw as nearly every other Season 5 installment – the ill-conceived Cicada storyline poisoned everything it touched.

By comparison, Supergirl has no crossover to worry about, nor is it experiencing the same Season 5 woes as The Flash. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt having fifth dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk as a plot catalyst. That gives the writers carte blanche to do basically whatever they want.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=supergirl-its-a-super-life-photos&captions=true”]

The real key to this episode’s success, though, is the fact that it hinges on the absolute best Season 5 plot point – the collapse of Kara and Lena’s friendship. The series spent years building up that friendship, only to have a vindictive Lex tear it all down with his dying breaths and turn Lena against her best friend. What would Kara do to take it all back? How much will she sacrifice to get a second chance at being honest with Lena?

Those questions form the emotional core of this episode. Again, because Supergirl spent so much time and effort cementing that friendship, it’s easy to sympathize with Kara’s desire to restore what was lost, even as she threatens to throw the entire Arrowverse timeline off-balance. Though there’s little hope of anything actually changing by the end, we want to see Kara succeed all the same. Kara experiences a very full and cohesive arc over the course of this episode, realizing that everything had to happen the way that it did, and at some point she has to simply allow Lena to choose her own fate. All of this further highlights the idea that Season 5 will culminate in the all-important question – will Lena ultimately do what’s right, or will her inner Luthor win out?

Along the way, we’re treated to several alternate takes on what might have happened if Kara had attempted to reveal her secret sooner, with Lena’s reactions ranging from anger to confusion to complete indifference depending on the circumstances. More than just an interesting look at what might have been, these scenes allow Katie McGrath to explore different sides of her character and refocus on her humanity in a season that’s pushed her into darker and darker territory. The story cleverly uses the show’s long and complex history top its advantage, showing how each identity reveal would have ultimately resulted in disaster for Kara and her friends. Maybe the script strains credulity by having a untied Kara/Lena alliance cause a domino effect that ends with Ben Lockwood murdering the show’s entire supporting, but there’s also the question of how much of this was exaggerated by Mxyzptlk for Kara’s benefit.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/01/18/crisis-on-infinite-earths-crossover-review”]

Speaking of Mxyzptlk, Thomas Lennon makes a strong impression as he takes over a role previously played by Peter Gadiot way back in Season 2. Whatever motivated that casting change, Lennon really suits this more laid back, less antagonistic version of Mxy. Lennon brings the right mixture of charm, sadness and whimsy to the role, painting Mxy as a being motivated by equal parts boredom, regret and genuine fascination with three-dimensional existence. This episode plays like an homage to all those Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes built around the rivalry between Captain Picard and Q. And while I’d hate to see Supergirl recycle the Kara/Mxy pairing as often as TNG did with Picard and Q, it would be nice to see Lennon pop by and reprise the role once in a while.

It should also be mentioned that this episode makes strong use of several returning cast members. We get to see Jeremy Jordan’s Winn’s and Chris Wood’s Mon-El back in action, along with old villains like Odette Annable’s Reign and Sam Witwer as the aforementioned Ben Lockwood. These guest roles fit neatly into the flashback premise and help make the 100th episode milestone feel that much more special. Even if you’ve fallen behind on the series of late, it’s worth popping in just to celebrate with these old friends.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Jinpa’: Film Review

After roaming for more than a year on the international festival circuit, “Jinpa” — the latest effort from Tibetan director Pema Tseden (“Old Dog,” “Tharlo”) — has finally launched a limited run in U.S. art houses, where it might find an appreciative if occasionally perplexed audience for its idiosyncratic mix of deadpan wit and understated […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Review

Warning: Full spoilers for The Walking Dead’s Season 10 midseason premiere follow. To refresh your memory of where we left off, check out our review of TWD Season 10, episode 8.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

The Walking Dead kicked off Season 10’s remaining eight episodes with a dark, cramped crawl through some creepy caverns overrun with both walkers and Whisperers.

Oh, and with Negan and Alpha doing the (actual) dirty out in the woods. Yikes! But more on that later…

When we last left our heroes, in the midseason finale cliffhanger, things didn’t seem all that dire. Trapping Carol, Daryl, and the rest in a savage scenario against a herd of walkers didn’t exactly feel cliffhanger-worthy since we’ve seen our survivors escape dozens of similar scenes over the years. In fact, the show itself made a montage out of rapid-fire zombie assaults on Alexandria earlier in the season as if it wasn’t a situation worth spending a lot of time with because everyone could handle themselves.

Regardless, “Squeeze” made the most of these spelunky surroundings, crafting a full episode’s worth of danger out of it and, maybe most importantly, creating a crucible where it felt like someone could die. Granted, taking stock of all the characters and whether or not they were narratively “ready” to go, Jerry was the one most likely to get torn to bits. But he didn’t. This is where the episode kind of broke even because it would have sucked for Jerry to die since he’s one of the few favorites left – but also, without a grand demise, the entire adventure felt a bit toothless in the end.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/10/the-walking-dead-midseason-preview-the-whisperer-war-is-upon-us”]

Sure, the cave collapsed, leaving Connie and Magda’s fates unknown, but since we didn’t see them die… they’re obviously still around. Because that’s the show.

Can Daryl Forgive Carol?

Daryl probably won’t be able to forgive Carol until he finds Connie still alive. Worst-case scenario here, if the show still wants to play things viciously, Daryl finds her alive, but right as she’s dying. Or comes to the rescue just moments too late. We don’t know what actress Lauren Ridloff’s Marvel’s Eternals role means yet for her role in the series.

Story-wise though, and knowing how Daryl obsessed over Rick’s “death,” and spent months and months looking for him in the woods, Daryl has to find these two. He can’t revert back to Season 9 Daryl.

The dramatic heart here, in “Squeeze,” was Carol finally realizing how destructive and careless she’s been after getting stuck in a place where she felt utterly useless because of her claustrophobia. She had to come to terms with her obsession for revenge against Alpha and recognize how it blinded her to this rather obvious trap. Man, if Jerry had died because of this, she’d never come back. That’s probably the main reason he survived – even though it certainly looked like the undead had chewed up his foot.

To be fair though, this was a super dark episode. Not thematically, just light-wise. Watching it through a press screener made things even harder to make out, given how much action happened in the shadows. I certainly got the gist of most of what was going on, with the actual squeezing moments, through the very narrow crawl spaces, being the most intense parts.

And the Carol/Daryl stuff remains, truly, the only big relationship on the show that still works to holds everything together. After that, you’ve got Rosita and Eugene (maybe?), and Negan and Judith. Everything else is kind of empty. So “Squeeze” was wise to focus on this, along with Daryl’s burgeoning feelings for Connie.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-walking-dead-squeeze-photos&captions=true”]

Alpha, Negan, and Uncomfortable Silences

The Whisperer side of the story was pretty strange – and not just because of Alpha’s big romantic gesture out in the woods with Negan, where she menacingly stripped down to her zombie skin and boots in order to woo him, or in the very least shut him up.

No, it was the part where Negan snitched on Gamma and Alpha realized that she had a spy in her midst. Negan giving Gamma up made sense, but overall it felt odd for Gamma to have been brought in as a character this season, quickly promoted through the ranks (to the dismay and jealousy of Beta), and then for us to see her unceremoniously come undone. Alpha sending Beta after her, with no mention of his past warnings or Alpha’s previous stubbornness, seemed a bit off.

And then, yes, there was Alpha and Negan’s tryst in the woods. Presented, without commentary, to those who might be looking for an even more uncomfortable Negan scene than his “nut tapping” conversation with that young boy back in “What It Always Is” (which is even more disturbing when you consider it was probably the kid’s last conversation on Earth). With Alpha and Negan’s glorious coupling comes all of our fears and anxieties about post-apocalyptic smells. After a while, after this many years into the series, we can assume everyone’s now nose-blind to the lack of proper daily hygiene. But it just takes one moment, like disrobing in the woods (which is itself a nasty place to get nasty), to remind us that everyone stinks to high heaven. Especially the Whisperers. Especially those masks.

This is the Whisperers’ downfall right here. Whether you’ve read the comics or not, it’s plain to see that Alpha trusting Negan, or even developing slivers of feelings for him, is his ticket into controlling, or destroying, them all.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=every-death-on-the-walking-dead&captions=true”]
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘H Is for Happiness’: Film Review

More often than not, “A” festival competitions privilege the arty over the entertaining, so hats off to the Berlinale Generation section, where the two qualities frequently coexist. A case in point: the delightful coming-of-age dramedy “H Is for Happiness,” which provides feel-good entertainment for the entire family without pandering — and definitely without sacrificing style […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

My Hero Academia Season 4, Episode 19 Review

With a title like this week’s, we could only assume that we were in for the very best episode in what’s left of Season 4. And while that can’t be said for certain just yet, it’s definitely an incredibly fun episode, and one that offers some well-balanced excitement with tight character focus.

My Hero Academia has perfected the art of balancing several disparate tones and atmospheres across its story, its characters, and even its aesthetics. And being able to expertly pull off the joyous atmosphere of the School Festival after such a gruelling battle with Overhaul is pretty impressive storytelling. Even more than that, introducing the camp and hilarious villains Gentle Criminal and La Brava now, during the School Festival, shows a degree of self-awareness that allows us as an audience to fully immerse ourselves in the light, celebratory atmosphere that this arc is throwing at us.

Watch the English dub trailer for the new MHA movie, Heroes Rising:

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/18/my-hero-academia-heroes-rising-official-movie-trailer-english-dub”]

Bakugo has become a personal best boy for a lot of My Hero Academia fans, and he certainly works for that status in the first half of this episode. Class 1-A has decided on a musical performance for their role in the School Festival, with Jiro the multi-instrumentalist taking center stage, so to speak. But as she attempts to build the band, she first needs to find a drummer. What she finds is Bakugo.

Now, while the drums are certainly a perfect fit for Bakugo’s rage-fuelled personality, and there’s a simple joy to be found in seeing him hammer out a short groove, the real beauty of this scene comes from seeing how Bakugo’s perspective and motivation have matured and shifted over time. Bakugo is a complex angry young man, and we’re seeing here that his anger has layers, that his waters run far deeper than we ever expected when we met him back in Season 1. Bakugo has very slowly and carefully been built up and torn down over time, resulting in a potential hero who isn’t just a controversial choice for best boy of Class 1-A, but who is genuinely a complex and lovable hero with a lot about him to respect and admire. And we get all of this distilled down into one fantastic little monologue from Bakugo after he picks up the sticks.

The preparation for the School Festival does, indeed, turn out to be an awful lot of fun as the students plan how to best use their own skills, knowledge, quirks, and imagination to build an exciting musical performance. It’s reminiscent of the movie School of Rock, with Jack Black finding a role for every member of the class, on and off the stage. That planning and preparation is even more hilarious and ridiculous here, with the brilliant idea of turning Aoyama into a twinkling disco ball.

The bulk of this episode is the sorting of roles for the festival, but the crowning moment of the entire episode is one in which Mineta attempts to play the guitar, only to lament in a pseudo-fourth-wall-break, “Because of my character design, my hands won’t reach!” It’s a real laugh-out-loud moment and not only is it the kind of joke that My Hero Academia doesn’t usually make, but it might also be the first time Mineta has been anything less than dreadful.

Class 1-A of My Hero Academia is such an eclectic bunch of well-defined individuals, which means the manga and the show can, whenever they desire, build an arc that doesn’t focus around Deku and his growth as a character, which is typical of almost every shonen battle anime. This cast is almost equal in terms of how well we know and love each character. Rarely (in any medium) do we get such a large and likable cast of characters, and this School Festival is already proving to be a welcome chance to enjoy each and every one of them in top form.

That being said, this episode’s third act still provides us with some really gratifying one-on-one teacher/student time with Deku and All Might. It’s a bonding moment but, even more importantly, it’s a short step away from the School Festival where we get to see a little bit of combat growth from Deku. After all, he and All Might are still our main protagonists, and getting a little focus time on them is not only appreciated, but satisfying.

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Persian Lessons’: Film Review

In “Schindler’s List,” most of the actors spoke English, using accents to indicate their characters’ origins. In “Son of Saul,” the cast struggles to communicate in a mish-mosh of languages, as Jews of different nationalities were thrown together in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stories about the Holocaust — so vital in trying to reconcile the horrors of the […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Goldie’: Film Review

Slick Woods plays the titular streetwise 18-year-old New Yorker in “Goldie,” a character who’s constantly running toward, or away, from things — a life of perpetual motion that doesn’t actually get her anywhere. In the confident hands of Dutch writer-director Sam de Jong, Goldie’s story is one of big dreams and harsh realities, and the […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 7 Premiere Review

Note: this is a mostly spoiler-free review of the Season 7 premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. All plot spoilers are confined to a marked section at the end.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars has proven surprisingly resilient for a series that was technically canceled in 2013. A number of in-progress episodes were completed and released as a shorter sixth season dubbed Clone Wars: The Lost Missions, while other abandoned stories were told in new forms, like the comic book Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir and the novel Star Wars: Dark Disciple. And even if the animated series itself never quite gave us closure for characters like Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, and Darth Maul, the followup series Star Wars Rebels was only too happy to oblige.

It’s much easier nowadays to be at peace with the show’s untimely cancellation – and thankfully, it’s no longer even an issue. The Clone Wars is back for a seventh and final season, and the series immediately finds its groove despite being off the air for the better part of a decade.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=star-wars-the-clone-wars-final-season-gallery&captions=true”]

“The Bad Batch” immediately sets the tone for the final season. Even as the war draws closer to its dramatic conclusion, the Republic’s clone army is feeling the strain of mounting losses and an enemy that seems to predict its every move. Many of the series’ best story arcs have hinged on these clone heroes battling against overwhelming odds, so “The Bad Batch” feels like a great way to welcome the series back and further explore the toll of the war on those who were literally born to fight.

While it’s enough to see fan-favorite clones like Captain Rex and Commander Cody back in action, this episode stands out by introducing a very different roster of clone heroes: the titular Bad Batch – a group of clones far more independent and genetically diverse than normal. While on one hand the Star Wars geek in me can’t help but wish the series had simply dusted off the Republic Commandos for this particular storyline, this episode pretty quickly establishes why Clone Force 99 is the better option. With the premiere being so overwhelmingly clone-focused, it really helps to have characters with such distinct personalities. We need the comic relief provided by clones like Wrecker and Crosshair. The subtle rivalry and unease between Rex and his new comrades add another interesting layer to what might otherwise be a straightforward clones vs. droids mission.

Plus, the addition of the Bad Batch allows voice actor Dee Bradley Baker to cut loose. Baker practically carries this whole episode on his shoulders given how many of the characters are voiced by him. The series has always been surprisingly deft about differentiating the many clone characters even though they all look and sound pretty much the same. But in the case of these genetic abnormalities, they don’t look the same. Their personalities are much more extreme and over-the-top. Even in scenes with half a dozen or more clones sharing the same space, it never feels like one voice actor is talking to himself.

It’s also easy to see how much the series’ animation quality has improved in the six years since the Lost Missions. Fans may already be familiar with the Bad Batch arc, given that these four episodes were screened in rough animatic form at Star Wars Celebration 2015 and later released online. But it’s quite another thing to see this story play out in completed form with full visual effects. This still looks very much like the Clone Wars of old, but with a greater sense of detail and more dramatic camera angles. The upgrades are most apparent with Anakin, who suddenly looks a lot more like his Episode III self.

The upgrades are a welcome reminder that The Clone Wars still serves as the gold standard for Star Wars animation. While a worthy sequel in many ways, Rebels always suffered because of its comparatively stiff characters and barren, sterile environments. There’s much more detail and energy in this Clone Wars episode, which bodes well as we slowly march toward the long-awaited Siege of Mandalore arc.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/18/star-wars-the-clone-wars-final-season-the-bad-batch-clip”]

Warning: the remainder of this review contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 1!

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Aside from the introduction of Clone Force 99, the biggest hook with “The Bad Batch” is definitely the reveal that fallen Clonetrooper Echo may still be alive and in Separatist custody. Here, too, this twist gives the storyline a bit of extra weight and differentiates it from similar clone vs. droid skirmishes. The series sometimes struggles to justify these longer story arcs, a problem that may come back into play with Season 7 being divided solely into a trio of four-episode arcs. But for now, “Bad Batch” starts things off on an eventful note.

It’s also a fitting twist with which to kick off the final season. The saga of Domino Squad has been one of the most important throughlines of the whole series, with that story seeming to come to an end when Fives was killed back in Season 6’s “Orders.” It seems only fitting that Season 7 finds a way to continue that story and potentially even find redemption for the one surviving Domino Squad member. We’ll see over the next few weeks whether the show can make good on that potential.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Greed’: Film Review

I’ve got this friend who makes his own clothes. Not the generic kind cut from dowdy prairie-dress patterns, but chic, design-it-yourself garments that look better than most anything you’d find on a ready-to-wear rack. I figure he’s the only person I know who’s not guilty of contributing to the kind of sweatshop misery writer-director Michael […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

The Call of the Wild Review

Why are canines considered man’s best friend? Why is the influx of dog movies much steadier than that of cats, bunnies, giraffes, or elephants? It’s simple: there’s something understood on a human level in a dog’s expressions, from the mopey look after it has gotten into the trash can to the excitement when we come in from a long day at work. It’s physical, tangible, and real. So, when a film like The Call of the Wild comes along with a CG dog, achieved via motion-capture, at the side of very real human characters, an integral part of that relationship gets lost.

Whether it’s capturing the emotions our canine friends seem to express or capturing the joy of an actor working with a real trained animal on set, this adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel is a failure in nearly every regard. The film follows Buck, a huge St. Bernard/Scotch Collie after he gets captured from his owner and traded between masters during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. He goes from being a sled dog for mailman Perrault (Omar Sy) to one for sadistic Yukon gold digger Hal (Dan Stevens) to a companion and friend to grieving heavy drinker John Thornton (Harrison Ford), all the while having visions of a silent, sleek black wolf that represents − get this − his instinctual call to the wild.

Notably, director Chris Sanders’ first live-action effort (he’s known best for helming Lilo & Stitch and the first How to Train Your Dragon), The Call of the Wild still feels largely animated. Motion-capture artist Terry Notary (a Planet of the Apes and MCU veteran) performed Buck’s movements on set, but the CGI covering him and decorating his surrounding environments are a few grades below what made The Lion King such a technical marvel last year. The close-ups of Buck’s face look okay, but shots of his body from far away lack texture and definition, and his action sequences or quick movements don’t look much better than a well-rendered video game cutscene. Worse yet, the motions with which human characters pet the dog come with virtually no affection, as Notary doesn’t capture the unpredictable spirit and love that comes from a live animal. There’s no room for a charmer like Ford to lose himself in his role if the filmmakers won’t throw him the bone of being next to a real, tail-wagging, joyfully dopey mutt.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-18-best-cgi-characters-in-live-action-movies&captions=true”]

It doesn’t help that Michael Green’s script misses the more feral, complex qualities of London’s original text. Instead, it tells a basic story about what makes dogs such great human companions and then misses that point to right the ship and shoehorn in London’s thesis at the last possible minute. That thesis is damaged when the animators and Notary give the lead dog such obvious human qualities that a real canine would never exhibit. You can feel Buck weighing options and having existential yearnings at multiple points throughout, and that’s a problem when the only thing endearing us to this character is that he’s a good boy who occasionally makes bad messes and eats the human food.

His supposed call to the wild doesn’t feel earned since Buck keeps choosing human missions, like getting inspired by the wonders of mail delivery and curing John’s alcoholism. At one point, Buck hands Perrault a letter that arrived a little too late to make the daily delivery rounds. It would maybe be cute were it a real dog on set, but having this mo-cap mutation do it manufactures the moment in a way that renders it just totally lifeless. It makes a cheesy script even less bearable, especially with Ford narrating the whole thing and forced to essentially take up David Attenborough’s Planet Earth gig during scenes starring only the CG animals in CG environments.

For a film centered so much around the natural world, so little of it actually feels natural. You would think part of the appeal of adapting London in the first place would be staying true to the locations his prose so beautifully describes or having a production brave the elements for those key on-location shots. But alas, it’s easy to tell when these vast outdoor landscapes are actually much smaller, perhaps on a sound stage, than they appear.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/11/20/the-call-of-the-wild-official-trailer]

As for the performances, Ford does what he can to find the film’s center. The veteran superstar can charm his way through just about any scene unscathed. All of the film’s best moments belong to his signature gruff exterior, soft interior demeanor, even if the special effects hamper his ability to play a physically affectionate dog lover, for fear of ruining the film’s thin illusion. Stevens, on the other hand, hams it up as a cartoonish, two-dimensional villain who opposes Buck and John in such an off-putting, go-for-broke way that any conflict involving him turns into an eye roll.

Across the board, playing things too big is The Call of the Wild’s greatest downfall aside from its crappy special effects. From on overstated musical score to the overly sentimental narration or story beats in general, this is an adaptation aimed right at the heartstrings of dog owners everywhere. Cynical as that may be from a moneymaking standpoint, the ultimate irony in the filmmakers’ failure here is the money they spent creating this disaster. Buck can outrun a pixelated avalanche or dramatically face an alpha sled dog with blue eyes that practically glow, but making him so emotive and superheroic ensures that he’s nothing like the furry friends that audience members will go home to when the lights come up.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Rebuilding Paradise’: Film Review

Ron Howard, over the last decade, has directed a handful of documentaries (all of them about popular musicians), and maybe it’s no surprise that he has turned out to be an ace craftsman of the nonfiction form. But “Rebuilding Paradise,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is a different kind of Ron Howard documentary, […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘The Night Clerk’: Film Review

In “The Night Clerk,” Tye Sheridan and a very busy Ana de Armas star as a hotel clerk with Asperger’s and the solicitous beauty who shows up after a murder. The chemistry between Sheridan and de Armas is involving. The casting of Helen Hunt as a enabling mother and John Leguizamo as a police detective […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Duncanville’ Starring Amy Poehler: TV Review

Lovable dirtbag families have been the core of Fox’s Sunday “Animation Domination” lineup for years, a truth further underlined by the fact that its newest entry “Duncanville” comes from longtime “Simpsons” producers Mike and Julie Thacker Scully. Along with co-creator Amy Poehler, they’ve now made a show about a family more tied to the present […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Batwoman: Season 1, Episode 12 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Batwoman: Season 1, Episode 12! If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 1, Episode 11.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

At this point it seems safe to say no Arrowverse series has benefited more from Crisis on Infinite Earths than Batwoman. Sure, Supergirl has arguably been affected more in terms of the overall status quo, but that series was already on solid footing before the crossover. It’s not so much that life in Gotham City has drastically changed in this new Earth-Prime era, but that Batwoman has used the foundation of Crisis to address its greatest recurring flaw.

If Alice has been the regular weak link in the Season 1 formula, she’s a whole lot better off thanks to these most recent two installments. “An Un-Birthday Present” and now “Take Your Choice” have gone a long way toward humanizing this villain (a process previously reserved for the flashback scenes) and giving her a clearer and more understandable set of motivations. The series has quickly managed to flip the script on the new status quo established in the midseason finale. Where once Alice was the heartless villain who drove a wedge right through the Kane family, now she’s become the loner betrayed by one of the two people she cares for the most.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=batwoman-take-your-choice-photos&captions=true”]

Rachel Skarsten has never really managed to nail that dreamy, surreal quality that makes Alice such a unique villain in the comics. Her Alice performance is very stiff and forced. By now it’s clear that’s an intentional choice on the show’s part, as recent episodes have really started to emphasize how much this persona was created as a coping mechanism for a young Beth Kane. Even so, it often feels like there’s been something lost in translation with Alice. “Take Your Choice,” more than any other episode before it, succeeds by downplaying Alice’s supervillain shenanigans and trying to find the fragile human beneath the cruel facade.

In the process, Skarsten is able to shine in a way she’s never managed before. She excels here in playing two vastly different versions of the same character – both of whom are confronting the possibility of their imminent death. That these two Beths look and behave so differently only highlights the tragedy of Alice and how much was taken from the Kane family when she vanished. There are repeated signs that Alice isn’t as cruel or heartless as she’d like the city to believe, including the reveal she purposely saved Mary’s life and the very genuine shock and remorse she feels after realizing Kate came not to save her, but to watch her die. That scene may well be the highlight of the series so far. Though Alice’s hallucination of a vengeful Catherine come to gloat is a close second. An inspired use of a character we all assumed had run her course.

In general, this episode makes terrific use of what could have been a very silly and convoluted premise. It proves there’s still room in the Arrowverse for more grounded, metahuman-free stories even in a world of Kryptonians, speedsters and time travelers. The idea that the universe can only permit one Beth Kane to live creates a palpable tension that only grows over the course of the episode. With the Crows hunting for Alice and Kate struggling to find some way to save her new sister without dooming the old, there’s a certainty that nothing is going to work out well for our heroes. The only question is how exactly Kate’s reunion with Beth will end badly.

The reveal is certainly satisfying. Faced with an impossible choice, Kate chooses the sensible option – save the sister who isn’t a homicidal maniac. Instead, she winds up enduring all the heartache of watching Alice die without managing to save Beth in the end. Just as Alice gave Kate reason to loathe her in the midseason finale, now Alice has reason to despise the only family she has left. Somehow, this episode has managed to make that rivalry even more personal.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/01/18/crisis-on-infinite-earths-crossover-review”]

My only disappointment with the way things play out is that there would have been a lot of potential in the idea of the two Beths merging to form a new Beth who remembers both lives. What does that do to her mind and her plans for Gotham? But to be fair, that’s me complaining about the story I want to see rather than the story being told. And anyway, it’s not impossible the series won’t still go down that road.

Another big plus is that “Take Your Choice” gives a better sense of how the various pieces of Season 1 fit together, with Sebastian Roche’s Dr. Campbell taking on a more prominent role and revealing himself to be Dr. Cartwright in disguise. Cartwright is quickly shaping up to be the real endgame villain of Season 1. His quietly sadistic personality and ability to hide in plain sight make him well-suited to the task. His is a brand of evil that could only exist in Gotham, and I look forward to seeing him step into the spotlight in the weeks to come.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

My Hero Academia: Season 4, Episode 18 Review

This review contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Season 4, episode 18, “School Festival,” aka episode 81 overall. To refresh your memory of where we left off, check out our review of MHA Season 4, episode 17.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Back in Season 2, My Hero Academia confidently proved it had the chops to inject new life and excitement into the tired shonen tradition of the ‘tournament arc’. The UA Sports Festival turned out to be one of the show’s highlights, and was, arguably, the arc that allowed My Hero Academia to flex its muscles and show that it is one of the best shonen anime to ever grace our screens. And now, as we enter the final stretch of Season 4, we are treated to a whole new, vibrant, and fun-filled arc: the School Festival.

This episode is split into three acts: the first is the announcement and planning of the School Festival, the second is a sweet extended scene between Midoriya, Mirio, and Eri. The third is a villain-related final act that’s too good to spoil here. Every one of these acts is tonally perfect, full of color and vibrancy, and feels custom-designed to cheer fans up. This is the kind of episode to be re-watched on a rainy Sunday afternoon, so bursting at the seams is it with cheery melodies, optimistic and enthusiastic characters, and excitement for things to come. Everything is on the up; the whole episode is about the clouds clearing and the sun coming out.

After an impactful and emotionally draining arc that ended with the most explosive conclusion we’ve seen so far in My Hero Academia, followed by two episodes that were marred with issues of theme, tone, and pacing (amongst other issues), it feels so good to have an episode not only deliver on hype, humor, and happiness, but to also do so by nailing every aspect of its execution, from its animation to its writing and voice acting.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/01/03/top-10-most-anticipated-anime-of-2020″]

The music of this episode is especially outstanding, with experimental blends of guitar-led rock riffs and choir-infused classical pieces. One particular track late in the episode begins with a jaunty acoustic strum, is injected with a groovy bass line, and suddenly a flood of synths and strings enter the fray to make for one of the sweetest melodies ever heard in the show’s history. All of this stellar music doesn’t just add to the bright fun factor of the episode, but also provides some gravity to the surprising emotional range on display here.

In the most exciting moments, as members of Class 1-A throw out their ideas for the School Festival, and in the most uplifting and inspiring, like when Kyoka is encouraged to talk about and be proud of her passion for music, the accompanying tracks are always outstanding. In an episode so centered around song and dance, it only makes sense to have the music be as good as it can be, but it really is phenomenal here, and does a lot to elevate the already electric atmosphere of the episode to new heights.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-best-anime-of-the-decade-2010-2019&captions=true”]

Beyond the music and the emphasis on jolly festivities, “School Festival” still manages to give us some excellent character-focused moments filled with insight, growth, and introspection, with Eri and Kyoka taking center stage. In the first act Class 1-A are given the good news by a grumpy Aizawa that they’ll be hosting the School Festival; following this comes a machine-gunning of hilarious one-liners and pitch-perfect banter, with Mineta getting satisfyingly strung up as the punchline. But the character focus comes in the form of Kyoka’s relationship with her passion for music which she convinces herself has no place at school or in the hero business. It’s touching and humanizing, made even better by a few choice moments shared between her and Kaminari that prove to be suitably brief but sweetly touching.

Having more face time with Eri is hugely appreciated as well. So much of her character until now has been defined by her relationship with Overhaul, and the impact of that relationship is both seen and felt here. The way in which the show implies her PTSD is affecting and brutal, and yet she has also been rounded out and provided solid dimension that we’re only going to see grow from here.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

East Kent baby deaths: Independent review into NHS trust

A local MP says women are now “terrified” about giving birth at the two Kent hospitals.
BBC News – Health
HEALTH & WELLNESS UPDATE:

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

‘The Cloud In Her Room’: Film Review

When disconsolate lovers light up a post-coital cigarette amid tousled bedclothes in a French New Wave film, the source of their angsty ennui is often, in some way or other, l’amour. But if it’s Hangzhou, China, in the late 2010s, as opposed to 1960s Paris, the source of the disaffection, and therefore the poetry, is […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Exile’: Film Review

There’s much talk these days of microaggressions: words and gestures of disrespect toward others, particularly those of other social groups, that betray prejudice even when everyday or unintentional. It’s a term that sounds almost scientific, though as a unit of measurement, it’s frustratingly inexact: how many microaggressions add up to plain, violent, not-so-small oppression? How […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’: Film Review

For all the kerfuffle that erupted in the spring of 2019 over the visual design of Sonic the Hedgehog, the blue-furred speed-demon mascot of the Sega video game–turned–live-action kiddie adventure, you wish that the creators of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” who went back and redesigned the character after being pressured (I almost wrote bullied) by his […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Sonic the Hedgehog Review

Rife with callbacks to the classic Sega video game series, the family-friendly Sonic the Hedgehog movie is designed to please Sonic fans of all ages. However, if you’ve never really cared for the Blue Blur, you’ll probably want to avoid this flick like one of Dr. Robotnik’s badniks.

The premise that finds this freakishly fast character on Earth rightfully doesn’t take itself too seriously. Forced to flee his homeworld as a child to escape the grasp of the villains who want to use his super-speed abilities for evil, teenage Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) has lived in hiding in the town of Green Hills, Montana, for a decade. While not exactly the Green Hill Zone fans may remember from the original 1991 game, it is a nice homage to the sprawling paradise found in both acts of the first level in the Sega Genesis classic.

Isolated in our world, Sonic has no one to talk to but himself (and us, as he occasionally breaks the fourth wall, Deadpool-style), so Schwartz’s portrayal is unique in that sense than other depictions of the character in games and cartoons. But like the voice actors who came before him, Schwartz is able to invoke that thrill-seeking spirit Sonic is known for. Schwartz’s vocal performance is definitely up there with Sonic OGs like Roger Craig Smith and Ryan Drummond, giving him a similarly energetic and quick-witted personality. There are times where Sonic’s constant banter with himself grows maddening and a bit too cartoonish (perhaps not surprising in a PG-rated film aimed at children and families), but the character evolves once he is forced out of isolation in order to escape the clutches of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and befriends Tom Wachowski (James Marsden).

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=every-video-game-movie-in-development-almost&captions=true”]

From that point on the plot of Sonic the Hedgehog is as straightforward as the 1991 Genesis game: gotta go fast, make a mad dash to collect the rings, defeat the villainous Dr. Robotnik, then on to the next act. But there’s an additional element to round out the overarching story – it’s a movie about friendship. Tom is a character who’s looking for a little more purpose and meaning in his life, while Sonic is looking for a connection. They both find what they’re looking for in each other while on the run from Robotnik.

Given the dire circumstances Tom finds himself in while on the run with Sonic, it’s charming to see him take a break from the chaotic commotion and foster a relationship with the little blue guy. But as the film progresses, you begin to question why Tom would go to such great lengths for a creature he’s known for less than 24 hours. He’s a bored sheriff in a small town where not much happens, so I guess why not team-up with an anthropomorphic furry speed demon on the run from the government and an evil super-genius? This simple premise may advance the plot, but there just isn’t much more to it than that. Playing the live-action human companion to an animated protagonist could very easily be a thankless role for an actor, but Marsden manages to mine the heartwarming moments with Sonic (as well as with Tom’s wife Maddie, played by Tika Sumpter) even if it’s ultimately not a standout turn in his career.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/10/ben-schwartzs-favourite-sonic-games]

While it may be hard to believe anyone could compete with a CGI-rendered Blue Blur, the most animated character throughout the film is Jim Carrey’s Doctor Robotnik. Carrey’s physicality and comedic timing evoke memories of his Ace Ventura and Liar Liar heyday, proving the gifted comedian hasn’t lost his touch. Carrey’s comedic delivery and interactions with other characters are a winning combination within moments of his first appearance. Robotnik is typically the smartest man in the room, and he makes sure everyone is well aware of it and just what he’s capable of doing to their underdeveloped intellect.

The film does suffer from employing too many visual effects we’ve seen used countless times before, often with more creativity. For example, many will remember the scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past where time is rendered in super slow-motion as Quicksilver cleverly shifts things around while running. Sonic does the same exact thing here, but it’s far less inventive or witty; if anything, it is specifically a callback to what you’ve seen before, except, you know, with Sonic. Although it’s hard not to want to love the little guy throughout, Sonic’s personality just isn’t enough to overcome such worn-out ideas.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/12/jim-carrey-on-the-evolution-of-dr-robotnik-and-a-sonic-sequel]

Sonic the Hedgehog is more successful when it comes to nailing references to the source material. Director Jeff Fowler does an exceptional job stuffing in as many Easter eggs from the Sonic games as possible, to the point where hardcore Sonic fans may have to watch more than once just to catch them all. The nods to the gameplay mechanics – such as how Sonic loses his rings upon being hit by an enemy or the way he curls up into a ball and dashes to defeat them – land well and with believability here.

If you’re a Sonic fan worried whether this movie can truly encompass the nearly-three decade history of Sonic the Hedgehog, don’t be. While it’s lacking in some of the deeper cuts in Sonic lore, such as trapped animals in aggressive robots, and mystical emeralds, the essentials are all here. And the highly publicized and game-accurate redesign of the title character should keep fans more locked into the story of the fastest thing alive than had they been distracted by his off-putting original look.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

The Flash: Season 6, Episode 11 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for The Flash: Season 6, Episode 11. If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 6, Episode 10.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which usually means The Flash is taking a break from weightier matters to dabble in romantic drama and more lighthearted hero/villain conflicts. And given that we’re only two episodes removed from Crisis, why not? What’s the harm in a little goofy fun before the show dives headlong into its new Mirror Master storyline? “Love Is a Battlefield” manages to shift the series in a sillier direction without completely losing sight of the threads introduced in the midseason premiere. In the process, it even manages to do something fun with one of the series’ more frustrating villains.

Though “Love Is a Battlefield” builds directly on the terrific cliffhanger ending from last week, it makes a point of not resolving that cliffhanger. If anything, there’s a fun dose of tension to this followup. We don’t know what exactly happened to Iris when she was dragged into Eva McCulloch’s mirror dimension. What does she remember? Is this even the real Iris? Those questions become all the more urgent as Iris begins acting strangely hostile and reckless and pushing Barry away in a time when they should be savoring the holiday and their happy ending from Crisis.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=crisis-on-infinite-earths-aftermath-all-the-ways-the-arrowverse-has-changed&captions=true”]

The tension works because Mirror Iris is never portrayed in such a way as to seem totally out of character. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Iris really is fed up with being the damsel in distress and having Barry’s metahuman woes constantly getting in the way of their relationship. Nor is it a huge leap to believe Iris would take the end of Crisis as an opportunity to reinvent herself and carpe diem her heart out. If anything, this series has established that a gung-ho, aggressive Iris is the way to go.

So with that in mind, it’s almost a disappointment to get confirmation in the closing stinger that the real Iris has been replaced by a mirror version. I wouldn’t necessarily mind if this transformation were a genuine evolution for her. But a lot rests on how the series proceeds with the Mirror Master conflict. We need a better sense of how Iris and her mirror self are linked and what makes these mirror clones different from alternate universe doppelgangers. There’s no point in casting judgment just yet.

This episode also stands out for making unusually solid use of Amunet Black. Katee Sackhoff has always been enjoyable in the role – clearly she’s having a blast hamming it up in each and every scene – but Amunet always tends to be reserved for the most forgettable, throwaway storylines. Granted, this week’s conflict is a very low stakes one. The writers practically have to bend over backwards to justify Barry not bringing Amunet to justice in a split second. But it’s a fun conflict nonetheless, and one that makes excellent use of the romantic tension between Amunet and her equally ostentatious ex-lover, Goldface. And however silly the main story is this week, it does succeed in giving Amunet something resembling depth and humanity.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/01/18/crisis-on-infinite-earths-crossover-review”]

Unfortunately, while the main Iris/Amunet conflict this week works as both a fun romp and a prelude of things to come for the Mirror Master conflict, the B-plot falls completely flat. Season 6 has yet to really justify adding Allegra to the mix. Even the reveal that she’s apparently the long-lost daughter of Nash is doing nothing to boost Allegra’s standing. Like I said last week, we’ve already done the “Harrison Wells tries to reconnect with his angsty daughter” shtick, and there’s little appeal in returning to that well now. Why is this plot twist even needed? Those few moments this episode spends in exploring Nash’s lingering guilt over his role in Crisis argue that the character already has all the dramatic fodder he needs without the family angle.

Even ignoring the Nash factor, Allegra’s struggle this week fails to make her a more interesting character. Heck, most of her arc happens off-screen, in between pep talks with Frost. It’s enough to wish Frost herself had been the focal point of this subplot, as she tries to embrace her newly independent existence by trying her luck at love. Maybe next year.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Olympus E-M1 III review: Fast, but way behind flagship camera rivals

Olympus E-M1 III review: Fast, but way behind flagship camera rivalsAmid the excitement of so many new and interesting camera models, one company has been left out of the discussion: Olympus. Unlike its main rival, Panasonic, it has stuck to the Micro Four Thirds sensor and not jumped on the full-frame bandwagon. And while it released the larger, more professionally oriented E-M1X camera, it didn't represent a major upgrade on the 2016 E-M1 Mark II model.

Now, Olympus finally has a genuine successor. Like the E-M1X, the E-M1 Mark III promises even more speed and top-notch in-body stabilization, this time all packed into a much smaller and even more rugged body.

Disappointingly, though, it has the same 20.4-megapixel sensor as before, and for an $ 1,800 camera, it's lagging behind rivals from Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm in certain features. On top of that, Olympus has had a tough time financially of late. I'm in Costa Rica with the E-M1 Mark III, and I'm going to find out if Olympus is doing enough to survive.



Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Fluance Ai40 Powered Bookshelf Speakers Review

Gamers sometimes benefit from a lucky sort of overlap in the audio business. It turns out that speakers which have traditionally been used by audiophiles as studio monitors or bookshelf speakers are often sized (and priced) right for PCs and gamers as well. Sometimes this is intentional, sometimes it’s not.

In the case of the Fluance Ai40 Powered Bookshelf Speakers, I’m going to guess not; these are primarily designed as powered Bluetooth bookshelf speakers with an auxiliary audio input, and while Fluance won’t drive to your house and prevent you from using them as computer speakers, they seem aimed at music fans looking to step up to higher quality audio without spending a fortune. Even so, the temptation was too great to avoid trying: How well do they perform as PC gaming speakers?

pair

Fluance Ai40 – Design and Features

The Ai40 sits at the lower end of the two self-powered bookshelf speakers in Fluance’s product line. While big-brother Ai60 packs a 100-watt integrated amp and a 6.5-inch driver, the Ai40 downsizes things a little to come in under the $ 200 price point. Under the hood, you’ll find a 70-watt amp (35 watts for each channel) driving a one-inch silk soft dome tweeter and a five-inch woven glass fiber driver.

The speakers use an acoustic suspension design, housed in completely sealed, port-free cabinets made from medium density fiberboard (MDF). Fiberboard is a bit cheaper than true hardwood, but it’s commonly used in bookshelf speakers. In my experience, you’d be hard-pressed to hear a difference, so it’s a reasonable compromise to make the package more affordable.

Visually, these speakers are stunningly elegant. I’ve become numb to the all-black aesthetic that virtually every audio product seems to have these days. Breaking that mold, the “lucky bamboo” model that Fluance shipped me has a gorgeous bamboo finish on the sides and a white face, nicely contrasting the black cones. My favorite part is that there’s no black fabric grill to interrupt the contrasty front – this may be a matter of personal taste, but I love the bare look of the speakers. If you are dead inside, you can choose from the two other finishes: walnut or black, both of which feature a black front.

right_profile

The right speaker is the active one, equipped with the amp and controls. Tucked away in the lower right corner you’ll find just a single detented volume knob, which you push to toggle between the two inputs. A small status light communicates a half-dozen things depending on its color and whether it’s steady or flashing. That sounds like a lot to keep track of, but honestly, it takes all of about 10 minutes to get comfortable with what the speaker is trying to tell you. Blue means it’s in Bluetooth mode; yellow is the auxiliary input. Flashing blue means it’s pairing, while flashing red means it’s muted. There are a few others, but you get the idea. The right speaker also has an infrared sensor for the remote control, positioned in the lower left so it’s symmetric to the volume knob.

bottom_profile

The other cabinet has just a bare face exposing the two cones. Around back, each cabinet has its own pair of gold-plated binding posts for connecting the speakers to each other, while the right speaker also has a power port, auxiliary input, and Bluetooth pairing button.

rear

Depending upon where you plan to put these speakers into service, they might seem a little large. Measuring 6.5 x 8 x 11-inches, they’ll be right at home on a shelf or beside a television. But they’re conspicuously large on a computer desktop.

Fluance also includes an infrared remote that does it all – power and mute, source switching, status light brightness, and bass and treble control. A 5-position control wheel handles volume, track skip/back, and play/pause (though obviously, the wheel is most useful in Bluetooth mode; only the volume control does anything when the source is set to your PC).

remote

Fluance Ai40 – Music and Gaming

Audio gear can sometimes be challenging to set up, but the Ai40 is barely harder to configure than a single Bluetooth speaker. The package comes with eight feet of speaker wire that you thread through the binding posts to connect the two speakers. I had zero trouble connecting the speakers to my iPhone for Bluetooth audio, and after playing with that for a while, I connected the auxiliary input to my PC’s audio output using the included Y-cable.

If you don’t plan to connect your phone to the speakers, you may not even need to mess with the audio cable – just connect the speakers to your PC via Bluetooth. Frankly that’s not the worst idea in the world, since I guarantee you that the three-foot audio cable included in the box is not going to be long enough, especially if your PC is on the left side of your desk. I had to substitute a longer cable to get up and running.

But then there’s the buzz. When I first started using the Ai40 while set to the auxiliary input, I heard a whiny buzz that’s loud enough you might wonder how this product ever got through quality assurance (this doesn’t happen in Bluetooth mode or when the speakers are muted). It fades into the background when audio is playing, but it’s annoying when nothing is playing, especially if you’re close to them, such as if you position them on a computer desk.

I quickly realized that the buzz scales with the speaker’s volume dial, and I had the speakers pretty well cranked. The obvious workaround was to ensure the volume in Windows was relatively high so I could minimize the speaker volume, at which point the buzz all but disappeared. That’s a generally good strategy for ensuring good audio quality anyway, but you shouldn’t have to watch your volume level this closely to avoid getting line noise (or whatever was causing the buzz).

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=This%20might%20sound%20a%20little%20crazy%2C%20but%20I%20didn%E2%80%99t%20miss%20a%20subwoofer%20at%20all”]

Even so, when I started listening to music, I could very nearly forgive Fluance for that glitch, because these are some mighty fine speakers. I ran them through a handful of my favorite songs and no matter what I threw at them, they were a joy to listen to. The acoustic suspension design clearly eliminates the unpleasant boominess you sometimes get from ported speakers, and even a bass-heavy song like Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love sounded tight, with a well-articulated low end that was punchy but controlled. Likewise, Quest for Fire’s The Greatest Hits by God has a wide aural range, from a throbbing kick drum to delicate strings and vocals, and these speakers did the song proud. This might sound a little crazy, but I didn’t miss a subwoofer at all when running these speakers through their paces.

And the lack of subwoofer certainly didn’t impede gameplay, either. Both Call of Duty: Black Ops and Wolfenstein II were a pleasure. Both delivered precise and visceral sound effects including throaty gunfire, a respectable low end rounding out explosions, and clear and distinct dialog. The same could be said for all the games I played, but I was particularly impressed with the way the Ai40 reproduced soundtracks. I fired up an old favorite – Homeworld Remastered – and found the Ai40 elevated the atmospheric background sounds and heavenly choruses.

As I mentioned earlier, the remote control has bass and treble controls, which I experimented with extensively in games and music. Both feature a range of ten positions – five above neutral and five below. I found that games like Wolfenstein and Call of Duty benefitted from pushing the bass close to the max, but more than even a single notch of bass made music a little too boomy for my tastes. Unfortunately, this is where you run into the Ai40’s biggest usability issue: There’s no way to know where you are in that audio EQ space except by cranking the bass or treble all the way up or down (at which point the status light on the right speaker flashes at you), and then counting your clicks back to the middle or wherever you want to be.

Purchasing Guide

Fluance Ai40 powered bookshelf speakers are available for $ 199 on Amazon or direct from Fluance.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Review: ‘Parasite’s’ Surprise Wins Saved an Otherwise Frantic Oscars Ceremony

The 92nd annual Academy Awards quickly lost its own plot amid a million distractions courtesy of ABC’s frenetic, often baffling production decisions. But then, through the sheer pleasure of the groundbreaking winners of “Parasite” breaking through the expected narrative to triumph, the show became something far more beautifully chaotic than the show’s producers could have […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

My Hero Academia: Season 4, Episode 17 Review

This review contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Season 4, episode 17, “Relief for License Trainees,” aka episode 80 overall. To refresh your memory of where we left off, check out our review of MHA Season 4, episode 16.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

“Relief for License Trainees” begins with the explanation of a fascinating concept: the quirk singularity doomsday theory. Seiji Shishikura explains that quirks are mixing more and more as the generations pass, and that each generation is producing stronger and more uncontrollable quirks. Right off the bat, this is a deeply intriguing idea that shows just how invested My Hero Academia is in its own world, with one eye on the future. Horikoshi has created this superhero-filled world and now we have to wonder where their society is heading. Opening the episode with an engaging idea like this is really enthralling.

The rest of the episode’s first half is a little more awkward, however. At the end of Episode 16, our heroes-in-training were faced with the challenge of handling a group of renegade kids with impressive quirks. In Episode 17, this is handled fairly effortlessly with an excessively ham-fisted moral being demonstrated and spelled out for us. It’s a moral worth considering, and one that definitely reflects the necessary rounding out of our young heroes, but it’s also something that has been implied already, and something that feels like it is coming far too loudly and far too late in the series.

There’s also the broader narrative issue that the ringleader of this group of misfit children is far too quickly subdued by a Bakugo who quickly passes on what he has learned. In Episode 16, this scheming child showed some real intrigue, but is very quickly calmed because Bakugo reached out to him earnestly enough to immediately change the boy’s entire perspective. It’s rushed. But, then again, given how the previous episode had such issues with its pacing and tone, perhaps this is a good thing.

The outcome of all of this is still, ultimately, a worthwhile and satisfying one: a softening of both Endeavour and Bakugo; two hot-headed characters learning the value of considering and understanding perspective. In a touching scene between Endeavour and Todoroki, it feels like all of this awkward ham-fisting of the episode’s themes and morals was very much worth it in the end.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/01/03/top-10-most-anticipated-anime-of-2020″]

As for the episode’s second half, it quickly catches us up with the rest of Class 1-A, as well as Eri, with a slideshow of stills narrated by Deku. It’s simple, but serviceable. From there, the focus is on the relationship between Midoriya and Aoyama; a relationship which, as Deku himself points out, has not existed until this point.

Honestly, the way that the episode tells and frames their story is so hilarious and endearing that it almost completely washes away the awkwardness that plagued the episode’s first half. This portion of the episode is so perfectly paced, and written with such care and well-timed comedy, that it boasts the quality and entertainment value of an entire episode.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-best-anime-of-the-decade-2010-2019&captions=true”]

Aoyama has been an intriguing and consistently hilarious character from day one, and it’s great to see him get a little of the spotlight here. Until now, he’s been on par with Mineta as Class 1-A’s comic relief. But while Mineta is completely insufferable and enraging, Aoyama is intensely endearing, and this episode shows us exactly why while also building on his character in a very satisfying way.

It’s also a joy to see Class 1-A return to the swing of studying and bantering together. One of the show’s best aspects is its character interactions; every member of Class 1-A is uniquely crafted as a fully formed character, and when we see them laughing together and butting heads, the show is at its most charming. We get to see that here for the first time in a while, and it paints the sweetest picture as a backdrop for the building of Midoriya and Aoyama’s relationship.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/11/08/my-hero-academias-best-and-worst-quirks-ranked”]
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Briarpatch Series Premiere Review

Warning: Spoilers for the Briarpatch premiere follow…

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Sometimes too stylized for its own good, as if Wes Anderson adapted a John Ridley novel, Briarpatch is a slice of naughty noir that might satiate your mystery cravings this winter (though it’s set in scorching temperatures) if shows like The Sinner or The Outsider are too grim and gruesome for your tastes.

Adapted from a 1984 Ross Thomas novel by podcaster/critic Andy Greenwald, and executive produced by Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail, Briarpatch is awesomely anchored by Rosario Dawson, who plays a D.C. investigator called back to her quirky, quicksand hometown of San Bonifacio, Texas (nicknamed “Saint Disgrace”) after the sudden, and explosive, murder of her sister.

As Allegra “Pick” Dill, Dawson makes for a cool and confident audience surrogate as she’s called back home for the first time in nine years to find out who put a bomb in her cop sister Felicity’s car. The labeling of “anthology series” means that Briarpatch all but promises to wrap things up by the tenth and final episode, but it’s less clear about what the show will be heading into succeeding seasons. Does it keep Dawson’s Dill around for another mystery or is the small town odd-itorium vibe the true star of the series?

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=briarpatch-first-time-in-saint-disgrace-gallery&captions=true”]

All the hallmarks of a fun and fundamental murder mystery are on hand – from a past tragedy very few people talk about to an estranged sibling who kept a ton of secrets to an assortment of colorful-yet-shifty characters at our disposal. There’s Edi Gathegi’s chatty lawyer A.D. Singe, Jay R. Ferguson’s “big man in the mansion” Jake Spivey, and Brian Geraghty as Felicity’s married love interest, to name a few silly members of the citizenry.

Ostensible allies might be enemies, and vice versa. There are even two seemingly separate cases going on here, what with Allegra also being tapped by a senator to investigate a bunch of missing war money. If things click the way they usually do in this BBQ-slathered noir, both threads will connect somehow.

The marquee star of the show however, aside from Dawson, is the ambiance. Briarpatch notably touts Sam Esmail’s involvement because Briarpatch, like Mr. Robot, presents us with off-kilter visuals and audibles. Often times feeling like a graphic novel come to life, it does run the risk of drowning in its own delirium. As this premiere episode moves forward, the tone smoothes out some, but right out of the gate you’re hit with a lot.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=midseason-tv-2020-34-shows-we-cant-wait-to-watch&captions=true”]

Nothing feels quite real and because of that you’re less invested overall. As Allegra enters her town, it’s ferociously hot, random animals are on the loose, and her hotel is somehow incapable of clearing up a room service tray left out in the hall (to get symbolically blanketed in ants over days). It’s like she walked onto the set of a Coen Bros. film and not a grounded, true place.

Fortunately, Dawson’s Dill isn’t phased easily and her tendency to cut through small talk and pleasantries helps us navigate the dreamscape. Her non-reactivity is what makes the craziness around her work because if it’s somehow all normal to her, it can be more readily accepted by us.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

The Flash: Midseason Premiere Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for The Flash: Season 6, Episode 10. If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for the midseason finale and our full review of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

It’s funny to think how little we knew about the future direction of The Flash coming into the second half of Season 6. Crisis on Infinite Earths had been casting a huge shadow over the series, to the point where we didn’t even know if Barry Allen would still be alive come January. And even once it became clear Grant Gustin’s Barry wasn’t the one sacrificing his life to save the multiverse, there was still the question of what conflicts and villains would drive the series post-Crisis. Thanks to “Marathon,” we now have a much clearer sense of how the series will move forward from the crossover. This episode deftly balances the need to reflect the events of Crisis while also building a clear path forward.

Surprisingly, the tone of “Marathon” isn’t as lighthearted as you might expect now that Barry has just been given a second lease on life. Apart from that early CC Jitters scene, this episode is a fairly glum exploration of how the various members of Team Flash are moving forward from Crisis. This does feel like an appropriate choice, however. With multiple heroes having sacrificed everything to save the multiverse, a lighthearted, feel-good midseason premiere would probably ring hollow. This goes back to one of the main strengths of Season 6 – it’s better at tone management and knowing when to be funny and when to let the drama carry the day.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-flash-marathon-photos&captions=true”]

“Marathon” is also notable for featuring Arrow’s David Ramsey in his first guest role since that show wrapped. I’m sure we were all hoping this episode would follow up on Arrow’s big cliffhanger, but the script is very careful to place this episode’s events before the Diggle family’s departure from Star City. Instead, Dig plays a more understated but still important role, helping Barry come to terms with Ollie’s death. I appreciate how this storyline subverts expectations by revealing there’s no actual mystery at all and Ollie’s final gift is truly just that – a gift to commemorate a friendship that helped establish the Arrowverse as we know it today. Plus, it never gets old watching Dig deal with Speed Force-induced motion sickness.

In another surprise, welcome twist, Iris is turning out to be the driving force of the show’s post-Crisis status quo. Her ongoing investigation and partnership with Esperanza has never really been one of the more compelling pieces of the Season 6 equation, but this episode goes a long way toward changing that. While a bit plodding at first, there’s a growing sense of danger and unease as Iris digs deeper into the mystery of McCulloch Technologies and invites both physical and legal disaster. That culminates in a very satisfying stinger scene that makes the identity of the series’ latest big villain abundantly clear.

Along the way, we also get a surprisingly different take on Doctor Light, one that doesn’t seem particularly beholden to any prior comic book incarnation. While it’s a little strange seeing Kimiyo Hoshi depicted as a ruthless assassin when she’s always been the heroic counterpoint to the fiendish Arthur Light, she does make for a fun secondary antagonist in this episode. And with the Arthur Light version having recently appeared in Titans, it stands to reason The Flash may have been limited to using Kimiyo.

The promise of an ongoing Team Flash vs. Mirror Master storyline is extremely appealing. For all that this series has done to refine the Arrowverse formula and showcase speedster villains like Reverse-Flash and Zoom, it’s never really taken advantage of the full scope of Flash’s rogues gallery. Specifically, the Flash Rogues have always felt like an afterthought. Captain Cold and Heat Wave barely spent any time as villains at all before reforming and shifting over to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The rest have been used as minor, forgettable footnotes.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/01/18/crisis-on-infinite-earths-crossover-review”]

Even Mirror Master suffered that fate back in Season 3, with the Sam Scudder version of the character being used as a one-and-done threat to Central City. Mirror Master deserves better, and it seems that he’s finally getting better. The twist being that the classic Evan McCulloch version is being transformed into Eva McCulloch, a billionaire inventor who now exists as some sort of warped, journalist-snatching mirror demon. And as with the previous Bloodwork arc, the hope is that the the condensed nature of this storyline will prevent too much fluff and filler from gumming up the works.

Barry and Dig’s quest aside, the lingering effects of Crisis are most clearly felt in Cisco’s emotional journey. “Marathon” is great about exploring both the humor and the tension that arise in trying to come to terms with a new world built on the ashes of multiple worlds. Having Supergirl and Black Lightning as permanent neighbors is great, but what about all the new and resurrected villains that have appeared alongside them? That’s to say nothing over Cisco’s guilt and regret over taking the metahuman cure. That’s the tricky thing about the old great power and great responsibility mantra. Do superheroes get the luxury of a happy, peaceful retirement? Can they even appreciate that retirement when it comes? These are interesting questions to explore, particularly in light of how Smallville’s Clark Kent was portrayed in Crisis.

Carlos Valdes delivers what is easily the episode’s strongest performance, especially late in the game where his guilt begins to overwhelm him. It’s a welcome reminder that Cisco is far more than just the obligatory snarky tech whiz, but a character who’s grown and evolved and suffered every bit as much as Barry himself over the course of six years.

I do wish “Marathon” gave us a better sense of what Cisco’s Arrowverse future entails. There were rumors last year that Valdes was leaving the series after Season 5’s finale. Clearly that rumor didn’t pan out, but maybe there was a kernel of truth to it? It’s hard to tell if Cisco’s absence is temporary as the series builds toward a new status quo for the character, or if Cisco is being phased out so Valdes can pursue other projects. It would be a shame if Cisco exits the picture just as the series is finally finding its footing again.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=crisis-on-infinite-earths-aftermath-all-the-ways-the-arrowverse-has-changed&captions=true”]

One thing is clear – Nash Wells is now being positioned as Cisco’s temporary replacement on Team Flash. Having a Wells as a more permanent presence on the series is always a nice thing, particularly one who isn’t as aggressively annoying as Season 5’s Sherloque. While this episode highlights the fact that his adventurous swagger is a mask for his loneliness and guilt over his role in Crisis, there are some concerns regarding Nash’s current characterization.

For one thing, it’s a little bizarre seeing him revert to his old Nash persona so soon after his turn as Pariah. I’m not clear on how much time was supposed to have passed between Nash’s disappearance and his return as Pariah, but he definitely had the air of a man haunted by countless years of watching his failure play out in front of him. Neither the writing nor Tom Cavanagh’s performance reflect the full weight of that experience. If anything, Nash seems more bothered by his daughter’s estrangement than his role in the death of the old multiverse.

On that note, do we really need another running subplot about Harrison Wells trying to reconnect with his daughter? It’s a redundant plot twist, and seemingly unnecessary given how much drama this character already has to process. The hope is that Nash can better find his place in the team Flash dynamic in this second half of Season 6, but there are reasons for concern right now.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story’: Film Review

For many the 1990s were the Age of Irony, with hipster cultural touchstones like Spy magazine and the TV show “Strangers With Candy” helping make snark the preferred flavor of the day. “The Simpsons” was also a big player in that area, yet arguably no cartoon series before had been quite so postmodern as “The […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Be Water’: Film Review

Some movie stars level a kind of divinity that transcends personal preference — woe betide the dissenter who openly finds Audrey Hepburn cloying, or Cary Grant less than charming. That Bruce Lee had long ascended to that level of iron-clad cool was underlined by the biggest popular quibble with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

HBO’s The Outsider Series Premiere Review

This is semi-spoilery review for the double episode premiere of HBO’s The Outsider, premiering Sunday, January 12.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Even though True Detective rebounded with its third season (though not enough to be granted re-entry into the zeitgeist), nothing will ever match the thrill of Season 1’s mid-mystery foray into possible supernatural/Lovecraftian elements. Granted, some viewers were let down by the Season 1 finale because it didn’t go full-tilt with Carcosa and the Yellow King and all that, instead playing out in a somewhat pedestrian manner, but there’s no indication that diving headfirst into cosmic Old God waters would have given us a satisfying wrap up either.

The Outsider, based on Stephen King’s 2018 novel, is here to recapture some of that first run True Detective magic with a slow-burn Southern murder case that’s guaranteed to delve into the bats*** beyond. It’s literally going to have a bogeyman in it. It’s a guarantee. Again though, we still don’t know if these genres can successfully blend, but The Outsider’s premiere nicely kicks things off by filling its gills with all the other hallmarks that made True Detective work, like top-notch performances and artistically moody small town staleness.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-outsider-fish-in-a-barrel-gallery&captions=true”]

Jason Bateman produces, stars, and directs the first two episodes, after having just won an Emmy for directing an episode of his Netflix series Ozark, and brings a soulful heft to the story. No, he doesn’t have the visual flair of Cary J. Fukunaga, who was able to make such a huge impression with True Detective, but he’s got the right idea when it comes to presenting a reality capable of cradling a nightmarish tale – one that takes its time folding the “things that go bump” into the proceedings. He’s also spot on when it comes to his own performance and the work from the other leads, presenting an assortment of characters trying to come to grips with a confounding series of events.

Bateman plays a respected teacher and little league coach, Terry Maitland, who’s arrested, quite publicly, for the murder and mutilation of a young boy. It’s such a spectacle, in fact, fueled by local Detective Ralph Anderson’s own haunted past, that there’s no way that, convicted or not, this doesn’t ruin Terry’s life forever and permanently place an unwashable stain on his wife and kids. Ben Mendelsohn’s Anderson gets to wrestle with, and regret, this choice over the course of these first two episodes as conflicting evidence begins to surface. And it’s a great place to anchor these opening chapters, since it gives Anderson a reason to push forward and try to solve a case that can’t be explained with reason or rational thought.

Fingerprints and eyewitnesses (including security footage) seal Terry’s fate as the killer, though the cops adeptly notice that Terry’s actions feel like a man who wants to easily get caught. Terry’s actual alibi, which places him out of town with several witnesses, directly destroys the D.A.’s case and no one can make heads or tails of it. Having not read the book, and bearing in mind that numerous things have likely been tweaked for TV, I can only surmise that we’re dealing with a type of doppelgänger that frames other people for the murders it must commit to feed (probably).

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/12/06/hbos-the-outsider-official-trailer-ben-mendelsohn-jason-bateman”]

Whether this turns out to be the case or not, The Outsider is going to definitely lead us down a ghoulish road, but this double-sized premiere definitely stacks the deck in favor of characterization and the human side of this crucible. Mendelsohn has always been at home with broken, “grey area” characters, so much so that this knack landed him a few blockbuster movie roles as sneering villains, so it’s great to see him play a more straightforward “decent” type – a cop who lost his son now trying to undo some of the damage he was tricked into causing. The case is such a nightmare that the story doesn’t need an anti-hero. It needs an earnest investigator who doesn’t know he’s about to get lost in the shadows.

Cynthia Erivo’s lead character, P.I. Holly Gibney (a recurring King character who also appears in the author’s Mr. Mercedes books), doesn’t find her way into the story during these two episodes, giving Bateman’s “Fish in a Barrel” and “Roanoke” a very purposeful set-up feel. This is the tragic Terry-centric inciting incident that starts Mendelsohn’s Anderson down a paranormal path, towards an endgame that anyone’s guess. At this point, he’s in it to help clear Terry’s name, but it feels very unlikely he’ll ever get to do that publicly given the way this apparent creature operates. So then what is justice on a show like The Outsider? We’ll have to find out. It’s off to a strong start, though.
IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

County lines: Call to review ‘criminal abuse’ of pay-as-you-go phones

The government is urged to consider restrictions on pay-as-you-go phones to prevent drug dealers using them.
BBC News – Technology

SPECIALS DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Bafta film awards 2020: ‘Detailed review’ of voting process after diversity row

The review will hear views “within and outside the membership” about its current voting system.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:


BAFTA to review voting process after diversity backlash

BAFTA is reviewing its voting process after a flood of criticism over the lack of diversity in its nominations.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

ENTERTAINMENT SPECIALS:

AO Tennis 2 Review

2018’s AO Tennis may have been a limp first swing that pinged off the frame and dropped well short of the net, but its second attempt at landing in the service box has been delivered with substantially more power and precision. It’s a better-looking, smoother-playing, and more fully-featured simulation of the sport, one that eradicates the bulk – though not the entirety – of the unforced errors made by its undercooked predecessor. There hasn’t been a transformation this radical in the tennis world since Andre Agassi took off his wig.

Many of these improvements have admittedly come over time; regular post-release patching from developer Big Ant transformed the original AO Tennis from broken mess at launch to a more competent sim some 12 months later, tightening the responsiveness of the controls and adding additional community-focussed features such as a powerful stadium designer. AO Tennis 2 builds upon that restructured foundation, smoothing the on-court experience further with a raft of new player animations and improved ball physics, along with bringing a welcome splash of personality and context to its career mode, a la FIFA’s The Journey.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Underwater’: Film Review

Before technology took over the movies, a cruddy sci-fi action thriller often looked just as bad as it played. No longer. “Underwater,” a deep-sea knockoff of “Alien” set on a corporate research rig seven miles beneath the surface of the ocean, has been made with the kind of lavish atmospheric precision that, 30 years ago, […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Underwater Review

Kristen Stewart has long ago shed the role that made her: the quiet, awkward Bella Thorne in the Twilight franchise. 2019 saw Stewart take on the very fun (but commercial failure) Charlie’s Angels and this year she continues her journey to fully-fledged action star with the uneven but still impressive deep-sea thriller Underwater.

Directed by William Eubank from a script by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad, Underwater follows the crew of a subterranean laboratory located seven miles beneath sea level as they fight for survival in the face of a terrifying threat. So far, so Alien, and honestly Underwater is at its best when it’s wearing its influences on its sleeve. But a lack of convictions — and belief in the audience — often makes the film feel weaker than the excellent and ambitious sci-fi that’s come before.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

His Dark Materials: Season 1 Review

This review contains mild spoilers for His Dark Materials: Season 1, which has now aired in its entirety on HBO in the US and BBC One in the UK.

The BBC and HBO co-production of His Dark Materials got off to a strong start this fall, with an opening hour that set an epic tone and impressive visual standard for what was to follow. But the thematically-bare 2007 adaptation had those things going for it as well; the real question this new adaptation faced was whether the showrunners would finally bring the story to life with the same sense of danger, maturity, and grandiosity provided by Philip Pullman’s prose. In that respect, with some storytelling stumbles and concessions made so the story could thrive on a TV budget, the first season of His Dark Materials is largely a success.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Concert Review: On Holiday From Queen, Adam Lambert Is Still a Killer

Ten years have passed since Adam Lambert received the only standing ovation from Simon Cowell during his entire run judging “American Idol.” Saturday night at the El Rey Theatre, Lambert got what amounted to one long SRO ovation, doing an underplay at the 700-capacity venue as one of just four gigs he did this month […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Ip Man 4: The Finale’: Film Review

Flat-footed storytelling meets fleet-footed choreography and sumptuous production values in the untaxingly fun “Ip Man 4: The Finale,” the last installment of director Wilson Yip and producer-star Donnie Yen’s glossy mythmaking tetralogy about the famous Wing Chun master. The insistent subtitle is there for a reason: everyone, Yen included, thought that “Ip Man 3” would […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘The Hottest August’: Film Review

These days, when someone sets out to make a documentary, they typically have a pretty clear idea of what they’re expecting to find. Not Brett Story, who approaches “The Hottest August” like some kind of anthropologist from the future, interviewing New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds, as if any one of them might hold […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

The Witcher: Season 1, Episode 4 – Review

This review contains full spoilers for The Witcher Season 1, episode 4, titled “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials”. For a refresher, check out our review of episode 3, “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials”.

We’ve reached the halfway mark of Netflix’s The Witcher, and episode 4 marks somewhat of a watershed moment for the show. The ties that bind Geralt and Ciri have finally been revealed, putting at least one of the show’s mysteries (partially) to bed. But the episode also feels as if it slams on the brakes, allowing for time to fill in the cracks of mysteries laid in previous stories. This creates what feels like a chapter designed to iron out creases rather that move the journey forward.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

The Witcher: Season 1, Episode 3 – ‘Betrayer Moon’ Review

This review contains full spoilers for The Witcher Season 1, episode 3, titled “Betrayer Moon”. For a refresher, check out our review of episode 2, “Four Marks”.

From the get-go, The Witcher has been content to focus on its leading characters and their smaller stories, leaving any sense of a grand plot simmering in the background. Episode 3, “Betrayer Moon,” continues that trend, once again opting to delve deeper into Yennefer’s origins and adapt yet another short story for Geralt’s quest-of-the-episode. That means we’ve now had a trio of tales dedicated to plot establishment, rather than development. But while it’s hard not to feel a little impatient about the season’s pace, “Betrayer Moon” does provide a consistent third chapter to Netflix’s fantasy series.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

The Witcher: Season 1, Episode 1 – ‘The End’s Beginning’ Review

This review contains full spoilers for The Witcher Season 1, episode 1, titled “The End’s Beginning”. 

Anyone who has read Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski’s plethora of novels, or played through the gargantuan trilogy of CD Projekt Red video games, will know that the world of The Witcher is a sprawling, knotty landscape. It’s a place of conflicting kingdoms, tragic families, and murky politics. To describe the saga’s plot to a newcomer without getting caught up in its many overlapping strands is a difficult task. Smartly circumnavigating this issue, Netflix’s The Witcher show starts small, and exactly where it needs to: with Geralt.

While the first episode of The Witcher – “The End’s Beginning” – has one eye on the larger picture, it is predominantly a small-scale introduction to Henry Cavill’s slayer of beasts, Geralt of Rivia. Stripping the story back to essentials is a sensible choice, and by the episode’s conclusion we have a pretty solid understanding of who he is, what drives him, and where he stands in the greater narrative. His destiny to meet Ciri helps anchor him in the episode’s ‘B plot’, and it’s clear where the character needs to go both in narrative and personal development.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

The Witcher: Season 1, Episode 1 – ‘The End’s Beginning’ Review

This review contains full spoilers for The Witcher Season 1, episode 1, titled “The End’s Beginning”. 

Anyone who has read Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski’s plethora of novels, or played through the gargantuan trilogy of CD Projekt Red video games, will know that the world of The Witcher is a sprawling, knotty landscape. It’s a place of conflicting kingdoms, tragic families, and murky politics. To describe the saga’s plot to a newcomer without getting caught up in its many overlapping strands is a difficult task. Smartly circumnavigating this issue, Netflix’s The Witcher show starts small, and exactly where it needs to: with Geralt.

While the first episode of The Witcher – “The End’s Beginning” – has one eye on the larger picture, it is predominantly a small-scale introduction to Henry Cavill’s slayer of beasts, Geralt of Rivia. Stripping the story back to essentials is a sensible choice, and by the episode’s conclusion we have a pretty solid understanding of who he is, what drives him, and where he stands in the greater narrative. His destiny to meet Ciri helps anchor him in the episode’s ‘B plot’, and it’s clear where the character needs to go both in narrative and personal development.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘The Witcher’ on Netflix: TV Review

Into the absence left by “Game of Thrones” strides “The Witcher,” perhaps the most credible of several recent attempts to capture its predecessor’s robust claim on audience affections. Like “Thrones,” “The Witcher” is based on an existing series of novels (by Andrzej Sapkowski, whose work has also been adapted into a video-game universe); “The Witcher” […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Cats Review

Ah, 2019, a year of cinematic innovation: The leap forward in motion-capture technology in Alita: Battle Angel. The nature documentary quality of The Lion King’s animation. The de-aging of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino in The Irishman. And, just in time for Christmas, the cat’s finally out of the bag on the nightmare-inducing digital fur technology of director Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Cats, which grants cat-like versions of Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift the freedom to do big dance numbers without the burden of feline prosthetics. Only, with CGI covering their entire bodies, not to mention Hooper’s inexplicable need for green screen environments, all that dancing feels terribly inhuman.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

While we aim to make this review as spoiler-free as possible, we understand that the definition of such and sensitivities vary. We take pains to avoid references to any specific story events, but we do discuss themes and differences between the direction of this movie and previous Star Wars films.

There’s no way to end the Skywalker Saga and make all the fans happy – and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker certainly isn’t going to make all the fans happy. Those who loved The Last Jedi will surely be peeved by the jettisoning of what that divisive eighth installment introduced, while those irked by The Force Awakens’ nostalgia-bait will likely be irritated by Episode IX’s recycling of familiar beats and plentiful fan service. The Rise of Skywalker labors incredibly hard to check all the boxes and fulfill its narrative obligations to the preceding entries, so much so that you can practically hear the gears of the creative machinery groaning under the strain like the Millennium Falcon trying to make the jump to hyperspace. It ultimately makes the film a clunky and convoluted conclusion to this beloved saga, entertaining and endearing as it may be.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: Film Review

In “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” there’s a lightsaber duel that’s pretty fantastic — not because of any unprecedented whirling-action whoa! factor (we have, after all, been through one or two of these my-sword-of-electric-fire-is-mightier-than-your-sword-of-electric-fire duels in our “Star Wars” lifetimes), but because of the emotions it channels. Visually, it’s a splendid fight. Rey (Daisy […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘You’ Season 2 on Netflix: TV Review

In its first season, “You” was more interesting as state-of-the-industry case-study than as television. A semi-satirical stalker drama whose ability to compel coexisted with certain deep flaws, “You” failed to catch on as a Lifetime series and seemed destined for a short life — up until it was, in its second run on Netflix, a […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

My Hero Academia: Season 4, Episode 9 Review

Picking up exactly where Episode 8 left off, Season 4 Episode 9 – “Red Riot” – opens on Amajiki standing over his beaten enemies before walking away and collapsing. This first short scene is a bit of a tonal mix: it’s nice to have a fluid continuity from one episode to the next, to keep the mood and the momentum going. It’s also a little jarring in a very shounen way – having an episode provide a definitive intro is always more satisfying for the audience than just picking up again almost mid-sentence.

After this and one more slow scene – one which awkwardly blends hand-drawn animation with CGI scenery repeated ad nauseum – the episode kicks into gear with a brawl that’s accompanied by a soundtrack of awesome piano/synth fusion. Two minor villains, Rappa and Tengai, go toe-to-toe with Fat Gum and Red Riot in a clash which one of the villains – Tengai – describes as a spear and a shield versus two shields.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Rick and Morty: Season 4, Episode 5 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Rick and Morty: Season 4, Episode 5! If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 4, Episode 4.

After waiting so long for new episodes of Rick and Morty, it may seem like a cruel joke for the series to return for five measly episodes before going on indefinite hiatus again. But as ever, quality trumps quantity, and Season 4 generally hasn’t disappointed in that regard. “Rattlestar Ricklactica” is an excellent Christmas special, a hilarious terminator parody and a great way to cap off the first half of Season 4, all rolled into one snake-flavored whole.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

South Park: Season 23 Finale Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for South Park: Season 23, Episode 10. If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 23, Episode 9

South Park has spent much of Season 23 toying with its usual formula. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been pretending as if last year’s #CancelSouthPark promotion actually got the series booted off the air, replacing traditional South Park with spinoffs like “Tegridy Farms,” “One for the Ladies” and “The Scott Malkinson Show.” The finale tricks viewers into thinking the old status quo has finally been restored by finally bringing back the classic intro sequence and setting up a good, old-fashioned Christmas special. Instead, it quickly becomes clear that we aren’t quite done with Tegridy. And that, as it turns out, is just fine.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Michael Bay’s ‘6 Underground’: Film Review

If “6 Underground” were opening in theaters, you’d want to be sure to get there on time. Within the first six minutes, Michael Bay destroys a plane, a motorcycle, three cars, countless pedestrians, and the dignity of three Italian nuns. I’m fairly certain that Ryan Reynolds — who heads up the film’s off-the-grid vigilante squad, […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

‘Greater Clements’: Theater Review

The American Dream and all of its values have taken quite a beating lately. Director and screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Bruce Springsteen’s recent “Western Stars” album, even Ralph Lauren in the documentary “Very Ralph” show us how this country and all of its totems and merits have gone asunder. No dreams are more crushed, […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Rick and Morty: Season 4, Episode 4 Review

Well, that was sure… something. Between the psychic dragon orgies and the talking cat who never moves his mouth, “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty” easily ranks among the strangest Rick and Morty episodes of all time. And it’s not like there isn’t some pretty stiff competition in that regard. That being said, “strange” doesn’t automatically equal “enjoyable,” as this episode also unfortunately ranks among the show’s bigger misses.

On paper this episode’s premise seems solid enough. It trades the series’ usual sci-fi trappings for something a little more fantasy/sword and sorcery in nature. It’s also the rare episode where Rick is out of his element and Morty has the upper hand. Yet none of the pieces ever really come together to form a coherent story. This episode settles for being weird just for the sake of being weird.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Uber's first safety review contains thousands of sexual assault reports

Uber's first safety review contains thousands of sexual assault reportsOver the last few years Uber — among other ridesharing services — has been accused of failing to respond adequately to reports of sexual assault and other crimes linked to those on its platform. Now the company has released its first safety report (PDF), along with a number of notes about steps it's taking to make things safer for passengers and drivers.

The nearly 6,000 reports of sexual abuse Uber said it has received over 2017 and 2018, or the 19 fatal physical assaults jump out of the pages of the lengthy report. While Uber correctly notes that even these are from just a fraction of a percent of the 2.3 billion trips taken during that period, each one is devastating for those involved.

While the report, commissioned two years ago by current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, also accurately describes the problems as pervasive throughout society, it doesn't extend to an explanation of why methods for reporting and dealing with these issues is something that's happening after billions of trips, instead of before.



Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Vikings: Season 6 Premiere Review

This is a review of the Vikings Season 6 premiere, which featured back-to-back episodes, “New Beginnings” and “The Prophet.” The first 10 episodes of Season 6 start now, with the remaining 10 landing sometime later in 2020. 

As the final season of Vikings kicks off, it’s hard not to look back at the full scope of this series. The fast-travel and time jumps employed by this ambitious saga felt jarring and clunky during its first few seasons, but once they became more firmly established as the show’s blueprint for larger, grander storytelling, and once the show definitively settled into continuing on long after the death of centerpiece Ragnar Lothbrok, it became an exemplary example of epic ensemble work.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Arrow: Season 8, Episode 7 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Arrow: Season 8, Episode 7! If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 8, Episode 6.

“Purgatory” probably shouldn’t work as well as it does. Arrow already made its grand return to Lian Yu once before. The Season 5 finale dragged Ollie and his friends back to the island for a final battle with Adrian Chase. The result was (and still is), Arrow’s single best episode. “Purgatory” doesn’t quite reach that level, but it’s close enough. And in the process, Arrow proves Oliver Queen can still go home again.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Film Review: ‘Away’

An inspirational work of do-it-yourself computer animation that suggests the sky’s-the-limit potential of the medium for anyone with big ideas and a boundless amount of time on his hands (plus access to Maya or an equivalent CG super-tool), “Away” represents more than three years of imagination and labor by 25-year-old Latvian prodigy Gints Zilbalodis, who […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Shropshire baby deaths: ‘This review is our babies’ legacy’

The stories of parents whose babies died or were seriously harmed at a Shropshire hospital trust.
BBC News – Health
HEALTH & WELLNESS UPDATE:

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Incredulous LeBron rips ‘bad call’ during review

During the Lakers’ 114-110 win over the Pelicans, LeBron James expressed his disappointment with a referee’s call that was being reviewed. The call was upheld.
www.espn.com – NBA

Arrow: Season 8, Episode 6 Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Arrow: Season 8, Episode 6! If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 8, Episode 5.

In the interest of not burying the lede, “Reset” is easily the strongest chapter of Arrow” Season 8 since the premiere. It’s no coincidence this episode also happens to be the most similar in terms of tone and plot. “Reset” embraces the larger-than-life mature of the Crisis while also delivering a fond farewell to one of the series’ most important supporting characters.

Much like how Susanna Thompson and John Barrowman stopped by in the premiere, there’s no way the series could take its final bow without bringing Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance back one last time. Quentin was there since day one, and over the course of six seasons he evolved and grew as much as any character. “Reset” encapsulates that growth nicely, highlighting just how much the dynamic between Quentin and Ollie evolved as they went from bitter rivals to close-knit friends and allies. Plus, with as convoluted a history as the Lance sisters have in the Arrowverse, it’s only fitting Quentin gets a quick hop in the superhero resurrection machine.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

IDFA Film Review: ‘I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die’

“I’m worried, Mom,” says preschool-age Jade, as she nuzzles her mother Betty’s leg in a down-at-heel backyard. When pressed as to the source of her worry, the answer is both plain and quite troubling: “I don’t know.” Inchoate anxiety and a wild, fanciful imagination vie for space in a young girl’s psyche in “I Love […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Rick and Morty: Season 4 Premiere Review

Note: this is a spoiler-free review of Rick and Morty Season 4, episode 1, “Edge of ToMorty: Rick Die Rickpeat,” originally published on Nov. 8. Check out our spoiler-filled discussion of the Rick and Morty Season 4 premiere in the video above.

The long Rick and Morty drought is finally over. Not only that, the series has been renewed for an impressive 70 new episodes, with creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon promising more new material on a faster timetable. And fears that the more ambitious schedule might dampen the actual quality of the series should be quickly put to rest after watching the Season 4 premiere. The series still knows how to blend absurdist, nihilistic humor with high-concept sci-fi and a dash of pathos.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Tokyo Film Review: ‘A Beloved Wife’

We’ve all seen couples like Gota and Chika Yanagida — some of us may even be in one. In writer-director Shin Adachi’s “A Beloved Wife,” the Yanagidas bicker constantly, turning their near-constant state of marital conflict into a kind of public performance, sucking friends and strangers alike into the typhoon of their discomfort. Are they […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Danger Close’

By turns viscerally exciting and predictably formulaic — and, quite often, both at once — “Danger Close” is . Working from a sturdily constructed screenplay credited to Stuart Beattie, James Nicholas, Karel Segers, Paul Sullivan and Jack Brislee, director Kriv Stenders (“Red Dog,” “Kill Me Three Times”) does a fine job of ratcheting up suspense […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Need for Speed Heat Review

Still burned by 2017’s Need for Speed Payback, I wasn’t sure Need for Speed Heat was going to be the salve the series needed – but this open-world street racer has some surprising pep to it. Heat is a marked return to form, owing its success to ingredients plucked from a few of the franchise’s most fondly-remembered games. It took more attempts than would’ve been ideal, but developer Ghost has finally built a racer that feels fittingly faithful to the roots of Need for Speed. Heat is hardly revolutionary, but it is fast, fun, and streets ahead of 2017’s properly disappointing Need for Speed Payback.

Heat combines elements of fan-favourites like Underground and the original Most Wanted with some welcome tweaks inspired by its contemporaries. The result is deep vehicle customisation and hectic cop chases, but in a world featuring fewer hazards that’ll bring cars to a dead stop. Like in Forza Horizon, even stone walls crumble and trees splinter if you careen off course. Fewer encounters with momentum-killers helped to keep my pace high and my pulse higher. It’s a back-to-basics approach with some modern modifications, and it works. Best of all, it’s completely purged of the free-to-play style lottery-based performance upgrade system, the ill-conceived obstacles preventing access to body mods, and most of the other horrible dreck that plagued Payback. It’s all been ripped out and sent to the scrapyard.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Film Review: ‘Love is Blind’

Directors Andy Delaney and Monty Whitebloom’s “Love Is Blind” should perhaps be titled “Love Is Arbitrary.” There’s no reasoning to how and why love manifests or dissipates in relationships, in much the same way the film’s character motivations flip and flop as script convenience calls. who struggles to recognize the broken people who populate her […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Last Christmas’

In recent years, the romantic comedy has taken a sabbatical, at least from the big screen (it seems to have adopted temporary legal-resident status on Netflix). Yet it’s clear that one can point to the occasional exception: the puckishly delightful and moving 2017 indie hit “The Big Sick,” or last year’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” which […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Klaus’

Have you ever wondered how it all began, the arrangement by which a jolly old toymaker based somewhere near the North Pole makes the rounds each Christmas to bring presents to all the good little boys and girls? Personally, I remember having plenty of questions for my parents about Santa, but somehow never thought to […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Lady and the Tramp Review

Lady and the Tramp will be available when Disney+ launches Nov. 12.

 

While this live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp never quite convinces you that it was made for any better reason than for the new Disney+ streaming service to cash in on a legacy title, the film itself still manages to be a charming and cute family-friendly time-passer. This is a simple film made for parents to put on for their kids to watch at home. Given that unambitious goal, Lady and the Tramp offers its target audience — as well as dog lovers in general — a pleasing enough diversion.

Although the remake deviates from the original film in a few key ways, it sticks pretty closely to the “nice girl falls for the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks” romance plot of the 1955 animated classic. American Cocker Spaniel Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) lives a pampered, privileged life with her family, Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons) in an upper-middle-class neighborhood while Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux) is a stray mutt who believes humans lack the innate loyalty dogs possess. He’s all about the free and unattached life — until he meets Lady, that is. Over the course of their romantic adventure, Lady will have her eyes opened to the world beyond her safe home and backyard while Tramp will learn that he’s valued and deserving of a home and family. Like a puppy, the film’s plot and themes are all very warm and fuzzy.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Concert Review: Sara Bareilles Heats Up Hollywood Bowl with Moving, Empathetic Anthems

The Hollywood Bowl is in those last moments of the season where the weather is a roulette wheel of possibilities. For Sara Bareilles’ show Saturday, there was a break in the devil winds that made the night feel a little less Santa Anas, and a little more Santa. “If you’re like me and you’re slowly […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

TikTok's parent company reportedly faces a national security review

TikTok's parent company reportedly faces a national security reviewRecently TikTok's popularity has exploded worldwide, and so has scrutiny over the app's parent company ByteDance and its relationship to the Chinese government. Now Reuters reports that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has opened a national security review of the company, because it had not sought approval to make its $ 1 billion acquisition of Musical.ly in 2017.

US lawmakers have expressed concern's over the app's ability to collect data, while the company responded saying "TikTok is committed to being a trusted and responsible corporate citizen in the US, which includes working with Congress and all relevant regulatory agencies." The report notes that Musical.ly founder and now-head-of-TikTok Alex Zhu recently began to report directly to ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming, which could help separate it from the company's other holdings. Meanwhile, ByteDance just announced plans for its first smartphone.



Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Death Stranding Review

After the past three years of cryptic and confusing teaser trailers, the question on everyone’s lips has been, “What exactly is Death Stranding?” Well, now we know, and the answer is… complicated. The first game from famed designer Hideo Kojima since his dramatic departure from publisher Konami and his long-running Metal Gear franchise is a boldly inventive slab of sci-fi, fastidiously crafted to host to some of the most breathtaking sights I’ve ever witnessed in any medium – video game or otherwise. It’s also a cross-country crawl that frequently finds itself mired in an exhausting amount of inventory management, backtracking, one-note mission design, and unprecedentedly arduous travel. It’s evident that Kojima and his team at Kojima Productions have worked extremely hard to build Death Stranding, but it’s also painfully clear that they expect us to match their determination in order to fully enjoy it.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Film Review: ‘Badland’

Writer-director Justin Lee carves another notch on his six-shooter — or at least another credit on his IMDb page — with “Badland,” his third indie Western (after the direct-to-video titles “Any Bullet Will Do” and “A Reckoning”) to be released within the past two years. This time out, Lee is working with a budget that […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: Matthew Barney’s ‘Redoubt’

We might as well call it “Dances With Wolves”: Compared to the nightmarish vision multimedia id-tickler Matthew Barney created his epic, five-film “Cremaster Cycle” (which suggested Hieronymus Bosch by way of Busby Berkeley) and his shocking six-hour followup, “River of Fundament” (which some dubbed pornographic, while inspiring others to go ranting on Reddit), the art-world […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Afterparty Review

I’ve never beaten him in a fiddle contest, but I’m sure glad I got to challenge Lucifer to a drinking competition in Night School Studio’s second adventure game, Afterparty. The Oxenfree developers’ descent into the underworld retains its formula of 2D exploration with near-constant conversation and Telltale-like dialogue choices while introducing a world of neon-soaked demonic alleyways and dive bars that look… well, like most do on Earth. But inside that over-the-top demonic shell is a deeply human, cuttingly honest, and frequently funny story about two best friends making it through one hell of a night.

Afterparty’s tightly knit cast allows for more personal and affecting storytelling than what we saw in Oxenfree. Milo and Lola have, surprisingly, found themselves in Hell. Believing they’ve wrongly ended up surrounded by fire and brimstone for eternity, the duo ventures off to win a trip back to Earth by beating Satan in a drinking game. Should be easy enough, right?

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Film Review: ‘Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound’

Among the pivotal and juicy nuggets of film history recounted in “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound,” Midge Costin’s wonkishly engaging movie-love documentary, there’s one that speaks volumes about the foundation of the New Hollywood. It’s 1967, and George Lucas, who is three years away from making his first film, is on the set […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Google Pixelbook Go review: Function over form

Google Pixelbook Go review: Function over formGoogle has been building its own Chromebooks for a while now — first, there were two iterations of the Chromebook Pixel, and then there was 2017's Pixelbook. All three were great laptops with one glaring flaw: They cost way too much money. We're talking $ 1,000 or more, at a time when most Chromebooks were $ 500 or less. Google is back at it this year with the new Pixelbook Go — but for the first time, the company is no longer aiming for absolute quality regardless of price, just to prove a point.

Instead, Google is trying to build a Chromebook that anyone can use and afford: The Pixelbook Go starts at $ 649, a full $ 350 less than the original Pixelbook. It's still a lot of money for a Chromebook. But there are plenty of other manufacturers building premium Chromebooks in that price range now. The Pixelbook Go certainly can hold its own against just about any other Chromebook out there. But unfortunately, in its quest to get the price down, Google also sacrificed a lot of what made the original Pixelbook so intriguing in the first place. The question is whether those trade-offs are worth it.



Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Film Review: ‘QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight’

In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Here’s When You Can Read Our Death Stranding Review

We can now officially confirm that we are playing Death Stranding and you will be able to read/watch the resulting review at 12AM Pacific time on Friday, November 1. If you’re keeping track, that’s a whole week before the release date of November 8. And that’s… literally everything Sony will allow us to say about it right now. Check back in a couple of weeks and we’ll give you an in-depth opinion of Kojima’s first non-Metal Gear game in forever, all while keeping it as spoiler-free as can reasonably be expected in a review where the whole idea is to tell you what we liked and what we didn’t.

So, to kill the time between now and then, why not flip through this massive list of info we’ve gleaned from all of the pre-release trailers and interviews?

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

TV Review: ‘Living with Yourself’

Paul Rudd is such a naturally ebullient actor that it can be startling to see him ground down. A gifted physical performer who, at 50, looks so youthful that his appearance tends to precede all other attributes when he’s discussed, Rudd also still has the verve and energy of a rising star — a quality […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘The Dead Center’

There’s nothing conceptually all that special about “The Dead Center,” but sometimes it’s all in the execution, and this creepily restrained horror thriller manages to never seem entirely predictable while nonetheless drawing on numerous prior genre influences, from the “[rec]” films to “The Exorcist III.” It’s an impressive leap forward for writer-director Billy Senese, whose […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

New York Film Review: ‘Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn’

Here are a few of the fun facts you learn from “Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn.” Cohn, while wealthy, rarely paid his bills. A $ 1,500 laundry debt, a $ 10,500 tab he owed the 21 Club, a repossessed car — we see Cohn’s handwritten messages instructing his secretary not to pay anything, because […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

New York Film Review: ‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’

The title of the new documentary “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” bounces off the title of the essay that Sacks published in The New York Times on Feb. 19, 2015 (“My Own Life”), days after he’d received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. (He died on Aug. 30, 2015.) It‘s a deceptively plain title. For Sacks, […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

TV Review: ‘Raising Dion’

A detail on “Raising Dion,” Netflix’s new family drama about a boy with remarkable abilities, signals quite how far the streamer’s ambitions for this show might extend. Jason Ritter’s character Pat, a geek immersed in comic book lore and thus the person on this show best able to understand the story he finds himself in, […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Between Two Ferns: The Movie Review

Between Two Ferns: The Movie premieres Friday, September 20 on Netflix.

Between Two Ferns, Zach Galifianakis’ low blood sugar Funny or Die celebrity roast series, is now, for better or worse, a Netflix movie. Lifted up and out of its online comedy sketch bubble, Between Two Ferns: The Movie presents us with a full narrative for the faux show. Specifically, it offers a backstory explaining why an eccentric, obtuse public access TV host would somehow land an avalanche of A-Listers willing to endure five minutes of dry insults.

The loose idea here, for this quasi-improvisational road trip tale directed by Scott Aukerman, is that Will Ferrell is a maniacal coke addict who, for the sake of trillions of “clicks” on Funny or Die, forces his celebrity friends to fly to North Carolina to appear on a small-town show hosted by a rude moron.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

FIFA 20 Review

I’ve had to reassess the way I’ve played FIFA this year, which is something I haven’t had to do in many years through all the tweaks, changes and so called “game-changing mechanics”. FIFA 20 feels different to previous years; in some ways for the better, but in others not. Volta, a brand-new way to play FIFA that offers a breath of fresh air to the series – albeit not without its own faults – is here, but does it come at the expense of the game as a whole?

Last year, many of FIFA 19’s gameplay innovations were based on the attacking game, from timed-finishes to the basics of how the ball could be nudged into space with a flick of the stick. FIFA 20 swings the pendulum back the other way and puts much more emphasis on the other side of the ball. The way you defend has been overhauled and has never felt more crucial. You can no longer heedlessly charge at a defender, hold down the tackle button, and hope for the best. You’re punished for not thinking about defensive play to the same extent you would building an attack, due to the high level of risk-reward when going in for a challenge; time it well and you’ll likely take the ball cleanly and win possession. Misjudge the timing, however, and you’re punished with a foul or left watching as your opponent skips over your trailing leg.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Toronto Film Review: ‘David Foster: Off the Record’

By the early 1970s, as the counterculture was dissolving and reconfiguring, there were new pop-star archetypes on the horizon that we still tend to think of — the glam rocker, the sensitive singer-songwriter, the hair-band metal strutter, the prog-rock wizard, the belting pop chanteuse, the punk rocker. But there was another figure of the era […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Toronto Film Review: ‘The Vast of Night’

It’s the first high school basketball game of the season and all of Cayuga, N.M., population 492, is cheering on the Statesmen at the gym. Except for the town’s two brightest kids, Everett (Jake Horowitz) and Fay (Sierra McCormick), who are strolling through the empty darkness to their respective jobs as a radio DJ and […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Toronto Film Review: Natalie Portman in ‘Lucy in the Sky’

The term “space case” may as well have been invented for Lucy Cola, a fictional astronaut loosely inspired by Lisa Nowak, who famously (if not entirely factually) donned adult diapers and powered her way cross-country to confront a romantic rival at the Orlando airport, where she was arrested for attempted kidnapping and battery. When the […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Venice Film Review: ‘The Mafia Is Not What It Used to Be’

The films of director Franco Maresco (“Belluscone: A Sicilian Story”) are an acquired taste, rarely developed by non-Italian palates, and “The Mafia Is Not What It Used to Be” is a prime example. Playing in the nether regions separating documentary and fiction, Maresco is a humorist who expresses his frustration at Italian politics with absurdism […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Toronto Film Review: ‘The County’

After the death of her dairy farmer husband, a middle-aged woman courageously sacrifices her livelihood to speak out against the corruption and injustice at work in her community in the audience-pleasing, humanist drama “The County.” Like writer-director Grímur Hákonarson’s previous film “Rams,” . The yin to that film’s yang, “The County” is full of feisty […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Telluride Film Review: ‘Billie’

“I want to know why all the girl singers crack up. They crack up!” That’s Tony Bennett, in voiceover, musing aloud about the fate of the subject of “Billie,” an absorbing new documentary about master jazz singer Billie Holiday that had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. Maybe Bennett was also thinking of […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Telluride Film Review: ’63 Up’

Richard Linklater’s recently declared plan to shoot a movie version of “Merrily We Roll Along” over a 20-year period, much like he shot “Boyhood” over 12 years, is being rightly hailed for its chutzpah. But he’s still got nothing on Michael Apted, who has essentially been directing the same movie since 1964, a record for […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Vision Portraits’

There’s a difference between sight and vision, and that line is investigated with illuminating intimacy by “Vision Portraits,” Rodney Evans’ documentary about his struggles — and those of three other artists — to continue working in the face of mounting blindness. Bolstered by the writer-director’s own journey, recounted via a collage-like aesthetic that eloquently conveys […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Album Review: Midland’s ‘Let It Roll’

At the end of 2019, if you tally up all the steel guitar playing that appeared on a mainstream country album released by a major label this year, chances are that at least 80 percent of it will have occurred solely on Midland’s new album. That’s not the only reason to buy “Let It Roll,” […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Bake Off judge Prue Leith joins hospital food improvement review

The celebrity chef will help set new quality standards as part of the government’s review of hospital food.
BBC News – Health
HEALTH & WELLNESS UPDATE:

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Angel Has Fallen Review

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has seen more action in his career as a Secret Service Agent than most superheroes see in a lifetime, but Angel Has Fallen pits the rugged hero against a new threat to the president he is sworn to protect: himself.

In the second sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen, Banning is dealing with a mild addiction to painkillers stemming from a series of concussions he’s suffered on the job throughout his career, keeping his physical struggles a secret from his wife Leah (Piper Perabo, taking over for Radha Mitchell) and his superiors, President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and Secret Service Director David Gentry (Lance Reddick).

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Fleabag review: Guilt, sexual liberalism and laughs all the way

When Phoebe Waller-Bridge first performed Fleabag in 2013, one critic wrote: “I doubt if this material will spin off into a long-running radio or television series.” 
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

ENTERTAINMENT SPECIALS:

Film Review: ‘Angel Has Fallen’

“Angel Has Fallen” marks the third time that Gerard Butler, as the Secret Service agent and scowling samurai cowboy Mike Banning, has had to rescue the President of the United States from an international conspiracy so cuckoo bananas that the movie barely expects you to believe it. (Actually, in the six years since this series […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: Marlon Wayans in ‘Sextuplets’ on Netflix

Once the funniest and most ubiquitous family in Hollywood, the Wayans siblings — Damon, Keenen Ivory, Kim, Shawn and so on — have largely faded from the scene in recent years, leaving youngest brother Marlon (now nearing 50) to carry the mantle. Audiences may not be showing up for sendups like “Scary Movie” and “Dance […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Low Low’

Four teen girls teeter on the precipice of uncertain futures in Nick Richey’s debut feature, “Low Low,” as the budding auteur’s realistic style nicely complements the precise performances, giving each actor an empathetic path into her character’s psyche. While the narrative occasionally falters, the visceral way in which the writer-director captures his subjects’ triumphs and […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Ready or Not’

When it comes to the romantically inclined, if you count yourself among those who interpret a matrimonial “I do” to mean “happily ever after,” maybe “Ready or Not” isn’t the late-summer date movie for you. On the other hand, for “Crazy Rich Asians” haters and other love-is-dead cynics, this deranged and darkly comedic thriller — […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Playmobil: The Movie’

Tucked in the closing credits of “Playmobil: The Movie” is a dedication to Horst Brandstätter, the German entrepreneur whose company began production of the now-iconic Playmobil toys in the 1970s — acknowledging a vast popular legacy for the dinky figurines that now extends to a whole animated feature. It’s a nice touch, if a tellingly […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Mystery of the Night’

Prolific Filipino helmer Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.’s latest big-screen endeavor “Mystery of the Night” is a supernatural folktale so beautifully atmospheric that one can almost overlook its escalating problems — for a while, at least. But this saga of an allegorical rape of Mother Nature by Western civilization, avenged by her forest she-creatures, eventually grows […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Outfest Film Review: ‘Changing the Game’

Perhaps you will recall last year’s headlines about Mack Beggs, a then-18-year-old high school athlete from around Dallas. In case you need to refresh your memory: Mack is a practically undefeated transgender wrestler who won the girls’ title in the state of Texas even though he wanted to contest in the boys division as per […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Concert Review: Hugh Jackman Sparkles and Shines at the Hollywood Bowl

Hugh Jackman is out to prove he truly is the greatest showman. On Friday and Saturday night, Jackman’s “The Man. The Music. The Show.” world tour stopped in Los Angeles for a sold-out two nights at the Hollywood Bowl. Ten years ago, Jackman hosted the 2009 Oscars just a few blocks south of the venue at […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Big Little Lies Season 2 Finale Review

This review contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Big Little Lies, titled “I Want to Know.”

At the end of Season 1 of Big Little Lies, Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård), husband to Celeste (Nicole Kidman) fell to his death, pushed by Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz). But the story wasn’t as simple as all that: he was abusive to Celeste, behavior that trickled down to their sons. He also raped Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), who went on to raise his subsequent son, Ziggy. Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Renata (Laura Dern) were also there, for comedic and dramatic effect, and the series was scattered with a lot of scenic drives as a visual shorthand for contemplation.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Harley Quinn Series Premiere: “Pilot” Review

Note: this is a spoiler-free advance review of the series premiere of Harley Quinn, which screened at Comic-Con tonight. The series will debut on the DC Universe app in October.

DC Universe may not come close to rivaling Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in terms of the sheer amount of exclusive content, but there is quite a lot to be said for the “quality over quantity” approach. So far DCU’s selection ranges from solid (Titans) to excellent (Young Justice: Outsiders) to literally one of the best shows of 2019 (Doom Patrol). Harley Quinn keeps the hot streak going. It’s a far more slapstick and raunchy alternative to the rest of DC’s animated line, but one that also gets Harley in a way not every adaptation does.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Batman: Hush Movie Review

Batman: Hush screened at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. The movie will be released in Digital HD format on July 20 and Blu-ray and DVD on August 6.

Batman: Hush is widely regarded as one of the finest comic book storylines in the Dark Knight’s 80-year history. It even made our Top 25 countdown. It’s surprising it’s taken DC this long to give Hush the animated movie treatment, especially considering how many of these direct-to-video projects have centered on the Batman family. But DC has finally corrected that omission with its 35th entry in the DC Universe Movies. Better yet, this adaptation actually improves upon some of the flaws of the source material, even if it makes its own mistakes in the process.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Film Review: ‘A Faithful Man’

French actor Louis Garrel has been married twice, first to Iranian talent Golshifteh Farahani, and now to model-cum-actress Laetitia Casta. He has also directed two features, the first a free-wheeling love-triangle comedy called “Two Friends” in which Garrel plays the cad who comes between his best friend and the object of his obsession (played by […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell’

“Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: Trey Anastasio in ‘Between Me and My Mind’

Trey Anastasio doesn’t look like a rock star. With his thick rimless glasses and flop of sandy red hair, you might say he resembles John Sebastian, but really, he looks like a mashup of Mike White and Jon Cryer and the filmmaker Chris Smith. He’s an appealingly ordinary shaggy-geek dude, like some guy you might […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Stranger Things: Season 3 Spoiler Free Premiere Review

This is a spoiler-free review for the Stranger Things Season 3 premiere, titled “Suzie, Do You Copy?” All 8 episodes will be available to binge on Netflix on Thursday, July 4, 2019. If you need a refresher, be sure to check out our Stranger Things Season 2 Ending Explained

It’s been an agonizing year and a half since we were last in the imaginative world of Stranger Things, and a lot has changed for both the characters and the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. For one thing, the kids are older, and with that particular change comes a level of maturity, which gives the Season 3 premiere – titled “Suzie, Do You Copy?” – a darker tone and a more complex narrative that’s refreshing to watch. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer wisely focus their creative attention on how the passage of time has affected our favorite characters, relegating the Upside Down stuff to the fringes… For now.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

TV Review: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3

The debut of “Stranger Things” in 2016 marked the first real, huge streaming TV phenomenon. Other Netflix shows had made an impression before: “House of Cards” in 2013 and “Orange Is the New Black” shortly thereafter proved that streaming was coming for cable’s gig, hard. But it was the nostalgia grabs and exhilarating monster chases […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Film Review: ‘Burn Your Maps’

“Burn Your Maps” is one of those movies that’s glib and facile and threadbare all the way through, then the ending sort of gets to you (you’d have to be made of pretty stern stuff if it didn’t), so you think back over what you’ve seen — and it’s still a crock. The writer-director, Jordan Roberts, seems […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Nintendo Direct E3 2019 Review

Nintendo has long been known as a master of the unexpected, and every direct has included one surprise or another. I feel like Nintendo outdid themselves this time, though — both for better and worse. Animal Crossing getting delayed into next year was a gut punch I thought I’d never recover from, but once I was dazzled by Banjo-Kazooie’s fakeout reveal for Smash Bros., and the bombshell of a Breath of the Wild sequel, I was floored.

Nintendo has stuck with a recent trend of teasing expectations with a bunch of quick looks and trailers to get you interested, while luring you into watching deeper dives into select games shown on their Treehouse livestream right after the direct. The result is either awesome or a bit frustrating, depending on your schedule. With the big spread on Pokemon Sword and Shield covered last week, the direct was free to focus on many more titles than we could have possibly expected, and we even got a nice (and funny) introduction to the new President of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Film Review: ‘Head Count’

While most horror movies settle for the usual slasher thrills, recent indie breakouts like “It Follows” and “Hereditary” have reminded that there are few things more pleasurably creepy than outré psychological horror in a credibly ordinary setting. Elle Callahan’s directorial debut feature “Head Count” is another intriguing mindbender in which 10 collegiate types find themselves […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Cannes Film Review: ‘Homeward’

Visually striking, but narratively undernourished, the father-and-son-bonding drama “Homeward” unfolds against the backdrop of a fraught road trip from Kyiv to Russia-annexed Crimea and marks a flawed debut from young Ukrainian helmer-writer Nariman Aliev, a Crimean Tatar. Indeed, the plight of Crimean Tatars (both historically and currently) forms an important element of the plot. While […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Tribeca Film Review: ‘Blow the Man Down’

There’s a certain tingle that sets in when you realize that a thriller is naturalistic enough not to rely on thriller tricks. It means that you may be denied some of the knee-jerk pleasures audiences have come to expect — the jump scares and violent climaxes. The tradeoff is that it’s a lot easier to […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Album Review: Sara Bareilles’ ‘Amidst the Chaos’

“She used to be mine” — that’s how a lot of Sara Bareilles fans probably felt, losing her to the legit stage, at least as a recording and touring artist, for the better part of five years. With “Amidst the Chaos,” her first album of non-“Waitress” songs since 2013, she’s back, but not exactly as […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Fitbit Versa Lite review: A smartwatch for the budget-conscious

Fitbit Versa Lite review: A smartwatch for the budget-consciousThe Fitbit Versa Lite is a capable, low-cost smartwatch that's worth checking out.



Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Film Review: ‘Finding Steve McQueen’

“Finding Steve McQueen” is a ramshackle indie heist drama that has a little bit (but not much) to do with Steve McQueen. The film’s central figure, a green-behind-the-ears thief named Harry Barber (Travis Fimmel), idolizes the squinty star of “Bullitt,” for all the reasons one might have back in 1972, when most of the movie […]

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Fashion Review: The United Nation of Gucci, and Liberation by Dior

From the theater to the dance, the Paris shows opened with a pair of different manifestos on the language of style.
NYT > Fashion & Style

SPECIAL ONLINE DEALS!

Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.

�De viva voz!: An Intermediate Conversation and Grammar Review Course (Student Edition + Listening Comprehension Audio CD)

�De viva voz!: An Intermediate Conversation and Grammar Review Course (Student Edition + Listening Comprehension Audio CD)


�De viva voz! is an exciting new Spanish conversation text that focuses on the development of oral communication while providing a review of key grammatical structures in a very approachable and “non-threatening” manner. Intermediate students have generally had the equivalent of a first-year overview of the language and in many cases are in transition to third-year culture/literature courses. They have a lot of information “in their heads,” but they often still have the need for conversational practice that actively uses structures and vocabulary they have already studied. Through creative exercises, brief summaries of grammar, and a carefully sequenced chapter structure, �De viva voz! helps instructors realize their principal goal in a conversation course: to see their students engaged in conversation in Spanish and improving their level of oral proficiency on a daily basis.
List Price: 135.94
Price:

Review: Beoplay A1

Review: Beoplay A1

The Danish company Bang & Olufsen has released a new Bluetooth speaker, the Beoplay A1, which comes pre-accessorized with a quaint little leather strap. The post Review: Beoplay A1 appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: Jenny Diski’s ‘In Gratitude,’ an Uphill Life on and Off Cancer Road

The essayist and novelist, who died last week at 68, has written a different kind of cancer memoir, and an almost entirely platitude-free one.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

Review: Libratone Zipp

Review: Libratone Zipp

Libratone’s newest speaker does both AirPlay and Bluetooth, and lets you link multiple speakers together. The post Review: Libratone Zipp appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Books of The Times: Review: Richard Russo Returns Upstate in ‘Everybody’s Fool’

Mr. Russo’s delightful sequel to “Nobody’s Fool” features the further adventures of Sully and other familiar residents of North Bath, N.Y.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

Review: Roku Streaming Stick (2016)

Review: Roku Streaming Stick (2016)

The new Roku Streaming Stick is basically a $ 100 Roku 3 box for $ 50. How can you lose? The post Review: Roku Streaming Stick (2016) appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Books of The Times: Review: Julian Barnes’s ‘The Noise of Time,’ the Inner Shostakovich

Mr. Barnes’s newest novel imagines the internal emotional battle of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich after Stalin turned against him.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

Review: Apple MacBook

Review: Apple MacBook

It might not be the laptop the world is ready for, but it’s the laptop the world needs. And you can get it in pink now. The post Review: Apple MacBook appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: T-Fal OptiGrill Plus

Review: T-Fal OptiGrill Plus

This countertop grill uses food type and thickness to steer you toward the doneness you desire. The post Review: T-Fal OptiGrill Plus appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: Apple iPhone SE

Review: Apple iPhone SE

It’s not the size of the phone in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the phone. The post Review: Apple iPhone SE appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

12 Monkeys: Season 2 Premiere Review

Note: Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

12 Monkeys is back, and yes, it’s as trippy and twisty as ever. Am I crazy to even try to parse out meaning in the opening, when the narrator (Madeleine Stowe!) says “This is A story about how the world ends” instead of “This is THE story about how the world ends”? Three words in to Season 2, and I’m already overthinking. Actually, I loved the simplicity of the recap: 12 Monkeys as a children’s bedtime story, focusing not on the questions about the Red Forest and the whys and hows of time travel and who did what when, but on the emotional core of the series. Cole and Cassie, and how she awakened his humanity.

“The Year of the Monkey” picks up pretty much where we left off last year. After sending a wounded Cassie to Dr. Jones in 2043, he’s somehow altered history by saving Ramse instead of leaving him to die. At least, according to the Witness, who told Olivia and the rest of the Army that Ramse is supposed to have died already. But could it be possible that The Witness lied about that for… time reasons? Whatever the case is, we still don’t know what, if any, impact Ramse’s still being alive has had on the timeline, but Olivia is so over it. Ramse’s “cycle is over” and she wants him dead. Getting spoilers from the Witness makes it hard to watch life unfold in real time, I guess.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Review: 12 Ways the 9.7-inch iPad Pro Is Different

Review: 12 Ways the 9.7-inch iPad Pro Is Different

Considering upgrading to a new iPad Pro so you can use it as your only computer and kiss your laptop goodbye? Here’s what you really need to know. The post Review: 12 Ways the 9.7-inch iPad Pro Is Different appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: Breville PolyScience Control Freak

Review: Breville PolyScience Control Freak

This is a badass (and expensive!) induction burner that will change the way you approach hot food preparation. Seriously, it’s excellent. The post Review: Breville PolyScience Control Freak appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: Audeze Sine

Review: Audeze Sine

These new on-ear headphones are something we’ve never seen before: A compact, affordable, and handsome headphone with planar magnetic drivers. The post Review: Audeze Sine appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Better Call Saul: Season 2 Finale Review

Full spoilers for Better Call Saul: Season 2 continue below.

F–k. Chuck.

Of all the despicable characters in Vince Gilligan’s Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad universe, Chuck McGill has got to be the worst. Move over, Skyler haters. Marie was never this bad. The lengths that Chuck will go to in order to destroy his brother get more calculating and hateful with each season, and now he’s truly out for blood.

As Better Call Saul has evolved and figured out what it’s going to be about, it’s the Jimmy vs. Chuck story that’s proven to be its heart. Their pattern is always the same. Jimmy, for all that he’s a crook and scummy lawyer, is all earnestness when it comes to trying to win his brother’s affection. For Chuck, that’s never going to happen, and he’s developed an insurmountable wall separating himself from his brother that will never be broken down.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Review: FujiFilm X70

Review: FujiFilm X70

Amazing image quality coupled with a small and lightweight design make the X70 an excellent travel and street-photography camera. The post Review: FujiFilm X70 appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Supergirl: Season Finale Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the Supergirl: Season 1 finale follow.

While last week’s Supergirl wasn’t the strongest, it did set up a good cliffhanger for tonight’s finale. Unfortunately, the first 10 minutes of “Better Angels” wrapped up the Myriad storyline with little more than a “Well, that’s that!” Apparently, snapping National City out of its zombie daze was as simple as offering a few words of encouragement. Not only did this abruptly end the anticipated skirmish between Alex and Supergirl, but it gave the creators a thinly veiled excuse to trudge out a mini-clip show of everyone remembering their favorite moments with Kara.

In the end, Myriad really was pretty pointless, and it didn’t help that Non was so easily convinced to throw his idea of saving Earth out the window and chose to kill everyone instead. As well as that being a silly idea in itself, this only solidified how weak Non is as a character and how unclear his motives truly are. I mean, did he really care about saving Earth or not? Because basically destroying it would have been the exact opposite of what Astra wanted, which… wasn’t that the whole point of Myriad, to finish Astra’s plan?

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Books of The Times: Review: ‘Black Hole Blues’ Recounts the Quest to Find the Cosmic Kazoo

The astrophysicist Janna Levin investigates the politics and personal dynamics of the physicists involved in the journey to detect gravitational waves.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

Review: A Dizzying and Dense ‘Portrait’ From Nora Chipaumire

Her dance-theater work, “Portrait of Myself as My Father,” had its premiere as part of Peak Performances at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
NYT > Arts

SPECIAL TRAVEL DISCOUNTS:
Orbitz Worldwide Inc

Review: Samsung’s Notebook 9 is the MacBook Pro alternative you’re looking for

Apple’s MacBook Pro is the best 15-inch laptop you can buy. It’s well-built, attractive, and packs a ton of power. It’s also heavy and, at $ 2,000, really expensive.

Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Tribeca Film Review: ‘Elvis & Nixon’

The King of Rock and Roll requests an audience with the President of the United States in “Elvis & Nixon,” and the resulting interaction could hardly be weirder.

Variety

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Books of The Times: Review: David Means’s ‘Hystopia,’ Not Your Average War Novel

David Means’s first novel is not just a meditation on war but also a portrait of a troubled America in the late 1960s and early ’70s.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

Art Review: Atop the Met, a Haunting House

Cornelia Parker’s installation in the Metropolitan Museum of Art roof garden evokes the spooky mansion in “Psycho,” as well as an earlier America.
NYT > Arts

SPECIAL TRAVEL DISCOUNTS:
Orbitz Worldwide Inc

The Expanse: “CQB” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

 

“CQB” rounds out the mystery of who or what destroyed the Canterbury and introduces a new mystery group that seems to want everyone to believe that Mars was behind it. Most of the episode takes place on the Martian warship Donnager and events pick up right where they left off last week with Jim Holden on the bridge.

I have to say the design work on the Martian ship is exceptionally well done. The bridge layout is sparse and functional. It’s a rather small bridge when you consider the size of the ship and there are no exterior windows but when you consider it they really don’t need a large size or windows since all of their navigation and weapons are done on computer terminals. There is one large curved display that they are using that I wouldn’t mind having for my entertainment setup.

Continue reading…

IGN All

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

GameStop, Inc.

Review: Moore ‘invades’ Europe to teach us all some lessons

This image provided by Dog Eat Dog Films shows director Michael Moore in a scene from his documentary, "Where to Invade Next." The movie opens in U.S. theaters on Feb. 12, 2016. (Dog Eat Dog Films via AP)Of course Michael Moore exaggerates. Of course he engages in cheerful, unabashed cherry-picking. Of course he sees black and white where most of us see shades of gray.



Entertainment News Headlines — Yahoo! News

DISCOUNT DEAL UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: Mi In-Ear Headphones

Review: Mi In-Ear Headphones

This November, Xiaomi released a new set of Mi in-ear headphones.

The post Review: Mi In-Ear Headphones appeared first on WIRED.

WIRED » Reviews

SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Review: 5 ‘Smart’ Baby Gadgets That Claim to Make You a Better Parent

The author and his test baby (Photo: JR Raphael).

Yahoo Tech

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Inside The New York Times Book Review Podcast: The Year in Poetry

Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles discuss the year in poetry, and George Saunders talks about children’s books.



NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!