Monthly Archives: March 2016

Preacher Review

preacher

(This review is based on a pre-air screening of the Preacher pilot at Wondercon. The AMC series will premiere on May 22nd 2016)

When’s the last time you saw a truly great pilot? They’re notoriously difficult to create. The writer is typically tasked with clearly defining the entire cast, setting up the show’s premise, and giving the audience an idea of what to expect on a week-to-week basis. On this last count, the pilot of AMC’s new series Preacher fails. Without reading the comic series on which it is based, it is nearly impossible to know what the show is really even about, let alone where it will be years down the road.

But the truth is, after seeing the pilot, I don’t give a good goddamn where it plans to go. Preacher’s first episode is hilarious,  breathlessly paced, and far more concerned with character than plot or premise. The narrative has barely begun by the episode’s end, yet the pilot never gets dull for even a moment.

So what’s it about? An invisible force from outer space is possessing preachers and Continue reading Preacher Review

SOMA Review

soma

It’s rare that a game comes along with a narrative hook as strong as SOMA’s. The story takes on the digitization of the human mind, and through the progression of the game and story, multiple complex quandaries about the nature of human identity are brought to light. Are we defined by our minds or our bodies? If an exact replica of our mind is duplicated in a new host, is it just as “real” as the original? Since all of the cells in our body are continually replaced over a seven year time period, does that mean that we’re essentially a completely different person than we were seven years ago?

It’s a great basis for science fiction (one that I’ve wanted to write about for some time now), and too-often ignored in favor of more well-tread ground. To see such heady subjects in a video game at all is rare, but for the game to focus itself so intently on its narrative is even more commendable. Despite its weaknesses elsewhere, SOMA stays afloat due to its excellent writing and thought-provoking moral dilemmas.

Continue reading SOMA Review

Is Piracy Why We Can’t Have Nice Things?

downloadingisstealingcampaign-642-380Last week,  Hannibal producer Martha De Laurentis lamented in a blog post about how piracy led to her show’s cancellation. In her write-up, she specifically remarks on how “nearly one-third of the audience for ‘Hannibal’ is coming from pirated sites – despite the fact that a legitimate download for each episode was available the following day.” Reading the statement at face value, this appears to be a major issue that needs fixing. It seems absurd that the 5th most pirated show on the internet would receive ratings so low that it warrants cancellation.

And before I begin debunking this argument, let’s be clear: piracy DOES often affect a film or television show’s bottom line. Given that the arts are still usually funded by corporations and studios which create entertainment to turn a profit, we need to be aware that we’re essentially voting for our favorite media with our wallets. If you love something and you’re downloading it with no intention of ever paying for a legitimate version, then you are working against your best interest.

Continue reading Is Piracy Why We Can’t Have Nice Things?

Jay And Ross Talk Shit Episode 44: Kids, Minimum Wage, and Lack of Diversity in Hollywood

Thanks for listening to this week’s Jay and Ross Talk Shit! What starts as a relatively free-form discussion reaches out into all sorts of unexpected directions, with asides about Harry Potter, living with children, our horrible election, the Supreme Court nomination, the Oscars, and why Hollywood casting is so damn racist. Feel free to jump around with the timecodes below!

0:00 – Intro: Not Doing Things Is Great
1:55 – Wizarding World of Harry Potter
5:45 – Kids
12:40 – The Dumpster Fire Election
—15:32-17:21 – Fiscal Conservatism and the American Dream
—20:27-22:05 – The Importance of a Livable Minimum Wage
22:13 – Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination Merrick Garland
23:01 – Would You Move If Trump Becomes President?
28:47 – The Oscars
43:38 – Chris Rock’s Monologue and the Cause of Racism in Hollywood

The Good and Bad of 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Marketing Campaign

10-cloverfield-lane

(Unlike my 10 Cloverfield Lane review that posted earlier this week, this article WILL discuss spoiler and plot points. If you have not seen 10 Cloverfield Lane yet and have any interest in seeing it, I would recommend clicking away now.)

10 Cloverfield Lane had one of the best teaser trailers in recent memory. It told you all you needed to know about the film: it takes place in a bunker, there are rising tensions and occasional conflicts among the characters, and there is something dangerous outside. Then, there was the kicker: a title card with the word “CLOVERFIELD,” before fully revealing the title as “10 CLOVERFIELD LANE.”

It’s that last part that is causing trouble for part of the movie’s audience. 10 Cloverfield Lane has a B- on Cinemascore right now, which usually reflects how accurately marketed a movie is. Reddit is swarmed with people who are disappointed with the film and its marketing, and even on AV Club’s spoiler section, where comments are usually solid, several commenters are expressing their thankfulness for having a place where they could easily spoil the movie, confirm their suspicions, and avoid seeing it altogether.

Continue reading The Good and Bad of 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Marketing Campaign