Final Mockingjay Trailer is Kick-Ass

…You burn with us

THIS is the Katniss I wanted to see. When The Hunger Games became the next big YA thing, I wasn’t exactly on board. I wasn’t the target demographic and Twilight left a horrible, glitter saturated taste in my mouth. But I one hurricane, and a heavily delayed flight later, i’d read the first book and was quite smitten. The first movie was good, albeit, a little undercooked and left out some of the sci-fi elements that intrigued me. The second movie, also solid, but did a lot of build-up to a fight we never see. All the cool stuff happens off screen for the most part. Mockingjay Part 1 on the other hand looks like it’s going full tilt. And I and all about it.

Watching Katniss finally grasp her role in the overthrow of the Capital is exciting. Hearing her scream “If we burn….you burn with us.” made me a believer. Oh, and Natalie Dormer is in this picture. Give me a side braid, and a bow; I’m on board for this one.

Extended Avengers: Age of Ultron Footage

EW1321-1322-Ultron_612x380With the leaked early release of the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer last week, Marvel’s plan to pair it with the October 28th episode of Agents of SHIELD was put on ice. But Marvel being pretty good at what the do had a back up plan. Tonight they unviled an extended version of the trailer, showing the team having some fun with Thor’s hammer…Phrasing.

In the short scene we see, Stark, Black Widow, Captain America, War Machine, Hawkeye, Maria Hill, and Thor all enjoying some down time, when the party is busted up by an early stage Ultron. It then goes into the creepy “No Strings” trailer that we all watched last week. So not too much more, but it was another excuse to watch the footage, and on the heels of Marvel’s MASSIVE Phase 3 announcements today, it only further whet our appetites for their particular brand of super hero goodness.

What do you think of the footage, good, meh, or it’s not Black Panther….There’s gonna be a Black Panther movie!!!!

Sons of Anarchy: “The Separation of Crows” Review

Jax had his fingers in too many pies

Continuing with the trend of bad plans blowing up in his face, “The Separation of Crows” just added fuel to the raging inferno that is SAMCRO. The walls are closing in and more people are starting see cracks in his veneer. We also got more examples of the criminal mastermind spinning his wheels a lot slower than he should be, but hey, this show alternates between genius activity and pants wetting stupid within the same episodes. I can’t really start complaining now.

Sons of Anarchy - Episode 7.08 - The Separation of Crows - Promotional PhotosLet us not forget though, Jax’s string of stupidity is mostly Gemma’s fault. Far be it from me to place full blame on her, quite the contrary in fact. They both get to share in whatever comeuppance they get later. My beef is that Gemma has manipulated  everyone around her, and in the process, gotten her clearly grieving son to start a war with pretty much every foe they’ve ever had. And a few friends. “How could I not see this coming” Jax asked himself, and I’m pretty sure the collective TV audience screamed “we all did”. Of course we have the added benefit of watching other characters at work, but he had to know one of his plans were going to come back and bite the club. Again. This isn’t the first blow back SAMCRO has gotten. It wasn’t long ago that the house of ill-repute was lit up like a Christmas tree by the Chinese. Now Marks has had his way with some of Bobby’s internal organs (the eye counts as one right?). So Jax should have totally seen this coming, and now, because of him, Bobby will never see anything coming again. Depth perception and all that.

Jax has had the club fighting a losing battle from at least two fronts, and now, after Jury tried to tell Jax that while he wanted him all sorts of dead, he didn’t rat him out, Jax killed him.  Which means there’s still very much a leak in the SAMCRO dam AND he will have to answer to other clubs. He’s lost it, and his biggest problem, aside from taking Gemma at face value, was constantly thinking he was smarter than his adversaries. He’s been wrong at every turn.

Bobby isn’t the only one taking loses for Jax, Juice is in prison, which can’t end well, and his kids aren’t exactly safe. And not just from outside forces. Although, that message was creepy as hell. “No son is safe”. Able tried to cash in his Money in the Bank lunchbox on some poor kids head at school, and made Gemma sit through the indignity of having Courtney Love tell her that her grandson is mentally unstable. Oh, and they killed his mama bird. “Heard you brained a kid at school, i’ll be right back…again”. Jax is so full of fail this season.

chibbsSo with three other plans crumbling, watching Unser put two and two together about why Juice is locked away means a few things; he will uncover why Juice is doing all this, thus finding out Gemma killed Tara OR, he will get close and get got. Killed, for the uninitiated. Unser’s weakness has always been getting too close, and not being able to keep his mouth shut about it. Between him, and Nero’s five days to retirement speeches, these dude’s are on seriously borrowed time.

This episode was odd in that while it moved things forward, it still felt like a slog in a lot of ways. I blame that on the extra run-time, and stand by my past statements that every episode doesn’t have to be an hour and twenty minutes. At times we were just getting long shots of people staring out at nothing. Not a bad device, as I think cable TV can get away with silent contemplation in a way network can’t, but it shouldn’t feel like padding. Especially during a shows final season. “The Separation of Crows” saw the further crumbling of not only Jax, but the world around him. Bobby lost his fingers, Gemma lost her birds, and Jax’s once pristine white sneakers dripped with the blood of his allies by the end. I don’t think Carmelo Anthony would approve of such things. Either way, the club is paying for his sins, and judging by his talks with Chibs, I don’t know how much longer they will continue to do so.

Score: B

Album Review: Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

Focused aggression. That is the most succinct way to describe Run The Jewels 2. The follow up to the critically successful, 2013 album by hip-hop duo, Run The Jewels. Dropped in the middle of the night on their own site, for free, RTJ2 hits harder than most other hip-hop albums out today. What really sets it apart from its contemporaries is the diliberate nature of it all. Every line, every beat, down to the sequencing is a clinic in artful efficiency. As if the artists behind it (Killer Mike and El-P), who are both pushing 40, knew not to waste any effort. Run The Jewels 2 has a ferocity and technical craft that begs to be repeated, and will test even the best sound systems low end.

Continue reading Album Review: Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

Gotham: “Spirit of the Goat” Review

Ba-aaa-aad Reputaions

**Spoilers Below**

This was the week that Gotham finally did that thing I wanted. That thing that could potentially make this show a “must see” section of TV each week. In “Spirit of the Goat”, Gotham focused primarily on one crime story, with limited characters and allowed the narrative to breathe. We got to peer back into the past and see a different side of Bullock as well as follow one case from beginning to end. I’m still not the biggest fan of the “villain of the week” approach, but i’ve also sank hours days into Law & Order: SVU marathons, so I can’t throw too many stones here. With that said, they still have to iron out some of the forced character developments. Stop winking at us damnit, now it just looks like something’s wrong with your eye.

gotham106railroadbridge8365hires2jpg-d63e6bWe got a nice story with Bullock this week, but we also got to spend more time with Edward “Soon to be The Riddle” Nygma. Man, for as great as Robin Lord Taylor is as Penguin, Cory Michael Smith is the opposite as Nygma. To be fair, it’s doesn’t seem to be his performance but more what they have him doing. A cocky know-it-all at some turns, and an awkward, socially inept, spaz in others. His interactions with his crush “Kristen Kringle” resulted in the puzzle obsessed crime scene investigator missing some obvious cues. Which would be fine if it were handled with a little more subtlety, but right now, much like some of the nods to the future of the Gotham universe, it’s shoved in our faces with the delicacy of a toddler smashing round pegs into square holes. “Look, he has a question mark on his cup, and like to play riddles while looking at dead bodies. See”.

Back to Bullock, the flashback to the original Spirit of the Goat killer was cool. Seeing a slightly younger, still optimistic Bullock taking chances on solving dangerous cases before backup could arrive. He once cared, if not for the city, for its citizens. It’s hard to tell if the way that case concluded was the catalyst for the Bullock we have now, what with his partner being permanently injured and not really arresting the killer, but it may have been a huge factor. Either way, he was able to take the return of the killer personally for several reasons and dive right in. A solo job at that since Gordon was dealing with troubles of his own.

Since MCU was still investigating him for the Cobblepot murder, Gordon was busy making sure his fiancee wouldn’t be caught in the fallout. This whole story was good, but lacked any real teeth since we all know Cobblepot is alive, well and back in Gotham. So it was only a matter of time before they figured that out, effectively ending any tension as far as the cops are concerned. Now, the mob. That’s a different story. As exhibited by Bullock’s awesome reaction, he’d rather go down for murder than admit that he didn’t kill someone like the mob wanted him to. Only in Gotham.

gotham106morgue8506hires2jpg-894e12The misdirection with the doctors and patients were good, if only a little silly, but as Gotham nails its tone  on a more consistent basis, the bad silly will subside and things will just fit. I’m glad they are establishing that people are already taking some form of justice into their own hands in order to clean up the city. Dr. Marks’ logic and execution were all wrong, but it sets a stage. Irony of ironies, that she blamed the rich for the downfall of Gotham and it’s the richest inhabitant that will truly be its savior later.

“Spirit of the Goat” was a more focused story, that saw what Gotham could do if it didn’t try to spin all of its plates at once. I left this episode truly intrigued as to how Cobblepot just popping up (he loves to do that) at the police station will play out. And once the writers figure out how to really craft a case for the guys to solve, it’ll be great to watch them unfold through real detective work instead of happenstance. I do wish we got more of a straight up Halloween episode, but hey, they can only do so much at once. Let them get those right first.

Score: C+

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Leaks Ahead of Schedule

EW1321-1322-Ultron_612x380Well, that didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after Marvel tweeted that the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer would debut during the October 28th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a few picture leaked of the trailer online. The two photos showed a head shot of Ultron and what appeared to be Iron man in the famed Hulkbuster armor. Well, the internet being the internet, it looks like the full trailer has leaked for all to see. I’m not gonna waste too much time, but I will say this much; THIS LOOKS DOPE!

From the teaser, it appears that the team is doing more in-fighting this time around, with Ultron probably taking advantage of the separation. This does not look like a bright and happy go round for the team, and there are a few dire moments shown here…Caps shield.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release in April of 2015, and will see Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver team up with the rest of the Avengers to take on the sentient A.I., Ultron, voice by James Spader. Oh, that voice. I can’t wait

**UPDATE** After initially removing it from the interwebz, Marvel has officially released in on their own YouTube Account. Enjoy!!

Sons of Anarchy: “Greensleeves” Review

Always keep an eye out for trouble*

 

bobbyWhen we left off last week, there was a legitimate question as to how Jax and SAMCRO were going to handle the Juice situation. After being on the outs with the club for so long, he was finally in their clutches. Not only that, but he was holding on to some valuable information. Once again, the tension was quickly dissipated, when we saw SAMCRO give back Juice’s cut at the sight of JT’s death. Juice apologized and rode off, only to be followed by some members of the club. Turns out “Greensleeves” was crafting a layered story here.

Jax was actually using Juice as a pawn to kill Lin, and possibly earn his way back into SAMCRO. In an odd win/win situation for Jax; Juice succeeds and kills Lin or fails, and prison does him in. Either way, someone Jax doesn’t like is dead. Although, it may have just made more sense to have an Ariyan kill Lin on the inside since he has a little sway with them.

Sons of Anarchy has never been heralded for its subtlety, and “Greensleeves” was no exception (obvious by having a damn character named Greensleeves and having a montage based around the song). They’ve been “hinting” that all of the violence is finally taking its toll on poor, little Abel, and now he’s being sent home from school for fighting other students. He was described as being distant and withdrawn. I get that there are very realistic ramifications for a child living in this environment for so long, but it’s like Sutter in Co. don’t know how to deal in levels that aren’t homicidal maniac. Maybe they want to draw more connections to the cycle of violence that created Jax himself, who is now more Clay than he was JT at the outset. Keeping in mind this show started out as a morality tale, and a “good man” growing from rotten soil. But just going off the last couple seasons, Jax has been responsible for more death and heartache than Clay, and most of it wasn’t necessarily his fault. So to go full circle, he may have cursed his boy to be a rotten seed, and that seed now knows that his Grandmother offed his mom. Geesh Gemma, stop yammering on. Now that weird kid may off you….

Watching Gemma freak out as if Jax was going to have her killed was oddly fun. She knew that the club had Juice, but no idea what they knew. And the club’s general fear of Gemma kept them all trying to play stoneface, or in Happy’s case, normal. Yet for all of her concern, and undue stress to others, it was just his need for a mother’s touch to help with some deals and double-crosses. Ya know, typical SAMCRO stuff.

Screen-Shot-2014-10-15-at-8.33.20-PMAlso typical was having one characters actions gravely affect someone else. Gemma got people freaked out, so poor Bobby ended up making a drive alone where he should have had backup. So he was cornered, crashed, beaten and tortured by some of Marks’ men. Which also means yet another one of Jax’s plans completely blew up in his face. Probably due to his penchant for making things way more difficult than they need to be. Marks had his group deliver Bobby’s eye to the club in a box (What’s in the boooooox?) along with a tablet, which had video of the torture. Marks learned a lot from Pope, and sadistic behavior was definitely a lesson he took to heart.

Given the reactions of everyone involved, especially Chibs, the next episode is sure to be volatile. It’s too bad they spoiled some of the drama with the “next week on” segment(which I caught by accident), so we know the fate of a few key players. So while this episode had some strong moments, and I didn’t even touch on Nero’s escape plans, which put him right in “6 days to retirement” mode. “Greensleeves” pulled off a feat I would have thought impossible; it squeezed in too much AND got key moments right. It was uneven but fun. Well, not for Bobby.

 

Score: B