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  1. shrewd.buddha

    Captain Marvel (2019)

    We saw it - and liked it ... but I cannot say that it left a lasting impression or had a significant 'wow' factor. (That could just be Marvel super hero overload.) The biggest 'wow' seemed to be Fury and Coulson's 20 years younger look. Is that where all the SFX money went? Because Guardians of the Galaxy was on TV last night and the amount of FX eye candy in that made Captain Marvel look as it it was actually filmed during the 90's. The lighting, set design and staging in this movie seemed very bare bones. It was not clear, to me, as to whether Carol Danvers ever got her memories back. We saw the young girl showing Carol pictures of her life and then a reenactment of the jet crash - but there did not seem to be a moment where Danvers appeared to wake up out of her personality fog. I wondered why she did not seem fascinated with Earth and why things did not seem weirdly familiar to her. Almost all comic book characters have a supporting cast of family, friends and loved ones, but Carol seemed to have only two. No one seemed especially sad when she left at the end (with people she had just met) and there was no talk of her returning - even tho the majority of her life had been on Earth. The stuff at the end felt more like Dragon Ball Z or a Pokemon anime movie. Captain Marvel (not sure how that would be something people would call her) is so powerful it is hard to imagine her having a challenge or struggle that did not involve reducing her power. It is same issue with trying to make Superman relatable and interesting as a character.
  2. shrewd.buddha


    There is a new trope in town: Without notification, a smug jerk shows up in the middle of a case and announces that they have been sent from "headquarters" to quarterback the team. A leadership pissing contest ensues, causing both parties to look petty and childish - because the days of professional decorum are over. This episode was difficult to watch with all the anvils falling and being repeatedly bludgeoned with ham-fisted current issues. If there were a bot that could consume trending topics with the accompanying cliches and sound bites - amplify them while also dumbing them down - and then crap out a script - this episode would be the result. And it would be written in ALL CAPS. You know toxic masculinity guy would have lawyer'd up in a second - but the show needed him to spout as much OMG, sexist rhetoric as possible. During the interrogations, the sneering smiles of moral superiority from Maggie and OA was not a good look for them. Almost every scene in this episode was over-the-top-and wannbe triggering. Dana doing an armchair profiling session while Maggie described the apartment was cringe inducing. Both FBI lead lady and smug jerk from headquarters got a few punches in with correct predictions, but it was obvious who was going to win overall. In the end there were two potential bomb targets but *only* Maggie and OA are available to be sent to one in time. Seriously? The FBI would let a bomb go off before even considering contacting the local police department?
  3. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    Episode 10: The team's plan to just jump at Vanya from different directions seemed ... dumb. So, Apocalypse #2 was different than the first: Number 5 was present, the siblings did not die at the school. Not sure if the moon destruction was different, but those waves of fireballs would not have left behind any nicely posed corpses like Apocalypse # 1. I guess it is easier to accept that a chunk of the moon would fall directly down like an apple from a tree than get bothered with things like astronomy and physics. Will the series always be centered around stopping the apocalypse? I would like to have some sympathy for Vanya, but when she killed Leonard and Pogo, it was pretty deliberate and gruesome - and she had those murderous, dead-inside eyes of a psycho killer. (Leonard/Harold had a crappy childhood, too. Just saying..) Overall, the entire premise of Umbrella Academy felt small. It seemed as if the characters' lives - and the apocalypse - were limited to one city. And the cause of the world-wide apocalypse was just a member of the family. If Number 5 had bothered to compare notes with Pogo the chimp and robo-Mom, they could have saved a lot of time.
  4. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    Episode 9: Where we learn that Reginald Hargreeves actually caused the apocalypse by trying to prevent the apocalypse: Step 1: Hargreeves commits suicide to bring his children together, hopefully to work together again. Step 2: While back home, Klaus takes the opportunity to steal valuables and discards R. Hargreeves secret journal. Step 3: Leonard/Harold, who has been stalking, dumpster dives to find the journal and learns about Vanya's powers. Step 4: While grooming Vanya to destroy the Umbrella Academy, Vanya is triggered into becoming a murderous world-killer. It is a bit of stretch that all the Harold and Vanya interaction happened in a week's time: The violin lesson, hooking up, falling in love, First Chair Violinist goes missing, Vanya auditions for the position, gets it, a trip to the country cabin, posters and newspaper ads are created with Vanya's picture for a concert that is happening in one or two days. This is not the type of show that rewards paying close attention to details.
  5. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    Episode 6: This was the episode that made me realize that this show is not really for me. But we will finish this season out, just for the sake of completion. Being critical of UA feels a bit like holding an anime show to some higher standard of expectations. I see now that this is the type of show where the characters have no lives - they have nothing to do during their days except go to where the plot needs them. Only Vanya has a job and semi-daily routine. The Luther and Allyson dance was surreal and entertaining, even if unnecessary. If you are going to pad out a season beyond its natural story length, these type of dance scenes are the way to do it. The way not do it is continuing to go back to Hazel and Cha-Cha and trying to create more story for them. It appears that robo-Mom being alive again is not as significant as was her being dead (really only broken, but the kids didn't seem to understand the difference). Pongo, the chimp mentor, appears to only show up when plot needs him to talk to one of the characters. No one is going to clean up that chandelier or any other mess in the house. Klaus comes back from 1968 one day after he left (convenient) - with a new tattoo and PTSD - but with the exact same facial hair, etc. He apparently spent the 10 months clubbing, killing, and kissing and never considered trying to contact his father who would have been alive at the time. The actual nail in the coffin for me was #5 and the Time Institute. Yes, it was wacky, tacky and wonderfully stylized (no digital tech for us). But we are introduced to the big Reset Button. And once you have established the Reset Button, time travel, and changeable time lines, you take away the feeling of events ever being significant or lasting. As with shows like the Magicians and 12 Monkeys, any or all of the characters can be killed to create an emotional scene - and then *poof*, they are back again. Rinse, Repeat. I do not begrudge anyone who enjoys that type of merry-go-round ... I just don't think I am interested in coming back for more.
  6. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    Just finished Episode 4. Things are starting to get very comic-book clunky: Why would Diego let the others think the Masked Killers were responsible for robo-Mom's death? Is robo-Mom really dead -- or just broken? Was Daddy Hargreeves the only one who could fix things? Are they all just going to let robo-Mom sit there? Police Detective Lady rejects Diego vigilante methods. But then tries to get Diego for backup before going into a dangerous situation? She doesn't call for any police backup? She leaves a phone message with some random guy, then waits for Diego to get back to the gym to get the message and then travel to the hotel? (no cell phones or computers). The primary urgency seems to be that the world is ending in 8 days (now, six days?). But it appears that only #5 is working on that problem. Everyone else is paring up for heart-to-heart chats about their crappy childhoods. The unnecessary secrets and "I don't want to talk about it" reactions are just lazy ways of making forced plots to work.
  7. shrewd.buddha

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

    Upon trying to re-watch TLJ on Netflix, this is what re-ignited my disappointment and annoyance: The First Order can track the Rebel ship (ships?) anywhere, despite hyperspace jumps. Why can't the larger FO fleet (or ship) overtake the smaller Rebel ship? If a hyperspace jump would be too far ahead, why not jump somewhere else entirely, then back to a point within firing range? (See # 1 if you think they will lose them.) The Rebels have 7 or so ships, but never attempt to consolidate personnel to different ships, based on available fuel, never attempt jumping a few ships in different directions to see if any can escape being followed. The two fleets are in a life-or-death pursuit ... yet side trips are taking place from both fleets (Finn&Rose to CasinoLand and back, Rey back from JediLand and onto the FO ship). The Rebel fleet has some arbitrary <18 hour fuel limit (seriously?) - - yet Rey, in JediLand, is in a completely different time frame, unaware of their dire circumstances. Rey begins face-timing with Kylo - which appears to occur over the course of a couple of days. And don't forget that Kylo is face-timing with Rey while he and his team are actively trying to obliterate the ship of General Lea, his mother. Rey decides to leave JediLand in an attempt to confront and covert Kylo (Why then? Rey does not appear to know that Kylo is actively shooting arcing laser beams at his mom's ship.) Did Kylo give Rey his location? They only tracker Rey has is the one Lea gave her to find the Rebels (and Finn took). Upon arriving, how does Rey and Chewbacca not see the slow moving space chase? Why does Rey not contact the Rebel fleet to find out what is happening and how to help? Does Chewbacca just hover nearby while Rebel ships are destroyed? The Resistance is effectively obliterated - down to 1 ship (M. Falcon) and around 20 people. (Yet people are smiling.) Could you imagine the American Revolution or French Revolution surviving if they had been whittled down to 20 people, a few horses and two wagons? In short: Forget all the character and political baggage, if this were a brand new, generic sci-fi-fantasy movie, I would have considered it mediocre based solely on its own illogical premise and inconsistent logic.
  8. shrewd.buddha


    This show appears to be going in an odd direction. Maggie had never obsessed about that phone video until this episode. And why did OA not suggest having the video analyzed to identify the suspect? ... since the FBI tech wizards (literally, wizards) manage to solve most of the cases with little more than a reflected image from a rear-view mirror and a discarded gum wrapper. The only reason the cases take so long is that everyone has to wait for Maggie and OA to personally drive to every location to confront suspects and interview witnesses. It was no surprise that the hired killer guy would die before talking. What was surprising was Maggie's "how could you?" attitude regarding hired killers not taking more of a personal interest in the lives of their targets. Is she new? Unfortunately, the show has settled into a mostly regular pattern of tropes and cliches. I find myself more curious about what the other 10+ FBI agents are doing during the bullpen exposition sessions at headquarters. Do you think some of them are just checking their social media while pretending to pay attention?
  9. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    After the first two episodes: The photography and set designs were impressive. It is not often that a series uses so much well known pop music. The story? ...not nearly as impressive. Most of the situations seemed odd for the sake of being odd. The momentum and interest was the result of being thrown into situations and trying to figure the who's, why's, and how's. Jumping between four or more story lines seemed like an easy way to keep things moving without much explanation. The super powers premise seems to be an immediate point of either being on-board or not. But Netflix action-hero shows have a tendency to do more telling than showing, so one starts to wonder if the main action will be in the first and last episodes. After two episodes, I could take it or leave it. It is an semi-interesting curiosity that I am not expecting to make a lot of sense - especially with time travel being a central element of the story. It feels like a series that could go on and on and on - with repeated scenes of two characters talking in well decorated rooms, broken up by the occasional flashback, flash forward, and a few moments of action/violence. The gist of the show is starting to feel like a 12 Monkeys rehash. It is difficult to get invested in characters whose main purpose is to be weird: Is there any point of the children wearing masks? Children wearing easily identifiable school uniforms, who are the adopted children of a famous billionaire and who have been celebrities since birth? This society took no issue with masked adolescent children stopping a bank robbery with violent killing? Number 5 is trying to save the world - - but he is not giving anyone any information and not recruiting any help. Yet we have plenty of time for talking about personal/childhood issues. None of the characters show any interest in investigating what caused their 1-day births or the other 36 children born on the same day? Maybe that type of development is being saved for season eight .. or one-hundred and eight..
  10. shrewd.buddha

    S02.E07: Deflectors

    Per usual... I now brace myself before every episode for heavy-handed ideas without much thought behind them. At first I was somewhat sympathetic to Locar's heavy-handed situation - - until he told Talla that it would be "on her conscience" to not allow him to fake his death and frame Klyden for murder. WtF?! And he refused to accept her offer of asylum on the Orville ... because..? So, Locar has the 'courage' to pursue his urges but does not have the guts to attempt living outside his mean-spirited and hypocritical society? Okay. How are all these people continually able to get into other people's personal quarters? (Sometimes showing up at their bed in the middle of the night)
  11. shrewd.buddha


    We were on board for weekly viewing when this show first started. But it has gotten progressively predictable and pedestrian as time has passed. This episode - dealing with a guy who robs banks with his young female hostages - just felt ho-hum. Maggie and OA were their typical selves and the few FBI agents who get to talk at the headquarters provided the typical info dump exposition. I know it is a limited cast, but I am already exhausted by Maggie (and OA) doing everything while also being the almost always correct moral compass for every situation.
  12. shrewd.buddha

    S02.E01: Brother

    For some reason, the entire season 2 premiere episode is available, without ads, on YouTube. Which I took as a somewhat desperate move on the part of CBS All Access. (We binge watched season 1 with a one month subscription. Season 1 was not satisfying enough to make me want to pay to see weekly episodes of season 2. ) General thoughts: Just when you thought STD could not exploit the popularity of Spock any farther... they do. Young Spock is emo and has a trendy millennial beard. Spock is mentioned constantly, talked about in interviews with the cast, featured prominently in advertising. Now the question is: how long can they tease viewers with his appearance without the character actually appearing? Just when you thought Michael Burnham could not have more childhood flashbacks... she does. I am just not that interested in a series that should be called Star Trek: Michael Burnham. The snot scene: What does it say about the characters when no one, not even the person who sneezed, apologizes? What does it say about Michael Burnham's character that this is one of the few things that makes her laugh? It seems to show that the writers do not understand the appeal of Spock that they are trying to transfer to Burnham. Too many contrived situations: The stranded ship has been there for 10 months - but now the plot requires they have only hours to save the survivors - and it must come down to the last minute. Michael Burnham is the center of everything: extended flashback scenes, figuring out how to get to the asteroid, saving Pike, rigging up power on the broken ship, the only one left behind to run thru falling debris. Why even bring Pike and the RedShirt crew person? As with season 1, they are overselling Burnham. "That's the power of math, people!": what does that even mean, really? It seems like something someone would shout at a elementary school science fair. The writers of STD do not seem interested in actual NASA-type science, but more magical science fiction, such as the 'spore drive' - which only works when the plot needs it to work. STD is entertaining ... to a point. It looks good. But like the first season, I fear most things are going to end up as an unsatisfying mess. (The spore drive mess, the Lorca mess, the Ash/Voq mess, the all-powerful but somehow secret emperor of the Mirror Universe mess, the L'Rell "I have a bomb" mess, etc.) But having said all that, I will most likely - again - subscribe for a month and binge season 2, once it has finished. My level of interest is such that I do not even mind being spoiled from reading the posts here beforehand.
  13. shrewd.buddha

    I Am the Night

    This has been advertised non-stop, so I watched last night - and was surprised to find out it was the second episode. I am not sure that the slow burn aspect will keep me coming back. TNT seems to agree because of all the teaser scenes they are showing. An example of the frustrating slowness: Pine's character begs for a story, sneaks into the morgue for photos, gets caught, beat up, but manages to keep a role of film. But all of that went nowhere in this episode - in fact, if left to his own devices, he would never have done anything with the photos. It is weird that Chris Pine's character has the same personality as his James Kirk in the Star Trek movies?: hard drinking, hung-up on the past, sort of a loser, his face always looking as if he just walked away from a fight, then stumbles onto something big. The mom appeared to transform overnight from doting mother to non-stop alcoholic verbal abuser - - who apparently never planned to tell her daughter the reasons for her resentment. I would like to say I appreciated the acting, but the abusive, drunken, it-should-have-been-me mother type feels like it has been overdone lately. I will have to consider if this left me wanting more or not. The episode felt as if it faded off, not ending at any particularly interesting point. And, again, the previews did not appear to be for 'next week' - - it seemed to be 'scenes from sometime during the series'.
  14. shrewd.buddha

    S02.E05: All the World Is Birthday Cake

    Why is the crew excited about going down to the planet? Do they not remember how badly things went the every time before? Why would Bortus, born on different planet in a different solar system, be marking his birthday on a calendar system from Earth? Surely his planet would not also have anniversaries every 365.4 days. Why is the Orville crew not freaked out that every planet they find has perfect gravity with human-type beings who speak English? (A universal translator would not explain why their lips were forming English words.) Why would a leader on Reger 2 think he could make prisoners of people with advanced technology, with a starship with advanced weapons in orbit above his planet and part of an entire union of planets? It was not as if the crew had gone undercover and did not want be exposed as aliens. Commander Ted Danson said it had been a month and they were not even sure they were alive. Come on. Ed and Gordon infiltrated a hostile Krill ship, but now no one can figure out how to sneak Kelly and Bortus off the planet? The camp guards were bad, but they were not shown to be killing people. But Kelly and Bortus sure did. Why they were released after that was completely ignored. Of all the scientists and robots on the Orville, why would the new security officer be the one to figure out that a star had disappeared? This list could go on for pages, but there is really no point, because the writers are not interested in consistency or logic. If Orville was better written as a comedy, most of these things could be hand-waved as being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous. But the Orville is not doing a good job of being a comedy - and it is not doing a good job of being a drama or action show.
  15. shrewd.buddha


    This show seems to be getting worse with each episode. What happened? This was the one where the Alt Right guy was killed by a Molotov cocktail fire bomb at a college campus. The WtFs: 1) Maggie and OA, with their big "FBI" vests, walk around campus, interview people, walk up to an active protest. THEN, Maggie goes "undercover" in the same area. Seriously? 2) The FBI would allow a civilian family member to assist trained agents on an undercover case? We jokingly noted that the government shutdown must be affecting the NY FBI branch, since they appear to have only around five people doing any work and need family members to help.