Throwback Thursday: ‘First Blood’ book (1972) and movie (1982) explore the physical and psychological brutality of war in different ways (Reviews)

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ith “Rambo: Last Blood” – Sylvester Stallone’s supposedly last (haha) go-around with the famous Vietnam veteran — hitting theaters this week, I’m taking a look back at the stories that started it all: David Morrell’s 1972 novel “First Blood,” and the movie adaptation that came a decade later:

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PKD flashback: All 23 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 3’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

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ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

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‘Veronica Mars’ becomes a great character piece, pumps up the threat level in Season 4 (TV review)

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eronica Mars” Season 4 (July, Hulu) had me so deeply invested in the people more so than the mystery – and it’s still a top-shelf mystery – that I wondered “Has it always been this way?” It’s been a few years since my last rewatch of the UPN/CW seasons, and while the father-daughter relationship between Keith (Enrico Colantoni) and Veronica (Kristen Bell) has always been central to the series, I had a sense that other players were chess pieces more so than characters, and that the mystery always reigns supreme.

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Fall TV 2019: After watching the trailers, I’m bananas for some of these shows, not so much for others (Commentary)

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 watched the trailers of some notable fall TV premieres so you don’t have to (but they are embedded here if you want to). Here are my thoughts on each, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

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Superhero Saturday: ‘Hellboy’ (2004) is an artistic feast from del Toro and his team (Movie review)

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irector/co-writer Guillermo del Toro and his team wonderfully bring Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy” comic book to the big screen in a 2004 film that has such top-shelf production design that it almost overshadows the story and characters. But not quite; Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is a likably gruff hero whose relationships with his adoptive father (John Hurt as Dr. Broom) and the woman he loves (Selma Blair as Liz) shine through.

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Throwback Thursday: ‘True Detective’ Season 1 (2014) stands as the decade’s elite example of the short-form detective series (TV review)

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ven in a decade that has seen many elite examples of the short-form detective series – from “Fargo” to “Sharp Objects,” from “The Killing” to “I Am the Night” – “True Detective” Season 1 (2014, HBO) takes the cake. And eats it, too. After all, as Detective Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) would say, “What else are you gonna do with cake except eat it?”

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PKD flashback: All 27 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 2’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

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ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 27 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 2’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

Netflix MCU goes out on a competent but familiar note with ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3’s treatise on the costs of doing evil and good (TV review)

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he Netflix NYC neighborhood of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended too soon with “Jessica Jones” Season 3 (June), but I have to admit these series were starting to tread familiar ground. When watching these 13 episodes, I sensed that I was still watching prestige TV, yet I also understood where things were going long before they reached the finish line, thus enhancing the stereotype that Netflix MCU shows are slow-moving.

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Throwback Thursday: Crowe’s ‘Singles’ is a sweet and light time capsule of 1992 (Movie review)

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ilmmakers generally don’t aim to create a time capsule when they make a contemporary film, but some turn out that way. A case in point is writer-director Cameron Crowe’s “Singles” (1992), the title of which has three meanings: 1) It explores what it’s like to be a single person in a time when it’s becoming less of a societal stigma, and dating is becoming scarier due to knowledge of STDs; 2) It’s set in an apartment complex of single-occupancy units, a notion that also worked for TV’s “Melrose Place” that year; and 3) It’s about music singles – particularly songs by Seattle bands at a time when hair metal is giving way to grunge, and lyrics are becoming more infused with meaning.

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‘Booksmart’ has everything except laughs as high school graduates party like it’s 2019 (Movie review)

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ooksmart” has a lot going for it. It’s the centerpiece high school comedy of 2019, and it represents modern times well despite fitting firmly into the genre. But perhaps we use the word “comedy” too automatically in stories about high school graduation and teenage romance, because “Booksmart” isn’t all that funny. Really, this film is about best friends – Amy (Kaitlyn Dever, who resembles Robin Tunney at that age) and Molly (Jonah Hill’s sister Beanie Feldstein) – and that part is fine. But director Olivia Wilde’s debut never connects on a big or gut-busting moment. It’s too low-key and casual, regardless of what genre label we put on it.

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