‘Angel & Faith’ flashback: Season 9, Issues 21-25 (2013) (Comic book reviews)

“Angel & Faith” Season 9 comes to an epic conclusion that’s not quite as great as the end of “Buffy” Season 9, but still pretty darn good, especially with the way it charts a new course for Giles. In the end, the best thing about Season 9 in the Buffyverse is that it was split into two monthly titles, rather than one 40-issue run.

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Mamet Monday: ‘Things Change’ (1988) is an understated rendition of what could’ve been a wild and fun Mamet plot (Movie review)

In our Mamet Monday series, we’re looking at the catalog of filmmaker David Mamet.

With his directorial follow-up to his noteworthy debut “House of Games,” David Mamet takes a step back with “Things Change” (1988). It does have twists that made me sit up and take notice in the final moments. But it’s short on memorable Mamet-speak, and it doesn’t illustrate the contrast between sweet-natured shoe-shiner Gino (Don Ameche) and low-on-the-totem-pole gangster Jerry (Joe Mantegna) as crisply as I would’ve liked.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘Wicked Willow III: Broken Sunrise’ (2004) (Book review)

I thought the alternate-reality “Wicked Willow” trilogy was starting to get good with its second book, “Shattered Twilight,” but it comes crashing down again with “Broken Sunrise” (September 2004). In my reviews, I’ve somewhat facetiously said author Yvonne Navarro is exploring what would happen if Willow was evil for a longer time period, and unfortunately, that – and Willow being even more evil, but for no apparent reason – is what it comes down to.

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Throwback Thursday: Before she was Captain Marvel, Brie Larson grabbed attention in the much smaller-scale ‘Room’ (2015) (Movie review)

In our Throwback Thursday series, we’re looking back at movies, TV shows, books or comics that are more than a year old and don’t fit with our regular “flashback” features. Maybe we missed it when it was new, or we want to revisit an old favorite. Basically, we’re reviewing old stuff because we feel like it.

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Peter Farrelly’s ‘Green Book’ a sweet story of friendship against backdrop of mid-century American racism (Movie review)

Writer-director Peter Farrelly smooths out the excesses of his filmmaking traits for the surprisingly mainstream and easy-to-like “Green Book” (2018), now back in theaters and also available for home viewing. It’s not as funny as his best films like “Dumb and Dumber” and not as high-concept as the likes of “Stuck on You” and “Shallow Hal.” It’s possibly a crass grab at mainstream and critical acceptance, but it’s hard to quibble with the finished product.

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Strong performances, action, ’90s nostalgia outweigh ‘Captain Marvel’s’ head-scratching mythology (Movie review)

It’s been a cliché for more than four decades now that spectacle can’t overcome a bad screenplay, but it’s still remarkable how many films can nail everything except communicating to a viewer what the heck is going on. With “Captain Marvel,” the fun and technically amazing 21st Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, I can’t discount that I may have spaced out on important details, but I do suspect I was spending too much time trying to figure out the nature of Carol Danvers’ (Brie Larson) superpowers rather than kicking back for the ride.

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‘Angel & Faith’ flashback: Season 9, Issues 11-20 (2012-13) (Comic book reviews)

The second batch of 10 issues in “Angel & Faith” Season 9 starts with a slight midseason dip in quality. It’s nice to catch up with Connor and Gunn, but distracting for readers of the IDW “Angel” comics who know a different continuity. The last five issues of this batch are gold, though: first the most Ripper-esque Giles story to date, and then a pitch-perfect Faith-and-Spike comedic romp. Here are my reviews of Issues 11-20:

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Mamet Monday: ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ (1992) a searing yet funny look at cutthroat white-collar workers (Movie review)

In our Mamet Monday series, we’re looking at the catalog of filmmaker David Mamet.

“Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992) has an absurdly stacked roster of talent – all men, because only men work at this particular real-estate office, which I suppose was common at the time – and all in service of a searing yet hilarious portrayal of the games these salesmen play to get ahead. Written by David Mamet (from his play) and directed by James Foley, the film features a Jack Lemmon portrayal so iconic that an entire “Simpsons” character, Gil Gunderson, is based on him.

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A look at the strangely enduring legacy of Luke Perry’s Pike in the ‘Buffy’ saga (Commentary)

With the tragic death of Luke Perry (1966-2019) from a stroke this past week, there’s been an influx of “Buffy” fans announcing that they loved him as Pike in the 1992 “Buffy” movie and they are rewatching the film in his honor. Some are even going so far to say they like the movie, giving it a bizarre short-term boost in cult popularity.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘Wicked Willow II: Shattered Twilight’ (2004) (Book review)

“Wicked Willow II: Shattered Twilight” (July 2004), the middle chapter of Yvonne Navarro’s trilogy, doesn’t have a lot of plot to it, but – part purposefully, part accidentally, perhaps – it’s a good meditation on how we define good and evil and why factions fight each other. As with the first entry, “The Darkening,” Willow is gathering magical power and – along with her coven of 12 witches – researching ways to resurrect Tara; this mostly happens off-page. But I liked this book more, perhaps because I’ve grown accustomed to the concept of this Season 6 alternate trilogy that essentially asks “What if Willow was evil for a longer time period?”

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