‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 9 ‘Spike’ and ‘Willow’ miniseries (2012-13) (Comic book reviews)

When Spike and Willow duck out of the main “Buffy” Season 9 series, their solo adventures are told in a pair of five-issue miniseries, with Spike brooding over his purpose in life without Buffy, and Willow seeking a way to regain some of her magic powers.

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‘First Man’ is one small step for space-program cinema, one giant leap for insight into Neil Armstrong (Movie review)

After his love letters to jazz — “Whiplash” (2014) and “La La Land” (2016) — a film fan wouldn’t be surprised if director Damien Chazelle’s next movie was about Louis Armstrong. But “First Man” (2018) instead chronicles Neil Armstrong, and while it might seem like the pantheon of historical space-program cinema doesn’t need another recounting of Apollo 11, it turns out this is a very welcome addition.

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Mamet Monday: Hollywood satire ‘State and Main’ (2000) too trifling for my taste (Movie review)

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

With “State and Main” (2000), writer-director David Mamet delivers a satirical look at the making of a Hollywood movie, but it’s so lighthearted that it’s almost a love letter, too. The setting is incongruous with the absurd industry politics on display, as director Walt Price (William H. Macy) is shooting a historical film called “The Old Mill” in picturesque Waterford, Vermont, filled with locals with quirks of their own.

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‘He’s Out There’ is a decently scary lake-cabin stalker thriller, but not a unique one (Movie review)

Similar to the two “Strangers” films, “He’s Out There” (2018, now on Netflix) strips the horror genre down to basics and tells a scary story of people in random peril at a remote cabin. It plays the requisite horror notes well, includes one moment that literally made me flinch, and offers a touch of mystery to keep a viewer wondering about the villain’s motivations. And while I wasn’t bored by the film, I knew I had Yvonne Strahovski to look at if the plot ceased to hold my interest.

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‘Angel’ flashback: ‘Solitary Man’ (2003) (Book review)

As he did with his love letter to hardboiled fiction, “Hollywood Noir,” Jeff Mariotte lets his passion for bloodless British mysteries show in “Solitary Man” (December 2003) – but in a different way. He invents Mildred Finster, a woman in the mold of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or “Murder, She Wrote’s” Jessica Fletcher – at least, that’s how she sees herself. As the story begins, Mildred finishes reading the last of the 79 Christie books, then tells her cat that she’s going to become a detective herself.

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Throwback Thursday: More than a ‘Garden State’ ripoff, Crowe’s ‘Elizabethtown’ (2005) has aged well (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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‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 9, Issues 11-20 (2012-13) (Comic book reviews)

In this next batch of 10 issues, Season 9 becomes slightly less Buffy-centric, somewhat to its detriment, but Andrew Chambliss continues to be a sharp writer and I trust he knows where the wider narrative is going. The only major misstep in this batch, surprisingly, is when “Buffy” veterans Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg step in for two issues to tell the origin story of side character Billy.

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Mamet Monday: ‘The Spanish Prisoner’ (1997) is a gripping puzzle box about a man caught in an ingenious long con (Movie review)

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

There’s something suspicious about the way people are acting around Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) in “The Spanish Prisoner” (1997). As the creator of The Process, a mathematical formula that will allow the corporation he works for to make loads of money, he’s paranoid – and us along with him – but he’s right to be cautious. Still, it seems like he’s being set up for something, by someone.

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‘Angel’ flashback: ‘Fearless’ (2003) (Book review)

Doranna Durgin crafts a more readable and entertaining “Angel” book her second time around with “Fearless” (October 2003). It has the same structure as “Impressions,” which I didn’t like as much, wherein we know what’s happening early on and there aren’t any twists and turns before getting to the end. But because of better character writing for the Angel Investigations team and better guest characters, “Fearless” is the superior entry.

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Throwback Thursday: Appleby, Embry star in heavy-metal horror thriller ‘The Devil’s Candy’ (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.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Appleby, Embry star in heavy-metal horror thriller ‘The Devil’s Candy’ (2015) (Movie review)”