Throwback Thursday: It’s nice to see more of Mr. Miyagi in the otherwise forgettable ‘Next Karate Kid’ (1994) (Movie review)

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en years after the first “Karate Kid” and five years after the Daniel LaRusso trilogy wrapped, the studio tries to wring some more blood from the stone with “The Next Karate Kid” (1994). Thanks to the legendary Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi and future acting star Hilary Swank as the titular Julie, it turns out to be a passable kids’ movie.

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PKD flashback: All 18 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 4’ (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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‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ punches up Jean Grey’s tragic fall compared to ‘Last Stand,’ but still struggles to portray her inner journey (Movie review)

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ean Grey (Sophie Turner) turns into Dark Phoenix for the first time on the new timeline in “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” but nonetheless, I’ve seen this story before. Granted, this is a more robust telling than the one in “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006), which was on the previous timeline. Jean’s possession by an evil cosmic force, based on the famous 1980 comic arc by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, was (weirdly) a B-plot in that movie; it gets all of the focus this time around.

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‘Unbelievable’ takes advantage of binge format to tell a gripping, personal story of a landmark serial rape case (TV review)

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hen TV scholars look back years from now at trends in storytelling structure, I suspect “Unbelievable” (Netflix) will be seen as a pivotal show. The approach of releasing whole seasons at once was pioneered by Netflix several years ago, but most shows still operate as if they are airing weekly in hour-long segments. “Unbelievable” is a rare show that totally embraces the fact that all eight of its episodes will be immediately available.

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First episode impressions: ‘Evil’ (TV review)

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vil” (Thursdays, CBS) can be added to the grand collection of post-“X-Files” shows, so I have a soft spot for it. But this is an era when “The X-Files” itself gives us new episodes every few years, so I don’t need to be so lenient as when I reviewed “X-Files” Lite shows from the dark years of 2003-15. Katja Herbers, as Kristen, and Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”), as David, are excellent as the skeptic and believer, and there are nice touches such as Kristen’s home under the train tracks that she shares with her four young daughters. But the possession-of-the-week story is weak, and if this is the one creators Robert and Michelle King (“The Good Wife”) chose for the pilot, it doesn’t bode well for the series.

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Throwback Thursday: ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 1 (2018) is a pitch-perfect continuation of the ‘Karate Kid’ saga (TV review)

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he 2010s are the decade when the word “canceled” became softened and pretty much any old fondly remembered thing could be brought back (for better or worse). “Cobra Kai”Season 1 of which aired in May 2018 on YouTube Premium – may or may not have been the most surprising revival, continuing from the “Karate Kid” trilogy (1984-89). But it is surprising that it’s this good.

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First episode impressions: ‘Emergence’ (TV review)

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he pilot episode of “Emergence” (Tuesdays, ABC) is a crisply crafted hour of TV that would set the stage for an excellent series in an alternate universe where there weren’t already dozens of recent series about the emergence of the next stage of human evolution. Still, it’s remarkable how gripping and likable this hour is. Creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas also helmed “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” a couple years ago – that ultimately grew into a lovable series, even though it was much sloppier out of the gates than this one.

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‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ is an old-fashioned creature romp made with modern tools (Movie review)

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n the next movie, I’d like to see Godzilla and his nemeses fight in conditions other than driving rainstorms, but even though there isn’t a wide variety of weather in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” this is a top-shelf monster spectacle. The titular creature from the 2014 movie is back, and director/co-writer Michael Daugherty and his team throw a smorgasbord of beasts at the screen to take him on, notably the three-headed dragon Monster Zero, who has a fascinating mythology behind him.

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First episode impressions: ‘Prodigal Son’ (TV review)

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rodigal Son” (Mondays, Fox) does a lot of things right, but they are the same things a lot of other shows have done right. This serial killer procedural/ongoing mystery mix makes nice use of lived-in, almost rundown Big Apple buildings, and the relationships are well defined in the first episode, notably incarcerated serial killer Dr. Martin “The Surgeon” Whitly (Michael Sheen) and his son, profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne, who plays “Jesus” on “The Walking Dead” but who looks way different without the beard and long hair).

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