‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 9, Issues 21-25 (2013) and special issues (2011-13) (Comic book reviews)

Writer Andrew Chambliss and artist Georges Jeanty stick the landing to conclude the character-driven yet suitably epic “Buffy” Season 9 with the five-issue “The Core.” It’s a crying shame that this marks Chambliss’ finale in the Buffyverse. He gets the saga back on track after the uneven Season 8 and keeps threads percolating for Season 10, to be written by “Angel & Faith” Season 9’s Christos Gage — who is really good, but not quite as good as Chambliss. Also in this post, I take a look at the season’s special issues.

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Mamet Monday: ‘Heist’ (2001) has Mamet’s usual intricate plotting plus great characters (Movie review)

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

“Heist” (2001) had the misfortune of being a crime film – and one with an airplane heist in its plot — coming out in the wake of 9/11. But hopefully this commercial flop has become at least a cult classic, because it’s a brilliant examination of honor – and dishonor – among thieves, featuring writer-director David Mamet’s usual intricate plotting but adding in memorable, fleshed-out characters.

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Korean film ‘Burning’ is a strong entry in the ‘What the heck is going on?’ subgenre (Movie review)

In the tradition of great Asian cinema, “Burning” (2018) is intensely strange and immensely engrossing. Fittingly, lead actor Ah-in Yoo, as Lee Jong-su, seems to barely be giving a performance, but we’re right there with him as his life gets weirder and weirder.

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Japanese film ‘Shoplifters’ is a heartfelt exploration of a makeshift family (Movie review)

When I throw around the phrase “makeshift family” in reviews, I’m usually talking about tight groups of friends. But the Japanese film “Shoplifters” (2018) shows us a more literal makeshift family. It’s about six societal castoffs who live together in a tiny house owned by the woman they call “Grandma” (Kirin Kiki).

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘Apocalypse Memories’ (2004) (Book review)

“Roswell High” authors Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz – who also wrote for the “Roswell” TV series – try their hand at “Buffy” with “Apocalypse Memories” (March 2004), an imperfect but intriguingly out-of-the-box entry. Set early in Season 7, the book delves into religious theory and asks “What would happen if Buffy was pitted against the forces of good instead of evil?”

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‘The Favourite’ critiques timeless governmental power plays, but isn’t as sharp or funny as it could be (Movie review)

A lot has been made about how horror (“Get Out” last year) and superhero (“Black Panther” this year) films are making inroads with the Oscars, but – in terms of percentage of all films released – comedy remains the most snubbed genre. “The Favourite” (2018) finds a path to Academy attention, though, by chronicling the royal court of Britain’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in 1708, replete with gilded paintings, frilly dresses, pancake makeup and powdered wigs. Oscar-film trappings, in other words.

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Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ a partly exhilarating, mostly exhausting, very eye-opening walk in the shoes of a 1970s Mexican maid (Movie review)

With the Oscars coming up, the guilt of constantly scrolling past “Roma” (2018) on Netflix en route to “Daredevil” episodes finally got to me, and I gave the Best Picture nominee a watch. And also, my Cold Bananas colleague Shaune watched the first 20 minutes, laughed, and said I can claim this one in our attempt to check Oscar films off our list.

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Throwback Thursday: Work still sucks, and ‘Office Space’ is still a masterpiece, 20 years later (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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Malek, music are the stars of too-formulaic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Movie review)

Prior to seeing “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018), I was hardly a Queen fan. The band’s popularity had faded before I was old enough to appreciate it, and growing up, their music was not something I was into.  My knowledge of Queen was limited to knowing they had a handful of decent songs and a few overplayed stadium anthems, and were led by one of the most eccentric frontmen of all time.  That said, I’m a huge music fan in general and had heard good things from friends about the film, so I was excited to learn about the legend of Queen.

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Cooper, Gaga beautifully update ‘A Star is Born’ for a new generation (Movie review)

I’m usually not a fan of remakes, but I make exceptions if the remake brings a fresh perspective to the material. I can also be won over if the remake is really f****** good. Such is the case with “A Star is Born” (2018), which was also made in 1937, 1954 and 1976, and which makes a solid case for its existence in dialog from Sam Elliott’s Bobby: “It’s the same story told over and over, forever. All any artist can offer the world is how they see those 12 notes. That’s it.”

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