PKD flashback: ‘Minority Report’ (2002) (Movie review)

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irector Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” (2002) isn’t the most by-the-book adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story (most agree that’s “A Scanner Darkly”). But it respects the themes and messages of the 1956 short story and it’s ultimately one of the best movies inspired by his work. In addition to being a propulsive blockbuster actioner starring Tom Cruise, it’s also an irresistibly detailed vision of 2054 that lets us mull the pros and cons of precrime even as Cruise’s John Anderton tries to solve a tangled mystery.

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Superhero Saturday: ‘Watchmen’ (2009) is a complex, engrossing adaptation of the legendary graphic novel (Movie review)

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atchmen” (2009) completes a spiritual trilogy of standout graphic novel adaptations in the Aughts – along with “Sin City” (2005) and “V for Vendetta” (2006) – in which we feel like we’re watching comic panels come alive on the screen. By a slight margin, “Watchmen” is the least effective of the three because it juggles so many big ideas and it lends itself to an “Ending Explained” video more than the others. But it’s never anything less than engrossing as it adapts the 1986-87 comic series by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins.

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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: ‘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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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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‘Veronica Mars’ becomes a great character piece, ramps 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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