Game of Thrones – Episode 1.6 “A Golden Crown”

got106b

Synopsis: Ned wakes in his bed to find Cersei and Robert hovering over him. Cersei demands the return of her brother. Robert gives Ned his post back and says Ned has to sit on the throne while he is away on a hunt. Daenerys shows she’s impervious to heat. Bran has another dream of the three-eyed raven. Theon tries to get Robb to rally an army against the Lannisters. While off on his horse, Bran is found by some wildlings. Robb and Theon kill the wildlings except for Osha, whom they take prisoner. Arya and Syrio contine their lessons.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under tv

Game of Thrones – Episode 1.5 “The Wolf and the Lion”

got105s

Synopsis: Ned questions Ser Hugh’s death to Barristen Selmy. The King wants another joust so this time we get introduced to Loras Tyerll who challenges the Mountain. When the Mountain loses the joust he pulls out his sword, but the Hound protects Loras. Catelyn rides with her prisoner Tyrion. Bran is upset that Catelyn left him. Varys warns Ned that the King is in danger. Arya finds her way into the dungeons with dragon skulls. She overhears Varys and Illyrio having a secret discussion but isn’t quite sure what they mean, other than a threat against Ned. Baelish and Varys have a passive aggressive face off, both noting they are watching the other one. Yoren makes his way to King’s Landing and tells Ned that Catelyn has the imp.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under tv

Game of Thrones – Episode 1.4 “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things”

got104a

Synopsis: Bran’s first dream of a three-eyed raven. Tyrion returns to Winterfell and has a less than positive reception from Robb. Despite this, Tyrion shares plans for a system to let Bran ride a horse. Tyrion also has words with Theon, taunting him about his status as captor vs. Theon’s belief he’s part of the clan. Samwell Tarly joins the training at the wall, but doesn’t make a strong impression. He’s a coward, Tarly admits. Dany and the Dothraki continue their ride with Dany growing into her status as the bride of the leader, and Viserys not loving his station. Dany questions Jorah about the history of the seven kingdoms and her part in it. Sansa still holds a grudge against her father. Ned begins his investigation into the death of Jon Arryn, tracing his last steps, and discovering a genealogy book from Pycell that Arryn looked into shortly before his death. Pycell shares Arryn’s last words “the seed is strong,” but no one makes sense of it.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under tv

Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

lego2

Everything is not awesome in Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (a comment I’m sure I won’t be the first or last to make), the sequel to the 2014 adventure that first introduced us to everyman Emmet and his pal Wyldstyle. That meta adventure was smart, fun and hilarious. In part two, the surprise and delight that made the first one is gone, and so is the rat-a-tat humor that made it so enjoyable. In its place is a disappointing facsimile that feels like mediocre fan fiction. The smart humor has mostly been replaced by too many musical numbers.

The story was setup in the ending moments of the first film as the real-life boy whose imagination created the film’s universe had his playtime upset with the threat of his little sister. In the second film, the Lego universe is a bleak, Mad Max-esque wasteland that faces an onslaught from space warriors from the seester solar system. A lot of the returning heroes from the previous film are captured by the totally not evil Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) and it’s up to earnest hero Emmet (Chris Pratt) to save the day, along with the help of a more adventurous bro Rex (also Pratt).

Chris Miller and Phil Lord who co-wrote and directed the first flick return as co-writers here (with Matthew Fogel, whose biggest prior credit is the third Big Momma’s House) but directing duties went to Mike Mitchell (Trolls, a later Shrek, an Alvin movie). While the live footage was a surprise in the first film, the second film leans into the meta concept and the collision of those universes makes the tenuous tie between the two tedious and unimaginative. Maya Rudolph does her best as the mom, but all of the live scenes fall a bit flat.

As bleak as this review is, the film isn’t outright bad, merely dull and unengaging. One musical number was fine, but the returns on those are lesser the more that pop in. Pratt does admirably with both of his roles, and Elizabeth Banks as Lucy/Wyldstyle is still a delight. The movie spends a lot more time with her, for both the meta perspective and while offering a fair indictment of the first film (that she was the smart, bold, heroic one that took a side chair to the hapless, average male hero). Fresh of his Lego spin-off film Batman (Will Arnett) also returns with a bigger presence, but all of the in jokes on that franchise may have been exhausted. Unikitty (Alison Brie), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) and Benny (Charlie Day) also return, but don’t have much to do.

It’s a shame that the same writers that made the first one so solid, and were also responsible for last year’s amazing adventure Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse couldn’t recapture the same magic. Perhaps they were distracted with that film. While they overdelivered against the low expectations of the first film, the second seems to be underdelivering against higher ones and leaving a painfully average result.

My Grade – C

Leave a comment

Filed under movies

Game of Thrones – Episode 1.3 “Lord Snow”

got103b

Synopsis: Ned and the girls arrive in King’s Landing just in time for his first small council meeting, which also includes Pycell, Baelish, Varys, and Renly. Ned has an antagonistic meeting with Jaime. Info dropped: this is where Ned’s brother and father were killed by the mad king as Jaime watched, before eventually killing him. Cersei starts to mold Joffrey into a king by giving him pointers on how to lead. Sansa still hasn’t forgiven Ned for his hand in the death of Lady. Bran awakes with no memory of his accident, and angry at his circumstance. Catelyn sneaks into King’s Landing, meeting first with Baelish and Varys. She shows them the knife that was used to attack Bran, and Baelish says the knife was his until he lost it to Tyrion. On the wall, Jon and others train to be men of the Night’s watch, which mostly consists of Jon besting everyone in sword fighting. Doesn’t win him any points with Thorne, and Snow isn’t making any friends with the others until Tyrion interrupts.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under tv

Game of Thrones – Episode 1.2 “The Kingsroad”

game102a

Episode 2: The Kingsroad

Synopsis: Tyrion slaps Joffrey in an attempt to teach him manners. Three slaps was apparently not enough. News of Bran’s fall spreads, but word is he will survive, which Jaime and Cersei are none too chuffed about. Cersei tells Catelyn about losing her first child, which may or may not be the truth. Jon gives Arya a present, a small sword she dubs “needle.” Jon says goodbye to Bran and heads to the wall with Benjen, as Ned and the girls go to King’s Landing, leaving Catelyn behind with Robb, Bran and Rickon. Catelyn’s affection for Ned is only matched by her hurt that he’s leaving. The last time he left he came back with another woman’s kid-Jon Snow. Ned promises to tell Jon the truth about his mother the next time he sees him.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under tv

Game of Thrones – Episode 1.1 “Winter is Coming”

 

game101Since its debut roughly eight years ago, Game of Thrones has redefined television. It took a popular book series and turned it into a cultural phenomenon. Touchstone moments like the Red Wedding and the Battle of the Bastards brought urgency back to television. In a world dominated by Netflix binging, Game of Thrones made appointment television all the rage again. As its final season approaches, I decided to take a look back at the series, from the beginning, episode by episode. Because of how layered and intricate the storytelling is, I wanted to remember what had come before, and I also wanted to recontextualize the previous episodes with what I know now. Because I’ve binged some of the episodes before, some episodes haven’t sat with me long enough to really focus on the details.

So here we are. I am going to focus on one episode per day leading up and through the eighth and final season.

game101b

Episode 1: Winter is Coming

Synopsis: We open at the wall and with the men of the Night’s Watch. A group discovers the remnants of the White Walkers, limbs and heads on spikes strewn about. And then they encounter the White Walkers for real, including a recently deceased little girl with glowy blue eyes. The violence and gore set up exactly what kind of show we’re in for.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under tv

Top 10 Movies of 2018

film05

A little late due to sickness and life. But here is my final Top 10 list for 2018 focusing on my favorite films. I’m still behind in reviews, so haven’t added Paddington 2, Aquaman, Bumblebee, Roma and a couple others, but only one of them made the list. BUT WHICH ONE?

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under movies, top 10

Top 10 TV 2018

eps04

It’s been a great year for television, evidenced mostly by having too many good shows I can’t even catch (I will get to the Americans when I get to it). Pioneers like Netflix and Hulu continued streaming’s dominance by putting focus on writing and character. There may be tiny spoilers in the descriptions but nothing too major.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under top 10, tv

Top 10 Music – 2018

 

singles04

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under music, top 10