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Doctor Who (2005) s13e06 – The Vanquishers

What a lackluster conclusion. There’s actually a bunch of good stuff, including a triplicated Jodie Whittaker they should’ve been doing since the cliffhanger on the first episode. Still, as the finish to “Doctor Who vs. The Flux,” it’s minimally successful. The resolution with rubber mask supervillains Sam Spruell and Rochenda Sandall is lousy, and then the hook is exactly what you’d expect anyway. It’s Whittaker’s last season as the Doctor, and of course, the villains […]

Ida Red (2021, John Swab)

I don’t think I’d ever have foreseen the Heartland Family Crime Saga genre. Or how it basically employs every white actor who isn’t in a Marvel movie (currently) or once tangentially appeared in some East or West Coast Crime Saga. For example, I didn’t recognize George Carroll from his Ben Affleck Boston Crime Sagas. And Melissa Leo’s proving you don’t have to be a British dude to earn off that single Oscar win. Ida Red […]

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (2021)

According to the "About the Creators" section, the 2004 prose non-fiction book, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, is based on declassified documents and interviews with participants, which raises the question of whether or not Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors comic adaptation writer Doug Murray ever read the book. Or were all the participants original author James D. Hornfischer interviewed so insipid and bland as Murray writes them? Insipid is almost […]

Hawkeye (2021) s01e03 – Echoes

This episode has some real highlights, including a great New York action sequence, but the most impressive one has got to be the comic book talking heads sequence. Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld are sitting and talking to each other. They’re staring almost directly into the camera in one-shot close-ups, and they just have a conversation. Back and forth, back and forth, just like a Marvel Comics talking heads sequence. It’s pretty awesome and made […]

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e15 – Last Sons of Krypton

Since I never got comfortable recommending the show, it’s fitting “Superman and Lois: Season One” finish on something of a fail. It’s not terrible. I don’t think it’s the worst episode, but it’s definitely in the bottom three. Not because there’s anything particularly wrong with it; there’s just nothing particularly right with it. It’s a paint-by-the-numbers conclusion to all the unresolved plot threads, dispassionately directed by Tom Cavanagh. Cavanagh stars on “The Flash,” which must […]

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e14 – The Eradicator

This episode picks up three weeks after last episode’s hard cliffhanger, which had Adam Rayner escaping the Army and zooming off to the sun to suck in its energies. He’s still at it three weeks later. Apparently, it takes a while to charge a Kryptonian flesh battery. We also hear all the voices stuck in his head because he assimilated the Eradicator device (becoming The Eradicator, sans bitchin’ sunglasses). The voices aren’t great. The sun-sucking […]

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e13 – Fail Safe

There’s some good, bad, and weird this episode. Mostly good and weird. The bad—besides A.C. Peterson ever-wanting Emperor Palpatine and then Eric Keenleyside’s similarly weak performance as the conniving Smallville mayor—is when all the adults of color are mean to Erik Valdez. Valdez and Emmanuelle Chriqui are feeling the fallout from Valdez cheerleading literal supervillain Adam Rayner building a factory. They run into Valdez’s fire fighting crew at the diner, and they’re all super shitty […]

The Equalizer (2021) s02e07 – When Worlds Collide

I’m trying to remember the last Chris Noth-centric episode of “The Equalizer;” it must’ve been last season. This episode has him running around with a machine gun and fist-fighting like they promised him he could do American James Bond or something. Instead, however, it’s old man James Bond with Noth teaming up with previously unrevealed son Wesam Keesh. It’s a jam-packed episode, script credit to Rob Hanning, and there’s not enough time for cop Tory […]

Doctor Who (2005) s13e05 – Survivors of the Flux

“Doctor Who” has been around for almost sixty years, but its plot reveals are recycled plot points from last summer’s popular entertainment. This episode opens with a terrible CGI sequence as we find out what happens to Doctor Jodie Whittaker after she gets turned into a Weeping Angel statue. Nothing, it’s just carbonite to transport her to meet She Who Remains (Barbara Flynn, who appeared in a quick ominous cameo earlier this season). There Whittaker […]

Halloween 5 (1989, Dominique Othenin-Girard)

What is it with Halloween sequels and hospitals? This time it’s Danielle Harris spending most of the movie in the hospital. Sure, it’s officially a children’s clinic and appears to be shot in a converted house, but it’s still a Halloween movie where the lead damsel in distress is in a hospital bed. The plot decision may be a nod to the original Halloween II; Harris is playing Jamie Lee Curtis’s kid (Curtis wouldn’t be […]

The Equalizer (2021) s02e06 – Shooter

It’s a city-in-crisis episode, with a sniper terrorizing New York. Only the show skips the first two attacks, and it doesn’t appear there’s a lot of crisis going on. Even though the expository dialogue makes it sound like everyone’s staying inside when Queen Latifah and Liza Lapira go to the crime scene, there’s a bunch of people loitering around, and the streets behind them are full. So the danger never seems super imminent. Lapira’s along […]

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021, Andy Serkis)

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is under ninety minutes without the end credits, which is fine. While the third act is a perfectly decent bit of action “gore,” once it’s clear Naomie Harris and Woody Harrelson aren’t going to stop embarrassing themselves, the sooner the movie can end, the better. Harrelson is the titular Carnage, and Harris is his girlfriend. They grew up together in a home for murderous children—though, twist, it seems most of […]

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s07e07 – A Woman’s Place Is in the War Effort!

So, A Woman’s Place Is in the War Effort! bombs Bechdel in a really, really bad way. Like, there better be a scene cut or some really good excuse because it fails it by not giving Kimleigh Smith a name. She’s a Black woman working in an airplane factory in World War II; the Legends end up there and need to work to steal parts so Matt Ryan can rebuild his time machine, and Olivia […]

Hawkeye (2021) s01e02 – Hide and Seek

So, the last episode established post-Endgame Jeremy Renner and introduced Hailee Steinfeld, but this episode’s got to bring them together. It would be entirely possible—albeit improbable—for them not to have any chemistry once the Hawkeye(s) get together. Worse, what if it’s just a surrogate father thing since Steinfeld lost her dad during the Avengers’s Battle of New York and stepdad-to-be Tony Dalton is at best a broke narcissist. But Renner’s already got a family; his […]

Hawkeye (2021) s01e01 – Never Meet Your Heroes

Outside wistfully hoping Edward Norton would bring art-house sensibilities to the mainstream, “Hawkeye” is the first official MCU property I’ve ever been emotionally invested in. I mean, obviously, East Coast “MCU” (the Netflix series) were a thing—and “Hawkeye” reminds of them immensely—but in the straight Disney-for-teens MCU? “Hawkeye” ’s it. Go read the Matt Fraction and David Aja comic. Their new Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, is genuinely marvelous. So I really want this show to succeed. […]

Hitman: Ace of Killers (1997-98)

Having read Garth Ennis for so long, I can get a sense of his structure. He’s traditionally too rushed in three-issue arcs, much more comfortable with four or more. Hitman: Ace of Killers collects a six-issue arc and then two done-in-ones. The main story is a siege story, too, with the heroes getting pinned down at the end of the second issue. It’s pretty awesome plotting; like, it’s real impressive given all the character development […]

Doctor Who (2005) s13e04 – Village of the Angels

Most of this episode—save a brief appearance from rubber masked villain Rochenda Sandall—is quite good. Not just the best episode of the season so far (though it’s handily the best episode of the season so far), but an actual good episode. Doctor Jodie Whittaker is solo in late sixties small village England, trying to stop the Weeping Angels from getting lost-in-time Annabel Scholey for their nefarious reasons. Sure, there’s some tedious stuff explaining why the […]

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s07e06 – Deus Ex Latrina

“Legends” hasn’t been renewed yet, and it’s kind of been a bubble show forever, which is why it’s always so nice when they get an early renewal. But this season now seems to be arranging things for a send-off. At least, potentially. Events are perturbing towards closure—or at least not unresolved cliffhangers—and it kind of feels like a victory lap season. Though it might just feel that way because they do so well here. The […]

Krisha (2015, Trey Edward Shults)

Krisha is an eighty-minute film with a present action of maybe twelve hours. It’s about a family’s black sheep (Krisha Fairchild) coming to Thanksgiving after some time away. There’s no big exposition dump—it isn’t until the third act the film confirms the basic information the characters have all been dealing with—and for the first half or so, Krisha gets away with it. Right until the third act, when director, writer, and editor Shults brings on […]

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e12 – Through the Valley of Death

This episode has several things going on, like Wolé Parks delivering (compared to before) when the story requires it, Emmanuelle Chriqui having a great mom scene (shedding any memory of her lackluster performance a couple episodes ago), one low-key but big twist, what sounds like Man of Steel music cues (but for Super-sons Jordan Elsass and Alex Garfin), and a cameo from David Ramsey to tie the show into the Arrowverse. But it’s also an […]


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