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Obsessed with Pop Culture: Best of the Week

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Boardwalk Empire, Ep. 5.08: “Eldorado” leaves only the dust and ash of regret

That it seemed obvious for the series’ finale to send Nucky out was a bit of a given, considering the telegraphed nature of the flashback conceit which had been building for the entirety of this season. There were glimpses of hope, and chances for atonement but the clock had already run out by the time Nucky took his final stroll down the boardwalk…. click here to read the article. 

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‘Neverending Nightmares’ is truly neverending

Based on designer Matt Gilgenbach’s battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, Neverending Nightmares is a psychological horror game that amplifies feelings of unease through repetition in a minimalist setting. Personally, this was the most difficult game for me to finish because of the content. There were several moments when I just had to stop and seriously question whether or not I could feasibly finish the game. I am a little squeamish around blood, which is why I refuse to see most horror movies right now, and Neverending Nightmares artistic style made sure you knew there was blood on screen…. click here to read the article.

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‘Repulsion’, ‘Possession’ and the Language of Nightmares

Ingmar Bergman bowed down to his peer, Andrei Tarkovsky, for having given life to the language of cinema as dream: “Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as reflection, life as a dream.” This praise from one master to another was more than warranted, for the two auteurs’ bodies of work are arguably the most distinguishable in the canon of film history for their use of moving imagery, intricate mise-en-scène, and meaning that arises not only once in the frame or from an actor’s mouth but that ripples throughout the remainder of the world of the movie. Hey now, this is what dreams are made of…. read the full article. 

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Shot Glass Half Empty?: On Boardwalk Empire’s Troubled Legacy

I was a bit hesitant to start watching the series finale for Boardwalk Empire. I didn’t even have it in me to watch it until a few days after it aired. Why was I so hesitant? Probably for a number of reasons. A part of me wasn’t ready to say goodbye to a series I held dear despite the disappointment of its last two seasons. A part of me waited out of fear of watching the show deflate right before my eyes in its final hour. A part of me just didn’t feel it was “must-watch” television anymore; there wasn’t any urgency to watch it. Let’s just say this, I came ready to be underwhelmed. Warning: There are spoilers ahead for those who haven’t finished the show…. read the full article.

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Hatchet for a Honeymoon: Marriage and the Screen

Sound on Sight’s November Theme

Last month David Fincher’s Gone Girl made a smash at the box office. As if plugged directly into the Zeitgeist, it seemed as if everyone had a take on the film’s views on gender, the media and marriage. Gone Girl was a sensation that turned the camera inward, revealing our discomfort with the institution of marriage. While the butt of many jokes, marriage is perceived as an important pillar in our understanding of families, social values and personal happiness. Yet, it remains behind closed doors. We understand marriage within the realms of our own experience, our parents, our friends and our own marriages. Yet, we are only ever truly familiar with our own intimate relationships and even that is under debate. If anything, Gone Girl shows that within marriage there are two sides to every story. Marriage is veiled with a certain air of mystery and the question of what makes a good marriage remains unanswered…. read the full article. 

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‘Animal Man: The Hunt’ one of the strongest books from the early days of the New 52

Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man stands out as one of the strongest books from the early days of the New 52. The story follows the titular Animal Man, a.k.a. Buddy Baker, a former stuntman, turned father, turned superhero, turned animal rights activist. His powers were granted when aliens experimented on him and gave Buddy Baker access to a morphogenetic field entwined with all animal life on Earth from which he can draw many abilities: the reflexes of a fly, the strength of a rhinoceros, and many more… click here to read the article.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.02: “Traces To Nowhere” establishes oddly effective beats of investigation

After the tour de force performance that was the pilot of Twin Peaks, the most important of the many questions raised was how on earth this would be able to sustain a weekly series. Its vision was so unique and its oddness so carefully calibrated that it was easy to understand why so many of the critics who first reviewed it and loved it gave it zero chance of mainstream success, even while you could also understand why ABC would take a chance on its vision… read the full article. 

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Takashi Yamazaki’s ‘Parasyte’ the first installment of the live-action adaptation of the hit manga series

Tokyo International Film Festival

For the closing night film, director Takashi Yamazaki unveiled the first installment of the live-action adaptation of Hitoshi Awaaki’s hit manga series Parasyte. Balancing gory violence with a surprisingly heartfelt origin story and just the right amount of comic relief, the film is sure to win over new fans as well as please manga readers… read the full article. 

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‘Nightcrawler’ is a creepy and enigmatic thriller

Dan Gilroy’s latest, Nightcrawler, has a lot on its troubled mind.  It intertwines our national obsessions with voyeurism and stardom into a sociopathic nightmare from which you can’t awaken.  At its churning center is the mesmerizing performance of Jake Gyllenhaal, who charms you with his infectious intensity, even as he ruthlessly manipulates everyone and everything around him.  As the blood flows and the crimes accumulate, Gilroy traps us behind the camera as his passive accomplices.  Welcome to the world of the Nightcrawler.  Showering after you leave is highly recommended… read the full article. 

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‘Citizenfour’ seethes with paranoia and anger

Citizenfour functions not only as a great primer on the Edward Snowden NSA case, but also as a straight espionage-thriller.  While at times self-aggrandizing and frustratingly vague, Laura Poitras’ documentary is never less than fascinating, frightening and infuriating.  This is a must see for political wonks and average citizens, alike… read the full article. 

The 10 Best Journalism Movies

The Definitive Scary Scenes from Non-Horror Movies: 10-1

A Girl, her Girls, and Creativity, Gone Wild in ‘Inland Empire’

American Horror Story, Ep. 4.04, “Edward Mordrake (Part Two)” takes a nasty turn

Video essay examines comparisons between ‘Blow-Up’ and ‘Blow Out’

Special Look at Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

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Red Band Society has great character moments, but inconsistent story development

The first quarter of the premiere season of Red Band Society has featured some very strong character moments throughout a narrative that has been, at times, emotionally manipulative. The episodes are often inconsistent with one another, which makes this series feel more episodic than serialized. The pilot episode introduced the main cast and their situations, with the kids more developed than the adults, but as the season has progressed and the stories between the two age groups have intertwined, both sides have gained and lost character momentum respectively. The relationships frequently fail to grow organically, with the character motivations mostly hard to pin down. The questions raised in the pilot episode continue to be addressed, but to a degree that is not fully satisfying, merely confirming information that the audience already has. Although the season’s start is for the most part flawed,  the most recent episodes have presented development for the overarching storyline that has potential for some interesting results… read the full article. 

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SHIELD, HYDRA, and the Secret History of the CIA

Ocsar Wilde championed the notion that life imitates art. He believed the old saying “results not merely from life’s imitative instinct, but from the fact that the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realize that energy.” Wilde was a miraculous writer and thinker. But sometimes the classic Aristotelian worldview he opined against proves just as accurate. Sometimes art imitates life. To my disgust, such is the case with Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier film and the history of the United States. Kind of… read the full article. 

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LFF 2014: ‘The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow’ is a silly and sweet animation

An orbiting satellite picks up a beautiful song being played on Earth. Moved by the song, and facing an eternity of lonely obsolescence thanks to the incoming fate of being replaced by new machinery, the satellite decides it wishes to find the source of the tune, and so crashes down to the planet below, where it promptly turns into a teenage girl able to fly with Astro Boy-like rocket feet and fire her arms as weapons. Meanwhile, the songwriter behind the ditty is broken-hearted and so has been turned into a cow, akin to the farmyard beast fate that has befallen other broken-hearted folk. This has led to him and others like him being hunted by a human villain who uses a plunger to extract their organs, as well an incinerator machine that is fuelled by the broken-hearted. Also, there is a wizard named Merlin who makes it his mission to assist the satellite girl and the cow, except Merlin has undergone his own transformation recently and happens to be a roll of toilet paper…. read the full article. 

Person of Interest Season 4 deftly balances global and local stories

Despite starting out in an episodic manner, as Person of Interest progressed through its first three seasons, it began to delve deeper into the ramifications of its premise. The show explored both the effects of a team operating in the grey area, or completely outside of, the law in stopping criminals, as well as the consequences of the existence of an AI like The Machine, the latter of which culminated in a season three finale that saw our heroes scattered into the wind, on the run from a newly powerful Samaritan. With the season premiere firmly establishing the group’s new identities, the subsequent episodes of Season 4 have done a great job to date of exploring the effects of Samaritan’s rise, while revisiting the smaller scale stories of New York crime…. read the full article. 

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‘Eraserhead’: Consumed by the best of both worlds

Midway through Eraserhead, David Lynch’s midnight-black dreamscape, the terror is momentarily interrupted by the hauntingly breathtaking song, whispered by the disfigured chipmunk-cheeked chanteuse, Lady in the Radiator (Laurel Near), as if to let the audience in on something indescribable, to give them an out from the ceaselessly tiresome domestic grind… read the full article. 

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‘C.O.W.L.’ Has The Potential To Be Something Special

C.O.W.L., or the Chicago Organized Workers League, consists of individuals with powers and some without. All members of the league, whether it is the telekinetic Radia or the honest detective John Pierce, are out to fight a common enemy: the villains that commit crimes and threaten the greater good of the city of Chicago. The premise may sound redundant, however, there are particular examples that utilized the genre of superheroes in a very unique way. C.O.W.L.has the potential, and to a certain extent captures an early feel of the impact thatWatchmen would have not only on the genre, but also on comics as a whole…. read the full article. 

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‘Rasputin’ #1 Drops the Man and Makes a Legend

History is filled with monsters. Grab any history book, close your eyes, and open a page. Chances are that the page is riddled with corpses of people long since passed. Backtrack a bit, and it’s safe to assume that those bodies can be linked to one person, give or take. People often forget that the most terrifying stories are real and have taken place all over the globe. People like Elizabeth Bathory, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia and Adolf Hitler have lined our pages with a body count that would make Freddy Krueger blush. But a leaving high body count isn’t the only way to become labelled a monster…. read the full article. 

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The Flash, Ep. 1.04 “Going Rogue” will impress the geek core and non-fans alike

Taking into account a DVR playback The Flash series pilot has risen to 6.8 million viewers and counting since it first premiered. That’s The CW’s most-watched telecast in the network’s history. If you count all platforms, the tally rises to 13 million viewers. If anything, “Going Rogue” will only help boost these numbers. With a script that never forgets its heroes’ humanity, and an episode that features two superpowered set pieces, “Going Rogue” lives up to its hype — and raises the bar for the DC canon. Not only does this episode introduce Wentworth Miller but the special guest star turned in a great performance as one of the Flash’s best-known enemies, the famous Captain Cold. And if that isn’t enough to tune in, “Going Rogue” was co-written by Geoff Johns, responsible for his fair share of some of the best Flash comic book stories. Finally, “Going Rogue” is also the first crossover episode, bringing Felicity Smoak over from the established hit series Arrow. The episode is good enough to keep all the DC Comics crazed audiences deliriously happy while keeping casual viewers captive… read the full article. 

Gotham, Ep. 1.06, “Spirit of the Goat” is Harvey Bullock’s finest hour

The Walking Dead Podcast Episode 56: “Four Walls and a Roof”

The Walking Dead, Ep. 5.03, “Four Walls and a Roof”: An emotionally devastating hour of television

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #84: ‘John Wick’ and Pedro Costa’s ‘Horse Money’

This week on Sordid Cinema, we review John Wick, a violent, stylish B-movie that serves as a satisfying return to action for Keanu Reeves. For those who crave no-holds barred action, this may be what you are looking for. Also on the agenda is Pedro Costa’s Horse Money, Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard and the critically acclaimed Image comic from writer Scott Snyder, Wytches. Joining us is guest Kate Rennebohm…. click here to listen to the show.

The Televerse Podcast #165- Steve Prokopy’s Horror Picks 5

The fall premieres and finales continue on this week, giving us plenty of TV to discuss on the podcast. First we take a look at the comedies, including a preview of Eliza Coupe’s new comedy Benched, a look at the Mike Tyson Mysteries pilot and Newsreaders premiere, and a deep dive with the fabulous Jane the Virgin. Then Kate does another Genre Roundup before we talk Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and we close out the week with the dramas, including the series finale of Boardwalk Empire. Afterward, Steve Prokopy, Capone of AICN, comes back to the DVD Shelf for the fifth installment of Steve Prokopy’s Horror Picks, this time looking at the 1978 TV movies The Initiation of Sarah and Are You in the House Alone?… click here to listen to the show. 


‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’: A Marriage of Light

Saturday Night Live, Ep. 40.05, “Chris Rock/Prince”: Prince highlight of weak installment