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Obsessed with TV and Film: Best of the Week

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8 Actors Who Can Be The Next Spider-Man

We’re not even a year removed from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and already Sony and Marvel are exploring new options on who could be the next webslinger. And we already have some insight that the next Spider-Man is going back to high school, and Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Logan Lerman (Fury) are on Sony’s short list… read the full article.

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Five Film Composers that Hollywood Needs Back

Hollywood has no shortage of talented composers crafting mostly serviceable tunes for the next young adult literary adaptation or prestige awards tearjerker. But for every auteur like Hans Zimmer and John Williams, you have musical yes men pounding out ominous notes in anticipation of the next horror movie jump scare or making ratatat noise to underscore a superhero chase scene. The film world screams for diverse sounds, but is often left wanting when scores become interchangeable to feed the Hollywood machine. The current film decade is no different from any other in terms of talent, mediocrity, and ingenuity, but could always use a boost from professionals who bring specificity to the table. These five forgotten or diminished artists, each among them with varied yet singular skills, are screaming to be brought back into the Hollywood fold to create their signature sounds… read the full article.

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‘Da Sweet Blood of Jesus’ is a mess, but a fascinating one through Spike Lee’s eyes

Spike Lee films tend to fall into two categories, masterpieces and trainwrecks. His latest, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, leans to the latter. However, even his failures – including this – work as engrossing bits of cinema. The reason why Spike Lee is as fascinating even in his failures is because the same tireless, fiery energy is always present . He always has something to say in his films, even if he runs into trouble in how he says them: When Lee trips and falls, he hits the ground hard enough to shake you… read the full article. 

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Newsmakers and Media Shakers: Top Ten Reporters in the Movies

For the sake of this particular movie column let’s just consider the media types of news personalities, journalists and reporters as interchangeable. With that in mind Newsmakers and Media Shakers: Top Ten Reporters in the Movies will look at some of cinema’s top inquirers in the name of getting down to the nitty-gritty in bringing the truth to the forefront… read the full article.

‘Sanshiro Sugata’ an eye-opening, strong start to Akira Kurosawa’s long career

Akira Kurosawa’s feature length debut opens with a wandering young man named Sanshiro Sugata (Susumu Fujita) arriving into town where he aspires to earn a place under the tutelage of a great jujitsu master. Shortly thereafter Sanshiro learns first-hand that his would be instructors are perhaps not all they are cracked to be. Their attempt to rustle a rival sensei’s feathers, Shogoro Yano (Denjiro Okochi) is ill fated, as Yano handles each attacker with the greatest of ease. Much to Sanshiro’s surprise, the victor of the contest practices judo rather than jujitsu. Under the auspices of Yano’s strict but just guidance, as well as through the trials and tribulations and a martial arts tournament, that Sanshiro will learn to control his bustling energy, channeling it to become a better, more composed human being… read the full article.

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Ten unacquired Sundance 2015 films we still hope to see someday

Sundance 2015: ’99 Homes’ an outstanding, involving tête-à-tête on American morality

Sundance 2015: ‘Going Clear’ is intelligent rabble-rousing at its best

Sundance 2015: ‘Grandma’ tailor-made to showcase Lily Tomlin

Sundance 2015: ‘Slow West’ immersive in scope and proudly lethargic in pacing

Sundance 2015: ‘The Wolfpack’ documents cinephilia as a means of survival

Sundance 2015: ‘Digging for Fire’ is pleasantly bland

Sundance 2015: ‘Advantageous’ wins with stunning visuals and smart sci-fi

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Justified rewards series-long viewers

When it comes to planned-in-advance TV endings, in general, you can do it straight, or you can do it serpentine. Do it straight (Breaking Bad, The Wire) and you guarantee a high degree of fan contentedness, though usually at the cost of spontaneity. Do it serpentine (Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos) and you run the risk of pissing off a large percentage of the fanbase, though you’ll have the side-benefit of being debated into eternity. On occasion, a series finds a way to split the difference and reaps incredible rewards. Justified seems destined to opt for the former route. While it’s supplied some artful twists and surprise developments in the past, it’s never been a series built on narrative trickery or hifalutin thematic development. It’s always had (at least) one foot planted firmly in the realm of traditional genre storytelling… read the full article.

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7 Hosts Who Could Replace Jon Stewart at ‘The Daily Show’

First Letterman’s leaving. Then Colbert goes in Dave’s stead. And now you’re taking Jon Stewart away from me too?!? Damn you Late Night Gods!

Still, we most soldier on, and we have about a solid year left with Stewart, and that gives us plenty of time to find a solid replacement. Here are just a few nominees from the Sound on Sight staff… read the full article.

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The Americans, Ep. 3.03: “Open House” builds characters through foils

Of all the elements that make The Americans among the most fascinating shows on television (it took the top spot on my top 10 list for last year), the parallels between relationships, organizations, and individuals may be the show’s most compelling narrative component. Whether it’s between the Beemans and the Jennings, the KGB and the CIA, or, more broadly, life in the USSR and the US, the series excels at revealing truths through comparisons between foils. This week’s episode, “Open House,” focuses on marriage, and the results are as fascinating as always… read the full article.

“Agent Carter”, Ep 1.06, “A Sin to Err”: The circle of danger widens

The farther Agent Carter moves past its initial stage of world building and character expansion, the more its confidence increases. These bravado storytelling shifts not only allow the show to expand Peggy’s world of espionage and danger, but make the characters around her more vivid. Last week, Agent Carter finally found the time to make Peggy’s coworkers interesting and even gave them a reason to care about her in return, prompting them to start viewing her as something more than a secretary. This week, everything is turned on its head as the SSR proves Peggy is the mystery woman they are after and takes action to detain her… read the full article.

Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.06, “Demons”: Love hurts

So much of the time, the care we have for other people brings us pain. Allowing yourself to have love for someone else puts you in a state of vulnerability, a scary place where it becomes far easier to wound. Sometimes, it’s from outside sources, but it can also come from within. The problem is that we can’t help ourselves. There is nothing more powerful than the love and care we have for others, even if we know pain will come. But especially if we don’t… read the full article.

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Broad City: “Hashtag FOMO” is your main squeeze

Alter egos for characters in comedy television series is nothing new. Indeed, Abbi’s Val is a similar kind of double life persona as Ron Swanson’s Duke Silver on Parks and Recreation. There’s something special about Val, though. Maybe it’s because, as has been pointed out by many others online, that crazy lady back in the season premiere screeching, “VAL!”, on the subway wasn’t so nuts after all. Maybe it’s because it allows Abbi Jacobson to break out a ridiculous Prohibition-era accent, strut around like an old-timey diva, and swallow diamonds with aplomb… read the full article.

Jane the Virgin continues to impress with tricky mix

While the premise of a show about a virgin who gets artificially inseminated could have been enough for a show to explore over a season, Jane the Virgin has refused to rest on its laurels, with the pregnancy being only one of several storylines. Even the voiceover has amusingly commented on this in the recaps, noting that “who cares? Lots of way more important stuff is going on.” The writers have managed to pull this off remarkably, building character development and plot momentum in tandem with each other while still keeping the humour in the show, resulting in a highly enjoyable set of episodes… read the full article.

Girls, Ep. 4.03-04, “Female Author” and “Cubbies”: Everything old is new again

Well that was quick. After only three episodes, Hannah is out of Iowa and back in New York and while the end of “Cubbies” promises plenty of knotty, interesting developments to come, it’s hard not to be disappointed. Girlscoped very well with Hannah’s lack of proximity to the group. In the age of Skype, there’s no reason she couldn’t have stayed in close communication with the entire New York crew while exploring her surroundings a bit more and coming to grips with herself in this new context. Most of Hannah’s peers at the Writers’ Workshop remain undeveloped and it’s unlikely any of them will return any time soon… read the full article.

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Better Call Saul, Ep. 1.01 “Uno” subverts expectations around every corner

Right from the opening moments of Better Call SaulBreaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan’s highly anticipated prequel to his aforementioned AMC hit, brows will furrow and heads will be scratched… read the full article.

Looking, Ep. 2.04: “Looking Down the Road” kills its idols

Looking has often loved its secondary characters more than its leads. Patrick, Dom, and Agustin have continually paired off with people, in both romance and friendship, who are smarter, nicer, and more together than they are. Richie, Lynn, Doris, and Kevin have been the voices or reason, of patience, and of exasperation throughout the show’s run. They’ve shared their advice, which has usually fallen on deaf ears, and have tried to form meaningful bonds with the central trio of characters, with varying degrees of success. This intelligence gap, or empathy gap, has been detrimental to the success of the show… read the full article.

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Sordid Cinema #92: The Wachowskis’ ‘Speed Racer’ and ‘Jupiter Ascending’

Ever since the Matrix series made them a household name, the Wachowskis – that is, Andy and Lana Wachowski – have turned Hollywood into their own idiosyncratic playground, routinely gaining access to gigantic budgets in order to fund projects that still maintain a deeply personal touch. That idiosyncrasy is certainly detectable in their long-delayed sci-fi/action opus Jupiter Ascending, and it’s perceptible even in their hyperactive, cultish adaptation of the classic childrens’ cartoon Speed Racer. Ricky and Simon are joined by SOS writer and blogger extradordinaire Molly Autumn Faust to talk auteurism, bees, incest, monkeys, intergalactic corporate dynasties, and the utility (or lack thereof) of film critics, among (many) other topics.

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The Televerse #180- Informed Opinions: Educational Children’s Television

The comedies came to play this week, with two episodes likely to be in Best of 2015 discussions later this year. Needless to say, the podcast is on the long side this week. First we look at a full (and ridiculous) week in comedy, including the dramatic reveal of Sin Rostro on Jane the Virgin, another Parks and Rec wedding, a one-two-three emotional wallop from HBO, and an epic title fight between Broad City and Always Sunny. Then we look at the drama and genre offerings, including previews of Bosch s1 and The Slap (US) and looks at the pilots of Better Call Saul and Allegiance. Afterward, Maggie Kulzick returns to the podcast for the latest installment of Informed Opinions, looking at educational children’s television.

The Walking Dead Podcast Episode 62: “What Happened and What’s Going On”

This week on The Walking Dead, the beautiful opening montage makes us believe it is showing us things that had already happened on the road, but was instead foreshadowing things to come; a great little trick, with most of us likely assuming that our band of survivors were mourning the loss of Beth and not Tyrese. From beginning to end, this episode toyed with viewer’s emotions, and we’ve got plenty to say about it. Is killing Tyrese a decision made for the sake of narrative momentum, character development or purely to elicit an emotional response in the audience? We’ll let you know what we think. All this and more …

Sketchy Episode 156 – ‘Year Three Review’ – Sketchy celebrates another milestone.

 


Fortitude, Ep. 1.04: “Episode Four” offers more questions, few answers

Obsessed with Video Games and Comics: Best of the Week