TV Show Review: Stranger Things 2

Details: This is a review for season 2 of the show Stranger Things. Released on Netflix in 2017. There are nine episode with each episode at around forty-five minutes to an hour-long.

If I were to summarize Stranger Things 2 into a single phrase, it would be “nostalgia porn.” Stranger Things 2 doubles down on the nostalgia for the 1980’s and almost forces the viewer to partake in the music, style, and pop culture of the 1980’s. If you’re a fan of that decade, then you will likely enjoy Stranger Things 2. If you did not… then Stranger Things may come off as derivative and uninspired. For me, Stranger Things 2 dances the line between homage to the 1980’s and an uninspired, unoriginal mishmash of 1980’s pop culture.

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Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

Details: Released in 2017. Stars Harrison FordRyan GoslingAna de Armas. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. About two hours and twenty-five minutes long.

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to the original Blade Runner released in 1982. Like its predecessor, Blade Runner 2049’s strongest points are its visuals and the tone and atmosphere that it seeks to create. No spoilers ahead.

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Movie Review: Blade Runner

Details: Originally released in 1982. Apparently there are many version of the original Blade Runner movie out there. I watched The Final Cut version which was released in 2007. Directed by Ridley Scott. Stars Harrison FordRutger HauerSean Young. About two hours long.

Blade Runner is often revered for its influence on modern cinema and science fiction. This review isn’t going to deal with any of that. This is just going to be a standard review based on my enjoyment. I can say without a doubt… Blade Runner was okay.

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Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

Details: Released in 2017. Directed by Matt Reeves. Stars Andy SerkisWoody HarrelsonSteve Zahn. About two hours and twenty minutes long.

War of the Planet of the Apes is a misnamed movie in many ways. While decent science fiction, there is far less war and far more scenes reminiscent of Westerns and some clear imagery from internment/Holocaust films. The trailer led me to believe this was going to be a war movie. It is not. Combined with some tonal issues as well as plot issues in the third act and you get a film about half of which was enjoyable to me. This will be hard to discuss without some spoilers, so minor spoilers ahead.

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Anime Movie Review: Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale

Details: Released in 2017. Around two hours long.

I first watched the anime Sword Art Online as it was airing a very long time ago. I really liked as there were no other shows at the time quite like it. Since then, countless animes hoping to profit off the success of Sword Art Online have copied the general plot aspects of this show and turned it into a whole genre, drowning anime watchers in a sea of shows where the protagonist is transported/reborn into a fantasy world where they can level up as if in a video game. As someone watching this movie in this context, I can say that the movie was not great, with the best part of the movie being the after credits scene.

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TV Show Review: Doctor Who, Series 10

Details: Aired on the BBC in 2017. The Christmas Special aired in 2016. Twelve episodes with each episode somewhere between forty-five minutes to an hour long.

I think Matt Smith’s impact on the Doctor Who series is profound in that his tenure was one of the most successful, if not the most successful. That creates problems, especially for his successor, Peter Capaldi. You see, Smith was so charismatic, had such presence in each episode, that the writers could write whatever dumb, lazy, ill thought out crap they wanted and Matt Smith would just deliver the hell out of those lines. He’d play that quirky, charming Doctor and we’d go along for the ride, no matter how little sense the plot made. The problem is that Capaldi is neither as young nor is his performance as in your face or charming as Smith’s and that is intentionally so. Doctor Who writers can no longer rely on the leading actor to fill in all the writing errors and instead have to write good stories.

Capaldi’s first season seemed to be that adjustment period. The stories weren’t great because they needed to learn how to write for a Doctor that wasn’t Matt Smith. This second season of Capaldi’s tenure is far better in that the stories and science fiction concepts expressed in here are far better and held my interest better. I’m glad they relied less on Capaldi, even though he did a good job here. Series 10 is a good season of science fiction and I enjoyed it very much.

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Video Game Review: Back to the Future: The Game

Details: Released in 2010. Played it on the PC. Purchased for about four dollars. Five episodes in total that took about two hours each to beat.

When you hear the name Telltale Games (and know a little about video games) you think about games like the Walking Dead. You think about games with branching plot lines, meaningful choices that change major plot points in the game and cause alternate endings. Back to the Future: The Game is not one of those games. You need to remember that this game predates The Walking Dead game. Back to the Future: The Game is a very traditional adventure game that follows a single, linear plot line. Fortunately, that plot line is decent.

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Movie Review: Your Name

Details: The Japanese title is Kimi No Na Wa. Released in 2016. About an hour and forty-five minutes long. Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai.

The first time I tried to watch this movie was on an airplane. About fifteen minutes in I found it too boring and opted to take a nap instead. Prior to that, I had read a lot of positive reviews about this movie and of its director, Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai has won a lot of awards in the past for his work in animation and I’d seen his prior movie, 5 Centimeters Per Second. Well, some time has passed since that plane ride and I decided to sit down and give the film another try. I found the film much more enjoyable this time.

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