Thursday, August 31, 2017

Doomed (2015)

The Untold Story of Roger Corman's the Fantastic Four

In late 1993 Roger Corman set some of his people to work on an authorized Fantastic Four movie. The movie was made very quickly and on a shoestring budget. It was never released. This is the story of the making of the movie and what happened to it after it was completed. The story is told by people who worked on the movie, both in front of and behind the camera. It looks like the movie was shelved and never officially released because of deals that were being made at high levels. According to some it was never meant to be released. At the time it was being made everyone working on it thought that it was going to be released so it dealt them quite a blow when the learned that it had been locked away in a vault never to be seen again. The irony of this situation is that bootleg copies of the movie can now be found on the internet quite easily.

This documentary was fun to watch. I have never seen the The Fantastic Four (1994) but this movie has me intrigued and interested in at least giving it a try.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Chewing Gum 1.05

The Last Supper

Tracey gets blindsided by her (male) cousin Tracy who claims to be in love with her. She tries to keep Connor a secret from her mother. Cynthia overdoses on chocolates that Connor brings over for Tracey. Ronald (the ex-boyfriend) makes an unexpected appearance or two. Everyone seems to want to let it all hang out, except Tracey who loses control of  her life.

There's a lot that happens in this episode. The way everything happens at once and is layered together are what made this episode a lot of fun and very funny. Not every joke connected with me but I loved how it all played out.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teen Titans 2.06

Date with Destiny

Killer Moth threatens to destroy the city unless Robin will go on a date with Kitten, his daughter. Kitten's date for the junior prom, Fang, dumped her days before the dance. She insists that her father get Robin to take her to the dance. Robin isn't eager to do so but accepts in the hopes that while he is on the date the other Titans can figure out how to stop Killer Moth's swarm of killer moths.

Starfire takes great exception to Robin taking Kitten to the junior prom. She keeps close tabs on Robin and Kitten. Fang shows up mid-way through the dance and starts fighting with Robin. Starfire takes on Kitten, who isn't quite as innocent as she seems.

There was a nice mix of humor and character moments. I like how Starfire flipped out when Killer Moth laid out his demands. She was violently opposed to the date and I love how that continued to be reflected in her behavior throughout the rest of the episode. Overall a really great episode. I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Casual 3.13

The Hermit and the Moon

Alex discovers that he's just been dumped by Judy. He tries to get his waffle maker fixed but the guy at the repair shop recommends he gets a new one. Rae discovers she's pregnant by Alex. They ponder over what to do. It seems like they are going to let the pregnancy progress.

Val calls Drew when she can't find Laura. Drew isn't very helpful. When she eventually finds Laura she is staying with her grandmother. Val tries to talk Laura into coming home with her but Laura wants to stay, despite or in spite of all the negative things Val has to say about her mother.

Jack is gone. Leia and Leon are back. Leon seems a bit reluctant when he sees Alex and Rae talk about a possible shared future.

I think that it is time for me to move on and not return to this show. I don't hate it. It isn't awful. It just doesn't feel like my cup of tea anymore.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Halt and Catch Fire 3.05

Yerba Buena

It is the 4th of July. Joe and Ray continue to look for the next thing. Ray gets frustrated with Joe. In looks like, but isn't clearly stated, that Joe gets some bad news from a friend. The friend is someone who doesn't look familiar and probably hasn't been seen before. It's a guy. Based on the call Joe gets later in the episode my read of the situation is that Joe's friend recently found out he has contracted HIV. Joe gets tested but his test turns up negative. Prior to receiving the test results he was pretty broken up. He tried to hide it from Ray but he wasn't entirely successful.

Boz and Cameron go back to Texas for a spell. He is there to see his son, daughter-in-law, and recently born grandson. Everything does not go according to plan. His attempts to help out end up angering his son who seems to feel that his father is just trying to make up for the lousy job he did parenting a couple decades ago.

Cameron is there to follow up on a call she got from her stepfather. Her mother is getting ready to move and sell Cameron's biological father's belongings, including his motorcycle. She can't bear the thought of confronting her mother and watches as someone rides away on her father's motorcycle. Cameron and Boz get into a fight and he ends up leaving her behind when he returns to California. She spends a little bit of time visiting with Tom prior to the fight and goes to see him after Boz abandons her.

Donna and Gordon enjoy a vacation at home. They have the house to themselves. It is fairly blissful for about 24 hours. After that Gordon wants to get back to work on his HAM radio. Donna has to deal with Cameron's vanishing act and decides to make some solo command decisions. Cameron is not pleased when she finally returns to the office, 5 days late. Donna and Cameron have it out. This part was a little too melodramatic for me. I had a hard time taking it seriously. Cameron is obviously a genius but she lacks in empathy.

The episode ends with Cameron calling Diane to apologize. Diane inadvertently lets drop that she didn't have a problem firing Doug and Ian. Last episode Donna told Cameron that Diane said no to that move. The chickens are coming home to roost. The immediate fallout seems to be a breakdown in the trust between Cameron and Donna but I'm pretty sure there will be more damage.

So far so-so. I'm not crazy about this season. I think I will stick with it for the remaining 5 episodes but it has yet to impress me consistently.

Friday, August 25, 2017

GLOW 1.10

Money's in the Chase

The big day arrives and it is finally time for the first television taping of GLOW. Not everything goes exactly as planned. It has been a few days since the last episode. Sam is nowhere to be found. He finally shows up after three days of drinking. He tells Ruth that Justine is his daughter. He doesn't know what to do. Ruth encourages him to find Justine and tells him about Billy, Justine's boyfriend.

Cherry finds out that she got the part in the TV show she auditioned for. Taking the TV work will mean leaving GLOW. She isn't sure what to do. She's excited that she got the part but is reluctant to leave GLOW.

Bash fills in as ring announcer when Sam isn't there for the beginning of the show, he is out looking for Justine. He finds her at Billy's place but she doesn't want to talk to him. He says his piece and then leaves. She eventually finds him at the ballroom where the taping is taking place.

The first match of the night turns ugly when the crowd starts throwing stuff. It could have easily been played uglier but the message is clear: if you bait the audience enough some people are going to buy into it hook line and sinker and let their true colors shine through.

Carmen (aka Machu Pichu) has another anxious moment in the ring but then she looks out into the audience and sees he father. He is cheering her on. This boosts her confidence, she shakes off what's bothering her, and starts wrestling.

It doesn't look like Ruth (aka Zoya) will get to fight Debbie (aka Liberty Belle) until late in the episode. Debbie is present watching the match with Mark but she doesn't make a move until it looks like Zoya has won the crown. Liberty Belle has had enough and steps out of the crowd takes off her dress, she has her costume on underneath, and jumps into the wring. There is a great montage of shots done to Invincible by Pat Benetar. Even though she beats Zoya, the show isn't over yet. There's yet another twist as Welfare Queen returns to snatch the crown from Liberty Belle.

Ruth and Debbie have a moment after the show is over. Ruth is feeling good and asks Debbie if she wants to go out and get a drink. Debbie hesitates and then says, "no, too soon." I've got a feeling that she is going to have to get a divorce before her relationship with Ruth is really better.

One subtle thing that deserves mentioning is that the cast as a whole and individually all play it as if there is no certainty to GLOW being successful. It isn't something that I noticed until I read some reviews of this episode. It's subtle and understated contributes greatly to making this the show that it is.

This is a good episode, a lot more fun and upbeat than the last couple but I don't think I liked it as much. Not a bad episode, just not my favorite. Overall I am very happy I chose to watch the first season of GLOW and I will be back for more. I believe it was just announced that it has been picked up for a second season which will start filming in the fall.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chewing Gum 1.04

The Unicorn

Tracey makes arrangements for a threesome with Conner and another woman. The problem is that Conner sees Tracey as being too innocent and pure. He can't get it up when she wants to give him a blow job and doesn't want to think about taking her virginity. Tracey takes some advice from the other women in the apartment building and meets another woman and finds a place for the three of them to get together away from the apartment building.

Cynthia, Tracey's sister, borrows her computer and has a little adventure of her own watching internet porn while Tracey is off with Conner and the unicorn.

Not my favorite episode. There weren't any laugh out loud funny moments (for me) in this one but I chuckled several times and also cringed a few times.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Teen Titans 2.05

Fear Itself

The Titans battle a new villain, Control Freak, who uses a television remote control to bring inanimate objects to life. He is terrorizing a video rental store when the Teen Titans show up. He brings all sorts of objects to life: shelves holding videos available for rent, televisions, candy. Everything he brings to life is evil and attacks the group. The fight goes on for a while but it finally ends after Robin activates the sprinkler system in the store.

The Titans return to the Tower and watch a horror movie that Beast Boy rented: Wicked Scary. Everyone is frightened by it to one degree or another, except Raven. She insists that she was not scared by the movie. Later that night something invades Titans Tower and starts abducting the team members one by one. Raven is the last one left standing. She almost succumbs to the monsters but then gets angry and takes out the monsters.

It turns out that it was her own subconscious that was terrorizing the tower residents. When she refused to admit that she was scared, her insecurities came out of her head and started manifesting in the tangible world. I wasn't sure what the resolution would be but I can accept the one provided. Some of the monsters that abducted Raven's team members looked a little like critters from the episode that introduced Trigon in season 1.

Not a great episode but a pretty good one, in my book.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Casual 3.12


This one felt very gimmicky. The first 2/3 of the episode are a flashback to 1999, the year that Val became pregnant with Laura. It was very weird seeing Thomas Dewey and Michaela Watkins playing the Alex and Val 18 years ago. They, of course, looked way too old to be playing a 19-year-old and a 23-year-old and I couldn't get over that fact. They had a different actor playing Drew, who looked age appropriate for the part. He had the mannerisms down even though he didn't look just like Drew. It also felt like they were emphasizing cultural reference points of that era a little too strongly, which was also kind of distracting.

I think if this had all turned out to be a dream I could have accepted the incongruity of this part of the episode better but it wasn't a dream or even really explained. Was it there to contrast with what Laura is going through? Was it just something that the creators of the show wanted to do?

The last 1/3 of the episode takes place back in the present. Laura arrives in Sacramento. She goes to see Casey. She finds her mentoring a girl about her age. Casey is shocked to see Laura. Laura runs off.

Val finally comes clean with Jack. She tells him that she thought they could be screwed up together. Not exactly a compliment to someone who is trying to fix his life. She seems to have given up on trying to fix her life, at least for the present. From my perspective she seems very wedded to the idea of an ideal seeming relationship. She can't seem to get that so she seems to want to go in the opposite direction and be as self-destructive as possible. I might be reading it wrong but that's my read of it at the moment.

Alex seems happy in his relationship with Judy but he doesn't seem to recognize the personal responsibilities she has. She doesn't have the quantity of time to spend with him that he wants to spend with her. He seems very slow to understand that. He is a man-child.

At this point I'm not sure I want to continue watching the show beyond the end of this season, the next episode.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Sopranos 1.02

46 Long

Tony's anxiety issues continue to plague him. His life is very stressful. One of the biggest stresses is his relationship with Vivian, his mother. In the last episode he tried showing her a retirement community but she didn't want to move there. She wants to continue living by herself in her home. She almost burns the place down in this episode, while cooking. She almost kills one of her friends with her car, accidentally, of course. Tony tries bringing in a housekeeper but his mother chases her off pretty quickly.

More stress for Tony materializes in the form of his cousin Christopher and his buddy Brendan. They hijack a truck full of DVD players which is under the protection of Uncle Junior. Tony is forced to have a sit down meeting with Uncle Junior and Jackie Aprile, the provisional boss, over the hijacked truck. Tony doesn't want to have to deal with crap like this but he does. He forces Christopher and Brendan to hand over the money they made selling the DVDs. He tells them not to hit any more of Uncle Junior's clients. They listen, Christopher agrees but Brendan isn't quite so respectful.

Big Pussy and Paulie are given a mission: find the car belonging to AJ's science teacher. It was stolen a couple days before. They track down the guys who did it. When Pussy finds out that the car has already been stripped he forces them, at gun point, to find a replacement. By the end of the episode the science teacher has his car back but it is quickly apparent that it isn't his car. The interior isn't the right color and there is blood on the bumper.

Tony meets with Dr. Melfi who suggests that his mother is a major cause of stress and that he doesn't really love her. Tony doesn't want to hear it but does take Dr. Melfi's advice about getting her into a retirement community. Vivian is forced against her will to move out of her home and into an apartment. Tony refuses to consider that his mother is a source of stress for him, despite all the heartache she causes him.

Brendan and Christopher plan to hit another truck, this one carrying men's suits. Like the last one, his truck is also under the protection of Uncle Junior. Christopher backs out of the project at the last minute. Brendan carries through with the plan without him. During the heist the driver of the vehicle is killed. Christopher contacts Tony and tries to explain. Tony doesn't want to hear it, he holds Christopher as equally responsible even though he wasn't there. He tells them to return the suits. The issue isn't fully resolved at the end of the episode. I don't recall exactly what happens but I've got a feeling that Brendan is going to pay the price for this screw up.

Adriana, Christopher's girlfriend for most of the run of this series, makes her first appearance in this episode. Drea de Matteo, the actress who plays Adriana, was also in the pilot very briefly but she is credited as playing a different character in that episode.

Mickey Palmice, Uncle Junior's right hand man, makes his first appearance in this episode. He doesn't last long but he's in the majority of the episodes in this season. As I recall that's a running theme throughout the series. People come and people go. There are very few characters who make it out of the series alive. Most of the other mobsters that Tony comes into contact with end up dead one way or another.

I can see why I liked this show so much back when I first watched it. I still like it. It isn't revolutionary or quite as top notch in my mind as it once was but it is still damn good television. I like the way the different plot threads are weaved together. It isn't this or that, it is all of it and the way it's put together. That and there are some damn good performances, not the least of which is James Gandolfini who plays the role of Tony Soprano.

Friday, August 18, 2017

GLOW 1.09

The Liberal Chokehold

Bash still hasn't got the money for the venue for the debut of the TV show. Birdie, his mother, holds the purse strings and she has cut him off. He has spent hundreds of thousands so far and she refuses to give him another dime. Debbie suggests that they should have a bikini car wash. She's confident that they can raise the money easily.

They give the car wash idea a go, at the Dusty Spur. There's an awkward moment for Ruth when Mark, Debbie's husband, the guy who Ruth slept with, the guy who got her pregnant, shows up to get his car washed. He is still trying to salvage his marriage to Debbie. Ruth gets out of the way as quickly as possible. Sam is a little stunned to learn that Mark isn't more handsome. In the end the car wash only raises $287. They need $9,000 to rent the venue.

When they learn that Birdie is throwing a fund raiser for women addicted to crack the women of GLOW decide to crash the event. The plan is to do a little fund raising of their own. They claim to be from WAD, Wrestlers Against Drugs. Bash gets them in the door, even though they aren't on the guest list. They mill around for a while. Debbie and Ruth have a moment when they start talking privately about what happened to their friendship. The silences and the looks they gave one another in this moment said at least as much as their words did. Powerful stuff.

Sam sneaks off and hangs with some guys at the fundraiser and does some coke. He tells them about the movie he wants to make only to learn that someone else made a very similar movie. It is called Back to the Future. He's emotionally crushed.

The women of GLOW take turns talking to the assemblage of fundraiser attendees. They talk about how wrestling helped them get off of crack. Most of their presentations are unintentionally funny. The exception is Ruth. She uses her fling with Mark as material and talks about how crack ruined her friendship with her best friend. It gets to Debbie. It also gets to Birdie, who wasn't moved by any of the other presentations. The checks start rolling in. Birdie admits to being moved and finally understanding for a moment what it is that her son loves about wrestling. She agrees to help him with the venue.

Justine wanders upstairs and finds Sam passed out. He wakes up. He still feels crushed about his movie idea and goes on about it to her. She tries to talk him into not giving up but he is very down on himself and life in general. I had a bad feeling about where this moment might go and I was partially right. Sam ogles Justine and then starts to kiss her. She freaks out and then drops an atom bomb of a revelation on him.

Even without the revelation, what he did felt very wrong. I was hoping he wouldn't try something like that. As the scene developed I had a bad feeling he was going to go there. I was whispering to myself, "Please don't," over and over. And then he did. I wonder if I will think of this scene the next time I hear that Perry Como song: Magic Moments.

I've probably said it before (about other ones) but this was the best episode to date. There have been plenty of good ones but the emotional impact of this one was heavy. There's a little humor in this one but it is the emotional moments that really moved me this time around; not just the words but the facial expressions and the wordless moments with Ruth, Debbie, Sam, Justine, and Birdie.

I'm hopeful that the next episode will be more upbeat that this one. I don't expect everything to go right for Ruth, Sam, Debbie, and the others but hopefully it will have fewer emotional gut punches than this one did.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Chewing Gum 1.03


Tracy quits her job at the convenience store and applies for a job at a department store. She doesn't exactly get the job but then, thinking she might have another way in, she buys drugs for a party that the owner of department store is throwing. She inadvertently swallows some of the drugs she bought, during the party, and its all downhill from there.

Candice partners with one of the other ladies from the building to try and sell stolen sex toys, mostly dildos. The catch is that the sex toys aren't new, but used.

A fun episode. I don't think I liked it quite as much as the two previous ones but I liked it.

I tried watching with the subtitles on this time. It killed the comedy. Halfway through the episode I had to turn the subtitles off. Even though I couldn't follow everything that was said it was much funnier after I turned them off.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Young Justice 1.12

Home Front

Robin and Artemis are attacked immediately after they arrive back at HQ. They quickly discover that the other members of the team (Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian, Aqualad) have all been captured. Artemis and Robin evade their attckers by crawling through air ducts. After Robin plugs into the network they are able to see who attacked them: two androids that look like Red Tornado's siblings.

With a little help from Kid Flash, who is still a captive, Robin builds an electromagnetic pulse generator. He tries plugging it in but there's something missing. They need a piece of metal to complete the circuit and power the EMP generator. Robin is taken down. Artemis freaks out and almost gives up. In the end she pulls through and manages to use an arrow she finds to complete the circuit thus knocking the two androids out of commission.

Red Tornado returns and starts asking questions. When he reaches out to touch one of the comatose android he accidentally reactivates it. The team is quickly taken out again, this time by Red Tornado. When they come to Red Tornado and the other two androids are gone.

At the beginning of the episode, before Artemis and Robin return to the cave, there is a scene with them at Gotham Academy. She is new to the school. She briefly meets Dick Grayson but doesn't recognize him. He seems to recognize her. He is hanging out with a redhead named Barbara. In the credits she is identified as Barbara Gordon. She has a couple lines but that's it. Artemis gets some help from another classmate whose name in the credits is Bette Kane.

Bette Kane was the alter ego of the first Batgirl in the comic books. Barbara Gordon was the alter ego of the second Batgirl in the comic books. At this point there is no indication that either of these characters are superheroes in this cartoon series.

There are also a couple flashbacks to Artemis' past around the time that her older sister, Jade, ran away from home. Jade is now the villain known as Cheshire.

All members of the team are in this one but Robin and Artemis get the spotlight. I love how it is up to the only two members of the team without superpowers to defeat the bad guys after the others have been captured. There are some nice character moments in this one for Artemis that help to flesh her out and make her seem more 3-D. Damn good episode.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Casual 3.11


Leia proposes to Leon. Leon says, yes. The rest of the episode revolves around their engagement party. I was a little surprised at how fast his happened. According to Leon they have only been dating for 7 weeks.

Alex is still with Judy. Presumably no one at work knows about their relationship. Alex gets bummed when Leon doesn't ask him to be his best man or one of his groomsmen. He invades Judy's space unexpectedly. She isn't ready for that and asks him to leave. Clark, her son, is on his way home. She isn't ready for him to see Alex with her. Alex apologizes and Judy agrees to go to the party with him. There is one more semi-awkward moment when Alex finds out the wedding is going to be in London. He suggests that Judy should bring Clark with her. She doesn't respond, as I recall it. I think that silence speaks volumes.

Val isn't entirely happy. She agrees to be one of Leia's bridesmaids, which turns out to be a bit awkward since all the other bridesmaids are Leia's sorority sisters. Jack comes back from a trip and pisses her off because he had a bite to eat with some colleagues just before he got home. She wanted to get a bite to eat with him. She looks positively miserable at the engagement party. She ends up abandoning Jack to have a drink with one of her classmates from the class from which she got booted.

Laura is desperate to get out of town. She's planning to follow Casey to Sacramento. Casey doesn't know this and isn't in this episode. Laura needs to raise some cash so she sells a bunch of her stuff (for less than it is worth). She knocks up her father for some money. She sells the new table her mother bought recently, the one on which Laura left a wine stain. The episode ends with her riding in a car with a woman she barely knows to Sacramento.

I don't see good things in Laura's immediate future. The same goes for Val. The only one who seems to be doing ok is Alex and I've got a feeling he's going to screw that up before the end of the season.

This was a happier episode than the last one but there were some dark moments. Laura's arc is by far the least hopeful. There's still 2 episodes left in this season but I don't have a lot of hope that it will end on a high note. Hopefully the next season will be a little more upbeat.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Sopranos 1.01


There's a lot thrown out in this episode. Most, if not all, of the main characters for this season are introduced. Tony Soprano, the main character, has a lot of interactions with a lot of people, some are family, some are business associates. A good chunk of the episode unfolds around a few sessions that Tony has with Dr. Jennifer Melfi, a psychiatrist. He tells her somethings but not everything. She is mostly concerned with what might have caused him to collapse and have a panic attack.

Tony seems to have a lot of people relying on him. At home there is Carmella (his wife) plus Meadow and Anthony, Jr. (his children). Beyond his immediate family there is also his mother and Uncle Junior, his father's brother. On the job there is Christopher (his cousin) plus a number of other associates (Silvio, Hesh, Big Pussy, Paulie).

Uncle Junior wants to whack another mobster, Little Pussy, in Vesuvio's, Tony's favorite restaurant which is owned and run by Artie, Tony's friend and high school classmate. Tony goes to some lengths to try and prevent that from happening. There's a certain amount of resentment on the part of Uncle Junior. He doesn't like it that his nephew runs the family business.

Christopher whacks a Czech mobster who is giving him trouble. Big Pussy gives him some help in getting rid of the body. Christopher has dreams of going to Hollywood but he is loyal to Tony, despite his rhetoric.

One thing that Christopher and Uncle Junior have in common is that they both want to make big dramatic gestures. Uncle Junior wants to murder another man in broad daylight. Christopher wants to dump the Czech mobster's body where it will be easily found by his people. One has his opportunity taken from him. The other is talked out of it by a colleague. I don't recall if this is a recurring theme throughout the first season or the whole series.

I watched the entire series on DVD 10-15 years ago. It was one of the first things I watched on DVD. It feels a bit dated in 2017, a bit more like a period piece. I enjoyed this episode but I was not blown away by it this time around. Most importantly, I was not turned off by it. I want to watch more. It may not strike me as ground-breaking or monumental as it once did but it is still quality television.

Halt and Catch Fire 3.04

Rules of Honorable Play

Cameron can't seem to get along with Doug and Craig, the former owners of SwapMeet. The problem is the code. Cameron doesn't want to change the code that Mutiny currently uses but the code that SwapMeet is written in is not compatible with Mutiny's code. Cameron wants Doug and Craig to rewrite the SwapMeet code, even though it doesn't seem to make sense to do that. Cameron wrote the base code the Mutiny is based on. She doesn't want to lose that.

Donna doesn't completely understand the problem. She arranges a dinner meeting with Doug, Craig, and Diane. Cameron, by this point, wants to fire Doug and Craig. It would be a costly move because Mutiny would have to buy out their contracts. Donna doesn't bring it up at the dinner meeting until after Craig and Doug have left. Diane isn't happy about it but says okay. Donna changes the message and tells Cameron that Diane said no, told her that they have to keep them. Cameron goes along with it. I've got a feeling that eventually she will find out what Dianne actually said and that it will sour her relationship with Donna.

Gordon is also experiencing some of the growing pains associated with the acquisition of SwapMeet. The coders from the two companies are butting heads just like Cameron and Doug. Gordon takes an off the cuff suggestion from Cameron and turns it into an after hours, team-building exercise: laser tag. It seems to work in more ways that one. In addition to building group cohesion, Gordon also experiences an improvement in his physical well being.

Diane takes Boz to a party. She seems to be interested in him for personal reasons. They run into Joe at the party. Diane gets to meet him for the first time. Joe has some problems of his own but he doesn't turn to either of them for help. He loses one client that accounts for a sizable portion of his company's business but somehow picks up a contract for ARPANET, the predecessor to the internet.

The episode ends with a weird encounter between Donna and Cameron, which leaves Cameron wondering if Donna wants to get rid of her. That's my read of the situation. The only outward or explicit sign that she feels like something is wrong is the question she asks Gordon just before the credits start to roll, "when did you know you had lost Cardiff Electronics?"

This was a much better episode than the last one. It was considerably less melodramatic. I like the plot developments and the way the relationships seem to be evolving. Things are in a state of flux but at the same time it is clear that decisions are being made that will have repercussions.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Doctor Strange (2016)

Stephen Strange is a gifted neurosurgeon whose hands are damaged in a car accident. In a desperate attempt he travels to Tibet in the hopes of finding something there to restore his damaged hands. Stephen arrives in Katmandu, meets the Ancient One, Mordo, and Wong, and starts training. He seems to learn the mystic arts extremely fast and soon joins the battle against the rogue Kaecilius who seeks to open a pathway between the Dark Dimension and Earth.

The special effects are quite beautiful. The movie, especially the final battle leaves something to be desired. There were parts that just made no sense and left me scratching my head. I understand that this is magic and not everything is going to make sense but still. There were battle scenes that were hard to follow because it was unclear what exactly was happening as the world tilted this way and that.

I'm not sure why they chose to have a Caucasian woman play the role of the Ancient One, instead of an Asian man, which is what the character was in the comic books. Tilda Swinton did a decent job but her performance wasn't so great that it made me forget the fact that the character wasn't supposed to be white.

Some of the movie felt like set up for stuff to come down the road. The turning of Mordo at the end of the movie, in the end credits scene didn't feel earned. He was obviously bothered by the reveal that the Ancient One had kept herself alive using energy from the Dark Dimension, but that doesn't fully explain why he would all of a sudden decide to switch sides. Yes, there was an explanation given but it just didn't feel earned.

The fight between Dr. Strange and Dormammu at the end of the movie was unsatisfying. I understand that Strange was able to manipulate time but how was he able to bring himself back after Dormammu killed him each time. That felt a bit too simple. Honestly, the fights with Kaecilius were more exciting than the one with Dormammu.

On the whole not a bad movie but it doesn't compare favorably in my book to most of the other Marvel films. It left me feeling let down even though there were somethings that I liked about it

Friday, August 11, 2017

GLOW 1.08

Maybe It's All the Disco

The women of GLOW continue to prepare for the big on camera debut but there is no ring action in this episode.

Sheila (the wolf girl) accidentally let's it drop that it's her birthday. She doesn't want a party but the other women, Jenny in particular, insist on celebrating. The group takes her to a roller skating rink and have a party for her there. She is reluctant to put on skates but once she gets rolling they can't get her to stop.

The only one who misses the party is Debbie. She is dealing with Mark, her husband. She signs the divorce papers but he tears them up. He tells her that he has been in therapy and doesn't really want a divorce. She is flabbergasted by the fact that he wants to fix the marriage and the lengths to which he has gone so far. It seems as if it is still a little too early to say that they will definitely patch things up.

Sam gets weary of Sheila's lack of shame. He doesn't understand why she doesn't want to hide their relationship from the others. He's ready to end their sexual relationship when she does. At first he's happy but when she tells him why he wants to give it another shot.

Ruth suspects and then confirms that she is pregnant. The father is presumably Mark. She turns to Sam for help and he shows up for her. There isn't any talk about it or how she is feeling. It is all in how Allison Brie plays it: her body language, her facial expressions. Powerful stuff.

What an episode. Considerably more pathos than humor but what an episode. Not sure I would call it my favorite but I am impressed. There is one moment that made me laugh out loud harder than I have in quite a while. I'm not sure it would resonate with everyone but there was something about it. I think it may have been because that I thought I knew where it was going once it got started and then it veered in a different direction. That and the commitment to it by the performers. That was followed up by the most sober moment of the episode. What a mix

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chewing Gum 1.02


Tracey sees Conner again, gives him a hand job, meets Mandy (Conner's mum), worries that she's pregnant, and discovers something about Ronald (her ex-boyfriend).

Solidly good in my opinion even though I couldn't understand everything said. I really should try watching this show with the closed captions turned on.

Almost every scene had something in it that at least made me smile if not laugh out loud.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Young Justice 1.11


Batman suspects that something is afoot at Belle Reve. Miss Martian and Superboy go undercover to the Louisiana prison, which is run by Amanda Waller. They impersonate the Terror Twins, Tommy and Tuppence. Their mission is to figure out what is up at Belle Reve.

This one was a little confusing. Most, if not all, of the villains at Belle Reve wear collars that neutralize their powers but some of them still seem to have powers. I'm not sure. I would have to watch this one a little more carefully to be sure but it seemed like there were a lot of villains who still had powers or weapons that they shouldn't have had. It was distracting.

In the end it seems that the bad guys big plan was to break all the supervillains out of Belle Reve. That doesn't quite work out but that doesn't seem to perturb the villains too much, as Amanda Waller is replaced by Prof. Hugo Strange who works for the Light.

There are some quality moments between Miss Martian and Superboy, including their first kiss and some double entendres. Every time they talk about their cover identities it sounds like they are talking about their real selves, but they are the only ones who know it. These moments and the closeness that comes from their shared experience of going undercover lead to them kissing, in front of someone who thinks they are brother and sister.

Aqualad is the only other member of the team to appear other than M'gann and Conner.

I liked the idea behind this one but I think something was missing in the execution of it. Possibly a few too many moving pieces. The real plus here isn't the plot or the way this episode ties into the larger story of the season as much as it is the changes in M'gann and Conner's relationship.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Casual 3.10

Cake Walk

The title describes the exact opposite of what this episode is for Val, Alex, and Laura. Nothing seems to go right for any of them. One is dating a co-worker. One wants to date her boss. One is dating someone who I guess could be her patient.

Things seem good for Alex and Judy, at first. Their first attempt at sex doesn't turn out well. Alex manscapes a little too much and then has performance issues. He isn't sure exactly what the problem is. He goes to see Jennifer, talks to her about it but she won't prescribe him Viagra which is what he is really hoping to get.

Valerie starts to wonder if Jack is planning to or will soon be cheating on her. She gets booted out of the storytelling class she was taking. She confronts Jack about what's bothering her but it doesn't seem like she is fully satisfied with the answer she gets.

Alex and Judy have dinner with Val and Jack, at Val's place. It doesn't go well. Alex questions whether sex addictions are real, not knowing that Jack has one. About the only good thing that seems to come out of the evening is that Alex and Judy finally have sex, in his car just outside of Val's house.

Laura's story bookends the other two stories. She is rejected by Casey and starts drinking. She shoplifts a bottle from a liquor store, drinks several bottles of her mother's wine, and pours herself a few drinks while she is babysitting Judy's son. The episode opens and closes with her singing Landslide by Fleetwood Mac while she babysits Clark.

This episode is structured differently than most others are on this show. It opens with Laura singing, then in jumps back two weeks and works it's way back to the opening scene. I'm not sure why the director felt the need to cut the episode in this way. The only thing that occurs to me is that she wanted to open and close with the same song and that seemed to be the best way to do so.

This was not an upbeat episode. It wasn't a bad episode, it just wasn't a happy one either. There was little in the way of humor and everyone's lives seemed to be headed in a downward trajectory. Leon and Leia are not in this episode.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Master of None 1.10


Dev starts having second thoughts about his life with Rachel after they go to a wedding. He tries to keep it from her but he can't and once they start talking about it things go from bad to worse. It probably didn't help that he was cut from the final cut of the movie he was supposed to be in, The Sickening. Rachel is affected by Dev's insecurity and decides to move to Tokyo. Dev decides a change is in order for himself and decides to move to Italy, to learn how to make pasta.

The way the end is played it looks like they were trying to make it look like Dev was catching a flight to Tokyo. I knew that the second season is set in Italy so I guess that part of the season finale was ruined for me.

On the whole this is not my favorite episode or series. I think I've mentioned this more than once but I'm not a big fan of Dev. He seems a little too caught up in pursuits that make me roll my eyes. In this episode he spent 45 minutes trying to decide where to eat because he wanted to make sure it was the best taco place. I had no sympathy for him when the food truck he selected was out of food by the time he got there.

When this show is good it isn't so much the main character that made it good as much as it was the scenario or situation he is dropped into. I don't think I will be watching the second season of this show. Like Rachel I think it is time for me to move on.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Kids on the Slope 1.12

All Blues

The final year of high school is winding down and Sentaro has not returned. Kaoru has thrown himself back into his studies and risen to the top of the class. He no longer goes by the record shop to play in the basement. Maybe there's no point since Sentaro is gone but Ritsuko misses him. She tries to encourage him to come by the shop but he says he has to study. She suggests he could study at her place. Her father is out for the day.

They try studying but then they start talking about Sentaro. Kaoru misunderstands. He tries kissing her. He says he's glad that Sentaro is gone so that now he has her to himself. She pushes him away. He apologizes and leaves but the damage is done. He doesn't come over to study with Ritsuko again.

Kaoru stops by the record shop one more time. He is there to see Ritsouko. He wants to tell her that he got into university in Tokyo. He shouts up to her from the street. He can't see her. Presumably she is in her room. He thanks her and apologizes and tells her that seeing her made him happy. He leaves without getting a response.

His parents see him off on the train to Toyko. Ritsuko's father shows up with a lunch for him but she is not with him. Just as the train starts to pull away from the platform Ritsuko comes running up. She runs with the train until the end of the platform. Kaoru runs to the back of the train. She waves goodbye and seems happy to have seen him off even though they didn't get to exchange any words.

The story flashes forward 8 years. Kaoru has let his hair grow longer. He is a doctor working at a hospital in Tokyo. He runs into Yurika at the hospital. She is married to Junichi and a few months pregnant. Her hair is still short. She gives him a picture from a wedding she went to recently. She points out one of the people in the picture and asks him if he looks familiar.

Kaoru takes some time off and heads for the island where the wedding took place. He is headed for a church and looking for a young priest. He finds the church. There is a set of drums under a drop cloth. He sits down at the organ and starts to play Moanin'. Sentaro is out walking with some kids he comes back and they start playing together.

The old priest who runs the church comes back and chases them out. As the credits roll they run down the hill in a scene very reminiscent of the opening credits scene. On the way down they run into Ritusuko who got a letter from someone (presumably Yurika) telling her about Sentaro.

I found the end of the episode to be very moving. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. I thought that this last episode might be all Kaoru and Ritsuko and that they might get married and wonder what happened to the others. I'm very happy with the way it ended. Toward the end I was worried that Ritsuko wasn't going to show up again. I'm glad that didn't prove to be the case.

On the whole I was very impressed with this series. It probably isn't everyone's cup of tea. It is mostly about growing up, playing music, and relationships. I may watch it again in a few years. I believe it will hold up. What I will be interested to see is how it strikes me knowing how things turn out in the end and the sort of story it is.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Halt and Catch Fire 3.03

Flipping the Switch

Donna and Cameron put Boz in charge of delivering the offer letter to SwapMeet. Diane decides to join John for the trip to SwapMeet. She more or less concurs with his approach, which is to lower the offer price once he sees the slipshod sort of operation SwapMeet is running. I thought Donna and Cameron would flip out when they heard what happened but there's no evidence that they did. Maybe that's because they were a little too busy dealing with problems of their own.

Donna and Gordon are still having problems finding work life balance. Their relationship on the job seems to be overflowing into their marriage. It doesn't help that Cameron is living with them. Gordon spends part of the episode playing with his old Ham radio. He tries and eventually finds one of his old friends using the radio. My read of it is that he really needs another outlet for his frustrations. The radio seems to help.

Cameron is put in charge of finding a replacement for Ryan. She gives a talk to a class at San Francisco City College. She doesn't have much luck in the recruiting department but she does run into Joe. He is there taking a class in BASIC. It is not a friendly encounter but it also doesn't get vicious. It is just very uncomfortable.

Ryan goes to work for Joe. It is very different work environment for Ryan from the one he left behind at Mutiny. Joe is a very unconventional sort of person. Ryan doesn't know how to deal with or interact with him. By the end of the episode it seems that Joe has decided to pull Ryan into his inner circle. What does that mean down the road? Will he be any nicer or less nebulous? I have my doubts. My guess is that there will be times he will be nice and times that he will not but it is hard to say either way what is the most likely course of action.

On the whole I found this to be an unsatisfying episode. It felt like there was a lot of overacting, a lot of payoff moments without any buildup to them. It felt a bit like the director might be trying to communicate information through the way the episode was shot rather than have the actors communicate it themselves. The only scene that really felt right to me was Boz and Diane's visit to SwapMeet. I don't know what to make of Joe or the way Lee Pace is playing the role. He is so mysterious that I can't tell what if anything is going through his head most of the time.

Friday, August 4, 2017

GLOW 1.07

Live Studio Audience

Everything is set for the first performance in front of an audience. It is a test run, no television cameras or broadcast just yet. Ruth and Debbie get some help preparing for the big day from Carmen's brothers. They work on their moves and really step up their game.

Sam's camera is still missing. He threatens to fire the person who stole it if it doesn't get returned. He also threatens to fire the person who stole it if it does get returned. He has no clue who stole it. Justine puts the camera in Rhonda's locker. Rhonda uses it to record a video of herself "speak-singing" a theme song for the show. She shows it to Sam but he doesn't get very excited.

The big day comes. They have a small crowd of spectators. Not everything goes as planned or as Sam scripted it. Carmen has a panic attack and faints without even stepping in the ring. Cherry and Tammé talk their opponents into flipping things around and coming out dressed up in hoods, like they are with the KKK. Debbie and Ruth's match goes great until Debbie spots Mark, her husband, in the audience and runs out of the ring to talk to him. That's doesn't go well. Rhonda saves the end of the show from being a complete disaster by stepping in and singing her song. The other women of GLOW jump in and join her.

I really enjoyed this episode throughout. It was a great mix of humor and pathos. Lots of moments that made me laugh and moved me. Debbie's character has become much more three dimensional since the beginning of the season when it felt like GLOW was for the most part about Ruth.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Chewing Gum 1.01

Sex and Violence

Tracey is 24 and still a virgin. She has a boyfriend named Ronald. They have been together for 6 years. He is very religious and won't even kiss her. Candice, her friend, helps her get dolled up in an effort to convince Ronald it is time. He doesn't respond the way she had hoped. He freaks out when she starts taking off her clothes. Candice has some drama of her own. She wants to have rough sex with Aaron, her boyfriend, but he is very reluctant.

I've wanted to try this show since hearing about it on PCHH. I'm glad I gave it a try. I laughed quite a bit. The humor is both awkward and over the top. This is a British show and I had a little trouble understanding some of the dialogue but not so much that I couldn't enjoy the show. I'm going to have to keep watching this show.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Young Justice 1.10


Red Arrow gets a bit of a spotlight as he battles Cheshire and Sportsmaster in Taipei. The rulers of North and South Rhelasia are in Taipei for a peace conference when Cheshire attacks. She is there to kill Lex Luthor. She is captured by the police (with some help from Red Arrow) but Sportsmaster breaks her out of jail. Red Arrow pursues and arrives just in time to see them meeting with Ra's Al Ghul. Red Arrow tries fighting them both but the two villains prove to be too much for him so he calls for backup.

M'gann and Superboy, who adopt the civilian identities of Megan Morris and Conner Kent, start school at a local high school. Their classmates include Wendy and Marvin (characters first seen on the original run of Superfriends) and Mal Duncan (who was briefly a member of the original incarnation of the Teen Titans, in the comic books). Snapper Carr is one of their teachers.

Aqualad arrives in Taipei just in time to help Red Arrow prevent Cheshire and Sportmaster from murdering anyone at the peace summit. Red Arrow questions whether saving Lex Luthor's life should be counted as a good thing. Luthor admitted in private to Red Arrow that he was there primarily for his own selfish reason: because he hopes to profit from the peace process. In the end it turns out that the assassination attempt on Luthor was just an act, and that the two men are part of the conspiracy of villains known as the Light.

Overall a fun episode with a number of Easter eggs. The Red Arrow story was by far my favorite of the two stories. I loved the way the fight scenes were animated and executed. Cheshire is a very capable villain. The first day of school story had its moments but was nowhere near as exciting as the peace conference story. Robin, Kid Flash, and Artemis do not appear in this episode.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Casual 3.09


Val and Jack go to Fresno to visit Rich, the half-brother Val only just recently learned about. It doesn't go well. Rich can't stop talking about X-Men Days of Future past and Val is completely bored. It doesn't help that Jack still isn't ready for sex. Val doesn't say that but it seems like that's what she needs. She finally gets it at the end of the episode.

Alex makes a pass at Judy. She rejects him. He finally talks to Rae, for the first time since they had sex. She tells him he's too selfish. The next day he offers up his house for a photo shoot for a YouTube star, who never shows up for the shoot. It gives Alex the chance to spend some more time with Judy. They share a fairly chaste kiss before she heads home.

Casey comes over and cooks for Laura, while her mother is gone. Nothing physical happens between them but Laura certainly looks like she hoped something would. The next day at a city council meeting Laura makes an impassioned plea to the council on the issue before them. It impresses Casey but then before anything can happen between them Casey announces that she's taking off for Sacramento. There is another battle to be fought there,

Leon and Leia spend the weekend together, for the first time, I think. Things are moving fast. It looks like he is going to move in with her, at least temporarily, while his apartment is being worked on.

I don't know if I have much hope for either Alex and Judy or Val and Jack. Judy is separated from her husband. I think she is going to go back to him, maybe for the sake of her son, and break Alex' heart. Jack and Val are poison. I think Val needs to backup and reassess where she is where her life is going. She's been leaping from one thing to another throughout this season, with Jack being just the latest. Maybe it is healthy on one level to live her life this way but I don't think it is healthy in the long run.

Overall a good episode. I want to see where things go from here. I want to keep watching even if I feel like some of these relationships are doomed.