Monthly Archives: August 2011

Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead!

I’m a sucker for a good zombie story.  Sadly, “Dead Man’s Party” isn’t one of them as it suffers from the same awkwardness and sense of irrelevance that plagued “Anne.”  As I said last week, ME’s to be commended for not simply returning to Buffy’s status quo as though Angel’s death didn’t matter, but it’s so obvious that these episodes are a mere detour on the route back to Scooby-unity that I’m just waiting for them to get on with it.  Continue reading

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Trust Me

My chief complaint about this season of Damages has been its apparent scattershot nature; there have simply been too many plot threads crammed into the last twelve episodes.  The finale does not do a perfect job of tying all these disparate elements together, but it does ably bring the focus back on what’s really important and creates some needed thematic unity for the season.  Continue reading

I’m No One

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s third season was, arguably, its best.  I would contend that the series reached greater heights in season five, but there’s no denying that Buffy’s graduating year was her most consistently awesome one.  Coming after the kinks are worked out but before things can become too familiar, the season delivered one hell of a season arc peppered with plenty of standout episodes.  Sadly, the premiere is not one of them. Continue reading

Look What He Dug Up This Time

And that’s why they call him “Academy Award Winner William Hurt.”  I raved about Glenn Close’s performance last week and she’s even better here but Hurt still manages to steal the show.  The twist here is powerful stuff, whether or not you saw it coming and, coupled with the utter collapse of Patty’s personal life and Ellen going the full Machiavelli on Tom, it makes for one hell of an episode. Continue reading

Final Thoughts: BtVS Season 2

Buffy’s second season is its definitive one.  Fun as the first season could be, there was some clear trial and error going on as ME tried to figure out the characters and the world.  Season two dispensed with the elements that didn’t work and capitalized on the ones that did.  While far from the best season, it was the first one to actually feel like Buffy. Continue reading

London, of course

As its title suggests, this episode gives us a payoff for the “Phil the Philanderer” sub-plot.  Actually, this has been less a subplot than us anticipating Patty finding out since that first look at the other woman earlier in the season.  In many ways, this has been the smart way to go about things; this has never been the Phil and Ellen show and there’s been no time to properly explore the breakdown of their marriage.  I’m sure that Damages could’ve neatly dovetailed an infidelity narrative with all the intrigue going on elsewhere, but that would’ve taken away from the other plot threads and, more importantly, it wasn’t really necessary for a satisfying conclusion.  All we really cared about was Patty’s reaction  and “London, of course” gave us one to surprise and delight. Continue reading

I want to become someone

As I’ve said throughout these write-ups, season two is the first “real” season of Buffy; it’s the point at which the character-dynamics really started to click, the storytelling became more ambitious and the series’ execution began living up to its potential.  With that in mind, “Becoming” parts 1 & 2 have a lot to live up to; beyond simply being better in most respects, Buffy’s second season has been steadily raising the stakes for all concerned.  Thankfully, these episodes are up the challenge, delivering the Scoobies’ most epic adventure to date while still keeping everything rooted in the character relationships we’ve been exploring all season. Continue reading

Uh Oh, Out Come the Skeletons

Damages may thrive on intrigue, but this season is beginning to feel a little convoluted to me.  Don’t get me wrong, this episode was still thoroughly entertaining but as the series continues to pile on more and more layers it’s starting to strain credulity.  Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review – LoTR The Motion Picture Trilogy (Limited Extended Edition)

With so many (deserved) critical accolades heaped on this franchise the question is not “is this set any good?” it’s “is it worth it?”  The answer is, unequivocally, YES.  I could rave about the new transfer along with everyone else (it’s great) but, in practical terms, the films look much better.  Upconverting was never a friend to the DVD releases, seeming to bring out the flaws as much as the detail.  The Blu-Rays resolve that problem and (for the most part) make these films look like the visual masterpieces they were in the theatre. Continue reading