Category Archives: Reviews

Over/Under: Platoon and Jarhead

Over/Under – Platoon and Jarhead

In Over/Under, the Blog writers will discuss two similar pieces of film, music, book, or other culture and which of these is overrated by the popular consensus and underrated by most people.  Feel free to comment below with your own views!

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THE LATE, GREAT BABYLON 5

Babylon 5 (1993 – 1998) is second only to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in my mind.  In my last post I took the time to discuss one of Babylon 5’s most important characters – Londo Mollari – and so I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the show in its entirety (spoiler free of course).  The show is not only solid entertainment, but its background offers insight and advice to anyone who wants to tell a rich, thought-provoking story in television.  Each season is like a chapter in a book, or rather a novel in a book series.  The next season builds on the former while telling events critical to the overall story that make it distinct from the other five.

Babylon 5 is unique among all television shows, and indeed, all movie franchises, in that the entire story was planned out, from beginning to end, before the show’s pilot aired across America.  However, the story originally envisioned by the creator, J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), was not the one that aired.

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The Modern Tragic Character: Londo Mollari

I like to think I have seen plenty of movies in my young life. I also like to think that I’ve seen plenty of television, having over 128 seasons of television on DVD.  While I have not seen all the great movies, or all the great TV shows, I’m reasonably comfortable in the title of this blog post.  Across all the characters I remember from the many hours I’ve sunk into modern entertainment, none come across to me as tragic as Babylon 5’s Londo Mollari.  Certainly there are other characters that give Londo a run for his money – Dukie from The Wire to name one – but none are so grandiose in scope – so Shakespearean without the melodrama – than the life of Londo Mollari.  From “Midnight on the Firing Line,” the very first episode of Babylon 5, we know of Londo’s fate: He will die being choked by G’Kar, another main character of the series. 

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Commentary: Making Twilight Alright

In my eyes there are two types of movie watchers:

1. Those who wait to buy their favorite on DVD, and then watch it three more times along with all the special features…..
2. And those who don’t.

You could also divide up the movie-watcher population another way:

1. Those who think Twilight was a genuinely good movie…..
2. And those who don’t.

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Over/Under: Community and Psych

Over/Under

In Over/Under, the Blog writers will discuss two similar pieces of film, music, book, or other culture and which of these is overrated by the popular consensus and underrated by most people.  Feel free to comment below with your own views!

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The Best Documentaries of 2011

For a long time I have loved the documentary style of filmmaking.  Few other kinds of cinema can change the world as quickly or be as entertaining.  Two of my highest loves are film and journalism, so logically adding the two together suits me greatly.  I had planned on possibly writing reviews on some of these films, yet I instead decided it would be more useful to aggregate them together to talk about the ones I planned and others that I think you should see as well.

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TV Shows You Learn From: The West Wing

            To date, The West Wing remains unique in American television history.  The show’s story lives, breathes, and talks American politics.  The only show of its kind to last more than two seasons.

It was created, produced, and mainly written by Aaron Sorkin (writer of The Social Network) for its first four seasons.  (Mr. Sorkin departed after the show’s fourth season concluded).  The show in its entirety concentrates on the day-to-day operations of Democratic President Josiah Bartlett and his personal staff.

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How to raise hell, and do it well: What the 400 Blows means to film

Showtime Photos

Some of you are probably wondering why that title is on the by-line; after all, “raising hell” isn’t exactly a phrase of pure etiquette.  The film, if you haven’t seen it, is a French piece from 1959.  Its title directly translated to English is “The 400 Blows”, but it loses the cultural meaning of the phrase.  More appropriately translated, it would mean something awfully similar to “raising hell”.  It is about a young boy who causes trouble in his Paris boy’s academy, his Paris flat home, the outskirts of Paris, and just most of Paris in general.  It is a story of a boy thrust into thinking like an adult when he discovers his mother’s affair and is sent to a juvenile detention academy when he makes the wrong decision.  It is about filmmaking itself, albeit indirectly.

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J. Edgar

By now, cinephiles should expect their standard Clint Eastwood film a year. Consistently proving himself as the most efficient director in Hollywood, Eastwood has averaged a movie a year since 1997, shooting with small budget and using a minimal number of takes. Rest assured, however, the quality of his films haven’t suffered, constantly garnering Oscar nominations and critical acclaim. Although there are occasional disappointments like “Invictus”, his foray into directing is easily superior to his acting ability (but don’t get me wrong, he’s one of my favorite actors and personalities ever).

This year, we are graced with “J. Edgar”, a biopic centered on the infamous J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director who was at the forefront of events during the first half of the 20th century. His controversial, albeit productive methods had an unmatched impact into the practices and discipline of American law enforcement. His use of the media was savvy, putting himself as the premier face of the Justice Department, and his mind justice in general. Creating a database of fingerprints and pushing for the establishment of national laws regarding crime, the full legacy of Hoover as a crime fighting innovator can never be estimated.

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There Will Be Blood

SPOILER WARNING

To me, modern horror films have always been one of my least favorite genres. It’s not because I’m easily scared, but rather that many of them, in my opinion, are filled to the brim with endless clichés that seriously take me out of any chance at being entertained. Sure, I know I should be suspending my disbelief when I watch a movie but this genre is just too much for me most of the times. My favorite classical horror movies include The Shining, Halloween, and Scream. Arguably, these three helped formed some of these clichés I mentioned but it’s slightly more tolerable because they were among the first to set the standard.

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