Comic – Lazarus, book1: Family: B

LAZARUS_vol1B
Post-apocalyptic stories seem to dominate comics outside of Marvel and DC lately. They each try their own take, this time being less fantasy/sci-fi and more mafia-esque political drama (though still with immortal supersoldiers to provide the sci-fi element). Perhaps Lazarus would’ve been fine without my weariness toward the subject. While it provided plenty of attempts at tension, I never felt the suspense it seemed to searched for, nor was I wowed by the occasional martial arts or gunfights. Everything was competently crafted, but not outstandingly so.

Advertisements

Movie – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: B

jack ryan shadow recruitB

This film reeks of generic. Its a thriller without thrills. I kept waiting for some twist or interesting development but, nope, just lack-lustre spy action. Nothing stands out, but nothing truly negative comes to mind either. Pine, Costner, and Knightley’s performances aren’t poor, but stop at satisfactory. Jack Ryan defines “OK”.

Comic – Earth 2 vol2: The Tower of Fate: B

EARTH2_vol2B

The dialog in this book is painful. There was definitely some throbbing in my temple as I read it. It’s like middle school fanfiction you’d find on some internet forum. But the story works just fine, and there are some great moments when no one is talking. Also, Doctor Fate was one of my favorites from back when JSA was still a thing, so I was looking forward to his return, which didn’t disappoint.

TV – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1: B

agents of shield season1B

It’s incredibly difficult to assign a grade to SHIELD’s inaugural season. I’m sold on the show now, but I’d given up halfway through until I’d heard it improved and Captain America 2 confirmed something had to be happening. The first half is fairly awful, with boring characters and weak stand-alone plots, like rejected X-Files episodes.  Then  Winter Soldier forced a change (though clearly in the works all along), and the show becomes episodic and suspenseful, full of great reveals and red herrings. The characters found their places, and the actors meshed. Even the fight choreography got notably better. It attempts Whedon-esque wit throughout, and the quips evoke more chuckles than groans. The addition of some fantastic actors, including Bill Paxton and cameos from Sam Jackson, Patton Oswalt, and Cobie Smulders, also did much to improve the show.

TV – Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 1: B

clone wars season1B

After seeing the abysmal movie they released to introduce the series, I’d never given the show a chance. The animation and the plots are slow and deliberate, taking time to spell everything out, often a bit too simply. It has some terrible voicework at times, especially the battle droids, who are beyond annoying. And of course Jar Jar is as awful as ever. But it also has some great characters, most of which are the Jedi Masters like Plo Koon and Kit Fisto. In fact, the episodes showcasing the Jedi Masters are easily the best ones. There are the occasional cool ideas, like space mantas, or fun nods to things barely mentioned in the films, like gundarks or the Angels on Iago. But there also quite a few boring or lame episodes, and pretty much all of them feel like filler, with no central mysteries or plot threads to keep you engaged. Perhaps later seasons will correct this.

Movie – Odd Thomas: B

odd thomasB
It’s weird seeing Anton Yelchin (the actor who plays Chekov in the new Trek films) in a different role, especially a lead one. But he did a great job with what he had, which unfortunately was a fairly sophomoric film, almost like a student movie with a studio budget. The effects were actually quite good, but the sets felt like theater more than film, and the dialog flowed with a quirky yet awkward cadence along the lines of something like Juno. The story is kinda lazy, with a pacing that tries for exciting but ends up mostly feeling forced. It’s an odd little film, sweet and fun but not quite filling.

Movie – Exam: B

examB
It tries to hide its low budget with minimalism, but it’s not quite enough to overcome it. It plays out like an adventure game, with a flimsy premise and several questionable plot points. But I was intrigued enough to stay invested til the ending, which was satisfying, but not very inspired.