Movie – Headhunters: B+

headhuntersB+
It’s rare to see a protagonist drug through so much crap (in one case literally). It takes a roguish art thief and pits him against a villainous (and well cast) Nikolas Coster-Waldau. Once it gets going, we’re led swiftly on a suspenseful, if a bit comically exaggerated thriller. It all plays out well, but as you’d suspect it would. Entertaining enough but ultimately just another action thriller.

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Comic – Injustice: Gods Among Us vol1: B+

injustice
B+
The main goal of this series seems to be an attempt at shocking deaths, and it scores about a 50% success rate in this regard. A few are quite well conceived, and some feel like deliberate attempts to come up with the dumbest deaths possible. Superman’s fall is decently explained, but it still feels forced, much like Hal Jordan’s infamous Parallax-possessed killing spree. The art is mostly satisfactory, excepting a few truly awful facial expressions. Elseworlds stories are usually fun, and Injustice presents a dystopia worthy of exploring, even if at times the pathfinding can get tedious.

Comic – East of West vol1: B+

east of west vol1
B+
The concept hooked me easily; a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history, and western. But it’s more potential than realization unfortunately. It’s full of cool characters, though their motivations aren’t very clear, which flattens them a bit. The main characters are quite awesome, though perhaps too awesome for any sense of danger. Also, their powers seem to alter to fit the plot. The scope was often exaggerated, but the action didn’t usually disappoint. There’s so much flashback and setup that the reveals that come latter are less shocking. Still, there’s plenty of fun, enough to warrant checking out the next volume.

TV – Downton Abbey: Season 4: B+

downton abbey season 4B+

After all the bombshells dropped last year, this season seemed kinda boring. Then it left quite a few plot threads still dangling, uncharacteristically for the show. The final episode, while quite good, seemed more like a season opener with how many new characters and conflicts it opened up. I think the series might be trying too hard to shoehorn in new types of drama, and they simply don’t hold up to previous seasons. But the performances are still top notch, and Maggie Smith continues to be the best part of the show.

Movie – Nebraska: B+

nebraskaB+
It has all the familiar frustration and awkwardness of family interaction without the normal movie exaggeration. As an outsider, it is easy to laugh at this family, though it’s equally easy to feel a little bad about it since it is portrayed so realistically (at least in my experience.) A light, simple watch, but not quite memorable.

Movie – The Hunt: B+

the huntB+
It reminded me of Amour, unleashing similar feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, though not quite as soul-crushingly depressing. It’s final scene was perhaps the most poignant, artfully portraying the film’s conflict as something that will extend into the future indefinitely. But I kept expecting things to heat up as it were; to get truly dramatic. I think I just like melodrama. This was certainly more artistic and genuine, but less…interesting.

TV – House of Cards: Season 2: B+

house of cards season2B+

The first episode was a master strike. It took everything you assumed would happen this season and threw them aside, while also highlighting the aspects that make the show so appealing. Then the rest of the season promptly ignored that and just went with more of the same. Even the ending was disappointingly similar. Minor characters from season 1 became major ones, while only one new character managed to be interesting. Spacey and Wright continued to impress of course, but the series’ shine has diminished to a dull glow.