Author: Justin

2019 marked the final year for Playstation 4 and Xbox One as the dominant consoles. For one, the Nintendo Switch sold more consoles and released more games. Second, both brands will see new consoles before the end of 2020. That didn’t mean it was a bad year for games, however. If anything, the game landscape has grown more diverse with a wider variety of original titles for niche audiences. While I don’t play everything, below are my ten favorites of what I did play. But first, some honorable mentions: The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, Ape Out, Cadence of…

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TV

It’s difficult to review most shows after an episode but give at least three and you’ll usually get a decent taste. That’s the case with the new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. The first episode is without dialogue for long stretches, and the second episode really starts to give the feel for the series. However, it’s in the third I finally think I know what this series might be. Set after the events of Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens, The Mandalorian follows the titular character for the first three episodes as a completes a bounty. No,…

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TV

Apple came out swinging with their new streaming service by investing heavily into star driven projects. Rumors put the budget of spotlight series The Morning show somewhere north of $15 million per episode. If it actually did cost that, it certainly doesn’t look like it. The budget must have gone to the cast, but what a cast it is! The Morning Show is loosely inspired by the #MeToo scandals at NBC’s The Today Show and CBS This Morning. The show opens on the scandal breaking that Mitch (Steve Carell), host of The Morning Show, has had inappropriate affairs with staff…

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Ari Aster has directed two feature films—this and Hereditary. I found that previous film to be visually arresting with a terrible payoff. Well, I suppose he’s now two for two. Telling too much of Midsommar’s plot with spoil the journey, but the basic plot line is a group of grad students travel to Sweden to participate in a summer solstice festival and horror ensues. Except, this isn’t your usual horror movie of monsters jumping out of closets. The horror here is mostly a slow-burn and showcased in broad daylight. That’s unique for certain, and Florence Pugh again shows here why…

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Given the insane success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can’t really blame every other studio trying to get in on the action. From DC Comics to Universal Monsters, however, the landscape is mostly littered with failures (The Conjuring horror universe being one of the few successes). Here’s another in the form of a spinoff of the Fast and Furious franchise, itself already a cinematic universe of sorts as the films bounce from genre to genre. Hobbs is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s federal agent character from the main series, and Shaw is Jason Statham’s, well, once bad guy but also…

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How long can you reboot a time-travel film series before the audience stops caring? Because even though this is the sixth film in the Terminator franchise, it’s ignoring the previous three sequels as if they took place in alternate timelines. How convenient. Still, convenience doesn’t account for audience fatigue which may turn out to be a bigger franchise killer than any cyborg from the future. Financial fate aside, Dark Fate is an attempt to reboot the franchise to something resembling 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day. It features big explosions, big car chases, and big heroes. This time the evil terminator…

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TV

I imagine the pitch meeting for The Society went something like, “What if we took Lord of the Flies and mixed it in with a bit of Riverdale and Lost?” I can’t even argue with that being an alluring pitch. Unfortunately, for me, those disparate elements never coalesce into something I really cared about. In The Society a group of high school students are taken on a school trip, but upon return to their small town they discover everyone is gone and the roads out of town have vanished. Has something apocalyptic occurred? Have they slipped into an alternate reality?…

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By my count, this marks the seventh live-action Spider-Man film—not including his participation in various other Marvel films. I note this because after seven movies, even as part of three separate continuities, any character can grow a bit stale. Comparatively, we’ve only had three Iron Man or Captain America films, but an equal number of Leprechaun flicks. So, Marvel and Sony probably felt the need to shake things up. They did—sort of. Far from Home picks up fairly soon after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and spoiler alert—this movie pulls no punches in spoiling multiple Marvel films. You seriously need…

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Here’s a romantic comedy masquerading as something bigger while asking questions about the transcendent nature of art. If that feels reductive, well then that’s because Yesterday is a reductive film. It never feels like it’s interested in those very provocative questions that its unique premise presents. And yet, I enjoyed it for what it is. Yesterday imagines a world where one man remembers The Beatles. It just so happens that this man, Jack (Himesh Patel), also happens to be a skilled musician that has a photographic memory of their entire catalog. Go ahead, try to recite the lyrics to more…

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Contrary to their simplistic kids’ film image, the Toy Story films have always been tales of existential crisis. Each new film exploring the idea of, “Who am I, and where do I belong?” From Buzz in the first film to Woody in the sequel to all of the toys in what many assumed was the end of a trilogy. For Toy Story 4, Pixar returns to that question but tweaks it slightly. While Toy Story 3 already dealt with the idea that we must face that same existential question more than once in life, Toy Story 4 asks, “But what…

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