TV Review – Star Trek: Picard Season One, Episode One

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Season 1, Episode 1 – “Remembrance”
Written by Akiva Goldsman & Michael Chabon & Alex Kurtzman and James Duff
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Fifteen years prior, in 2387, a disaster occurred. A star in the Romulan Empire went supernova wiping out Romulus and leaving billions stranded as refugees. During the aftermath of this event, Captain Jean-Luc Picard abandoned his post on the Enterprise to aid in the crisis. Since then, he has become a hero to a large faction of displaced Romulans but has cut ties with Starfleet. He growls at one point that Starfleet, as it exists now, is not the organization he once committed himself to. You could see this path unfold on The Next Generation as Picard would frequently move to follow his principles over the commands of his superiors.

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PopCult Media Moment (01/24/20)

Last weekend, I reviewed Disney’s The Black Hole, a terribly flawed science fiction horror flick with some great ideas embedded within. I did a little internet sleuthing and found out a sequel was in the works starting back in 2009. Director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) was set to helm the film with Jon Spaights (Prometheus, Doctor Strange) writing. While the film was in the scriptwriting stage, Disney bought Lucasfilm and decided to drop the remake. It was said at the time Spaihts’ script was “too dark for Disney.” Since then, Disney has been busy with many other projects.

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Movie Review – Honey Boy

Honey Boy (2019)
Written by Shia LaBeouf
Directed by Alma Har’el

Filmmaking as therapy is a common theme in autobiographical movies. Just recently, I reviewed Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory, which served as an outlet for the director to talk about aging and his physical ailments. Actor Shia LaBeouf similarly uses film as confession & therapy, though more intimate and raw than Almodovar. LaBeouf, if you don’t know, was a child actor on the Disney Channel before he reached higher levels of fame in Michael Bay’s Transformers films. The film jumps between these two periods, fictionalizing or obscuring the details, so it’s not about LaBeouf specifically.

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Movie Review – Pain and Glory

Pain and Glory (2019)
Written & Directed by Pedro Almodovar

Pedro Almodovar is no strange to autofiction in his cinema, that doesn’t mean he’s always factually honest with us. Almodovar is very much an impressionist, more interested in the emotions and underlying psychology of events in our lives. Pain and Glory is the most obviously autobiographical, Antonio Banderas playing a version of the aging director. This is a meditation on the physical changes that come with time, how our bodies are both vessels of pleasure and suffering during our lives. The structure is that of interconnected short stories, vignettes centered around the protagonist that allow him to reflect and reconnect with people from his past.

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TV Review – Servant Season 1

Servant Season 1 (Apple TV+)
Written by Tony Basgallop
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Daniel Sackheim, Nimrod Antal, Alexis Ostrander, Lisa Bruhlmann, and John Dahl

A few months ago, I posted reviews of the first episodes of a handful of Apple TV+ shows, and overall I wasn’t very impressed. The entire slew seemed very derivative of already popular shows from the past (The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, etc.). I was intrigued by Servant, a horror series produced by M. Night Shyamalan. Despite my intense disappointment with that director’s recent output, I figured he was producing so he couldn’t screw the show up too badly. The first couple episodes were a little rough going, it took some time to get a feel for the tone the series was going for. By the end of the season, they had me hooked, and I am ready for season two to get here.

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Media Moment – 01/18/20

The Batman (2021)

So Warner Brothers are making another iteration of Batman because the Affleck version sucked. I am all for new interpretations of characters as long as the latest version brings something creatively rich to the table and isn’t merely a retread of things we’ve seen before. I am not a fan of most Batman films, and I definitely try to read them through a critical lens that is least favorable to the Batman character. Batman is a wealthy white man who is allowed to transcend the justice system and inflict violence on criminals, with the readers/audience being given the excuse that he had a lousy childhood. I think there is an excellent argument to be made that the same compulsive gimmicks present in the Rogues Gallery are just as present in Bruce Wayne’s psyche, but I digress.

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