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Showing posts with the label Brandon Wolfe


The Blackcoat’s Daughter On Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD May 30

Terrifying and suspenseful, The Blackcoat’s Daughter arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Digital HD) and DVD May 30 from Lionsgate. Emma Roberts stars as a troubled young woman who embarks on a journey to an isolated prep school while two stranded students (played by Kiernan Shipka and Lucy Boynton) face a sinister threat from an unseen evil force. Movie Review: The Blackcoat’s Daughter Terrifying and suspenseful, The Blackcoat’s Daughter arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Digital HD) and DVD May 30 from Lionsgate. Emma Roberts stars as a troubled young woman who embarks on a journey to an isolated prep school while two stranded students (played by Kiernan Shipka and Lucy Boynton) face a sinister threat from an unseen evil force. Praised as “truly unsettling” by, the movie premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and the 2015 Fantastic Fest. From writer-director Osgood Perkins, The Blackcoat’s Daughter Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD will be available for the su

TV Review: The X-Files "My Struggle"

Wherein Chris Carter struggles to make his show relevant again. Review by Brandon Wolfe During the ‘90s heyday of The X-Files , fans (self-identified as “X-Philes”) would often proclaim series creator Chris Carter as the George Lucas of television. The label made a certain amount of sense. Both men had created sci-fi franchises that captured the hearts and minds of the world in a very big way, with central characters that were almost instantly iconic, and with the cultish influences from each man’s youth woven into the tapestries of each property. Both enterprises were visionary and crackled with innovation, inhabiting worlds that seemed carefully crafted and intricately thought out. But then the Star Wars prequels came out, concurrent with the creative implosion of The X-Files in its drawn-out final years, and people were still calling Carter the George Lucas of television, but now for entirely less laudable reasons. Both men had devolved into geysers of ill-conceived concepts an

TV Review: Fargo "Waiting for Dutch" (Season 2 Premiere)

Has the FX series still got it? You betcha. Review by Brandon Wolfe Fargo , FX’s expansion of the Coen Bros’ modern film classic, was last year’s greatest surprise. There was every reason to look at the series askance prior to its debut. The film, with its unique blend of “aw, jeez” Minnesota geniality and blood-in-the-snow violence, seemed impossible to duplicate without simply standing as a facile duplication. Even with a top-shelf cast, featuring Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, it was hard to imagine the show amounting to anything more than a misguided curiosity, a fool’s errand to recapture something too idiosyncratic to replicate. The bar was set too high to clear. Forget it, series creator Noah Hawley, it’s the Coen Brothers. Yet Fargo did the impossible. It carved out its own niche, telling a story that meshed with the Fargo house style while being uniquely its own thing. Hawley spoke fluent Coen without seemingly like a mere impressionist. The unlikely resu

Movie Review: 99 Homes

The bubble bursts on ham-handed housing drama. Review by Brandon Wolfe The housing crisis that dovetailed with the 2008 financial meltdown was a disaster that hampered and destroyed many, many lives, and as is often the case with major, world-shaking disasters, it now has its very own disaster movie. And while the fallout from these economic calamities has cropped up in several movies already ( Up in the Air being one of the earliest instances), 99 Homes is the first to specifically tackle the subprime mortgage crisis head-on. The film unsparingly examines the desperation, devastation and ruthless opportunism that ran rampant in the wake of that catastrophe, as financially crippled people were ejected from their homes while real-estate wheelers-and-dealers unscrupulously cleaned up. 99 Homes thrusts the audience right into the thick of this very ugly situation, taking great pains to mine the material for everything it’s worth. This is a movie with Something To Say, and it intends

Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton

N.W.A film is entertaining but still straight outta the biopic playbook. Review by Brandon Wolfe Partway through Straight Outta Compton , the biopic of hip-hop/gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A, the group is about to play a packed-house show in Detroit. Members of the Detroit Police Department have instructed the group of a laundry list of things they are forbidden to do during the show, the biggest of which is that they are not allowed to perform their hit song “F*ck Tha Police” under penalty of arrest. Taking to the stage, the group appears for a time to abide by the edict, but ultimately refuses to kowtow to authority and defiantly belts out the song. When the police attempt to shut them down, a riot begins to break out and the group is cuffed and tossed into a police van as the crowd turns on the arresting officers. Piled on top of each other in the van, the group begins laughing triumphantly, attempting to high-five as best they can with their hands bound behind them. It was totally w

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. ".Ye Who Enter Here"

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. ".Ye Who Enter Here" By: Brandon Wolfe ‘ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ’ continues to exhibit surprising sparks of life as its second season inches to the halfway point. The series is finally starting to work out some of its kinks. It’s now possible to get through a full episode without the risk of collapsing into a catatonic stupor. This is progress. The series has found a measure of success in creating a more involving narrative thrust. Last year, it was more of a limp procedural until it began to focus on whatever it was that Bill Paxton’s character was up to. This season, however, the show has cast off the case-of-the-week format entirely and committed itself to an ongoing story thread with several moving parts, some of which are genuinely interesting. The show has also taken some agency with regard to embracing Marvel mythology. Where before ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ functioned as a bottom-feeder, making do with whatever table

TV Review: Constantine “Rise Of Caliban”

TV Review: Constantine “Rise of Caliban” By: Brandon Wolfe The recent announcement that NBC has declined to order additional episodes of ‘ Constantine ’ beyond its initial 13-episode order, rendering the series unofficially canceled, is starting to sting a bit. ‘ Constantine ’ continues to gather steam. What felt at first like a blandly flavored supernatural time-waster is now inching its way toward becoming something worthwhile. Pity it’s a dead show airing. After an evocative opener where we are shown the aftermath of a bloodbath where the only survivor appears to be a young girl, we meet up with Constantine in bed with a young woman and being rushed out the window half-dressed when her boyfriend comes home unexpectedly. It’s a nice character building moment for our hero, illuminating the haphazard lifestyle he gravitates toward. From there, he and Chas head off to Birmingham to look into the massacre. A bit of magical forensics work tells Constantine that the little girl

TV Review: Gotham “Lovecraft”

TV Review: Gotham “Lovecraft” By: Brandon Wolfe With roughly half of its first season now laid out, ‘Gotham’ is still struggling to get its act together. The flaws that one hoped were temporary and being worked through are now starting to look like they might be the house style. The show is all thumbs, uncertain of what it wants to be and seemingly incapable of any artfulness. It should be much better than this, yet it doesn’t seem to be on any path to redemption. Arguably the biggest problem with ‘Gotham’ is its stubborn insistence on cramming young Bruce Wayne into the works as a major character. This decision has hamstrung the show by forcing a character into a context in which he simply doesn’t make sense. ‘Gotham’ was sold as a gritty cop procedural set in a pre-Batman Gotham City. This is a conceit with promise, at least in theory, but it’s also one where a schoolboy version of Bruce Wayne makes little sense playing a sizable role. The creators seem convinced that people wi

TV Review: Constantine “Danse Vaudou”

TV Review: Constantine “Danse Vaudou” By: Brandon Wolfe “ Danse Vaudou ” is perhaps the best episode of ‘ Constantine ’ aired thus far. It’s the first entry where all elements come together into a largely satisfying whole. The story it tells is appropriately spooky and involving and the supporting cast finally begins to congeal a bit. It’s the first sign that the visible growing pains this show has been suffering through thus far might be starting to subside. We’re in New Orleans this week as we follow drunken cop Jim Corrigan out of a bar and into an alley to relieve himself. There he bears witness to a woman being slashed to death by another woman wearing a surgical mask over the lower half of her face. When Corrigan attempts to fire at the assailant, the bullets have no effect. Meanwhile, in an urban legend come to life, a man picks up a teenage hitchhiker out on a dark backroad not far outside of town only to have the young man vanish from the passenger seat and appear i

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Things We Bury”

Is the much-maligned ABC show actually getting better? We pontificate after the jump. TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Things We Bury” By: Brandon Wolfe When did Agent Ward become the most interesting thing about ‘ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ?’ The character spent the bulk of the first season as the walking, talking embodiment of everything that was wrong with the show. Bland, stiff, wholly uninteresting. The post-‘Winter Soldier’ revelation that he was a secret member of Hydra was where the shift began, but it felt short-lived, something too daring for a show this unremarkable to really run with. When Ward survived the first season and was kept on as a regular, it seemed to indicate that the show was going to backslide on the character, with him working his way back into the group’s good graces and atoning for his many crimes. Yet every time ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ feels like it’s going in that direction, it catches itself and, surprisingly, recommits to Ward’s

TV Review: Gotham “Harvey Dent”

We break down the newest episode from the Fox series. TV Review: Gotham “Harvey Dent” By: Brandon Wolfe “ Harvey Dent” introduces to the ‘Gotham’ world Harvey Dent, since it would be weird to call the episode that had it not. Portrayed by Nicholas D’Agosto as a slightly manic, eager-beaver lawyer itching to take on Gotham’s corrupt upper class, Dent is constantly flipping that iconic coin of his. Of course he is. ‘Gotham’ would never resist the temptation to hammer us with iconography like its life depended on it. Edward Nygma offers riddles every time he pops on screen, Young Selina Kyle already has the nickname “Cat,” so why wouldn’t the show hit us with Dent’s coin repeatedly? Given how the show operates, it’s surprising they haven’t also given Dent eczema on the right side of his face. For an episode that bears Dent’s name, this is not really his showcase. He’s just a spoke on the wheel, though the initial impression of Dent offered here already hints that the guy might h

TV Review: Constantine "A Feast of Friends"

TV Review: Constantine "A Feast of Friends" By: Brandon Wolfe Four episodes in, the question is starting to arise of whether ‘ Constantine ’ is still struggling through its wobbly first steps or if the largely rote series that seems to be emerging is simply what we’re gonna get. The series has some solid attributes, but its weaknesses are overpowering them. One can only hope the show will strengthen with time, but one can also only extend benefit of the doubt so far. A sweaty, squirrely man named Gary Lester is passing through customs at an airport in Atlanta and his sketchy demeanor pings airport security’s suspicions, hauling him into a backroom for inspection. When an antique container is found among Gary’s possessions, Gary implores the guard not to open it, which of course necessitates that the man open it immediately. Doing so releases a swarm of mystical beetles, which forces itself down the guard’s throat. Somehow, amid all this chaos, Gary escapes from th

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Writing On The Wall”

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Writing on the Wall” By: Brandon Wolfe “ The Writing on the Wall ” is a busy episode of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ which is a good thing. The show has spent so much time dawdling around aimlessly that it’s good to see it breaking a sweat. This week it follows two separate story threads, one involving Coulson and the other Ward, to varying degrees of success. The episode unpacks a lot of information, including a revelation that might provide a window into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It continues the show’s baby steps toward becoming something perhaps not entirely bad. The tattooed man who was teased in the previous episode emerges again this week, picking up a woman in a bar and taking her home. We learn that both of these people are former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were treated with the alien-derived GHD-25 anti-death serum that both Coulson and Skye were given. It seems that when Coulson was running the T.A.H.I