TV Recap: Agent Carter 1.7

Posted in Reviews, TV with tags , , , , on February 18, 2015 by Sarah

SPOILERS

It’s the penultimate episode and things are starting to play out to their final conclusion, which means we’re getting into some spoilery territory. Consider yourself warned.

With Peggy’s semi-betrayal of the SSR out in the open, this episode finally lets Peggy air her frustrations with her male co-workers that is very satisfying. It’s something we’ve wanted to see from the very beginning, Peggy delivering a comeuppance to her chauvinistic fellow agents, but what really makes it kick is that Peggy does it while she, herself, has been brought low. She’s finally getting somewhere in her furtive investigation, having connected the pieces of the Red Room, Dottie Underwood, and Leviathan, but she’s also lost the trust and, at least temporarily, the respect of the other agents. It actually makes her indictment of the SSR—“Unless I have your lunch, your coffee, or your reports, I’m invisible to you”—all the more damning because it doesn’t come while she’s on a high horse.

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Fifty Shades of Grey is minimally-acceptable entertainment

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , on February 17, 2015 by Sarah

Fifty_Shades_posterThere are so many conversations we could potentially have about Fifty Shades of Grey, the film adaptation of EL James’s wildly popular romance novel. We could talk about its roots as Twilight fanfiction and whether or not publishing a derivative work that originates as a free piece of fan service is right or not (it isn’t, but so far I’ve only seen it happen in genres where demand outweighs supply, like romance and young adult, so I understand why it happens—publishers are desperate for material for enormous markets). Or we could talk about the extremely fucked up sexual politics at the center of the story, except other people are already on that. Or we could talk about the hopelessness of adapting garbage source material, except I don’t believe in that. Every movie, regardless of its source, has the potential to be good. What’s more, we should want them all to be good. Rooting against a movie being good is insane—why bother liking movies at all? So let’s just talk about Fifty Shades of Grey for what it is—a mediocre movie. Continue reading

TV Recap: Agent Carter 1.6

Posted in Reviews, TV with tags , , , , on February 11, 2015 by Sarah

First, some housecleaning from last week. Seeing the Soviet Red Room—the origin of modern-day Natasha Romanov—raised some questions, particularly about whether or not the little killer girl may have been a young Natasha. In the comics, Natasha is very old, aided and enhanced by a Red Room supersoldier serum knock-off, but to date, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Natasha is just a regular person, albeit, a highly skilled and trained one. So I checked around and I have it on good authority that no, that was not young Natasha. In the MCU, she is not enhanced. Some people may be disappointed, but honestly, I think that makes the Red Room that much more chilling. It means they found a way to create soldiers like Dottie and Natasha from just plain old-fashioned human cruelty. Of all the various brainwashing methods we’ve seen Hydra employ, Bucky Barnes’s mind-melting electroshock therapy may be the most brutal, but the Red Room’s childhood indoctrination is the most sickening.

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Winter Movie Preview: February 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , on February 6, 2015 by Sarah

February 6

Jupiter Ascending

Eddie Redmayne’s potential Norbit.

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TV Recap: Agent Carter 1.5

Posted in Reviews, TV with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2015 by Sarah

Just when I was getting sick of people telling Peggy—to her face, on repeat—that the men she works with will never respect her, Agent Carter brings back some of Peggy’s war buddies and we get to spend a refreshing hour watching people who genuinely respect Peggy work effectively with her. Agent Carter was just beginning to wear the sexism schtick too thin—which is what happens when you keep having super obvious conversations about the same topic—we’re reminded that not everyone treats Peggy like a sandwich girl. This episode sees Peggy and Agent Thompson heading to Russia to investigate a lead about Howard’s stolen weapons, and they hook up with the Howling Commandos to complete the mission. Well, they hook up with some budget Commandos from the comics who were not in the The First Avenger, and Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough).

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The Duke of Burgundy is a retro erotic treat

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2015 by Sarah

Duke-Of-Burgundy-PosterWith Fifty Shades of Grey due later this month, there’s a lot of focus on erotica at the cinema, or rather, the near complete lack thereof. Once upon a time, there was a niche market for grown-up films about sex, and it ranged from highbrow arthouse fare like Last Tango in Paris to the sexploitation flicks of grindhouse movies. Erotica used to be a whole healthy ecosystem within cinema, but it disappeared in the 1980s, and now there is only the occasional outlier in grown-up sex-themed movies. This month, though, there are two movies dealing with adult relationships and intimacy and sex: the ubiquitous Fifty Shades, but also the indie gem The Duke of Burgundy, which is now available on demand.

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TV Recap: Agent Carter 1.4

Posted in Reviews, TV with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2015 by Sarah

After a State of the Union hiatus, Agent Carter returned without missing a beat. In very short order, this show has become everything I wanted out of a Marvel TV show—exciting action, a mix of fun and dramatic character moments, and meaningful connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The best part about that last one is that the show’s writers are managing to create those connections without banging you over the head with reminders about what’s gone on in the movies. You don’t need to have seen both Captain America movies in order to understand Peggy Carter, and if you haven’t seen Iron Man, you can still enjoy caddish Howard Stark. This week’s episode was chock full of those sub-connections, which went a long way to enhance the movie characters, especially Tony Stark.

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