[REVIEW] Guardians of the Galaxy

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At this point, there are probably as many reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy as there are stars in said galaxy. If you’re interested in reading about how awesome the special effects were—and they were awesome—or how James Gunn laudably managed to catapult C-list (at best) comic book heroes to Hollywood superstars, please go read one of them. I’m not terribly interested in retreading the same generic territory. What you’ll find below is simply my personal reaction to the film: emotional impressions, fanboy nitpicking, and the odd idiosyncratic mental connection. Light spoilers are likely, but I figure most of you have either already seen the film, or couldn’t care less about it. In which case, why are you even bothering to read this?
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[REVIEW] X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Before we begin, a disclaimer: I can’t even feign objectivity when it comes to the X-Men. I was an avid viewer of FOX’s Saturday morning cartoon at an impressionable age, and I’ve been a bit of a fanatic ever since. I still regularly read most of the X-titles, past and present, and many of the characters feel something akin to old friends at this point. When I watched the film in question, then, my experience couldn’t help but be shaped by two decades worth of expectations. I say this now, so there will be no mistake. What you’re about to read is not a fair, neutral review. It’s a fanboy bemoaning the perceived mangling of a beloved IP. If there’s a way to enjoy the X- franchise simply as a fun sci-fi romp, I’ll probably never find it. I’m not sure I can. (I also apologize for my first sentence; it’s a doozy.)
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[REVIEW] Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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This is the movie I’ve been waiting for since the moment I saw Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky hyped up on a bastardized super soldier serum and going toe-to-toe with the eponymous green goliath in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. At that time, the prospect of a Captain America film existed only as internet rumor. A longtime Marvel comics fan with no particular investment in the Cap character, I’d followed speculation with a detached interest. However, as I watched the diminutive Roth dodge, duck, dip, dive, and discharge firearms into the face of his enormous foe, I suddenly realized the potential of the franchise. If superhuman agility could be depicted on film so believably, Captain America could be cinematic gold. Continue reading

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[REVIEW] Paperback, Letters from Whitechapel, Battlelore 2nd Edition

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I haven’t done nearly as much board gaming in the past few months as I’d like. As a social hobby that generally requires the participation of people outside oneself, it too often falls victim to fickle adult schedules and/or the nonexistence of friends. That said, of the few instances mine ears hath enjoyed the sweet slap of cardboard on wood veneer in recent weeks, most of them have included the opportunity to try new games. This can be both a great pleasure and a dire gamble for an established connoisseur such as myself. How did my luck fair? Were these novel diversions worth the precious gaming time they depleted? Scroll on, dear reader… Continue reading

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[REVIEW] Her

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Bold, insightful, and remarkably positive, director Spike Jonze’s (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are) latest offering is an unmitigated success. Her, the poignant story of one man’s love affair with his tech suite’s sapient operating system, is neither as whimsical nor as unsettling as its premise might suggest. Instead, the film cuts straight to the heart of the wonder and untidiness of personal relationships. Like all great science fiction, it presents our own world back to us, heightened, so we can examine the human experience with new eyes. Continue reading

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